CHORD ELECTRONICS DAVE
May 6, 2016 at 3:01 AM Post #2,806 of 20,241

paulchiu

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May 6, 2016 at 12:31 PM Post #2,808 of 20,241

paulchiu

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We're at the 10th hours of operation.
 
Some early findings. (Safety, shielding, etc) 
DAVE runs at a warm 82F but emits the lowest EMI/EMF among my elite DACs. Less than 1 milligauss. Previously, that was the MSB Plat 4 at >2. Nagra at 2.5.  While the others were measured at 6 inches, the DAVE (see photo) is on the machine.
At 6 inches, absolutely no EMI/EMF readings.  What can be ascertain is that there will be no ill effects audio-wise from EMI/EMF.  In terms of organic tissue effects, anything under 3 is safe.
 

 
 
Source sensitivity
Early runs with Macbook Pro running Audirvana Plus and JRiver Media Center had the DAVE display going on and off constantly.  This was at first alarming as my previous uber DACs were less sensitive.  So, I turn off my Linux and Parallels emulators and ran just OSX-10.11.4.  Still, in some DSD128 plays.  occasional stops (display on/off) occur.  Only when I played with parameters within Audirvana and Media Center did the play became more consistent.
 
Could it be that the DAVE requires an Uber dedicated server or transport?
 
Can someone share their detail settings for Audirvana Pkus 3.4 and JRiver Media Center 21 for their DAVE here?
Thank you.
 
DAVE display
Is the text a tad pixelated?  I thought at last year's high-end show that the fonts appeared smoother? Or was that a mistaken memory.....
My Display option 4 was also going off much faster than the 30 seconds stated in the user manual.  Is this adjustable?
In headphone use, can you change the display option?
 
Early, really early prognosis
Definitely smoother, more detail with wider dynamic range than the Chord Hugo.  More musical and fun sounding than Moon 430 HAD.
Cannot ascertain how DAVE compares with MSB or Nagra at this point.  Have to iron out the source issues first.
Also, AQ Diamond (solid silver) USB has issues with DAVE.  Had to use Curious Cables USB.
Waiting for Mapleshade Clearlink Optical Cable to compare 192K.  Hoping that may provide a cleaner run.
 
Paul
 
May 6, 2016 at 2:54 PM Post #2,809 of 20,241

JaZZ

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Hi Paul
 
I'm glad you finally got it!
 
Display mode can only be changed with no headphone plugged in. In turn crossfeed is only available with a headphone plugged in.
 
You're desribing the display going off and on constantly (but not the sound, as it seems). That's normal: As soon as you change the settings, even volume, it will turn off for a second a few seconds later. So it has nothing to do with an instable signal.
 
I don't remember the manual, but my display shuts off after about 15 seconds in mode 4. – Yes, it's a bit pixelated.
 
May 6, 2016 at 3:08 PM Post #2,810 of 20,241

paulchiu

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  Hi Paul
 
I'm glad you finally got it!
 
Display mode can only be changed with no headphone plugged in. In turn crossfeed is only available with a headphone plugged in.
 
You're desribing the display going off and on constantly (but not the sound, as it seems). That's normal: As soon as you change the settings, even volume, it will turn off for a second a few seconds later. So it has nothing to do with an instable signal.
 
I don't remember the manual, but my display shuts off after about 15 seconds in mode 4. – Yes, it's a bit pixelated.

 
Thank you Marcel,
This confirms mine is working normally.  The display pops on whenever there is disk I/O and other computer functions.  These interfere the DAVE when using software players like Audirvana and Media Center.  Seems to be only during high-bit play, which requires more computer resources.
44.1khz files play smoothly without drama.
 
But it is with DSD128 that I sense the DAVE shines. Much more clarity and separation with complex 2.8mhz files.
 
trying to find the best Audirvana Plus and JRiver Media Center settings for the DAVE.
 
Paul
 
May 7, 2016 at 2:18 AM Post #2,811 of 20,241

rkt31

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@paulchiu, blue coast records has Fiona joy signature solos in native dsd128 converted from original master tapes. believe me you won't find a better piano recording than this. also the music is very good too. you can play this music all day long .
 
May 7, 2016 at 4:23 AM Post #2,815 of 20,241

lojay

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Immediate thoughts (under 1 hour):
1. I prefer the T2/SR009 to the HE1000 connected directly to the DAVE. 
 
2. Compared the DAVE to MSB Analog via AES (this allows me to AB the DACs in under 5 seconds). My T2/SR009 has opened up in terms of the clarity, stage depth and width compared to the MSB Analog. The Analog sounds flat, compressed, congested and hazy in comparison. I have not conducted a blind test / volume matched test but the difference is obvious. While I made sure the DAVE was less loud than the MSB, the details are still clearer on the DAVE.
 
3. I prefer connecting DAVE through AES (Weiss INT204 / NBS AES cable) than USB to my workplace computer. The problem is with the source (Weiss vs. workhorse computer) rather than the mode of connection.
 
May 7, 2016 at 5:01 AM Post #2,816 of 20,241

romaz

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Congrats, Jason!  I like how you've hidden everything behind your monitors.  Very stealth!  
 
Thanks for sharing your post.  Obviously, the DAVE should only get better with more hours of use.  I believe you're the first to directly A/B against the Analog on this thread and I think that will be of interest to some.
 
May 7, 2016 at 5:19 AM Post #2,817 of 20,241

lojay

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  Congrats, Jason!  I like how you've hidden everything behind your monitors.  Very stealth!  
 
Thanks for sharing your post.  Obviously, the DAVE should only get better with more hours of use.  I believe you're the first to directly A/B against the Analog on this thread and I think that will be of interest to some.

 
Thanks Roy. The DAVE is the DAC I have been looking for. In fact, it totally exceeded my expectations. I thought that the strength of the DAVE lies in better front to back layering of instruments in a live recording. Turns out that on top of that, there is an unexpected uncanny ability to depict the space and air in between the front instruments and back instruments that is awe inspiring. I have never quite heard anything like it.
 
In comparison, the sonic cues on the MSB Analog are not only less spread out, there is none of the space and air between front and back row instruments. This is quite obvious in say the 10th anniversary Les Miserables recording. Things sound more two-dimensional on the MSB. But then I do not have the Quad USB module so I have not heard the MSB sound its best. I doubt I will get the module to compare with the DAVE, though, because I have heard that the module will make the treble sound more tipped-up and sibilant. 
 
If I were to nit-pick, the only issue with the DAVE is it is tuned to sound exciting and engaging. The DAVE is not sibilant or a treble-maniac, but the forward and engaging nature may be fatiguing for long periods of listening. Perhaps that is the Chord house sound, as you mentioned in your comparison of the DAVE with the Total DAC monoblocks. However, the impressive bit is that because the DAVE is so clear sounding and detailed, it sounds magnificent in low volumes where other DACs will sound bland. 
 
I like my setup - hiding all the audio "mess" behind the monitors. I hope my monitors and work computer will not cause too much RF interference with the audio system. They are connected to a different mains supply, whereas the audio system is connected to an independent 20A mains supply through a Furutech GTX -G receptacle and Shunyata Triton V1 (Shunyata Zitron Python, Alpha HC and Sigma Analog PCs throughout).
 
May 7, 2016 at 5:58 AM Post #2,818 of 20,241

paulchiu

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I like my setup - hiding all the audio "mess" behind the monitors. I hope my monitors and work computer will not cause too much RF interference with the audio system. They are connected to a different mains supply, whereas the audio system is connected to an independent 20A mains supply through a Furutech GTX -G receptacle and Shunyata Triton V1 (Shunyata Zitron Python, Alpha HC and Sigma Analog PCs throughout).

 
There actually is more than just RF interference between devices to consider.  Something that can affect sound is the EMI (electromagnetic interference) caused by EMF (..fields) among various electric devices.  EMF from monitors can be quite high as they are rarely well shielded to counter that field, possibly degrading other components' signal transfer function.  Proper shielding in monitors adds bulk and cost.
 
There are various devices that reduce, redirect or even transform EMF fields from causing EMI with quality audio equipment.  One such device is the Shakti stones.  Frankly, the simply solution is to avoid having high EMF devices in the first place and if possible, separate those with high emission from other equipment.
 
I can say for certain that the DAVE is nearly zero EMF, which is tops among my DACs.  Chord did not cut cost in shielding their transformers and use the finest materials.  It is probably best to ascertain whether your monitor emits high EMF or not.  If they do, move them away from the other equipment.
 
Paul
 
May 7, 2016 at 6:04 AM Post #2,819 of 20,241

lojay

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There actually is more than just RF interference between devices to consider.  Something that can affect sound is the EMI (electromagnetic interference) caused by EMF (..fields) among various electric devices.  EMF from monitors can be quite high as they are rarely well shielded to counter that field, possibly degrading other components' signal transfer function.  Proper shielding in monitors adds bulk and cost.
 
There are various devices that reduce, redirect or even transform EMF fields from causing EMI with quality audio equipment.  One such device is the Shakti stones.  Frankly, the simply solution is to avoid having high EMF devices in the first place and if possible, separate those with high emission from other equipment.
 
I can say for certain that the DAVE is nearly zero EMF, which is tops among my DACs.  Chord did not cut cost in shielding their transformers and use the finest materials.  It is probably best to ascertain whether your monitor emits high EMF or not.  If they do, move them away from the other equipment.
 
Paul

 
Thanks Paul. Will simply turning off the monitors and unplugging them work? That would leave the only device giving out EMI my computer, which I could get rid of once I find an optimal source or server to feed the DAVE.
How are you finding the DAVE compared to your MSB and Nagra?
 
May 7, 2016 at 6:25 AM Post #2,820 of 20,241

paulchiu

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Thanks Paul. Will simply turning off the monitors and unplugging them work? That would leave the only device giving out EMI my computer, which I could get rid of once I find an optimal source or server to feed the DAVE.
How are you finding the DAVE compared to your MSB and Nagra?

 
Yes!  Once the monitors are unplugged, you are safe.
In fact, you may want to A/B with an on/off to the monitor to see if you can pick up something with your headphones.  With something as revealing as the DAVE, you will hear it if those monitors are not shielded for EMF.
 
After the first 12 hours of operation, the DAVE reached 85F and I let it rest for the day.  Like you said, the DAVE is very musical.  The instruments are well defined and things like lips parting and audience noise were heard in the Jazz at the Pawnshop HIDEF download.  I did have trouble with my MBP feeding 2.8mhz files running Audirvana.
I am trying different settings and deleting some work programs to allow for more cache for the player.
Both MSB 4 and Nagra HD seemed more forgiving but I did not tried such high bits files when in my early days with those DACs.
Now, they play very smoothly, but they are into the thousands of hours.  They each have their set microcosms.
 
I have not tried really good headphones with the DAVE.  Been using an AKG K814, which I like as it is rather neutral.    
So have not experience the great imaging I read about.
I plan to do that with HD800S, HE1000 and SR009 after 200 hours or so.
 
 
 
Paul
 

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