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CHORD ELECTRONICS DAVE

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by magiccabbage, May 14, 2015.
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  1. bacon333
    Thank you for the compliments and I'm glad the review inspired change and experimentation in your own system.
     
    1) The BNC output of the Lumin S1 is superb and worked wonderfully with other DACs (MSB Analog, La Scala, etc). It's only with the DAVE/TT I found the BNC input to be inferior to the optical/USB.
    2) Completely agree. From my experience, the P10 did a fantastic job of isolation, even with headphone amps attached to the high-current ports. Some say the P10 sucks the dynamics and low-end out of the sound but after plenty of A/B'ing, it helped my setup enormously. Night & day.
     
  2. bacon333
    Much appreciated Beolab! Great ears hear alike! :p I'll be getting a DHC Complement 4 very soon.
     
  3. bacon333
    Completely agree. The JPS didn't sound quite right but could be fun with some recordings. Still quite detailed and artificially energetic. The Shunyata, just lush and truthful. Personally, I believe the difference in price is worth it. I'm going to have to revisit the Shunyata vs Challenger AE15 in the upcoming months.
     
  4. rgs9200m
    Just curious Bacon (if you have experience in these) you consider the TT a champ in the under $10K DAC category. (And do others here feel that is true? And not necessarily the best, but up there with them.)
     
  5. metalboss
    Hope it’s not too much of an off topic to ask our vast community to compare DAVE with Simaudio 780D DAC (http://www.soundstagehifi.com/index.php/equipment-reviews/951-moon-by-simaudio-evolution-780d-digital-to-analog-converter)
     
  6. ecwl
    So my local Simaudio dealer has the 780D hooked up to the 740P preamp and 860A amplifier with Dynaudio Excite X44. I was unable to do any comparisons so feel free to take my comments with a grain of salt. But I can say that, to me, all Sabre DACs has a slight harshness to them that the Chord DACs don't have. That harshness makes certain instruments sound brighter than real-life and affects the timbre of the instruments. Because all products are very high-performing nowadays (even cheaper products like the $350 Resonessence Herus), these subtle differences are often not immediately appreciated and you almost need specific tracks that you're super familiar with to hear the difference at first. But once identified, it's very clear that Chord DACs just produce piano, violin or guitar sounds more realistically with more accurate timbre. So while the 780D has lots of details, a super low noise floor, good dimensionality in the setup I heard, the slightly unnatural timbre and slightly off timing/transients are audible and not comparable to Chord DAVE.
     
    I see that you own Simaudio 430HA with a DAC and you also own the Mojo. The problem with Mojo is that if you're not connecting it via Toslink or to a cellphone with LTE off and preferably WiFi off, the injected RF noise from your source's USB/digital coaxial output is going to dramatically lower the performance of the Mojo and mask the advantage that the Mojo has over most Sabre DACs setup. If you get a chance, you should really try to compare the Mojo in its optimal setting (Toslink input) vs the Simaudio 430HA with its internal DAC driving a headphone that Mojo can handle. I think it's much easier to have someone point out what to listen for and then for you to listen to it.
     
    metalboss likes this.
  7. metalboss
    Thanks for the brief input man, appreciated...
     
    Anyone has more to share pls...
     
    [​IMG]
     
  8. shuttlepod
    Another question for you, Bacon, if you don't mind:
     
    I'm a little confused after reading your description of the effect of changing crossfeed settings on DAVE with the Lumin and laptop as sources. First, you state that, using the crossfeed 0 setting, you found the Lumin to be more transparent, more holographic, with a more quiet background. But you still found the laptop's USB feed to DAVE to be more natural and musical. Based on that description, I think I would opt for "natural and musical" (and save a lot of money by using a relatively inexpensive computer vs. a Lumin). 
     
    But then you found the following with the crossfeed set at 3: 
     
    However, with Crossfeed 3 enabled…the differences were subtle. Almost like the data from the optical and USB is shaped into the same output stream when Crossfeed 3 is activated. I don’t know for sure but this is what I’ve concluded from my listening (I’m sure Rob Watts could chime in). I don’t hear any immediate difference from optical or USB only if Crossfeed 3 is used. To be clear, there are differences, but they aren’t noticeable unlike Crossfeed 0.
     
    In Crossfeed 0, the USB just sounds more natural and musical but lacks a bit of depth. It still sounds like it as a deep soundstage until you compare it directly with the Lumin. On Crossfeed 3, the Lumin kills the USB. From a technical standpoint. The Lumin has more of the holographic sound but isn’t really accurate or faithful until Crossfeed 3 is activated. You almost get the best of both worlds in Crossfeed 3 with the Lumin S1.
     
    Here's where I'm confused. You first state that differences were "subtle" with crossfeed 3 and you did not hear any immediate difference between optical (Lumin) and USB (laptop). But you follow that up with "On Crossfeed 3, the Lumin kills the USB."  I'm confused. Is the Lumin much better than the laptop on crossfeed 3, or are the differences "subtle"? You seem to articulate completely opposing thoughts in these sentences. Am I missing something or are we just failing to communicate?
     
    I guess I'm also surprised, like The Attorney, that a crossfeed setting would make a significant difference with different sources. When I switched crossfeed settings in my own two-week audition of the DAVE, I found the differences to be very subtle (this was using a single source). Not sure why this would change with different sources. 
     
    Once again, Bacon, I appreciate all the work you've done here and find your evaluation to be very useful.
     
  9. ecwl
    Since shuttlepod brought this up, I'm going to add to this some more for Roy (Romaz) and Bacon. As you know, my recent discovery is that if I have something plugged into my BNC input of the DAVE, the RF/ground noise from that source always adversely affect the sonic output from DAVE (to varying degrees), even if I'm playing off USB or Toslink. I'm guessing when Roy and Bacon tested Chord DAVE, when they were comparing USB vs XLR, I presume the XLR and USB cables are both plugged in at the same time so that you can easily switch between the two inputs.
     
    But if my theory is correct, there in lies the problem. With that kind of setup, when you're listening to XLR, you're just listening to the XLR signal + possibly the noise pollution from the XLR. But when you're listening to USB, you're listening to the USB + the noise pollution from the XLR. Now how would that affect the sound, obviously, I'm not sure. But I think to genuinely confirm that XLR is superior to USB, you actually need to unplug the XLR cable when you're listening to USB. Otherwise, maybe the performance of the USB is degraded simply by the noise coming from the XLR.
     
    Jawed likes this.
  10. shuttlepod
     
    Hi Roy--
     
    You are really doing some yeoman work, inserting the DAVE into many different systems and comparisons and sharing your findings with us. It is much appreciated as we learn more about DAVE and other dacs. Perhaps your most interesting observation concerns the AES/EBU input of the DAVE. If you can duplicate this with a different Aurender (the W20) at today's show, then it obviously suggests that Rob's position that USB is the best input may not always be true. That would be pretty surprising. If that is the case, then it begs a number of other questions, one of which would be whether you need a very expensive source like an Aurender to achieve this feat or whether a fairly simple conversion device might do the trick. 
     
    With the Schiit Yggy, for example, there are people who use a Yellowtec PUC2 Lite to convert a USB signal to AES/EBU for around $500. See http://stereotimes.com/post/yellowtec-puc2-lite-usb-converter/. A device like this might sound inferior to the AES output of an Aurender for any number of reasons, but the price differential alone would demand a comparison. You sounded pretty confident in your statement that USB sounded "quite compressed" to the AES input (and you were corroborated by the other listeners).
     
    Looking forward to your further thoughts on this subject, Roy.
     
     
  11. izzard1982

    I still have the Yellowtec which I was using with Yggy before getting DAVE, I did a brief comparison and didn't find it better than USB, I can retest it again in the next couple of days to see if I can find anything new.
     
  12. shuttlepod

    Much appreciated, izzard.
     
  13. rkt31
    can't say about Dave as I don't have it but I have found USB input to be better in mojo than coaxial by a good margin. but the difference is apparent after about an hour of playing . I think by then mojo fully warms up. sound through is lot more confident and punchy and less sibilance in vocals ( those recordings having bright vocals already ) may be it is due asynchronous data transfer .
     
  14. romaz

    I'm not a Devialet guy so I can't really comment but I am a Magico guy and I very much enjoyed the S5 Mark II that I heard today driven by these tube monobloc monstrosities. I'm always left wondering when I hear something special what the DAVE would add to the mix but since they were using reel to reel, this was not one of those situations where I felt comfortable introducing them to DAVE.

    image.jpg
     
  15. romaz

    Yes, you're absolutely right and I just learned this. Like I said, I'm not a Devialet guy and so this is foreign territory for me but I confirmed today that all incoming analog signals are converted by an internal ADC to digital before a Texas Instruments DAC chip converts to analog once again. The process is obviously transparent enough where it was easy to discern the difference between the DAVE, the turntable and the Aurender being fed directly to the internal DAC of the Devialet but to have to go through two D/A conversions makes little sense to me. As it turns out, the Devialet converts all incoming analog signals to 24/192. What I heard yesterday sounded very good but as I stated, they couldn't provide me any real challenging tracks to play. It is physically a very attractive system but probably not the best way to go if you will be using an outboard DAC like the DAVE.
     
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