Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › REVIEW: Ray Samuels Audio Dark Star solid state headphone amplifier
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

REVIEW: Ray Samuels Audio Dark Star solid state headphone amplifier - Page 10

post #136 of 372

How many watts does the DarkStar put into 50ohm?

 

I heard it puts 50W into 50ohm, can anyone confirm?

 

That is ridiculously powerful. People rave about how powerful the Lyr is, but that only manages 4W into 50ohm.

post #137 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewhypolite View Post

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.
 



 


That is a big step up. I am sure you will love it.

 

 

post #138 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by K3cT View Post




 

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? 

 

 


As far as I know, yes it runs in class A.

 

 

post #139 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewhypolite View Post

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.
 



 


There most certainly is a difference, although I've never owned the base Zodiac model and only started with the Plus.  Then upgraded the Gold, added a Voltikus when it became available and was stupid enough to sell the combo in May.  Now I've purchased them again.  I could go on an on about this but the Gold+Voltikus combo is just the most musical PCM DAC I've heard so far and well worth the not insignificant price, IMO.  It is in a different class from the HeadRoom combo, not to speak badly of it at all since they also have a great reputation in that particular class.

 

The Gold+Voltikus combo is simply designed for discerning audiophiles who desire a more fulfilling digital music experience in the aspect of preserving musicality instead of a relatively cold, sterile "digital" experience.  The Voltikus, in particular helps in achieving this and the SQ of the Dark Star lends itself to this goal with great synergy.  I can't speak to the LCD-3 as I do not own one--although I have listened to it at Can Jam/RMAF--that's just not enough to form an opinion one way or another.

 

Whatever you may think of 6Moons, I think their review of this combo is very well written and speaks well to all aspects of these DACs (including the Plus).  I would only add that the SQ will evolve well beyond the observed 500-hour burn-in mark.  Like a fine wine, it gets only better with age.

 

Shudder to think of what their new reference DAC will sound like when they replace the OCXO clock with the Rubidium ("Atomic") master clock found in their 10M Isochronous studio master clock.  It never ends...:-)

 

post #140 of 372

Quote:

Originally Posted by warp08 View Post

Shudder to think of what their new reference DAC will sound like when they replace the OCXO clock with the Rubidium ("Atomic") master clock found in their 10M Isochronous studio master clock.  It never ends...:-)

 

Marcel mentioned that the atomic master clock DAC will be priced close to $10k.  It's competing in a completely different price bracket than the Gold + Voltikus.

 

Have you had a chance to try the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC and/or the Weiss 202?

post #141 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicman59 View Post

As far as I know, yes it runs in class A.


My understanding is that it switches to B if it encounters a load beyond its normal operational parameters, which would be pretty high.  

 

As far as the Zodiac series, I researched heavily before purchasing and the differences with the gold are inputs, sample rates, (up to 32/384) switching output impedance, (0 vs 120 ohms) sensitivity of volume control and the remote.  Those differences are substantial to some and unimportant (considering price differences) to others.

 

post #142 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by sridhar3 View Post

Quote:

 

Marcel mentioned that the atomic master clock DAC will be priced close to $10k.  It's competing in a completely different price bracket than the Gold + Voltikus.

 

Have you had a chance to try the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC and/or the Weiss 202?



No, I haven't.  Both of those products have excellent reputation, but I just went with what I know worked for me before.  Didn't mean to imply the Zodiac line is the only game in town, but it sure is an option to consider.

post #143 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio_head View Post

 

As far as the Zodiac series, I researched heavily before purchasing and the differences with the gold are inputs, sample rates, (up to 32/384) switching output impedance, (0 vs 120 ohms) sensitivity of volume control and the remote.  Those differences are substantial to some and unimportant (considering price differences) to others.

 


The Gold pot with the discrete array relays alone would be a significant price increase in terms of cost, but the Gold is just a better performing product sonically even if you disregard the higher sample rates which is not yet a major concern of mine, despite the fact some recording studios already pushing those boundaries (http://www.2l.no/).  The remote is a nice touch but not a deal clincher for me vs. the Plus.  In terms of features the full size USB-B socket vs. mini is a big deal since the Locus Design Cynosure cable has no mini version.  Having all these connectivity option in both analog and digital inputs and outputs allows for major flexibility, and that alone is worth the extra cost IMO.  That is why I had to get rid of the excellent Grace M903, the chassis just had no room for all the Zodiac line has to offer in terms of connectivity.  So, it may well be worth to "go for the Gold" and not having to upgrade much sooner if you decide to add something like the Dark Star into the mix.

 

Your second point is fully valid; these aspects solely depend on the individual with budget being the usual overriding concern.  But every time I decided to "do the practical thing" and opted for the cheaper alternative, I ended up spending more due to having to resell the device and take the loss in order to get what my instincts told me to get in the first place...

 

post #144 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicman59 View Post


As far as I know, yes it runs in class A.

 

 



Ah, OK. The thing runs as cool as cucumber so it made me wonder. I was also pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as big as the photos on Ray's site seemed to show. 

post #145 of 372

well...  I called up Ray and got put on the list today.

And wrote out a check, which will go in the mail tomorrow...

 

i need another headphone amp like i need a hole in the head.

but, i just couldn't stop thinking about the HE-6, and how much potential i think it has...

post #146 of 372

Can't wait Brent. LOL

post #147 of 372

Someone give me an LF comparisson. :D

 

post #148 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWuss View Post

well...  I called up Ray and got put on the list today.

And wrote out a check, which will go in the mail tomorrow...

 

i need another headphone amp like i need a hole in the head.

but, i just couldn't stop thinking about the HE-6, and how much potential i think it has...



Nice! Please keep us posted. smile.gif

post #149 of 372

Unfortunately i'd already placed my order before you guys replied...doh.
I've ordered the Base Zodiac with Volticus, and the Dark Star.
Having read the comments on SQ difference i may have considered going for Gold.
I'm really not concerned about the extra connection options on the higher models, my only concern was SQ.
Upgrading from Plus to Gold, how much of the sonic improvement was the unit itself, and how much was the addition of the Volticus?
Also keep in mind i will not be driving any headphones through the Zodiac, only through the Dark Star. Zodiac used solely as DAC.

 

Also, What balanced interconnects do you use between the zodiac and dark start? thanks.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warp08 View Post


The Gold pot with the discrete array relays alone would be a significant price increase in terms of cost, but the Gold is just a better performing product sonically even if you disregard the higher sample rates which is not yet a major concern of mine, despite the fact some recording studios already pushing those boundaries (http://www.2l.no/).  The remote is a nice touch but not a deal clincher for me vs. the Plus.  In terms of features the full size USB-B socket vs. mini is a big deal since the Locus Design Cynosure cable has no mini version.  Having all these connectivity option in both analog and digital inputs and outputs allows for major flexibility, and that alone is worth the extra cost IMO.  That is why I had to get rid of the excellent Grace M903, the chassis just had no room for all the Zodiac line has to offer in terms of connectivity.  So, it may well be worth to "go for the Gold" and not having to upgrade much sooner if you decide to add something like the Dark Star into the mix.

 

Your second point is fully valid; these aspects solely depend on the individual with budget being the usual overriding concern.  But every time I decided to "do the practical thing" and opted for the cheaper alternative, I ended up spending more due to having to resell the device and take the loss in order to get what my instincts told me to get in the first place...

 



 


Edited by matthewhypolite - 1/3/12 at 10:11pm
post #150 of 372

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by K3cT View Post


Ah, OK. The thing runs as cool as cucumber so it made me wonder. I was also pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as big as the photos on Ray's site seemed to show. 



Indeed Class A amps are very inefficient and run extremely hot.

They need large heatsinking and ventilation to dissipate heat effectively.

 

Cool as a cucumber and Class A? Definitely not. 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: High-end Audio Forum
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › REVIEW: Ray Samuels Audio Dark Star solid state headphone amplifier