Could you please suggest a good DAC for W5000/AT-HA5000
Jul 22, 2010 at 7:30 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 24

Topaze

New Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 20, 2010
Posts
10
Likes
0
Hello,
 
I am wondering what kind of DAC to choose for a W5000/AT-HA5000 combo. I was leaning towards Music Streamer Pro, because of its very small form-factor and asynchronous USB interface, but then was told that this combo requires a better DAC (although I'm not quite sure that this came from people with a first-hand experience of using the Streamer Pro). Lavry DA10, for example, was suggested as a more suitable alternative, among other DACs. Could you please share your thoughts on this matter? Specifically, I'm interested in:
 
1) How does the Streamer Pro perform in comparison with other DACs in its price range and slightly above?
2) If it is totally inadequate for this combo, then what should I choose, and what would you say about Lavry DA10, for example?. My budget is already strained, so if you could suggest the least expensive DACs (that would be still sufficient for this combo, of course) it would probably be better.
3) Should I really pay particular attention to this asynchronous interface thing, and how does it affect sound quality, if at all?
 
Jun 7, 2011 at 8:00 AM Post #2 of 24

korzena

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 9, 2009
Posts
975
Likes
30
I am also very interested in it!
 
I suppose the DAC should give more body to W5000 as its sound tends to be a little bit thin.
 
Give us some recommendations for the DAC that fits W5000/AT-HA5000 combo or at least W5000:)
 
Thanks!
 
Jun 7, 2011 at 10:25 AM Post #3 of 24

korzena

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 9, 2009
Posts
975
Likes
30
What about DACs with some tubes inside? Would it work well with W5000?
 
Jun 7, 2011 at 1:43 PM Post #4 of 24

Amarphael

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Posts
1,240
Likes
40
I hope to audiotion the Havana tube DAC with my W5000/HA5000 next week and i'll share my impressions.
 
I've heard the W5000 with a Stello HP100 out of the RWA Isabellina once and it was an incredible sound as i can remember. The music scame thru life-like and transparent like i've never heard before with the W5000's with absolutly no glare in the upper mids, Just glorious musical notes pouring through.  It made the Stello DA100, in itself a good match, dull and lack detail in comparison though i havne't compared extensivley . It was the pre-LFP edition though, the current model has a tube buffer so id don't know how different it sounds but i assume even more glorious. Sounds like a promo for RWA but it really is a great DAC as far as i heard. 
 
Jun 7, 2011 at 3:11 PM Post #5 of 24

MikePio

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 6, 2008
Posts
571
Likes
68
I also own the W5000/HA5000 and finding an equally synergistic dac is a grey area in my opinion, couple months ago I purchased the Stello DA100 and I enjoy the combination but there are many mid to high end dacs out there that may blow the Stello out of the water... The problem is not many members own the W5000/HA5000 combination, so it is more difficult to find opinions on what source would provide the optimal synergy with the mentioned system. Amarphael really looking forward to your impressions of the Havana tube dac, has also been on my radar for awhile, the RWA Isabellina sounds like a great prospect as well... man this is getting expensive 
biggrin.gif
...
I am very satisfied with the sound I have now, but unfortunately don't have many other mid to high end dacs to compare with the Stello DA100, hence I feel like the dac has always been the shaky link in my setup, since the W5000/HA5000 are simply made for each other, now we just need the wedding ring to seal it... lol... 
 
Jun 8, 2011 at 6:33 AM Post #6 of 24

korzena

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 9, 2009
Posts
975
Likes
30
MikePio, true, I have also searched head-fi and other forums and there aren't many W5000 DAC recommendations out there and even less for our W5000/HA5000 combo.
 
W5000 headphones are said to be extremely sensitive/responsive to the rest of audio chain.  So there is a big chance that 'DAC will be heard' very well in these cans.
 
Amarphael, it would be great to hear your impressions. Looking forward to them!
 
 
Jun 13, 2011 at 10:57 AM Post #7 of 24

korzena

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 9, 2009
Posts
975
Likes
30
Amarphael, have you had a chance to make the audition? What are your impressions?
 
Jun 13, 2011 at 3:09 PM Post #8 of 24

MikePio

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 6, 2008
Posts
571
Likes
68
Really interested about the Havana as well but I think I might pull the trigger on the RWA LFP-V, since I don't see how that DAC could possible sound bad with the HA5000/W5000... I might wait and see if I can try one out in a meeting since the price is a little steep but on paper it seems like the perfect DAC for this combo. Though I have thought that about other equipment in the past and was disappointed, so we will see what happens but one thing is for sure, the next DAC will probably be my final "serious" audio purchase. After which I just want to enjoy my musical collection in audio nirvana and not worry about equipment! this is my dream...
biggrin.gif

 
Jun 14, 2011 at 12:20 AM Post #9 of 24

pigmode

Truck-Fi
Joined
Jun 26, 2001
Posts
5,372
Likes
97


Quote:
Really interested about the Havana as well but I think I might pull the trigger on the RWA LFP-V, since I don't see how that DAC could possible sound bad with the HA5000/W5000... I might wait and see if I can try one out in a meeting since the price is a little steep but on paper it seems like the perfect DAC for this combo. Though I have thought that about other equipment in the past and was disappointed, so we will see what happens but one thing is for sure, the next DAC will probably be my final "serious" audio purchase. After which I just want to enjoy my musical collection in audio nirvana and not worry about equipment! this is my dream...
biggrin.gif


MP,
The DACs you are interested in are pretty intriguing, based on my familiarity of an ex- W5000/Yamamoto HA-02/Modwright tube modded Oppo BDP-83. How would you characterize the sound of your HA5000/W5000, and what sound qualities are you looking for in a DAC?
 
Jun 14, 2011 at 7:13 AM Post #10 of 24

MikePio

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 6, 2008
Posts
571
Likes
68

 
Quote:
MP,
The DACs you are interested in are pretty intriguing, based on my familiarity of an ex- W5000/Yamamoto HA-02/Modwright tube modded Oppo BDP-83. How would you characterize the sound of your HA5000/W5000, and what sound qualities are you looking for in a DAC?


Hey Pigmode,
 
I would characterize the sound of the HA5000/W5000 as being extremely airy, smooth with slightly hot treble and spacious with a superb soundstage for a closed headphone, also the resolution and detail is also worth noting being dramatically improved by the HA5000. I have been so happy with this combination but like with everything else nothing is perfect. I am looking for a DAC that does not diminish any of the strengths I have mentioned above but can tame the slightly hot treble while providing a little heaviness to the notes without sacrificing spaciousness. I believe right now I am 90% satisfied with my set-up which is saying a lot, since before I used to switch equipment every other month, so If I could attain that final 5% (which I believe is up to the DAC), since I am not sure any system can be at a 100%, it will be icing on the cake for me and a satisfying end to my personal quest to finding a specific sound that I can enjoy for many years to come. Right now it seems the RWA Isabellina LFP-V is the best option based on what I mentioned previously, but I am open to all suggestions... By the way how did enjoy the W5000/Yamamoto? Cheers,
 
 
Jun 14, 2011 at 8:40 AM Post #11 of 24

mogs

New Head-Fier
Joined
May 30, 2010
Posts
43
Likes
11
Hi,
 
I am using Benchmark DAC1 along with Yamamoto HA 02, ATH W5000 listening to a Denon SACD player. I really like the combination and it is being used the most in my setup. Benchmark improves sound stage, seperation between instruments, the clarity in treble and female vocals. Waiting to listen to ATH W1000x which supposedly has better synergy with the amp. 
 
I tried the same setup with a solid state amp, Naim Headline2 and didnt like it much. Guess the amp doesnt like AT or the warmness of tubes in HA02 goes well with whatever Benchmark does.
 
I heard a Chinese DAC (Was a heavy one, guess it was audio-gd) at Sydney last December in a head-fi meet that easily blew away what I heard with the Benchmark.
 
Good luck with your setup. Cheers
 
Jun 14, 2011 at 1:35 PM Post #12 of 24

pigmode

Truck-Fi
Joined
Jun 26, 2001
Posts
5,372
Likes
97


Quote:
 

Hey Pigmode,
 
I would characterize the sound of the HA5000/W5000 as being extremely airy, smooth with slightly hot treble and spacious with a superb soundstage for a closed headphone, also the resolution and detail is also worth noting being dramatically improved by the HA5000. I have been so happy with this combination but like with everything else nothing is perfect. I am looking for a DAC that does not diminish any of the strengths I have mentioned above but can tame the slightly hot treble while providing a little heaviness to the notes without sacrificing spaciousness. I believe right now I am 90% satisfied with my set-up which is saying a lot, since before I used to switch equipment every other month, so If I could attain that final 5% (which I believe is up to the DAC), since I am not sure any system can be at a 100%, it will be icing on the cake for me and a satisfying end to my personal quest to finding a specific sound that I can enjoy for many years to come. Right now it seems the RWA Isabellina LFP-V is the best option based on what I mentioned previously, but I am open to all suggestions... By the way how did enjoy the W5000/Yamamoto? Cheers,
 



MP,
Thanks for the impressions of your system as it sheds light on the performance of the HA5000. 
 
It seem my source issues were almost the opposite of yours. Although the Modwright CDP excels with detail, it also has a warm and rich sound signature. Coupled with the Yamamoto, it created a dark and slightly euphonic sound with the W5000. The W5000 had an extremely smooth treble response, with a forward mid and upper-midrange. I enjoyed it immensely but in the end, its dark and *overly rich* character proved to be too limiting.  
 
Jun 20, 2011 at 9:36 AM Post #13 of 24

Amarphael

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Posts
1,240
Likes
40
Quote:
Amarphael, have you had a chance to make the audition? What are your impressions?

 
Yes, I was able to hear the lovely Havana, But it was shorter audiotion than i hoped for. Here what i could gather from my experience:
 
Well first thing, I was quite surprised by how lively it sounded for a DAC with a tube output, Much Closer to my VDA-2 overall in charcter than i thought. I expected it to 'tame' W5000/HA5000's more in a 'tubey' kind of way with all the associated adjectives that come to mind (full, lush, mellow etc) and it has but in a more subtle fashion. It is very smooth yet clean sounding, and i didn't notice any odd hrmonic distortions that shoudn't be there. This DAC seems to have been made for easy-listening songs like Diana's Krall 'Temptation' and Dire Straits' 'Once Upon a Time where it has shown very nice natural tone with instruments, making my DAC to somewhat 'sheen' in comarison. Transients were also very smooth, Where the VDA-2 sometimes causes it to be 'etched' and exagerated with the AT-5000. BUT... It's two obvious weakness is in it's bass extention and overall resolution. the VDA-2 showed fine texture in instruments more clearly, mind you that was maybe to the 'sheen' i mentioned ealrier, but i did gave me a better sense of detail and it probaly was. Low bass was there but not as present nor as defined as the VDA-2's, and electric guitar riffs in Porcupine Tree's 'Deadwing' didn't have enough grit and body to my taste. I don't mean to imply that it sounds dull or uninvolving with Rock it's just that i found it less suited for heavy-rythm non-acoustic music compared to the VDA-2's better ability to exert a more convincing 'oomph' where it's needed, But otherwise it's beutiful and no doubt very cohisive and balanced pairing with the AT-5000.
Note that the Havana was heard with just the stock tube. FWIR in the Havana main thread. Tube rolling will improve it's dynamic range and clarity.
 
So there you have it, My snapshot impressions with my semi-audiophile and untrained ears, Sorry to dissapoint if i coudn't help to sort a solid decision.

 
 
 
Jun 20, 2011 at 11:52 AM Post #14 of 24

korzena

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 9, 2009
Posts
975
Likes
30
Amarphael,
 
Thank you for sharing your impressions. It's very helpful!
 
From what I gathered from your writing Havana DAC provide some 'tube qualities', but not in very big amount. It also has its weaknesses with bass extention and resolution. And also is not involving enough with rock music (Porcupine Tree is my favourite band!:))
 
I think I'll need to keep on searching. Maybe RWA Isabellina then? (more expensive:frowning2: however)).
 
Any of you guys will maybe have a chance to audition Isabellina in the near future?
 
Great thanks for your post!
Andrew
 
Jun 20, 2011 at 12:00 PM Post #15 of 24

korzena

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 9, 2009
Posts
975
Likes
30
I've just got the answer from Vinnie Rossi from Red Wine Audio regarding Isabellina DAC for W5000.
 
Here it is:
"...
Yes, I am familiar with the W5000s and with the wrong dac and amp, the sound can be sterile and not involving.  The Isabellina LFP-V Edition is the opposite of this - it is very musical and organic sounding.  I know you will enjoy it very much.

If it is in your budget, I highly recommend the Isabellina HPA LFP-V Edition, as this dac/headphone amp combo has amazing synergy!

Based on the type of sound you are looking for, this will make you very happy to listen to music for many hours.  And by adding a good NOS tube (e.g. Amperex 7308 or the MiniWatt Dario 730), you will be seduced!  Just connect your SB coax or optical output as the transport, and everything else will be running on pure LiFePO4 battery power.  

Please let me know if you have any questions.

---

    Hi,
    I am interested in purchasing your Isabellina DAC.

    I need a good DAC for my Audio-Technica headphone combo
    (Audio-Technica W5000 headphones + Audio-Technica HA5000 amp). My
    source will be Squeezebox Touch (coaxial digital out).

    Currently my headphones sound a bit too digital/clinical. I am looking
    for a DAC that will give me more analog sound, more body/flesh/weight
    to the sound and more musicality overall.
    I have read many good reviews about your DAC and it seems that the
    sound it produces could fit the sound I am searching.

    Could you please tell if your Isabellina DAC would be a good match for
    my set-up. Will it give more bodied, analog and musical sound to my
    Audio-Technica W5000 headphones?

    Thank you,
    Andrzej
 
 
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top