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The Lavry DA11 - a review - Page 2

post #16 of 52
I will ask the obvious question: How does the Lavry DA11 compare with the Benchmark DACs, namely the DAC1 and the DAC1 USB? If anyone has experience with both, please chime in.
post #17 of 52

Shoot-out

Quote:
Originally Posted by shuttleboi View Post
I will ask the obvious question: How does the Lavry DA11 compare with the Benchmark DACs, namely the DAC1 and the DAC1 USB? If anyone has experience with both, please chime in.
Yep, a head-to-head review of the DA11 vs DAC1 would be interesting.
There are several reviews out there of the DA10 vs DAC1 and the DA10 often came out on top in sound quality.
According to Dan Lavry, the DA11 has slightly improved sound quality over the DA10 so it should do at least as well but an actual comparison by someone who has both units would be fun.
post #18 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thisbenjamin View Post

For some time now I've been in the market for a new headphone amp, and DAC. I use a PS Audio Amp now which I tried with and without the built in amp stages in what I've auditioned; the m902 (soft, smooth), and the DAC1 (lush, edgy),
The DAC1 I feel is trying to be transparent but comes as over emphasizing the mid-highs compared to the DA-11. The DA-11 side by side with the DAC1 is one of the easier comparisons to make. Unto itself the DAC1 is a great little AMP/Dac but I would get the 902 above it, and the DA-11 above anything I've auditioned for use in a headphone setup.
post #19 of 52
This seems like a sweet little amp/DAC combo, with the ability to drive HD650's no less! I love the fact that it is compact enough to be transportable. It would have been nice to see an audiophile quality bass boost feature so one could swing from analytical to "groovalizer" mode, so to speak. Of course, you can always link in a warm amp or an amp with a quality bass boost to arrive at the same place.
post #20 of 52
thisbenjamin - nice review.

I have the DA11 and do like this DAC quite a bit. It does not seem to impart any real coloration to the sound. The PIC feature is interesting, but I normally don't use this feature. The only issue that I've had with this is when I used the USB input from my laptop, it drops the signal after playing for a while. I've tried changing USB cables and seen the same results.
post #21 of 52
try leaving dan a message in his sponsor forum webpage ... he's very amenable to q&a
post #22 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by zippy2001 View Post
...The only issue that I've had with this is when I used the USB input from my laptop, it drops the signal after playing for a while. I've tried changing USB cables and seen the same results.
Contact Brad in their technical support, they're very responsive. Or you could post your issue in the forum on the Lavry Engineering website.
post #23 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
I agree with the reviewer in every way. I recently upgraded from the Apogee Duet to the DA11 and I am very happy with my choice. I auditioned several DACs at home for extensive periods before finally deciding on the Lavry for all the same reasons he states here. The DA11 is also transportable, a big bonus for me, and has an excellent built-in headphone amp that will be very useful while traveling.

I'm now trying to narrow down my choice of amplifier upgrade to compliment the DA11. Right now it's between the Stello HP100 and the Donald North Audio Sonnet.

BTW, shouldn't this thread be in the Dedicated Source Components Forum?

I'm wondering if you get the chance to try out the Apogee mini dac and to compare to the Duet / DA11.
post #24 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acix View Post
I'm wondering if you get the chance to try out the Apogee mini dac and to compare to the Duet / DA11.
I've never heard the mini dac but I've read several times on here that the Duet and mini dac are quite similar.
post #25 of 52
I've started to appreciate the built-in headphone amp on the Lavry DA11 much more after comparing it to various other headphone amps. It's much better than the RSA SR-71 which I have now sold, and it has more detail and soundstage than the Stello HP100 which I have just returned to the dealer after a trial period. I think the DNA Sonnet is an excellent tube amp - very neutral but still with that sweet tube sound, great dynamics, great detail - and very close in overall sound quality to the Lavry built-in with just a little more soundstage than the Lavry. I certainly think the DNA Sonnet is much better than the Cayin HA-1A which I also auditioned. Tough call.
post #26 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
I've started to appreciate the built-in headphone amp on the Lavry DA11 much more after comparing it to various other headphone amps. It's much better than the RSA SR-71 which I have now sold, and it has more detail and soundstage than the Stello HP100 which I have just returned to the dealer after a trial period. I think the DNA Sonnet is an excellent tube amp - very neutral but still with that sweet tube sound, great dynamics, great detail - and very close in overall sound quality to the Lavry built-in with just a little more soundstage than the Lavry. I certainly think the DNA Sonnet is much better than the Cayin HA-1A which I also auditioned. Tough call.
That says quite a bit about the headphone amp in the Lavry, compared so positively to some highly thought-of dedicated amps. It simply takes the high-quality output of the DAC and amplifies that signal transparently.
post #27 of 52
Dan showed this to me at the Seattle meet today. In short, it's pretty spectacular. The interface is hard to use, even with Dan kindly showing me all the things the DA11 can do.

However, from the songs I heard (with the HD600), it's an extremely transparent DAC, and I have nothing but praise for it. It fits with the designer's philosophy that the DAC should simply convert signals and nothing more. The amplifier itself follows the same philosophy. Volodos sounded incredibly neutral and accurate, very "studio" like.

Furthermore, the build quality is stellar. You can really tell that this thing is designed by a true engineer: very functional, sturdy, with no unnecessary bells and whistles.
post #28 of 52
Thread Starter 
After spending all of 20 minutes with the DA2002, I must find a way to either hock a kidney and buy out or review it as it was unbelievably good. Having never heard such a sound before the DA11, I really had no idea of what to expect from the DA2002 (and dammit, my BlackBerry 8900 rebooted due to a drop, so I lost all my notes on the experience) However, after listening to the Star Wars Episode III, and Bergman: Haydn lavry mastered discs, I can say this brought a lifelike quality to music that I haven't heard so profoundly stated sans being in the room. The DA2002 is a engineering marvel.
post #29 of 52
Thank you for this excellent review Thisbenjamin,

Like USAudio, I have had my Lavry DA11 for a couple of months now, and I am completely in love with this little unit.

The Lavry DA11 is the most accurate DAC I have listened to date and is simply delivering a fantastic sound. No hint of coloration, just raw recording performance, but never beeing analitical. I can't find any trace of digitalitis, rather smooth and highly revealing sound.

I actually use it as my main DAC and amp combo, and the internal DA11 amp does a fantastic job with low impedance cans, making sing my DT48 with life like performance. However, it does lack some nerves with higher impedance cans (like my K501 which shows better control and 3D soundstage when balanced than driven straight from the DA11). That said, the internal amp retains the fantastic transparency of the DAC and I actually prefer listening to the K501 straight from the DA11 despite the "power" shortcoming rather than from an external amp, which will most likely add its own coloration (I hate colorations).

I didn't make extensive comparison, but couldn't find much difference between the Spdif and USB inputs...

The DA11 is likely to stay many long years in my home.
post #30 of 52
The problem is not the cable.
There are two cases the USB will drop the signal.
First is bandwith being occupied.
If you have lots of usb devices and they request the bandwith at the same time, it is likely the signal to DAC will be interupted.

Second is the power issue.
If your usb port cannot maintain a consistent 5V voltage, the signal quality will be impaired.
For example, if you're connecting via a USB hub which does not have external power supply, the signal will be dropped very frequently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zippy2001 View Post
thisbenjamin - nice review.

I have the DA11 and do like this DAC quite a bit. It does not seem to impart any real coloration to the sound. The PIC feature is interesting, but I normally don't use this feature. The only issue that I've had with this is when I used the USB input from my laptop, it drops the signal after playing for a while. I've tried changing USB cables and seen the same results.
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