CHORD ELECTRONICS DAVE
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DaveRedRef-III

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Thanks for giving us your thoughts on Dave, Jazz. Purity seems to be high on the list of most new purchasers first impressions (as it was with mine.)

I just pulled out a remastered CD of Van Morrison 'The Healing Game'. I have always thought of this album as being one of his best for composition, musicianship and performance. I had the great priviledge of seeing Van and his band perform this album whilst I sat in the second row at Reading Hexagon. A truly special experience, enhanced by the exceptional acoustics. Unfortunately there isn't quite the clarity on this recording that I am used to with Van albums like 'Back on Top' for instance, a slight vail pervades the recording. However, having not played this since before I bought Dave I put it on. Yes there was clearly greater detail and solidity of image. As I listened to the brilliant track 'This Weight' it was clear that a veil had been lifted. The bass fingering of Nicky Scott was noticeably busy and certainly more clearly defined than before. However, what really stood out was the dynamics. If the original producer had dropped the ball on ultimate clarity he certainly didn't lose the dynamics. They are exceptional. Dave is the first Dac to show this to me.

What a wonderful collection of songs. I have been lost in the performance for the last hour.
 
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DaveRedRef-III

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When you think about it Dave has broken decent new ground in almost every aspect of musical presentation and not by a small margin in most aspects. Musicality, emotion, purity of sound, dynamics, noise floor, distortion, jitter, bass clarity, separation and punch, imaging, breadth/depth of soundstage.......No small feat Rob.

Just put the Van CD on repeat. Woah those dynamics? 'Burning Ground' could move walls! :)
 
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JaZZ

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While it sounds excellent at low levels, I often find myself listening louder than with the Hugo – also because the sound is so ear-friendly –, which makes it sound all the more realistic. It's not the often mentioned «magic», it's mere realism, which I value even higher.
 
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Hubert H

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I've found that as my equipment has got better (distortion being a limiting factor), the louder I listen. This doesn't bode well for the Dave as I may disturb the neighbours and they live 80 metres away.
 
I will be listening to Dave sometime this month and I have a suspicion that it will be a relatively cheap buy, a bargain possibly.
 
H.
 
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Rob Watts

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  Hey Rob,
 
That is a huge claim there... Not looking to start a fire, it is just so far out of the norm. All of the DAC's I have tried are all sensitive to jitter, and or the digital source quality.
 
Are you saying that so long as the data is bit perfect, the digital source does not matter when using the DAVE?? Is that for all inputs?   VERY INTERESTING if that is indeed what you are claiming.
 
Thanks very much
Paul
Going back to when Hugo first came out, I noticed different SQ with different lap-tops and PC's.
 
Now the problem is definitely not jitter from the source - my DAC's can tolerate 2uS of jitter and it will have zero difference to the measurements - also the USB is isochronous asynchronous so the timing comes from the DAC clock, so source jitter is not a problem.
 
So I looked into the issue of different SQ with sources and found two sources of error:
 
1. RF noise. RF noise is a major pain with audio. With analogue electronics, very tiny amounts of RF noise will cause intermodulation distortion with the audio signal, and the intermodulation products is noise floor modulation. The effect is that the noise floor changes with signal level, and the effect is very audible - you perceive it as a brightness to the sound quality. Less noise floor modulation, smoother sound quality. The curious thing about this is that the brain is very sensitive to it, so you can easily hear it. Problem is that many listeners hear the brightness as more detail resolution, and so think it sounds better - but that's another story.
 
2. Correlated current noise. If a tiny current that is signal related but distorted enters the ground plane, then this current will be a source of error, as the current in the ground plane induces small voltages. Now this then adds or subtracts to small signals, thus degrading small signal resolution - and this upsets the brains ability to calculate depth. Now one of the most fascinating things I discovered with Dave is there is no limit to how small this error can be without a degradation in depth perception - so it does not matter how small the error is it will have an impact.
 
So the solution to the above problems is galvanic isolation. This means that RF noise from the source can't get into Dave, and small correlated currents can't get in too. And this approach gave two benefits - much smoother sound quality, and a deeper soundstage.
 
Now with Dave I can no longer hear which source is connected, but before without the galvanic isolation it was easy to hear. Additionally, optical sounds almost identical to the USB, as optical is clearly galvanically isolated too.
 
Rob
 
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Kamil21

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Going back to when Hugo first came out, I noticed different SQ with different lap-tops and PC's.

Now the problem is definitely not jitter from the source - my DAC's can tolerate 2uS of jitter and it will have zero difference to the measurements - also the USB is isochronous asynchronous so the timing comes from the DAC clock, so source jitter is not a problem.

So I looked into the issue of different SQ with sources and found two sources of error:

1. RF noise. RF noise is a major pain with audio. With analogue electronics, very tiny amounts of RF noise will cause intermodulation distortion with the audio signal, and the intermodulation products is noise floor modulation. The effect is that the noise floor changes with signal level, and the effect is very audible - you perceive it as a brightness to the sound quality. Less noise floor modulation, smoother sound quality. The curious thing about this is that the brain is very sensitive to it, so you can easily hear it. Problem is that many listeners hear the brightness as more detail resolution, and so think it sounds better - but that's another story.

2. Correlated current noise. If a tiny current that is signal related but distorted enters the ground plane, then this current will be a source of error, as the current in the ground plane induces small voltages. Now this then adds or subtracts to small signals, thus degrading small signal resolution - and this upsets the brains ability to calculate depth. Now one of the most fascinating things I discovered with Dave is there is no limit to how small this error can be without a degradation in depth perception - so it does not matter how small the error is it will have an impact.

So the solution to the above problems is galvanic isolation. This means that RF noise from the source can't get into Dave, and small correlated currents can't get in too. And this approach gave two benefits - much smoother sound quality, and a deeper soundstage.


Rob

This is one of the best explanations I have heard so far. :thumbsup:

Now all I need is a long optical cable to ensure that my computer is as far away and power supply isolated from Dave and the rest of my system. Is anybody else able to validate this?
 
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DaveRedRef-III

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This is one of the best explanations I have heard so far. :thumbsup:

Now all I need is a long optical cable to ensure that my computer is as far away and power supply isolated from Dave and the rest of my system. Is anybody else able to validate this?
 
I would not use an optical cable longer than 1m Kamil.
 
I have been testing some Coax, AES and optical cables. Even cheap optical (non glass) is surprisingly good at short lengths with Dave but I found that increasing the length to 2m was detrimental to SQ, Musicality and volume.
 
If you want to go long then it may be worth trying Coax first I think.
 
So far I have found Rob's claims to be right in that Dave does take away much of the hi-fi evils we have come accustomed to (and consequently pay so much to correct). Before anyone runs out and pays top dollar for a nice new hi-end cable to go with their Dave it may pay to spend a small amount on a cheap cable and compare with a demo top price cable. I think Rob has done some good work here and may have saved us on interconnect costs. I have two more hi-end coax to try before I arrive at a final conclusion.
 
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Beolab

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I would first of all not claim that im a electro engineer in any way, im a guy with very often a great comon sence and do not belive in all special snake-oil parts, cables, ghosts, or any like that sorts of things.
But im always happy to try it out, but if i can not see it or hear any diffrence, and in most cases you cant, or if you can it is very often placebo, because the brain register and samples an incoming sound a slight different everytime you hear the same sound/song depending on if you are tired, have listening fatigue, because you have had an trip on your motorcycle the last hour, this can play a huge factor from time to time when you listen to your equipment, so if you one day buy a LH Lightning USB for $$$ and you are hearing a diffrence could be that you over sleept one hour and drank 2 coffes before you had the first listening on your new cable.
But not everytime i should say. I have a tuff time to hear any diffrence btw digital cables, and power cables if they are in deacent quality to begin with.
I read about a guy no names here, that had worked at Nordost Cables and he told us a story that the only way to make a power cable to sound diffrent was to make the conducters thinner and weaker on some spots along the twisty way, or make it thicker, because then the transformer was fed with a poorer or not as fluid current feed, so the sound can have some affect of this if the transformer is very poor and weak:wink: Great or bad?
I think its better to spend that money on something else if you just want to make the sound to sound diffrent, because you cant control it in what way you want it to sound diffrent, if you are not happy with the result.
To me it like run in the woods when its pich black.
But hey! I can hear s diffrence in analog cables and when my neighbur put o their TV without sound, i just hear the high pitched sound from the cathodes in the TV, so im not complete death:wink:


I think many hifi designers incl Rob most laph their buts off very often, when they are reading about peoples poor in dept technical knowhow, where they buy small gadgets, super snake-oil cables, granit weights, sandbags, homemade elegal electrical earthing, other made up solutions or self educated theories about HiFi, and thinking this have to be good, but in most cases it have been much worser or no diffrence at all if you try to measure it, because it is very easy to trick someone when it comes to sound, its a little bit harder when it comes picture area.
This is because of the big loss of kowlage and great mass of belivers that trust the not so trustfull reviewers and many developers that see the big $$$ bucks when it is so easy to trick people like pills for instant 20 pounds of weightloss in one day and so on..

My point to this statement is that the big designers like Rob for example can by his huge kowlage and experience in testing and designing, tweak away all of the second descending factors that involes the incoming signal weaknesses, thats huge!
 
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Hello Rob, as a generally very  happy but sometimes  a bit frustrated owner of HUGO, for two years now,I would like to know if galvanic isolation can be added to HUGO ?
When as now  during the winter,I am  often  out in a simple hut in the jungle without any other electrical appliances running and polluting SQ, HUGO sounds very good indeed via my HD800 headphones.Both my Macbook Pro and HUGO running of battery., But sometimes at home via my  electrostatic speakers I encounter the problems you describe and they are immediately noticable.
I certainly do not mistake unnatural overbrightness for better sound. I know very well how an orchestra sounds live. and there is none of the digital brightness so often heard especially via low res digital recordings to hear from a good orchestra in a good hall.
If galvanic isolation can't be added,will there be a new portable model that actually includes it?
I know that the  German classical recording  label Acousence ,which by the way also produces some very realistic recordings  24/192 pcm, offers a  galvanic isolation unit that can be used with some dacs that lack it. Would you know if their unit would work with HUGO?
 
My next live music HI  FI  Reference Calibration, will be in KL on the 22/1 and 23/1.Mahler's 9th.
Cheers  from Chris in the tropics.
 
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  Hello Rob, as a generally very  happy but sometimes  a bit frustrated owner of HUGO, for two years now,I would like to know if galvanic isolation can be added to HUGO ?
When as now  during the winter,I am  often  out in a simple hut in the jungle without any other electrical appliances running and polluting SQ, HUGO sounds very good indeed via my HD800 headphones.Both my Macbook Pro and HUGO running of battery., But sometimes at home via my  electrostatic speakers I encounter the problems you describe and they are immediately noticable.
I certainly do not mistake unnatural overbrightness for better sound. I know very well how an orchestra sounds live. and there is none of the digital brightness so often heard especially via low res digital recordings to hear from a good orchestra in a good hall.
If galvanic isolation can't be added,will there be a new portable model that actually includes it?
I know that the  German classical recording  label Acousence ,which by the way also produces some very realistic recordings  24/192 pcm, offers a  galvanic isolation unit that can be used with some dacs that lack it. Would you know if their unit would work with HUGO?
 
My next live music HI  FI  Reference Calibration, will be in KL on the 22/1 and 23/1.Mahler's 9th.
Cheers  from Chris in the tropics.

I was using mine with a Schiit Audio Wyrd. That I felt made a significant improvement. It isn't portable, however. 
 
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Mavwong

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U can try usb regen. Not true galv iso but it does improve if you choose he right power source. I would suggest 4AA ENELOOP.



Hello Rob, as a generally very  happy but sometimes  a bit frustrated owner of HUGO, for two years now,I would like to know if galvanic isolation can be added to HUGO ?
When as now  during the winter,I am  often  out in a simple hut in the jungle without any other electrical appliances running and polluting SQ, HUGO sounds very good indeed via my HD800 headphones.Both my Macbook Pro and HUGO running of battery., But sometimes at home via my  electrostatic speakers I encounter the problems you describe and they are immediately noticable.
I certainly do not mistake unnatural overbrightness for better sound. I know very well how an orchestra sounds live. and there is none of the digital brightness so often heard especially via low res digital recordings to hear from a good orchestra in a good hall.
If galvanic isolation can't be added,will there be a new portable model that actually includes it?
I know that the  German classical recording  label Acousence ,which by the way also produces some very realistic recordings  24/192 pcm, offers a  galvanic isolation unit that can be used with some dacs that lack it. Would you know if their unit would work with HUGO?

My next live music HI  FI  Reference Calibration, will be in KL on the 22/1 and 23/1.Mahler's 9th.
Cheers  from Chris in the tropics.
 
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DaveRedRef-III

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I would first of all not claim that im a electro engineer in any way, im a guy with very often a great comon sence and do not belive in all special snake-oil parts, cables, ghosts, or any like that sorts of things.
But im always happy to try it out, but if i can not see it or hear any diffrence, and in most cases you cant, or if you can it is very often placebo, because the brain register and samples an incoming sound a slight different everytime you hear the same sound/song depending on if you are tired, have listening fatigue, because you have had an trip on your motorcycle the last hour, this can play a huge factor from time to time when you listen to your equipment, so if you one day buy a LH Lightning USB for $$$ and you are hearing a diffrence could be that you over sleept one hour and drank 2 coffes before you had the first listening on your new cable.
But not everytime i should say. I have a tuff time to hear any diffrence btw digital cables, and power cables if they are in deacent quality to begin with.
I read about a guy no names here, that had worked at Nordost Cables and he told us a story that the only way to make a power cable to sound diffrent was to make the conducters thinner and weaker on some spots along the twisty way, or make it thicker, because then the transformer was fed with a poorer or not as fluid current feed, so the sound can have some affect of this if the transformer is very poor and weak:wink: Great or bad?
I think its better to spend that money on something else if you just want to make the sound to sound diffrent, because you cant control it in what way you want it to sound diffrent, if you are not happy with the result.
To me it like run in the woods when its pich black.
But hey! I can hear s diffrence in analog cables and when my neighbur put o their TV without sound, i just hear the high pitched sound from the cathodes in the TV, so im not complete death:wink:


I think many hifi designers incl Rob most laph their buts off very often, when they are reading about peoples poor in dept technical knowhow, where they buy small gadgets, super snake-oil cables, granit weights, sandbags, homemade elegal electrical earthing, other made up solutions or self educated theories about HiFi, and thinking this have to be good, but in most cases it have been much worser or no diffrence at all if you try to measure it, because it is very easy to trick someone when it comes to sound, its a little bit harder when it comes picture area.
This is because of the big loss of kowlage and great mass of belivers that trust the not so trustfull reviewers and many developers that see the big $$$ bucks when it is so easy to trick people like pills for instant 20 pounds of weightloss in one day and so on..

My point to this statement is that the big designers like Rob for example can by his huge kowlage and experience in testing and designing, tweak away all of the second descending factors that involes the incoming signal weaknesses, thats huge!
 
I have always found that power cables affect dynamics and warmth. The former can affect musicality and the latter is probably a result of good shielding (or not). I have tried a number of power cables which have done the latter pretty well but very few that enhance musicality. As you allude to, it is probably more a flow issue but it is not about sound. To my ears at least it is the dynamics that change.
 
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Thanks Robb for all the great information.

I'm interested in knowing what type of power supply is inside of Dave. It's great knowing great care was taken into eliminating the need for an exotic usb cable. Is there something done we dont need a very expensive power cable also?

I'll be picking up my Dave next week when I meet up my friends in Tokyo. Does anyone have a recommendation on power cables? I was planning to grabbing one there. I personally want to try shunyata but it's harder to get overseas. Thinking of trying something else until I get a chance to go back to the states. Maybe that new filtered furutech cable would be good?
 
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Hello  mavvong,
and thanks for the advice. Do you know if any of the shops at the Adelphi stocks it?
I will be back in Singapore again  on the 7th February.
Hopefully AV 1 will have a Dave for demo by then.
I am  a bit tempted to buy HE 1000 headphones from them too. 
But I need to audition the new HD800S as well before deciding which is the best ,most neutral and  accurate and resolving and  transparent on large scale acoustic music  of them.
 
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Hi smail1966
 
I think i place my order on the HeadTrip, but just want to ask some minor questions to you before.
 
Have you have had time to listen for a more extended time on DAVE in combination with the HeadTrip yet?
 
And second can you place DAVE in a LINE OUT mode as on the Hugo, or do you turn upp the volume on the DAVE and then regulate on the HeadTrip for pitperfect and for best sound ?
 
All the guys in the Abyss thread screams Moon 600i instead of the HeadTrip ;(, whats your opinion?
 
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