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Eastern Electric MiniMax PLUS

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I did my due diligence and searched for any threads on the EE MiniMax Plus (which came out last August I believe) but did not find anything. If I missed it, then please accept my apologies for starting a new thread, and please point me in the right direction. Otherwise, does anyone have first hand experience with this latest version ?

 

I am looking for a DAC sub $2K and so far I have audition / heard a few of them that did not fully satisfy my requirements. Namely, I heard the Musical Fidelity M1, Sim Audio D100, Cambridge DAC Magic and the Asus Xonar Essence One. All had interesting and positive characteristics and features, but all were missing in one or more areas.

 

The sound I am looking for is: detailed, revealing, 3d soundstage, depth, linear in frequency response but with some low end authority albeit tight and controlled. Basically I want to be enveloped in a full lush sound that does not exaggerate any specific areas, but extracts every bit of information available from the original recording.

 

The original MiniMax seemed to be very well regarded by multiple reviewers, so I am curious about the new updated model. The ability to switch between tube and SS is intriging and could offer two different flavors depending on the material.

 

DACs that are on my short list include: The Anedio D2 (Project86's review of the D1 had me convinced, but then there were none available from Anedio as they were refreshing the model). The EE MiniMax Plus, Yulong Sabre D18, the WFS D2 and a bunch more in that price range that I have not heard yet.

 

There are so many DACS under $2K that it is overwhelmingly difficult to choose, I don't want to make a mistake and be unfufilled with any purchase. If I could have them all lined up in my basement on my system that would be great, but that's not the case, it's almost a blind purchase which makes it even harder to choose.

 

I don't really require USB because I use a Sonos music system, so the Sonos Coax digital out would connect to the DAC, which would connect Balanced to my Anthem AVM-20 Pre-processor, then to the Anthem MC-20 amplifier and finally to the Acoustic Zen Addagio speakers. I have no need to use a DAC with my computer, the Sonos is connected to my network and my music resides on a Seagate Black Armor 440 NAS. I also don't really need an headphone amp.. I do have a pair of AKG 240 Studio cans and also a pair of Beats Studio but I rarely, if ever, listen to music with my headphones. But if the best DAC for me has a headphone amp built-in, that's fine to.

 

The Sonos internal DAC is terrible which is why I never use it, instead I connect the digital coax to the the Anthem AVM-20 which uses AKM DACs and are decent, but not superb, it is after all 10 years old. By comparison my Pioneer BD DMP-BTD350 sounds slightly better than Anthem which is 10 times the price of the BD player.

 

Sorry for the long post.. just wanted to give a bit of background and where I was coming from. So.. any feedback on the EE MiniMax PLUS would be greatly appreciated.. or any other recommendations as well..

 

Thank you

 

Riker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by Riker - 2/27/12 at 6:17pm
post #2 of 23

I believe there's info on the Plus in the later pages of the Eastern Electric Tube DAC thread.

post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks Elnero for that information. I did find some of the posts that relate to the the "MKII" version.

 

In your opinion, how does your Audiolab M-DAC compare to the EE+ or the Anedio D2 ?

 

Cheers

 

post #4 of 23

You already read this review?

http://www.dagogo.com/View-Article.asp?hArticle=931

 

I have one, and it's quite difficult to believe the high quality, both in sound and build, you get for the $1100 retail price.  

 

I did notice you said, "so the Sonos Coax digital out would connect to the DAC, which would connect Balanced to my Anthem AVM-20 Pre-processor."  Hope you know EE DAC Plus only has single-ended analogue outputs, not balanced.

post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Riker View Post

Thanks Elnero for that information. I did find some of the posts that relate to the the "MKII" version.

 

In your opinion, how does your Audiolab M-DAC compare to the EE+ or the Anedio D2 ?

 

Cheers

 


Sorry, I can't compare as I've not heard the EE+ or Aneidio D2 (I don't think the D2 has even been released yet), both were a bit above my budget. If I was going into that price territory though I would be tempted to buy a Neko Audio D100 MKII and call it a day.

 

post #6 of 23

There is also a long thread on the minimax plus at audiocircle that you may find helpful

 

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=99311.0

 

 

post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 

Right.. I did notice that but must of slipped my mind. But I don't really care, it's not like have a "complete" balanced system, it would be a mix of XLR and SE anyways.. so I don't think it's a big deal.

 

Thanks for the link !

post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Durberg3 View Post

There is also a long thread on the minimax plus at audiocircle that you may find helpful

 

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=99311.0

 

 


Thanks for that link !!!

Cheers


 

 

post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by elnero View Post


Sorry, I can't compare as I've not heard the EE+ or Aneidio D2 (I don't think the D2 has even been released yet), both were a bit above my budget. If I was going into that price territory though I would be tempted to buy a Neko Audio D100 MKII and call it a day.

 



Yes that's true, I think the D2 ships in a week or so.. I'm sure Project86 will have a nice write up on it which I am eagerly anticipating :-)

I did look into the Neko D100 MKII and it is a very interesting design for sure, but I have a feeling that I would prefer a ESS 9018 Sabre solution based on all that I have read about it and based on my equipment. Alhtough Neko does have a 30 day in house return policy which could be worth it.. depening on the return shipping cost from where I live.

 

Thanks !

 

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon L View Post

You already read this review?

http://www.dagogo.com/View-Article.asp?hArticle=931

 

I have one, and it's quite difficult to believe the high quality, both in sound and build, you get for the $1100 retail price.  

 

I did notice you said, "so the Sonos Coax digital out would connect to the DAC, which would connect Balanced to my Anthem AVM-20 Pre-processor."  Hope you know EE DAC Plus only has single-ended analogue outputs, not balanced.


Do you run it in " tube mode " or solid state mode ? and what is your opinion of the sound difference between the two ? I would think one of the nice features to this DAC is switching between the two modes depending on the source material.. do you find you switch often ? or is one mode permanently set for all of your listening ?


 

 

post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Riker View Post



Yes that's true, I think the D2 ships in a week or so.. I'm sure Project86 will have a nice write up on it which I am eagerly anticipating :-)

I did look into the Neko D100 MKII and it is a very interesting design for sure, but I have a feeling that I would prefer a ESS 9018 Sabre solution based on all that I have read about it and based on my equipment. Alhtough Neko does have a 30 day in house return policy which could be worth it.. depening on the return shipping cost from where I live.

 

Thanks !

 


I had the Neko for a 2 week audition during the last Canadian loaner program, it's an absolutely fantastic source. Purely based on sonics I feel it's the best DAC I've heard but I haven't had the chance to compare it directly to my M-DAC. The M-DAC is a fantastic source in its own right and in some areas I think it may outdo the Neko but I can't shake the feeling the M-DAC doesn't quite convey the sense of naturalness I got from the Neko. Again though, this isn't based on a side by side comparison and I may have a slightly romanticized recollection of the Neko.

 

Where the M-DAC trounces the Neko is on features, multiple SPDIF inputs as well as async USB, XLR and single ended outputs, can be used as a digital preamp as well as a decent headamp and it has a remote.

post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 

 



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Durberg3 View Post

There is also a long thread on the minimax plus at audiocircle that you may find helpful

 

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=99311.0

 

 


Holy Smokes !! that's a LOT of information.. My head is spinning with all this tube rolling, opamp rolling, removal of the tube etc..etc.. it's crazy ! but fun at the same time. Now, there are so many possibilities with this DAC, so many opinions.. it's insane.. !

 

I guess the beauty of it is, if you don't like the stock sound, there are MANY ways to change that sound..
 

Thanks everyone, I guess this thread has served its purpose :-)

Cheers

Riker


 

 

post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 

Question:

 

In order to "burn in" the DAC.. does actual music have to play ? or can I just "feed it" music via my sonos for hours on end, but without the pre-pro + amp + speakers turned on ?

 

I hope so, because it would mean that I could keep the DAC on but the rest of the gear off and therefore, not bother the wife and kids with 24/7 music !

 

Thanks

Riker

 

post #14 of 23

I've just sold a DacMagic and replaced it with a MM Plus.  

 

So, while the Cambridge was a 'competent' reliable unit, there is little comparison in delivered sound.  

The EEMMD+ is streets ahead, although it does not have an overly "Hi Fi" sound.  Its quite natural, detailed.

 

I almost exclusively use the solid state output, even though i am a valve (tube) guy with Audible Illusions, VTL monos etc.

It is the more linear and precise output.

 

I have not had time yet to swap tubes or op amps.  I look forward to the future fun of doing this.

 

The one area where some might find the MMD+ lacking is in the 'power' of the bass:  Its not exagerated, but some 'crazily' may want more in this area.  I get more bass energy if i use the tube output, but still prefer the SS overall.

 

I love this piece of gear, and it has the efficient M2tech USB input, for those who want to go that way.

The build quality is high, and its versatility is laudable.

post #15 of 23

The audiocircle group has more than you ever need to know.  But from what I understand, I wouldn't put the Yulong d18 in the same category as the others.  My sense is the WFSII is a fantastic unit, but a little "dry."  I have no doubt the Anedio D2 will be amazing, based on the D1, and especially if you needed a quality amplifier, I'd get that bc it's all in one package for less.  But I believe the minimax dac plus is right up there with the WFSII and D2 in terms of overall sonics, except with the added ability to change the sonic signature.

 

The main thing they improved between the original (which is fantastic) and the plus is the additional power source for the tube output.  (that and the usb imput and nixing the volume control and a few other things)  The original, which I have, was a bit underpowered when people started using high power drawing components like Burson discrete opamps or tubes like the magesterial E80cc Amperex SQ.

 

I think the EE comes down to tinkering in the end. If you want the flexibility (or hassle, depending on how you see it) of being able to mess with the sonic signature, I think it's hard to beat the EE.  You can easily mod it so that you can switch between lush full rich bassy power and razor sharp precision at the press of a button. Maybe somewhere out there there's a dac capable of making every single genre and quality of music recording sound equally fabulous for whatever mood you happen to be in, but I've never heard of one.  

 

I wanted more rich bass power, so I went with the 49990 duals in the I/V and the Amperex SQ e90cc tube output.  HUGE bass power.


Edited by AVU - 3/1/12 at 9:51pm
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