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db Audio Labs Tranquility DAC

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
I wanted to start this thread to try and gather comments from anyone that may have experiences with the Tranquility DAC from db Audio Labs. For anyone not familiar with it, it's a USB-only NOS DAC that handles up to 16 bit 44.1khz. It will play higher-res files but not in their native resolution.

I like the simple concept of this DAC. One USB input and one set RCA analog output... that's it! They claim sonic improvements by eliminating other input types, combined with some other unique engineering decisions. Early reviews are very favorable, but there haven't been enough reviews to warrant a purchase. It retails for approximately $1500.

Has anyone heard or purchased it? It was at the 2009 RMAF; did anyone hear it there?

Manufacturers website: db Audio Labs

No affiliation to this or any other audio company.
post #2 of 45
It does seem incredibly expensive for what it is, especially when you compare it with devices like the Valab. Even the case looks like just a normal Hammond project box. I wonder what it can possibly do to justify the price?

Neil
post #3 of 45
Thread Starter 
If you search for Tranquility DAC on Google, you will see a thread on audiocircle.com that receives a lot of manufacturer response from db Audio Labs. They go pretty in-depth explaining their design process and what features distinguish their product from others. Definitely worth a read for anybody interested in USB audio and where it's going, regardless of whether you are in the market or not. To me it's a lot of money for a DAC, but over there some people are amazed this thing sounds so great, and that it's "only" $1500. Okay then!
post #4 of 45
A couple of the "reviews" I've been reading on other forums after googling this DAC sound suspiciously like product placements.
post #5 of 45
hrm. If it had a balanced out, I would be tempted to try.. Subscribing for further development/impression/review of this interesting dac.
post #6 of 45
I have had my Tranquility DAC for just under a month now and for me it is worth every penny i spent.When i get chance i will post some impressions,but the bottom line is i am enjoying my headphone listening more than ever.
post #7 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tosehee View Post
hrm. If it had a balanced out, I would be tempted to try..
In the audiocircle thread they stated that this is the first in a series of DAC's. I believe their next release will be a SPDIF input model. I am planning to ask them about the possibility of a balanced version when I call them next week.

On another note, I should say that although initial reviews did seem a little over-the-top, and even though the website has received some criticism for it's tone and poetic nature, I am beginning to believe that these guys have an extremely competitive DAC on their hands. We'll see when some of the major reviews hit in a month or two.
post #8 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sgt-Pluck View Post
It does seem incredibly expensive for what it is, especially when you compare it with devices like the Valab. Even the case looks like just a normal Hammond project box. I wonder what it can possibly do to justify the price?

Neil
Totally agree. $1500 gets you close to REF1 territory. For the money, I'd expect at least a custom looking case. And while I'm all for USB digital input, I'm not sure if it's as perfected as say SP/DIF, but of course, it's all about proper implementation.

EDIT: But heck, they're doing it, so maybe there might be something right goin on
post #9 of 45
I doubt they are using async usb implementation. So, it's old usb implementation which should have pretty high comparable jitter. I am little skeptical about this dac.

Alvin.

What previous DAC have you used and compared against this dac?
post #10 of 45
If I remember correctly he had Monarchy NM24 DAC.
post #11 of 45
So I just spent a good amount of time reading the Tranquility DAC over @ other forums, looks like this DAC does prove promising. Still, for the money, I'm not sure if it can compete with some of the latest offerings
post #12 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by argentum View Post
If I remember correctly he had Monarchy NM24 DAC.
Thats correct argentum.As good as the monarchy is and it is good,the tranquility is another step up.To be fair it's a bit apples and oranges really,as i have changed my system components.The NM24 was fed from a teac P700 where as i now have a macbook as source.
I really sweated over my decision to go computer as source and buying blind made me wonder if i needed my head testing.In the end i have no rergrets at all.
The main improvements that spring to mind over the monarchy are greater air,wider and marginally deeper head stage and the bass is quite a bit more textured and detailed.Infact there is more detail throughout the spectrum and to me there is a lack of digital glare that makes everything sound more real and alive and allows for long,long listening sessions without fatigue.

The only problem i have found so far is related to itunes.When the volume is set to unity gain there is a smidgen of distorsion on some bass heavy music.This is remedied by backing off the volume slider on itunes just a touch.

I must say that the excitement on audio circle about this dac echoes my feelings but hopefully i don't come over all fanboy.

John
post #13 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tosehee View Post
hrm. If it had a balanced out, I would be tempted to try..
Spoke to Eric on the phone today and he said that he will be coming out with a more feature rich DAC down the road for people that "must have" more, including support for high-res formats and balanced outputs. It will cost more, obviously.
post #14 of 45
good to know, but given the nature of the members here, i feel like this is probably going to be for the most part an ignored product given our affinity for bang for the buck
post #15 of 45
Quote:
Specially optimized NOS dac chipset (non oversampling)
I admit after reading Dan Lavry's explanation of these things and switching off the filter in the Ref 1 experimentally to see how it sounds, the idea of an expensive NOS DAC just comes across to me as insane. Mind you, I've never heard a NOS DAC so I'm talking out of my arse here.
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