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Starting Point Systems portable NOS DAC

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by cjg888, Mar 12, 2014.
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  1. kvik
    • Reviews available from Hifi Critic (Paul Messenger) and The Audiophile Man (Paul Rigby).
    • Sold by several UK dealers
    • Specs and tech available on Vertex website
    • Plenty of TDA1543 DACs around still: 47 Lab, CAD, BorderPatrol, Tranquility DAC, Lab12, SW1X, Wavelength
    Expensive, yes. Scam, no.
    TDA1543 can’t sound fantastic, check the reviews on the above mentioned.
  2. richard51
    If everything is removed of all the means i have used to treat vibrations and EMI , i must say that no pieces of my gear sound right, and i would be in a perpetual insatisfaction like the audiophile crowd who buy and sell every piece that they own every month or almost ....

    This dac2 of the Starting Point Systems was no exception,without taking any precaution to eliminate or filtering electrical and mechanical noise it sound not so much better than my Bushmaster, only different and a bit more more interesting for me, because of his holographic quality,but with some tweaks and the different means of controlling of the noise rightly implemented, it sound TOTL and crush my Bushmaster with not only holographic quality,but more details, and more natural integral musicality....

    This Dac is sensitive, like any piece of gear, to the electrical noise and vibrations, in fact particularly sensitive...But if all your system is already treated, this dac is TOTL for a few bucks, by a long shot one of the best bargain in audio.....The best bargain i have ever made myself , and you must know that i have paid 50 dollars for my Mission cyrus speakers, and 100 bucks for my Sansui AU-7700, and these 2 are already great bargains trust me, but this dac at his normal bidding price on ebay is a super marvel...

    The sound of my system now satisfy me musically for the first time after 7 years of buying new products and research to control the noise...This dac is, by his minimal design, driven at his optimal peak by external battery at 15 volt, and is a source of joy without any defects nor lack of details...If you lack details with it, the fault is the noise that plague your audio system not the dac in itself...And the solution is NOT to buy a 1 thousand dollars new dac but first and foremost before that, it is necessary to control the noise in your system... This is my conclusion in my now satisfying island of music....This dac was the lacking last piece of the final puzzle necessary to attain my audiophile goal....TOTL at cheap price....

    A remark:
    I dont denigrate most costly dac, i am sure that many are better than this dac2 i own, but in audio we must not invest with disproportionate amount of money in a single piece of gear compared to each other one we already owns... That is my first point... The second point is controlling noise in each and every one piece of gear with low cost materials is by far the better investment possible in audio...
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
  3. Jimster480
    Yes, two questionable sites without any other really major reviews.
    Sold by random scam companies in the UK with no real way to purchase them, every place I checked had a random phone number or email to contact them.
    Nobody had carts, information is just copy pasted from the main site with the same review sourced on every site.
    Where are the specs? Please post them from the main site, because I couldn't find any meaningful specs, just fake scammy supersticious nonsense about how there are "acoustic labyrinths" which don't exist in the digital world at all or even in the analog signal world.
  4. Jimster480
    While I'm glad you are enjoying it, calling this STARTING POINT DAC a TOTL product really is getting the entire aspect of everything wrong.
    Buying a linear power supply for this would fix any other issues, otherwise the internal power coupling will be to blame for the rest of the shortcomings.
  5. richard51
    ok, i will give you this point, i will say " a relatively TOTL at cheap cost"...

    I think it is better to couple it with an external battery 15 volt than with a power supply,be it linear, because it is always better to be off the grid....
  6. Jimster480
    Linear vs battery has no scientific difference except that the battery dies over time causing reduced voltages and lower quality.
  7. richard51
    It is not necessary to invoke science, only elementay reflexion will reveal that the noise of the grid swarm any piece of gear, why do you think that company sells means to purify all this noise?

    An external battery to charge the internals one is a better way to go with this french dac , and the designer of this dac think the same when i mention it to him...But i will give you a point, the external battery is costlier than an ordinary power supply...But better....I will favor it also versus a linear power supply, deconnection from the wall and the electrical grid is better...

    And by the way i dont know like you what science say, but this is an article by Benchmark engineering about linear versus switching power supplies....Like i say without any "science", only my 2cents experiment with battery vs. psu, better off the grid if possible...

    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
  8. Jimster480
    Even linear power supplies rarely do anything.
    There is no "noise" in the grid, this is what a linear power supply is for if you believe a switching one isn't enough.
  9. richard51
    Perhaps you will read this Benchmark article? It will give some info about this affirmation of yours ....Not only there is contaminating noise from the electrical line, but also between each pieces of gear....
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
  10. kvik
    Not sure what specs you are expecting, those stated on the Vertex site to me don’t look that less specific than on most other DAC manufacturers site. Why HifiCritic/AudiophileMan should be questionable as reviewers I don’t see/know, but you might know more/better. The fact that a dealer doesn’t have a Cart says nothing about the product, or the dealer for that sake, it’s merely a choice of how they want to conduct business, and is not uncommon practice in high-end audio. The focus on RFI/EMI and microphony is also not unheard of, a company like Naim has been doing this for years, also for their digital stuff. Since this thread is about Starting-Point-Systems I am not going to comment further on Vertex.

  11. Jimster480
    This is very uncommon for high end audio.
    There is no SNR, crosstalk, DNR, output impedance, voltage, THD, anything....
    DIR9001 + TDA1543 are chips available in $40 DAC's because they are both budget at this point in time.
    No Xmos or better USB interface - Literally now in the $40 DAC range as it doesn't even support USB.

    Only supports 16/44.1 and 16/96 meaning that it doesn't even have simple controllers inside and supports less than onboard Audio cards.

    Please direct me to another high End site which has no published specs.....
    Metrum Musette, Rokna WaveDream, Schiit Yggdrasil, Audio-GD Master 7 Singularity / R2R 11, etc
  12. kvik
    To a varying degree, from this R2R-list..

    $ 2-10,000: 47 Lab, Acoustic Plan, Acuhorn, BorderPatrol, dB Audio Labs, Junilabs, LessLoss, Mojo Audio, Ratoc Systems, SW1X, Wavelength,

    $ 10-80,000: Aris Cerat, Audio Note, CAD, Etalon Sound, LampizatOR, Light Harmonic, Thrax Audo, Tidal Audo, Ypsilon, Zanden
  13. Jimster480
    Yes if you check that list there are no expensive products using TDA1543's and while some of the products are questionable... at best I think that Vertex takes the cake.
    There are great products available from Audio-GD like the R2R11 which is a DAC + Amp + preamp and has their own FPGA based R2R ladder design for only $350.
    There is the Soekris R2R DAC also that is as cheap as $350 with a headphone out but it only has a USB input.
  14. kvik
    Well, there’s the CAD at £7500/$9900 and the Wavelength Crimson at $7500. My point isn’t really price, or specs, but that apparently TDA1543 can be made to sound good, judging from some of the reviews I have read (1543 DACs in the mid-price bracket). This seems to be the case for the Starting Point Systems DAC3 as well, judging from this thread. As the one who compiled the R2R-list I obviously agree that there’s a fair number of alternatives, if you want an R2R DAC. Or you can make your own, with one of the old multi-bit chips, if you have the skills. Or you can implement a design by others in your own package (using OEM-modules from Soekris/Metrum/others). The Soekris DAM1101 is more like $450 shipped, by the way, which is twice the price SPS DAC3 seems obtainable for. Anyway, it would be interesting to hear the DAC3 against my own TDA1543 DAC at some point. I am not in the market for a $10k DAC, so really don’t care, if the Vertex one might be overpriced and underspecced.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  15. Jimster480
    Sure it can "sound good" but that is very subjective. Because usually "sound good" means that it has a "warm" sound and lacks details.
    Many people like this oldschool analog sound, or tube amp type of sound. Which modifies the sound and brings you back in time to where audio quality was worse.
    I don't really understand that point in this because you are listening to music at a lower than normal quality compared to what is attainable with cheap DAC's of today.
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