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JKenny Audio Ciúnas DAC and Ciúnas SPDIF - Page 37

post #541 of 595
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post

Should mention that the Ciunas DAC is decent for the price, but the Ciunas-converter with the A-gd Ref 7.1 is easily in a different league. Very noticeable improvement.
Same conclusion with Ciunas DAC vs Ciunas converter feeding the SA-2.

I'm with you on the comparison with the OR5 (coax). Mine does not have the turbo-clock, though.
post #542 of 595
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post
 

Should mention that the Ciunas DAC is decent for the price, but the Ciunas-converter with the A-gd Ref 7.1 is easily in a different league. Very noticeable improvement.


And there lies the problem with the Ciunas DAC.  To match the Hugo, which it doesn't, you need to buy other components and soon the cost begins to equal or surpass, all in one, Chord Hugo. 

NOTE:  I have had a good listen with the Ciunas DAC. 


Edited by elviscaprice - 5/31/14 at 7:00am
post #543 of 595
Quote:
Originally Posted by elviscaprice View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post
 

Should mention that the Ciunas DAC is decent for the price, but the Ciunas-converter with the A-gd Ref 7.1 is easily in a different league. Very noticeable improvement.


And there lies the problem with the Ciunas DAC.  To match the Hugo, which it doesn't, you need to buy other components and soon the cost begins to equal or surpass the superior, all in one, Chord Hugo.

 

Since we have a rule about not trashing products you don't own, I need to ask you whether or not you've owned a Ciunas DAC (as you were asked before). :smile:

post #544 of 595
Thanks. Good to know you've heard the Ciunas and presumably compared closely and with care. Could you tell us the specific differences you found between the Ciunas and Hugo? The kinds of things I would like to know about include: timbre and decay; tonality; detail (including low-level retrieval); dynamics; are there differences in balance e.g. is one warmer than the other; and/or anything else you feel can lead to an informed choice.

Finally, what is your view of the VFM equation for different buyers e.g. what are the qualities what would make the Hugo a 'must-have' versus say a 'nice-to-have'?

TIA beerchug.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by elviscaprice View Post


And there lies the problem with the Ciunas DAC.  To match the Hugo, which it doesn't, you need to buy other components and soon the cost begins to equal or surpass, all in one, Chord Hugo. 
NOTE:  I have had a good listen with the Ciunas DAC. 
post #545 of 595

Here is my honest straight forward impression of the comparison, DAC's, JKenny vs. Hugo.  First, recently I was shopping around for a new DAC/AMP combination or separates.  A friend had the JKenny and after listening to it thru his system I was very close to pulling the trigger on buying one.  That is until I heard the Chord Hugo, which frankly, blew me away.  It's detailed precision with CD quality sound was superb.  Plus it was capable of all possible word lengths and frequencies that I would be feeding it at different times.  If I was to break down the pros and cons of each unit, it would go like this.  I'm sure there are others here more capable of a colorful response to comparable sounds.

JKenny Ciunas

Pros

1.  Price wise, reasonable for a DAC with great quality sound.

2.  Had USB 2.0 capability.

3.  If you only needed a DAC and not a headphone amp or any other features, good DAC.

 

Negatives

1.  Doesn't have a headphone amp.

2.  Limited to PCM 192/24 to 44.1/16 for sound feed.

3.  Build quality is somewhat flimsy, might not be good for travel from one stationary location to another.

4.  Has only USB input.

 

 

Hugo Chord

Pros

1.  Has several digital inputs, USB, optical, coaxial, Bluetooth.

2.  Build quality is very good, built like a tank.  Will handle travel well.

3.  Handles CD quality feed extremely well along with compressed sound such as MP3, probably the best I've ever heard.

4.  Can handle all PCM data from 384/32 to MP3's, also can handle DSD.

5.  Headphone amp outputs are direct from the Hugo and are very good, even capable of driving bookshelf speakers without an additional amp.  Is portable with an eight hour life.

 

Negatives

1.  It's not cheap as a DAC only, but add in the other features and it's very reasonable.

2.  Some of it's inputs/outputs are difficult to match up to cables.

 

 

All being said, the Chord Hugo matches up to my needs very well and I'm glad I came across it before pulling the trigger on the Ciunas.  Of course everyone doesn't have the same needs as I and ears.  So a listen is highly recommended before making your own decision. 

post #546 of 595

Regardless the input options and features, I would like to know your rating of the overall sound quality of CIUNAS and Chord Hugo.

Say, if Chord Hugo scores 90 marks, how many would you give Ciunas?

post #547 of 595

?


Edited by 2222440 - 6/2/14 at 7:42am
post #548 of 595

The Ciunas has been doing a quite good job in my system but no much excitement,  until I recently started playing some high sampling rate audio like studio master tape and SACD iso/DFF file,  the music sounds stuningly realistic and natural in a sudden, with much better instrument positioning, more texture details, more linear, larger dynamic range and sound stage, some analog era recordings sound just like LP or very clsoe to.  I even find myslf can't go back to CD format anymore. 

 

With a new Win8.1 laptop,a new Supra USB cable, the high res audios bring the Ciunas DAC 's potential to play to the maximum. 

 

Not just the DAC, the USB cable, the software player you use, or even the power management settings of the computer OS will make a big differences.

post #549 of 595

I've been testing an Ultra Fi beta dac recently and along with it came their $550 Usartza USB cables with the data and power lines separated at the computer. I decided to give it try with the Ciunas dac, which I've been using happily for the past year with two adapters out the back of my computer.  Technically, there's no reason to use the Usartza's power line with the Ciunas, but when I did the dac's sound came alive in a way I hadn't heard before with either adapters or a Pangea I had laying around.  The cable's developer said it was meant to be used that way, not just the data line alone. All of which is to say the USB cables one uses make a big difference how the Ciunas sounds.  Btw, although I haven't heard them yet - the Stateside tour is just beginning - Elijah Audio also makes fine quality USB cables for a very reasonable price as good cables go. And there are other far great sounding much more expensive ones out there, e.g., Light Harmonic LightSpeed, AudioQuest Diamond DBS.

post #550 of 595
^ nice reports guys. Was good to hear the pros and cons of Ciunas versus Hugo from elvis, and now hearing there is more potential to be tapped from Ciunas is very good to know. I'm intrigued by the report of improved dynamics, realism, texture and naturalness, as the design brief of the Ciunas did suggest (to me anyway) an attempt to avoid an artificially "wow" sounding DAC.

Speaking generally I'm very impressed by the thought and care many DAC designers put into their products: John Kenny here; Rob Watts with the Hugo (or should I say FPGA in general); Jan of Meier audio; Carlos of BMC; Mike Moffat of Schiit to name just a few. All these products have their strengths and weaknesses. It seems to be all about finding the synergies that maximise the strengths and mitigate the weaknesses, and of course the right fit for one's own preferences.
post #551 of 595
Quote:
Originally Posted by AiDee View Post

^ nice reports guys. Was good to hear the pros and cons of Ciunas versus Hugo from elvis, and now hearing there is more potential to be tapped from Ciunas is very good to know. I'm intrigued by the report of improved dynamics, realism, texture and naturalness, as the design brief of the Ciunas did suggest (to me anyway) an attempt to avoid an artificially "wow" sounding DAC.

Speaking generally I'm very impressed by the thought and care many DAC designers put into their products: John Kenny here; Rob Watts with the Hugo (or should I say FPGA in general); Jan of Meier audio; Carlos of BMC; Mike Moffat of Schiit to name just a few. All these products have their strengths and weaknesses. It seems to be all about finding the synergies that maximise the strengths and mitigate the weaknesses, and of course the right fit for one's own preferences.
Yepper. The I2S feed from the USB converter cuts out conversions and should be the best sound you can get with digital. And I agree with 2222440's assessment of cables, power supplies, etc. It's all about minimizing anything that gets in the way of the signal. You clean that up, you'll be rewarded with outstanding listening. I do wish John would offer an analog output vs opamps but for the price, he's offering a fantastic value.
post #552 of 595
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2222440 View Post

 

The Ciunas has been doing a quite good job in my system but no much excitement,  until I recently started playing some high sampling rate audio like studio master tape and SACD iso/DFF file,  the music sounds stuningly realistic and natural in a sudden, with much better instrument positioning, more texture details, more linear, larger dynamic range and sound stage, some analog era recordings sound just like LP or very clsoe to.  I even find myslf can't go back to CD format anymore. 


 

With a new Win8.1 laptop,a new Supra USB cable, the high res audios bring the Ciunas DAC 's potential to play to the maximum. 


 

Not just the DAC, the USB cable, the software player you use, or even the power management settings of the computer OS will make a big differences.


Having written about USB cables and their hookup, I agree.  I can now add power supply, i.e., outlet, power cords, interconnects and power conditioner.  Some people in a discussion on Computer Audiophile foum have noted they've got a lot more invested in cables, for example, than they paid for their dac's.  These improvements in components, programs and settings make it much easier to "love the one you've got."

post #553 of 595

The ONLY AC power supply of my hifi system is the power amp, my laptop and DAC use batteries. I find there is no pre-amp needed, the software has done the job, that saves me from the interference of one more power cable and one more interconnect cable.  I tend to keep as less components as possible in the system, which allows more details can be forwarded to the speaker end.

 

One thing can be neglected by many people, that is you need to find out the best sounding USB port on your laptop. A laptop usually has 3 to 4 usb ports, the internal links of these ports are not even, usually the most direct port from the motherboard sounds the cleanest and with more music details. When transferring data, the data rates vary from different usb ports on the same laptop.

 

With all components properly looked after, when playing good recordings, say, most of the Chesky classicals, I find the amount of details conveyed by Ciunas are overwhelming and excessive.

post #554 of 595
Quote:
Originally Posted by elviscaprice View Post
 

Here is my honest straight forward impression of the comparison, DAC's, JKenny vs. Hugo.  First, recently I was shopping around for a new DAC/AMP combination or separates.  A friend had the JKenny and after listening to it thru his system I was very close to pulling the trigger on buying one.  That is until I heard the Chord Hugo, which frankly, blew me away.  It's detailed precision with CD quality sound was superb.  Plus it was capable of all possible word lengths and frequencies that I would be feeding it at different times.  If I was to break down the pros and cons of each unit, it would go like this.  I'm sure there are others here more capable of a colorful response to comparable sounds.

JKenny Ciunas

Pros

1.  Price wise, reasonable for a DAC with great quality sound.

2.  Had USB 2.0 capability.

3.  If you only needed a DAC and not a headphone amp or any other features, good DAC.

 

Negatives

1.  Doesn't have a headphone amp.

2.  Limited to PCM 192/24 to 44.1/16 for sound feed.

3.  Build quality is somewhat flimsy, might not be good for travel from one stationary location to another.

4.  Has only USB input.

 

 

Hugo Chord

Pros

1.  Has several digital inputs, USB, optical, coaxial, Bluetooth.

2.  Build quality is very good, built like a tank.  Will handle travel well.

3.  Handles CD quality feed extremely well along with compressed sound such as MP3, probably the best I've ever heard.

4.  Can handle all PCM data from 384/32 to MP3's, also can handle DSD.

5.  Headphone amp outputs are direct from the Hugo and are very good, even capable of driving bookshelf speakers without an additional amp.  Is portable with an eight hour life.

 

Negatives

1.  It's not cheap as a DAC only, but add in the other features and it's very reasonable.

2.  Some of it's inputs/outputs are difficult to match up to cables.

 

 

All being said, the Chord Hugo matches up to my needs very well and I'm glad I came across it before pulling the trigger on the Ciunas.  Of course everyone doesn't have the same needs as I and ears.  So a listen is highly recommended before making your own decision. 

Regardless the input options and features, I would like to know your rating of the overall sound quality of CIUNAS and Chord Hugo.

Say, if Chord Hugo scores 90 marks, how many would you give Ciunas?

post #555 of 595
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2222440 View Post
 

The ONLY AC power supply of my hifi system is the power amp, my laptop and DAC use batteries. I find there is no pre-amp needed, the software has done the job, that saves me from the interference of one more power cable and one more interconnect cable.  I tend to keep as less components as possible in the system, which allows more details can be forwarded to the speaker end.

 

One thing can be neglected by many people, that is you need to find out the best sounding USB port on your laptop. A laptop usually has 3 to 4 usb ports, the internal links of these ports are not even, usually the most direct port from the motherboard sounds the cleanest and with more music details. When transferring data, the data rates vary from different usb ports on the same laptop.

 

With all components properly looked after, when playing good recordings, say, most of the Chesky classicals, I find the amount of details conveyed by Ciunas are overwhelming and excessive.

 

I am surprised you can notice the difference between USB ports, especially considering you are applying digital volume control which means you are dithering down the original source signal... What are you using as a reference? Guess, I really have to start experimenting with my photo printer to see which USB ports gives better prints? :D

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