How good can it be, Scott Nixon TubeDAC+
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AndrewTosh

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I had a bunch of money burning a hole in my pocket last week and ordered a Scott Nixon TubeDAC+ with upgraded power supply from someone on Audiogon. I bought it knowing that I can likely sell it and not lose much if I don't like it. What I'm wondering is, will it really make a difference to be worth its cost?

My current setup is an ASL MG-HeadDT with 2 Ei tubes and a Tung Sol 5751WA powering a pair of Sennheiser HD580s. It's sourced either by my PC's SBLive or a Sony CDX-C900 car cd player with 20bit Burr Brown DACs. The PC sounds ok for casual listening and the Sony sounds much better.

When I first got the ASL amp and Senns I could tell a big difference between other things I've listened to in the past, even my Etymotic ER6s. Even my girlfriend who isn't really big into audio, but is a musician, was very impressed. We spent the whole night in her dorm room alone listening to CDs which for college students means a lot!


What I'm planning on doing is using either my SGI Indigo2 (old unix workstation with a real 44.1khz S/PDIF out) or the NEC CDR-601 (4x external) as a transport. Either of these should be able to put out a pretty good digital signal for the TubeDAC+.

I just feel like for it to be "worth it" to me the sound has to be incredible, and I sortof have a feeling that it won't be that much better. I think I might be setting myself up for dissapointment here! Does anyone here have experience moving from cheaper cdps to a more expensive DAC? Is it really that much better?

For reference I listen to music from a lot of different types of artists, modern and classic rock, some classical, some hip hop and I'm generally pretty pleased with my system.

Thanks


-Andrew
 
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Figo

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Source upgrades, IMO are huge. when comparing amps I really have to pay attention and listen to hear changes, but with sources, even closely priced ones, the differences really jump out at me.

With all the good press the tubedac has received you will probably love it
 
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Canman

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well there is no turning back now. let us know how it sounds.
 
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AndrewTosh

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Canman
well there is no turning back now. let us know how it sounds.


Will do
I was hoping to have it for the weekend but UPS messed up and delayed it one day so I won't get it until June 1st. I'll be sure to post my impressions even though I'm not an expert on this kind of stuff.
 
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AndrewTosh

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Wow!

I got it the other day and I'm very impressed. I don't know enough about audio or other gear to make an intelligent commentary on it, but I just love the sound this little box makes.

All of my impressions are using my SiliconGraphics Indigo2 as my "transport". It has true 44.1khz S/PDIF out and most of what I've been playing is high rate (256/320) mp3s or wavs.

The first track I put on was one of my old favorites, the Beastie Boys' Root Down. It's not anything close to some super audiophile recording, but through the TubeDAC+ it just sounds more like MUSIC. It felt like the first time I ever heard the song all over again.

Since then I've been listening to a lot of The Who, Steely Dan, Radiohead, The Cure and other albums. All of them just sound alive and aren't tedious to listen to at all. The only thing I find myself wishing for now is a nice speaker setup to compliment my headphones!

I don't know if I'd say it's worth the near $600 for the DAC and 3Xac power supply, but I got mine at a slight discount on Audiogon and it's certainly a very noticeable improvement. I can't wait for my NEC CD-ROM to come so I can listen to some of the CDs I haven't copied onto the computer yet.

Back to listening
 
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CD44hi

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Hey congrats on the acquisition. I have the basic DacKit. (got it used as well, very recently). I have heard that every Scott Nixon's model sounds different. With this disclaimer, but incidentally, I am using it right now with the NEC multiSpin 6Xe. It sounds very smooth and musical as well. I like the sound! I am sure you'll like the TubeDac+ with the NEC


What dig cable are you using?
 
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AndrewTosh

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Quote:

Originally Posted by CD44hi
What dig cable are you using?


Well, the SGI has a sortof weird arrangement. The digital in/out runs through a 1/8" jack where one side is digital in and the other is out so right now I'm using some old Radio Shack 1/8" to RCA cable. I know it's not technically correct, but it works in the mean time. For the NEC I'll probably buy a new one or borrow whatever my parents use in their home theater.

I'm not really sure how to use the digital out on the SGI with a proper cable. I'm assuming you could get a 1/8" to left/right RCA splitter and then hook a real coax cable to that and it might work a bit better.

If you have any (cheap) recommendations let me know. I'm not a big believer in pricey cables, especially for digital connections, but something that is well made and the proper 75 ohm spec would be good.
 
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momerath

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This is very interesting to me for the indigo as transport thing, because I have a recent sgi O2 I never looked at as a transport and I only have one sound card (on board actualy) that outputs 44.1K unresampled in Linux.
I'm not sure about how it works with your Indigo, but I used a mono 1/8th -> female rca adaptor with an old soundcard that used 1/8th" for its spdif. Do I understand your post to mean that the port on your indigo is stereo and that one channel is used for in and the other for out?
Can you comment on the differences between it and other transports you have access to? Do you have a reclocker? I just got a monarchy superdip, which I very much doubted would cause an audible improvement (got it more for the toslink->coax coversion), but I found that it really does sound much better with my assortment of cheap sound cards.
 
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With a nice Amperex tube, the regular TubeDAC is something I would definitely be forced to say "that's incredible". That's one other advantage of that thing, you can tuberoll and play around with the sound a little.

Going back to the stock dac in my CD changer is a night / day difference for sure!
 
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AndrewTosh

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Quote:

Originally Posted by momerath
I'm not sure about how it works with your Indigo, but I used a mono 1/8th -> female rca adaptor with an old soundcard that used 1/8th" for its spdif. Do I understand your post to mean that the port on your indigo is stereo and that one channel is used for in and the other for out?
Can you comment on the differences between it and other transports you have access to? Do you have a reclocker? I just got a monarchy superdip, which I very much doubted would cause an audible improvement (got it more for the toslink->coax coversion), but I found that it really does sound much better with my assortment of cheap sound cards.



Yes, if you use a stereo 1/8" to stereo RCA, the left channel is a spdif out and the right channel is a spdif in. You can set the default inputs, outputs and sample rates with audiopanel. What kind of audio I/O does an O2 have by the way?

I don't have any other transports to compare it to at this point. My NEC should arrive tomorrow and I'll let you know if I can tell a difference. I also don't have a reclocker to try it out with. I'm assuming it would compare well with other gear though; One of SGI's major focuses was audio/video so I doubt they would skimp in that department.
 
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NKT

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Just ordered a dac+ with power supply, can't wait to get it in! Will post results when I do.
Any good tube recommendations for this? I'm kind of new to tubes, so I'm wondering what tube options I'll have. Can I only use the 6dj7 with this unit, or any other 6922/ec88's? Thanks!
 
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chillysalsa

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NKT:
6922 / E188CC / ECC88 are the 'upgraded' version of the 6DJ8, great sound quality and expect about 5000-7000 hrs on those. I have a Sovtek, that sounds much better than the stock Philips Miniwatt tube. The Amperex with the 'Red Globe' lettering has more dynamics and bigger soundstage than the Sovtek.

7308 are the 'super delux' version of the 6DJ8. I haven't tried any of these, but are reported to get the best sound quality and about 10,000 hrs of life. I'm looking for an authentic 'Made in Holland' 7308 with gold pins and the 'D' shaped getter (the part just under the top)... those are supposed to be the best, but I am so scared to pay the big bucks people ask for these, because many are fakes / not made in Holland!
 
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taylor

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How much does it cost to replace the tube when it goes?
 
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NKT

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Chillysalsa, thanks for the informative reply. I just looked up the tube you're talking about, the 7308 D getter Holland, DEAR LORD! Asking price $500 for a pair?!?!?!! Guess i'm going to have to tube roll with "second-tier" tubes.
 
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I know, I wouldn't think of spending that much when I'm not 100% positive it's authentic (I don't even know enough to know what the 'tell tale signs' are anyways...)

The Sovtek is about $8, and the 'Red Globe' Amperex was $16 on eBay... they come up from time to time.

Someone on here has said the Adzam (spelling?) were good new Dutch tubes - close to the Amperex 7308's. People on the AudioAsylum have also said Telefunkens sound good in the TubeDAC (~$50) but many German fakes of those around too! Careful!

Some very detailed discussion on these tubes down here:
http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/scr...ubes.html#6DJ8
 
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