Eastern Electric MiniMax Dac

General Information

The latest product to join Eastern Electric's MiniMax range is the new Tube DAC. The Tube DAC is all about customization. Both tube and solid-state output stages are present - selectable by a button on the front panel. D-to-A conversion is via the popular ESS 9018 Sabre DAC. The 12AU7 tube is externally accessible for easy tube rolling, and the op amps are socketed and can also be replaced with upgrades.

Latest reviews

Pros: Sabre detail without the harshness, full customizable to suit your individual system
Cons: original $750 version no longer made, new version better but a bit more expensive
There's really no point in me writing a review, as I concur with the more professional reviews written below. A huge range of people have spent hundreds of hours combined with this dac, and found it to best significantly more expensive items like the Anedio and Metric Halo.  Obviously, your mileage may vary, but the knockdown giant-killer feature of this dac is, for me, the customizablity that no other top-level dac offers.  For those who say that tubes are simply not as good as solid state or discrete, let me simply remind readers that the Level 4 Lampizator and the Killer Dac, both $4000+ dacs widely regarded as the absolute best, money no object dacs, both use tubes.  'nuff said.  
But the point is, you don't have to use the tube.  You can modify the sound to suit a dark setup, a light setup, and anything in between - and better, you can switch as your system changes without having to sell everything off.  
I a-b'd this against a wide range of dacs in its price range, and came away convinced that - even stock - this beat them all.  Modified, it beats them all well and away. They're built like tanks - think classic McIntosh equipment -  so will likely last many, many years.  Grab a used one while you can.
Pros: tube output stage really ices the cake. Every input choice in existance, exceptional quality, great setup
Cons: tube rolling requires a screwdriver
I'll keep this short.  I used this DAC with my Thunderpants orthos, and a Cavalli CTH amp, hooked to my WIN7 64 bit computer.  The sound was pristine.  I had upgraded from another Dac - Keces 151 MKII (about $300) and the sound quality increase was more noticable than i thought it would be.
I dont have lots experience with dacs, but this DAC just sounded really great.  having the option to go true solid state, or true tube output at the touch of a button was really nice.  I left the tube on at all times.  it simply sounded noticably  better - fuller and richer.
I dont feel this dac colored the sound, it simply allowed more of the richness and purity to come through.. thats the best way i can describe it.  I would liken it to buying a better pair of headphones.. the sound was simply more true to life than before. 
I would be willing to bet that one would have to spend thousands to outdo this sound, and the diminishing returns would probably be a big factor. 
construction, looks, and build quality are all better than average on this Dac.  all the pieces, casing, knobs, buttons, feel really solid, and accurately fitted together.. like a BMW..  it just feels like a very precisely build piece of professional equipment.  I also really like the finish on the metal.. you can barely see it in this photo, and i dont know what its called, but it looks really sharp.  Its like if metal had a wood grain..
you cant see them, but the dac also has some very fine aluminum and rubber feet. a nice touch.
I would agree with the glowing review that 6moons gave this dac.  Its a winner!


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