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post #31 of 170

Cool thread, for home listening I still prefer my CD-players and my old Philips refuses to die...

 

Thanks! 

post #32 of 170

any impressions of TDA1541 DACs or CDPs out there?

 

of particular interest are the Sony DAS-R1 or Marantz CD7, but any opinions of sources using these chips would be appreciated.

post #33 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhaedrusX View Post

any impressions of TDA1541 DACs or CDPs out there?

 

of particular interest are the Sony DAS-R1 or Marantz CD7, but any opinions of sources using these chips would be appreciated.


I have a Philips CD960 with an early production TDA1541 in it. Compared to the Wolfson wm8742 in my AMB y2 DAC, the sound is fairly harsh and raw which some describe as 'analog sounding'. I prefer it for classical, as I like how it makes some of the instruments (esp. strings and horns) cut right through my bones, if that makes any sense. Its resolution is good (far superior to the UDAC 2 in my bedroom), but somewhat inferior to the wm8742.

post #34 of 170

Great thread, 90s vintage gear is a great starting place for those of us with lighter wallets.

 

Someone already mentioned the original Rega Planet which is a superb transport and still a pretty good CD player.  I mainly use it as a transport feeding my old Adcom GDA-700 DAC.  The Adcom sounded pretty good stock but of course I replaced caps and switched out all six opamps with Burson discretes.  I have to say it beats the pants off the Rega and also my 24-bit NAD cdp.

 

Chalk it up to personal preference of course, but the Rega and the Adcom certainly were affordable steps into the mid-fi game, and I don't see myself needing an upgrade anytime soon.

post #35 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by computerparts View Post





It's been a while since I have heard them, but from what I remember the CAL dacs are very warm sounding. Bad recordings won't show themselves, instrument separation would not be as good, and the soundstage would not be as wide or deep. If I had to take a guess, I would say the CAL dacs would be more in line with Audio-gd's lower end stuff.


would u say $250 is too high to pay for the CAL Sigma II with  NOS 12AX7, RFT ECC83 / 12AX7, TUNG-SOL12AX7 tubes thrown in with the deal? thxs

post #36 of 170

I have the SFD-2 Mk. 3 and it's one heavy piece. I haven't heard the earlier iterations of the SFD-2 or the SFD-1 but I hope to someday. However when I compare it to Nate's Hertsens DAC, I prefer Nate's over the SFD-2 since the SFD-2 seems to be far more laid back in the presentation.

post #37 of 170
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottiebabie View Post




would u say $250 is too high to pay for the CAL Sigma II with  NOS 12AX7, RFT ECC83 / 12AX7, TUNG-SOL12AX7 tubes thrown in with the deal? thxs


I would say that price is a bit high but it depends on the Tung Sol tube. If it is a real NOS (new old school) tube and not a re-issue like the many that are currently floating around, then it could be a fair price. Some of those old Tung Sol tubes can fetch as high as $80-$100 a piece.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by trevorlane View Post

I have the SFD-2 Mk. 3 and it's one heavy piece. I haven't heard the earlier iterations of the SFD-2 or the SFD-1 but I hope to someday. However when I compare it to Nate's Hertsens DAC, I prefer Nate's over the SFD-2 since the SFD-2 seems to be far more laid back in the presentation.


Very nice! It's been a long time since I heard the SFD-2 Mk3, that's the one where they switched the chips from ultra analog to pcm-1704. IMO it's one of the best dacs of all time. Some day when I can afford it, I'll be sure to get one for review. I don't remember the one I heard being laid back at all but it was running balanced and had cca tubes installed so that could be why.

post #38 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottiebabie View Post




would u say $250 is too high to pay for the CAL Sigma II with  NOS 12AX7, RFT ECC83 / 12AX7, TUNG-SOL12AX7 tubes thrown in with the deal? thxs


A 24/96 model goes for about that. Here is a non 24/96 for under $200.


http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?dgtlconv&1304018663&/California-Audio-Labs-Sigma-II

post #39 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by computerparts View Post




I would say that price is a bit high but it depends on the Tung Sol tube. If it is a real NOS (new old school) tube and not a re-issue like the many that are currently floating around, then it could be a fair price. Some of those old Tung Sol tubes can fetch as high as $80-$100 a piece.

 




Very nice! It's been a long time since I heard the SFD-2 Mk3, that's the one where they switched the chips from ultra analog to pcm-1704. IMO it's one of the best dacs of all time. Some day when I can afford it, I'll be sure to get one for review. I don't remember the one I heard being laid back at all but it was running balanced and had cca tubes installed so that could be why.


Yeah, I'm going to hunt down a pair of Siemens or Telefunken CCa tubes and compare them again. The SFD-2 has incredible extension in the bass range. I'm hoping the change in tubes will capture more of the top mid and upper frequencies.

post #40 of 170
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by trevorlane View Post




Yeah, I'm going to hunt down a pair of Siemens or Telefunken CCa tubes and compare them again. The SFD-2 has incredible extension in the bass range. I'm hoping the change in tubes will capture more of the top mid and upper frequencies.


That would definitely liven it up. I have Amperex A frame in mine and it sings.

post #41 of 170

confused.gif

post #42 of 170

 

Quote:
There is no standby feature which means the dac needs to be on all the time.

There is a power button. You can use it. Why do you need a standby mode?

 

Quote:
There is no power led. The only way of knowing that the unit is powered up is from the display indicator.

And where exactly is the problem for you to recongnice the unit is on?

 

Quote:
Also missing is a phase switch.

 

At this price, I would expect at least these features to be on a dac.

Very interesting what you expect from a dac.

 

 

Quote:
When removing the top, I found the build quality to be a bit shoddy. The screw holes didn't evenly line up and one of the dividers was loose.

The ref7 has a 5mm aluminum case with precission CNC processing. Calling the ref7 shoddy and the 1mm iron sheet case of the SF "excellence with a hefty weight" is like calling a Lamborghini cheap and VW Käfer expensive.

My ref7 is perfectly build.

 

 

Quote:
Also the iec could not support the weight of my VD power cable so I had to use a different cable which still sagged a bit at the connector but not as bad as the VD

 

I don't know how your VD power cable looks like or what its weight is. The iec of the ref7 is the same type that is build in millions of devices. There should be no difference to other iec. Have you ever thought about that it might got defected by some of the other reviewers? This thing was in several hands now and was shiped through half of america.

 

 

Quote:
Every track had so much air which made it seem as if the performers were in Carnegie Hall. Must be the dithering because when I switched dithering to off, that excessive air was no longer present.

So you cut the ref7 performance right from the start. Turning off the dither is well hearable and decreases the fidelity of the ref7 by a big amount. Not a good starting point for a review.

 

 

Quote:
Also, I could not detect any difference in the different attenuation settings so I will leave that at -130db.

The differences are easy hearable in my system. But -130db is a good choice (as the factory settings of the DSP1 are!)

 

 

Quote:

PLL

Attenuation

Oversampling

Digital Filter

Dithering

active

-130db

NOS

inactive

inactive

This is NOS (non oversampling) mode, although it doesn't come close to sounding like a real NOS dac IMO.

Here, however, the differences (in terms of sounding natural) between the Reference 7 and SFD-1 start to become negligible.

In this mode it is a real NOS dac.

Ok, a lot of distortions sound natural to you.

 

Quote:
I cannot listen to the dac in this mode for very long without feeling uncomfortable.  

That is because you are not using the filter -> distortions.

post #43 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by flecko View Post

 

There is a power button. You can use it. Why do you need a standby mode?

 

And where exactly is the problem for you to recongnice the unit is on?

 

Very interesting what you expect from a dac.

 

 

The ref7 has a 5mm aluminum case with precission CNC processing. Calling the ref7 shoddy and the 1mm iron sheet case of the SF "excellence with a hefty weight" is like calling a Lamborghini cheap and VW Käfer expensive.

My ref7 is perfectly build.

 

 

 

I don't know how your VD power cable looks like or what its weight is. The iec of the ref7 is the same type that is build in millions of devices. There should be no difference to other iec. Have you ever thought about that it might got defected by some of the other reviewers? This thing was in several hands now and was shiped through half of america.

 

 

So you cut the ref7 performance right from the start. Turning off the dither is well hearable and decreases the fidelity of the ref7 by a big amount. Not a good starting point for a review.

 

 

The differences are easy hearable in my system. But -130db is a good choice (as the factory settings of the DSP1 are!)

 

 

In this mode it is a real NOS dac.

Ok, a lot of distortions sound natural to you.

 

That is because you are not using the filter -> distortions.


A phase switch would be useful for speakers, which the SFD was probably designed for. These are his opinions, which I understand you want to rebut, but comments like "Not a good starting point for a review." and "Ok, a lot of distortions sound natural to you." could've been cleaned up with a little less sarcasm and a little more tact. I'd like to hear about your impressions on the difference(s) between the Ref-7 and a few Vintage DACs though, this is a topic that isn't discussed enough as of late. I'm hoping to see some comparisons of the SFD-2, Assemblage DACs, and the ML 36.

post #44 of 170
Thread Starter 

Just a prime example of how we all hear differently. What I consider to be artificial air, flecko considers to be fidelity. As was stated previously they are just my opinions and I was merely stating what I heard. Some people appreciate the effort that has gone into this review. If you don't agree with it flecko then that's fine and you don't have to read my reviews. But there's no need to try to tell me what I'm hearing and the least you could do is say thanks.

post #45 of 170

 

Quote:
could've been cleaned up with a little less sarcasm and a little more tact

 

Sorry for the sarcasm. You are right, I should have cleaned that out.

 

Quote:
Just a prime example of how we all hear differently. What I consider to be artificial air, flecko considers to be fidelity. As was stated previously they are just my opinions and I was merely stating what I heard. Some people appreciate the effort that has gone into this review.

 

I respect you have had lot of work. But I can not make a compromise. In my opinion, using the dither is no matter of taste. The same is for the NOS mode.

This is no DAC for tube guys and no DAC for people who likes a lot of lights, leds, knobs and so on. You can see and read this on the web page of audio-gd. So why mention it in such a negative form? I like the ref7, because it is without all that unnecessary stuff.

 

 

Quote:
I'd like to hear about your impressions on the difference(s) between the Ref-7 and a few Vintage DACs though, this is a topic that isn't discussed enough as of late. I'm hoping to see some comparisons of the SFD-2, Assemblage DACs, and the ML 36.

 

I can not give you a comparison to one of your mentioned dac. A maby known dac I have is a Chord DSC-1100 (~12years old,~6400$). I like the Chord very much, also because of its looks but when it comes to the sound quality, the Ref7 is one class above. Both tested with xlr out on a real balanced class a power amp. Using acss should improve the soundquality of the ref7 further. (I hope you don't expect me to write a whole review now? Or maybe I should...)

BTW: Even the Chord has no status light or a phase switch. It just has one BNC input! That is consequent design and has nothing to do with the price.


Edited by flecko - 2/28/11 at 5:13pm
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