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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. zilch0md
    That's why I have so many headphones.  Now I'm starting a DAC collection, too...  Ouch.  [​IMG]
     
  2. audiofrk
    how does this compare against your classe audio dac-1?
     
  3. hans030390
    The Classe DAC-1 was an entirely different beast. Completely overshadowed this 1543 DAC, but, unfortunately, the tone was drier than I'd like, despite it still being rather fleshed out and full bodied otherwise, and it was more on the aggressive side. Sounded amazing but wore on me. I sacrificed a lot with this 1543 DAC in most regards, but I find it more enjoyable long term and am using it as a stop gap currently. I'm in the minority for what works well for me and for odd reasons at times, so keep that in mind.
     
  4. zilch0md
     
    I really respect the humility of that last sentence, above.  [​IMG]
     
    It brings to mind the question we should always ask ourselves:  Do I have the same tastes as the reviewer?  
     
    It's hard to discern, but if you read an articulate reviewer long enough, you can figure out his likes and dislikes, and even start interpolating or mapping his comments to your own tastes. And when you find a guy who buys and sells a lot of gear (or who covers a lot of gear as a professional reviewer), who is also articulate and for whom you've got a good handle on what he likes, then (and only then) - in the absence of large consensus of opinion, which is often the case for exotic or rarely purchased gear (like The Battery DAC) - can you trust that you'll be content with that for which the reviewer is content.  For me, one such person is Head-Fi member FlySweep, but with my understanding that he likes a greater tolerance for less detail.  Another is Skylab, with the understanding that his tastes are identical to mine.
     
    If you fall outside the majority consensus of opinion, which I don't, fortunately, you'll be buying and selling a lot more gear to find what's right for your tastes.
     
  5. zilch0md
    I've applied more updates to my post giving impressions of The Battery DAC - still premature, but I can't help writing about it.  [​IMG]
     
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/709720/starting-point-systems-portable-nos-dac/15#post_11399021
     
  6. CJG888
    I guess I will pass on this one then, but for the best of reasons.

    The description of the SQ sounds identical to the sound of the HM-601LE (now, alas, discontinued). Despite having several more sophisticated and expensive DAPs, I always still seem to have the HM-601 in my carry-on luggage....
     
  7. audiofrk

    Thanks! figured that there would be a difference but how much was on my mind I heard that the untra analog dacs were warm so I was curious .
     
  8. uncola
    new dac is here and sounds awesome.  had one issue, when I set jriver to wasapi, I had to manually change bit depth from automatic to 16 bit.  automatic was only giving me sound in the left channel.  16 bit and all is good.  So for this dac I have windows default format set to 16/44.1 is that what I should be using if I listen to music via spotify etc?  Or should I be setting it to 96KHz so everything that's not wasapi(jriver) gets resampled to 96KHz?
     
    old dac compared to new dac
    IMG_20150313_150210.jpg
     
     
    dac works with Jay's Audio 12v LPS!
    DSC00203.jpg
     
  9. hans030390
    Some people like to upsample via software for NOS DACs. Lots of potential with different sounding upsampling filters, so worth playing around with. If you do, best to stick with multiples of the original sample rate.
     
  10. uncola
    Been playing around with the dac more.. my monoprice short coax and toslink cable order hasn't arrived yet so I only have a super long toslink cable to use with the dac.. I think it's 25 or 30 feet long at least.. anyway the dac is definitely too warm and thick for me.. bass doesn't seem good with electronic music.. I'll try it again when I get my short toslink cable.. I wonder if it's my crappy motherboard toslink port that's hurting the sound.. my old dac works as a usb to toslink converter so I could try that out
     
  11. hans030390
    Usually is worth trying different sources and cables in these situations to be sure.
     
  12. uncola
    I haven't written it off yet, also I just realized I have a cold
    update: So I'm using my short 6' monoprice toslink cable now.. tried a couple of different headphones.. and unless my PC mobo toslink out is really bad or something.. I really don't like this dac at all.. the bass is so slow it's like it has built in reverb.. maybe I secretly am a lean and cold dac lover and didn't know it..
    what other tests should I try with it.. I could use a different amp I guess or try the optical out from my blu-ray player
     
  13. hans030390
    You might not like the sound in the end. I don't think a lot of people will. But tbh the toslink out on your mobo probably isn't very good. My unit was bassier from my desktop even with an SPDIF converter. From a tablet on battery it cleaned up noticeably, and then a bit more with a Wyrd added. Same SPDIF converter. And I swear after many hours on it and given some warm up time it cleaned up even more below. All the NOS R2R DACs I've tried are source sensitive to some extent. I also don't prefer toslink over SPDIF coax in most situations. But ultimately this DAC is on the warm and thick side of the spectrum, just I dont think it should sound quite like you described, hence my guess on it being some what source related. My bet is that even if you saw gains from a better chain, that money would be better spent on a DAC more to your tastes. Then again, investing in a good source chain benefits any DAC, so it's worth it in the long run.
     
  14. zilch0md
     
     
    Having had The Battery DAC for a week, now, I'm going to keep this really short - OK, not so short - and say that for my tastes, for use with high-feedback amps, like the OPPO HA-1, my DACmini CX amp section, my Meier Audio Stepdance and iBasso PB2 portable amps - when used with the HD800, I prefer this little TDA1453 DAC to the PCM1792A (oversampling) DAC that's in my FiiO X5 (which is saying a lot, because it's my favorite oversampling DAC), and I much prefer The Battery DAC to any ESS9023, ESS9018, or CEntrance DAC with the HD800, including my DACport LX and the DAC sections of my OPPO HA-1 and CEntrance DACmini CX - again, with emphasis - for use with the HD800.  For the LCD-2 rev.1 or OPPO PM-1, I prefer the oversampling DACs, with the FiiO X5's PCM1792A trumping them all.
     
    All that said, excluding the Metrum Octave MkII, which beats every other DAC I have, including this TDA1453 DAC (by a long shot), with any amp and headphone combination, I'm quite certain that if I want to go "transportable" with the HD800, I'll use this chain over anything else I can muster from my inventory:
     
    FiiO X5 Coaxial Out > The Battery DAC > iBasso PB2 (rolling in JRC Muses 02 and HA5002 buffers), balanced out > HD800
     
    And I'll add that anyone struggling to find an "affordable" solution for the analytical, sometimes sibilant or brittle treble and weak bass of the HD800, should try dropping one of these Battery DACs in front of their choice of affordable amps, whether portable or desktop, and whether low- or zero-feedback or not.
     
    The Metrum Octave MkII > Aurix > HD800 is still a much superior experience - supplying the HD800 with what it wants (to avoid its pitfalls), while not compromising any of its strengths.
     
    UPDATE:  Keep in mind that the praise I'm giving The Battery DAC is confined to how it can deal with the HD800's finicky nature.  I'm not nearly as excited about The Battery DAC for use with other headphones and even with the HD800, it's a solution that compromises some of the HD800's greatest strengths (resolution and "air") while masking the problems that can be caused by high-feedback amps (not to mention by oversampling DACs).  In other words, the bolded chain I've referenced above as my favorite portable HD800 rig, is the "wrong" approach for satisfying an HD800 - just as cheap tube amps, like the Schiit Valhalla 2 or the hybrid Vali are "adequate" and most definitely affordable solutions for the HD800, but they corrupt as much as they cure.  Think of The Battery DAC as a solid state (and portable) solution for the HD800 that's in the same class as the cheap tube amps.  
     
    Unlike the Metrum Octave MkII > Aurix, which provide the HD800 with a signal that's ideal for its requirements, my new HD800 portable solution is brutish in comparison, with its coloration, rolled off highs, and "desirable" harmonic distortions robbing the HD800 of some of its best traits while also "fixing" the problems for which the HD800 is infamous - it, too, both corrupts and cures the HD800.  In the end, the results are very pleasing and guaranteed to put a smile on your face - it does mine - allowing me to really connect with the music, but if you've ever heard an HD800 being all that it can be, you just have to forget that you're wearing the HD800 and enjoy the sound for what it is.
     
    Mike
     
    landroni likes this.
  15. Lohb
    Just like to jump in and ask would this NOS DAC pair well with Fostex Tx0-RP with a Cayin C5 in there amping at first and a Gustard H10 later ?
    I guess it would not be a good match with the dark and thick LCD 2.1's...but unsure how long I'll have the 2.1's and maybe sample the EL-8's for a while....
    I'm off the Sabre train as they have the resolution/detail/transparancy but it does not hinge into musicality like these older DAC chips IMO....Sabre stuff keeps me in analysis mode vs immersion in the music...;-(
     
    Had also been looking at the HRT Microstreamer (TI DAC chip ?) which might bridge the Fostex Tx0-RP and LCD 2.1 styles......
     
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