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post #46 of 505
Thread Starter 

The thing that I always find interesting about Rega stuff is how they manage to achieve high end sound with stuff that appears mid-fi from just looking at how it is constructed. For instance, this thing is full of crappy, PVC insulated wire and cable and a fuse holder that couldn't possibly be any cheaper. And of course they use their normal consumer stereo RCA jacks that aren't spaced far enough apart to easily take the large connectors on most high end IC's. True there are no opamps and there are plenty of film caps sprinkled about, but otherwise this could pass for something you would find in a Pioneer receiver.

 

Of course, the "best used with EL34 valves" text laid into the PCB is something you wouldn't expect to see in a Pioneer wink_face.gif

post #47 of 505

Their new Isis CD Player is supposedly built very well. Of course it costs 9x the DAC.

post #48 of 505

I had the chance to borrow the Rega DAC last night. I can understand why some people would like the sound it produces. It's very Rega, that's for sure. Whilst adjectives like musical, analogue and flowing could be (and have been used) others could also be used. Like veiled, lacking attack, and blurred transients. I'd sum it up as being boring and far from neutral. People with tube amplification should definitely demo before putting down the cash.

post #49 of 505

I had lots of digital sources but the one I loved most was the Rega Apollo, for its lack of "digital" sound.

I've to admit though, I always thought that if the Apollo sound is right all others must be wrong.

I suspect other digital sources, like the Audio-GD Reference 5 I owned until two weeks ago are more accurate and neutral.

Yet somehow it also sounded mechanic to my ears, like if all peaks had the same maximum soundlevel and there was detail and honesty but no beauty in the treble. Plus there was the thing Khollister calls grain.

In contrast the Apollo managed to throw out voices far in front, peaks differed giving an organic/analogue/whatever musical flow and beautiful smooth yet extended treble.

in short, I think theApollo was far from neutral, yet I loved it, and hope the Rega DAC will do the same. But it probably is not for those seeking honesty first and for all. 

 

post #50 of 505

Well, if lack of grain and lack of detail were two entirely separate things then I could live with a lack of grain. But in the case of the Rega DAC, lack of grain comes at the expense of detail. Not having listened to the Ref 5 (but I've owned a Ref 7) I expect you'll be swinging from one extreme to the other rather than a middle ground, combining the best attributes of both.

post #51 of 505

It's like the HD650 - "veiled or not veiled" discussion - a matter of preference. Pick your poison. Seems like the Rega has some of the "NOS DAC"-attributes (warm andanalog sounding)??

post #52 of 505
Thread Starter 

I'm assuming the one you borrowed had some hours on it? The transparency and detail certainly increased as it broke in. there is also a large difference in this regard driving it from a low jitter S/PDIF source than the USB.

 

I AM using tubes (Woo WA2) with Sennheisers and Cardas IC's no less, and I certainly do not think it is veiled or smoothed over, but to each his own.

post #53 of 505
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardilla View Post

It's like the HD650 - "veiled or not veiled" discussion - a matter of preference. Pick your poison. Seems like the Rega has some of the "NOS DAC"-attributes (warm andanalog sounding)??



As I tried to explain in one of my earlier posts, I do not associate "analog" with "warm". The traditional "Rega digital sound" IMHO has nothing to do with tonal balance or even transient speed.

post #54 of 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardilla View Post

Seems like the Rega has some of the "NOS DAC"-attributes (warm andanalog sounding)??


By analogue sounding, you'd have to mean a top-drawer MC cartridge run into too low a load! That's what the bottom end sounds like. There is plenty of it, but "plummy" and lacking definition.

 

The Rega DAC has nothing in common with a good NOS DAC. (None that I've heard, anyway.) Buying the Rega DAC because it has NOS attributes would be a mistake. (For sure, if you've heard a good PCM63, AD1865, or TDA1541 NOS DAC.)

post #55 of 505

The Apollo definitely sounded completely different then MHDT Havana (NOS, tubed) I had for half a year; the Havana had a very laid back sound, everything happened behind the speakers with hardly any depth, the Apollo was capable of throwing upfront recorded voices in my lap.

post #56 of 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by khollister View Post

I'm assuming the one you borrowed had some hours on it? The transparency and detail certainly increased as it broke in. there is also a large difference in this regard driving it from a low jitter S/PDIF source than the USB.

 

I AM using tubes (Woo WA2) with Sennheisers and Cardas IC's no less, and I certainly do not think it is veiled or smoothed over, but to each his own.


The chap who owns it got it 2 weeks ago. It's been on all that time (looping music) even when he's not been listening. I fed it with SPDIF from Logitech Transporter and SPDIF from a Teac transport.

 

HD600's, maybe. Tonally, I could see how it could be liked with HD800's. (But it was certainly the case when I listened with HD800's last night that the lack of detail was brutally exposed.) And I couldn't think of a worse combo than using it with HD650's and a nice warm tube amp! ;)

post #57 of 505
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parafeed View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by ardilla View Post

Seems like the Rega has some of the "NOS DAC"-attributes (warm andanalog sounding)??


By analogue sounding, you'd have to mean a top-drawer MC cartridge run into too low a load! That's what the bottom end sounds like. There is plenty of it, but "plummy" and lacking definition.

 

 

Amazing - I could swear we are not listening to the same piece of equipment. Are you using the USB or S/PDIF input? What you are describing sounds a little similar to what I heard running the Rega from a toslink feed directly from the Mac Mini (which is a known high-jitter source). Switching to the M2Tech HiFace EVO USB/SPDIF converter made a huge difference in sound.

 

The bass definition is one of the things I was taken with. I love the Claudio Arrau/Colin Davis Beethoven Piano Concertos (Philips) and the low strings always had a rather wooly, thick sound. While the tonal balance is still dark, the definition in the cellos and basses is an order of magnitude improved. It actually sounds like an orchestral bass section (I played double bass in orchestras throughout high school and college, so this is burned into my sonic memory) - I can hear the bows moving across the strings.

 

On the other hand this could be personal perspectives. I have always been a Sennheiser/Cardas/tube kind of guy. If one is from the Grado/silver wire/Bryston school of sound, then our ideas of "natural" or accurate sound could be wildly different. I think the Rega is quite transparent and detailed, but it is not an "in your face" forward presentation. I think the stereotypical Sennheiser vs Grado comparison is probably relevant here.

 

The Rega is WAY more transparent and detailed than the Apogee Duet I was using.

post #58 of 505
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Parafeed View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by khollister View Post

I'm assuming the one you borrowed had some hours on it? The transparency and detail certainly increased as it broke in. there is also a large difference in this regard driving it from a low jitter S/PDIF source than the USB.

 

I AM using tubes (Woo WA2) with Sennheisers and Cardas IC's no less, and I certainly do not think it is veiled or smoothed over, but to each his own.


The chap who owns it got it 2 weeks ago. It's been on all that time (looping music) even when he's not been listening. I fed it with SPDIF from Logitech Transporter and SPDIF from a Teac transport.

 

HD600's, maybe. Tonally, I could see how it could be liked with HD800's. (But it was certainly the case when I listened with HD800's last night that the lack of detail was brutally exposed.) And I couldn't think of a worse combo than using it with HD650's and a nice warm tube amp! ;)


Interesting. The only observation I will make that MIGHT explain the disconnect is I suspect that Rega's marketing about reclocking the USB and S/PDIF inputs is somewhat optimistic. My observation is that the sound is hugely dependent on the jitter in the incoming signal. I do not have any personal experience with the Transporter, so who knows.

 

The more plausible answer is we just have very different perceptions as to what represents accurate or desirable sound reproduction. Not saying either of us is right or wrong - for all I know we could both be deaf as stumps normal_smile%20.gif

post #59 of 505


 

Quote:

Originally Posted by khollister View Post

 

The bass definition is one of the things I was taken with. I love the Claudio Arrau/Colin Davis Beethoven Piano Concertos (Philips) and the low strings always had a rather wooly, thick sound. While the tonal balance is still dark, the definition in the cellos and basses is an order of magnitude improved. It actually sounds like an orchestral bass section (I played double bass in orchestras throughout high school and college, so this is burned into my sonic memory) - I can hear the bows moving across the strings.

 

To be honest, I didn't play anything really orchestral. (Pop, Blues, Folk, Rock, Metal.) My comments regarding the bottom end are related to primarily electric bass guitar. Played a couple of Kathryn Williams tracks that have cello on them and felt they sounded rather flat and two-dimensional. Whereas I'm used to hearing a more resonant and airy sounding cello through other DAC's.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by khollister View Post

I think the Rega is quite transparent and detailed, but it is not an "in your face" forward presentation. I think the stereotypical Sennheiser vs Grado comparison is probably relevant here.

 

 

No, it's not in your face. It sounded very flat to me, especially lacking depth. Details that I'd expect to be prominent were lost in the mix. A track where the female vocal really projects (like it's 5 foot in front of the backing track) was pegged back. Almost like I could have been listening to a different mix where the vocal had been mixed at a lower level.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by khollister View Post

The Rega is WAY more transparent and detailed than the Apogee Duet I was using.

 

Don't take this the wrong way and I say this with humour..... That doesn't say a lot for the Apogee Duet. ;)
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by khollister View Post

Interesting. The only observation I will make that MIGHT explain the disconnect is I suspect that Rega's marketing about reclocking the USB and S/PDIF inputs is somewhat optimistic. My observation is that the sound is hugely dependent on the jitter in the incoming signal. I do not have any personal experience with the Transporter, so who knows.

 

The more plausible answer is we just have very different perceptions as to what represents accurate or desirable sound reproduction. Not saying either of us is right or wrong - for all I know we could both be deaf as stumps normal_smile%20.gif


Sure. I've no axe to grind. Just giving an opinion. I'm well aware that my opinions don't necessarily fit with those of the mainstream.

 

PS. Whilst not suggesting that the output from the Transporter is the absolute best (re jitter specs), it's not bad.

post #60 of 505

A question for Khollister; as I said before, one of the things I really loved about the Apollo is the way it could project closely recorded voices in front of the speakers (I listen to a speaker based system at home) and in front of the instruments if the recording supports this. Neither the Audio-GD nor the Havana could do that, the Meier Stagedac I briefly had however did that too.

Do you find that the Rega DAC has that same ability?

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