Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › REVIEW: Grant Fidelity TubeDAC-11
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

REVIEW: Grant Fidelity TubeDAC-11 - Page 14

post #196 of 267
s/pdif converters are the cat's meow   
 
 (posted on head-fi)
 
i have drunk from the golden chalice of usb - s/pdif converters and posted this review on amazon:

I'm using a Grant Fidelity TubeDac-11 with a killer 1960 Amperex usn 6922 d getter tube in it's output stage. the music I play through this is mostly hi-res from a hard drive, using foobar2000 as the music player under windows 7. I am listening with Sennheiser HD800 and BeyerDynamic Tesla T1 headphones; with the tube processed signal from the dac going to a Ray Samuals HR-2 solid state headphone amp. this rig has been sounding pretty fantastic, but adding this splitter between the pc and the Dac has made a huge improvement that I did not know was remotely possible. This added such a completely black, soundless canvas as backround/foregound/total environment, that the tube output's sonic picture went from the fantastic to the sublime. All areas show improvement. I am finally hearing the real benefits of high resolution digital sound reproduction and they are startling.I thought this rig could not sound any better after placing a damper on this classic tube, but I was as dead wrong as this splitter is dead silent

It uses the technology (the U192A chip) from NuForce's acclaimed DAC 9, which is considered a bargain at $1,699. By offering the usb to s/pdif functionality from that DAC independently at an incredibly low price, NuForce has hit one wa-a-ay outta the park.

Grab it now for $99 before it reverts to the still untouched $149 msrp. or grab it later at 149 and you'll still feel like you just got the audio deal of the decade.
 
I'm fairly certain that this is to usb to spdif converters what the russian rocket tube i keep harping about is to 6922/6dj8 tubes: the high end sound quality for low amount of dollahs. have i found a better tube for more than ten times the price? yup! will i find an even better converter - yup! but i'm willing to bet it will be for at least 5 times the money. 
 

Edited by analog'd - 4/18/13 at 9:25pm
post #197 of 267
How do you think the TubeDAC 11 would do in a 2.0 LCD TV-centered setup, using a Toslink input and unbalanced RCA output to Audioengine A5+ speakers? This is not HT, but TV watching, USB file videos plugged into a media box, sometimes CDs/DVDs, and listening to music on a few of the cable channels. One other thing: the manual suggests turning the volume down before switching devices. Not that I play loud, but is that necessary? Having to cross the room everytime I want to switch would be more than a small hassle. Thanks,
post #198 of 267
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by highstream View Post

How do you think the TubeDAC 11 would do in a 2.0 LCD TV-centered setup, using a Toslink input and unbalanced RCA output to Audioengine A5+ speakers? This is not HT, but TV watching, USB file videos plugged into a media box, sometimes CDs/DVDs, and listening to music on a few of the cable channels. One other thing: the manual suggests turning the volume down before switching devices. Not that I play loud, but is that necessary? Having to cross the room everytime I want to switch would be more than a small hassle. Thanks,

 

 

The TubeDAC-11 would sound great in that scenario. The only thing to consider - do you really want to live without a remote? Seems like you kind of need one for that sort of thing. 

 

The volume being turned down is simply to minimize any surprise, where the signal is more hot coming from your new device so the sound is louder than you expected. 

post #199 of 267
Thanks. The A5+ has a remote, so overall volume control is not a problem. My concern is two fold: 1) the practical need to switch devices, typically between TV and Patriot Box Office media player, and if one needs to turn down the GF's volume knob each time, as suggested in the manual* (I'd be using a remote); and 2) GF's switching prowess itself, given that I'm running Toslink from TV to Dac.

It seems that standalone dacs, as opposed to receivers and amplifiers, often have a problem with input switching, especially when fed an optical signal. The Audioengine D1 is the worst I've tried, dropping the sound about half the time. Two other dacs I've used, the Micromega MyDac and the cheap FiiO D03K, switch ok, just givie off a bit of hash sometimes when powering on the TV or switching between or within devices. That's something I can live with; sound dropout is not. My hunch is that the GF wouldn't have a serious problem, but I haven't come across any user comments one way or another about its input switching. There's a good explanation of why this dropout and hiss/hash occur by "rednroll" at http://forums.cnet.com/7723-13973_102-590143/sound-cutout-with-toslink-connection-to-external-devices/?tag=contentBody;threadListing.


* "...Whenever changing sources, you should turn the volume to minimum to ensure safe operation..." (manual, p.4)
Edited by highstream - 5/18/13 at 9:55pm
post #200 of 267

You already have the GF receiving the TV's toslink out, so at not time should you be changing inputs on the TD-11.  When you switch the TV's HDMI source to the Patriot Box then the patriot's audio will flow out of the TV's toslink line.

post #201 of 267
Thread Starter 

I wouldn't get hung up on that page 4 manual comment. Again, they just want to minimize potential for being blasted by a high volume source. It's just good practice but not essential, especially if you know in advance what your source levels are. 

post #202 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wynnytsky View Post

You already have the GF receiving the TV's toslink out, so at not time should you be changing inputs on the TD-11.  When you switch the TV's HDMI source to the Patriot Box then the patriot's audio will flow out of the TV's toslink line.
Try that again please. The problem I've run into is how dacs handle input switching timing issues with Toslink (I'm told can also can be a problem with USB). Some do so clearly better than others, but maybe most or the whole class has this problem with my less than typical kind of setup. With a preamp section, I'm guessing the TD-11 is better equipped than most.

Thanks, project86, for that answer. I don't play the TV setup loud, at least not loud for someone in their sixties with decent hearing, but because of the switching problems/hash I've run into with other dacs I make it a habit of lowering the volume a little first.

Do all shipments of the TD-11 shipments come from Hong Kong or is the Las Vegas warehouse used too for those in the U.S.?
Edited by highstream - 5/19/13 at 1:24pm
post #203 of 267

Quote:

It seems that standalone dacs, as opposed to receivers and amplifiers, often have a problem with input switching, especially when fed an optical signal.

ah I thought this meant you were using more than one input on the GF, and were concerned if the mechanical input dial would be noisy when going to/from toslink.

 

To preview the TV's toslink switching behavior try running it into a ht receiver.  If it's a source volume thing than the volume buttons on the patriot remote should make all things equal w/o leaving your seat.  And maybe your toslink volume will move with the TV volume -- can't recall if mine did.

 

I'm curious to know how the GF handles a 24/192 FLAC passed out the TV's toslink.  My current DAC is so intolerant of jitter that it would refuse to accept that connection.

post #204 of 267
I'm not using any inputs on the GF yet; got one on order. I gave away my integrated amp, so there's nothing here to plug a dac into. I'll report on how the GF handles switching. The Patriot box handles FLAC, but I'm not sure about 24/192 or if it downsamples it. I don't see a way to set it, possibly short of putting an HDD inside the box.
post #205 of 267
Got the TD yesterday and it handles switching really well so far, just giving off a couple of clicks in the process.

What did folks find for burnin time for the TD and for the power cable? It seem that cables commonly take a lot longer to reach maturity, so to speak, than electronics.
post #206 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLACKENEDPLAGUE View Post

$200 for a single tube? For that much I would want a box of 20

I own a "Little Bear" headphone-amp and was rolling tubes... I found out that the VOSKHOD 6N23P is indead a giant killer!! [for this amp]. (But I tried them in my other headphone-amp;

the Xiang Sheng 708b, and nothing special happened)

You have to believe this, a cute little amp, won on eBay for $22, playing the stars from heaven with the Voskhod...

post #207 of 267

I'm a newbie to this class of equipment and I just picked up a tubedac-11 as my first piece of gear in this space so I figure I'll report in on my experience in case it could help others make a decision.  Short version: I'm very pleased.

 

My background is that I'm mostly a rock/indie rock listener via speaker-fi and I pursued the tubdac for two reasons.  One, I've never been able to get quite the sound I wanted out of my current stereo (Denon Avr 4308, paradigm studio 40s, sub) and have dealt with it because, admittedly, it's not meant to be an audiophile-quality two channel amp.  Two, I want to get into head-fi.  After much research, I decided that the way dip to put my toes in the water was to re-rip my audio at lossless and pick up a tubedac to improve the overall sound.  I'm using the tube outputs as what I suppose would be a pre-preamp, as the Denon is of course integrated, and also using a pair of Audio Technica M50s out the front headpone jack.

 

The tube outputs are a major success.  The tubedac immediately addressed my main complaints with the speaker-fi setup.  It's less shrill with better imaging, a wider soundstage, and a sweeter sound overall without sacrificing good bass.  The headphone jack isn't as much of an improvement over other options (including the DAC in the receiver) but I wasn't expecting it to be.  I'm on the hunt for some Senn 600s or 650s to use out the tube outputs to complete that option (seems like people in this thread prefer the 600s for tubedac but I like what I'm reading about the 650s more overall based on my preference for something laid back) and looking forward to getting more into this hobby.

post #208 of 267
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by c3trey View Post

I'm a newbie to this class of equipment and I just picked up a tubedac-11 as my first piece of gear in this space so I figure I'll report in on my experience in case it could help others make a decision.  Short version: I'm very pleased.

 

My background is that I'm mostly a rock/indie rock listener via speaker-fi and I pursued the tubdac for two reasons.  One, I've never been able to get quite the sound I wanted out of my current stereo (Denon Avr 4308, paradigm studio 40s, sub) and have dealt with it because, admittedly, it's not meant to be an audiophile-quality two channel amp.  Two, I want to get into head-fi.  After much research, I decided that the way dip to put my toes in the water was to re-rip my audio at lossless and pick up a tubedac to improve the overall sound.  I'm using the tube outputs as what I suppose would be a pre-preamp, as the Denon is of course integrated, and also using a pair of Audio Technica M50s out the front headpone jack.

 

The tube outputs are a major success.  The tubedac immediately addressed my main complaints with the speaker-fi setup.  It's less shrill with better imaging, a wider soundstage, and a sweeter sound overall without sacrificing good bass.  The headphone jack isn't as much of an improvement over other options (including the DAC in the receiver) but I wasn't expecting it to be.  I'm on the hunt for some Senn 600s or 650s to use out the tube outputs to complete that option (seems like people in this thread prefer the 600s for tubedac but I like what I'm reading about the 650s more overall based on my preference for something laid back) and looking forward to getting more into this hobby.

 

 

Cool! Thanks for the post. 

post #209 of 267

Thanks for the wonderful review of the Grant Fidelity Dac. Just one thing - you mentioned the distinct

sound of the bass drums in the opening section of "Tears in Heaven". I don't hear any such thing with my headphones (!) - just Clapton's guitar. Am I missing it with my system ? - HE 6 with emotiva amplifier/GDesign m903 DAC - at moderate volume. Thanks.


Edited by tigerkg13 - 6/16/13 at 12:16pm
post #210 of 267
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tigerkg13 View Post

Thanks for the wonderful review of the Grant Fidelity Dac. Just one thing - you mentioned the distinct

sound of the bass drums in the opening section of "Tears in Heaven". I don't hear any such thing with my headphones (!) - just Clapton's guitar. Am I missing it with my system ? - HE 6 with emotiva amplifier/GDesign m903 DAC - at moderate volume. Thanks.

 

Dunno, I haven't tried the HE-6 in a while, but I recall it having good bass articulation if not slam. Any other headphones you have access to?

 

The bass drum definitely starts (quarter notes) right at the beginning, along with the guitar part. It's not "in your face" obvious but it's certainly there. Bass heavy headphones will overdo it, bass light headphones won't show it, so that's why I like it as a reference track (plus it's just a great song). 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › REVIEW: Grant Fidelity TubeDAC-11