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Holo Audio Spring R2R DAC

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by mtoc, Jun 2, 2016.
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  1. bflat
    Quick impressions after adding iFi iGalvanic to my chain.

    I purchased the iFi iGalvanic promo bundle (with iDefender and iPower) from Kitsune Hifi as they are an authorized dealer. While pre-ordering, Tim told me about the new DDR (Dual Discrete Regulator) that he added to the KTE SU-1. I purchased my unit before this was available so I ordered an upgrade. The DDR option lowers the noise floor even more. Tim also gave me a good explanation of why it's best to have the shortest cable between the iGalvanic to the SU-1 and he created a short 8" KTE USB cable just for this purpose and I purchased one of those as well.

    I got everything back and setup was a snap. My chain is PC -> iDefender/iPower -> Generic USB 3.0 Cable -> iGalvanic -> KTE Short USB -> KTE SU-1 DDR -> Supra HDMI -> KTE Level 3 DAC (i2S) -> KTE Balanced XLR -> iCan Pro -> Headphone Lounge Silver OCC Balanced Cable -> Utopia

    It took a week to get everything done and I've been using my SP1000 with the Utopias during that time so I will caveat that my ears had adjusted to SP1000 which is good, but still a couple steps below my desktop chain. I am also going from memory before my latest upgrades. I also can't really A/B test because the DDR upgrade is permanent. I had zero issues with installation. It was truly plug and play. With about 3 hours of listening, no drops or technical issues. iGalvanic and SU-1 work perfect with each other.

    I was pretty happy with my previous setup and only only wished that the Utopia sound stage was a little bigger. Listening to the new chain, I feel all frequencies have better definition and space. I wouldn't say that the sound is more extended in any direction, but just cleaner. This in turn gives a better sound stage experience. It's not a larger stage, but a more 3D one. I listened to my favorite tracks and as cliche as it is, I swear I heard more details that I missed before. My one hour listening session turned into 3.

    So is it worth it? For those of you thinking about the buying the KTE SU-1, I think the DDR is now standard so that's a no brainer. For the iGalvanic, it's about the same price as Intona. The promotional bundle does more than the Intona, but availability is very limited and once they are gone, they are gone. I would also recommend the KTE short USB cable. Overall, I think about what cables cost and that last percent or 2 of sound quality and I would say for a galvanic isolator is money well spent.

    Right now my priority of audio performance places power and power isolation well ahead of headphone cables. Before hearing for galvanic isolation myself, I would have put headphone cables at a higher priority. There are also measurable differences in power and isolation whereas headphone cables are far more subjective.

    Edit - DSD 512 Native works fine with iGalvanic
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  2. doraymon
    My KTE SU-1 is on the way and I also opted for the DDR version with a little extra.
    Cant't wait to test it but the KTE Spring DAC has not shipped yet...
  3. mtoc
    regarding r2r, I have something to say, all personal thoughts. the biggest thing r2r facing is that the semiconductor guys gave up long ago, the last one is the PCM1704, due to the limitation of those days, you know, moore's law, performance can't be competed with newer thingy. Actually I prefer that the semiconductor manufacturers redo the new r2r chip as in IC, with modern tech the result will be much better than the PCM1704's. Price is not a problem since the market is there, is waiting (the price of the latest ess chip is high but worthy)
  4. Greg121986
    I have a regular SU-1. Is there an upgrade path that I can install myself that will mimic the KTE SU-1?
  5. elan120
    Pending your comfort level with soldering/desoldering through hole and surface mount devices, you can mimic or better KTE SU-1.
  6. oneguy
    Adding an LPS-1
  7. Energy
    I would recommend the LPS-1 over everything else.
  8. bflat
    Not sure how realistic that would be. The PCM1704 come from a time when semiconductor geometry was around 0.25 um. Now, the geometry is down to 9 nm and going smaller. Also the silicon wafers have more than doubled in size. That means the PCM1704 circuit on today's silicon fabs would have orders of magnitude more chips per wafer than when it first came came out. The market for these is just a fraction of what it was in the early 90s so I just don't see anyone making these chips in mass volume. To put this into perspective, PC RAM was still sold in MB back when PCM1704 was being made. But unlike RAM, I don't see why a resistor ladder chip needs orders of magnitude more resistors for digital music files that have only evolved from 16 to 24 bit in the last 20 years with no significant changes on the horizon.

    More than likely, you will see better DS DAC implementations that oversample at ridiculously high rates to achieve a more analog like sound. From that standpoint, smaller and faster silicon will make that product better.
    bunkbail and gr8soundz like this.
  9. thyname
    For those using Holo Spring with Singxer SU-1, which HDMI cable do you use?

    I use a 0.5m cable from Apollo AV, but I feel I can do better
  10. ahmadfaizadnan
    I use wireworld ultraviolet. It's on the kitsune website. I can't really compare but I guess it's better than the stock cable.
  11. doraymon
    I just got a Supra HD5 HDMI 0.5m cable to connect the KTE SU-1 to the KTE Spring. This was one of the cables suggested by Tim Connor of Kitsune. He tested many so I trust his judgement. He mentioned many other alternatives but I went for the supra as I found it more affordable than others and very well built.
    Too bad the DAC has not shipped yet so I can't comment on any improvements over a decent quality, no-brand HDMI cord I had.
    Will try to test once the DAC arrives.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
  12. thyname
    I was thinking more in the lines of Silver Starlight 7 or better
  13. oneguy
    Emotiva X HDMI. Inexpensive and has the right orientation if you stack the SU-1 on top. I tried the Supra HDMI and didn’t like the connector orientations strain on the connections. No real improvement in sound for the price difference either.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
  14. thyname

    How do you like ultraRendu? Noticeably better than microRendu?
  15. oneguy
    Definitely a step up. I went from mR 1.3 to 1.4 both with iFI iPower and noticed a difference but it was on the subtle side. The following move to uR and LPS-1 was immediately apparent the first track I played. Hard to tell if it was just the mR to uR change or if the LPS-1 had a significant hand in the improvements though.
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