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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
    You will be disappointed with my answer because even if you bought HFC's Ultimate Reference Helix Power Conditioner at $24,900 and connected it to the wall with the Pro version of their mains cable at $20,900, you will still notice further improvement by plugging in one MC-6 into the wall.  At AXPONA in Chicago and again at THE Show in Newport, Rick Schultz had this exact setup and as he plugged in more and more MC-0.5s, it was clear to everyone in the room that there was improvement each time.  At one point, he had more than 40 of these MC-0.5s plugged in and there was improvement with each one.  Others here have suggested there must be some gimmick at play, that this is all marketing hype but in my own setup, I have indeed found this to be true, that the more magnets the better.  Where is the saturation point where no further magnets make a difference?  I'm not sure but I have not yet gotten to the point where I am finding the law of diminishing returns come into play.  With each piece that I have added, I am just surprised by the advancement that it brings and my decision to finally slow down has more to do with economic reasons than anything else.  As I have suggested in several posts, I would probably run out of money well before finding the point of saturation.
     
    Is this stuff for everyone?  I don't know.  It can get outrageously expensive and so many will dismiss it based on cost alone but whatever this magnetic conduction technology is doing, I have not heard anything else do what it does and it speaks to my sensibilities in exactly the same way that the DAVE does.  I have been in this hobby long enough that very few things impress me all that much anymore.  As fellow DAVE owners, I suspect this applies to many of you as well and yet the stark realism that I now experience from my system every time I turn it on never fails to impress.  I believe there are others here who are beginning to experience some of the things I am experiencing and so I will leave it at that. 
     
  2. Jawed
    It occurred to me recently that using 10s of thousands of taps might well be the reason that Chord DACs make lossy compression sound surprisingly better than with other DACs.

    A single sample might well be complete rubbish, but hiding in the background, across tens of thousands of weighted samples, there's "truth" fighting to be heard. The per sample error is, presumably, continually varying (but not in the sense of quantisation noise). A lot of samples, properly weighted, could be why the yucky effects of lossy compression are harder to hear.
     
  3. TheAttorney
    I'm not dissapointed that you always state it how it is. The rest of us can then choose how that fits into our world :xf_eek:)
     
    PS: I think the MC-6 I've marked in bold above is a typo, and you meant 0.5?
     
    romaz likes this.
  4. romaz
    Yes, the DAVE will not be everyone's cup of tea.  Some have privately communicated with me that they prefer the colored harmonics of their tube DAC instead and that the DAVE can be too transparent for their tastes.  Some have told me they can't tell the difference between the DAVE and their older Chord DAC.  A few are even looking to sell their DAVE because they've decided it's not the signature they're looking for.  As good as the DAVE is, I think it's impossible for any one component to be all things to all people but I think there are reasons why the DAVE will fail to positively distinguish itself in some systems. 
     
    1)  Poor recordings.  The DAVE strives to be transparent to the recording.  It can unmask unbelievable detail and depth from even low-resolution recordings but if the recording is poor, the DAVE isn't going to sugar coat it.  I had one person tell me he couldn't tell a difference with the DAVE against his Hugo.  When I asked him what he listened to, it was almost exclusively 80s heavy metal.  
     
    2)  Substandard equipment.  Someone recently reminded me that I previously posted that what you connect after the DAVE is more important than what you connect before the DAVE.  I still believe this.  Because of the DAVE's wonderful isolation abilities, using a bargain basement mains cable, USB cable and computer, the DAVE can still provide you an unbelievably wonderful experience.  While it is unlikely a DAVE owner would do this, if you decided to use a pair of analog interconnects purchased at Radio Shack for $1.99 and the self-powered computer speakers that came bundled with the computer you bought 8 years ago, then all bets are off.  Even in a $100,000 system, the DAVE will likely not be the weak link and will happily reveal the limitations of much of your gear.  If your equipment is of a certain low standard and you aren't willing to upgrade it, you will probably never fully realize the DAVE's potential.  As I have begun buying more of these cables from High Fidelity Cables, I am finding the DAVE easily scales with them and the DAVE is probably still capable of much more.  
     
    3)  System synergy.  If someone is established with their speaker or headphone setup and their system is bent to sound analytical and cool, some of these folks find they are now looking for a DAC to provide warmth and a more romantic feel.  This is not the DAVE and I think it is a mistake to desire this from a DAC.  If the recording is not warm and romantic, the DAVE won't make it so.  I firmly believe that the role of a DAC is simply to be faithful to the recording.  Those who appreciate what the DAVE provides know that this is a tall order and more easily claimed than actually achieved.  If you compromise transparency at the DAC for the sake of artificial color, then there's absolutely no way to gain that transparency back downstream.  It's forever lost.  In my view, it would be better to connect a tube buffer to the DAVE and tune that way.  
     
  5. Jawed
    Apart from Mojo being engineered to sound a little "forgiving" (it has a deliberate, slightly dark, sound), I think the rest is down to the components.

    Hugo and TT sound relatively compromised because they only have a small pulse array (4 element). A larger pulse array, on its own, sounds better. QBD76, which has a 16 element array, seems to be preferred, over Hugo and TT. DAVE has the largest pulse array so far, with 20 elements.

    So, I dare say, with FPGA capability/cost and element count in the pulse array, you get a coarse scaling for Chords current DACs. The improved power supply and other minor features differentiate Hugo and TT.
     
  6. Jawed
    I would dare to say that HD 650, which I was using when I bought my TT, is not good enough. My HD 800 S upgrade was a big deal. So, yeah, I can imagine it's possible to have a downstream system that hides much of DAVE's goodness.
     
  7. ddanois

    I've been quite interested in the potential benefits of the MC-0.5. I was hoping that you could weigh in on the best configuration. I use a PS Audio P5 AC Regenerator for my headphone setup and I've been very happy with the improved performance this device provides as it relates to power. Therefore, I wanted to get your opinion about using MC-0.5 should be used to connect the P5 to the wall or if it should be used at the various P5 sockets for the individual devices (i.e. Dave, 430HA, micro Rendu, etc.). 
     
    Appreciate any insights...Thanks.
     
    Derek
     
  8. Rob Watts
    For Dave to be completely isolated from the USB source, then it needs to be completely separate from the earth or mains power; so no cables attached.
     
    In my case I used 4TB portable hard disks for the music. Doing it wireless should be OK.
     
    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/
  9. paulchiu
     
    Hi Rob,
     
    Is that a wireless 4TB drive?  please post a link.
    Thanks.
     
    Paul
     
  10. Rob Watts
    No just a Seagate back-up plus 4TB portable hard disk. Hoping that a 6TB portable becomes available soon.
     
    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/
  11. miketlse
  12. romaz
    Hi Derek.  If you have a single MC-0.5 to try, I would suggest not plugging it into your AC regenerator but instead plugging it into the wall, preferably in the free receptacle adjacent to where your P5 is plugged into.  On another forum, a person with a P10 found this to be ideal.
     
    Regarding the newer PS Audio AC regenerators, interestingly, they have no line conditioning properties.  They provide a clean or "regenerated" AC signal, however, it will have no impact on any RF noise that is backwashed to it by other components plugged into it.
     
    To be clear, a single MC-0.5 will provide you a very small taste of what this magnetic conduction technology will offer and will not be anywhere close to what their mains cables will offer.  I still believe the biggest bang for the buck if you are a headphone user will be their headphone device which unfortunately will probably not be released until January.
     
  13. romaz
    Another nice mini-review of the DAVE with the new Focal Utopia ($4,000) and Elear ($1,000) headphones by Jude himself. He compares these headphones with a variety of amps from the Woo WA8 Eclipse, the Dragon Inspire IHA (by the legendary Dennis HAD), SimAudio 430HA and Cavali Liquid Carbon (both fed by the Schiit Yggy), the Meridian Prime headphone amp + DAC, and the new TotalDac d1-integral headphone DAC + amp.

    Which unit drove the Focals the best? According to Jude, "In terms of ultimate fidelity...I'd have to give the edge to Chord Electronics DAVE. Frankly, the Chord DAVE is simply incredible. I don't think I've heard a more resolving DAC or DAC/amp combo ever. I haven't yet measured anything quite like it either...So DAVE offers incredible sound and incredible measured performance. It's great with both Focals and just about any headphone you plug into it as well and when paired with the Utopia, the sheer resolution and amount of detail and information being hurled at me, it's otherworldly. Spectacular stuff."

    Here's the video. To cut to the part about DAVE, skip to 36:40 into the video.

    http://www.head-fi.org/t/811270/focal-elear-and-utopia-launch-with-impressions-head-fi-tv
     
  14. EVOLVIST
     
    Why the MC-0.5 at that cost? There are similar items available which do a very similar trick with RFI/EMI at a fraction of the cost. I'm just curious, because really there is white paper on none of these items, actually. I'm not saying that they don't do the job, but if I was dead set on the theory, I would certainly try one of the less expensive models, first. Maybe something that you can return, if it's crap, like through Music Direct.
     
    In fact, I have one PS Audio Noise Harvester plugged into the wall right next to the power cable of the PS Audio P300. It barely lights up. I noticed no difference in SQ (but that might be because I'm using the P300, which to many, including myself, is highly sought after as still the gold standard by which PS Audio made their mark - some say that they really haven't improved on the design, although the unit is only good for a small  two-channel rig, at 300w or less).
     
    Anyway, I wouldn't say I'm an expert, but I've researched and tried to eliminate all of the common culprits that screw with SQ.
     
  15. romaz
    Not having tried it yourself and not having had a chance to read the white papers on them, how do you know there are "similar items available which do a very similar trick?"  The technology used carries multiple patents and is unique.  Most conditioners do everything possible to eliminate EMI.  This technology does everything it can to harness EMI.  At the core of how it works, it is counter-intuitive to how many of us are taught to address power.  Your P300 is in some ways superior to PS Audio's newer regenerators because it incorporates balanced power but at its core, it is no more than an audio power amplifier with a single frequency (60Hz) output set by a sine wave oscillator. By no means is this in any way similar to magnetic conduction technology.
     
    Like I said, HFC's stuff is not cheap and so many will automatically dismiss it because of its price.  There are also those who are convinced that what they have is the best there is and there's no point trying anything else and that's fine also.  If you're completely happy with your setup, then you're in an enviable position.  
     
    As for any of HFC's gear, they all come with a 30-day money back guarantee.  Now, back to DAVE.
     
    EVOLVIST likes this.
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