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Thread: Modded my DAC

  1. #1
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Modded my DAC

    2 weeks ago I dropped off my AVA Hybrid Ultra DAC at Frank Van Alstine's house to be upgraded with larger, more powerful Mosfet's. I picked it up yesterday and I was stunned at the difference in sound. It is the most significant upgrade that I have done to my system. The best way to describe the sound is that there is more emotion to the music. The low end is faster and deeper with more punch. The top end has more detail and resolution. Treble has smoothed out and any last bit of fatigue has been removed. Sound stage and transparency have improved and the overall sound is more musical, detailed, dynamic and powerful without being forward or in your face. I did the same mod to my Hybrid Ultra preamp a few months ago and the sound markedly improved but not to the extent of the DAC mod.

    By the way, while I was over at Mr. Van Alstine's house I was able to audition one of his new hybrid power amps called the 400R which is 200wpc at 8ohms (conservatively rated) and about 400wpc at 4ohms. He also has a 600R which is rated at 350 and 600 wpc at 8/4 ohms. They both have auto regulated power supplies so that in loud dynamic passages the power does not sag. It's pretty amazing, because when Frank turned the amp off it continued to play for about 20 seconds afterwards due to its stored power. I did get to see the inside of the 600r and the torroidal power supply was at least 8 inches across and probably 3 inches tall.

    Over all the sound of the new amp was better than his previous fet valve 350 and 550 amps. The new amp was faster, more detailed and dynamic. There were no rough edges to the sound. Frank is going to let me take the 400R home for a couple of days to review. I wlll post a more detailed review then.
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  2. #2
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Good I cant wait! And thanks for telling me about the Hybrid amp.....I might be interested sometime down the road in new tube/hybrid amp
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


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  3. #3
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    The best way to describe the sound is that there is more emotion to the music.
    Arguably, the analog output section of DACs has the greatest audible effect in a system since most DAC chips sound pretty decent these days. I prefer those which are designed to work as the preamplifier obviating another gain stage.

    rw

  4. #4
    Charm Thai™
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat View Post
    Arguably, the analog output section of DACs has the greatest audible effect in a system...
    I agree. When I bought my DAC in the late 90's I did so for two reasons: Wanted HDCD and I figured the digital tech would change in the future so i'd be easier to change with it.

    Well new chips have come and gone and I still have the same damn DAC because I just haven't heard anything I thought sounded good enough to make a switch. Most logical thing I can attribute it to is your statement about how important a good output section is.

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