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CHORD ELECTRONICS DAVE

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by magiccabbage, May 14, 2015.
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  1. romaz
    That's right.  Very few pure CD transports output in USB.  The Esoteric certainly doesn't.  It is generally some form of SPDIF (optical or digital coax) and with the DAVE, it has already been well established that optical is superior to digital coax and even AES/EBU.  Optical has the advantage of complete ground noise isolation and so passage of RF noise from the source is not an issue here.  Historically, the issue with optical is jitter but as we know, the DAVE is completely immune to source jitter to a level of 2us.  Then, there is the issue of mechanical noise but probably not an issue for most modern transports.
     
    Late last year, my Chord dealer and I did a blind test between 2 CD transports he had on hand that we connected via optical to the DAVE.  We used a 1 minute segment from Mahler's 9th symphony as a test track.  One was a $500 Cambridge Audio unit and the other was a $19,000 Wadia.  While there were very subtle differences between the two, they were not enough to make a difference in terms of which transport we would choose even if both units cost the same.  We would have been happy with either.
     
  2. romaz
    The first amp is supposed to come out next year although I think Rob's immediate priority might be the ADC.
     
  3. esimms86

    I wonder if Rob or John have said anything about a price point for the amp(not that they are necessarily planning to build to a price point).
     
  4. miketlse
     
    The TToby is available for pre-order at the moment, so I suspect ensuring a smooth entry-into-service for that is the immediate short term goal. 
     
  5. Music2move

    Hi Romaz,  
     
    Thank you sincerely for your sharing of your extensive experience, truly perceptive and illustrates how far you have travelled in this immersive ( ?obsessive ?) hobby/pursuit of ours. Re para 3, couldn't agree more, we all get the sense of being fodder for the industry, constantly being encouraged/ exhorted to upgrade and move onto the latest development .  My own search has originally been based on first-hand auditions and subsequent purchases, with own personal $$$s, but lately this availability to "try before you buy" has become almost impossible ( fewer dealers, fewer demo units, higher aspirations of equipment,  time, etc ).
     
    Owned and loved in their time: Chord DAC64, then Chord QBD76 ( nonHD ) together w Chord BLU CD transport and Esoteric X-03, then Soulution 540 CD/SACD, and then been lucky to acquire EMM Labs XDS1v2 (Nov 2014, current 2015-2016 specification incl. MDAT2 )  AND separately Nagra HD DAC ( within same time-frame) and both were purchased with trade-ins and own personal $$$s.  Actually very happy with these 2 sources, and have NAD M50 acting as a streaming source.  Have found each DAC ( EMM, Nagra ) lovely , sometimes one illustrates different flavours to enhance the music presentation in a more "live" natural way as per concert venue, smaller recital hall, church or record venue.  Prefer HP listening slightly more often from Luxman p700u HA  ( fed from either EMM Labs XDS1v2 direct or via Nagra HD DAC thru Synergistic Research Element CTS Digital AES/EBU XLR ),  as Luxman HA is balanced, output from it is  DHC Silver Complement balanced cord ( definitely beautiful open and natural sound ) into Enigma Dharma HP,  though Nagra HP direct to HD800 via Moon Silver Dragon v3 also musical rich and " denser" sometimes : might be the cabling and balanced nature of theHA, and  psychoacoustic experience/expectation ?,  as much as the DAC, HP.  Both HPs and Luxman were auditioned then bought, the EMM Labs XDS1v2 and Nagra HD DAC were bought un-auditioned  after lots of research. 
     
    So , my curiosity about Chord DAVE has been piqued, especially by comments by PaulChiu and iSquirrel, especially as I previously liked the presentation of my prior Chord DACs and BLU transport ( despite reliability issues ). As experience has taught, cannot always rely on audition first, nor of course from just reading and asking extensively, so intelligent guess-work and luck and "gamble" all  play increasing importance in " destination " purchase(s), especially as our ears and auditory nerves only get older and somewhat frailer.
     
    Recently, found upstream power cable change made a substantial difference to all source and pre/power components ( Synergistic Research Atmosphere level4 PC to SR Powercell UEF and Preamp and power amp each ), even just to the Powercell UEF feeding the established/prior SR Element CTS digital PCs to source components. So, agree "everything matters " in this game..
     
    Much appreciate your thoughts , am definitely interested in DAVE for both main system and HP listening , Cheers M2m
     
  6. analogmusic
    hello I am in USA, but could not make it to the New York City Dealer to audition DAVE. 
     
    Does anyone know if I can audition Dave somewhere near Dublin, California where I will be staying for the next week?
     
    Cheers
     
  7. Music2move

    Hi Paul,
     
    I read your comment with great interest, especially as am interested in Chord DAVE, and also have Nagra HD DAC. Below I enclose my comments to Romaz,...and wondering how your experience btw Nagra HD DAC and Chord DAVE for both 2-channel big system and for HP listening have panned out over time.
     
    Hi Romaz,  
     
    Thank you sincerely for your sharing of your extensive experience, truly perceptive and illustrates how far you have travelled in this immersive ( ?obsessive ?) hobby/pursuit of ours. Re para 3, couldn't agree more, we all get the sense of being fodder for the industry, constantly being encouraged/ exhorted to upgrade and move onto the latest development .  My own search has originally been based on first-hand auditions and subsequent purchases, with own personal $$$s, but lately this availability to "try before you buy" has become almost impossible ( fewer dealers, fewer demo units, higher aspirations of equipment,  time, etc ).
     
    Owned and loved in their time: Chord DAC64, then Chord QBD76 ( nonHD ) together w Chord BLU CD transport and Esoteric X-03, then Soulution 540 CD/SACD, and then been lucky to acquire EMM Labs XDS1v2 (Nov 2014, current 2015-2016 specification incl. MDAT2 )  AND separately Nagra HD DAC ( within same time-frame) and both were purchased with trade-ins and own personal $$$s.  Actually very happy with these 2 sources, and have NAD M50 acting as a streaming source.  Have found each DAC ( EMM, Nagra ) lovely , sometimes one illustrates different flavours to enhance the music presentation in a more "live" natural way as per concert venue, smaller recital hall, church or record venue.  Prefer HP listening slightly more often from Luxman p700u HA  ( fed from either EMM Labs XDS1v2 direct or via Nagra HD DAC thru Synergistic Research Element CTS Digital AES/EBU XLR ),  as Luxman HA is balanced, output from it is  DHC Silver Complement balanced cord ( definitely beautiful open and natural sound ) into Enigma Dharma HP,  though Nagra HP direct to HD800 via Moon Silver Dragon v3 also musical rich and " denser" sometimes : might be the cabling and balanced nature of theHA, and  psychoacoustic experience/expectation ?,  as much as the DAC, HP.  Both HPs and Luxman were auditioned then bought, the EMM Labs XDS1v2 and Nagra HD DAC were bought un-auditioned  after lots of research. 
     
    So , my curiosity about Chord DAVE has been piqued, especially by comments by PaulChiu and iSquirrel, especially as I previously liked the presentation of my prior Chord DACs and BLU transport ( despite reliability issues ). As experience has taught, cannot always rely on audition first, nor of course from just reading and asking extensively, so intelligent guess-work and luck and "gamble" all  play increasing importance in " destination " purchase(s), especially as our ears and auditory nerves only get older and somewhat frailer.
     
    Recently, found upstream power cable change made a substantial difference to all source and pre/power components ( Synergistic Research Atmosphere level4 PC to SR Powercell UEF and Preamp and power amp each ), even just to the Powercell UEF feeding the established/prior SR Element CTS digital PCs to source components. So, agree "everything matters " in this game..
     
    Much appreciate your thoughts , 
     
    Very much appreciate your thoughts also Paul, hopefully you can place my listening environment into perspective and come up with your comment.  Cheers , M2m
     
  8. romaz

    The Chord dealer in San Francisco is Audio Vision SF.  Ask for Antonio Long, he is very knowledgeable about this DAC and will provide you with a wonderful demo at your leisure using a variety of headphones (including the HE-1000, Abyss, Dharma D1000) or speakers.  He has other DACs and high-end CD players you can compare the DAVE against.  
     
  9. paulchiu
     
    Hi M2m,
     
    Just what is your listening environment for the DAVE?  Will you be replacing the Nagra HD DAC with it?  Why don't we carry this comparison via PM.
     
    Cheers,
     
    Paul
     
  10. AndrewOld
     
    Rob, why is it that running a laptop from batteries removes RF pollution from the situation? Don't CPUs and memory and discs etc. generate RF noise whether or not they are mains powered?
     
  11. Crgreen
    If I've understood Rob correctly, he isn't saying that they don't, only that they're not a problem or at least that they're variables which cannot be changed. A matter of reduction rather than complete elimination.
     
  12. Rob Watts
    Yes all sources create RF noise. We have two ways of coupling RF noise - via the cables, or electromagnetically. This mode is stopped with Dave being made from a solid block of aluminium - it is extremely well screened. The mains, and the outputs are RF filtered too. On the USB, we have galvanic isolation, but that will not completely isolate Dave from the source, as it has 2pF of coupling capacitance on the galvanic isolation (all isolators have some level of coupling capacitance).
     
    Now this coupling capacitance is important, as RF noise voltages from the source will inject a small current into Dave's ground plane - and due to the ground plane having a 0.5 ohms per square and about 1 nH inductance per square will create small internal RF voltages that is picked up by the analogue electronics which will then induce a tiny amount of IM distortion, and so noise floor modulation will increase - even though Dave has immeasurably small amounts of RF noise modulation, the small extra amount is audible.
     
    But if you run the source from batteries, and have no ground connected to the lap-top, then there are no net currents flowing into Dave, as the isolation capacitance of the lap top to ground is much smaller than the 2 pF from the isolators; in effect you are now completely isolating the source from Dave via the direct USB connection and so no RF currents from the source can be injected into Dave's ground plane. That's why this mode sounds a bit smoother and warmer than mains powering the lap-top.
     
    Having said all that, we are talking about very minor stuff here; it's not the icing on the cake but making sure the icing is flat to 1 micron rather than 0.1 mm...Before the galvanic isolation I used to get huge differences from sources if they were mains powered - now we are talking about a small change that is only audible on AB tests. When I listen to music I don't bother disconnecting the lap-top - only when doing serious testing.   
     
    Rob
     
    Chord Electronics Stay updated on Chord Electronics at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    https://www.facebook.com/chordelectronics https://twitter.com/chordaudio http://www.chordelectronics.co.uk/
  13. miketlse
    A new question for Rob Watts.
     
    Do you detect any difference in the sound output from a DAC, depending on whether the laptop has a traditional hard drive or a SSD?
    My assumption has been that the traditional hard drive would generate more electrical 'noise', but is this assumption true? 
     
  14. Rob Watts
    Hmm. It depends very much upon the DAC. I would be very surprised if you can hear it with Dave, and almost certainly not with battery operation on the source. But I would not be surprised if SSD was better without galvanic isolation on the USB, and/or with DAC's that did not have RF filtering on the PSU.
     
    Rob
     
    Chord Electronics Stay updated on Chord Electronics at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    https://www.facebook.com/chordelectronics https://twitter.com/chordaudio http://www.chordelectronics.co.uk/
  15. miketlse
     
    Thanks Rob, I was thinking in terms of Chord DACs.
    I have the SSD to upgrade my laptop, because there are other benefits like faster bootup, and lower power consumption, but I was curious if it would also improve the use of my laptop to drive my Mojo (and whichever DAC I upgrade to next).
     
    I can use the optical output from my TV and desktop pc, as the sources for my Mojo, but I don't see any current laptops with optical outputs on sale, so obtaining a noise-free USB signal is the alternative goal. [​IMG]
     
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