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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. JoeDoe
    I finally received my SS amp today and I'm comparing this little DAC to my DacMagic 100. 
     
    My setup:
     
    MBP running Fidelia > Battery DAC & DacMagic > Gustard H10 > HE500 (grill and fuzzor mods)
     
    Will post some impressions later.
     
  2. zilch0md
    [​IMG]
     
  3. JoeDoe
    Here we go:
     
    Short Version
     
    With regards to sonic characteristics...
     
    The Battery DAC = tube 
    The DM100 = SS
     
    Long Version
     
    After plenty of A/Bing between the two DACs in between my Gustard H10 and MacBook, I won't really say one is markedly better, but rather, it depends on what fits best in one's system.
     
    Both DACs are very capable and I certainly never felt like anything was missing or left to be desired. They have similar footprints and punch largely above their price points. The DM has more input options and handles more sample rates and the BD isn't tethered to the wall.
     
    With regards to sound, the Battery DAC offers a sweeter more lush sound that very much reminds me of the effect that tubes have on Grado headphones. The midrange is just gorgeous, the top edge of the treble is smoothed out and the low end remains punchy. 
     
    The DacMagic has a more neutral (but not bright) signature. More detail up top with a slightly leaner midrange. Much more in line with the solid state sound signature. 
     
    In my rig, the Gustard has a slight warmth to it, as do my main phones, the HE500 and RS1i. Therefore I opted to keep the DacMagic as its leaner and cleaner sound signature synergized better with my setup. I would imagine that if you've got a rig that leans toward a brighter sound, you'd love the Battery DAC.
     
    Any questions?
     
  4. manbear
    Do you find the battery DAC to have less detail in any way?
     
  5. zach915m

    I personally don't feel like it lacks detail when listening to SP dac, but then when I switch to a Theta the placement and details are pushed forward more.  Soundstage is wider in my theta's but the SP dac and that 1543 chip seem somewhat more liquid and as JoeDoe stated more "tube" like. 
     
    I did love the SP dac with my Mjolnir bc it balanced out the slightly lean aggressive nature of the Mjolnir.
     
    ZMFheadphones ZMF headphones hand-crafts wood headphones in Chicago, USA with special attention to exceptional sound and craftsmanship. Stay updated on ZMFheadphones at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    https://www.facebook.com/ZMFheadphones https://twitter.com/ZMFheadphones https://www.instagram.com/zmfheadphones/?hl=en http://www.zmfheadphones.com/zmf-originals/ contactzmf@gmail.com
  6. JoeDoe

    Not less, but some of the upper end nuance wasn't as easy to pick out (forward) as the DacMagic.
     
  7. manbear
    Now that I have an X3 with coax out, I'm pretty interested in getting one of these for my work rig. Seems like it would be a good match for my TH600. Just need to sell some stuff first! Unless Joe wants to trade :wink:...
     
  8. uncola
    I'm willing to sell mine.. let me know if you're interested
     
  9. uncola
    I finally got around to trying this dac again.  Instead of using motherboard toslink out I'm using a usb to toslink converter.  And I'm using a real amp now instead of a portable and it sounds GREAT.  Like night and day difference.  Not sure if it's the better toslink port or better amp but the sound changed from warm and thick in a BAD way to warm and thick in a GOOD way.   I was really disappointed in this dac until now but now it's a keeper for sure.  Not sure if I prefer this to my geek out 450, I'll have to A/B test them a lot to tell
     
    IMG_20150505_162355.jpg
     
  10. zach915m
     
    It's def a thicker sounding DAC, I never find it to lack details though.  I remember being astonished when A/Bing it to a comparable wolfson dac and finding it to have more details and imaging than the wolfson dac despite being more laid back/smoother ever so slightly.
     
    ZMFheadphones ZMF headphones hand-crafts wood headphones in Chicago, USA with special attention to exceptional sound and craftsmanship. Stay updated on ZMFheadphones at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    https://www.facebook.com/ZMFheadphones https://twitter.com/ZMFheadphones https://www.instagram.com/zmfheadphones/?hl=en http://www.zmfheadphones.com/zmf-originals/ contactzmf@gmail.com
  11. hans030390
    Yep, always gonna be a thicker, warmer sounding DAC, but it does benefit from a good source. Will only get better and cleaner with a nice SPDIF converter with coax.
     
  12. zach915m

    So ManBear, what do you think so far?  (I lent him my SP DAC)
     
    ZMFheadphones ZMF headphones hand-crafts wood headphones in Chicago, USA with special attention to exceptional sound and craftsmanship. Stay updated on ZMFheadphones at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    https://www.facebook.com/ZMFheadphones https://twitter.com/ZMFheadphones https://www.instagram.com/zmfheadphones/?hl=en http://www.zmfheadphones.com/zmf-originals/ contactzmf@gmail.com
  13. manbear
    Thanks to Zach for lending me this thing! I like the Battery DAC overall but probably not enough to buy one. Here are some observations after using it at work for a while with my X3, Cayin C5, and TH600.

    It is less colored than I was expecting. I don’t notice any loss of detail compared to the DAC in the X3 (note that I listen mostly to electronic recordings where you’re not going to hear people breathing in the audience or whatever). The treble is rolled off somewhat but I’m fine with that. The bass has an interesting character that I can’t quite put my finger on… Compared to the X3’s DAC, I’m hearing more subbass and less midbass. Impact is decent but there is less body in a way. Punch is lighter, airier. Rumble and extension are good. Soundstage depth and width are respectable but it has a more cohesive (vs layered and separated) presentation.

    But the main thing I notice about this DAC is that it has a softness to it. Maybe you could call it politeness, smoothness, richness, etc. It’s very unfatiguing and easy to listen to, but it lacks some bite and excitement. I find myself listening at louder levels to compensate. The synergy with my TH600 is good. It evens out the V-shaped signature and smooths the treble considerably. I thought it sounded too soft and syrupy with my HE-400i. Very lush though. I believe someone in this thread compared it to a cheap tube amp. IMO that comparison is OK—the softness is kind of tubey. However, this DAC doesn’t sound slow or thick to me. The bass is reasonably tight and controlled.

    Compared to my Audio GD DAC 19 (also R2R), it’s really no contest. The Audio GD has more presence, body, energy, clarity, refinement, while being just as easy to listen to. That’s what I really look for—I hate gear that hurts my ears but I don’t like too much softness either. Beyond my preferences, I don’t have anything bad to say about this DAC. It sounds nice. Worth considering for anyone who wants to tame some bright headphones, especially if you don’t listen to aggressive music.
     
    zilch0md likes this.
  14. adobotj
    Hi guys. Just received my SP NOS dac today. I'm confused on how to use it. I'm playing it through my ak100ii via optical > SP NOS dac > RSA intruder > HD800. Tried turning it on with battery and now through mains AC. My question is, if i use the dac via mains (AC) will it also charge the internal battery even if the battery switch is set to off? Or should i also turn on the battery switch while on mains? Using mains now and it plays music even if battery switch is set to off. 
     
    One more question. How do you guys use this battery dac? mains on|battery off -OR- mains on|battery on?
     
    Thanks in advance! 
     
    EDIT: I already saw the ebay description and saw the answer there. I can't believe i missed that info! Anyway, on to my listening sessions now [​IMG]
     
  15. uncola
    Didn't want you to feel alone with in this thread. My nos battery dac is my backup dac. Looking forward to reading your impressions
     
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