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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. richard51
    Thanks for your precisely illuminating remarks and comparison....You shut the puck or should we say the ball,right in the goal.... This french Dac (i had version 2 insert in my chain set-up with an isolator and a convertor) is the most kept well guarded secret in audio price wise and soundwise.... My experience with previous Os dac is the same than yours with the other dacs you tried: unnatural sound that makes our reptilian brain unrelaxed completely....

    My Dac 2 is run by external lithium battery, and me too my speakers are completely damped, and more, all my other links upward(before the power conditioner,from the central electrical panel in my basement to the principal electrical cable at the exterior of the house) and downward,after the power conditioner, are treated with some stones to lowering the noise floor of the system... This method of mine transform completely the sound of the dac because like you rightly said «With NOS the real distortion takes place out of the audio band, not in the 20-20 range» and when all links are cleaned and treated, this dac reveal all my previous past dac equal to something no more interesting at all, like some bunch of gear that really never sounded natural at all.... Some like this french dac but have made some restrictive remarks concerning the lack of high definition or a sound too much warm etc... This is my experience before break-in, and before completing my treatment of the electrical grid for lowering the noise floor....Now this dac, paid on ebay(one of the last unit of the dac2) a too low amount to be mention here is the most rewarding purchase i have ever make in audio...But treatment of vibrations is tantamount and imperative in all links, and methods for lowering the noise floor make the biggest difference i have ever experienced.... In fact the only defect of this dac comes from his sensitivity to the true source of any audio system : the electrical grid of the house where the audio system is embedded....Few people are conscious of this fact, and curious mind will investigate, this is the reason i mention here with the subject of Nos dac....
    More explanation about that in this thread :


    Best regards to you

    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017
  2. automojo
    Yes, I agree about the electrical noise. I do think many components are, like this Dac, more sensitive to electrical noise then people think. And I'm betting part of the reason the designer used internal batteries. Even though they aren't ideal from a long point current draw. I think a external, or very quiet linear source is ideal. The Ifi power unit is worth the $50 as a supplement. Extremely quiet as advertised. Just because a power supply in linear doesn't mean it's quiet, or isolated from noise. Maybe a electrical surge, but not noise. I think given the low price of the Dac, one can easily justify a quiet power supply @$50. Why not give it the best chance to perform?
    In addition i to ferrite chokes on power leads, I have my house treated with PS Quiet Lines. Their noise analyzer is a worthwhile investment, as you can actually HEAR NOISE ON YOUR POWER LINES, and hear how well your treatment take care of it! And keep sensitive equipment isolated from each other, mechanically and electrically. The PS products are a good value and work well. Ferrite chocks are very inexpensive. Don't use them on a properly isolated USB cable though.
    I do think a lot of people fail to treat noise seriously. In addition to proper component matching, its IMHO why they don't like certain component's. Particularly NOS Dac's. They simply aren't giving them a fair chance in their system. A real shame.
    I also think people have been conditioned to HD audio, DS chips, what have you. What is supposed to sound good. And don't really understand how each component interact. Because they are switching things out so quickly. And in the end, not really listening to their music, but their system, And the next big wow. Despite listener fatigue. It's all about the system, newest technology, price looks etc. It's sad, because IMHO it's ALL about the music. A system is worthless IMHO if you can't listen to it all day, playing any type of music, and not fully enjoy the detail and impact, without fatigue.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017
    richard51 likes this.
  3. automojo
    I also think part of it is the reviews on equipment. Those guys go through tons of pieces and don't always give them a fair shake. When you read about their PERSONAL SYSTEMS, it's usally a different story.
    I think people tend to get sucked into those Stereophile/etc reviews and do the same thing, swapping endlessly to find Audio Nirvana.
    You really have to read between the lines on reviews like that.
    Forums like these, it's a bit different. Because you get the other side, so to speak by those that understand how a system should come together.
    And it really has nothing to do with price, looks prestige, etc. It's simply a philosophy.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017
    richard51 likes this.
  4. axtran
    I bought a dedicated power supply from Mouser US for my DAC 3. Very good investment. Will also know on Monday when I receive my custom-paired JDS Labs O2 that I intentionally configured to complement the DAC 3, what my setup can be!
    richard51 likes this.
  5. richard51
    I Think you are right, personally i think, assuming their general sincerity and integrity, people are not conscious of the different factors that makes review without much value,without really illuminating our choices, except some technical infos and anecdotal one... The necessary very particular synergy of all links of an audio systems, embedded in a particular physical location, with or without means to controls mechanical vibrations in ALL links of the audio system, with or without means to lower and controls the noise floor of the generalized interlinked elements of the system embedded in a particular electrical grid, all that without mentioning the particular needs of any potential customers and different for each of us, makes the review of any reviewer very limited and not always very useful before buying... When in the few beginning years where i trust reviewer i made mistakes after mistakes, but when after that i inform myself really in many different forums, i begin to see the light and understand what an audio system really is... And finally i understand that if your buying choices are not desastrous in the first place, the greatest upgrade is not buying a better link, but treating all links in your system to finally listen to it truly at his optimal before trashing it for an another one... After these mature audio choices and treatments methods you are really concious of the law of diminishing returns clearly, and this law is ruthless for any audio immature upgrade....

    By the way the purchase at last of this french design minimalist battery dac is a revelation to me in this direction, upgrading really from it will cost way,way much, for my actual systems...This dac is so good rightly implemented in an audio system that the idea of upgrade lost any appeal, except perhaps if your system value exceed the modest under 1000 bucks of mine, and are way, way over many, many thousand dollars...
    My best to you..
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017
  6. automojo
    Yes!! I agree. While both of my systems exceed that amount, they comprise of vintage pieces, 70-90's. Spread out over many years. Maybe 5-6k for everything? Not sure. it's a hobby, so I spend when I'm able, and don't lose sleep when I can't. But I agree, I have found there are many budget, of the radar products that give you high quality musical sound, at ridiculously low prices. I just ran across a dual tube buffer, with excellent specs, and super quiet. Solid build, walwart power supply (Switching, but is isolated internally very well). $29.00 shipped.!! Add another $19.00 for matched GE tubes, and you have a buffer based on the M.F. 10XD at a fraction of the price. Like the DAC3, this thing totally blows my mind!! The volume control is very high quality, as is the power switch, and overall solid construction. Actully the stock Chinese tubes aren't bad at all after break in. Just isolate the chassis with a rubber or felt pad, along with supporting the input/output cable with small felt squares. A improved power supply would be interesting to try, at some point. But like the DAC 3, the potential is all there!! I found the Wirewound Tera a good match, and inexpensive. My best to you too my friend!! I really appreciate your thoughtful insiights!!
    richard51 likes this.
  7. richard51
    Next time! it same way for me to you... Thanks
  8. starence
    Don't worry too much about your power source for the DAC 3, all it does is charge the batteries. I asked the DAC's designer about it and here's his reply:
  9. Jimster480
    This is just the nature of a NOS design. Mimby isnt a NOS design its 192k upsampling (everything is upsampled to this)
  10. automojo
    I think they’re definitely are advantages of running it off and external power supply versus soley the USB.
    Having clean power going in, at least in my opinion is a definite advantage. Batteries really are aren’t going to filter out a noisy power supply.
    It’s possible he has some filtering in there.
    But I think getting the noise floor as low as possible is a good thing.
    Even if you can’t hear the noise when you crank up the volume and don’t have any material playing, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a effect.
    At least in my experience with this DAC, and other NOS DAC’s, it a subtle, but IMHO worthy improvement for the price.
    I don’t think it’s anything you have to do right away, but just something to think about in the future depending on your budget your needs etc.
    You get an idea what you’re listening to, the direction you want to go, and take each step one at a time.
    Thing I noticed with the clean power supply on NOS Dacs, but other Dacs as well, is that it adds what can be best described as a effortlessness to the sound. DAC’s, equipment in general, respond differently depending on their sensitivity, and on board filtering etc.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
    richard51 likes this.
  11. automojo
    I had both the Modi MB, and Bifrost, and a loaner MB Gungnir.
    Each is the subtotal improvement and refinement, but they still have A lot of the same sonic signature.
    A foward, rock stable presentation, with the Gungnir adding some air, and more neutrality.
    They all gave excellent bass response.
    I just found all of them a bit sterile, and unnvolving, and I wasn’t enjoying listening to my system anymore.
    I had the distinct feeling I was listening to the DAC, and not the music.
    For me, the NOS DAC’s, when properly applied, free you totally from this.
    If your speakers are ported, and a bit underdamped, you may need to do some tweaking.
    I purposely damped my modded AMT’s slightly under damped ( easily changed to critically damped with .4lb of Ultra Touch behind the woofers), but they are in a sealed enclosure, so their accuracy, and transient response is better than the majority of ported systems.
    No port resonance, noise or boom.
    You can always experiment with plugging, or partially plugging a port. Not ideal, but a easy and fun expeiment.
    I have a homemade damping tester, that once you get a handle on what your hearing, makes damping speakers to ideal/ your taste a breeze.
    Sometimes a simple move of 6 inches out can clean ported response up significantly.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
    richard51 likes this.
  12. automojo
    .4 lb Dacron
    In addition to the the side walls, and bottom lined with 1 1/2” acoustic egg crate foam, the Ultra Touch sits directly behind the woofers( in a pillow case). The Dacron is used for fine tuning, currently .6 lb (pillow case as well) in the sightly under damped state.
    A mix of several damping materials usually yields the best results (Wheems).
    Sorry for the confusion!! :)
  13. automojo
    Just to add, a lot of these tweaks are very inexpensive.
    Stuff you have laying around.
    Felt, rubber etc. Old shingles, felt roofing, foam. Ferrite chokes are also fairly inexpensive, Amazon, or eBay.
    If you can find 1/4 F13 felt cheap, it works wonders in vibration damping.
    Shop a bit and it comes up. You can glue thinner layers, or stack if needed.
    There are probably more the a few materials laying around your place you might be surprised at that work well.
    Power supplies can be pricey, but sometimes you can work with the seller to try them on a 30 day trial.
    Once you get a good feel for this, then you have a much better idea of what you need to purchase, that you don’t have on hand .
    Take it in steps, and shop, and your total investment will probably bleed be a lot less than you think.
    Definitely a lot less than swapping out expensive pieces of equipment because she don’t have a handle on what you have, or what you’re looking for.
    You may certainly find that a couple simple things can get you where you want to be, without a huge outlay of cash.
    Frankly a lot of my cables I bought second hand, or open box.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
  14. Haden2866
    There were rumours of a firmware update a few pages back. Does anyone have any more news? I'm wondering if it might improve compatibility with my Cayin N3 - is it Linux-based, I think it runs a custom version of HiBy - which sometimes works with the DAC3. I haven't asked Christophe about the update yet - thought I'd check in here first.
  15. jimmers
    Nope, only for 48KHz family.
    It's 176.4kHz for 44.1KHz family and it is NOS at those highest source sample rates, but over all not NOS.
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