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Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by magiccabbage, May 14, 2015.
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  1. DaveRedRef-III
    Vinyl will lose out on dynamics, I am pretty confident of that. Dave's handling of dynamics on that recording is exceptional.
  2. bacon333
    Thankfully I'm in-between jobs right now and had a bit of time haha. The Berkeley is amazing. If only it had that holographic touch...
    The final part of the review has been completed. Enjoy!
    Articnoise likes this.
  3. bacon333
    Yeah, I'm thinking it could be the Abyss...I'll find out soon.
  4. bacon333
    It sounds like it's a particular frequency being accentuated. It has this cringe-worthy metallic tinge. I also hear it with the Chord Hugo TT...but as mentioned, not with the Lumin or Berkeley.
  5. bacon333
    I've been thoroughly impressed with Shunyata's offerings. Their Alpha HC cable was the best power cable for the PS Audio P10. The best way to hear for yourself is to setup a borrow with Ethan at the Cable Company.
  6. JaZZ Contributor
    Does it sound like that?
  7. bacon333
    Yeah, huge believer in power cables now. I used to shrug them off as ridiculous...not anymore. I've heard the Furutech XLR Evolution II and they sounded great.
  8. romaz

    I want to thank Bacon for his in depth review, an ambitious and heroic effort that led to a truly enjoyable and enlightening read! Jay not only has a good ear but his consistently methodical approach makes his comments very credible and his review conveniently answered several questions for me. Jay and I share something in common, and it is both a blessing and a curse (maybe more curse) and that is we are both pathologically curious about things and we can't leave well enough alone but I think this is a curse probably shared by most audiophiles. If only I stopped listening to new things 10 DACs ago, I could be blissfully happy and also have a much fatter bank account...

    Regarding the importance of power, I agree wholeheartedly. Some would argue that it's more important than the source because without power, your have nothing. Before the DAVE, I had invested more than $25,000 in my power infrastructure if you include the cost of my Audience line conditioner, Son of Q balanced power supply, Furutech GTX wall receptacles, numerous mains cables, aftermarket linear power supplies, audiophile fuses, Entreq Poseidon grounding box, Entreq grounding cables, etc., and while some things made a bigger difference than others, with my previous system, the cumulative impact of all of these things was quite large. While Jay probably has very dirty mains power to warrant a more robust power setup, with the DAVE and compared to my TotalDAC, I have been able to sell off most of my power gear including my expensive Audience line conditioner and Entreq grounding equipment. In my environment, I have found the DAVE, even with its switching power supply, to be much more immune to the gremlins in my power line than my previous gear. I have held onto my Son of Q balanced power supply, because it's the one piece of equipment that seems to make the biggest difference to both my digital and analog gear but also my audiophile mains cables, with my Challenger AE15 digital mains cable which feeds the DAVE being my most important one. Especially with my Son of Q, my system is now dead silent, even my subwoofer hum is gone, and nothing sounds harsh nor do I suffer from the variations in SQ that I used to notice during different times in the day.

    Regarding the DAVE's immunity to source jitter and source RF, I have been in accord with Rob's personal findings for USB and digital optical sources because that is what my own blind testing had revealed to me in my system. Not that all sources sounded identical during my blind testing but that the differences were not large enough to warrant spending large sums of money for one over the other. It was for this reason that I sold off my CAD CAT, Aurender and several purpose built PC music servers. But today, while attending AXPONA (Audio Expo of North America) in Chicago, I heard something new, something different that has left me curious about whether a source could perhaps sound considerably better with the DAVE.

    Before today, all the music sources I have listened to with the DAVE have been through USB or optical. Even when I had the Aurender N10 around, I never bothered to test the AES/EBU connection mainly because I sold my high quality AES/EBU cables with my TotalDac. A few hours ago, I heard an Aurender N10 again but this time, I connected to my DAVE both with my $400 Curious USB cable (a cable I found to be superior to my TotalDac USB, AQ Diamond, Wireworld Platinum 7, Lightspeed USB and Synergistic Research USB SE) and also with a $4,200 Nordost Valhalla AES/EBU cable. This was the first time I heard my DAVE through the AES/EBU input and while I was expecting it to sound inferior based on Rob's findings, it made USB sound quite compressed in comparison. Without question, to the ears of all that were in the room, the N10 via AES/EBU to my DAVE sounded more open and more dynamic than USB which suggests either the USB port on this particular Aurender is faulty or AES/EBU with a really good cable could sound better than USB on the DAVE. Tomorrow, I will listen to this again with both an Aurender N10 and W20 but it has left me curious about this input which is supposedly very susceptible to noise.
    Aslshark likes this.
  9. rkt31
    @romaz, great you got rid of your surplus gear due to Dave. after getting Nikon d800 I also got rid of my other camera bodies and many lenses and now I am so happy with less photo gear. if I could afford Dave , I will keep it as minimal as possible just a source ( which can be a small Android ) Dave and amp with speakers and all furutech cabling .
  10. romaz

    I can relate to your photography analogy. My experience has been, unlike with previous DACs, that it doesn't take much to get really good sound from the DAVE but the DAVE can certainly be further refined.
  11. romaz
    AXPONA Day 1 - DAVE vs T+A DAC 8 DSD
    Much has been made about this DAC that upsamples to DSD512 on another forum.  I have made my comments on it before but I got the chance to directly A/B this DAC against the DAVE today using my HE-1000 + Silver Spore4.  It is a nice sounding DAC for $4k but my comments regarding this DAC against the DAVE stand.  It is closer in sound signature to the DirectStream that also upsamples to DSD but it is not in the same league as the Nagra HD which is much better and certainly not in the same league as the DAVE.  Using well recorded orchestral and jazz PCM and even native DSD, the DAVE was superior in every way.  Those who are saying this DAC sounds as good or better than the DAVE have probably not heard them side by side because there is no way I can imagine someone saying the T+A sounds better if they have compared them side by side.  In the words of the U.S. distributor:  "Well, your DAC should sound better, it's three times the cost."  That's true but that was never the point.
    Aslshark likes this.
  12. romaz
    AXPONA Day 1 - DAVE vs Mytek Brooklyn + MQA playback
    My opinion on this is uncertain because I couldn't do a direct A/B against the DAVE, however, with the Mytek Brooklyn, you can toggle MQA on and off and easily hear its effect and with a certain 24/192 MQA orchestral recording that I listened to, with MQA on compared to MQA off, it sounded better but it didn't have the holographic "you are there" presentation of the DAVE.  Right now, there are only 2 DACs that have MQA decoders built in (the Mytek Brooklyn + Meridian).  Rob has indicated he has no plans to incorporate an MQA decoder in his DACs but I am wondering if it is even necessary.
    Aslshark likes this.
  13. romaz

    AXPONA Day 1 - DAVE vs Ayre QB9 DSD and DAVE vs GSX Mk II

    Over at the HeadAmp booth, Peter was kind enough to allow me to directly compare my DAVE against his Ayre QB9 DSD DAC and against Justin Wilson's GSX Mk II headphone amp. At Tyll's Big Sound 2015, the GSX Mk II was my favorite headphone amp for the HE-1000. Compared to the DAVE's headphone output, the GSX Mk II has more gain although the DAVE easily has plenty of drive for this headphone so this extra gain is of no relevance. Without question, the palette of colors presented through the DAVE is richer, fuller and more vivid.

    Listening to the Stax SR009 paired with the BHSE and fed by the DAVE, the superior qualities of the DAVE compared to the Ayre were clearly evident to both Peter and myself. The SR009 sounded better than I have ever heard it (except maybe through Frank Cooter's 845 electrostatic amp that he built for Jude which was just otherworldly). When directly compared against the HE1000, their is a clarity with the Stax that the HE1000 will never match and for some types of acoustical music, the Stax will ways be better. If only electrostatics had better bass!
    Aslshark likes this.
  14. lojay
    Interesting stuff Roy. Did you find the depth or front-back layering of the SR009 improve with the DAVE (notwithstanding the show conditions)?
    I have placed an order for the DAVE and will be expecting it late April. My office rig will be as follows:
    Headphones: Stax SR009 / Hifiman HE1000 / Sennheiser HD800 (Anax 2.5 mod) 
    Amp: DIY T2 with Telefunken E88CC and Holland metal base EL34
    Source and DAC: Weiss INT204 DDC / desktop PC -> Chord DAVE / MSB Analog with custom Volent power supply / Schitt Yggdrasil 
    Power conditioning: Discrete 20A power lines -> Furutech GTX-D(R) receptacle -> Shunyata Triton V1 -> Shunyata Ztron Python (for DACs) / Shunyata Sigma Analog (for amps)
    Ideally, I would pare everything down to the source -> Chord DAVE -> HE1000 / SR009 via DIYT2. 
  15. TheAttorney
    A lot of interesting information coming from bacon and romaz. It's hard to get definitive conclusions out of all this, and no reason why it necessarily should be easy. E.g. bacon thought his P10 power regenerator had a significant impact, whereas romaz has sold off most of his power conditioning components as being redundant.
    The strangest part for me was why the cross-feed setting should matter so much when comparing digital inputs. Personally, I found the cross-feed (and HF Filter)  settings to be very subtle and slightly perferred both to be left off (admittedly in quite short comparisons).
    To me, it seems like the term "YMMV" still applies to DAVE, just not necessarily in the same way, or to the same level, as it does to other DACs.
    As power supply considerations do seem to be important, I couldn't see in the HFN internal photo of DAVE that there was a fuse anywhere in it's power input section. So it's either well hidden or DAVE uses some more sophisticated form of power protection? 
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