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Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by magiccabbage, May 14, 2015.
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  1. yakaway
    Is anyone using an external clock with chord DAVE? I’m considering MUTEC Ref 10 and the MC3 plus (usb input).

    If you have had good success with an external clock, please chime in.

    Also, How easily do these integrate with BLU2 and DAVE? Or perhaps just DAVE?
  2. Triode User
    No I haven’t. The received wisdom is that all you will probably achieve is to add some RF noise to the signal which would be perceived as brightness or be mistaken for extra soundstage. The Dave is very transparent and is ruthless in revealing issues such as RF noise.

    So my advice is not to waste your money.
  3. naynay
    Are there many users running Dave direct to speakers using RCA?
    Ive switched to this temporary to try and im liking it more than going through my amp.
    I take it the Dave Preamp mode is more than capable of handling this and long term use will do no damage?
  4. ray-dude
    I've been running exclusively this way for over a year now, first to Omega Super Alnico Monitors and now to Voxativ 9.87's with 4D drivers. I completely swapped out everything in my 2 channel chain (except DAVE) after I heard this. If you really want to hear something special, give a listen to the Omega SAMs direct from DAVE in near field. That is the Everest of transparency and imaging,
    jarnopp likes this.
  5. ZappaMan
    ray-dude likes this.
  6. Triode User
    That might be K2 but my Dave and my ATC150ASL or my Spendor SP200 + Pass Labs are Everest. If only the big pond wasn’t between us we could have a bake off.
  7. ray-dude

    +1000 brother. I'd love hear all this kit side by side
    Triode User likes this.
  8. Triode User
    Yeah, I think you and I could have some fun together. If you ever cross the pond please do tell me as you would be most welcome and red fermented grape juice and Colston Bassett Stilton is always on offer.
    ray-dude likes this.
  9. ray-dude
    Same for you Nick. We'd mix it up with Tequilla and fish tacos and ocean sunsets on our side of the pond... (BYO moldy cheeses!)
    Triode User likes this.
  10. HeeBroG
    I also run DAVE/BLU2 direct to Voxativ 9.87/RELG1MKIIx2.
    The transparency is very special indeed.

    I brought DAVE over to a friends place who runs Mola Mola Makua/DAC via the latest model ATC150ASL "Tower Series".
    We tried the DAVE connected to the Makua preamp via Analysis Plus Silver Oval interconnects
    DAVE was connected to the ATC 150ASL via Stealth Sakra balanced cables.

    We were a little surprised at a slight dip in transparency compared to running DAVE direct to ATC150ASL.

    I don't have any experience with preamps but my friend said he has never heard a digital preamp sound as good as DAVE.

    Unfortunately it would be too difficult to compare large speakers in the same listening room with very specific setup needs/optimization.
    With the usual variables of room acoustics/server/cables/power etc. between my friends place and mine, my take is that the ATC150ASL strengths are in the lower midrange and sheer macrodynamic punch.
    There is serious headroom available if you like your music loud!
    I think it is a fantastic match with DAVE +/- BLU2 given the plug and play status with balanced cables.

    Despite 100+dB efficiency Voxativ drivers, 2W from DAVE is still only 2W.
    What we do get however is a special transparency in the upper midrange and treble.
    Perhaps the forthcoming digital amps from Chord will give us the headroom for those that crave it.

    K2/Everest? Who knows but both camps are very happy!

    Triode User likes this.
  11. Triode User
    Hi Geoff,

    Thanks for that note. My ATC150ASL have just come back from the factory and have been updated to 100% current 2019 spec. Mine are not the tower version but the extra cabinet volume to create tower appearance does not communicate with the main volume of the speaker so acoustically mine should be exactly the same as your friend's tower version. I also tried various preamps between Dave and the ATC active but concluded that it was not possible to improve on Dave direct (which is hardly surprising really). Some of the preamps gave a bit of extra drive to the bass and lower mids but in effect that was just colouration and with lesser transparency compared to Dave direct.

    Regarding the cables from Dave to the ATC actives I have not been able to improve so far on Belden star quad L-4E6S cable at about 1/1000th of the cost of balanced cables used in your listening (although I would be very interested to hear those Stealth Sakra cables!)

    I have tried both Dave and TT2 direct running my passive Spendor SP200 speakers and whilst the transparency was absolutely beguiling with both of these DACs direct to speakers I missed the sound at the levels I sometimes like to play when using my Pass Labs XA60.8 monoblocs. I think that you and me both will be waiting for the monobloc DX amps for that extra headroom!
    Paul Bjernklo likes this.
  12. erik701
    It has been several months, since the day, when I received my Hugo TT2. I promised you guys, that as former Dave owner I will post some impressions then, so here I am.

    Please take in mind, that English is not my native language and I'm also not the best, in describing little difference in sound nuances, so my review/comparison will be a little bit different, but hopefully, still informative and helpful for many of you.

    Build quality and Design
    I purchased Hugo TT2 in silver finish and I have to say, that it looks much better in person, like on the photos. In my opinion, this is exactly the opposite scenario, like in case of Dave. It's a serious piece of hi-fi gear, even when some people can feel different, based on first impressions from advertisment pictures. Regarding build quality, I have to say, that it has been improved, when comparing to Dave imho. The finish of the Hugo TT2's surface is sublime. There are no visible screws, whole surface is so smooth. I don't know what kind of coating or painting process has been used, but it's much more appealing than Dave's surface finish. I like glass opening so much, the way how LED light represents the sample rate is pretty cool. Every person, not familiar with Chord's products, is asking why it is different every time and what does it represent. I have to admit, that with Dave I didn't pay so much attention to sample rate of currently played track, even when it has been represented on the screen of my music player, but now, with every next album I'm always rotating my head to the side, to check, what colour is shining through the glass of the Hugo TT2. One more cool feature, it has On/Off button. I know, it's essential, but only way how to turn on/off Dave is via red button on the remote control.

    This is only category, in which Hugo TT2 doesn't shine in my opinion. Personally, I had to reach out for manual several times in the first two weeks, to figure it out all options and the way how to change them. I was used to logic of controls from Dave, which was different, due to Dave's quite huge display and more buttons. It's not something, what would ruin your listening experience of course. I'm the kind of listener, who will figure it out best settings and leave it like that for the whole time. One more observation, there is no DSD, PCM mode anymore, so you don't have to change between these two mods, during the listening sessions. It's very useful, especially when you are listening to shuffle mode, and your collection consists of many DSD titles. Of course, Dave played DSD in PCM mode as well and vice versa, but I knew that it wasn't ideal and that is something that bothered me.

    Performance and Sound
    OK, that's the part, which matter the most. Dave is wonderful DAC and if you are asking, if Hugo TT2 is better DAC, my answer is simple, no it isn't. I have to add, that Hugo TT2 is very close in terms of DAC performance, but it's not at the level of Dave in terms of DAC performance. Dave is an older product, Hugo TT2 may have better design of PCB, more optimized software, but Dave has more powerful FPGA, which will be beaten only by Dave2, when it will be released. On the other hand, Hugo TT2 gained some muscles and it can deliver significantly more power to the headphones than Dave.
    I really like how Hugo TT2 performs. Sound is tighter and a little bit darker in my opinion. It is not as resolving as Dave, you wouldn't be able to hear so many details, as you would hear on Dave, but it's applicable only to some very well recorded songs, during the critical listening session. To be honest, I like my Audeze LCD-4 powered by Hugo TT2 more, than I used to like them when listening straight from Dave's headphone output. I'm not sure, if it's due to more power, or different (tighter) sound signature. Maybe both of these facts play some role.

    If I should be honest, there wasn't even one single day, when I missed my Dave. Yes, Dave is better DAC, but Hugo TT2 is simply better DAC/headphone amp combo. It's so versatile, so powerful, that you wouldn't be able to find any better combo around $5K MSRP. My advice would be, if you already have high-end headphone amp, or you need DAC to feed your speaker setup as well (you need standalone DAC), go for DAVE. If you are headphone enthusiast and you own power hungry planar magnetic headphones, or you want elegant all in one solution, or maybe your budget for a headphone amp and DAC is around $5K, go for Hugo TT2. Rob Watts is a genius and his each next product is better and better, blowing everybody's mind again and again, in terms of what's possible. I'm very happy that I pulled a trigger, replaced Dave with all need for expensive power cable, interconnects, along with Moon 430HA amp for one "magic box" called Chord Hugo TT2.

    As this is Dave thread, I will share my personal wishlist for Dave2. I know, we are more than 1 year, maybe more than 2 years away from Dave2 announcement, but I know, that it is at least in Rob's mind, so here it is:
    - Glass opening. I would like to get glass opening on the Dave2 chassis, something like we have on Hugo TT2. It would be very cool to see some internals of Chord's flagship DAC as well.
    - Better display. For sure, next generation of Dave will have display, to show all important information. I'm not sure, if OLED would be the best option, as it will show static information, but IPS LCD with better viewing angles would be nice.
    - On/Off button on the chassis. To have the ability wake it up from stand by mode by pressing the button on chassis and not have to reach out for the remote control.
    bidn and Deftone like this.
  13. supabayes
    My Dave was purchased in the UK in Oct 2016. My dealer took it back to Chord in Jun 2018 to repair left channel clipping. The problem was a transistor in the PSU. All six were replaced by Chord with ones of higher value and software updated to latest. Unfortunately, now, the right channel would buzz and cut off sound in headphone, RCA and XLR out. The Dave would give out intermittent relay clicking while music plays in the left channel and nothing in the right channel. This happens for all digital input whether optical, BNC and USB. I have tried powering off the Dave and restarting but the problem persists. Has anyone else experienced this or other problem with your Dave?

    I am concerned about the reliability of my Dave to develop issue in both channels within the first 3 years of owning it. I am glad that it is covered for 5 years warranty in the UK but I hate to think what other problem this unit may develop as we approach the end of the 5 years.
  14. Triode User
    Sorry I cannot help with your fault as I have not experienced it.

    I had a Dave from soon after it was released and I listen for a good 8 hours a day and mostly longer. It is in fact powered up 24 hours a day 7 days a week because I am too lazy to switch off.

    My Dave, along with the vast majority out there has been completely faultless and I suspect that you have just been unlucky. In my experience Chord are very good on customer service if anything goes wrong and I am sure they will fix your Dave. I have had other kit which has gone wrong a couple of times and been fixed and I wondered about the long term life but it has been fine ever since.
  15. Arcabonne

    Something like this happened to me, the display went out of order and a signal came from the device as from a fryer (from the device directly, not from an exit). Round trip to England, a card was replaced. Then all right.
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