Maverick Audio TubeMagic D1

Average User Rating:
4.46667/5,
  1. uelover
    5.0/5,
    "Mav D1 DAC Experience"
    Pros - Extremely Value for Money
    Cons - Not the best that money can buy (who cares)
    This small little desktop dac+headamp+source switcher is one of the single most useful and value for money items out there.
     
    It is a huge leap forward in sound quality for people who currently uses onboard pc sound or low-end cd/dvd/blu-ray players as well as a convenient one stop portal to connect every sources you have to a single output point (acting like an audio receiver).
     
    Couldn't have more complain with this beautiful looking unit.
     
    Only thing I hope for is a possible DAC chip upgrade option for potential audiophile looking for a small and beautiful desktop dac/headamp and are willing to pay a little more.
     
    Clearly, this DAC pale in comparison to the big brother of DA11, Benchmark DAC as well as PS Audio which could cost up to 10 times Maverick D1's price.
     
    But for an entry price of USD199, you get a decent sounding DAC that rivals that of Zero/Citypulse/Cambridge DACMagic.
     
    Reason for me giving only 4 stars to SQ is because this is not the best that money can buy. [​IMG]
     
    Couldn't be more satisfied with this purchase.
  2. lepel
    5.0/5,
    "My First DAC"
    Pros - Multi Function
    Cons - Headphone always on , i must unplug when not use
    this is my 1st DAC  ( for me like First love never die   )

    is open my ear , how enjoy sound quality

    i like the multi function

    price is cheap , perfomance is good

    overall i very happy to have it
  3. s0126471
    4.0/5,
    "Maverick Audio TubeMagic D1"
    Pros - Lots of inputs, simple design
    Cons - too minimalistic? only one phono input
    I've been playing around with the D1 for a few days now, and I must admit, its pretty good.
     
    The large number of input possibilities (Optical, Coax, Analog in) as well as the built in USB DAC at this price makes it a very good value-for-money (if not a bargain) buy. The tube pre-amp is also a nice touch.
     
    Considering that Maverick audio do sell these as a 'Desktop mini series', I only use mine in association with a computer and some bookshelf speakers (with the purchase of the D1 companion, the Tubemagic A1). I can see people using this as a 'mini standalone speaker system' though, and it does have the tools to do a (entry level) job.
     
    The design looks solid. The dials are fine and its intuitive to use, although I would have prefered a small white hyphen '-' as the indicator (instead of a thin cut out) as it will give better indication of what volume and source you are choosing. One other niggle I have is that when choosing the source, I'd loved it if it had a small LED indicator instead of a printed on hyphen '-'. It would be easier to see what source you are using.
     
    The bypass button is really useful. When its not pushed on, you can use the volume dial (and the headphone out) to adjust volume. When it is pushed on, you can adjust the volume on the device you connect to this.
     
    All in all, if you are looking for an entry level (and cheap) multi-function DAC, you have to put this on your shortlist.
  4. middachten
    4.0/5,
    "Good value, great versatility, pleasant sound"
    Pros - Great connection options, flexible modding options, good sound
    Cons - Slightly lacking detail in HF
     
    After following the discussion on this forum for a few weeks I decided to go for the D1. I've input from many of you to be very helpful. Thanks for that!
     
    I was looking for an amp/dac that could for the time being replace my TC-electronic Konnekt D24. I haven't read much about this device around here. For me it has been a reliable and high quality work horse in my private project studio. But since I wanted to start streaming audio to my main system in the living room, I've abused this DAC/amp for that.... I have a Philips NP2900 with the digital output connected to the DAC. The last few months I am using the Konnekt more and more in my studio/rehearsal room. And decided to move it back there.
     
    I believe that audio streaming on a real High-End level is only just starting to develop (I've heard the Naim Uniti in my system and wasn't impressed. So I want to wait some time until this technology gets more mature. And work with something on a significant lower budget in the mean while. 
    My specs: I wanted a simple black box with a volume control, a straightforward input selector, analog AND digital input and preferably a good headphone output to drive my AKG K271, Shure E3c and a few lesser headphone specimens lying around in my house. Oh yes, it would be great if it could drive my DUSON A10 poweramp and my STAX SRM-1 to[​IMG]
     
    Well, the D1 is 'just what the doctor prescribed' in terms of inputs/outputs/selection/volume control. But does it deliver the sound quality? 
     
    My music taste ranges from a broad spectrum of classical music (Bach to Strawinsky), Blues, Jazz, Rock and once in a while some straightforward pop music. Some albums I've always used for listening sessions are:
    - Jenifer Warnes - Famous Blue Raincoat
    - Sara K. - Hobo
    - Haitink/Ashkenazy - Brahms 2nd pianoconcerto on DECCA
    - Herreweghe - Bach Matthaus Passion on Harmonia Mundi
    - Roger Waters - Amused to Death
    - Pink Floyd - Delicate Sound of Thunder
    - (?) - Jazz at the Pawnshop 
    - Van Morrison - It's to late to stop now (live)
    (yes I know, Im getting old[​IMG])
     
    I've mainly based this review on listening trough the following setup:
    NP2900(digital out) > D1 > DUSON A10 > Epos M22i
     
    My initial impressions (out of the box):
    A pleasant sounding dac-preamp that delivered smooth highs, fluid mids and reasonably good bass extention. But I found it to seriously lack depth and detail. The tube output gave a slightly more 'open' sound, but not really more detail in mid and high. The bass on the tube output was less focussed and tight.
    After a few days the mids improved a bit, they became more open an detailed. The bass seemed slightly more tight (best noticeable on the Roger Waters CD). On the tube output the difference was bigger and more apparent. There was a clear extention of the bass response and the midrange opened-up seriously. A much deeper and wider soundfield. But still I found details (in particular on the classical CD's) lacking. The good news was that I didn't find any clear flaw either (no boomy bass, no nasal mids, no shreeking HF).
    Compared to the Konnekt D24 It was an easy choice: the Konnekt is much better in terms of HF detail, soundstage and bass extention.
     
    After lots of reading on this forum I had become quite interested in experimenting with OpAmp rolling..... I had two options available for the line-out: OPA627 and OPA249. BTW I did the gain reduction mod imedeatly after I had played the first songs. I couldn't do more than 2-3 clicks and had some L-R balance problems in that range of the potmeter.
     
    After having played around with both OpAmps for at least a week I've come to the following conclusions compared to the original LF:
    OPA627: more open midrange, better soundstage and 'smooth' overall character
    OPA249: better bass extention and control, much better soundstage and more detailed mids and highs. More forward overall character without sounding harsh (great positioning of Jenifer Warnes and Sara K. 's voices).
    The difference in both cases was way more significant than the difference that burning-in made.
     
     
    The D1 did not have any problem driving my AKG and Shure head/ear-phones. Plenty of power available. The Stax was an entirely different story. I found out that I have been spoiled by the Wadia 860 that I use to own (I sold it 2 years ago to finance some pro-audio stuff for my studio....) The Stax is the most revealing piece of equipment in my house at this moment. And I found the combination with the D1 in its original shape uninspiring. After the upgrade with the OPA249 it became more acceptable. But I decided to move the Stax to my studio and wait until I've found a real high-end solution for audio streaming to my main system.
     
    Still, compared to the Konnekt I'm not entirely convinced. The midrange of the D1 is more fluid and open. The highs on the Konnekt are more detailed, without getting harsh. On the other hand, the D1 provides me with a much better usability for my system in the living room. So, for the time being, I'm a happy user of this DAC/Amp!
     
    Albert Jochems
  5. _Spanky_
    5.0/5,
    "Excellent beginner unit"
    Pros - source selection, swappable opamps, upgradeable tube
    I'll make this a short review and just make several points.
     
    - Excellent unit for beginners. You can use it so many ways, it's really an all-in-one.
    - Build quality is great, I haven't heard of any dead units. Some minor problems here and there but they are quickly resolved.
    - Superb support from the company. Fast and helpful emails.
    - Upgrade and resale potential. You can use this as a DAC and amp and down the road get a nice tube amp hooked up to the tube pre-amp outputs on this device. Swapping the tube and opamps also upgrades the unit. I think resale value should be good due to the flexibility of the unit.
    - I'm not disappointed with the sound quality of the unit but I only have a $60 portable cmoy amp and a computer sound card to compare it to.
     
    Bottom line is it's an excellent product for the money backed by some of the best customer support I've seen from a company.
    bpandbass and BigCabDaddy like this.