LKS Audio MH-DA003

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by nostoy, Dec 4, 2014.
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  1. penguin140369
    I spent 1.5 hours today doing an A-B comparison of the Chord Dave with the LKS Audio MH-DA004. The comparion was performed with just a couple of tracks from an album I know well.

    Normally, I struggle to hear significant differences between DAC's, but the signature of these two was quite different. The Dave came out on top, but the LKS gave a good account of itself. (Let's not forget that the Dave is around 6x the price.)

    The 004 is the best Sabre DAC I've heard, but in its current state it lacks the life and dynamics of the Dave. The latter also has more lower-mid 'weight' to its sound. But the 004 is no less refined. It just sounds like it is more reserved, happy to sit back and work within its limits.

    This experiment has motivated me to want to mod the 004, particularly on the analogue side.

    In a couple of weeks' time I will be getting the Dave on an extended loan. If anyone wants me to proffer further comparisons, let me know. I still think the 004 has all the potential, it's just a case of realizing it.
  2. ti5002000
    i had a Chord Dac in the past and altough i don´t heard Dave ,in my experience, the lks mh-004 only misses this dynamic ,life and impact that you are talking about.But in comparasion,the LKS is much better value for Money and also has some better micro details.For the price it is hard to beat.
    Maybe the capacitors that Bobb talked about can improve this...
  3. penguin140369
    Yes, the LKS is definitely much better value for money.

    I wonder where the difference lies. The 004 doesn't sound like it's inferior, or lacking in detail; it just seems more restrained.
  4. Lennym
    If the 004 can be compared to the $10,500 DAVE we're in good company--and with the possibility of mods.

    In his review of the DAVE, Stereophile's editor John Atkinson also notes its strong bass-mid-bass performance using classical piano as his reference recording. Then he goes on to compare it to a $20,000 Meridian DAC. He prefers the bass (on the piano) of the DAVE, but the higher frequencies (a violin) of the Meridian.

    Two comments. You have used "just a couple of tracks from an album I know well." No problem, except that a wider variety of software might give interesting results. By the way, could you share what you used, and was it from a CD or downloaded files and in what format?

    Also, we (and professional reviewers these days--as Atkinson does) are always comparing one device to another rather than to the real thing. The real thing being live un-amplified music. That's the comparison that was made when serious high fidelity and stereo component reviewing got its start. In his review Atkinson leaves us guessing as to which of these two five-figure DACs brings us closer to the source.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
  5. penguin140369
    Mid-bass is where I heard a difference also. It was fuller on the Dave. Alhough that doesn't necessarily mean 'better'. (I prefer it but that's personal preference.)

    The album was The Age of Plastic by The Buggles, played through Tidal. It wasn't an ideal demo environment for me as it was in a large carpeted room (upstairs of local hifi shop), and unfamiliar components (Naim integrated amp, unfamiliar speakers.) My home listening environment is a smaller, non-carpeted room. I also use Tidal, but the amp and speaker set-up is entirely different: Kudos Titans driven by Quad II 80's and Cyrus Mono x300 Sigs.

    I'll be getting the Dave on home demo shortly, and will listen to mainly live performances - as that tends to be my benchmark. Stuff like 'Made in Japan' by Deep Purple, and 'Live at the Point' by Christy Moore.
  6. simon 2
    I have put blu-tack on the nichicon caps and that gives it a more solid sound .
  7. penguin140369
    Have you tried the white version of blu-tak?
  8. simon 2
  9. rafabro
    @B00b or someone who know...

    Friend of my replaced OP-AMPs at Crystek clock to polish/danish STACCATO OSC OP-AMPs with great result. Once he was experimenting with other opamps at rear side and by mistake he forgot to put back one of them and then turn on DAC with 3 opamps only.
    Music was playing as normal before he realize what he did.

    Why DAC was playing music without one opamp?
    How important are back side opamps for XLR connection? Is it still wort investment to replace them for XLR?

    thanks in advance
  10. b0bb
    The pair of opamps closest to the rear panel convert the balanced signal from the current-voltge (I/V) converter to unbalanced for the RCA outputs, the XLR signal comes off the I/V converter directly. These opamps have no effect on the XLR operation.

    If the I/V converter opamp is removed the DAC might appear to function as the 9018 goes into voltage mode but will cause long term damage to the speaker tweeter as there is substantial conversion aliasing noise above 22kHz that is not removed causing the tweeter voice coils to be overdriven, burning it out eventually.

    The I/V converter opamp on the LKS is the part of the post conversion filter responsible for removing the aliasing noise
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2017
  11. rafabro
    That's perfect explanation b0bb, thank you very much!
  12. penguin140369
    Digital has been around for a long time now, and aliasing effects well known. I've often wondered why this 'digital' problem isn't handed off to 'analogue' manufacturers, who presumably could correct this with a filter after the crossover to remove this damaging aliasing noise?
  13. Lennym
    Any chance for a picture?
  14. b0bb
    The DAC should be the last block in the chain before the analog power amp, this means digital processing for the crossover to get the best possible results.
    Ideally the DAC and poweramp should be one and the same but that tech is a bit of hit and miss at the moment.
  15. guneyt
    Hi folks, what are u thinking about the coupling capacitor located at the input of spdif ? There is 0.1uf film Wima in each input. Do you think a better coupling capacitor works better here ? Someone says no because it is in digital domain. But I'm thinking a better cap especially with a very low dielectric absorption will do somethings good in jitter domain..
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