Well, I'm kind of biased in favor of a tube sound, so YMMV. I think the V-Dac is in fact often perceived as a warmer dac, but I don't really hear it that way because it sounds pretty even and balanced to me, with good detail. I didn't like it all with the SS c-2c amp, but I didn't really like that amp itself, so maybe it was more the amp than the pairing. I use it with an SS now, but it's a tubier sounding SS, and I actually find it pretty lush with this set up. So maybe a lot depends on equipment synergy, as is so often the case.
Actually you did have positive things to say about it back on 11/4/2009, what changed? Or is this purely a synergy thing?
Oh right - obviously they are inputs.
Just a quick note before I run off, as things get a little clearer.
After a quick session I have to say that the C-2C absolutely crushes the shanling in classical, no contest. The differences are becoming more apparent as I make my way to some other genres. It's not that that the PH100 sounds bad - quite the contrary - but switch to the C-2C with these acoustic genres and it's a whole 'nother league. I had that sense last night with the REM and Steely Dan, and that was definitely confirmed tonight with the classical even more obviously.
I listened to a few Bach Brandenburgs (1, 4, 6, Trevor Pinnock), Copland Appalachian Spring and Rodeo (Bernstein, NYPO), Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue (Bernstein, Columbia SO), and some bits of Mozart Requiem (Harnoncourt). I also listened to So What, Freddie Freeloader and All Blues from Kind of Blue (all jazz and classical encoded to flac). I preferred all of it on the C-2C.
So it's becoming clear that the C-2C is technically the "superior" amp, (meaning from that 'audiophile' neutrality perspective, etc.) though it's a little difficult to talk in these terms b/c I don't want to seem like I'm bashing the shanling, which I'm definitely not. The PH100 sounds great with everything so far. It's just that the C-2C is hands down better for acoustic music.
With the shanling, for example, Copland sounded great: rich, dynamic, nice fullness and heft, delicate where it needed to be. But with the C-2C, it's a completely different experience. It's like I'm literally standing at the Grand Canyon looking around at the expanse. Everything widens out and just sounds amazingly spacious and alive.
Which is strange, because it's exactly the opposite with downbeat, chill, some electronica, etc.: the PH100 really brings that to life in a way the C-2C can't match. It's "too neutral" and you lose some of the immediacy, life and drive of the music. The C-2C makes you want to sit back and listen, the PH100 makes you want to move and get into it.
that's it for now - next up, some alt and classic rock, and then probably back to more electronica to reassess that.