After finally having a chance to listen to all 3 Van Alstine DAC's I thought that I would give a review. Frank Van Alstine makes 3 DAC's, all hand made in the basement of his house. All are made to order and are not off the shelf. All come in a black anodized understated aluminum chasis and are built solidly.

All three share similar electronic's and therefore have similar tonal qualities and are on the warmer side to sound more analogue. There is nothing digital about them. They were designed to be very transparent and to give a natural wide soundstage.

The Solid State is called the Insight DAC and sells for about $899. It has crisp clear sound and authoritative bass. It gives a slight more foward presentation than the other 2 DAC's which are all tube and a hybrid tube/ss. Detail and resolution are excellent and better than on my 840c. If you have a system that is lacking in bass and you want a more analog sound, this is a great DAC.

The next in line it the Transcendant-8 vacuum tube DAC or T-8. It has the warmest sound of the 3 and the least bass but it still is excellent. High's are slightly rolled back. It has a more transparent sound and presents a larger sound stage than the Insight. It sells for $1399.

The best DAC is called the Ultra which is a hybrid and uses 2 tubes in the output stage. This one has more bass than the T-8 with the widest sound stage and most transparency of the 3. Resolution and detail are outstanding and it makes my 840c sound like a $50 DVDP on some recordings. It gives the most natural sound that I have heard. Sitting in my room the sound seemed to come from all directions and you could pick out the positions of all the instruments. My wife who usually doesnt comment on the sound noticed this.There is no grain, fatigue, glare or jitter. And you could say this about all three DAC's.This one sells for $1699.

Check out his web site His T-8 DAC may not be listed yet as it is new. But it is available. Give Frank a call as he always answers his phone and returns his email. He will gladly make recommendations for your system and work with you. He also has a 30day return policy. Also check out his forum audiocircles under resources on his home page. He has many Audiophile followers who swear by his equipment.