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Questions about Tube Dacs, Monarch v. Lite

post #1 of 109
Thread Starter 
hi
As i'm waiting for one dac, the idea of a tube dac has caught my attentoin. currently, they are around the same price on audiogon (800-1000). so is there any significant difference between say, a Pacific Valve lite 62 v. a Monarchy 24? do the tubes make a difference?
the monarchy model 24 has matched JAN-Phillips 6922 tubes.
The Lite 62 has matched JAN E88CC tubes.

since i care alot about treble and treble energy, should i really be considering a tube dac?
post #2 of 109
Thread Starter 
bump.... seriously, no one has these dacs?
post #3 of 109
The E88CC and 6922 are the same type of tubes. E88CC is the european equivalent of the american 6922.
I hope to get my slightly modded LITE 60 tomorrow, with those same JAN 6922 tubes (from diykits). Eddie did some small mods for me like upgrading the output caps, rca cabling and connectors, but nothing major.
Im very very curious how it sounds, if everything works well ill have it tomorrow, otherwise next week.
Im planning to do more mods to it by myself. Im no expert but the inside
of the monarchy looks closer to an unmodded lite than the lite 62 from PV.

Sorry i cant help you with their sound, which we definately need some more impressions from

I worry a little bit too about it being too tubeish and warm and not detailed and clear enough overall...
However i met some tube equipment (for guitar though) which even beat the worst transistor stuff for harshness and thin sound and overdone treble...
post #4 of 109
Caveat: It's only based on things I've read, I have no experience. But it seems like the Monarchy is a step better than the Lite. You'd likely want to tube roll on both, but the enthusiasm and description I've read on the Monarchy implies - to me - that it is more organic and resolving at the same time.

I would grab the Monarchy in a second if I had the $.

EDIT: BTW, the Monarchy also has provisions for an analog input and volume, so it has some preamp functionality. I read that it's not QUITE up to par with the sound of the DAC standalone, but it's still very good.
post #5 of 109
This is pure conjecture but since the M24 is just a Lite 50 with better parts and a line stage I'd think the Lite 62 would compete favourably if not just be outright better.

In a speaker world that line stage would be great but most if not all headphone 'amps' have a line stage. That said it's probably easier to resell the Monarchy.
post #6 of 109
Thread Starter 
i want to make it clear, that i have no intention of using this as a preamp... i'll be using the dac line out on the zana.
post #7 of 109
I have a Lite DAC-62 on the way, I SHOULD have it some time next week. And I know akwok owns that monarchy DAC.
post #8 of 109
Received my Lite 60 today:




Its much bigger than i thought, i never looked up the exact specs.






It seems Eddie forgot to do any mods
Looks 100% stock.


Atleast he included the Philips tubes which improve the sound much more than i expected! The sovteks are crap, closed in, no dynamics.. UGH

I cant wait to mod this one.. In stock form with philips tubes its already clear, with wide and deep soundstage, exact imaging, good instrument seperaton, airy, solid bass.. Very nice. Maybe slightly veiled in upper vocalrange, but i need more listening.


EDIT: In stock form it has some veil in the upper mids and treble, vocals can be a little grainy, but im sure some modding will help it Especially the output caps look very suspicious to me.

EDIT2: The grain seems to be gone after a few hours of burn in already. Maybe it was the new tube?. And eddie already refunded my money for the mod, he indeed forgot it
post #9 of 109

Cal Alpha

For what it's worth, I have Cal ALphas, both 18 and 24 bit. Love them both. VERY responsive to 12AX7/5751 tube rolling. If you see one come up on Agon, I would give it a try. $400 for 18 bit used, $600 for 24 bit; plus or minus. Highly regarded. Wonderful stage and transparency, great air and mids, neutral tight bass, super image, veeeeeery Musical. I tried to beat this many times in the $400 used range and always come back to these. I love 'em. They work well in EVERY system I have tried, from clasic tube amps of the '50's to high-end SS of the new Millennium, speakers or HP systems.

That said, Monarchy does a swell job and CC Poon is dedicated to the aphile market. His SM70 Pro is absolutely spectacular for the money, used around $400-$500. I sold mine recently for $375, which was what I paid on Ebay, and I miss it--the only piece I should not have sold.
post #10 of 109
Thread Starter 
yea, i took a look at the Dac 50 v. the monarchy. they are basically identical, with some circut changes made. i'm looking more seriously in to the dac 62 now.
post #11 of 109
I used to own a Pacific Valve modified DAC-60M, and on top of their mods in I threw in about $100 worth of output capacitor upgrades, along with $200 for a good pair for Siemens tubes.

It sounded great, and I highly recommend it. I've never heard a stock DAC-60.

The DAC-62 looks interesting, but I ultimately decided to go with the Stello DA100 and I'm very happy with my choice.
post #12 of 109
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeChuck View Post
I used to own a Pacific Valve modified DAC-60M, and on top of their mods in I threw in about $100 worth of output capacitor upgrades, along with $200 for a good pair for Siemens tubes.

It sounded great, and I highly recommend it. I've never heard a stock DAC-60.

The DAC-62 looks interesting, but I ultimately decided to go with the Stello DA100 and I'm very happy with my choice.
what made you go for the stello instead?
btw, are there any domestic sellers of the 220 mkII?
post #13 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by granodemostasa View Post
what made you go for the stello instead?
I decided to get the Woo Audio 4, but I didn't want to pair it with a tube-output DAC; at the time I didn't know that the WA4 would be as neutral as it was, but I just don't like the idea of pairing tubes with tubes. I also generally just prefer solid state at the source level.
post #14 of 109
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeChuck View Post
I decided to get the Woo Audio 4, but I didn't want to pair it with a tube-output DAC; at the time I didn't know that the WA4 would be as neutral as it was, but I just don't like the idea of pairing tubes with tubes. I also generally just prefer solid state at the source level.
currently i have this same concern. most people tell me that the zd is overly neutral, and isn't what one would call "tuby"... at the same time, the dac's makers try to stay away from the tube stereotypes. yet, the concerns still linger for me, since even the solid state like zana deux wasn't that SS compared to the dynamight.

right now i want to step away, a bit, from the ori dac, since most are probably correct in pointing out that it doesn't have that extra level of authority... yet, it has an enchanting/extended/exciting treble that does well with my system and i certainly don't want to turn this in for "tube" treble.

i think i'm finding fault in too many sources: benchmark- metalic sounding. lavry- not extended and not neutral (sweet sounding), stello 220- no bass, icarus- no soundstage or dynamics, monarchy- it's a lite dac clone!, ori-no bass/or authority, others are simply too aging designs for me (like those 10 yr old meredians that keep popping up).
post #15 of 109
I don't want to give you the impression that the DAC-60 is like a big fat tube DAC, because it certainly isn't. The tube stage is only and output buffer, it's a very detailed and neutral piece of equipment, and with the right tubes and a few mods it can really be pushed into the next level. I preferred it to the DAC1, but I also prefer my Stello DA100 to the DAC-60.

There are obviously better pieces of equipment out there than the DA100, but it's the most satisfaction I've had from a source in my own setup. Obviously I can't speak for your source, or your own tastes, we're getting into pretty subjective things here which are often independant of price, but I still feel pretty comfortable recommending both the DAC-60 and the DA100 as great buys.

Like I said in my previous post, I've never heard a stock DAC-60, so I can't really comment as to its abilities, but my modified version was great.
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