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REVIEW: Ray Samuels Audio Dark Star solid state headphone amplifier - Page 9

post #121 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorbidToaster View Post

Ahh. My mistake. I should have been a bit more observant. B52 was mentioned so I just assumed. Still. Impressive.

 




The A10 and B-52 are similar in size. I think the B-52 is just slightly larger.
post #122 of 372

Jesus.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by MorbidToaster View Post

Ahh. My mistake. I should have been a bit more observant. B52 was mentioned so I just assumed. Still. Impressive.

 


 

The A10 and B-52 are similar in size. I think the B-52 is just slightly larger.


 

 

post #123 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post


The A10 and B-52 are similar in size. I think the B-52 is just slightly larger.


Actually the B-52 has a similar chassis design to the A-10 pictured above (minus the extrusions) and they are much bigger and  heavier than the Dark Star.  

 

post #124 of 372

Sorry, that's actually a modded A-10.  I do not own a B-52 as of yet.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MorbidToaster View Post

Christ the B52 is huge...and gorgeous. 

 

PS: If you haven't noticed...John isn't a huge fan of any RSA products as far as I can tell from previous posts. Take it with a grain of salt. rolleyes.gif
 



 

 



 

post #125 of 372

This may help judging the size.  I actually moved down the Dark Star to pair with my Zodiac Gold+Voltikus combo.  Nothing fancy just straight USB from my MacBook Pro for now.  If you are familiar with the Zodiac DACs you should have a rough idea.

 

The top shelf of my rack will host a BHSE instead once Justin finally manages to ship it after nearly a year of waiting.

 

IMG_0148.jpegIMG_0147.jpeg

post #126 of 372

Warp,

 

What does the DS+Antelope sound like?  Heaven I hope!

post #127 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicman59 View Post

I used to own the Apache and now the Dark Star. IMO both share the same sound signature from Ray. Both are death quiet and very dynamic. Obviously the Apache does not have the same power as the DS. Unfortunately I never had the chance to use the Apache with the HE-6 so I can not comment on that specific aspect. I also tried the Apache as pre-amp in my speakers system with my Threshold amplifiers and it did a very good job.
IMO, if you need a headphones amplifier and pre-amp the Apache is a great option.


I received my Apache umbilical cord and talked with Robert today and he received the parts for yours for the Dark Star he said.  To be honest, I really wasn't expecting much but the additional power available now was quite surprising.  You do have to turn the volume down several steps for the same volume as the standard belkin cord.  I think the umbilical Robert is building for you will be awesome.  He mentioned with the Dark Star, it uses larger connectors, which allow him to us a thicker gauge wire.   

 

post #128 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audio Addict View Post




I received my Apache umbilical cord and talked with Robert today and he received the parts for yours for the Dark Star he said.  To be honest, I really wasn't expecting much but the additional power available now was quite surprising.  You do have to turn the volume down several steps for the same volume as the standard belkin cord.  I think the umbilical Robert is building for you will be awesome.  He mentioned with the Dark Star, it uses larger connectors, which allow him to us a thicker gauge wire.   

 


Thanks for the information. I talked to him briefly last week. He told me that since the connectors of the DS are bigger he will be using 18 awg OCC copper solid core wire for my umbilical cord. I hope to get the cord and my hardwire HE-6 next week (since I'll be back in town and off from work).

 

Robert is very honest and when he told me the how much better his Apache sounded with the new cord I believed him and decided to the same to my DS and let you know about it too.

 

I love my DS. It sounds great with all my headphones and it has so low floor noise that the seems like the sound is coming from nowhere. My T1 and HD800 sound awesome driven by it. My next addition in the near future for the DS is going to be the LCD-3. 

 

 Merry Christmas.

 

 

post #129 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icenine2 View Post

Warp,

 

What does the DS+Antelope sound like?  Heaven I hope!


Pretty good combo, yes.  This is the 2nd time I've bought this DAC and it's still a best under $5K and probably under $10K as well.  But it requires a ton of burn-in to fully mature.  The Voltikus is a must have option.  The only thing it would improve on the built in OCX clock would be a 10M master clock, but I'll make do without that.  The form factor is just a non-starter as it is designed to be rack-mounted in a recording studio environment.

 

As an analog-sounding DAC--especially when fully burnt in--it pairs up nicely with the Dark Star.  Micro-details are preserved, but still has a very natural sound signature and punch especially with the HE-500Rs.  The T70 Hybrid is still a bit bright on the top end but the Gold will undergo severe refinement during the first 1,000 hours.  The synergy with Amarra 2.3 is just perfect, one of the ways to tell how good a DAC is to actually differentiate between the sound of iTunes and the Amarra Sonic engine.

 

The new software Control Panel app is also a nice touch.  You can pretty much control all aspects of its operation straight from the screen, including firmware upgrade and advanced options (see partial screenshot below).

 

control panel.jpg

 

post #130 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicman59 View Post


Thanks for the information. I talked to him briefly last week. He told me that since the connectors of the DS are bigger he will be using 18 awg OCC copper solid core wire for my umbilical cord. I hope to get the cord and my hardwire HE-6 next week (since I'll be back in town and off from work).

 

Robert is very honest and when he told me the how much better his Apache sounded with the new cord I believed him and decided to the same to my DS and let you know about it too.

 

I love my DS. It sounds great with all my headphones and it has so low floor noise that the seems like the sound is coming from nowhere. My T1 and HD800 sound awesome driven by it. My next addition in the near future for the DS is going to be the LCD-3. 

 

 Merry Christmas.

 

 

 

I believe the Apache puts out less than 1 WPC from the balanced outputs and that will not make the HE-6 very happy.  It will drive it, but only so-so.  It's comparable how the SR71B drives it.  The LCD2/3 should be fair game, but again best with the Dark Star.  The T1 and the HD800 pair well with the Apache as well.

 

I'm not sure what a thicker gauge umbilical cord will buy you.  It is essentially the same cord Ray uses with the A-10.  The A-10's Plitron thyroidal transformer is twice the size of the Dark Star's and for good reason.  The A-10 needs about 1,000V to drive both STAX and HE90 (HV-5) ports simultaneously.  Not sure what the Dark Star's power output is, but it's nowhere near that much.  Either way, let us know your impressions of the mod.


 

 

post #131 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by warp08 View Post

 

I believe the Apache puts out less than 1 WPC from the balanced outputs and that will not make the HE-6 very happy.  It will drive it, but only so-so.  It's comparable how the SR71B drives it.  The LCD2/3 should be fair game, but again best with the Dark Star.  The T1 and the HD800 pair well with the Apache as well.

 

I'm not sure what a thicker gauge umbilical cord will buy you.  It is essentially the same cord Ray uses with the A-10.  The A-10's Plitron thyroidal transformer is twice the size of the Dark Star's and for good reason.  The A-10 needs about 1,000V to drive both STAX and HE90 (HV-5) ports simultaneously.  Not sure what the Dark Star's power output is, but it's nowhere near that much.  Either way, let us know your impressions of the mod.

 

 

I can drive my HE-6 with the Zeus cable at around 11 now on the Apache and get the complexity of the presentation that I really didn't get before.  The umbilical cord now allows the power to better flow through the Apache.  I honestly did not expect this as I was at Ray's when he tried another manufacturer's after market umbilical cord on the Apache, but it wasn't AphroditeCu29 design. It was some low gauge thing and it did just muddy the sound.  The same is not true with this one.  I believe mine is using 18 awg solid for the connectors.

post #132 of 372

My new goal...

post #133 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by warp08 View Post


Pretty good combo, yes.  This is the 2nd time I've bought this DAC and it's still a best under $5K and probably under $10K as well.  But it requires a ton of burn-in to fully mature.  The Voltikus is a must have option.  The only thing it would improve on the built in OCX clock would be a 10M master clock, but I'll make do without that.  The form factor is just a non-starter as it is designed to be rack-mounted in a recording studio environment.

 

As an analog-sounding DAC--especially when fully burnt in--it pairs up nicely with the Dark Star.  Micro-details are preserved, but still has a very natural sound signature and punch especially with the HE-500Rs.  The T70 Hybrid is still a bit bright on the top end but the Gold will undergo severe refinement during the first 1,000 hours.  The synergy with Amarra 2.3 is just perfect, one of the ways to tell how good a DAC is to actually differentiate between the sound of iTunes and the Amarra Sonic engine.

 

The new software Control Panel app is also a nice touch.  You can pretty much control all aspects of its operation straight from the screen, including firmware upgrade and advanced options (see partial screenshot below).

 

control panel.jpg

 


I see you gave.  Congratulations.

post #134 of 372

Hey Warp, 

I'm considering upgrading my HeadRoom Triple Stack (BUDA/UDAC/DPS) to the Antelope Zodiac + RSA Dark Star for my LCD3.
Any thoughts on this upgrade?
Also, I dont need the additional inputs/outputs provided by the Plus and Gold versions of the zodiac. Is there any difference in sound quality between these 3 versions? Thanks.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warp08 View Post


Pretty good combo, yes.  This is the 2nd time I've bought this DAC and it's still a best under $5K and probably under $10K as well.  But it requires a ton of burn-in to fully mature.  The Voltikus is a must have option.  The only thing it would improve on the built in OCX clock would be a 10M master clock, but I'll make do without that.  The form factor is just a non-starter as it is designed to be rack-mounted in a recording studio environment.

 

As an analog-sounding DAC--especially when fully burnt in--it pairs up nicely with the Dark Star.  Micro-details are preserved, but still has a very natural sound signature and punch especially with the HE-500Rs.  The T70 Hybrid is still a bit bright on the top end but the Gold will undergo severe refinement during the first 1,000 hours.  The synergy with Amarra 2.3 is just perfect, one of the ways to tell how good a DAC is to actually differentiate between the sound of iTunes and the Amarra Sonic engine.

 

The new software Control Panel app is also a nice touch.  You can pretty much control all aspects of its operation straight from the screen, including firmware upgrade and advanced options (see partial screenshot below).

 

control panel.jpg

 



 

post #135 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwmclean View Post

An interesting perspective on topologies and taste. Whilst I cannot argue with his ears or taste, I disagree on almost every account on chip vs discrete and his opinion of balanced topology. I’m also not convinced his Beta22 is in a healthy state, if he’s hearing a channel imbalance there’s something clearly wrong with it.


 

True to its name-sake, I thought the Dark Star is well, dark-sounding at least when compared with the β22. It's in a good way of course: it's warm, musical and has a midrange lushness that can help to mask recording defects. The β22 is cleaner, more detailed and throws a larger soundscape but I can understand if some people find it too sterile especially if matched with the wrong source. 

 

By the way, does the Dark Star run in class A? 

 

 

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