I got this DAC today. My initial impression is very positive. I did not wait much for this one, but it performs well compared to Hegel HD-11 or Maverick TubeMagic D1. I changed the tube to Raytheon 5670 immediately. I am not a great fan of NOS dacs and was searching a cheap tube buffered DAC that accepts hires signal as well. This was originally intended for the second system, but I maybe replace Hegel with this for a while. It is that good. Sound is earthy but detailed. Midrange is very detailed and not grainy at all. I have maybe heard more realistic treble from other products, but this is not bad at all considering the price. I could roll my Tung-Sol tube in for better treble performance.
By the way, I think that the tube buffer is not nonsense here, although this DAC does not operate in NOS mode. It is there probably not only to colour sound, but to change output impedance to be easier. I recognised this because I am using passive preamp in set up and it pairs better together with that than some other sources.
I encountered one problem, though. Toslink connection do not accept my cable for some reason. There is no click and no sound either. I need to this another cable.
Edited by Thrasymakhos - 10/10/13 at 11:54am