CHORD ELECTRONICS DAVE
Feb 21, 2022 at 11:05 PM Post #19,246 of 22,763

Drewligarchy

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Have a small conundrum and wondering if any one has experience in this area with the Dave specifically or another setup.

I am starting to demo speakers for a two channel setup I am hoping to build - and was hoping to use the Lumin U1 > Dave/Mscaler > Wave Cables/Opto Dx - all the optimizations I've made to it as the digital front end. Problem is, the way my room is situated I can't really move my headphone setup to where the speakers would be - so I'm looking at a long cable run if I were to do it: probably 25-50 feet (though closer to 25), of balanced interconnects running from the Dave to an integrated amp.

The dealer I'm working with said the Dave XLR output could drive up to 100 feet of XLR cable no problem. This dealer is well-known and widely respected, and it's in his financial interest to sell me another DAC, so I'm inclined to believe him. Still I'm looking for others experiences. I know the depth of soundstage the Dave/Mscaler combo create is fragile - so I don't want to lose that. Has anyone done really long interconnect runs with the Dave - or a preamp or other DAC - with balanced interconnects? The setup creates a few other problems from a convenience perspective but all is workable. My question is related to sound quality alone. I don't want to roll off the high frequencies with excessive capacitance. More worried about that than noise due to running balanced.

From a cable perspective, this leaves me with few choices - I'd likely have to go with something like Mogami, or another pro oriented cable. They are completely flat - which is fine with me - and very low capacitance cable can be obtained, I believe. In the future, I may be able to further optimize this setup - but I'm trying to determine if it makes sense to try and use the Dave with this 2 channel system, or build another system from the ground up - in the long run. Obviously it saves a bunch of money, and money is an object - so I'm not going to be able to get something as high end as the Dave/Mscaler at least to start, if I don't use it..

I know general wisdom is to keep interconnects as short as possible, but obviously in the pro world, they use 100 of feet of interconnects. I was suprised this dealer came back with the recommendation that he did which has made me consider it more as a potential option. He definitely knows his stuff.
 
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Feb 22, 2022 at 1:59 AM Post #19,247 of 22,763

Triode User

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Have a small conundrum and wondering if any one has experience in this area with the Dave specifically or another setup.

I am starting to demo speakers for a two channel setup I am hoping to build - and was hoping to use the Lumin U1 > Dave/Mscaler > Wave Cables/Opto Dx - all the optimizations I've made to it as the digital front end. Problem is, the way my room is situated I can't really move my headphone setup to where the speakers would be - so I'm looking at a long cable run if I were to do it: probably 25-50 feet (though closer to 25), of balanced interconnects running from the Dave to an integrated amp.

The dealer I'm working with said the Dave XLR output could drive up to 100 feet of XLR cable no problem. This dealer is well-known and widely respected, and it's in his financial interest to sell me another DAC, so I'm inclined to believe him. Still I'm looking for others experiences. I know the depth of soundstage the Dave/Mscaler combo create is fragile - so I don't want to lose that. Has anyone done really long interconnect runs with the Dave - or a preamp or other DAC - with balanced interconnects? The setup creates a few other problems from a convenience perspective but all is workable. My question is related to sound quality alone. I don't want to roll off the high frequencies with excessive capacitance. More worried about that than noise due to running balanced.

From a cable perspective, this leaves me with few choices - I'd likely have to go with something like Mogami, or another pro oriented cable. They are completely flat - which is fine with me - and very low capacitance cable can be obtained, I believe. In the future, I may be able to further optimize this setup - but I'm trying to determine if it makes sense to try and use the Dave with this 2 channel system, or build another system from the ground up - in the long run. Obviously it saves a bunch of money, and money is an object - so I'm not going to be able to get something as high end as the Dave/Mscaler at least to start, if I don't use it..

I know general wisdom is to keep interconnects as short as possible, but obviously in the pro world, they use 100 of feet of interconnects. I was suprised this dealer came back with the recommendation that he did which has made me consider it more as a potential option. He definitely knows his stuff.
Are you therefore contemplating having a power amplifier local to your speakers and which would be connected to the Dave by the 25ft approx pair of balanced interconnects to the Dave? (You could of course use active speakers each with their own built in amplifier as an alternative).

If that is what you are considering then I would agree with your dealer that it should be feasible. I myself often use Belden 8760 XLR cables from the Dave to the amplifier or active speakers. This is a pro cable with a screened twisted pair and I prefer the sound of this compared to star quad configuration. In pro installation terms your cable run is relatively short and so the extra noise rejection of the star quad is probably not required in any case. A cable such as the Belden 8760 hardly costs anything so it would be an easy and cheap experiment to try it in your proposed reconfigured system whilst you demo speakers at home. Or just take the long cables plus your Dave to the dealer if that is where you are trying the speakers.
 
Feb 22, 2022 at 7:34 AM Post #19,248 of 22,763

Drewligarchy

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Are you therefore contemplating having a power amplifier local to your speakers and which would be connected to the Dave by the 25ft approx pair of balanced interconnects to the Dave? (You could of course use active speakers each with their own built in amplifier as an alternative).

If that is what you are considering then I would agree with your dealer that it should be feasible. I myself often use Belden 8760 XLR cables from the Dave to the amplifier or active speakers. This is a pro cable with a screened twisted pair and I prefer the sound of this compared to star quad configuration. In pro installation terms your cable run is relatively short and so the extra noise rejection of the star quad is probably not required in any case. A cable such as the Belden 8760 hardly costs anything so it would be an easy and cheap experiment to try it in your proposed reconfigured system whilst you demo speakers at home. Or just take the long cables plus your Dave to the dealer if that is where you are trying the speakers.

Yes - that's exactly what I'm proposing. I'm demoing speakers / amplifiers now - so haven't picked any. But was deciding if I need to get another DAC. Thanks Nick. Looking at Harbeth, Spendor, Graham, etc. I currently am using KEF LS50w - and I like that type of sound. I demoed a pair of Harbeth's years ago, and can't get the sound out of my head. The SHL5+ might be the sweet spot for my room.
 
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Feb 22, 2022 at 7:56 AM Post #19,249 of 22,763

ecwl

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Yes - that's exactly what I'm proposing. I'm demoing speakers / amplifiers now - so haven't picked any. But was deciding if I need to get another DAC. Thanks Nick. Looking at Harbeth, Spendor, Graham, etc. I currently am using KEF LS50w - and I like that type of sound. I demoed a pair of Harbeth's years ago, and can't get the sound out of my head. The SHL5+ might be the sweet spot for my room.
I agree with @Triode User that running long XLR cables wouldn't be an issue. I don't do this at home but my dealer sometimes does at his store and I never noticed an issue for his demos.
The bigger issue is that you mentioned you wanted to pair DAVE with an integrated amplifier? I think most of us prefer DAVE direct into a power amplifier. You would only really want an integrated amplifier if you're going to have a turntable or other analog inputs into your speaker system as DAVE's volume control is generally more transparent. That said, there are the small minority of users who prefer DAVE with a preamplifier. In fact, the soundstage depth you like would probably be diminished if you put any preamp in front of it which is why I think you should use DAVE to directly drive a power amplifier.
I also have to admit I'm not a big fan of the Harbeth or Graham sound but I do enjoy KEF. I just worry that paired with a transparent power amplifier, DAVE+amp+Harbeth would sound a little too bright/harsh, compared to your KEF. But then I can also see how DAVE+class A amp+Harbeth could sound very nice. You have an infinite combination to try so enjoy the demos. If you don't find anything you like at your regular dealer, you can always take your DAVE to another store to demo their gear...
 
Feb 22, 2022 at 9:44 AM Post #19,250 of 22,763

Drewligarchy

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I agree with @Triode User that running long XLR cables wouldn't be an issue. I don't do this at home but my dealer sometimes does at his store and I never noticed an issue for his demos.
The bigger issue is that you mentioned you wanted to pair DAVE with an integrated amplifier? I think most of us prefer DAVE direct into a power amplifier. You would only really want an integrated amplifier if you're going to have a turntable or other analog inputs into your speaker system as DAVE's volume control is generally more transparent. That said, there are the small minority of users who prefer DAVE with a preamplifier. In fact, the soundstage depth you like would probably be diminished if you put any preamp in front of it which is why I think you should use DAVE to directly drive a power amplifier.
I also have to admit I'm not a big fan of the Harbeth or Graham sound but I do enjoy KEF. I just worry that paired with a transparent power amplifier, DAVE+amp+Harbeth would sound a little too bright/harsh, compared to your KEF. But then I can also see how DAVE+class A amp+Harbeth could sound very nice. You have an infinite combination to try so enjoy the demos. If you don't find anything you like at your regular dealer, you can always take your DAVE to another store to demo their gear...

That may be true, and I'd consider it as well. I am looking at some end game integrated amps like the gryphon diablo 120. It's more of a convenience issue. The speakers will be used with the TV as well, and it will be a PITA to use the Dave with the TV, based on where it's located and using RF remotes etc. Looking at convenience for the rest of the family as well.

What I was thinking of doing was either getting the integrated dac in the gryphon, or a more economical option - a Qutest - to grab the toslink signal from the tv, and send it to the integrated via RCA. This way, I can use the integrated as a hub for both TV and music. Qutest is on all the time, so when you want to watch TV, you just turn on the integrated and your off. When I want to listen to music, I pull the Dave out of standby on DAC mode - and can use the volume control on the integrated to listen to music via Roon. I just change the input.

I am not incredibly concerned about the loss of transparency - though I'd like to minimize it. I use the Dave with a Woo Wa33 and Enleum Amp 23r, and since headphone amps are basically tiny integrateds - the signal is running through the volume control on each. Both sound fantastic. I'd obviously like the best sound I can possibly get, but trying to find the best compromise between convenience and sound quality. The other option is to get a second DAC - was looking at something like a Weiss 501 or a Lumin P1, which by all reports are very good; but it seems silly to spend so much on a DAC when I already have a better digital front end that I've invested a lot in. That money can go into speakers/amps. I am not super concerned about using the Dave with Music/Movies - and favor convenience for that. For music, I want the best digital front end possible.

I have some time because I'm still in the early stages of demoing speakers / amps. But thank you for the advice.
 
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Feb 22, 2022 at 12:36 PM Post #19,251 of 22,763

ecwl

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That may be true, and I'd consider it as well. I am looking at some end game integrated amps like the gryphon diablo 120. It's more of a convenience issue. The speakers will be used with the TV as well, and it will be a PITA to use the Dave with the TV, based on where it's located and using RF remotes etc. Looking at convenience for the rest of the family as well.

What I was thinking of doing was either getting the integrated dac in the gryphon, or a more economical option - a Qutest - to grab the toslink signal from the tv, and send it to the integrated via RCA. This way, I can use the integrated as a hub for both TV and music. Qutest is on all the time, so when you want to watch TV, you just turn on the integrated and your off. When I want to listen to music, I pull the Dave out of standby on DAC mode - and can use the volume control on the integrated to listen to music via Roon. I just change the input.

I am not incredibly concerned about the loss of transparency - though I'd like to minimize it. I use the Dave with a Woo Wa33 and Enleum Amp 23r, and since headphone amps are basically tiny integrateds - the signal is running through the volume control on each. Both sound fantastic. I'd obviously like the best sound I can possibly get, but trying to find the best compromise between convenience and sound quality. The other option is to get a second DAC - was looking at something like a Weiss 501 or a Lumin P1, which by all reports are very good; but it seems silly to spend so much on a DAC when I already have a better digital front end that I've invested a lot in. That money can go into speakers/amps. I am not super concerned about using the Dave with Music/Movies - and favor convenience for that. For music, I want the best digital front end possible.

I have some time because I'm still in the early stages of demoing speakers / amps. But thank you for the advice.
Ah. The TV. Now it all makes sense why your dealer suggested you just buy a new system with DAC for that space.
Now I'm a bit curious, if you do end up with an integrated DAC+amp in the TV room, how would you stream music to the DAC+amp? I'm not sufficiently familiar with Lumin to know what your options are.

But based on everything that you describe and what sounds like you're willing to pay, I think your plan of Gryphon Diablo 120 + Harbeth and long XLR from DAVE to Gryphon is a great plan. I think you'll love it. And for the TV, it probably has a 3.5mm headphone/line out jack. I would just use that to connect to the Gryphon to start with. The issue with using a Chord DAC with TVs is that A/V sync may or may not be an issue. I've been very lucky that A/V sync is not an issue for me. But any long tap length filter can potentially delay the audio excessively, depending on what TV mode you're in. Of course, with a short tap length DAC, you may also have A/V sync issues. Moreover, some over the air TV content inherently has A/V sync issues. That's why I think you should simplify your purchase decision for now by getting integrated amp+speakers and just plan on hooking up the TV via the 3.5mm jack. You can always explore a DAC upgrade for the TV in the future. I think you'll be surprised by how good the TV already sounds even with the cheap DAC from TV to your amp+speakers.
 
Feb 22, 2022 at 1:07 PM Post #19,252 of 22,763

Drewligarchy

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Ah. The TV. Now it all makes sense why your dealer suggested you just buy a new system with DAC for that space.
Now I'm a bit curious, if you do end up with an integrated DAC+amp in the TV room, how would you stream music to the DAC+amp? I'm not sufficiently familiar with Lumin to know what your options are.

But based on everything that you describe and what sounds like you're willing to pay, I think your plan of Gryphon Diablo 120 + Harbeth and long XLR from DAVE to Gryphon is a great plan. I think you'll love it. And for the TV, it probably has a 3.5mm headphone/line out jack. I would just use that to connect to the Gryphon to start with. The issue with using a Chord DAC with TVs is that A/V sync may or may not be an issue. I've been very lucky that A/V sync is not an issue for me. But any long tap length filter can potentially delay the audio excessively, depending on what TV mode you're in. Of course, with a short tap length DAC, you may also have A/V sync issues. Moreover, some over the air TV content inherently has A/V sync issues. That's why I think you should simplify your purchase decision for now by getting integrated amp+speakers and just plan on hooking up the TV via the 3.5mm jack. You can always explore a DAC upgrade for the TV in the future. I think you'll be surprised by how good the TV already sounds even with the cheap DAC from TV to your amp+speakers.

That's all good advice. The dealer actually recommended I don't buy a DAC, and use the Dave with the XLR run. He said nothing in my price range would be nearly as good (he's also where I got the Dave/Mscaler from).

I was the one questioning whether I should buy a DAC for the TV. The TV is the PITA. Right now I have optical running from the TV directly into the KEFLS50W and it works great. I figured even a modest dac would improve on the sound, but you are right about AV sync. I have a Hugo 2, so what I may try is that connected to the KEFs analog inputs to see if there is any delay. If there is not, I'd imagine I'm ok with the Qutest.

In terms of streaming music, I'm using Roon entirely. With the current Lumin U1 > Dave/Mscaler, it's already connected to ethernet - so it's a Roon ready endpoint.

If I did a standalone DAC for the speakers, I'd either get something like a Weiss 501, that is a roon ready endpoint and has a streamer built in, or use my old Auralic Aries Femto as a roon endpoint to stream to a DAC without network functions.

The Lumin U1 is a network streamer only, and in my opinion it's quite good. It sounds better to me via USB to the Mscaler/Dave than optical from my Auralic Aries Femto - which I didn't think should happen. The Lumin was smoother - despite the electrical connection - and a bit more detailed at the same time. So I didn't pick up any of the hallmarks of RFI. Running the XLRs to the amp is probably the best option.
 
Feb 22, 2022 at 4:27 PM Post #19,253 of 22,763

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Feb 22, 2022 at 4:33 PM Post #19,254 of 22,763

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That's all good advice. The dealer actually recommended I don't buy a DAC, and use the Dave with the XLR run. He said nothing in my price range would be nearly as good (he's also where I got the Dave/Mscaler from).

I was the one questioning whether I should buy a DAC for the TV. The TV is the PITA. Right now I have optical running from the TV directly into the KEFLS50W and it works great. I figured even a modest dac would improve on the sound, but you are right about AV sync. I have a Hugo 2, so what I may try is that connected to the KEFs analog inputs to see if there is any delay. If there is not, I'd imagine I'm ok with the Qutest.

In terms of streaming music, I'm using Roon entirely. With the current Lumin U1 > Dave/Mscaler, it's already connected to ethernet - so it's a Roon ready endpoint.

If I did a standalone DAC for the speakers, I'd either get something like a Weiss 501, that is a roon ready endpoint and has a streamer built in, or use my old Auralic Aries Femto as a roon endpoint to stream to a DAC without network functions.

The Lumin U1 is a network streamer only, and in my opinion it's quite good. It sounds better to me via USB to the Mscaler/Dave than optical from my Auralic Aries Femto - which I didn't think should happen. The Lumin was smoother - despite the electrical connection - and a bit more detailed at the same time. So I didn't pick up any of the hallmarks of RFI. Running the XLRs to the amp is probably the best option.

Another idea. Since you have more or less decided on using long XLR's, have you considered
using a long optical cable from the TV back to the Dave?

I don't know about Dave but I use the M Scaler and TT2 and while there is too much delay
with the M Scaler, even in video mode, connecting my TV to the TT2 works really well.
That's something you could try first. I.e. connecting the TV to Dave and if it works out
you can buy 'just' a good power amplifier and have a simple but very good setup.
 
Feb 22, 2022 at 6:30 PM Post #19,255 of 22,763

Drewligarchy

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Another idea. Since you have more or less decided on using long XLR's, have you considered
using a long optical cable from the TV back to the Dave?

I don't know about Dave but I use the M Scaler and TT2 and while there is too much delay
with the M Scaler, even in video mode, connecting my TV to the TT2 works really well.
That's something you could try first. I.e. connecting the TV to Dave and if it works out
you can buy 'just' a good power amplifier and have a simple but very good setup.

I have thought about this. What I'd probably have to do is convert the toslink to digital coax for the distance - and I bet it would work. The issue is, every time you turn on the tv you have to turn on the dave (which is behind the listening position), switch inputs - and I'd need some RF remote solution. I think I am not that concerned enough about sound quality from TV to do it - at least not at first. Still I'd tried my Hugo 2 and it worked a treat - so I bet a Qutest for TV would be fast and easy: on all the time, it's only job is to convert Toslink to analog for the integrated. Turn on the TV and the amp - and I'm in.
 
Feb 22, 2022 at 7:42 PM Post #19,256 of 22,763

N Quarter

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The speakers will be used with the TV as well, and it will be a PITA to use the Dave with the TV, based on where it's located and using RF remotes etc. Looking at convenience for the rest of the family as well.
Take a look at the Lumin P1,leave the Dave where it is.I am hoping to demo one next month.
 
Feb 22, 2022 at 7:55 PM Post #19,257 of 22,763

Drewligarchy

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Take a look at the Lumin P1,leave the Dave where it is.I am hoping to demo one next month.

I was reading about the P1 - very intriguing, and nice that it has HDMI inputs so you can make it the hub of an entertainment and music setup. I have the U1 and love it. I think Lumin makes really high quality gear. That said, it's $10k for a device which likely won't match the abilities of my current digital front end. Leaning toward doing a long XLR cable run and using the Lumin U1 > Dave/Mscaler combo. My Dave is fully optimized as well short of a Sean Jacobs Power Supply. I have both Wave cables and Opto DX, an excellent streamer in the U1, and all plugged into to a PS Audio P12 - which I have found makes a definite impact. If I could use the Dave without a reduction in sound quality from a relatively long XLR cable run, it makes sense to try to. More of the money can go into speakers and amplifiers - and I already have a world-class digital front end, which I love.
 
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Feb 22, 2022 at 9:35 PM Post #19,258 of 22,763

N Quarter

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Maybe it will match your current front end. It is getting rave reviews,latest and greatest tech. I am looking to eliminate some boxes,yet up the sound quality and the P1 might be the answer for me.My gear is right in front of my TV though,no need for long cables.
 
Feb 23, 2022 at 10:48 AM Post #19,259 of 22,763

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Hi,
i am waiting for my Dave next week to come and want to use it with my abyss 1266 Phi. My abyss cable have 2x 3 pin output (right an left). My question. Can I use abyss plugged in to Dave xlr output (I have an xlr/xlr adapter) or do I have to use jack output at the front of Dave?
 
Feb 23, 2022 at 11:02 AM Post #19,260 of 22,763

Drewligarchy

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Hi,
i am waiting for my Dave next week to come and want to use it with my abyss 1266 Phi. My abyss cable have 2x 3 pin output (right an left). My question. Can I use abyss plugged in to Dave xlr output (I have an xlr/xlr adapter) or do I have to use jack output at the front of Dave?

No - It's designed to prevent that (others can elaborate on the reasoning) - but it won't work.

I have a dual XLR > quarter inch with furutech connectors I got from Moon Audio. While no adapter is preferable it sounds great to me. Extremely well built and not too expensive. Of course, while you can get by with the power the Dave has - and it beats all else in transparency - for the Abyss, most prefer an external amp.
 

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