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Found 137 results

  1. Hi quick question. I've just ordered a 2012 mac mini for a streamer. I plan to connect to my rega -dac-r using mini toslink to toslink cable. The issue is, both optical inputs on dac are currently used (main computer and tv). I wonder can i use something like this to connect tv to dac: . I know i could use usb to connect dac to main computer, but i have read that the sound isn't as good, plus i want my dac to be integrated into hifi rather than sat on computer desk. More importantly i have nice 1 meter chord rca cables and dac needs to be close to hifi to use. Alternatively, might there be a way for tv sound to connect to mac via bluetooth and sound passed through to dac. i don't think this latter suggestion is possible, but no harm asking.
  2. Following the purchase on a Lyngdorf TDAI-1120 my Rega DAC is now surplus to requirements. This 5 Star rated DAC was purchased new from PJ HiFi in Guildford it has been used in smoke and pet free home. Excellent condition (save for a small mark on one side) and still has the protective film on the fascia. The unit has had little use over the years until lockdown which increased my music listening. Original box, packaging and instructions. I have this device listed elsewhere. Looking for £295.00 including insured delivery or welcome to collect from Guildford area.
  3. For sale: Chord DAC 64 MKII in excellent Original Condition complete with shipping boxes and manual. DAC is fully working and sounds great! any questions feel free to PM me or ask in the thread BACS Preferred but Paypal possible £650 Location Bury, Manchester UK Shipping in the UK will be £20 (Royal Mail Special delivery) Collection is possible but would have to be a doorstep collection
  4. Hi This is a follow up to this lengthy thread: I have my pc (main computer) and 2012 mac mini connected to my rega dac r, using optical connection. I am still considering using an A-B usb to connect pc, freeing up optical to tv (this post with include a question on this.) The mac and pc both have this streaming software install: Setting are the same on the pc and mac, with pc outputting using WAPSI and mac Core Audio. My first question is, why are source and output identical on pc (eg 16/44.1-16/44.1), but on mac it always outputs at maximum bit depth (eg 16/44.1 - 24/44.1)? Is this a common thing with Core Audio? The second question I have is to ask whether or not audio grade usbs are just hifi bull****. I could pick up a basic one for a few quid or buy something like these: I'd happily take any advice you have on suitable usbs. The final question i have is in regard to a radio streamer. is a nice piece of streaming software, but it does not have the capability of adding radio URLs. Please might you be able to suggest mac radio streaming software that has the ability to be controlled from a phone app (like the remote for audirvana). NB. I VNC into the mac from my pc for management. Cheers
  5. Now Sold. This comes with original box. One small ding to the top of the front which is pictured. This does pretty much everything you would want a DAC to do and packs a headphone amplifier to boot. Specs can be found here: A fairly techy and comprehensive review here: Located in Sheffield, demo welcome dependent on covid restrictions. Collection welcome.
  6. Hello I am replacing various components in my system and in particular I am parting with my Soekris DAC1541. This is the original discrete sign-magnitude design by Søren Kristensen that uses two R2R strings in place of one to get positive and negative values and get better linearity. This one is a really fully balanced design, with two R2R strings for the hot and cold wires of each channel, hence eight such strings. The last price was 1150 EUR plus VAT (25%), i.e. 1437.50 EUR. The Soekris DAC2542 in comparison has only a pair of R2R strings per channel, i.e. a total of four. Also, the older model has higher precision resistors. My DAC1541 is in mint condition, no scratches, and is in absolutely perfect working condition. It comes in its original packaging with all original included accessories and printed manual. No pets, no smoking in my household. Pictures can be found HERE. I am looking for 1050 EUR including shipping to Europe and an Apple Remote to control it. If you are in a country in Europe where Schuko plugs are in use I can throw in a EUPEN power cord I terminated myself and everything will come doubly packaged. If you are in the UK, I can give you the power cord anyway but you may have to replace the plug with an UK one yourself or use an adapter. Feel free to make reasonable counteroffers. I also have other stuff, including VdH and Sommer Cable XLR cable pairs, feel free to contact me. People have bought from me Apollon NC500 based monoblocks, Abrahamsen amplifiers, Naim olive NAC 32.5 and chrome bumper NAP 140 and cables, and a few more items, you see some of the old classifieds also here in the "sold items" forum.
  7. daveyu

    T+A 8 DSD Dac

    T+A 8 DSD Dac for sale £1550 In excellent fully working condition, comes with Remote, Manual, Box and all packing, 2 years old Stereophile Class A Recommended component
  8. Arcam Black Box 50 dac - 100% refurbished and upgraded Every electrolytic cap has been replaced with an upgrade - Nichicon, Elna and Panasonic. Output caps were Rubycon electrolytic bi-polar types but now the dac sports Vishay film capacitors in this crucial position. Main power supply cap also bypassed with a Vishay film cap. Power supply input cable now Neotech. Fuse is an AMR. Lots of chassis dampening. Opamps on the dac board were NE5532 but now universal gold plated dip sockets have been added to allow for opamp rolling. Opamps in the dac are now 2604 upgrades - big improvement. Some chips coated with Audio Magic Blackout Paint. Added a ground post so one can add a grounding solution like an Entreq. 41 component upgrades in total - like a new dac for old money. Very quiet background to this dac. Very detailed and ‘quick’ sounding. Lots of ‘air’ and insight to the music. Big upgrade over a stock unit. Negative is it is not that emotionally engaging - it does not do it all. No original box or manual but will be well packed. £180 incl UK post.
  9. Selling my Topping TP32 Class T TA2024B Digital Amplifier with USB-DAC AMP. Not been used that much generally, it is now surplus to requirements. Info: Not sure if I still have the original box. Will be well packaged anyway. £50 including postage. Offers considered. Collection is ok also. *Please sanitise and wear mask for collection* Payment by cash on collection or Paypal Gift/Bank Transfer. Location NW London
  10. Hi, For sale my AMI Music DS5 desktop DAC/HeadAmp/Preamp + 75Ω digital cable Monster cable 450DCX 1m DS5 is in like new condition. It support DSD, works great with headphones up to 300Ω and has unregulated analogue outputs. Comes with Japan type PSU (100-240V) but works perfect with any 5V/1A. Made in Japan, assembled in Korea. RRP 599 EUR 275EUR + PayPal 3% + shipping (~25EUR within EU using GLS). Shipping from Spain
  11. Aqua La Voce S3. I’ve owned a number of dacs over the years (M2Tech, Metrum, Auralic, Lampizator, etc.) and this has been by some way the best overall in terms of musicality, detail, soundstage, and all the rest. The only reason I’m selling is that I liked it so much I was persuaded to ‘upgrade’ to the Aqua La Scala, which is very slightly different to my ears, but I would not say better and I’m wondering if the price differential was really worth it. List for the S3 new is £3,395 which seems a lot, but it betters all dacs I’ve heard in that price bracket and some way above. (No doubt price will increase post Brexit in January - hand-made in Italy.) This was purchased new in April 2019, and is immaculate (and I’m very pernickety about condition) – no children, pets or cigarettes in the house. It’s had relatively light use, and was not used for around three months last year when I was abroad. Complete with packaging, etc. There are some reviews which I found helpful – There’s also a good Aqua thread on the WAM – Asking £2,100 + delivery
  12. The Arcam D33 was $3200/£2200 new, a shocking price for "just a DAC" at the time, though I did not buy mine new. Understated, full width FMJ design. The filters work well and allow tuning to your taste and system. Great connectivity too, including balanced outputs.,accessories,accessories,d33.htm. Link from there to the HiFi+ review describing it as "absurdly highly recommended". Front panel on this is excellent (see photos). There are rub marks to the top where it looks like something has been polished out (uniform colour, some patchiness in levels of reflection) but there are no scratches or chips. Side panels have what looks like fingerprints but they don't come off easily so perhaps they're oily? Anyway, they're hard to photograph and I didn't notice any of these when I bought it, only did when I took it out of my rack. Comes with original user manual. I don't have (if I ever did) the original box, nor the original remote - if I find it, I'll forward it, though it's a simple thing which allows selection amongst inputs. Will be extremely well packed for shipping. Extraordinary value for such a well-engineered DAC. Priced £525 for quick sale and because of the minor blemishes to top/sides. Modest discounts possible for modest wammers. Free UK shipping for wammers. Location Melton Mowbray. Happy to answer any questions. Also on the 'bay.
  13. As part of an overall clearout, this imposing slice of late 80's tech is now for sale: This example is pretty clean; there are marks and little scratches but you have to look for them. The front panel is in excellent shape. Also benefits from being one owner from new (3 decades of ownership) until I got it, it has the original paper manual included. All knobs and switches are noise free. Plenty of power, 100w/ch into 8Ω@20hz to 20Khz. MC/MM stages. 13 or 14kg depending on who you ask! Lots of very positive reviews online. As with some other top Japanese integrateds of the era, it sports an onboard dac, this one featuring 4 TI PCM-56P chips, coax and optical in. Also has a "Power Amp Direct" mode which I used all the time- despite the name, it's actually a complete bypass of the preamp with only the volume knob left in circuit. Handily works in digital or analog mode. Some more photos below. Xx Some more info and specs HERE and HERE. No nonsense technical review (remember those?) HERE. £250 plus postage (will be properly protected), or pickup from Glasgow (where hifi interest is like life in the Atacama). Could be interested in swap/px for vintage dacs.
  14. Here is Martin V's (Mr Underhill) review of the SBooster and Zero Zero LPSUs for the Chord Electronics Qutest. These items are his personal property and he is aware of Chord Electronic's views on add on LPSUs. . Over the last few years my system has undergone some radical changes, in part due to some pesky felines and in part due to my 'friend' George. There were aspects of my system that dissatisfied me and so I went on a DAC hunting exercise, which resulted in my buying a Border Patrol DAC with which I was very satisfied, until my 'friend' brought over his Audio Note DAC 2.1. I shortly thereafter sold the BP DAC and became the owner of an AN 2.1, somewhat upgraded. A few weeks ago I had what proved to be a wallet threatening conversation with my ‘friend’ about the Chord Qutest. Now I had always had an itch to try the Chord M-Scaler, and to cut a long story short I sold my EAR868PL, had a negotiation with my dealer, Signals – excellent chaps, and bought the Qutest & M-Scaler with the usual legal protections. Two days later the Qutest arrived. My initial thoughts on the Qutest were very positive, but from the Head-fi threads, which go on and onnnnnnn, I knew that most people advocated trying a good quality LPSU, and I happened to have two to hand; prices and specs are at the end of this review. I have found that good digital audio requires the removal of noise, which has a number of sources. In particular I have had good results from: Improving DC with Linear Power Supplies; Removing poor power supplies, linear or switch mode; Giving my equipment a common route to ground; Use of LT3045s to increase PSRR and reduce noise; and l Having a dedicated electrical ring for my HiFi equipment. PSRR is Power Supply Rejection Ratio, and LT3045 raise this significantly, as well as dropping RMS Noise. I bought the small cards and fitted them inside project boxes: Here are my music file USB sticks powered by the ZeroZone LPSU via a brace of LT3045 housed in the plastic boxes. In judging digital audio there are two areas to which I pay particular attention: Bass. This I find quickly tells you whether a change is just different or better; and Detail. The issue here is that noise can act like spice, heightening the detail and making some music sound better. Generally, I find this is noise that reduces relaxation, that is mine! With ALLLL that said I won’t repeat George’s review, with which I heartily concur. The Qutest required a 5v power supply. Readily available I had: 1. A Zero Zone R-Core 8v 6A LPSU; and 2. An SBooster Mk I, 5-6v 3A LPSU. These I pitted head to head using: Prestige II server, files on 4x512GB USB. Both powered by LPSU. Minimserver. Meridian 210 Townshend Allegri Naim 300DR Avondale PXO Naim SBL Zero Zone R-Core 8v 6A LPSU 8V R-Core low noise LPSU I fed the output DC into two 7V LT3045 in parallel, one 2A the other 1A >> three 5V 1A LT3045 >> Chord Qutest. For these initial tests I place the Qutest on some loudspeaker pucks with some absorbent rubber beneath, something rather more bespoke is now in place. One thing did concern me, the positioning of the LPSU which I put on the floor. The only usable output in a non-Merdian system using my Meridian 210 is SPDIF, and not BNC. I use a very pure silver ribbon cable which I connected to the Qutest BNC 1 using a BNC adapter. Sound Quality I initially started my listening using the incisive filter. I was immediately struck by the increased sound field. Not just left to right but by the depth, this was something new …and with SBLs. With highly produced music, rock et al, the overall size of the sound field was generally of the same order as the Audio Note, however with classical music in a natural acoustic it was as though the music was no longer tied to the speakers. Familiar music had new detail, this is something I had previously heard with the Schitt Yggdrasil, but with that box I ultimately felt I was at a musical autopsy, here the detail was part of a cogent whole. SBooster Internals I arranged the SBooster so that it was running at 5.5v into the three 5v 1A LT3045 >> Chord Qutest. Sound Quality 2 This was even better. The positives remained, the sound was even more relaxed and so was I. The sound field was VERY large and powerful. Comparing the Qutest (QT) to my upgraded Audio Note 2.1 (AN), this is NOT at the 2.1 reference level as the PSU is not valve rectified, but is a definite step up on a standard 2.1. Sting, Mercury Falling, I Hung My Head - NAS There is some complex percussion in the track. On the AN I always felt that the music was almost tripping over itself, that the percussionists were struggling. Not so with the QT. The sound field is more open and the noise floor is lower, so that not only is more detail revealed but is placed in a wider, deeper and more airy space. Led Zepplin, Mothership, Immigrant Song - NAS The comment about the QT detail resolution and sound field are consistent. The one place where the AN can perhaps compete is in the slight added weight it brings to vocals, which could also be described as thickening, or 2nd order harmonics? Leonard Cohen, You Want it Darker, You Want it Darker - Qobuz Great track, but through the QT is became something breath taking with the male backing singers rendered wonderfully. ELP, Pictures at an Exhibition - Qobuz Not the best recorded live session. Through the AN this was OK, through the QT my attention was held. Dead Can Dance, Toward the Within, Rakim - Qobuz This is a superb live album. It is very good through the AN. It is even better through the QT. Lorne Balfe, Musical Anthology of His Dark Materials, His Dark Materials - Qobuz This is a highly produced piece of music with added distortion. I thought the AN’s more concentrated sound field might work in this music’s favour but the QT doesn’t lack any weight or drama. QT wins again. Where I feel the AN can shade things is by being kinder to less well produced music & I feel with the slight mid-range weight that aids vocals. However, the QT is a cleaner window, while NOT being brutally honest. Its adds to this through the size, precision and power of its sound field. But WAIT, There is More I read this: I felt I HAD to have a listen and so ordered an SBooster Ultra Mk II, to be frank my thinking was that my LT3045s would be doing everything that the Ultra would bring to the table; I was wrong. The SBooster Ultra MkII is an add on box that linked onto the end of my SBooster 5v MkI; and what an excellent uptick in performance it gave. The result is a more relaxed, more dynamic and even more detailed sound stage. But WAIT, There is EVEN More Let me tell you about the M-Scaler ........Stop that (ed). Conclusion I should mention that in some applications I have been as happy with the ZeroZone as with the SBooster, but with the Chord Qutest I would pick the SBooster; and adding the SBooster + Ultra to the Chord Qutest takes an excellent DAC and significantly boosts its performance. A value for money SHOULD do. Brief Specifications ZeroZone SBooster MkI 8V, lowered to 5V by LT3045 for review 5-6V, run at 5.5V when using LT3045 > 5V 6A 3A 210x257x70mm 240x130x75mm 230VAC 230VAC 4.5kg 1.85kg Via eBay, circa £140 negotiable, add taxes Mk II = £330 inc VAT
  15. Tony T

    Quad Vena 2

    Quad Vena 2 in excellent condition. Purchased for a second system that I no longer need so listed for sale. 2 line level Inputs and a decent MM phono stage, ES 9018 DAC W/DSD support. USB, Bluetooth, Optical and Coaxial inputs make this a extremely flexible integrated Amplifier. Purchased ex demo 07/2020. Full details will be supplied with the amplifier to transfer warranty. Complete with remote, instructions and update disc and full packaging. Item will ship from London, CR4. Payment via Paypal F&F or BT £500.
  16. Teams or individuals? Designing audio is unusual in that some products are designed by gifted individuals and others by a large team who pool their skills. Examples of the gifted individuals include Naim Audio started by Julian Vereker who designed their amplifiers, Nelson Pass who designs Pass Labs amplifiers, Bill Z Johnson who designed Audio Research’s valve (tube) amplifiers and Dave Wilson (and now Daryl) who designed Wilson Audio speakers. This review is also about a one-man design team but what he designs is very rare, a designer of Digital Audio Converters (DACs). Those made by Chord Electronics. By design I mean right back to the bare bones of a DAC. A lot, if not most DACs, are no more than a selection of an already designed DAC chip. The audio company builds the supporting circuit that brings the DAC to life. All the decisions about how the DAC process works have already been made by one of the main DAC chip builders such as ESS, AKM and Cirrus Logic. It should not be too much of a surprise to find a lot of DACs sound the same or very similar as the opportunity for individual companies to change the product is limited. However, some companies do not do that and Chord Electronics is one of them. They should not be confused with Chord cables as they are separate companies. Chord Electronics’ DAC technology is designed by Rob Watts. Rob has a long and illustrious career in chip design for major chip manufacturers. He relates sad tales of the audio quality of these chips being very much second fiddle to the chip costs. He, therefore, enjoyed doing DAC design work for Chord electronics. Rob has been designing DAC chips for over 30 years and he is still refining them. Not only that but his approach to DAC design and his way of working is different from other designers. He listens and changes designs if it improves the sound quality of the audio. His approach to filter design, noise and measurements are also very different. However, it is not a one-man show and praise should also go to John Franks and his engineers. They have consistently produced a high-quality audio product, which is solid, has great character and is superbly packaged. That takes some doing and they have mastered it. The fact it is done for £1195 and it is made in Kent at that price is some achievement. Rob Watt’s experience has shown him that there are three significant requirements for excellent sounding DACs. These are low noise floor modulation, excellent timing accuracy and small-signal accuracy. If those three are not done correctly then the audio will suffer and artefacts like a digital edge appears, accompanied by a flat and boring sound with little depth perception. I like his overall approach. If he hears a problem, he measures it, resolves it and then continues. He has been surprised many times about how sensitive human hearing is even when the measurements do not show a problem. Excellent design. Picking on one issue, small-signal accuracy. Rob comments that if you go to a large hall with an organ and an orchestra in front of it, you get fantastic depth perception. The organ can be perceived even if it is 100m away. Now listen with an audio system and that huge depth perception, even with brilliant equipment, is significantly reduced and you may only be able to perceive the organ being 10m or 20m away. Why? The small-signal accuracy of the DAC. Rob maintains other DACs are not very accurate with small signal accuracy. Small signal non-linearity is when the amplitude of a small signal varies from a larger signal. Rob uses Pulse Array DAC, a technique he invented some years ago. The Pulse array has noise-shapers that are claimed to be one billion times better at resolving small signals than conventional DACs, hence better depth perception. Of course, he has measurements to back that up. You do not get to be a top chip designer without essential measurements. However, the issue where he has spent a huge amount of time is with digital filters. According to the Shannon-Nyquist theory if an audio signal is frequency limited then all the information can be digitised by sampling at 2x the highest frequency needed. The digital information then needs conversion back to analogue and filtered to remove the sampling frequencies, whilst leaving the audio data intact. These filters have had many years of study. They can reconstruct the original data perfectly if they follow a specific mathematical shape (sinc(x)). Unfortunately, that shape needs to have an infinite number of coefficients or ‘taps’ to perfectly reconstruct the audio. Most DAC companies design DAC chips with just a few 10s of taps. But Rob Watts believes that is insufficient and a much larger number of taps are needed. To do that he has to write his computer code on, in effect, a blank computer chip. His DACs have a large Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) loaded with many thousands of lines of codes. These lines of code contain thousands of taps. The Qutest DAC has 49,000 taps. The top DAC, the Dave, has 164,000 taps and there is an accessory box (M-Scaler) that has 1 million taps!! A lot of audio companies believe that a few 10s of taps are sufficient but Rob Watts and Chord Electronics do not. There are many vids of his talks where he explains his approach in detail and I can recommend them, especially if you like measurements as he backs up all his comments with measurements. Anyway, enough theory how about the Qutest. The Qutest comes in a very neat black box with two drawers with the DAC in one drawer and the accessories including the power supply in the other. The instructions are on a printed black, shiny, thick card. The instructions are well thought out and easy to read. The Qutest is a cuddly, small aluminium box which is machined from a solid billet of aluminium and then black anodised. On the front are two buttons that change colour depending on which filter you chose or which input you select. On the top of the box, there is a porthole that allows you to see inside the box and see the main processing chip (FPGA) with an acknowledgement to the designer Rob Watts. If you look through the porthole there are different coloured LEDs lit with their colour depending on the sampling rate that the DAC has locked onto. The Qutest processes the lot including high rate DSD; see the specifications for details. Round the back are the inputs/outputs including a USB, an optical input and 2xBNCs that support SPDIF. The two SPDIFs also support Chord Electronics' Dual Data protocol, so can accept/decode an upscaled 768kHz signal (16x that of CD) from the M Scaler, for example. The outputs are limited to 2 RCAs and it is therefore single-ended. And finally, a micro USB connection for the power supplied by a switched-mode power supply. The output can be changed to 1,2 or 3 V. and the Qutest has 4 different filter settings. I had no problem connecting the DAC and it locked onto all the sampling rates I sent from my dCS Bridge. I had to use a Melco digital library to provide the USB data as the dCS does not support USB. So how does the Qutest sound? I slotted the DAC in place of my AN DAC4.1x. So, I had my NAS drive feeding the Melco and PLiXiR PSU. They fed the digital signal into the dCS Bridge streamer and on to the Chord Electronics Qutest. I used a variety of amplifiers with my AudioNote Es Signatures and their external crossovers. I started with my Cut Loose silver ribbon cables including a Cut Loose digital cable. The first amplifier was a Pass Labs XP22 and a Pass Labs XA 30.8. And a surprise. The little Qutest was really good, no I mean REALLY good. My biases were shattered. I have heard Chord Electronics DACs at many shows and demos and the sound was always detailed, bright, aggressive and not very easy to listen to for anything beyond 15 minutes. That is not what I was hearing at home. It was detailed but very natural. There was a little bit of forwardness but no aggression or any sharp ‘digital’ sound. The soundstage was huge, layered and very 3D. Wow! I checked, it was a Chord Electronics DAC but it did not sound like what I was expecting or I had heard before. OK, I switched to Qobuz and dialled up my new test list to see what this DAC could do with some more challenging music. Leonard Cohen: You Want It Darker: This track starts with a choir of male voices. With the Qutest it was easy to hear the different tones of the singers, how they were laid out and the drama they were putting into the song, starting very quietly and building up until Mr Cohen starts singing/talking. Closely miked, he was close and intimate and different from the choir. As you go through the song you realise here was a man who knew he did not have a lot of time left on this mortal coil and was talking to his God and us. Onto something a bit more cheerful, Wind of Change (MTV Unplugged) from the Scorpions with a favourite Norwegian guest singer; a live track in front of a large adoring audience. The contrast in voices, the rawness of a live recording, and a rock band was superbly rendered. The live feel of this track was easily heard with the instruments well separated but without much of a 3D soundstage, as you would expect from a live rock recording. There was a small edge to the sound but that could be the recording or possibly the DAC. OK let’s try some bass. I played Flight of the Cosmic Hippo by Bela Flack with Victor Wootan on bass guitar; Jennifer Warnes, Way Down Deep and Coldplay: Everyday Life, Trouble in Town. On all of the tracks, the bass was tight and it was easy to hear the tone of the bass instruments (synthesised or otherwise) and dare I say it, follow the tune. Fast bass was fast bass, not fat bass. As well as all these audiophile tunes, I tried some AC/DC. It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Want to Rock ‘N’ Roll) starts with some raw guitars and then it picks up with another guitar and the bass. And then of all things some bagpipes. Yes, bagpipes on a rock track! This less than audiophile track tests whether the system can rock with some raw music and the bagpipes can turn into a screeching mess with highly detailed forward DACs. Not here. Nice, it was not, but screeching it did not. This was turning out to be real fun. I then wheeled in the big comparo, the Audionote DAC2.1. This box of tricks has had a few super-duper signal tubes added. So far, I have taken this DAC to many bake-offs, used it as a reference point for reviews and it has never been seen off by any other DAC. Yes, certain aspects in other DACs were better but not to the extent that I would seriously question its music-making abilities. So off I went with my music lists using a real mixture of music including the real decider, the live recording from St Martins in the Field of Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto recorded by Mike Valentine (and yes, I was there). And these two DACs highlighted the current differences in good DAC design. The Audionote was very musical and had the real heart of the music but was a little soft in transients, drums had less ‘crack’, the image was a little soft focus and it was not always easy to identify all the words the singer was singing. The Qutest was detailed, natural, very atmospheric with great 3D imaging. It showed the detail in the singer’s voices but did not quite capture the emotion as well as the Audionote. The Qutest was more honest and truthful with less than good recordings. No, it did not go into digitalis but it did not cover its tracks as well. So, one was an accurate transcription of the music whilst the other had lightly tinted glasses. I could easily imagine people hearing either and preferring one over the other. For me, the Qutest had it. It had just so much extra detail that was musically important and integrated. It worked better with the Pass Labs. Never thought I would say that after all these years. When I used the Allnic Integrated with its KT150 valves my preference moved more towards the Audionote but not by enough to displace the Qutest. With the Allegri passive/Nord 500 Class D the Qutest had the better sound quality as the DAC and amplifier complemented each other. (Never got a chance with the 211 Transcription amps due to the mini heatwave). And the AN DAC4.1X? Come on guys. That combined the best of both the AN 2.1X and the Qutest and then added greater realism. But let’s not decry the Qutest as the AN DAC 4.1x is close to £14K. I managed to squeeze a bit more from the Qutest by isolating it more effectively with footers so you need to take care with its positioning. And cables made a difference but that needs another review. Coming soon. In conclusion, colour me surprised, shocked even that this little lovely looking box has a sound quality well above most DACs at its small price of £1195 and certainly a lot of others that cost more, much more. It seriously challenged (and beat) my reference which has seen off a large number of other DACs and is itself more than twice the price of the Qutest. I preferred the Qutest to my reference AN DAC2.1X. The King has lost its crown. And there are rumours that it is possible/desirable/essential to change the Switched Mode Power Supply and then the Qutest can show what it can do. And there are many Linear PSUs out there to try……so I…….did… NOT. I promised Chord Electronics I would not do this and as it is not my product, I did not try it out. Their official view is: The problem is audiophile linear PSUs have no RF filters at all; the designers are not cognisant of the RF noise problems. The supplied Chord Electronics PSU, on the other hand, has RF filters built into the output and the mains input. So, if connecting a linear PSU, it will most likely sound worse due to the increased RF noise, but the extra brightness can deceive the listener into thinking it is ‘better’. Note: using anything other than the supplied Chord Electronics PSU will also invalidate any warranty. But many have tried using high-quality linear PSUs including my audio buddy Martin V using his Chord Electronics Qutest and an SBooster PSU + extras. His review follows. And you will be interested in what he found. Over to Martin V. Specifications Materials: Precision machined aluminium casing with polycarbonate buttons and glass viewing portal. Available only in Jett Black. Device power supply: 5v 2amp Micro USB Tap length filter: 49,152 – 10 element Pulse Array design Connectivity (input): USB Type B (White): 44.1kHz to 768kHz – 16bit to 32bit 2x BNC Coax (Red): 44.1kHz – 384kHz – 16bit to 32bit 1x Dual data mode input (using both BNC coax inputs together): 44.1kHz to 768kHz – 16bit to 32bit Optical (Green): 44.1kHz to 96kHz – 16bit to 24bit Connectivity (output): 1x stereo pair of RCA (Left and Right) PCM support: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 358.8kHz, 384kHz, 717.6kHz, and 768kHz. DSD support: Native playback supported. DSD64 (Single) to DSD512 (Octa-DSD) Variable output: Fixed, but selectable between 3v (blue), 2v (green), and 1v (red) via dual press of ‘Filter’ + ‘Input’ upon startup Digital designer: Rob Watts Mechanical designer: John Franks Country of manufacture: England Chipset: Chord Electronics custom coded Xilinx Artix 7 (XC7A15T) FPGA Tap-length: 49,152 Pulse array: 10 element pulse array design Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz +/- 0.2dB Output stage: Class A THD: <0.0001% 1kHz 3v RMS 300Ω THD and noise at 3v RMS: 117dB at 1kHz 300ohms ‘A’ weighted (reference 2.5v) Noise 2.6 uV ‘A’ weighted: No measurable noise floor modulation Channel separation: 138dB at 1kHz 300Ω Weight: 770g Dimensions: 4.5cm (H) 16cm (W) 8.8cm (D) Boxed Weight: 1500g
  17. RRP $1295 + import duties/VAT.. Seeking the £180 I paid, UK shipping included. Location Leicestershire Hifi tart sells DAC a week or two after buying, must be crap... er, no: must be, on balance, no better to his ears in his system/room than his incumbent Arcam D33. Which FWIW had an RRP of £2200 and typically sells for £600-700 used. This DAC is extraordinary value. Great treble/mid detail, strong and clear bass. Designed and manufactured in California. This is the Mk1, 1V output; the MkII is 2V output. I/you could "upgrade" for $250 but wonderfully helpful designer Wesley assures me the sound quality is exactly the same. "Natural Digital: It’s rare that these two words go together and even more rare at this price point, but the D100 is a stellar performer. Long-term readers of TONEAudio know that I’m not a flavor of the month reviewer, and seldom gush about anything, but the Neko Audio D100 is damn good. To sum it up in one word; natural. When you are playing the digital game at the $1,000 price point, the words “it sounds really good for digital” usually end up falling out of your mouth, but the D100 is the first DAC at this level that I’ve found truly musical in the sense that I would a decent turntable" "I am happy to award the Neko Audio D100 one of our Exceptional Value Awards for 2009 and hope that Mr. Miaw has continued success" Boxed, scratches to top which I have tried to capture on camera. £1 offer incoming from eBay so I'll stick it on there over the weekend unless a Wammer bites my hand off. PM me if you are as interested as you should be!
  18. Seeking the £180 I paid, UK shipping included. Leicestershire. Hifi tart sells DAC a week or two after buying, must be crap... er, no: must be, on balance, no better to his ears in his system/room than his incumbent Arcam D33. Which FWIW had an RRP of £2200 and typically sells for £600-700 used. This DAC is extraordinary value. Great treble/mid detail, strong and clear bass. This is the Mk1, 1V output; the MkII is 2V output. I/you could "upgrade" for $250 but wonderfully helpful designer Wesley assures me the sound quality is exactly the same. "Natural Digital: It’s rare that these two words go together and even more rare at this price point, but the D100 is a stellar performer. Long-term readers of TONEAudio know that I’m not a flavor of the month reviewer, and seldom gush about anything, but the Neko Audio D100 is damn good. To sum it up in one word; natural. When you are playing the digital game at the $1,000 price point, the words “it sounds really good for digital” usually end up falling out of your mouth, but the D100 is the first DAC at this level that I’ve found truly musical in the sense that I would a decent turntable" "I am happy to award the Neko Audio D100 one of our Exceptional Value Awards for 2009 and hope that Mr. Miaw has continued success" Boxed, scratches to top which I have tried to capture on camera. £1 offer incoming from eBay so I'll stick it on there over the weekend unless a Wammer bites my hand off. PM me if you are as interested as you should be!
  19. A Neko Audio D100 24-bit DAC The D100 stereo digital to analog converter is a fully balanced dual-mono design utilizing a zero-feedback pure passive analog output stage. One of the things that make this different is the Jensen Transformer Analog Output Stage. Has spdif and toslink inputs only ( no USB inputs) and XLR or RCA (through adapters) outputs. In perfect working order, selling as I have a DAC intergrated built into my new amp and no longer needed. 220-240v operation. Complete with original packaging. payment by paypal (family & friends) or direct debit. Free postage. £180 ( price adjusted downwards - again ! ) if Paypal - family & friends only !
  20. What he said* and at same price too. £550 including UK Mainland postage. RRP is £750 with a substantial waiting list. *”Denafrips Ares II R-2R NOS DAC for sale in excellent condition with original box. Comes with a pair of balanced XLR and a pair of single ended RCA outputs and five digital inputs (2 x RCA SPDIF, 2 x optical SPDIF and 1 x USB. It handles inputs up to DSD1024 and PCM1536. It can operate in NOS and OS modes via the buttons on the front panel. It is extremely well built for the price. Dimension are 215 x 230 x 45 (mm) and weight 3.5 Kg. These DACs have excellent reviews and when you listen to it you will understand why. I bought it to try it out. I like NOS DACs (I have a couple of DDDACs) and hadn't heard an R-2R ladder DAC. There is nothing about it that I don't like - It's the first commercial DAC under £1k that I've actually enjoyed listening to. I find most of them boring; This has a bit of life and rhythm. I don't know how they can offer this level of sound and build quality for such an affordable price. Don't be surprised if I buy a Terminator if one comes up for sale”. As Ian says, the Ares II has life. I'd describe the mids and highs as punchy and the bass as full but not in an artificial or bright way which could quickly get tiring, it just does that old foot-tapping thing. I'm holding out for something else to arise from one of my infamous cunning plans... and it may or may not be from a manufacturer beginning with D. Buy now while stocks last!
  21. Sonic Frontiers SFT-1 cd transport and SFD-1 Mk2 valve dac with colossal upgrades Regarding the Transport: These are superb to start with! It now has an oak fascia surround (looks better to me) but the original larger stainless steel version will be included. So a one off in terms of looks but you can revert back to the original. Design has over-beefy and regulated power supplies with two potted toroidal transformers. Has remote control and box. Upgrades: •Biggest of which is the clock, now a Dexa Technologies D-Clock Neutron Star 2 Reference. These are $425 on their own. •Dampening to chassis, transformers and chassis •Mains IEC filter removed and now a non-filtered gold plated type •Fuse is now a Synergistic Research Black Unbelievably good! World class. Price is £950 incl post Dac is on another level! End game and the only dac one could ever need. In stock form these are epic! They use the UltraAnalogue D20400-A chip, which some is the best made? It also uses the Pacific Microsonics PMD 100 HDCD decoder. Has a matching oak surround to that of the CD-T but I also have the original stainless steel surround if someone prefers that look. Upgrades (50 of them): •Mains IEC filter removed and now a non-filtered gold plated type •Fuse is now a Synergistic Research Black •All film capacitors (bar 2 in the power supply have been upgraded). •Analogue board caps to Mundorf ZN (14 of them), and the output caps (x4) to Clarity Cap CSA types but to the value of 10uF. Original caps were 3.3uF but the ex-owner of Sonic Frontiers and now owner of Parts Connexxion recommended this value as best and lowers the output impedance. These caps are bypassed (part of the original design) with Modwright film/oil types. •All 18 electrolytic caps upgraded so good for a few more decades •Other film caps and bypass caps upgraded to Mundorf and Modwright. •Dampening applied (also on transformers) •Output vacuum tubes now Philips SQ and treated with Audio Magic Black Out Paint as with as sporting some Herbies Tube Dampers. •Output RCA’s now gold over copper types (by DH Labs) •XLR outputs also upgraded •Study the photos to see how much work has been done to this dac! An end game dac with loads of cash spent to take it to the max. Very analogue in presentation. Original box. Collection or meet up very much preferred please. Price: £1050 bargain!
  22. JOLIDA GLASS FX Valve DAC upgraded with Siemens E83CC Valves Item Location : Manchester £350 ONO - Purchased two years ago from the UK Distributor. - In excellent condition and full working order. - Valves have been upgraded to a matched pair of Siemens E83CC's (Made in Germany, worth well over £100) - Valves have been test on Avo 160 valve tester and they measure good so there's many more years left in them. - USB/COAX/TOSLINK OPT (inputs) PHONO (outputs) - Includes USB Lead, Original Box and Manual. - Awesome DAC with an excellent reputation and many reviews online.
  23. I have owned this superb DAC for several years and during that time if has evolved at the hands of the excellent Robert Airey of Aired Audio (Open Door): Jolida UK importer and the acknowledged expert at modifying the FX (among myriad other components, especially Jolida and Black Ice Audio). Initially, Rob upgraded the output and power supply caps to Clarity, which remains the most common basic upgrade for this unit. My unit then went back to Rob a year later for his first ever VeeCap upgrade - a costly but significant improvement. Then a year of so ago it went back again for the ultimate conversion to Modwright caps and silver output wiring. This made an amazing difference, facilitating rich bass and more emotional engagement. It's fab. I am only selling it because I have invested heavily in a very expensive CD/DAC combo (nearly £10k new) in an attempt to lower the box count and become more genteel. Even then my new uber player lacks the FX's attack and boogie (it's just a tad quieter and more liquid - buy hey, at many times the price...). The FX responds very well to tube rolling and fuse tweaking, too, but is supplied with new stock factory Tungsol tubes (which sound very good). I didn't want the Mk3 originally because it doesn't look as nice and I wouldn't use the small jack headphone facility it has. And this one sounds much nicer to my ears than any latest DSD version, modded or otherwise. It owes me a packet, of course, but £395 buys it, posted. Mods: 1. Cast silver wired on the output. Wire is PTFE wrapped and screened with drain wire. 2. Output caps are the best that fit. Modwright M series Truth. Oil impregnated metalised polypropylene dielectric with pure coper tined leads. 3. Power supply board cap same type.
  24. Firestone Audio Spitfire MKii Cute Series Dac - upgraded Can of fake lager there for size reference - these are tiny 🙂 Sound is excellent considering their size - lots of reviews online. With the upgrade - too close to comfort vs other more costly dacs. Selling as no longer needed. I will also be selling a tiny Italian class D amp (Audel - can be found on eBay at clearance prices, will list later/tomorrow). So upgrades as below, not much in the dac as the power supply is separate: 1) Opamp upgraded to Burson Audio V5 2) Capacitors now Toshin Jovial I’d suggest a power supply upgrade to really make this an awesome dac. Selling with the standard power supply. £95 incl postage. No original box.
  25. Back in 2013 I had just sold my Wyred 4 Sound DAC and was on the look out for a replacement. I attended a Hi-Fi show at Whittlebury Hall Hotel. There I met Gary from Audio Emotion and Xuanqian Wang from Auralic. Both friendly and knowledgeable guys. As there was a generous discount on the new AURALIC VEGA G1 Streaming DAC I ordered one along with a midrange Audioquest USB cable. After six years of enjoying the DAC/Preamp, I began to read several favourable reviews about the new Auralic VEGA G1 from the likes of John Darko and Chris Connaker. This leads to thoughts of, “will it sound nicer, can I afford one and will I use it enough” etc. Fortunately for me, one came up for sale a couple of weeks ago which I bought. The first impressions are as follows: The G1 unit seems twice as heavy has my original Vega (curved edge aluminium) unit. More than double the amount of plastic foam provided in the box, am sure this thing would survive an accidental drop. Two basic power cables, one braided USB cable included but no remote. The large yellow led display of the original is nicely laid out and just provides the information I need to see from my sofa. The G1 has a square screen in the middle with large icons for input but very small font in the sub menus. G1 units comes with the addition of an ethernet socket on the rear which the original does not have. Because I have a Windows based music server, I needed to again install a small driver on to that from the Auralic site, which was straightforward. The significant changes are that the new device has a streamer, completely updated electronics and the interface is more complex in my view. To set up and configure the G1 device you can use any web browser, the built-in screen system menus or the Lightening DS app. The App provides prompts which I found easy to follow. However, when I tried to register the device with my email on the Lightening app, a message popped up which correctly stated that a previous owner had registered it and they would contact them for persimmon to allow me to register it as the new owner. While I wait for a response from the previous owner, has anyone on this forum had experience of successfully transferred ownership of a used G1/G2 DAC, please? Current VEGA boots up in a few seconds its then controlled by the supplied remote-control unit or the function button. Regarding the apps, I have for years been using JRIVER as my media player with J Remote app. Reliable, lots of features and sounds good. The G1 takes over a minute to boot up. However, JRiver is not compatible now so I have to use the Auralic Lightening DS App from the Apple iStore. (free). I have found that the Apple podcast apps works well too. To listen to Spotify on my original VEGA I used to turn on my Windows based audio server, login, and could then use the Spotify app on my old iPad or Android mobile phone to control it. To listen to Spotify on the new G1, I first I select ‘Streamer’ input device using the silver button to scroll and push to select, enable Spotify in the menu, (small font on the screen). Songs are selected with the Spotify App on my iPad mini 2. My thoughts from a brief listening session; starting with the original Vega the sound is easy on the ear across the audible spectrum. Switching to the G1, its noticeably clearer and the sound can be presented in a way that you prefer by selecting from smooth, dynamic/balanced or precise. These filters make a positive discernible difference to my ears however on the original Vega I could not really tell the difference between the filters. The bass is firmer, slightly improved stereo image and clearer high end. Poor quality recordings are exposed regardless of genre. Precise filter is fine for classical and Jazz music but initially seemed irritating for other types of music. Depending on your listening room, speakers and preferences etc. I seem to have mentally adjusted to this by the end of the first week. Switching inputs takes a few seconds and I hear four clicks from inside the case. Using the TOS output on my TV to the DAC for the soundtrack on BBC iPlayer, Amazon and Plex. However, I have not yet figured out how to get the timing right, the delay is on the min setting of 50ms but still not spot on, any advice welcome. It just worked with the original one right out of the box! What surprised me was that the streamer built in to the G1 sounds clearer (better separation and oomph) than my new server with JCAT sound card and two quality power supplies! What I have yet to test is how the Spotify App, with all sound quality settings on the highest available, sound compared to the same song ripped from a CD on my server. In conclusion, while this G1 is a significant upgrade as is the manufacturers website, I will miss the simplicity of operating the original one however I can live with the complexity of the new one as the sound quality is better. The original VEGA DAC/Preamp unit will be up for sale soon on this forum in the Classifieds section.