IntroductionWarning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
First off, I, Spanky, am not an employee of Maverick Audio. I'm not getting paid or re-imbursed to write any of this. This post and thread is meant as a place to condense the knowledge of the TubeMagic D1 by Maverick Audio. In the First Thread answers to questions were being posted multiple times. With this thread, all the info and testing can be shown on the first post so users don't have to scour the entire thread for an answer to a simple question. If you are a TubeMagic D1 owner, feel free to contribute with your findings. I will do my best to keep up on this thread and update the first post. Please try to keep this thread discussion-free, only post if you are adding information. For discussion please visit the First Thread.This thread (and the other condensed FAQ thread) may not be 100% accurate. I strive to add all information possible and make sure it can be verified. I can't be held responsible for anything that goes wrong from information you gathered in this thread. However, I'll gladly take credit for anything good that happens
If for some reason I'm not updating this thread or something and someone else wants to take it over and update it, that is fine with me. There is a source included at the bottom of the post. I only ask that you try to contact me before taking it over. If I don't respond within a reasonable amount of time, then go for it. To the person that takes it over: I give permission for a mod to empty or delete this thread in case someone else takes it over. Also, try not to be biased or remove/modify helpful information.
What is it?Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
FAQ'sWarning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
- The original TubeMagic (A1) was a Xiansheng DAC-01 clone (picture/ post - compare with above) but has since evolved into a more thoroughly researched and tested unit with several modifications and upgrades, not to mention a better looking case.
- Approximate dimensions: 10 1/4" (26cm) wide at the faceplate, 10" (25.4cm) wide body, 2.5" (6.35cm) tall w/feet (feet are .5" [1.27cm] tall), 6.5" (16.51cm) deep (knobs add on about 3/4" [1.9cm] to that).
- The Tube has nothing to do with the headphone output. It is strictly for the "Tube Pre Out" connections on the back of the unit.
- To open the unit, you need a 3/32" or 2.5mm hex bit or allen wrench to unscrew the 4 top screws and a #2 Phillips screwdriver for the bottom 4 screws, the case shell then slides from the front to the back.
- There are opamp sockets inside and the opamps can be swapped with success. Favored combinations will be listed below. Do test DC Offset after connecting opamps but before plugging in headphones. The opamp closest to the tube is the DAC opamp, the furthest one is for the headphone. You do not need to swap them both with the same kind of opamp nor do you need to swap them both at the same time. It's basically 2 seperate circuits that happen to use opamps. Replacing the DAC opamp will change how the DAC sounds and performs, replacing the amp opamp will change how the amp sounds. I suggest even if DC Offset is within an 'acceptable' range, to plug in a crappy pair of headphones and test them for a while before plugging in your nice expensive cans.
- There are technically 3 versions of the TubeMagic D1. The first is the original design, it does not have the "Line-in" 1/4" jack in the front and does not have opamp sockets. The second was upgraded with a new front panel layout including the "Line-in" 1/4" jack and opamp sockets inside. The third one only the following differences; lowered gain output by about 20% and new volume control for more linear control. The third may be the current one shipping but ask Ryan (Owner of Maverick Audio) before purchasing.
- The painting factory has trouble with one batch of the front panel, the painting is not "hard" enough due to extreme cold weather and could be easily scratched off, the issue has been fixed with later batches.
- The "Direct" button is for bypassing the volume control on the "Line-Out" outputs. Press it in to disable the volume control.
- There is a slight noise/buzz when switching between digital input and analog input. This is normal as the "Source" knob is physically switching sources.
- Due to standards in USB 1.1 Audio, the USB output works on pretty much all operating systems that support USB. The TubeMagic D1's USB has been tested on Windows, Linux and Mac by several users here.
- The USB outputs at 16-Bit/48kHz by default. It is reported that you can change this in such programs like JRiver Media Center and Foobar. (See below) You can also change this with the USB Driver. (also see below)
- It is speculated that the DAC is a CS4334. Original Post | Sketch
USB Driver:Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
All of the old information from this thread on USB input can be found here:
Warranty:Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Opening the case, swapping opamps and tubes are both ok and retain the warranty. Any other modifications will void the warranty.
Do's and Don'ts:Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
- Do not attempt to connect headphones directly to the "Tube Pre Out" connections on the back of the unit. Several users report the output being electrically hot and would require hardware such as a dedicated amplifier before connecting headphones.Quote:Most hi-end gear sends a line-level output of 2.0v, and is the norm in Europe. In the U.S.A, a lot of mid and low end gear send a line-level output of ~0.5v. 2.0v is still within specs of most gear.
When I measured the output of the D1, using a combo if the "direct button" and then maxing out the volume pot, I got these measurements:
Tube pre-out in direct mode maxes out at 2.2v. Using the volume pot, 3:00 maxes out at 2.2v as well.
Non-tube out is slightly cooler. It still maxes out above 2.0v, but doesn't hit the 2.2v as often as the tube pre-out.
- Do let the tube warm up before using it:
Legis' RMAA Measurements:Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I measured Maverick with RMAA and E-MU 0404 PCI: This is not meant to be comparison of the sound card and Mave, but I'll still tell you that Maverick is much better sounding than E-MU.
Measured specs of E-MU 0404
Measured specs of Maverick from left to right
1. Optical in, normal out (white line in other pictures)
2. Optical in, tube out (green line in other pictures)
3. Analog in, normal out (cyan? line in other pictures)
4. Analog in, tube out (purple line in other pictures)
THD% of the DAC (0,012%)
THD% of the tube (0,344%)
IMD% over freq
Maverick D1 sounds damn good, and measures well. None actual flaws can be found at least to my eyes.
- IMD% nor THD% does not rise towards the high frequecies,
- Digital input's noise floor is low, and the DAC's specs are met.
- when analog inputs are used Maverick does not add any extra noise to the signal (noise floor ~-106dB of E-MU compared to the ~-103 dB of the Maverick)
- does not add any distortion to analog signals through analog in (E-MU 0,0009% v. Mave 0,0007%), unless wanted.
All in all, very good results.
Audio Routing:Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
To be exact,
Out of the DAC > Volume Pot -> Headphone Amp (opamp on the right)
> Direct Button (Enabled) -> gain stage (opamp on the center)
> SS RCA Outputs
> Tube stage -> Tube RCA output
> Direct Button (Disabled) > Volume Pot > gain stage (opamp on the center)
> SS RCA Output
> Tube stage -> Tube RCA Outputs
If direct sounds better, likely it's just because of cheap vol pot out of the path.
TubeMagic A1 (First Version):Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
TubeMagic D1 (Second Version):Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Bzer: 1 | 2
lameduck: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
thearrow: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
TheBigCW: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17
dorokusai: 1 | 2
reiserFS (Skyline Mod): 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Spanky: Windows Vista/7 Icon (7zip) | PCB Backside Images: 1 | 2 | 3
These won't hurt your warranty.
Tube Rolling:Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Remove wire holder. Wiggle stock tube side to side slightly and pull straight out. Push new tube in keeping an eye on the pin placement. Helpful Image
NOS GE 5670W
Softer and relaxed, good for Grado headphones.
Raytheon 5670 Windmill Getter
By far better female vocals, silky smooth, and great bass detail.
Great mids, greater frequency extension, darker background, less shrill.
6922/6DJ8 tube doesn't work with D1
Opamp Swapping:Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
LT1364CN8#PBF -- LM4562NA/NOPB -- Less shrill, more detailed bass, very low DC offset.
Clean and laidback. Great for grainy/bad recordings.
Huge & detailed soundstage.
Forward, in your face. Good for warm 'phones. DC Offset: 120/180mV
Neutral and natural. DC Offset: 120/180mV
N/A means that the stock (LF343N) opamp was left in place.
Bad opamps: (High DC Offset, oscillation or clipping)
AD797, AD843, LME49860, LME49720 | Audio-GD Moon & Earth HDAM
Due to talks about heat and the possibilty of the LT1364 getting hot in some circuits (it's a high-speed opamp), I, Spanky, decided to whip out the dremel and and make an overkill solution. Keep in mind, there's dozens and hundreds of TubeMagic D1 owners and there have been no reported heat-related issues such as overheating or damage from heat. Personally, I don't like heat and if it can be reduced with minimal effort and cost, why not. I went ahead and cut up a heatsink, added some Arctic Silver 5, and applied them with pressure to both opamps inside the TubeMagic D1 then hotglued them onto the opamp. This has an added benefit; it makes the opamps easier to remove. Nobody, including myself, has tested the temps of the opamps or the D1 itself to find out whether or not it may be a real issue but again, if you can reduce heat and prolong the components lifespan, why not. Here's some pictures of what I did:
Opamp Heatsinks: 1 | 2
Case Heatsink: 1
(Case heatsink may void warranty since it's a modification to the unit, but it could be easily removed. Contact Ryan if you are concerned about it)
Skyline Rev.2: [ link ]Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I'm now taking orders for this mod if you're too lazy to do it yourself or don't have the tools, keep in mind that I'm offering my free time for you so I'll have to charge additonal 20$.
Skyline Rev.2 - Plexiglass
3 x sheets of Plexiglass - 7$
4 x screws - 1$
2 x DIP8 sockets - 1$
2 x Sun HDAM - $77.5 incl. shipping from Audio-gd
Installation Manual: 0$
Payment for me - 20$
Options: Grounding the HDAM? Gives smoothness. Yes/No - Free
Burning in the HDAM - Yes/No - Free
LT1364CN8 in amp section - Yes/No - 10$
Shipping: Please send me a PM so that I can check shipping cost to your country. Free shipping within Germany.
Total - 106$ excl. shipping
Don't attempt any of these without experience with PCB soldering.
Cap Replacing:Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The two wima caps are rated 0.1uF/400V, you can try to replace it with some better caps of 0.1uF/(100V-400V). Don't forget also change the two small caps next the wima cap on the left ( C48, C47), they are rated at 4.7-6.8uF/100V.
Gain Lowering: (Thanks to bearmann and Ryan for the info)Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Lower R54/R55 (default value should be between 22k ohm and 30k ohm) to 15k ohm or lower. (bearmann favors 4.7k ohm for his ATH-W100 cans).
B. Lowering the gain of the line out:
Lower R42/R43 (default value should be around 3k ohm).
C. Lowering the gain of the tube out:
Not possible in this design.
For A and B you can use your generic 1/4W 1% metal film resistor.
I, Spanky, plan to use a Vishay/Dale 5.62K ohm 1/4W resistor along with varying values up to 15k ohm. I personally don't know if using a quality resistor will be reflected in sound quality or not but at about 30 cents a piece, it's worth it to me.
bearmann also did something quite ingenious for the resistors; he took apart an 8-pin solder dip socket and soldered one pin in for each leg of the resistors. This allows him to effectively swap out the resistors to get the gain he wants. Click here for a picture of his work.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I have had my D1 since Dec. 29th and I have been very impressed with the sound, features and build quality of this unit as well as the VERY professional and courteous email threads I have had with Ryan regarding his equipment.
I've used it (the headphone portion) only by playing flac files with my Squeezebox, switching between both the DAC in the Squeezebox and the one in the Maverick, and I am pleased with the way it sounds. I couldn't really tell a difference between DACs, only that one had slightly more volume, but I don't remember which one that was.
It has a laid-back quality, which I like, that enables you to listen for hours without fatigue. Some people prefer a more stark, clinical sound (i.e. Grado, as opposed to Senn) and they may be disappointed with it. I was surprised at how good it sounds, and I don't really use headphones much anymore. I prefer listening through speakers when I am at home and only use headphones at work or when traveling, as a rule. (My usual at-work headphone rig is a CD player running directly through an RS XP-7.)
Overall, this unit is a steal for it's sound quality, as long as you aren't picky about it being enclosed in a modest case and perhaps having to deal with some small manufacturing issues as I mentioned in the post.
I had a chance to hook up the Maverick with the Marantz DV6001 DVD/SACD at the recent Seattle meet. Many tried it and thought it was pretty good, especially for the price but there were so many superior amps there, it kinda got lost in the shuffle. I find the solid state headphone out be quite powerful and clear. I still prefer tube flavor so as the Headphone out is not part of the tube section I have listed the Maverick for sale. I just don't have enough use for a pre-amp which is basically what the Tube section is all about. I will miss the multiple inputs but I think I'll stick with my EF2 until I can afford something balanced..
This thing is more powerful than the compass I use to have(which is a very powerful amp). It drives all of my cans without any hint of distortion. My only complaint is, the gain needs to be a lot lower. 10:00 with my 600ohm sextetts is very loud. It hurts to go anywhere near 12:00 with them. My hd580 rarely sees anything past 9:00. My 44ohm shures and 40ohm ad1000s sounds great. As a result of the gain being so high, there is a little hiss with my lower ohm cans. It's not loud, but with no music playing, it's noticable. This is one area that the compass beats it. The compass was completely quiet with all of my cans. But I'm starting to enjoy this more than I enjoyed my compass. It just sounds more neutral, airy, and detailed in comparison. I did really enjoy the compass laid back sound, but it was lacking in detail. It doesn't sound as organic and 3 dimensional as my ming da, but It's every bit as powerful. My ming da also have a much wider soundstage as well. But, I'm really surprised by how good the headphone amp is. I remember reading on another forum of people saying the the headphone amp was on par with a 300.00 amp. I have to agree. In my opinion, just the amp alone is well worth the asking price. The dac is pretty good as well. Compared to dacs I've owned in the 200-400.00 price range, I would rank it better than the compass, valab, zero and zhaoulu. The valab was slightly more musical, but it lacking in details and soundstage compared to this. The compass just sounds more digital in comparison, and zero and zhaolu isn't even worth mentioning. I'm very happy with this so far. The comparisons to the dacs I used to own is from memory, but I do have a pretty good memory about how they sounded and how they compared to the dac in my pioneer elite receiver. Neither on was significantly better. Some were not as good, but I can clearly hear an improvement with this dac.
My D1 with the NOS GE 5670W tube finally arrived today; I just hooked it up and could not be any happier with it so far. It feels like a substantial product; no traces of cheap plastic, with a very solid, all-metal feel and tight tolerances. I am actually very surprised with the initial impression of quality as I was kind of expecting a cheap box that hopefully sounded good.
And it does sound good, right out of the box; it definitely adds a great toslink-based DAC option and more flexibility to my main system. I have the tube stage going out to my HT receiver, and the regular SS pre-out to my dedicated headphone tube amp (Indeed hybrid, waiting for EF5). The DAC is being fed by a cheap 12-foot optical cable with 16-bit 44.1 lossless, and it sounds very good in my system.
The built-in headphone amplifier section is also better than expected. I was expecting it to be over-driven in the gain department, and it wasn't that hot at all. From what I have read earlier in this thread, I am guessing that Maverick improved the attenuation curve in the D1 somehow by reducing the gain.
I found that the volume control of the D1 had a decent curve for both my ESW9As and my K701s, not an easy feat. While my Indeed hybrid sounds a little more powerful, it does not feel this solid and has poor attenuation; I am attributing both characteristics to hopped-up gain. The Maverick also has a smoother, more-rounded sound, even after rolling my NOS tube into the Indeed. Neither the D1 nor the NOS tube in the Indeed are burnt in.
edit: the rolled-in tube of the Indeed has had about 30 hours on it or so, and has put the Indeed slightly back in front in the headphone amp comparison. But it's $60 tube (doubling the value of the amp), so money well spent. I did not buy the D1 for the headphone amplifier section, it's a bonus and can have tubes rolled into it as well.
So I am pleasantly surprised with the build quality, and the initial sound quality. The Maverick D1 seems to be a very versatile preamp/DAC/headphone amp, with a switchable tube stage, and mine seems to be very well built with no QC issues. For $219 shipped with the upgraded NOS tube, I was not expecting that much, frankly, and am quite pleased with it.
This seems to be much more of a "keeper" than a "gimmick" component, overall. I would have still been pleased at a $300 price point, and expect the price of the D1 to either go up or it may help drive the market down. It has quite a few functions and does them all pretty well, and therefore owns its niche, IMO
I was very impressed with the Maverick some time ago and wouldn't hesitate to use it again. It's a hi-fi bargain.
MillerLiteScott brought down his Maverick tube pre-amp and we finally got some heavy duty amplification on the speakers from the CTC BBQ. It changed the whole soundstage and really took everything to another level. Top notch.
A HUGE thanks to MillerLiteScott for lending me his Maverick Audio pre-amp. The Ayre was very nice but a tiny bit of tube goodness was needed for the RTiA9's top end. It worked out perfectly. The demos, while still a bit forward were softer than they would be normally and we played them more than expected because of it. It's interesting to see the synergy between a 12K amplifier and a $200 pre-amp work so wonderfully....it most certainly happened. The Ayre pre-amp never got hooked up again. Thanks Scott!
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
v2.2 - Reverted post to saved file due to Head-Fi updates adding various bugs. Added a thanking section.
v2.1 - Added reiserFS's Skyline Rev.2 mod available for sale. Added audio path diagram.
v2.0 - Removed USB information. Added info about HDAM units. Changed some wording.
v1.9 - Added tube rolling image and mini how-to. Added backside PCB images. Added speculation about DAC being CS4334.
v1.8 - Minor changes to clarify model due to addition of TubeMagic A1 Hybrid Amp. Added reiserFS's pictures.
v1.7 - Added comments from dorokusai. Added pictures from dorokusai and KyleShufelt.
v1.6 - Added TheBigCW's pictures.
v1.5 - Re-worked entire post with spoilers for easier info access. Fixed links for the new site. Added info about Linux 24-Bit 96kHz capabilities.
v1.4 - Updated for Wiki post.
v1.3 - Added Maverick Audio Website (how could I have forgotten this for so long???).
v1.2 - Formatted opamp swaps a little better.
v1.1 - Added unit dimensions in cm.
v1.0 - Added unit dimensions and info about heatsinks.
v0.9 - Added warning about LT1364 opamp.
v0.8 - Added user-posted pictures, trimmed useless stuff, cropped shown pictures, re-worded several things, added option to download all content from the thread, added PDF download, added links to information, added Legis' RMAA measurements.
v0.7 - Added warranty info.
v0.6 - Added custom USB driver.
v0.5 - Added info about output voltage, tube warm-up time, USB output on different OS's, info about the newest version and impressions of the Raytheon 5670 Windmill Getter and Western 396A.
v0.4 - Minor organization, added cap replacing mod, 5670 tube impression and another review.
v0.3 - Changed opamp names to reflect their full model number, added info on opening the case.
v0.2 - Added info on Bit-Perfect via DirectSound, Spanky's Unboxing Pictures & Impressions.
v0.1 - Initial Post.
Edited by _Spanky_ - 5/2/12 at 7:06pm