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The Lavry DA11: For your ears only

post #1 of 191
Thread Starter 




HELLO from Lavry Engineering:
We are pleased to be here!

After attending your convention in San Jose a couple of years ago, I came home and decided to do a product that will optimize the experience of listening though headphones. Thus DA11 was born!



PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

DA11 Features:
  • 4 inputs: XLR, Optical, USB and RCA
  • USB up to 24 bits, 96KHz, recognized as "Lavry DA".
  • (no driver needed), Works with Windows and Mac OS.
  • "Remote ready" for use with any universal remote control devices.
  • User selects balanced, unbalanced, Pin 2 hot or unbalanced pin 3 hot from the front panel, NO need to open chassis and move jumpers.
  • User controls signal inversion, display dimming, OUTPUT ON/OFF (for real panel output signals - HEADPHONE STAYS ON)
  • User friendly parameter setting:
    • Last setting stored in a memory for a future power up.
  • "Loud click elimination" protects both headphone and rear panel analog output during power up and power down.
  • UNIQUE FEATURE is PIC (Playback Image Control).

COMMENT:
A whole industry optimizes the stereo image based on assumptions. The mastering engineer works hard to provide great stereo, but the outcome can be less then optimal when listeners' home setup does not emulate the mastering studio setup.

Many people do not (or cannot) follow such ideal guidelines for speaker placement. And of course, anyone who wants to listen through headphones may get a very different stereo image than the one ntended by the mastering engineer.

Why? With speakers, the left signal gets to BOTH ears (similarly for the right signal). However, with headphones, the left signal reaches ONLY the left ear (and the right signal ONLY to the right ear). The PIC provides correction for headphones and for speaker location. The user gets to correct the image at the listening space, AFTER the music has been prepared. It is only the end user that can make the final adjustment for their specific case, thus PLAYBACK Image Control.

MORE ABOUT DA11:
While in most cases one would set the stereo image width with the same setting for Left and Right, I decided to offer separate Left and Right control, mostly for asymmetrical speaker setups. There are 6 settings for the left and 6 for the right.

+2 - widest (red)
+1 - wide (red)
0 - normal image (green)
-1 - narrow (yellow)
-2 - narrower (yellow)
-3 - narrowest (yellow)

Image switches operate horizontally making the "hand motion" of setting the image correspond to what one hears.

Image control, as well as volume and mute can also be set from a remote control.

Digitally controlled ANALOG volume control in DA11 is the same as DA10.

SUMMARY:

DA11 is an improved DA10 with some new features. The main three features are Playback Image Control (TM), USB interface and remote control. The front and rear panels tell much of the story.


Regards
Dan Lavry
LL
post #2 of 191
Dan, welcome to Head-Fi as a Premier Sponsor.

I read the PDF you linked to, and was wondering if PIC is similar to some of the crossfeed implementations already available, like those by Meier and HeadRoom (both of which are quite different from one another).
post #3 of 191
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jude View Post
Dan, welcome to Head-Fi as a Premier Sponsor.

I read the PDF you linked to, and was wondering if PIC is similar to some of the crossfeed implementations already available, like those by Meier and HeadRoom (both of which are quite different from one another).
I do not like to talk about other products. The Meier and Headroom are basically headphone amps, they use analog crossfeed with some EQ and or delay, and that does pause some limitations.

The >PiC< TM process is for a DA conversion. You can get not only a narrower image, but also wider image, without having to compromise the phase characteristics that are an integral part of analog EQ and delay circuits.

The DA11 is about transparency and so is the >PiC<. You have 6 settings for the left and 6 for the right:
2 for a wider image, one setting for "normal" and 3 settings for narrower image. The left and right settings are independent (mostly for speaker use).

All the settings are very natural, no artificial EQ or phase shifts to create an "illusion of space". Also, all the positions (wide normal and narrow) yield the same very low distortions and noise performance.

Regards
Dan Lavry
post #4 of 191
Welcome to Head-fi Dan! I've heard a lot of talk about this upcoming DAC. How is the USB input for the DA11? I've always had this notion that USB in is never as good as optical or coax inputs but since I have a windows laptop, I have to go USB in if I get a DAC. Will I be losing a lot if I go the USB route instead of optical or coax?
post #5 of 191
Thread Starter 
" Welcome to Head-fi Dan! I've heard a lot of talk about this upcoming DAC. How is the USB input for the DA11? I've always had this notion that USB in is never as good as optical or coax inputs but since I have a windows laptop, I have to go USB in if I get a DAC. Will I be losing a lot if I go the USB route instead of optical or coax?"

Hello raffy,

Let’s look at it from the DA point of view. The DA should get good data and it should process the data with good periodic and repetitive timing (low jitter).

Issues relating to reduced performance in some USB devices can be reduced bits (some implementations truncate the data to 16 bits or insist on change the sample rate to some other rate. Changing rate is not always bad. It depends on the specific implementation. Often the data coming from a USB computer port has a lot of jitter, and the many DA's don't deal with it well.

Gear users that encountered poor USB implementation may make a generalization that all USB is poor. Others that hear a good implementation may generalize the opposite. It is not wise to generalize, when a specific implementation has so much to do with the outcome.

The DA11 can receive up to 24 bits, and up to 96KHz. The USB tests must pass the same top notch performance as the other 3 inputs (we test every device extensively).

You said are using windows – Win 2000 works as well a Windows XP. We are testing it with files made by software capable of generating 24 bits at 96KHz.

Note that I am not suggesting that all inputs are the same:

XLR: for very long distances, even 300 feet, the XLR digital audio it is best due to higher power signals, use of balanced transmission and also transformer coupling.

RCA: weak signals, single ended, no transformer coupling. I find RCA to be the most fragile, but it works just fine if the cable is short enough and of reasonable quality.

Optical: I find it to be more robust then RCA, less robust then XLR. There are no ground loop current issues.

USB: Works fine at low distances, similar results as the optical.

My advice is to always try and use a short cable or optical link. I am not suggesting altering a studio or a living room setup. But say you have say a 5 foot cable that will do the job, and a 20 feet cable, use the 5 feet... Short is good. It may improve things, and it does not help, it certainly will not hurt.

Each of the four connection types has maximum cable (link) length specifications. I would certainly try and stay within those specifications and again, the shorter the better, for any type of quality cable. That rule is iron clad. I would choose a 3 foot mediocre quality cable over a 10 feet highest quality cable.

Regards
Dan Lavry
post #6 of 191
Hi Dan and welcome.

There's been much discussion about which connection method for a DAC is best, so your thoughts are most welcome.

I gather that the USB input can take 24/96 signals. Does this require a driver to be installed for the DA11? I'm just wondering as 24/96 devices from other manufacturers require it, and I have a Mac.
post #7 of 191
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
Hi Dan and welcome.

There's been much discussion about which connection method for a DAC is best, so your thoughts are most welcome.

I gather that the USB input can take 24/96 signals. Does this require a driver to be installed for the DA11? I'm just wondering as 24/96 devices from other manufacturers require it, and I have a Mac.
Just plug the DA11 in, no software driver needed. The computer will recognize the DA11 USB connection as "Lavry DA".

Regards
Dan Lavry
post #8 of 191
so what was the introductory head-fi only rate again?...

welcome to the forum...
post #9 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by emelius View Post
so what was the introductory head-fi only rate again?...

welcome to the forum...
I thought the same thing.
post #10 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by emelius View Post
so what was the introductory head-fi only rate again?...

welcome to the forum...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audio Addict View Post
I thought the same thing.
We will pay a 10% premium! This because of all the questions we will have.
post #11 of 191
Thanks for the detailed explanation Dan! Looks like I'll be ok using USB as my arrangement would only probably require around 3-4 feet of USB cable.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Lavry View Post
" Welcome to Head-fi Dan! I've heard a lot of talk about this upcoming DAC. How is the USB input for the DA11? I've always had this notion that USB in is never as good as optical or coax inputs but since I have a windows laptop, I have to go USB in if I get a DAC. Will I be losing a lot if I go the USB route instead of optical or coax?"

Hello raffy,

Let’s look at it from the DA point of view. The DA should get good data and it should process the data with good periodic and repetitive timing (low jitter).

Issues relating to reduced performance in some USB devices can be reduced bits (some implementations truncate the data to 16 bits or insist on change the sample rate to some other rate. Changing rate is not always bad. It depends on the specific implementation. Often the data coming from a USB computer port has a lot of jitter, and the many DA's don't deal with it well.

Gear users that encountered poor USB implementation may make a generalization that all USB is poor. Others that hear a good implementation may generalize the opposite. It is not wise to generalize, when a specific implementation has so much to do with the outcome.

The DA11 can receive up to 24 bits, and up to 96KHz. The USB tests must pass the same top notch performance as the other 3 inputs (we test every device extensively).

You said are using windows – Win 2000 works as well a Windows XP. We are testing it with files made by software capable of generating 24 bits at 96KHz.

Note that I am not suggesting that all inputs are the same:

XLR: for very long distances, even 300 feet, the XLR digital audio it is best due to higher power signals, use of balanced transmission and also transformer coupling.

RCA: week signals, single ended, no transformer coupling. I find RCA to be the most fragile, but it works just fine if the cable is short enough and of reasonable quality.

Optical: I find it to be more robust then RCA, less robust then XLR. There are no ground loop current issues.

USB: Works fine at low distances, similar results as the optical.

My advice is to always try and use a short cable or optical link. I am not suggesting altering a studio or a living room setup. But say you have say a 5 foot cable that will do the job, and a 20 feet cable, use the 5 feet... Short is good. It may improve things, and it does not help, it certainly will not hurt.

Each of the four connection types has maximum cable (link) length specifications. I would certainly try and stay within those specifications and again, the shorter the better, for any type of quality cable. That rule is iron clad. I would choose a 3 foot mediocre quality cable over a 10 feet highest quality cable.

Regards
Dan Lavry
post #12 of 191
Has the headphone amplifier changed in any way from the DA10?
post #13 of 191
Is it possible to buy the DA10 with a USB input??

I dont need all the other fancy functions of the DA11. But I cant buy the DA10 if I need to use an external USB to "whatever" converter.

Think it would be smart to introduce a usb input like the one in DA11 in DA10. An a slight price dropp
post #14 of 191
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crucial View Post
Has the headphone amplifier changed in any way from the DA10?
The headphone amp is the same in both units. The DA11 has added protection against "loud clicks" that are often associated with power up and power down. One does not need to take off the headphones BEFORE power down...

Regards
Dan Lavry
post #15 of 191
Welcome to Head-Fi Dan. I’ve found all of your posts on gearslutz to be incredibly informative. I look forward to reading them here too. This looks like an outstanding product, having everything I wish the DA10 had. It’s great to see a USB DAC that takes 24 bit signals, as truncated 16 bit files sound bad to my ears. Are you also going to add USB inputs to your blue and gold series DACs?
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