CIAudio VDA-2/VAC-1 Query
Nov 17, 2008 at 12:32 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 5

xenithon

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Hi all. I wanted to ask for some feedback regarding the CIAudio VDA-2 with VAC-1 power supply, specifically in terms of its sonic character. I have read through various threads here and at other forums with quite a few different opinions coming across.

The general consensus is that it is very smooth, with excellent high frequency extension and treble energy. However, three particular areas which seem to come across differently in different impressions are:
1. dynamics: some find it punchy, others find it laid back
2. character: some find it warm and musical, others find it analytical and a little sterile
3. bass: some find it has deep and taut bass response, others find it to be soft without a lot of impact

I'm currently considering the DAC, which would be paired with quite a warm OTL tube amp. I'm thinking that a fairly neutral presentation would be ideal, but something too warm or soft may exarcebate the warm character of the amp. Something lively would be great, though not cold, clinical or lean (e.g., DAC1 which I did not care for much).

Cheers,
X
 
Nov 18, 2008 at 12:51 PM Post #2 of 5

rapzoo

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Quote:

Originally Posted by xenithon /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The general consensus is that it is very smooth, with excellent high frequency extension and treble energy. However, three particular areas which seem to come across differently in different impressions are:
1. dynamics: some find it punchy, others find it laid back
2. character: some find it warm and musical, others find it analytical and a little sterile
3. bass: some find it has deep and taut bass response, others find it to be soft without a lot of impact



I've used the VDA-2 for a couple of years in my headphone rig. I agree that it is very smooth with an almost analogue sound. I do not find it laid back at all, it has plenty of punch and is musical with a touch of warmth in the midrange. Paired with the VAC-1 it has deep bass that is very detailed and natural and not at all boomy. The VDA-2 is not sterile like the DAC1 but still offers plenty of detail and high end extension. I am using mine with a fairly neutral OTL amp (RSA Raptor) but with its musicality and only a touch of warmth it should also mate well with a warm OTL amp as well.
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 11:16 AM Post #3 of 5

xenithon

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Thanks for the input rapzoo. So you do not find it lacking in bass depth or dynamics? Perhaps the term I am looking for, which some reviews/comparisons have given the impression of lacking in the VDA-2, is "thwack factor".
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 2:14 PM Post #4 of 5

Mister Crash

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I have a VDA-2 without the VAC-1, and I think it is a great DAC. I have compared it to my Electrocompaniet ECD-1 and Wadia 581i SE, and while I didn't like it quite as much, those are considerably more expensive sources.

I did notice a lack of bass impact with the VDA-2, but that was only relative to the ECD-1. When I had the VDA-2 by itself, I was quite content with the bass. It didn't knock me out of my seat, but it was crisp and clearly defined. The ECD-1 has considerably more forceful bass; that's the character of the DAC. For extended listening sessions (especially with headphones), the extra bass bloom of the ECD-1 can get to be overwhelming and fatiguing. The VDA-2 never seemed to cause me any fatigue.

I never really felt that the VDA-2 by itself was missing anything. I wouldn't classify it as being sterile. Its trademarks are its speed and precision, but it isn't harsh. When I got my other DACs, I noticed some characteristics that they had that I liked a little more than the VDA-2, but that's a matter of personal preference.
 
Nov 29, 2008 at 5:48 AM Post #5 of 5

melomaniac

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Quote:

Originally Posted by xenithon /img/forum/go_quote.gif
different impressions are:
1. dynamics: some find it punchy, others find it laid back
2. character: some find it warm and musical, others find it analytical and a little sterile
3. bass: some find it has deep and taut bass response, others find it to be soft without a lot of impact



Well, IMHO the VDA2 is somewhat laid back, and has very taut bass. I run one on a very quick class D Bel Canto amp, the other on an Outlaw, and both feed a pair of Maggies plus a sub - both systems give plenty of PRAT and depth. Adding the PSU helps a lot with bass and nimbleness. It's certainly not sterile, nor do I think it's warm, but it does sound musical rather than analytical to me. I do not hesitate to recommend it (well, I would - I got two!)
 

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