Grant Fidelity 24/192 TubeDAC-11 Digital to Analog Converter with Tube Output

General Information

It is a 5-in-1 unit: can be used as 1) external USB DAC for laptop through any output, 2) headphone amp, 3) tube processor for analog signal, 4) digital decoder for optical and coaxial signal, 5) pre-amplifier with volume control.

You can use it directly with your digital source such as laptop and music server and play music back through your existing amplifier or powered speakers. Or you can simply get a pair of high quality headphones and enjoy the music in private!


(5) sets of selectable inputs to allow you plenty of choices - including 2 sets RCA, 1 coaxial, 1 optical and 1 USB

(2) sets of RCA Outputs tailored to your taste - one with transistor and one with a single 6N11 vacuum tube (can be replaced with 6922, E88CC, 6DJ8, 6H23n and CCa tubes) with passive volume control

DAC direct output - by pass tube buffer stage and volume control for you to match the DAC with other high end amplification (amp must have its own volume control as DAC direct output pass signal at full volume)

Built-in transistor headphone amp to allow you enjoy music in privacy (standard 6.5mm jack). Alternatively, you can use a RCA to 6.5mm jack adapter to connect headphones directly to the rear tube output. Note: front solid state headphone out can accept headphone with impedance as low as 16ohm; rear tube out only work properly with headphones with impedance over 300 ohm.

Key parts are of audiophile quality throughout

High efficiency low noise custom toroidal transformer which is usually only used on high end audio

Separate power supply to tube circuitry to reduce interference

Gold coated signal connectors throughout

No over-samping - input singal pass through at original sampling rate

TE7022 USB 2.0 decoding chip is used to process data at 24/96kHz

High quality Cirrus Logic CS4398 for main D/A converter - provide rich mid-range and low clock jitter
ADA4075-2 as opamp for sweet midrange
Dual voltage (115/230V +/-10% wide range) for you to take it with you anywhere in the world
Brushed aluminum faceplate and complete casing

Complete set of cables included: (1) IEC power cord, (1) RCA, (1) Coaxial, (1) Optical and (1) USB

Latest reviews

Pros: neutral and smooth sound, fair power to drive various cans to IEs, good dac out
Cons: poor quality of included power cable, small vibration, some noise on volume
I use it with optical input and it is fantastic. The sound is quite neutral and can match with any sort of headphones and IEs. Through the USB input, the sound is less dynamic and microdetail is a bit inferior.
The tube get really hot if you turn it on for days, but you can take it away if you don't need it.
Included power cable didn't work at all. I got one with $3 at local store and it works fine.
After a year of use, the volume makes horrible noise as its rotating. Using some grease sorted out the problem.
Not recommended to plug in and out heavily with bulky plugs, such as Furutech.
When I touched it while it is working I felt very small vibration. I tried to get rid of it but I could not figure out what is the cause of that vibration. However I don't think it ruins the sound quality as far as I could perceive.
What do you mean by "small vibration?"
Pros: Buffer section allows full flavor of each tube, Multiple I/O's
Cons: None yet but remote would be nice

I don’t have access to demo equipment so I troll the forums and look for some user feedback pattern that jives with my personal preference sound wise.   Well my search for an entry level DAC, preferably tube based began Oct 2012.  A couple of the DAC's I looked at began with Maverick, Matrix mini-i, Matrix Quattro and others but the term tube is used loosely in entry level equipment. I started focusing in on a true vaccum tube buffered DAC made by Grant Fidelity called Tube DAC-11 pretty early that had all my requirements for a modest $350.  As I began cross-referencing reviews and forums it became obvious that for its price it could be a giant killer, giant killer in that it could compete with DAC’s in the $500-$750 range.  Since I had already selected my active monitors Adam A7x’s I thought the tube buffer would warm the neutral Ax’s nicely.  When I received the TD-11 I was impressed and thought it was a good match but since I don’t have a point of reference with other DAC’s I doubted giant killer status.  Once I had everything dialed in I was a happy camper.  Until I met a brother from another mother that convinced me that I had not scratched the surface of the TD-11’s capabilities until I begin tube rolling.  He started the ball rolling by sending me several tubes to begin the exercise of dialing in the tube to match my monitors.  The first tube I rolled was the Zaerix 7DJ8, which added clarity, controlled low end and airier sound over and above the very good Chinese tube, supplied by Grant.  The next was a Russian tube Voskhod “rocket” which had all the Zaerix benefits but also included a perfect balance from revealing high resolution, punchy mids and tightness in the bass region that had my head bobbin.  I was convinced this was the tube but my arm was twisted to continue the experiment and keep rolling.  The next was the Amperex Bugle Boy, which warmed up the sound beyond what my system was capable of balancing out.  I was not at all disappointed since I had the rocket waiting in the wings.  Via special delivery, I also rolled the very popular Amperex PQ white label O getter and the sound was excellent on a higher-end level but the synergy with my monitors was off in comparison.   The giant killer for my system was the combination of the Grant TD-11 with the rocket tube and even though I’m sure it gets better, but at what cost?  

I am now at the halfway point on my digital rig and looking forward to the next chapter that brings me closer to audiophile bliss!
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