Day two with Reference 9.
Is it my ears? Or my different mood? Or has the sound of the DAC actually changed? It seemed to me that music came somewhat closer... Still no time for an extensive audition though... and the sound seems to me still quite analytical. It is a bit demanding to the listener in the sense, that it needs some concentration to imagine the instruments realistically in front of you.
Compared to yesterday, I noticed more the difference in sound staging between my CD player and Re 9. Re 9 is wider and gives the voices a more precise location. They are however less close, less intimate. The illusion of live music is still more realistic on my Creek CD player with it’s outstanding directness, dynamics and timing.
Using it on the (software tweaked) Squeezebox Touch, the sound is thinner than using with the digital out of my CD player (both over coaxial cable). That proves that transport does matter, even with the DSP1 filter.
However, I am more confident than yesterday, that we may become friends one day with my new gear :) . I leave it on day and night and while not listening, I leave it da-converting some internet radio... Just in case that "burning in" does make a difference. If so, it’s ok to me, and if not, it won't hurt to leave it on for a while. In Swiss German I would say, nützts nüt so schads nüt.
What still surprises me, is the size and the weight of the Ref 9. It's just huge and heavy, larger than any other of my gear, even larger than the turntable! I did not take this into account when buying. If I had, I'd probably have decided for a more compact model like the DAC-19 or eventually even the non-1704 NFB-10ES, or another brand. Re 9 just does not fit into my furniture and I will have to get pretty creative to find a nice place for it that my wife is ready to accept...
I had the opportunity to listen to a resolution audio cantata music center a couple of weeks ago. This is basically a PCM1704-based DAC with an integrated music streamer / WiFi/USB/Lan network player and a CD transport. It sounds just awesome. With all the additional features it has, it's still much smaller and lighter than the Re 9. I haven’t done a direct comparison so far, but I am sure that they come very close. However the Resolution cantata costs roughly 4 times the price of the Re 9.
To come back to the topic: If Re 9 is supposed to be “warm” sounding, than I ask myself, what “cool” would mean! However, I’ll still give myself a bit of time to get used to it, and time to the Re 9 to eventually burn in. I will keep you posted on my impressions!