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Calyx FEMTO DAC

post #1 of 137
Thread Starter 

I haven't seen this in head-fi.

FEMTO-diag.png

 

 

Exterior3_Rearpanel.png

 

Has anyone tried it

 

Weight: 18.5 Kg, sure it is heavier than my Audio Gd Ref 7.1.

Chip: ESS9018

Price: $6,850

 

Gleaming review in Stereomojo:

http://www.stereomojo.com/CalyxFemtoDACReview.htm/CalyxFemtoDACReview.htm

 

Quoting from Stereomojo review:

 

"many of us can still hear and be bothered by jitter measuring a few hundred pico seconds.

 

This being the case, I was thrilled to learn that Dr. Seungmok Yi, the founder of Digital and Analog, made a breakthrough in jitter reduction and would soon release a DAC under the CDrYi.pngalyx brand, with jitter so low, it has to be measured in femto seconds, which is one quadrillionth of a second.   

 

To help you get a more real world understanding of these units of measure, let me put it in another way: The difference between a picosecond and a regular second is the difference between one regular second and 31,700 years. If you think that is huge, then consider this; the difference between one femtosecond and a regular second is the difference between one regular second and 31.7 million years.

So what does a DAC with less than a pico second (500 femto seconds) of jitter, sound like?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stereomojo compared it with top end DACs including Alpha, Bryston, Weiss DAC202, dCS Debussy (10K DAC), Invicta.

Seems like the reviewer slightly prefer this than the rest.

 

Unfortunately, no comparison to any DAC that I've listened to.

 

Surely someone or a few-one in head-fi has the money to buy this  biggrin.gif


Edited by RedBull - 5/28/12 at 9:24pm
post #2 of 137

Thanks for posting this.  I've been waiting for a review or user reports on this DAC for a long time!  Sounds like it's very good, but not revolutionary like some may have hoped.  I get the impression from the review that it now competes head-on with the Weiss DAC 202 with the same type of sound whereas the Calyx 24/192 (which I owned and was very impressed with) is just a notch below.  I think I will keep my Berkeley Alpha Series 2.  bigsmile_face.gif

post #3 of 137

Lots of connectivity options, but just being "as good as" the Berkeley or Weiss or Meitner is a bit of a disappointment, I was hoping for more than that considering what a great value the standard Calyx DAC is. Seems like this one is more par for the course, and is likely to lose a head to head with the latest Overdrive SE.

post #4 of 137

I have been following this reviewer (Malcolm Gomes) for close to 30 years now and, unlike most other audio reviewers, I have always found him to be brutally honest and very stingy with his praise. The fact that he has praised the Femto so lavishly and found it to deliver sound that is closer to the live performance than the Alpha DAC Series 2 (which is what I have now), compelled me to give the Femto a serious audition and Malcolm's review is spot on, it is closer to the live performance compared to my Alpha DAC. The dealer told me that after Malcolm's review was published, the Femto sold out very quickly and now there is a very long waiting list for it. He refused, point blank, to sell me his demo unit.

post #5 of 137

The other negative about the Femto DAC is the volume control for those that might want to use it. As far as I can tell it's regular digital volume control which means it will be throwing away resolution as attenuation increases, and is likely to significantly reduce the sound quality vs. a high quality linestage.

post #6 of 137

I agree that the digital volume control will throw away resolution on increased attenuation but since it is a 32-bit control, it is not going to be significant. In any case, IMO to get the best out of the Femto DAC, you need to bypass its volume control and play it through a very good preamplifier. I heard the Alpha DAC and the Femto DAC through a Boulder preamplifier/power amplifier combination and I much prefered the performance of the Femto DAC. 
 

post #7 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

The other negative about the Femto DAC is the volume control for those that might want to use it. As far as I can tell it's regular digital volume control which means it will be throwing away resolution as attenuation increases, and is likely to significantly reduce the sound quality vs. a high quality linestage.

 

Theory aside, I think it depends on the implementation.  In my experience, the digital volume control in the Bel Canto DAC2.5 was not so good with a flat and somewhat hard sound compared to running through a Placette Passive Linestage.  Incidentally I found the Bel Canto C5i to be much better when used as a preamp.  In my Berkeley Alpha DAC (Series 1, have not tried Series 2 direct), I found the performance to be surprisingly close to that of my Von Gaylord LAD-L2 linestage, which I love (this replaced an $8500 Conrad Johnson CT5), and I know there are many others out there who have ditched their preamps with the BADA.

post #8 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimchee411 View Post

 

Theory aside, I think it depends on the implementation.  In my experience, the digital volume control in the Bel Canto DAC2.5 was not so good with a flat and somewhat hard sound compared to running through a Placette Passive Linestage.  Incidentally I found the Bel Canto C5i to be much better when used as a preamp.  In my Berkeley Alpha DAC (Series 1, have not tried Series 2 direct), I found the performance to be surprisingly close to that of my Von Gaylord LAD-L2 linestage, which I love (this replaced an $8500 Conrad Johnson CT5), and I know there are many others out there who have ditched their preamps with the BADA.

 

Right, though the Overdrive system of adjusting the reference voltage of the DAC itself is a better idea in general.

post #9 of 137

Subscribed. popcorn.gif

post #10 of 137

The only thing I dislike is their focus on the "femto" verbiage. This is certainly not the first DAC out there to have a sub-1 ps jitter spec - the list becomes much longer if we talk strictly about master clock jitter. 

 

Not to mention jitter measurements become far less accurate the lower they get. 

 

I'd rather they focus on having a nice DAC, period. The Femto thing seems like a gimmick. 

post #11 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

The only thing I dislike is their focus on the "femto" verbiage. This is certainly not the first DAC out there to have a sub-1 ps jitter spec - the list becomes much longer if we talk strictly about master clock jitter. 

 

Not to mention jitter measurements become far less accurate the lower they get. 

 

I'd rather they focus on having a nice DAC, period. The Femto thing seems like a gimmick. 

 

It's certainly an angle for a small player in a fiercely competitive market, though.

post #12 of 137

They're playing the numbers game, just like everybody else.  Marketing is marketing.

post #13 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

The only thing I dislike is their focus on the "femto" verbiage. This is certainly not the first DAC out there to have a sub-1 ps jitter spec - the list becomes much longer if we talk strictly about master clock jitter. 

 

Not to mention jitter measurements become far less accurate the lower they get. 

 

I'd rather they focus on having a nice DAC, period. The Femto thing seems like a gimmick. 

 

Agreed. Low jitter is great, but that's not really where the "sound" of the DAC comes from, that has much more to do with the filter, DACs, OS (or not) and output stage. Something that uses hyper low jitter clocks but has a middling op-amp driven output stage is still going to sound a lot like those middling op-amps.

post #14 of 137

I thought I would offer up if anyone is interested in hearing the Femto in person, it will be at the Chi-Uni-Fi 6 meet on June 16th.  It will be paired with just being released Allnic Audio HPA5000 headphone amplifier.  Both Calyx Audio and Allnix Audio are out of South Korea.  I haven't seen the Femo but I have the Allnic piece here before the meet and it is impressive.  Headphones available for audition include the HiFiMan HE6 and HE500.  There may even be a Audeze LCD3 available if I can finalized it with the vendor.

 

We would love for anyone in the Chicago or surrounding area to come out and give it a listen.  It is the one that was at the AKFest in Michigan this year.

post #15 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

 

Agreed. Low jitter is great, but that's not really where the "sound" of the DAC comes from, that has much more to do with the filter, DACs, OS (or not) and output stage. Something that uses hyper low jitter clocks but has a middling op-amp driven output stage is still going to sound a lot like those middling op-amps.


Don't be surprise if you change your mind after actually giving the Femto DAC a serious audition. To my ears, It does not sound 'anything' like "those middling op-amps". My brother in London, England just traded in his $11,000 dCS Debussy for a Femto DAC and claims that it delivers significantly superior performance. Don't knock it till you've tried it. 

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