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It should work!
Interested by DAVE... nevertheless could someone clarify some things for me ?
Does it have a linear power supply ? (i can answer myself: no)
Is it upgradeable ? (no)
Does It have a class A analog output stage ?
For this kind of money I would expect Dave to tick those boxes...
Once you hear it, it doesn't matter what the technical specifications are because whatever it is, it just delivers in spades! I have no plans of replacing it even after approximately 2 years of use.
You use it mostly and appreciate it more as DAC or headphone amp ?
You can upgrade DAVE by adding M-Scaler or Blu2. It does have a class A analog output stage or more specifically from what I understand the pulse array DAC provides sufficient voltage and current as an output which goes through a second order analog noise shaper to provide class A output.
As for the linear power supply issue, the designer has said that power supply should not be considered as just the power supply but should include all the downstream filtering until your DAC or FPGA gets the actual DC power. So from his point of view the DC power that runs through the DAC and subsequently comes out of the analog output is better with lower noise level using a switch mode power supply compared to if he had design the whole DAC with a linear power supply. You might philosophically disagree with this but then you would have to figure out his design and rebuilt the DAC using a linear power supply, design all the subsequent power filtering to provide the lowest noise DC power to subsequent electronics to generate an improved analog output.
That said, I have to acknowledge that I’ve now encountered some upstream sources (CD player or network streamers) that have sufficient ground plane leakage noise to get into DAVE despite the excellent galvanic isolation and some people might argue in those scenarios, you may be better off using linear power supply than switchmode power supply as it might lead to less leakage noise. Of course, I would argue maybe people should use better upstream sources.
I use DAVE as a headphone amp and as a DAC/preamp for my speakers because I have found every preamp I have tried after DAVE to be insufficiently transparent to show off what DAVE can truly achieve. That said, some preamp does colour DAVE sound in a euphonic way that some might find pleasing but always at a cost of loss of transparency.
I think instead of basing your purchase decision on specs and design principles, you should listen to DAVE. You might hate the sound as we all have different preferences. On the other hand, if you’ve decided on your design specs, don’t listen to DAVE and buy the DAC that satisfies your specs as you’ll always be happy as you got what you want. Ignorance sometimes is bliss.
Pretty much equal. I have a shift-worker co-occupied house so headphones are needed from time to time! Love the intimacy of headphone usage and love the spacial presentation and perceived accuracy of the timbre of instruments (This is a major difference to the market competitors in my experience) in digital pre-amp mode. I prefer the DAVE directly connected to my amp instead of going through a dedicated and legacy pre-amp even at the reference level Hi-Fi that I have.
Of course I will listen to DAVE.
But I keep thinking of DAVE as a bigger 2 Qute or Qutest with a better chip and more inputs/outputs.
My experience so far with these less expensive DACs in the Chord range (2Qute and Qutest) was that they can sound very good for their money and they could sound very bad with the included power supply.
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, for me, adding to them a linear power supply improved hugely the performance (Please accept and don't argue that I am on the side of the people that throw away the stock SMPS ).
Yes the producer said they have downstream filtering, yeah yeah...
And guess what... DAVE has one SMPS integrated.
Maybe a little more elaborated one, more filtered, but ...
Take into account I have a power conditioner, quite expensive power cables, a very good network player... still something in my mind tells me that power supply and output stage matter a lot.
So how's DAVE for you ? how's the noise floor, the separation ?
“So how's DAVE for you ? how's the noise floor, the separation?”
The answer is, stunning and amazing. Leagues above anything else I have heard in the Chord range.
I sometimes wonder if Dave had an external smps whether people would be swopping it out for a lps? And if smps is a limiting factor in people’s minds then how come the Dave is so all conquering in its performance? The answer I guess is that its smps is not holding back the Dave performance.
Just an idle thought but if people wish to try a better power supply for Qutest etc then maybe a Dave spec smps is one place for start rather than reaching for a lps which may in fact be inferior performance to the supplied smps.
A final thought is that it is easy when hearing a changed sound to surmise that it is better based on an assumption that the lps must be better than a smps. Some lps are quite a bit worse than smps.
When adding power upgrades there should be no noticable change in the sound other than for it to sound a lot clearer and more detailed.
You can easily achieve this without having to go into the £1000 +
I recently upgraded my power conditioner and my music server AC cables to Audioquest Hurricane (High Current and Source versions respectively), being the DAVE fed by a Shunyata Alpha HC.
In this process I evaluated several cables from Cardas, Shunyata, Audioquest, Transparent, MIT.
I know expensive cables are a touchy subject, but in my system and to my ears they did make a difference.
However, in my experience the difference has not always been easy to hear and/or for the better, so I would advise trying by oneself as the last thing after the rig is well defined and consolidated. By the way, the most expensive cable has not necessarily been the one l liked more.
In the end, the kind of improvement I have got has been mainly in the area of contrast and naturalness. By 'contrast' I mean that music seem to emerge / float from a blacker background, thus making small details, imaging and dynamics easier to follow, but not in a distracting or hyper realistic way, rather in a more natural fashion.
To put things in perspective, I am not implying major effects or tonal signature shifts in the music presentation, so I consider investing in high end power cables a bold move in the diminishing return territory in most cases. It may still be worth once you are perfecting your system, though, or if you just enjoy looking at those big snakes on the back of your rack
Your premise does not support this conclusion. DAVE can be both all conquering and be held back from its full potential by its power supply (with its impact both on DAVE and on the rest of the system).
I do know that some DAVE owners (tweaking enthusiasts) have replaced the installed power supply with a custom linear supply, no doubt voiding their warranty in the process. I assume word spread on the grapevine that generally positive results were achieved in doing this.
There is always room for improvement with these products no matter how good they are. I suspect Rob already has some ideas for further improving the power side of things in respect of a possible DAVE 2.
Fairy snuff to much of what you say.
In which case if as you surmise the Dave power supply is holding it back then it must indeed be an awesome machine.
Until then I will just take it as it is because I’m not about to get my soldering iron out and do open heart surgery.
Neither am I. I’m quite content to leave it to those drawn to risky exploration to try to take things to the next level and possibly inform Rob Watts’ thinking.
So after all the absolute assertive answers from this forum that the upgrade from M Scaler with Qutest to M Scaler with Dave is a massive gain, I last week pulled the trigger and the Dave is imbound
I'm feeling like a kid awaiting Christmas morning
Thank you all for your clarification and knowledges as always the help and advice within this forum is second to none
.. perfect. interesting if you will really need M Scalar after
Dave is fantastic DAC! Listening right now...