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Thread: Dac help

  1. #1
    You play. I listen. Enochrome's Avatar
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    Dac help

    I have no experience with outboard DAC's. Is it worth the extra money. I was thinking of improving my digital spectrum with a DAC.

    I will be using the DAC with two items mainly:

    -Sony DVP-S7700
    -a donated PC from my Dad with a generic sound card. I will run itunes through the PC because I want the option of controlling my itunes library with my Ipod.

    What is the deal with bit rates and stuff? I heard that 24/192 is better than 16/92 but then I read this from Stereophile article in 2000:

    "Now I am sure. It is important to remember three things about all of these products: 1) other than making active the lowest 8 bits of a 24-bit word, no new audio information is created by any of these products; 2) as susceptibility to word-clock jitter increases with sampling frequency, it is always possible that upsampling audio data can make things worse, not better; and 3) no matter how good these upsampling products can sound—and the dCS, Bel Canto, and MSB products indeed sound excellent—there is no conceptual difference between them and traditional CD playback systems. I am now convinced that the sonic differences we have heard and reported on are due to the different choices in digital filters made by the designers of these products with respect to the number of taps, passband ripple, and stopband rejection (footnote 2), and to changes in the jitter performance."

    -John Atkinson

    So what gives. I am interested in the following DACs:

    Grant Fidelity DAC-11
    Cambridge DacMagic
    Arcam rDac
    MF-V-Dac

    Confused.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I would go with the GF DAC-11. It is a multifunction DAC and can be used as a preamp. Plus it is a tube buffer and you can tailor the sound to your liking by rolling tubes. (I cant wait to roll a Vintage 1950's Amprex Bugle Boy E88CC in it). It can be used as a line stage preamp and headphone amp. The sound with the stock tube is nothing short of spectacular. I would say that it sounds at least as good if not better than the $1K Cambridge Audio 740c CDP that I used to own. My only beef with it is that the on/off switch is in the back of the unit integrated with the IEC socket. Ian Grant gave some BS about the sound quality being degraded by a front panel switch. It was just a cost saving measure IMO.

    At $325 you could do a lot worse.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  3. #3
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enochrome View Post
    I have no experience with outboard DAC's. Is it worth the extra money. I was thinking of improving my digital spectrum with a DAC.

    I will be using the DAC with two items mainly:

    -Sony DVP-S7700
    -a donated PC from my Dad with a generic sound card. I will run itunes through the PC because I want the option of controlling my itunes library with my Ipod.

    What is the deal with bit rates and stuff? I heard that 24/192 is better than 16/92 but then I read this from Stereophile article in 2000:

    "Now I am sure. It is important to remember three things about all of these products: 1) other than making active the lowest 8 bits of a 24-bit word, no new audio information is created by any of these products; 2) as susceptibility to word-clock jitter increases with sampling frequency, it is always possible that upsampling audio data can make things worse, not better; and 3) no matter how good these upsampling products can sound—and the dCS, Bel Canto, and MSB products indeed sound excellent—there is no conceptual difference between them and traditional CD playback systems. I am now convinced that the sonic differences we have heard and reported on are due to the different choices in digital filters made by the designers of these products with respect to the number of taps, passband ripple, and stopband rejection (footnote 2), and to changes in the jitter performance."

    -John Atkinson

    So what gives. I am interested in the following DACs:

    Grant Fidelity DAC-11
    Cambridge DacMagic
    Arcam rDac
    MF-V-Dac

    Confused.
    For sound quality my bet would be the MF V-DAC2. For flexibility the GF DAC-11.

    However, I'd suggest buying from somewhere with a very generous return policy. Some persons swear by cheap DACs and others don't hear any significant improvements over their existing DVD players, Squeezeboxes, etc...

  4. #4
    You play. I listen. Enochrome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani View Post
    For sound quality my bet would be the MF V-DAC2. For flexibility the GF DAC-11.

    However, I'd suggest buying from somewhere with a very generous return policy. Some persons swear by cheap DACs and others don't hear any significant improvements over their existing DVD players, Squeezeboxes, etc...
    I have heard that they both sound good. That MF-VDAC has a great midrange. Its hard to ignore the flexibility of the DAC-11 especially the head phone amp and the good reviews.

    Heeding your advice about a generous return policy and favorable reviews, and a good reputation I think I am going to drive up to Newhall near me and visit Schiit Audio. There Bifrost DAC has sparked my interest. I am ignorant to all of this, so I am soaking all this info in. One thing that Schiit Bifrost does not do is upsample; they do not believe in it. What that means, the hell if I know. We'll see. The build quality looks exceptional though, as well the DAC board and USB board are swappable, so it is future proof. Whenever USB 3.0 comes out or DAC tech improves you can pay for a new board and they'll install it.

    Bifrost Link

  5. #5
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enochrome View Post
    I have heard that they both sound good. That MF-VDAC has a great midrange. Its hard to ignore the flexibility of the DAC-11 especially the head phone amp and the good reviews.

    Heeding your advice about a generous return policy and favorable reviews, and a good reputation I think I am going to drive up to Newhall near me and visit Schiit Audio. There Bifrost DAC has sparked my interest. I am ignorant to all of this, so I am soaking all this info in. One thing that Schiit Bifrost does not do is upsample; they do not believe in it. What that means, the hell if I know. We'll see. The build quality looks exceptional though, as well the DAC board and USB board are swappable, so it is future proof. Whenever USB 3.0 comes out or DAC tech improves you can pay for a new board and they'll install it.

    Bifrost Link
    I've read lots of good things about Schiit + their money back guarantee gives you the chance to see if the difference is worth it to you...

    Please post your impressions if you do go ahead.

  6. #6
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    I'd go with the DAC-11 due to it's flexibility.

  7. #7
    You play. I listen. Enochrome's Avatar
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    I have some trepidations about a DAC doing too many things reasonably well, but not one thing really well.

  8. #8
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enochrome View Post
    I have some trepidations about a DAC doing too many things reasonably well, but not one thing really well.
    That has been one of my concerns with many DACs. Loading up with poorly implemented features is not a substitute for good quality. Compare that to say Benchmark; every time they add a feature they charge an extra $300 for it, but the feature is done well (even if expensive). Competitors will offer the same feature set for half the price, but the majority of the features are just mediocre.

  9. #9
    You play. I listen. Enochrome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani View Post
    That has been one of my concerns with many DACs. Loading up with poorly implemented features is not a substitute for good quality. Compare that to say Benchmark; every time they add a feature they charge an extra $300 for it, but the feature is done well (even if expensive). Competitors will offer the same feature set for half the price, but the majority of the features are just mediocre.
    Exactly.

    I wish I had the cash for a Benchmark. One is up for sale for $650 which is a good deal but still out of my price range. I'd like to stay around the 300 dollar range. I am not sure still if this is the way I want to go yet. Apparently my local dealer says that 32 bit is a numbers game. They have the Arcam rDac and the Music Hall 25.3 for sale. The Music Hall is the same as the Dac-11 but at twice the price. The Music Hall is friggin huuuuge! It is almost as big as my integrated. The toroidal in there must be LARGE. He said that the other guys from the shop went to CES in Vegas to see what the new DACs from companies that will be coming out. He said to come in next week and they'll tell me what they heard.

  10. #10
    You play. I listen. Enochrome's Avatar
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    Oh yeah. I emailed Schiit to see about going up there. They emailed to say they have no showroom, just a factory, so I'll have to order from their site.

  11. #11
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    If you seriously want a good DAC for cheap, I can make a suggestion but wait for it.

    Bear in mind that unless you have high resolution files, your source resolution is going to be 16 bits x 44.1 kHz. While most current DACs handle higher rez, input resolution isn't the core issue.

    A practical issue is what are your connection requirements? Does the Sony have coax output or optical? How about the computer: does it have a coax or optical output, or (more likely) will you need to use USB?

    I'm going to recommend the this DAC which I'm presently using myself. I was astonished by it's transparency although it won't give the sugar-coated sound will might get from certain tube-buffered DACs. It has both coax S/PDIF and USB inputs, (but no optical); personally I use only the coax because my PC sound card has a coax output. This is available on eBay, see HERE. It will handle 24/96 input but not 24/192 (on account of the DIR9001 receiver). You will also need a 9 volt, 0.5 amp, AC wallwort transformer to power it, but you're looking at under $100 with shipping. For that kind of money you could try it and if you happen not to like it, just pitch it.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Feanor, I always have a little problem with your comments about tubes sugar coating the sound. I totally agree with you that tubes add distortion but the fact of the matter is that every piece of electronic gear and speakers place their own unique signature on the sound. Thats why there are so many choices. You certainly have had gear that added warmth to the music- your monarchy amps. And now you are using a Class D Audio amp that has it's own unique sound, open, airely, wide sound stage, unique treble sound. I think we all have to be careful and realize that there is not a right or wrong when it comes to our taste in sound and what is the most correct or natural sounding. To me, the tube sound, sounds most natural and appealing with my Magnepans and even my PSB and Monitor Audio speakers. I even like a little added extra warmth because of the type of music that I listen too. But that's my preference. It doesnt make it right or wrong.

    The Grant Fidelity is a bargain of a DAC for a number of reasons. The DAC gives you the option of running in pure solid state bypassing the tube buffer stage so that you don't have that tube "sugar coating" or you can run it through the tube buffer stage. One thing to note about the stock tube is that it sounds more SS than tube.

    By the way Bill. I am not wanting to start a big debate. I respect your position on tubes and your audio experience. I am just stating an observation. I think that your recommendation of your DAC is a good one!

    Sorry to get off topic here.

    Larry
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  13. #13
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    Feanor, I always have a little problem with your comments about tubes sugar coating the sound. I totally agree with you that tubes add distortion but the fact of the matter is that every piece of electronic gear and speakers place their own unique signature on the sound. Thats why there are so many choices. You certainly have had gear that added warmth to the music- your monarchy amps. And now you are using a Class D Audio amp that has it's own unique sound, open, airely, wide sound stage, unique treble sound. I think we all have to be careful and realize that there is not a right or wrong when it comes to our taste in sound and what is the most correct or natural sounding. To me, the tube sound, sounds most natural and appealing with my Magnepans and even my PSB and Monitor Audio speakers. I even like a little added extra warmth because of the type of music that I listen too. But that's my preference. It doesnt make it right or wrong.
    ...
    I quite agree, Larry. My comments are preference-based and need not cause anybody a problem. We're entitled to our preferences: you, me, and anyone.

    Possibly even a majority people like the effects of tubes; "sugar coating" is just my pet way to describe those effects. I respect that you allow that tubes somehow add warmth, rather than just insist that the warmth must be natural because tubes are "better" amplification devices.

  14. #14
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    I respect that you allow that tubes somehow add warmth, rather than just insist that the warmth must be natural because tubes are "better" amplification devices.
    I certainly disagree. While there are designs that tilt the tonal balance warmer (lower midrange emphasis, HF rolloff), that is NOT inherently what all tube designs do. ARC gear, for example, is anything but artificially warm. Additionally, line level electronics don't suffer from potential damping issues you encounter with tube amps and some speakers which can tilt the tonal balance.

    What I find they (zero feedback triodes) do better is unravel the complex structure of harmonics better without sounding dry and artificial. The concept of any buffer "fixing" upstream tonal or distortion errors is a bad idea. As for DACs, I use one that employs a tube analog stage - not one with a pair of op amps doing all the work and relying upon a downstream buffer to somehow "correct" deficiencies. Unfortunately, most "tube DACs", however, fall into that latter category. You cannot build a two channel output stage with a single tube.

  15. #15
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat View Post
    I certainly disagree. While there are designs that tilt the tonal balance warmer (lower midrange emphasis, HF rolloff), that is NOT inherently what all tube designs do. ARC gear, for example, is anything but artificially warm. Additionally, line level electronics don't suffer from potential damping issues you encounter with tube amps and some speakers which can tilt the tonal balance.

    What I find they (zero feedback triodes) do better is unravel the complex structure of harmonics better without sounding dry and artificial. The concept of any buffer "fixing" upstream tonal or distortion errors is a bad idea. As for DACs, I use one that employs a tube analog stage - not one with a pair of op amps doing all the work and relying upon a downstream buffer to somehow "correct" deficiencies. Unfortunately, most "tube DACs", however, fall into that latter category. You cannot build a two channel output stage with a single tube.
    I agree that tubes, (at least preamps), do not necessarily add warmth, though the characteristic is often ascribed to tube equipment. The Sonic Frontiers preamp I owned is an example of a tube preamp that does not add warmth.

    However it is quite true that people often by tube buffers or tube-buffered DACs in order to warm, or at least smooth, the sound of their systems. Many claim that they are pleased with the results. To me this is proof-evident that this sort of tube equipment adds some sort of distortion to the sound because all the other offending components in the chain are still there.

    BTW, the SF preamp did add some of that perceived "depth" also often ascribed to tubes. I;m confident this "depth" as added (rather than just passed) by this component because I didn't hear it when I removed it from the chain in favor of a simple potentiometer.

  16. #16
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    However it is quite true that people often by tube buffers or tube-buffered DACs in order to warm, or at least smooth, the sound of their systems. Many claim that they are pleased with the results. To me this is proof-evident that this sort of tube equipment adds some sort of distortion to the sound because all the other offending components in the chain are still there.
    A buffer circuit consists of more than a tube. It contains resistors, capacitors, chokes, etc. which determine the electrical behavior of the circuit. Those passive components can alter the frequency response and thus the tonal balance. They can also change the feedback to tailor the distortion spectra. What I am saying is that you can design in warmth if that is what you want to do. Receivers from companies like Marantz and Pioneer from the 60s and 70s are favored by some because of their smooth and forgiving nature. How did they do that with solid state outputs? Their outputs were capacitively coupled with electrolytic caps which gobbles detail and any intrinsic harshness in its path. That *trick* has been done for decades - independent of the active device used. The buffer products you see on the market are driven by sales perception of folks wanting tubes, not necessarily the innate character of the tubes themselves.


    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    BTW, the SF preamp did add some of that perceived "depth" also often ascribed to tubes.
    It is also ascribed to added noise, phase issues and tonal brightness. Many "ambient retrieval" systems deliberately mess with phase response to create false ambience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    I;m confident this "depth" as added (rather than just passed) by this component because I didn't hear it when I removed it from the chain in favor of a simple potentiometer.
    You eliminated an active gain stage which necessarily introduced a level of noise and less than perfect phase response. No surprise.

    As for me, I get *more* perceived depth when I bypass the Audio Research SP-9MKIII with my attenuators because the resolution is slightly improved which renders ambient cues on the recording more evident.

    edit: The first time I purchased double Advents was when I was 16 for use in a quad system using the Dynaco QD-1 "Quadaptor". It was the first of many "ambient recovery" devices which worked solely on blending phase difference information into the rear channels. Did it use a tube circuit to "create" the false ambience? Nope. It used two 25 watt resistors, a switch and three rheostats. At first, it sounded kinda cool with some notion of "hall ambience" on some recordings. In the end, I found it confused the image and sounded artificial. That's when I started stacking Advents.



    Click here for pics

    In the latest issue of TAS, Harley is gushing over the new "qøl™ Signal Completion Stage". In a nutshell, it is a modern version of the Quadaptor. Steve Eddy posted the block diagram of it over at AA here. His assessment of the $4000 device was quite amusing.
    Last edited by E-Stat; 01-20-2012 at 02:01 PM.

  17. #17
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Just a couple of points. First, clearly a lot of people expect added warmth and ambience from tubes -- and a lot of popular equipment delivers it. Accepting your arguments, which boil down to proper tube designs don't do these things, that doesn't explain either the popularity or the utility of tube equipment.

    Secondly the Dynaco Quad adaptor, (which has a successor today in Dolby Prologic), delivered ambience by exploiting recorded out-of-phase info and sending it to rear speakers. (I used the Dynaco device myself for a time in the remote past.) But this has little to do with ambience from tube equipment unless you are contending that it is deliberately incorporated. If that's the case you could illustrate with an example or two. Also, would it not be a simple matter to do the same for s/s equipment?

    Thirdly, I don't need to be convinced that s/s equipment can sound horrible. After all, I did own a Phase Linear 400 for quite a few years so I know the worst: ear-bleedingly sharp, grainy, and opaque.

  18. #18
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    Just a couple of points. First, clearly a lot of people expect added warmth and ambience from tubes -- and a lot of popular equipment delivers it.
    Sure. Some brands like C-J are clearly voiced that way. Other tube brands like ARC, BAT and current VTL are not. Obviously, it is NOT the tube responsible for the different tonal balance characters using the very same devices.

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    Accepting your arguments, which boil down to proper tube designs don't do these things, that doesn't explain either the popularity or the utility of tube equipment.
    I'm not sure of your point. Whether the design is neutral or warmly voiced, many folks share the same perspective that they are capable of retrieving natural music harmonics in a superior way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    Secondly the Dynaco Quad adaptor, (which has a successor today in Dolby Prologic), delivered ambience by exploiting recorded out-of-phase info and sending it to rear speakers.
    Isn't that what I said - "which worked solely on blending phase difference information"? We agree!

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    But this has little to do with ambience from tube equipment unless you are contending that it is deliberately incorporated.
    If you were to broaden your exposure with a range of tube gear, I suspect that your perspective would change.

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    If that's the case you could illustrate with an example or two. Also, would it not be a simple matter to do the same for s/s equipment?
    In order to do so, I would have to hear the gear that you opine introduces "false ambience" in order to assess that characteristic. I cannot relate. Using examples I've heard in the past year, I do not find that to be the case with Audio Research, McIntosh, VTL or Veloce gear.

    I've already explained some ways to achieve false ambience.

  19. #19
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    Just a couple of points. First, clearly a lot of people expect added warmth and ambience from tubes -- and a lot of popular equipment delivers it. ...
    Sure. Some brands like C-J are clearly voiced that way. Other tube brands like ARC, BAT and current VTL are not. Obviously, it is NOT the tube responsible for the different tonal balance characters using the very same devices.
    ...
    I was just repeating some of the most often stated reasons for wanting tube gear. If ARC, BAT, and VTL, (or McIntosh, et al.), don't have these characteristics but do have other, more elusive qualities of tubes, I'm unlikely to find out about it because that enviable high-end stuff is distantly beyond my means.

    However I would be very receptive to recommendations for very moderately priced tube gear that lacks added warmth or fake ambiance but does have those other qualities.

  20. #20
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    However I would be very receptive to recommendations for very moderately priced tube gear that lacks added warmth or fake ambiance but does have those other qualities.
    Therein lies the rub. Neutral sounding tube gear requires stiff and low noise power supplies along with high quality passive parts - especially the coupling caps. The progression of linearity from electrolytics-->mylar-->polypropylene-->polystyrene-->teflon has involved some expense. Your best bet would likely be used ARC stuff - which is the way I bought my preamp years ago. 'Agon, for example, has a couple of examples for around $1400 - an LS16 and SP16L.

    On the other hand - like you, I don't use a preamp/line stage with digital sources since my source and amp are passive friendly and I am firmly in the minimalist camp. That might be different if I were to use a great SS amp like a Pass Labs or Bryston 28 because of their low input impedance and lower sensitivity. The only reason I keep mine (in both music systems) is for listening to vinyl.

    I suspect that "traditionalist" tube lovers would find my systems too cold.
    Last edited by E-Stat; 01-21-2012 at 09:20 AM.

  21. #21
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I like my tube gear because I can swap tubes and tailor the sound to my liking (I have 8 different pair of 6CG7's and they each have their own very different unique sound). In addition, I can't afford the high end SS gear that would give me the sound that my Van Alstine Tube gear gives me.

    As far as the Grant Fidelity DAC-11 goes, the tube stage (even though it is just a buffer) has much more pleasing, smooth and transparent sound than the SS stage. Whether this is due to the tube or just better circuitry is moot. The fact of the matter is that it is a very good buy and a good sounding, versatile piece of equipment at a budget price
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  22. #22
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    I like my tube gear because I can swap tubes and tailor the sound to my liking (I have 8 different pair of 6CG7's and they each have their own very different unique sound).
    I guess I'm in the minority in that I'm not an avid tube roller. I experiment, but settle on what I think works best, both from a sound and durability basis. That is how I chose Amperex 7308s in the preamp, RCA 12AU7 Cleartops in the Manley DAC, SED 6550s in the VTL amp along with Sylvania 12AT7s and Sylvania or RCA 6350s.

    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    As far as the Grant Fidelity DAC-11 goes, the tube stage (even though it is just a buffer) has much more pleasing, smooth and transparent sound than the SS stage.
    To me, that concept is problematic. I find that transparency never comes by adding devices or stages. Unless of course you have an inherent impedance mismatch and downstream components require a lower Z out for them to sound right. You always have the ADA4075-2 op amps in the circuit doing most of the work.

    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    Whether this is due to the tube or just better circuitry is moot. The fact of the matter is that it is a very good buy and a good sounding, versatile piece of equipment at a budget price
    Analog Devices makes good op amps. There's an AD712 in the output stage of my GamuT CD-1 along with an OPA2134.
    Last edited by E-Stat; 01-21-2012 at 10:07 AM.

  23. #23
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    The thing is E-Stat is that both the SS and Tube outs go through the same op amp in the DAC-11. The tube out just plain sounds better.

    I don't particularly like to tube roll but I was curious as too how different tubes sound.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  24. #24
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    The thing is E-Stat is that both the SS and Tube outs go through the same op amp in the DAC-11.
    As I observed about the ADA4075-2s.

    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    The tube out just plain sounds better.
    As I also observed, the buffer lowers the output impedance. Specifically from 600 ohms (a poor figure) to 20 ohms. The buffer's output is also greater which can reduce noise downstream.

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    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    The thing is E-Stat is that both the SS and Tube outs go through the same op amp in the DAC-11. The tube out just plain sounds better.

    I don't particularly like to tube roll but I was curious as too how different tubes sound.
    In some degree I finding it puzzling that adding circuitry to what is, itself, capable circuitry can "improve" the sound.

    E-Stat mentions that the tube buffer lowers the output resistance from 600 to 20 Ohms. Fine, but if the downstream device input resistance is, say, the common 47 kOhms, 600 Ohms yields a ratio is 78:1 which is quite acceptable according to the wisdom I've heard. I suggest that the input/output ratio is unlikely to be the cause of the sound difference you hear.

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