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REVIEW: Firestone Audio Tobby DAC - Page 4

post #46 of 117

Nice review!

 

Though, no comparison to Anedio :) You say that X-Sabre and Tobby are on the same technical level and earlier you mentioned that D2 outclasses X-Sabre, so it outclasses Tobby too?

post #47 of 117

Nice review!

Though, no comparison to Anedio :) You say that X-Sabre and Tobby are on the same technical level and earlier you mentioned that D2 outclasses X-Sabre, so it outclasses Tobby too?

post #48 of 117
Thread Starter 

remilio - yes, I still find the D2 to be a better DAC, for my tastes anyway. Tobby and X-Sabre are not that far behind though, which is rather impressive. 

post #49 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

remilio - yes, I still find the D2 to be a better DAC, for my tastes anyway. Tobby and X-Sabre are not that far behind though, which is rather impressive. 

Yep, but don't forget about high quality amp built in anedio ;) Thanks for the answer and sorry for triple ^_^ post, the forum was kinda lagging when I wrote it.

post #50 of 117

I'm having a little trouble getting this to work through USB. The driver installs but in the device manager it just keeps showing as "This device cannot start." And there is a yellow exclamation mark next to the device on the Device manager. Are there any special drivers that I need to install?

post #51 of 117
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EraserXIV View Post

I'm having a little trouble getting this to work through USB. The driver installs but in the device manager it just keeps showing as "This device cannot start." And there is a yellow exclamation mark next to the device on the Device manager. Are there any special drivers that I need to install?

Did you download the driver from Firestone and install that? Windows will always try, then fail, for 24/192 capable DACs like this. So far your experience sounds normal for someone who hasn't installed the actual drivers. The disc might have come in the box, I don't recall - I always go to the website for the latest version.
post #52 of 117

Yeah you're right. The issue was that Firestone has a couple websites and I couldn't find it on the first couple that I found on Google. The drivers can be found here for those looking in the future: http://www.firestone-audio.com/fsa_services/fsa_services_driverdownload.html

post #53 of 117
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EraserXIV View Post

Yeah you're right. The issue was that Firestone has a couple websites and I couldn't find it on the first couple that I found on Google. The drivers can be found here for those looking in the future: http://www.firestone-audio.com/fsa_services/fsa_services_driverdownload.html

 

Agreed - it's kind of confusing. The USA site and EU site seem different from the one you linked to, which as far as I can tell is the "main" company website. Thanks for posting the link though. 

post #54 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post  Agreed - it's kind of confusing. The USA site and EU site seem different from the one you linked to, which as far as I can tell is the "main" company website. Thanks for posting the link though. 


I'll try to ask FSA what the latest version of the Tobby driver is, and where it's best downloaded from when I get a chance.

post #55 of 117

I had some time to listen to the Tobby. Just initial impressions so things may change, but I'm impressed so far. I think it is fair to say that this is pretty neutral, though I don't know if I would go as far as saying it is "analytical" because those have a lot of negative connotations that go along with it. Yes, the Tobby leans towards a more neutral and detailed sound, but is definitely not clinical.

 

There is a great sense of space and airiness that I was looking for in a DAC and that I felt the D100 I had before wasn't able to completely deliver. The D100 was a great unit and definitely an awesome value, but the sound was a bit too forward for my liking at times. The Tobby manages to be detailed and spacious without coming off as clinical; I did not detect any sibilance and the sound maintains a smooth natural character. I was afraid that there wouldn't be enough bass, but listening to some contemporary tracks quickly confirmed that my fears were unfounded. There isn't any coloration, but if the original recording calls for bass, you won't be disappointed.

 

This is kind of splitting hairs and more of an issue of personal preference, but if I had to pick at something I might bring up the mids. I kind of have a soft spot for forward and liquid mids (e.g. the RE262) and the Tobby doesn't deliver this. To be honest, this is probably a good thing since that means there isn't any coloration, but in my personal preference I wouldn't have minded if the mids were just a tad more forward. Splitting hairs, yes, but I'll get used to it and it's probably something that I can, and should, tweak with tube rolling.

 

If you're part of the camp that believes a DAC shouldn't color the sound then you should probably give the Tobby a good hard look.

The cherry on top would be if Firestone could somehow implement DSD through a future firmware update since the XMOS USB input should be capable (oh and not to mention, the USB implementation for PCM has been flawless so far).

post #56 of 117
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EraserXIV View Post

I had some time to listen to the Tobby. Just initial impressions so things may change, but I'm impressed so far. I think it is fair to say that this is pretty neutral, though I don't know if I would go as far as saying it is "analytical" because those have a lot of negative connotations that go along with it. Yes, the Tobby leans towards a more neutral and detailed sound, but is definitely not clinical.

 

There is a great sense of space and airiness that I was looking for in a DAC and that I felt the D100 I had before wasn't able to completely deliver. The D100 was a great unit and definitely an awesome value, but the sound was a bit too forward for my liking at times. The Tobby manages to be detailed and spacious without coming off as clinical; I did not detect any sibilance and the sound maintains a smooth natural character. I was afraid that there wouldn't be enough bass, but listening to some contemporary tracks quickly confirmed that my fears were unfounded. There isn't any coloration, but if the original recording calls for bass, you won't be disappointed.

 

This is kind of splitting hairs and more of an issue of personal preference, but if I had to pick at something I might bring up the mids. I kind of have a soft spot for forward and liquid mids (e.g. the RE262) and the Tobby doesn't deliver this. To be honest, this is probably a good thing since that means there isn't any coloration, but in my personal preference I wouldn't have minded if the mids were just a tad more forward. Splitting hairs, yes, but I'll get used to it and it's probably something that I can, and should, tweak with tube rolling.

 

If you're part of the camp that believes a DAC shouldn't color the sound then you should probably give the Tobby a good hard look.

The cherry on top would be if Firestone could somehow implement DSD through a future firmware update since the XMOS USB input should be capable (oh and not to mention, the USB implementation for PCM has been flawless so far).

 

Awesome post - thanks! Maybe I wasn't clear enough in calling the "analytical" aspect of the Tobby a minor character trait... sorry if I made you expect some super detailed, cold, boring thing. Because as you've now discovered, this DAC is not like that. But I understand what you mean about the liquid mids - tube rolling - and maybe opamp rolling in the Tobby - could be the answer.

post #57 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

Awesome post - thanks! Maybe I wasn't clear enough in calling the "analytical" aspect of the Tobby a minor character trait... sorry if I made you expect some super detailed, cold, boring thing. Because as you've now discovered, this DAC is not like that. But I understand what you mean about the liquid mids - tube rolling - and maybe opamp rolling in the Tobby - could be the answer.

 

No don't worry, you made it pretty clear in your review that this is anything BUT "analytical and clinical". I just wanted to drive that point home for others who may have had second thoughts about it.

 

I wouldn't have actually bought it if I was expecting it to be extremely cold, detailed, and boring. Thing about DACs is that the differences can be quite small and when you attach certain words to it, it's very easy for it to be lost in translation and blown out of proportion, especially on forums. Happens quite often on head-fi with not only DACs, but also headphones, amps, etc.


Edited by EraserXIV - 6/2/13 at 9:07pm
post #58 of 117
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EraserXIV View Post

 

No don't worry, you made it pretty clear in your review that this is anything BUT "analytical and clinical". I just wanted to drive that point home for others who may have had second thoughts about it.

 

I wouldn't have actually bought it if I was expecting it to be extremely cold, detailed, and boring. Thing about DACs is that the differences can be quite small and when you attach certain words to it, it's very easy for it to be lost in translation and blown out of proportion, especially on forums. Happens quite often on head-fi with not only DACs, but also headphones, amps, etc.

 

Agreed! We focus on these minor differences, because we are really into this stuff. But ultimately the differences are not huge in a lot of cases. 

post #59 of 117

John:

I always enjoy your reviews. You have a very nice writing style: clean accessible, not too wordy yet plenty of color and detail. I also appreciate the balanced, even-handed manner you bring to subjective reviewing. Thanks for another fine effort.  Jeffrey

post #60 of 117
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffreyfranz View Post

John:

I always enjoy your reviews. You have a very nice writing style: clean accessible, not too wordy yet plenty of color and detail. I also appreciate the balanced, even-handed manner you bring to subjective reviewing. Thanks for another fine effort.  Jeffrey

 

Thank you sir!

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