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Musical Fidelity V-DAC Owners? - Page 10

post #136 of 875
The V-Dac arrived. After some break-in, I put it up against the Valab NOS Dac, also Taiwan made. The V-Dac goes for $299 + shipping in the US market, while the Valab has recently raised its price tag to $230 shipped worldwide. The design of the V-dac precludes the use of an after-the-market power cord, while the Valab could benefit from the use of one. I found the Valab to be not overly sensitive to premium power cords however. For this comparison I use $50 power cord to put them on equal ground.

MF explained its secret with the V-series as follows: “Most high-end components offer incredibly bad value. Why do we say this? Because, as crazy as it sounds, about four to five percent of the cost of good value high-end electronics is in the actual electronics that do the work. The other 95% of the cost is in the metalwork and other items that don’t contribute to sound production or sound quality. Basically, high-end is a lot of show and not much go for a huge cost…..The V-Series is the result of our iconoclasm. We have eliminated pointless metalwork, bling and packaging, and concentrated on performance. Typically, the V-Series has 60% to 70% of its cost in electronics….” Along these design philosophy the V-dac comes in a plain black box finish and there is not even an on/off switch. Personally I found the silvery bushed metal casework of the $ 230 Valab to have more appeal, but in no way compromise with sound quality either. My only concern with Valab is that there appears some inconsistency in the use of components with different batches of production, meaning you can't be sure if you get one it will sound the same with mine.

Initial impression of the V-Dac is a detailed and balanced signature. In comparison with the Valab, I noticed that the V-Dac is the more detailed of the two with a slightly blacker background. Instrumental images are also tighter with the V-Dac. The V-Dac also scales better and is more apt at unraveling complicated musical passages, seemingly the better choice for orchestral crescendos. The V-Dac is also the briefer, more upbeat sounding of the two, and serves certain genres like rock and electronic better. The detailed, tighter presentation and briefer pacing of the V-dac has immediate appeals.

Kevin of Valab apparently has high opinion of Non-oversampling designs in retaining the tonal colors and atmosphere of the recording. I did find this to be the case in comparison with the V-Dac. The overall presentation of the Valab is more relaxed with more air around instruments. While the V-Dac is the winner at the amount of details, and everything snap into tighter focus, the Valab has slightly less apparant details but excel at the manner in which musical hues and information are presented with ease. Vocals have the nuances and more presence, human touch, and it is easier to feel the air bushing against the reed of the saxophones. The instrumental images presented by Valab are less tightly focused, but are more full bodied, dimensional and has slightly more harmonic overtones.

While I found the PRaT of my MF Trivista SACD to be accentuated and reticent across different frequency spectrum, I can detect no serious issue with the V-Dac. The V-Dac is also the briefer, more upbeat sounding of the two, but otherwise the Valab more appropriately conveys the subtle ebb and flow of musical passages. In these respects, the Valab is closer to single ended amplification. If a musical note can be grossly seen as comprising the initial attack; the main movement; and the subsequent decay, the Valab is more capable as presenting these elements in a continuum and in the correct proportion. I suspect the briefer pacing of the V-Dac is associated with an ever slight emphasis on the initial attack; or de-emphasis on the decay of the musical note. We are talking about very subtle and elusive differences here, but to these ears the Valab has the more natural tempo of the two, and it is easier to follow the intent of the musicians with this dac. The temporal clues so aptly captured by the Valab seem a touch diluted with the V-Dac.

For me the two is a tie, it really boils down to one’s musical preference and the type of musical genres. I could easily see why someone would prefer one over the other, or vice-versa. The V-dac has more audiophile qualities, its detailed and tighter presentation; briefer pacing will be preferred by many. The Valab has more subtle and subdue values, may well sound too soft to some, but when properly assimilated is more analogue sounding and offers more insight into the musical event. The bottom line is, performance wise the two are very close to one another. Their differences are heightened to make the point, but for the price point, without the benefit of A/B it will be hard pressed to pinpoint anything lacking with either.
post #137 of 875
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greeni View Post
MF explained its secret with the V-series as follows: “Most high-end components offer incredibly bad value. Why do we say this? Because, as crazy as it sounds, about four to five percent of the cost of good value high-end electronics is in the actual electronics that do the work. The other 95% of the cost is in the metalwork and other items that don’t contribute to sound production or sound quality. Basically, high-end is a lot of show and not much go for a huge cost…..The V-Series is the result of our iconoclasm. We have eliminated pointless metalwork, bling and packaging, and concentrated on performance. Typically, the V-Series has 60% to 70% of its cost in electronics….” Along these design philosophy the V-dac comes in a plain black box finish and there is not even an on/off switch. Personally I found the silvery bushed metal casework of the $ 230 Valab to have more appeal, but in no way compromise with sound quality.
The MF marketing team appears to be talking with split tongue. You should have a look at the other MF stuff they released over the last 10 years. Based on their logic, all their other stuff was overpriced extra metal work and packaging.

But their claim that the metal work does not contribute to the sound reproduction is very worrying. A good earth reference relies on a good conduction metal. Also, audio cables are made out of certain metals in order to maintain audio reproduction qualities. If MF is to believed, then why did they not put their DAC in a plastic box?
post #138 of 875
Quote:
Originally Posted by 03029174 View Post
Hi guys, quick question, i run mine via usb and it worked first time, no ploblems at all, why do some people have to run other apps such as aiso4all?
Thanks
Asio4all bypass the Windows Soundmixer.
post #139 of 875
Does the soundmixer degrade the sound then?
post #140 of 875
Thanx for your thoughts Greeni. Which one would you choose if you'll listen mainly to string chamber?
post #141 of 875
Does the soundmixer degrade the sound then?
post #142 of 875
It does.
post #143 of 875
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dexon View Post
Thanx for your thoughts Greeni. Which one would you choose if you'll listen mainly to string chamber?
My pleasure, I would pick the Valab for simpler music like these, but this reflects soley my preference and I guess many of the V-dac fans would dispute. I would like to see whether prolonged break-in would bring the SQ of the two to come closer.
post #144 of 875
Quote:
Originally Posted by 03029174 View Post
Does the soundmixer degrade the sound then?
With Asio4all the bits should go 1:1 to the DAC, but I can't say more about Soundquality, because my Corda 3move doesn't support Asio4all.
post #145 of 875

valab v. vdac

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greeni View Post
: For me the two is a tie, it really boils down to one’s musical preference and the type of musical genres. I could easily see why someone would prefer one over the other, or vice-versa. The V-dac has more audiophile qualities, its detailed and tighter presentation; briefer pacing will be preferred by many. The Valab has more subtle and subdue values, may well sound too soft to some, but when properly assimilated is more analogue sounding and offers more insight into the musical event. The bottom line is, performance wise the two are very close to one another. Their differences are heightened to make the point, but for the price point, without the benefit of A/B it will be hard pressed to pinpoint anything lacking with either.
Thanks for a thoughtful comparison.
post #146 of 875
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greeni View Post
The V-Dac arrived. After some break-in, I put it up against the Valab NOS Dac, also Taiwan made. The V-Dac goes for $299 + shipping in the US market, while the Valab has recently raised its price tag to $230 shipped worldwide. The design of the V-dac precludes the use of an after-the-market power cord, while the Valab could benefit from the use of one. I found the Valab to be not overly sensitive to premium power cords however. For this comparison I use $50 power cord to put them on equal ground.

MF explained its secret with the V-series as follows: “Most high-end components offer incredibly bad value. Why do we say this? Because, as crazy as it sounds, about four to five percent of the cost of good value high-end electronics is in the actual electronics that do the work. The other 95% of the cost is in the metalwork and other items that don’t contribute to sound production or sound quality. Basically, high-end is a lot of show and not much go for a huge cost…..The V-Series is the result of our iconoclasm. We have eliminated pointless metalwork, bling and packaging, and concentrated on performance. Typically, the V-Series has 60% to 70% of its cost in electronics….” Along these design philosophy the V-dac comes in a plain black box finish and there is not even an on/off switch. Personally I found the silvery bushed metal casework of the $ 230 Valab to have more appeal, but in no way compromise with sound quality either. My only concern with Valab is that there appears some inconsistency in the use of components with different batches of production, meaning you can't be sure if you get one it will sound the same with mine.

Initial impression of the V-Dac is a detailed and balanced signature. In comparison with the Valab, I noticed that the V-Dac is the more detailed of the two with a slightly blacker background. Instrumental images are also tighter with the V-Dac. The V-Dac also scales better and is more apt at unraveling complicated musical passages, seemingly the better choice for orchestral crescendos. The V-Dac is also the briefer, more upbeat sounding of the two, and serves certain genres like rock and electronic better. The detailed, tighter presentation and briefer pacing of the V-dac has immediate appeals.

Kevin of Valab apparently has high opinion of Non-oversampling designs in retaining the tonal colors and atmosphere of the recording. I did find this to be the case in comparison with the V-Dac. The overall presentation of the Valab is more relaxed with more air around instruments. While the V-Dac is the winner at the amount of details, and everything snap into tighter focus, the Valab has slightly less apparant details but excel at the manner in which musical hues and information are presented with ease. Vocals have the nuances and more presence, human touch, and it is easier to feel the air bushing against the reed of the saxophones. The instrumental images presented by Valab are less tightly focused, but are more full bodied, dimensional and has slightly more harmonic overtones.

While I found the PRaT of my MF Trivista SACD to be accentuated and reticent across different frequency spectrum, I can detect no serious issue with the V-Dac. The V-Dac is also the briefer, more upbeat sounding of the two, but otherwise the Valab more appropriately conveys the subtle ebb and flow of musical passages. In these respects, the Valab is closer to single ended amplification. If a musical note can be grossly seen as comprising the initial attack; the main movement; and the subsequent decay, the Valab is more capable as presenting these elements in a continuum and in the correct proportion. I suspect the briefer pacing of the V-Dac is associated with an ever slight emphasis on the initial attack; or de-emphasis on the decay of the musical note. We are talking about very subtle and elusive differences here, but to these ears the Valab has the more natural tempo of the two, and it is easier to follow the intent of the musicians with this dac. The temporal clues so aptly captured by the Valab seem a touch diluted with the V-Dac.

For me the two is a tie, it really boils down to one’s musical preference and the type of musical genres. I could easily see why someone would prefer one over the other, or vice-versa. The V-dac has more audiophile qualities, its detailed and tighter presentation; briefer pacing will be preferred by many. The Valab has more subtle and subdue values, may well sound too soft to some, but when properly assimilated is more analogue sounding and offers more insight into the musical event. The bottom line is, performance wise the two are very close to one another. Their differences are heightened to make the point, but for the price point, without the benefit of A/B it will be hard pressed to pinpoint anything lacking with either.
Thanks for adding really informative thoughts and impressions to the discussion. I think what you say about the differences between upsampling and nonupsampling is very interesting. I've felt that the V-dac excels in the tonality/overtones department compared to my other components. Do you feel that this a weakness of the V-DAC or does it just not do well in comparison to the Valab?

Thanks again for taking the time to actually do a real comparison.
post #147 of 875
Right as a dacmagic 1st time daccer this valab dac and fidelity vdac which one sounds better to people listening to accoustic stuff beth orton neil young and lots of others ooh my music likingness is extremely varied but i do like a nice voice and a strumming guitar i mainly listen to lasorts bur rarely thumping bass so something thats nice with rolling stones to bjork to patti smith to the cure to gordon lightfoot all opinions appreciated. or shall i buy both and then have 3 dacs ?
post #148 of 875
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeusWeinstein View Post
With Asio4all the bits should go 1:1 to the DAC, but I can't say more about Soundquality, because my Corda 3move doesn't support Asio4all.
You can still use Foobar with the ASIO4ALL plugin with ASIO4ALL running on your computer.
post #149 of 875
@MatsudaMan,

I feel the Valab is slightly better in terms of instrumental timbre and overtones, but your impression makes me think twice if my concept of such is different from others. Also these qualities sometimes take a longer time to reapen during the break-in process. Let me report back later.
post #150 of 875
@MatsudaMan

I listen to the V-dac again, and understand what you are saying. The V-dac does seem to have a better timbre in the sense of differentiating the characteristic tone color of instruments. The Valab has a slightly sweet, lush overall tone which I found pleasant, but is homogeneous in comparison. Again we are talking about very subtle qualities and I find it a little difficult to single out this element alone, let alone if we hear things the same way. My personal peference notwithstanding, I agree the V-dac is probably the more accurate of the two in this regard. It is rash of me to not discerning the differences. My apology.

The V-dac also seem to take on more of the subtler qualities of the Valab as prolonged break-in continues. Suffice that with the V-dac you won’t need the Valab, it is sideway movement at best.
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