Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › JKenny Audio Ciúnas DAC and Ciúnas SPDIF
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

JKenny Audio Ciúnas DAC and Ciúnas SPDIF - Page 26

post #376 of 597

It seems the longer I research USB DACs, the longer my list of candidates grows, but I've got it down to four, at the moment, all under US $1500.

 

I'm wondering if anyone has an opinion regarding these possibilities:

 

1)  Ciúnas USB to SPDIF Converter + Metrum Octave (the original, which lacks USB input, at roughly US $510 + US $849 = US $1359, currently)

 

vs.

 

2) Ciúnas DAC  (at US $729, currently)

 

vs.

 

3) Metrum Octave MkII (at US $1230, currently)

 

vs.

 

4) Reconnessence Concero (at US $599, currently)

 

That's quite a spread in cost and the Reconnessence Concero or Ciúnas DAC could offer the most bang for the buck, but which combination "sounds best" and why, independent of cost (for use with a neutral amp and LCD-2 rev. 1 (or eventually, LCD-3)? 

 

Thanks!

 

Mike

post #377 of 597

So zilch0md,

 

I'm guessing your going to use your new DAC with the a-100?  Might be wrong.   However, I'm in the same boat / market as you are.  

 

I have the Conero on loan from Project86.  John said my Ciunas DAC would ship at the end of last week (didn't check back with him yet..  don't want to be a pest).  

 

I heard the Octave mk2 at CAF this past weekend.

 

I will be putting the Ciunas DAC and the Concero head to head on the a-100.  That's where the DAC will live.  

 

As of right now I'll take the Octave mk2 over the Conero.  So the JK DAC has an up hill battle already.

post #378 of 597
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

It seems the longer I research USB DACs, the longer my list of candidates grows, but I've got it down to four, at the moment, all under US $1500.

I'm wondering if anyone has an opinion regarding these possibilities:

2) Ciúnas DAC  (at US $729, currently)

I've liked the Ciunas dac with a direct two USB adapter hookup, i.e., eliminating a USB cable, but haven't tried the others. As for pricing, from the site I had estimated around $760 to the U.S., but it turned out to be $627 w/o VAT and no credit card fees, and that included an extra 20 euros for the black case, which I really didn't need.
post #379 of 597
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

So zilch0md,

 

I'm guessing your going to use your new DAC with the a-100?  Might be wrong.   However, I'm in the same boat / market as you are.  

 

I have the Conero on loan from Project86.  John said my Ciunas DAC would ship at the end of last week (didn't check back with him yet..  don't want to be a pest).  

 

I heard the Octave mk2 at CAF this past weekend.

 

I will be putting the Ciunas DAC and the Concero head to head on the a-100.  That's where the DAC will live.  

 

As of right now I'll take the Octave mk2 over the Conero.  So the JK DAC has an up hill battle already.

 

 

I'm thrilled to see you here, prepoman - especially to learn that you've already compared the Concero to the Octave MKII.  I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that the Concero is out of the race, but thanks for the confirmation.  I will take your word for it, with respect for your experience and all that I've read in your posts.

 

I'm really eager to see your impressions of the Ciunas DAC vs. Metrum Octave MKII.  I'm not a "pricier is better" guy, so I'm really hoping the Ciunas DAC wins out in your comparison. 

 

And yes, I'm still using the Emotiva a-100 Mini-X with LCD-2 rev.1 (no resistors), having just sold my Burson Soloist this morning (and my Beyer T1 three weeks ago).

 

Thanks!

 

popcorn.gif

 

Mike

post #380 of 597
Quote:
Originally Posted by highstream View Post


I've liked the Ciunas dac with a direct two USB adapter hookup, i.e., eliminating a USB cable, but haven't tried the others. As for pricing, from the site I had estimated around $760 to the U.S., but it turned out to be $627 w/o VAT and no credit card fees, and that included an extra 20 euros for the black case, which I really didn't need.

 

Thanks highstream!  I'm enamored by the Ciunas DAC's humble enclosure and pricing, for sure.

post #381 of 597
I think it's important to keep things in perspective here. One may understand that pricier is necessarily better, but is it realistic to expect a ~$600 dac to perform at the level of $1200-1400 ones? Not even the folks who helped out John testing the Ciunas pre-production models last spring expected it to perform at that level, or even necessarily fight it out witth $900-$1000 ones. Substantial price differences typically reflect differences in the choice of components for sound quality reasons. That doesn't make John cheap, just working at a certain price/quality range.
Edited by highstream - 7/30/13 at 12:30pm
post #382 of 597

I don't see why a "stripped down" $600 DAC's one input and smart topology sold direct can't sound as good as a $1200 DAC with multiple inputs and fancy case. Even more so if the latter went from manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to customer.

post #383 of 597

Mostly because it has ~$150 in parts might be a good reason to think it isn't a world beater.

post #384 of 597

I second Solude on that.  And some additional thoughts...

 

 

The Ciunas uses the BB/TI PCM5102 chip which has an integrated 3.3v psu.  When JK claims that the BB/TI chip is far better than the ESS he's only comparing chips with the integrated 3.3v psu, which for ESS is the ES9023.  ESS has *far* better chips, notably the ES9018 which is used in many great dacs (including Yulong and the Matrix X-Sabre).
 
DNR on the PCM5102 is 112dB
DNR on the ES9023 is 112dB
DNR on the ES9018 is 133dB
 
Not understanding the value on the integrated psu, I'll assume that it allows for a much smaller DAC package that can be easily powered by a small battery (please fill in details if you have them).    I know my Yulong D18 get's pretty hot and I think I recall seeing a 7watt increase on my AC re-generator when I power it on.  Anything less then a lithium ion laptop battery would struggle to run my DAC for a whole album.  That said, I have a friend with battery powered monoblocks by Redwine that are over 100wpc, so anything is possible.
 
I would like to believe my PS-Audio P3 keeps my power clean enough that I can enjoy most of the benefits of disconnected power w/o using a 112dB chip.
post #385 of 597
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turn&cough View Post

I don't see why a "stripped down" $600 DAC's one input and smart topology sold direct can't sound as good as a $1200 DAC with multiple inputs and fancy case. Even more so if the latter went from manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to customer.
Lots of qualifiers there, and a lot of add-ons for $600. Sure, you're right, it can. But that's not the way things typically work. Whatever the gizmos, for $1200, or $1400 for the Octave mk2 USB, customers expect a component that sounds a good amount better than a $600 one. Otherwise, pricing makes no sense.
post #386 of 597
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wynnytsky View Post

I second Solude on that.  And some additional thoughts...

 

 

The Ciunas uses the BB/TI PCM5102 chip which has an integrated 3.3v psu.  When JK claims that the BB/TI chip is far better than the ESS he's only comparing chips with the integrated 3.3v psu, which for ESS is the ES9023.  ESS has *far* better chips, notably the ES9018 which is used in many great dacs (including Yulong and the Matrix X-Sabre).
 
DNR on the PCM5102 is 112dB
DNR on the ES9023 is 112dB
DNR on the ES9018 is 133dB
 
Not understanding the value on the integrated psu, I'll assume that it allows for a much smaller DAC package that can be easily powered by a small battery (please fill in details if you have them).    I know my Yulong D18 get's pretty hot and I think I recall seeing a 7watt increase on my AC re-generator when I power it on.  Anything less then a lithium ion laptop battery would struggle to run my DAC for a whole album.  That said, I have a friend with battery powered monoblocks by Redwine that are over 100wpc, so anything is possible.
 
I would like to believe my PS-Audio P3 keeps my power clean enough that I can enjoy most of the benefits of disconnected power w/o using a 112dB chip.


I agree that at 112dB the PCM5102 is probably not THE best chip in the world. Then again at 112dB the PCM1704 probably isn't either. However many people swear by it.

 

I also know that my Ciunas is more listenable than my EE Minimax which has an ES9018 in addition to Bellleson regulators, Shottky diodes, Mundorf caps, Mullard NOS tube output, WBT RCA connectors, Cardas silver hookup wire, Shunyata power cable, Furutech fuse...

 

I think I'll order a Yulong DA8 just so I can see if my $600 Ciunas is a competent piece of gear(despite its $150 worth of parts). TBC...


Edited by Turn&cough - 7/30/13 at 3:17pm
post #387 of 597

Ah, somebody who can drop $1300 for piece of mind!

That's pretty much what I did with the PS Audio P3.

 

My GF TD-11 was very listenable and it had a toroidal transformer in it.  I heard the minimax preamp (albeit modded) in my place and it was sweet.  And I very much wanted their DAC to be a killer, but the reviews steered me elsewhere (D18, which for me is stellar).  The reviews read like an underwhelming movie from a killer cast without a decent script or direction.

 

I did read somewhere that the ES901x are not trivial to build on, so that probably means its a skill-level-5 on the model rocketry scale.  If I was doing headfi my DAC journey would probably start with the DA8.

post #388 of 597

Peace of mind for audiophilius nervosus is priceless (even if he can't afford it). Fortunately GF have a reasonable return policy also.

 

I recall one fellow on a forum (forget which one) who ordered both the D18 and DAC-11 and ended up returning the D18. I suspect the DAC-11 is a real fun toy for those of us who can forget it only costs $350 wink_face.gif

post #389 of 597

With software, failures are generally obvious, and there is little middle ground.  One day it works, the next it doesn't.

In audio things degrade (or improve) with time, and if the process is slow enough then you the listener might be the last to recognize how far it's gone.

 

I know I won't have piece of mind until...

 

1) an online checksum database confirms which of our digital files are a bitperfect rip (and never converted from some lossy format)

2) when our hardware has digital displays for THD in the AC line, bit depth, sample rates, and the current level of jitter

3) our speaker drivers are clear so you can see a damaged voice coil

 

It's too much to ask of my ears to identify and separate all the issues I'm hearing, so it helps to have these tools to validate what I think I'm hearing.  I like the screen on the Audiophilleo 1, but that's how much I spent on my speakers, so I can't justify that.

post #390 of 597
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turn&cough View Post


I agree that at 112dB the PCM5102 is probably not THE best chip in the world. Then again at 112dB the PCM1704 probably isn't either. However many people swear by it.

 

I also know that my Ciunas is more listenable than my EE Minimax which has an ES9018 in addition to Bellleson regulators, Shottky diodes, Mundorf caps, Mullard NOS tube output, WBT RCA connectors, Cardas silver hookup wire, Shunyata power cable, Furutech fuse...

 

I think I'll order a Yulong DA8 just so I can see if my $600 Ciunas is a competent piece of gear(despite its $150 worth of parts). TBC...

 

I'll compare the Cinuas DAC to the NFB-27 and Eximus DP1.

At least one (maybe two) of the trio will have to go, so the comparison should be honest biggrin.gif.

 

Preproman has much better toys to compare to, as well beerchug.gif

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › JKenny Audio Ciúnas DAC and Ciúnas SPDIF