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Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by magiccabbage, May 14, 2015.
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  1. audio_1
    It is impossible for other DACs to sound as good as the Dave and Blu 2 / M-scaler as they have short tap length filters and don't reconstruction the original analog wave form correctly. The other issue is generally digital volume controls affect dynamics unless very little attenuation is required. Anything more that 20 dB and the DAC sounds flat. The DAC then requires various analog gain setting to match different systems. Analog volume controls affect transparency. This is why these DACs can sound better with a pre-amp. The great thing about Chord DACs is that they have properly designed digital volume controls, don't require a pre-amp and can feed power-amps directly.
    OK-Guy likes this.
  2. sasaki99
    Please dont find my comment as an offense to the Dave, I love chord products. I really admire the Chord company marketing team. When we talk about sound whether it's good or bad. It's really a subjective opinion which depends on the person perception or preference. The chord made a new standard to the market by adding the term "Tab length", it's a tool to measure the subjective term of good or bad. This really outplayed other competitors because people seems to perceived the "Tab length" as a performance level for a dac. Haha idk if others are like me but I was trapped by that Tab length and became a Chord's customer. Well played tho.
  3. dakabali
    It is definitely not a big-money competitor but I've got a Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ on which I spent big-money to improve. I bought the Mutec MC3+ reclockers, the Mytec balanced headphone extension cable etc. and I managed to bring the SQ close to DAVE's. Then Blu2 arrived and the gap became huge again. Since then the only devices besides the BluDAVE in my chain have been the Entreq boxes to ground the PS Audio P10, the Mutec REF10 to provide masterclock to the SOtM boxes plus a LAN switch and my LPSU I built based on some LT3045 Stammheim boards.
    All the USB reclockers, filters etc are in my 2nd system with the Brooklyn+ A fine tuned system comparable with DAVE imo. It has no chance agains the BluDAVE.
    onsionsi, auricgoldfinger and simorag like this.
  4. S Crowther
    Not sure about that. You have to consider the ladder DACS.
  5. ufospls2
    Ok, so I've got about ten hours in with the DAVE, so these are very initial impressions. I always find initial impressions fairly indicative how I will enjoy a bit of gear, and as time goes on, you notice the smaller stuff that you either enjoy, or that pisses you off.

    I'm not that experienced with DACs, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. I'll mostly compare the DAVE with the PS Audio Perfectwave MK1->MK2, as thats my previous desktop DAC.

    As I said in my previous post, there is detail, clarity, and definition that I haven't heard before. The DAVE is less bright than the PWD. I hate to say this, as I'm A) not that experienced with Analog and B) I don't own a turntable anymore, but this is the first time in my life where I said to myself "wow, this sounds like analog." The sound is neither bright nor dark, there is no sibilance. It is like there is more space around the individual notes than I have heard before, and I'm not sure how to describe it well. It just sounds "right." The sound is smooth, but not overly so.

    In terms of soundstage, I've always read people say "oh wow the DAVE transforms the Utopia, it gives it a huge soundstage!" I'm not buying that. I mean I'll give the DAVE a listen with a Utopia some day and find out for myself, but right now, I haven't noticed it influence soundstage either positively or negatively. It just presents the music as it is recorded. Note, I'm listening with the crossfeed turned off, as I'm trying to evaluate the DAVE in its simplest form.

    The edges of notes have this...weight(?) to them that the PWD doesn't have. Like they are less sharp, and a tiny bit rounder.

    The detail, for however cliche this might sound, is phenomenal, both micro and macro. What might be called ultra micro detail round these parts is also the best I have ever heard.

    So thats what I've gotten from the DAVE in the first ten hours of listening. To say it is a "...just one more song..." device is an understatement. I stayed up far too late last night listening to tunes :)
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
    Jawed, onsionsi, Deftone and 4 others like this.
  6. paul2qute
    Google review of blu 2 and Dave, one bloke reckons that both are right up there but some other dacs he was using and far more expensive he thought was slightly better,his opinion not mine
  7. simorag
    I appreciate the effort of assessing the DAVE / M-Scaler top notch performance on a technical basis, and it is clear that you are a very knowledgeable person – for sure much more than myself, for that matter.

    Usually I am a bit skeptical when a product is claimed to be “the best” based on its design philosophy, or even based on actual measurements, especially when it comes to audio.

    I see many controversial points on such an approach, for example:

    - The DAC performance is of course based on technology architecture (Delta-Sigma, R2R, FPGA, etc.), but largely on its implementation as well – not all delta-sigma DACs are created equal, for instance;

    - As technology evolves (new materials, electronic components, processes, algorithms, ...), some designs which were believed to be outdated or fundamentally flawed become attractive again (see ladder DACs);

    - No definitive and quantitative proof exist – to my knowledge – about physical measurements and perceived sound quality relationship, partly because of the largely unknown correlation between which quantities are translated by the human apparatus (ears, brain, etc.) into “faithful reproduction” of a real soundscape, and how.

    So, even if as an engineer I tend to be an objectivist in most cases, I have come to accept that as long as audio gear is concerned – and especially at the very high-end – I need to listen before I can decide what I like more.

    When I can’t listen prior to buying, I personally prefer to take the risk of forming a judgement based on other’s subjective and fallible reviews and impressions – especially from trusted fellow enthusiasts with whom I believe I have affinity of taste, rather than relying on technical specifications.

    In the case of the DAVE (and Blu2) there is no dilemma, since both the technical features and the reviews from owners and professionals speak highly about the product. I, for one, have become a DAVE evangelist among my audiophile friends.

    But, there are other DACs out there which are very well regarded, and I am open to hear by folks who tried them thoroughly and compared to the Chord stack that they can compete or even outclass DAVE + Blu2 in their opinion, just out of curiosity.

    Of course, having committed to Chord ecosystem, I am much happier when I find reviews in favor of Blu2DAVE vs crazy expensive stuff like dCS or even MSB :)
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
  8. audio_1
    Before I purchased the Dave, I did an A-B comparison with the dCS Vivaldi. I have also heard the MSB select DAC with femto 33 clock and mono power bases a number of times. I preferred the Dave & Blu 2. It is more dynamic, much faster and just plays music better in my opinion. DACs with off the shelf DAC chips don't really compare.
  9. paul2qute
    Always wanted to know the comparison Dave against Dcs Vivaldi
  10. paul2qute
    I did a test last night, I put a sticker on my x box x one saying in black marker Chord Hugo TT 2 and played some tunes, Mrs got better ears than me so I asked her if it sounds better with the sticker on or off and she said on,we were body popping all night.Sorry for talking about the hugo TT 2 in here, I know it's the Dave forum,but we all stitched from the same cloth
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
    Paul Bjernklo and simorag like this.
  11. paul2qute
    Rob I've looked at the Dave from the inside and I've noticed the power supply and other parts of the circuit are in different departments separated by aluminium walls, is that intentional?Also noticed crimped connections and was wondering would direct solder connection sound better, obviously your building to a budget
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
  12. miketlse
    I suspect that is to prevent RFI from one part of the Dave being picked up by other sections.
    I think Rob has posted that even soldered joints add small amounts of inductance and capacitance into the signal path, so maybe that was a factor.
    Of course I could be wrong, and crimping was used because it was cheaper. LOL
  13. paul2qute
    Hey mate I know I'm gonna get slaughtered for this question, it's all the coding noise shaper and filter that makes the difference but I just wanted to know, I love Rob watts, wish I met him at the show, don't think he would feel the same as I would be pecking his head for advice like everyone else, but I feel it's an interesting question.When your great at something someone always wants something from you,but what could we ever give back?
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
  14. miketlse
    You give back more than you can ever suspect.
    Rob comes across as very generous with his time and help.
    In return all designers are delighted to receive feedback, about how their designs/products were received and enjoyed.
    Some user questions, are the trigger events, for the designer asking themselves whether they could implement the solution, in the next generation of the product.
  15. paul2qute
    Can I ask when Dave was built best dac in the world and John Franks wanted to build the best amp to get the best out of the Dave which he has recently done, but all them ppl that bought the chord mono blocks that cost over 20 grand at least,how are they feeling right now because sometimes Chord confuse the customer when it comes to amps what's best,analogue against digital in the same company?It's like Rob and John are going in different directions, digital or analogue?
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
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