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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. vc1187
    Tim's honesty is quite admirable. It shows that he values customer satisfaction and product reputation over the common marketing tactic that many other companies utilize.
    joseph69 likes this.
  2. aisnikkor
    I have continued to burn-in the KTE Spring 2, up to just under 500 hours at this point. KTE Singxer SU-1 has also been part of this same burn-in process, and its burn-in also may account for some of the changes I am hearing. Things are definitely getting interesting now.

    Somewhere past the 400 hour mark in use, sound quality has taken a positive step forward. Imaging and spatial ques are now clearer than before, treble seems to have smoothed out even more (this was already a strong point from the start) and clarity of sound in congested passages has improved as well. The three dimensionality of instruments and the sound space around them that I was initially enjoying with this DAC have also improved. I have only had a couple of serious, long listening sessions so far, primarily on the weekends, so the changes in sound quality have been noticeable and somewhat distinct. I have also refrained from listening to certain test tracks in between these sessions, to try and help with hearing changes from burn-in. On the intermediate weeknights, I’ve just been exploring other music (generally with a smile on my face at this point). When not listening, the system has just been playing a variety of music on a continuous basis.

    One of the goals I had with upgrading my system was to better resolve some of the large choral pieces in my music collection. One of my favorite CDs is the Verdi Requiem by Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (Telarc). One of the shortcomings of my prior gear was the inability of the system to resolve this material cleanly or realistically during large crescendos in the music. Soprano material in particular was a trouble spot – instead of hearing distinct voices during crescendos, I was hearing a peaky, congested, treble mess in these parts of the music. The sound tended to smear together, with a glare to the sound that was nowhere near realistic sounding. It was like the audio chain was just being overloaded by this type of material, particularly in the treble.

    While things got a little better when I initially got the Spring 2, these passages were still not fully resolved, and some of the glare and peakiness in the treble was still there in these louder passages. These faults continued to be presnt in the early stages of the burn-in process on the Spring 2, though it was sounding better than anything I had listened to before. It was a bit disappointing, and I was beginning to wonder of some of the issues were with the recording itself. But I am happy to say that this is one of the areas that I have definitely noticed improvements with the Spring 2 and extended burn-in time. The treble parts of these passages are getting much smoother and more resolved. While not perfect, it is sounding like voices now, instead of conglomerated glare in the treble. It has really been a noticeable improvement. It is not just the smoothing of the treble that has occurred, it is also the increased separation and improvements in imaging that I think have contributed here.

    Another area I have started exploring is upsampling with HQPlayer software. This appears to have some real possibilities, and is sounding very, very good. I have tried a couple of different scenarios, taking 44.1K material to 352.8K, and also converting it to DSD512. It appears to be a trade off at times, but generally I am much preferring the upsampled sound to the original – smoother, more organic, bigger sound stage, and more distinct separation of instruments are things I noticed. This will be a long journey at this point, exploring filters and upsampling settings, but I am liking very much where this is going.

    In summary, I was not sure if I was 100% happy with this DAC on initial listening tests, but burn-in has completely changed my opinion. Very happy now with where things are going, and the possibilities with upsampling are making things interesting indeed. I think I will be quite happy with the Spring 2 for a while.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
    Alcophone likes this.
  3. BlueDL
    I agree that upsampling has a positive effect. My Spring 1 Level 1 seems to like DSD512 in NOS mode!
    Mind you, I have to be careful what filter I select in HQP embedded as I soon find the limitations of my quad core i7 music server!
  4. AnakChan Moderator
    This is good to hear. I’ve had a variant of the Kitsune Holo Spring Lvl 3 & SU-1 and been particularly curious on the Holo Spring V2.0.
    doak and joseph69 like this.
  5. joseph69
    Are you going to be placing an order/demoing a Spring 2?
    If so, being you have experience with the KTE Spring I'd like to hear your thoughts.
    I'm very content with my KTE Spring & KTE SU-1, and after reading Tim's comment, I don't believe I'll be making any moves on the Spring 2 if the differences are subtle.
  6. AnakChan Moderator
    Sadly no plans to. If there’s a demo unit tour, I’d be glad to do a comparison but don’t think there’s one.
  7. T Bone
    Hey Holo Owners, does anyone have first-hand experience with the Magna Mana streamer? (link)
    It's one of the few streamers out there with an I2S output. The pin-out of the Magna is supposed to conform to the "PS Audio" standard which would make it compatible with the Holo Spring.





    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
  8. attmci
    Torq is running his own for-profit website now.
  9. attmci
    Yup, ask the existing customers sending their Dacs back to them every (couple of) year(s) for upgrading, and made more $$$. Great!
  10. bearwarrior
    Any address of the website?
    Alcophone likes this.
  11. Aurion
    bearwarrior likes this.
  12. Torq
    No I most definitely am not.

    I'm acting as an editor/coordinator/reviewer for headphone.com (and it's associated forum) - which is not my site nor my company.

    I'm not paid for it.

    I am not compensated by them, or anyone else, for doing reviews (neither directly nor indirectly).

    Nor do I go to other sites, like this one, posting links back to those reviews there either or otherwise promoting the site/company.

    And for whatever reason my messages to the owner/admins here about sticking an "MOT" flag on my profile have gone unanswered. Whether that's because I'm just doing some volunteer/for-fun stuff and have no involvement in the product or sales side of things, or because they don't care, I have no idea.
    Hey gil,

    We are thrilled to announce that Ian Dunmore, perhaps better known in online audio communities as “Torq,” will be joining headphone.com as Managing Editor for both the main Headphone.com site and The HEADPHONE Community

    Ian is a long-time music-first audiophile and headphone enthusiast. He has a broad range of experience with audio equipment at all levels and a history of detailed comparative gear reviews.

    In his role he will be coordinating our reviews/reviewers, providing them editorial support as well as continuing to contribute his own reviews and articles. We love Ian's reviews and we think the headphone world is a better place when Ian is writing.

    Headphone.com has been a key part of the headphone community since Tyll Hertsens founded it over a quarter-century ago. Ian has the thoughtfulness, passion, intelligence, and values that are central to the headphone.com mission of being the

    Here are his last three wonderful reviews if you'd like to check them out:

    1. Sennheiser HD 820 Review
    2. Holo Audio Cyan Review
    3. SPL Phonitor X Review
    Ian's new headphone.com email address is ian@headphones.com - please join us in congratulating him. We're very excited about the future!

    Andrew & Taron Lissimore

    This is an email received. So this may need a bit of clarification maybe? So the position is a volunteer one? Good to know.
    omniweltall likes this.
  14. Torq
    Yes, entirely volunteer.

    I'm not an employee.

    I receive no compensation.

    I do it because I enjoy it. And I like the arrangement as it is, i.e. as an editorially-independent volunteer, as it means I am free from the typical potential outside influences of paid reviews, don't have to be concerned with sales nor advertising revenue nor keeping manufacturers happy and I don't have to spend time with gear I don't like or am not personally interested in.
    @Torq imo they needed to say you are a contributor not an editor. And editor is a supervisor that oversees others. They did not do you any favors giving you a title like that. Once it's out there, hard to reel back in to normalcy.
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