Any thoughts or impressions?
I picked this up here in Tokyo two weeks ago. I`m happy to share my impressions.
My DAC progression has been :
24/96 DAC throughput from very old, very high-end quad-dac Denon S10 CD player, then
TEAC UD-H01 (for 24/192 and something that doesn`t weigh 15kg), then
LUXMAN DA-06 (for DSD and to satisfy the obsessions, like having another thing weighing 15kg), then
So, it would seem a downgrade from the Luxman to the UD-301. However, after having the monster Luxman for 6 months, and enjoying it, I sat down for a no-compromise A/B session with the UD-H01, my iBasso DX50 line out, my HD800s, my custom-built tube headphone amp (Andix HPA45), my balanced Denon PMA-S1 amplifier and my Fostex speaker system (GX250). I unplugged my fridge, shut all the windows, turned off every fan, and played a whole series of what I consider some of the best recordings I have, comparing all the combinations I could. (I have a DIY mac mini music server feeding the DACs USB with Audirvana Plus and Fidelia. I was using my Macbook pro optical out to feed the DACs optical, also with Audirvana+. And about a terabyte of 24bit and DSD jazz, funk, techno-y things like Massive Attack)
The verdict was that there was an obvious difference to the sound through the Luxman, but I simply couldn`t decide if it was better or not. I`m reasonably confident the Luxman is less fatiguing. Even the LO of the DX50, through the Denon S1 amp into my speakers, and through the headphone amp into my HD800s, sounded dazzling, as did the Luxman and TEAC UD-H01.
The Luxman is pricey, and extremely popular here in Japan, regularly sold out, and so therefore very easy to pass along to my favorite used-audiophile shop (Afro Audio http://afroaudio.com/ ).
I was thinking about the Hugo, and then I stumbled on the new TEAC UD-301. Loved the look and feel of it (all metal), the connectivity, the DSD capability. I`m finally hearing 2.8 and 5.6 DSD out of my system: the Luxman could only do it with Windows/Asio drivers, not on Mac OS. I heard only the PCM conversion until the UD-301 (if my still - ongoing education into these matters is correct).
The new TEAC UD-301 has worked flawlessly with all three inputs connected (USB from MacMini, Coax from DX50, optical from MacbookPro) and all three outputs in use (balanced XLRs to the Denon S1 amp; SE RCA to the Andix heaphone amp; and my HD800 and Shure SE846 from the Teac`s headphone amp.) The headphone amp seems awesome: the HD800s sound full and smooth and the SE846 is dead silent, which is a joy because it`s hissy as hell out of my DX50. There is no sound at all shutting down or turning on the TEAC. Though it only has the power switch, imput selector and volume dial on the front panel (no display), with different combinations of push-and-hold you can adjust some settings like the upsampling functions, the power-sleep modes, etc. The TEAC has worked flawlessly with both my MacbookPro and MacMini installs of Audirvana+ and Fidelia (both programs running on both computers). The free-to-download TEAC player works but is quite limited and I don`t bother with it. Interestingly, the Luxman player looks to be the exact same software with just a differently branded UI.
I was not able to do any SQ A/Bing with the UD-301 versus the Luxman. The Luxman had about 14kgs more implementation hardware going on with its twin 1792s. It`s made by the maniacs at the Luxman corp here in Japan, my favorite audio maker, and I really wanted to love the DA-06 and have it as the centerpiece of my system (it is the DAC that makes the music, after all) In the end though, I realized I could do more for the quality of the sound I`m hearing by investing in acoustic room conditioning, and a Fostex subwoofer. The Teac UD-301 has not disappointed me at all. I heartily recommend it.
Wow, that was too long.
No, and I`d never heard of it. I missed it, somehow. I am not sure yet if the 301 does it.
Interesting discussion on it here: http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/pcm-to-dsd-upsampling-effects-objective-subjective.329071/
BTW the set of free samples from NativeDSD is amazing.
It sounds good to me, and I`m comparing it to the iBasso PB2 portable balanced amp and my 3 watt tube headphone amp. But according to the manual, it`s only rated at 100mW at 32 ohm, which means at 300 ohms it`s putting out very very little....(If i have that relationship right; I may be doing it backwards) Anyway, it sounds pretty fantastic to me with high res downloads and lossless CD rips, no streaming or mp3s. It also does this very cool thing where it has some kind of headphone protection circuitry : no pop when turning the unit on/off with the phones plugged in. And yesterday I accidentally plugged my HD800s in while the music was playing and the volume was up : it brought the sound in the headphones up gradually instead of a sudden blast.
I like the headphone amp section but to be honest I bought the 301 just for its DAC functionality : I have other amps that are my main drivers. I also bought it on impulse upon seeing it in a store. Before that I was planning to get one of the balanced dac/amps from audio gd. I have read some of your other comments about looking for a dac/amp combo and if I were you I would look at audio gd; I think their amps are probably better than the 301s and you have more options for DAC choices as well. I think I still may go the audio gd route in the future.