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ARRIVED: new Rega DAC - Page 2

post #16 of 488
Thread Starter 

bump - added day 1 impressions in the first post.

post #17 of 488
Thread Starter 

UPDATE - DAY 2

 

Very impressive. I had some real goosebump moments last night. What strikes me the most is the simultaneous texture and detail in instruments and voices while having absolutely no audible grain or extra musical texture, e.g. a male voice can have the texture you would expect but a piano can have a liquid, bell-like tone with no grain whatsoever. The combination is quite amazing. The Duet (and the HRT Music Streamer II+ I briefly tried) always had a small amount of texture, even when it didn't belong. The Rega has also become more transparent as it breaks in. It is now clearly more detailed and transparent than the Duet. It has a more delicate sound without being lightweight or thin. There is no sense of the music being forced - there is a very "easy" presentation of the sound while still being "fast" in a transient sense.It is "sweet" sounding without being too smoothed over.

 

The soundstage seems to be larger with less clear boundaries to the ambient space the performers are in. I would classify the perspective as middle-of-the-road - neither overly forward nor back of the hall (the HRT seemed to move everything away from the listener, sometimes creating the illusion of more ambience or "room" sound).

 

Substituted a generic 12" USB cable I have for the Wireworld - a little warmer, but everything lost precision, the treble was splashier and I lost some of that liquid, grainless delicacy. The sound of jitter, I presume, along with potential noise injection due to the to the geometry of the Wireworld cable.

 

This DAC continues to impress me. While the Duet is a very musical device, the Rega is much more sophisticated in sound without losing the musicality and PRaT like a lot of stuff does.

 

The Apogee has, in comparison, become a vintage tube amplifier (Marantz 8B or Dyna ST-70 type of thing) - very pleasant, warm and somewhat opaque. Sins of omission if you will. The Rega fills in what is missing without committing any new sins of commission - it doesn't add extra-musical cruft. It's kind of like an Audio Research amp versus a Dyna ST-70. Much clearer, extended and precise without losing the fundamental nature of tubes. It's all good gs1000.gif

post #18 of 488

 

Quote:
What strikes me the most is the simultaneous texture and detail in instruments and voices while having absolutely no audible grain or extra musical texture, e.g. a male voice can have the texture you would expect but a piano can have a liquid, bell-like tone with no grain whatsoever. The combination is quite amazing.

 

Thanks, you made me very happy with that description, just what I needed to know to erase the last uncertainty.

This is exactly what my Rega Apollo also managed and that made it my favorite digital source.

post #19 of 488

K,

 

Are you going to use an async USB to SPDIF for this eventually so you do have async?

post #20 of 488
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icenine2 View Post

K,

 

Are you going to use an async USB to SPDIF for this eventually so you do have async?


That's the idea, but I am conflicted on what to use. The options that I didn't immediately rule out for various reasons are:

  • Offramp V4 ($800+) - too expensive right now
  • Wavelink ($900) - ditto
  • Halide Bridge ($450) - can't cable roll (might be a feature not a bug)
  • HiFace EVO ($480)
  • Stello U2 ($350) - no 88.2k, but would have been my choice otherwise based on reviews
  • MF V-Link ($170) - not released yet, concerned about compromises for pricepoint, no 176/192k

 

That kinda leaves me with the EVO or waiting on the V-Link. I have USB cables and a Black Cat Veloce ordered, so the Halide has no real cost advantage. The EVO is tweakable via power supplies. The V-Link is cheap (always a plus).

 

Plan A is probably get the EVO, and if the V-link is shipping before the 30 day return expires on the EVO, try it too and send the one back I decide not to keep.

 

Unless someone has an alternate to suggest ...

post #21 of 488

khollister, thanks for the impressions.  Looks like the Rega DAC has the sound I'm looking for.  I might get it in a few months and give it a try. 

 

I've been looking at the Musical Fidelity V-Link too, but not enough funds right now.

Music Direct says it's available January 2011, but it's already the 30th. 

Audio Adviser might have it.  http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=MFVLINK

You might want to give them a call and see if they have it in stock. 

post #22 of 488
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmf22 View Post

khollister, thanks for the impressions.  Looks like the Rega DAC has the sound I'm looking for.  I might get it in a few months and give it a try. 

 

I've been looking at the Musical Fidelity V-Link too, but not enough funds right now.

Music Direct says it's available January 2011, but it's already the 30th. 

Audio Adviser might have it.  http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=MFVLINK

You might want to give them a call and see if they have it in stock. 


Called AA today - no joy and no ETA.

post #23 of 488

Quote:

Originally Posted by khollister View Post


Called AA today - no joy and no ETA.


Aww... that's too bad.  Did you notice that the V-Link is now on Musical Fidelity's website?  http://www.musicalfidelity.com/products/V-Series/V-LINK/v-link.asp

It wasn't there last week.  I hope that means they're ready to ship it out to retailers/dealers.

post #24 of 488

AGD Digital Interface is a nice option too

http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/dac/USBface/Digital1EN.htm

Not sure if it will beat the EVO, but worth considering. Also take into account that HiFace uses proprietary drivers.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by khollister View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by lmf22 View Post

khollister, thanks for the impressions.  Looks like the Rega DAC has the sound I'm looking for.  I might get it in a few months and give it a try. 

 

I've been looking at the Musical Fidelity V-Link too, but not enough funds right now.

Music Direct says it's available January 2011, but it's already the 30th. 

Audio Adviser might have it.  http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=MFVLINK

You might want to give them a call and see if they have it in stock. 


Called AA today - no joy and no ETA.

post #25 of 488
Thread Starter 

I ordered an EVO from Tweek Geek - figure I can return it (30 day return policy) if I am unhappy. The Swiss Army Knife aspect of having every interface known to man might come in handy down the road. I will use it with the supplied wall wart for a while and consider a Sanyo Pedal Juice battery (9VDC Li battery system intended for powering guitar stomp boxes) as a PS upgrade later.

 

I am/was concerned about comments from a couple reviews on these type on converters that alluded to a "house sound" that was less warm than without. Also saw some discussion by Steve Nugent from Emperical Audio that offered the opinion that some of the missing warmth was actually a euphonic result of low frequency jitter. I am about at the point of recognizing that a lot of component/cable choices in the past have essentially been tone controls, and with my current music server-based system, I should probably go for accuracy and then apply software equalization if I want to bend the overall flavor euphonically. The full version of Amarra has parametric EQ & Pure Music allows VST/AU plugins (I also do music production and have a pretty good library of sophisticated EQ, including linear phase equalizers, I can use).

 

The effects of jitter are largely "anti-musical" so I figure I shouldn't accept those because I am afraid of tipping the tonal balance slightly upward when I can fix that with EQ that is probably less detrimental to overall sound than many distortions that are built into cables and components under the guise of "voicing".

 

We are preconditioned as audiophiles to avoid equalization, even through we tend to use cables as exactly that.

post #26 of 488

Hi Khollister tks for the reviews, this DAC sounds good. biggrin.gif

post #27 of 488
Thread Starter 

Slight delay-of-game, as I managed to contract a nasty cold so my hearing is screwed up. I'll get back to posting some more impressions in a few days. Should also have the EVO and can compare the USB and S/PDIF inputs as well.

post #28 of 488
Quote:
Originally Posted by khollister View Post

Slight delay-of-game, as I managed to contract a nasty cold so my hearing is screwed up. I'll get back to posting some more impressions in a few days. Should also have the EVO and can compare the USB and S/PDIF inputs as well.


Whoah take care of the cold there. If you have chance to compare the Audiolab8200CDQ would be great. biggrin.gif

post #29 of 488
Thread Starter 

Hearing is pretty much back to normal and I received the HiFace EVO today. Using it with the supplied wall-wart and an old Monster Cable S/PDIF cable I had from years ago (Black Cat Veloce should be arriving tomorrow). Using the same Wireworld Starlight USB cable, the sound with the EVO is quite a bit more open and spacious than the USB input. The USB input isn't bad, but it is thicker/warmer and somewhat closed-in or dead sounding.The DAC has continued to breakin (I have had music running 24x7) and the sweetness in the highs has continued to improve. Full orchestral tutti passages are less congested sounding and everything in general has taken a bit more "tube like" richness. Listening to the old Arrau/Davis Beethoven piano concertos (Philips) and they never sounded remotely this good before. Still using the stock tubes in the WA2. I'm sure that with a good S/PDIF cable and better power supply for the EVO this system will sound even more fantastic.

 

The Rega is a very musical piece with nice detail and transparency through the coax input. I am quite happy with the purchase, especially since some of the shine on the W4S DAC-2 has tarnished over at Computer Audiophile as more folks receive theirs. 

 

Domho7 - unlikely that I will get a chance to try the Audiolab. I am not really active amongst local audiophiles any more (and all of the high end stores have closed), so I don't get to hear much unless I buy it.

post #30 of 488

Glad to hear both you and the DAC are doing okay.wink.gif

 

Quote:
 The USB input isn't bad, but it is thicker/warmer and somewhat closed-in or dead sounding

 I might be dead wrong, but I associate this with jitter.   

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