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Storm Digital D02 NOS DAC - Impressions

post #1 of 114
Thread Starter 
So I got my D02 yesterday after a long wait. I haven't had much time to listen to it yet but so many people are asking me about my impressions of it so here are my very short first impressions.

Build quality & look:
D02 has a first class build quality. The case is finished with absolute care and it's shiny as hell. Structure is very sturdy and it weighs over 10kg. And about the outlook, it's one of the most beautiful looking audio equipments I've seen.

Sound:
D02 has very neutral and airy sound. Bass got much deeper and punchier with very good speed and accuracy at the same time. Highs are smooth and enjoyable with no sibilance or harshness at all. When I waited for this DAC I was wondering would it perform well with fast and complex rock/metal tracks. Well I have no worries anymore. It plays through fast metal or rock tracks without struggling with the complex guitar riffs at all. I don't listen to the fastest metal at all but with bands like Ayreon and Tool the music stays accurate, clear and very enjoyable. Soundstage could be wider but it should open up during burn in (that's what I've heard ). I have had like 3-4 hours with D02 at this point.

There's my first impressions. I'll post more pictures later.

post #2 of 114
Thanks Patu, what about dac versus ESI Julia?
post #3 of 114
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by salmon
Thanks Patu, what about dac versus ESI Julia?
Well those first impressions are my impressions after going from Juli@ to D02.
post #4 of 114
Patu,
congratulation for your new DAC. It looks great; keep us posted.

Is that the RP5.1? Gosh, it look gigantic!
post #5 of 114
Congrats on the D02 Patu. I hope to get a black one around the time of my birthday.
post #6 of 114
Your W5000 must really be singing now!

What do you think of the detail level of the Storm DAC? The non-os DACs I've heard all have a smooth, warm and liquid sound that isn't as detailed as the upsampling DACs such as the CEC DA53, LavryBlack DA10 and Chord DAC64.

I thought the non-os DACs sounded pleasant, but just didn't have enough details and resolution. They also seemed to have slower attack and decay and notes separation were not as well-defined.
post #7 of 114
The CEC DA53 is $1399AUD ($1050USD) and the Chord DAC64 is $6500AUD ($4875USD)! Those are some big hitters... NOS or not! Personally, I can't wait til this DAC is compared to others, to see where it fits in the "grand scheme" of things.
post #8 of 114
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic
Is that the RP5.1? Gosh, it look gigantic!
Yes it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by darkninja67
Congrats on the D02 Patu. I hope to get a black one around the time of my birthday.
When is that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elephas
Your W5000 must really be singing now!

What do you think of the detail level of the Storm DAC? The non-os DACs I've heard all have a smooth, warm and liquid sound that isn't as detailed as the upsampling DACs such as the CEC DA53, LavryBlack DA10 and Chord DAC64.

I thought the non-os DACs sounded pleasant, but just didn't have enough details and resolution. They also seemed to have slower attack and decay and notes separation were not as well-defined.
They are. Still not mine though. I just ordered my pair yesterday so they should be here on friday or monday at the latest.

It's quite hard for me to give any further details of the sound because I have only Juli@ to compare this with. Today I'll be comparing this with Zhaolu when I visit Comfy.

And about the details. It's not like it would throw the details into your face like SA5000 does, but there they are in the music. Nothing is missing. At this point, if I'd have to describe this DAC with one word it would be neutral.

IMO this is definitely not slow. Rock and metal music sounds aggressive just as it should.
post #9 of 114
Well my black D02 arrived yesterday, I picked it up at the post office on the way home from work. Unfortunately I had to go to my in-laws for supper so I didn't get to listen right away but I did open the box to get a look. Boy, this is one stunning piece of equipment, the case work is just incredible, pictures just don't do it justice. This is the type of case you would find on multi-kilobuck gear not something that sells in the $500 range. Another unfortunate occurence was customs opened the box and it appears they didn't repack it very well so the bottom back corners suffered some damage, nothing too serious just a bit disappointing.



When I finally got my new baby home and plugged in I was greeted with a sound that was different than I was expecting. Because it uses the same DAC chips as my Dialogue II I had figured they would sound very similar and yes, in some ways there's a resemblance but they seem quite different as well. The Dialogue II has an almost rich tube-like character in that it has a somewhat warm, smooth midrage and highs, bass has decent weight but is a bit round, detail is good but this DAC's strength is it's musicality. By contrast, and take this with a grain of salt because I've only listened for a couple of hours, I wouldn't characterize the D02 as either warm or cool, it gets the timbre of instruments right without overdoing it. Transparency and resolution are better. Highs are excellent but I haven't as yet got a handle on whether they're more extended than the Dialogue II, they definately seem even cleaner and clearer though. Bass on the D02 is pretty spectacular, tight well defined and deep with lots of weight. I did notice almost right away what others have mentioned regarding a somewhat narrow soundstage but I think it was starting to expand a bit after a few hours listening. Although the stage is narrower the D02 seems airier and instruments have more of their own space. The Dialogue II has a nice relaxing flow to music whereas the D02 seems lither, quicker on it's feet with better PRaT but PRaT might not be quite at the level I remember the MiniMax having.

Again, this only initial impressions and subject to change as I acclimate myself to the sound and the DAC itself burns in more but if my initial impressions hold or even improve I'll be one happy camper.
post #10 of 114
Thread Starter 
Gongratulations elnero! Black one looks awesome with GS-1.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elnero
...I wouldn't characterize the D02 as either warm or cool... it gets the timbre of instruments right without overdoing it. Transparency and resolution are better...

...Bass on the D02 is pretty spectacular, tight well defined and deep with lots of weight. I did notice almost right away what others have mentioned regarding a somewhat narrow soundstage but I think it was starting to expand a bit after a few hours listening...

...D02 seems airier and instruments have more of their own space...
We have very similar impressions.
post #11 of 114
Pics of the D02 and GS-1 mating please.

EDIT: nm, pics did not load for me fast. Congrats on the D02 elnero.
post #12 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by rincewind
The CEC DA53 is $1399AUD ($1050USD) and the Chord DAC64 is $6500AUD ($4875USD)! Those are some big hitters... NOS or not! Personally, I can't wait til this DAC is compared to others, to see where it fits in the "grand scheme" of things.
Eeeks. The prices in Australia are really harsh. The CEC DA53 usually goes for around $600 USD or less in Japan. 3rd parties that specialize in Japanese products usually sell them for around $680 worldwide.

Patu and elnero, thanks for the reviews. Maybe I'll end up with one of these after all?
post #13 of 114
I think it's safe to assume that the Benchmark DAC-1 is one of the most 'in your face detailed' DACs - with this assumption in mind, my D02 retained all the details, but presented them in a less exaggerated manner.

Equally detailed, different presentation of detail.
post #14 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by akwok
I think it's safe to assume that the Benchmark DAC-1 is one of the most 'in your face detailed' DACs - with this assumption in mind, my D02 retained all the details, but presented them in a less exaggerated manner.

Equally detailed, different presentation of detail.
Are you still finding the Storm to be very (too?) bassy with the SR-007?
post #15 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Pak
Are you still finding the Storm to be very (too?) bassy with the SR-007?
Nope.. the D02 + 007t + 007 sounded very nice, and it was the best system I've had yet.
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