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Valab Dac-First Impressions - Page 3

post #31 of 1580
good to hear Phill, mine should be arriving within the end of this week, definitely excited. Btw, what's included with the valab DAC? will I need to have a usb cable and power cable?
post #32 of 1580
Thread Starter 
No cables, just the dac.

Phill
post #33 of 1580
Thread Starter 
I wanted to add a quick update, I am at around the 70 hour break in point with the Valab. I did a quick comparison between the Valab and the Paradisea last night, not very scientific but these are my results anyway.

First of all let me say that the dacs sound quite different at this stage. The Valab has developed a thinner, leaner sound, it is very fast with very good dynamics, the Valab is also brighter with some hash, minor but still there compared to the Paradisea. The Paradisea is warmer more fleshed out than the Valab, at this point I must say that the Paradisea is more refined. The 2 dacs have a different set of attributes, the Valab is a cleaner/leaner and more transparant sound with more air which could be a function of the leaness, the paradisea is warmer, more coherent and more musical. A limiting factor with the Paradisea could be the tube, I have the Russian and the stock GE tubes, I feel the Russian is better but still not highly rated according to MHDT's rating of tubes, a better tube may change my observations. Right now I give the nod to the Paradisea but with more break in with the Valab it may change my opinion. The Valab is still a great bargain and to even be comparing a dac which costs almost 4 times that of the Valab speaks very highly of this little dac. One user of the Gigalab dac which is very similar to the Valab noted that the Gigalab needs a good break in and warms up after 100-150 hours of use, we shall see if the Valab does the same!

Phill
post #34 of 1580
Thread Starter 
Well, I've been burning this in 24 hours a day since my last update and I'm happy to report that this dac has improved to the point that it is very impressive. It has lost a lot of the dry chalky edgy sound, it has warmed up and fleshed out, the soundstage has moved forward which is a good thing, it had been a tad recessed. To sum up the Valab dac is clear, open, very transparant, dynamic with excellent depth and detail. It is not a warm colored sounding dac, it leans to the detailed side with defined leading edges. Break in is extensive, don't give up on this piece prematurely, it will come out the other side with a wonderfully musical presentation, you will be happily shocked at how transparant this thing is, it takes 175-200 hours to finally come around so be patient.

Phill
post #35 of 1580
Thanks for your impressions. The dac is tempting to use for a small computer setup.

Biggie.
post #36 of 1580
i'm eager waiting mine to be delivered
post #37 of 1580
Quote:
Originally Posted by tubes View Post
Well, I've been burning this in 24 hours a day since my last update and I'm happy to report that this dac has improved to the point that it is very impressive. It has lost a lot of the dry chalky edgy sound, it has warmed up and fleshed out, the soundstage has moved forward which is a good thing, it had been a tad recessed. To sum up the Valab dac is clear, open, very transparant, dynamic with excellent depth and detail. It is not a warm colored sounding dac, it leans to the detailed side with defined leading edges. Break in is extensive, don't give up on this piece prematurely, it will come out the other side with a wonderfully musical presentation, you will be happily shocked at how transparant this thing is, it takes 175-200 hours to finally come around so be patient.

Phill
Please do another comparison with the Paradisea when you hit that 200 hour mark
post #38 of 1580
Received mine today along with my Topping TP-10 Mark 2 T-amp

Using Tekton 4.1 speakers, the DAC is wonderful right off the bat, Running USB I noticed lot less distortion/hiss compared to my audio out from my laptop. I'll need to purchase some RCA 2 way splitter so I can run it to my T-amp and my subwoofer (klipsch promedia). The lack of bass is a bit distracting.

Any suggestions on how to (properly) burn in a DAC? and amp?

I have noticed that this thing does get pretty warm-hot, Phil or anyone else having this as well?

I'll definitely need to find a headphone amp to try testing this beast. So far me likey
post #39 of 1580
Just play music through it.
post #40 of 1580
Thread Starter 
I hooked the dac up to a DVD player in my system, put it on disc repeat (not song repeat) and let it play, I have everything connected in the system with just the DVD player and the Valab turned on. Some folks like to turn the dac off (1/2 hour) every so often during break in then turn it on again for further break in to let the caps form, I dont know if it makes a difference but thats what I did. It does get very warm, it seemed to cool down, not get so hot as it breaks in. The power cord does make quite a difference with this dac, I use a Supra Ply cord that works excellent so far with all things digital.

Yeah, sounds good in the beginning but will go dry and edgy, just part of the break in cycle. I would not put this dac in a system that already leans to the bright side. In some ways this is the best digital I have had, it's an absolute keeper. Now I wonder if it can be taken further with some cap replacements.

Phill
post #41 of 1580
Thread Starter 
Well, here is a deppressing update. My Valab has been sounding a little too vivid at times so I pulled out the circuit board to have a look. On the underside of the board there are 8 capacitors one for each dac chip, 6 of the 8 caps are failing, you can see the rubber bung on the end of the caps protruding out of the casing, the casing has just split open. These are honsing brand caps, what the hell happened to the Nichicon caps Kevin has in his E-Bay add and in his pictures. I E-Mailed Kevin and told him of the problem, he apologized for the problem and wants me to ship it back and he'll send out a new one. I E-Mailed back and said wait a minute, where are the Nichicon caps which he never answered, I also wanted to know what he is going to do to fix this problem in future units, is it bad parts, bad design? He said he would go with 105c caps instead of the 85c caps in there now, he also thought he might have installed the caps with incorrect polarity, I checked and polarity is correct. I am thinking of just keeping the unit I have and replacing all the caps even the poorly regarded Teapo power supply caps. Who knows what shipping back to Taiwan will cost so maybe i should just put the money into caps. Sorry to be the messenger of bad news but I wanted people to know what they may be in for with this dac, hope others don't have this problem that already have this dac.

Phill
post #42 of 1580
Cost cutting again, the earlier batches might have been Nichicon caps...

Buyer beware.
post #43 of 1580
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fidelity View Post
Cost cutting again, the earlier batches might have been Nichicon caps...

Buyer beware.
No, it's just more Chinese junk. Everything about Chinese made audio components screams junk. The soldering quality, cap quality, chassis used, screw holes not lining up perfectly. It's all crap.

My advice, don't buy anything Chinese made. Including the likes of Lite, Cayin, Darkvoice and Little Dot. Sit one of their components side by side to a WooAudio, SinglePower or other American or Japanese made product, you instantly see and feel the difference in construction quality alone.
post #44 of 1580
Hi, I opened my unit and it also is missing the good caps with cheapos installed. . the bottom 8 though seem free of visual defects. they are 105degree 47uf 25v. are yours still 10uf? do you have any capacitor recommendations? the caps in the orignal ebay photos appear to be Nichicon KW.
post #45 of 1580
Quote:
Originally Posted by 003 View Post
No, it's just more Chinese junk. Everything about Chinese made audio components screams junk. The soldering quality, cap quality, chassis used, screw holes not lining up perfectly. It's all crap.

My advice, don't buy anything Chinese made. Including the likes of Lite, Cayin, Darkvoice and Little Dot. Sit one of their components side by side to a WooAudio, SinglePower or other American or Japanese made product, you instantly see and feel the difference in construction quality alone.
Well, they are mostly cheaper budget amps. At least with the Chinese companies you listed, they don't list a build component then shaft the customer by substituting a cheaper component. I agree that Woo is superior in build quality, both inside and out of their amps. SP on the other hand is mixed, with that whole interior wiring thing from before.
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