Full dCS stack

ronc

Wammer
Wammer
Jan 14, 2006
1,111
3
0
Gold Coast Australia
AKA
Ron
Sorry about the clumsiness of the photo links.

Decided to hear the Verdi la Scala and Verona - the other half of the dCS system to go with the Elgar and Purcell. It is impressive, that is for sure. Expensive, though.

Contrary to the strap line below, I haven't decided how much it is in Wife Pounds yet!

 

ronc

Wammer
Wammer
Jan 14, 2006
1,111
3
0
Gold Coast Australia
AKA
Ron
What does it sound like?

Well, I've said before that I don't hear half the things that others do, and that the primary interest for me is sound stage, so bear that bias in mind. In fact I now realise that I DO hear a lot more than just the soundstage, but, past a certain price point, I expect most of those to be "givens" to a certain standard anyway, and I don't mind whether or not further improvement takes place past that point, because I can hardly hear the difference (well, the difference doesn't matter to me is a better way of saying it).

Background: I have been without a CD player for some months now, having sold my Wadia transport (convinced that more could be obtained from something else). I therefore had to use my £500 Yamaha hard drive CD recorder. It is good value for money, but can't compete with an even half decent CD player. It is extremely convenient though, and I ordered what looks to be the hi fi equivalent of it at the Manchester show, the Slim Devices Transporter. Unfortunately, it has still not arrived, which is starting to irritate me.

Further backround: I have moved house, but have not yet sold the old one and I've been hanging on before buying something, because with two mortgages money is tight. However a sale now looks much closer, so I am in the market in anticipation of no snags.

Last bit of background: I bought some new speakers just before we moved, Focal JM Labs alto utopias. I was desperately disappointed with them at first, but Mr C made the 300 mile round trip to my new home and showed me what could be done with them partnered with an Esoteric X-01 and X-03. The speakers are very good, and now represent the first "fixed point" in my system (for anyone who knows me, that is unimaginable praise!).

The problem with the Esoterics lies with the need to include the Slim Devices Transporter. There is no digital input available, and I want that as a feature of whatever I go with.

So, finally, to the dCS stack. The components are:

Verdi La Scala (transport and built in upsampler)

Elgar+ (DAC)

Purcell (for inclusion of the Slim Devices)

Verona (Clock)

I basically tried 3 combinations:

  • Verdi La Scala with my own (non-fire wire) Elgar
  • Verdi La Scala with the new Elgar+
  • Verdi La Scala, new Elgar and the Verona clock.
The Verdi La Scala with my own Elgar sounded, as you would expect, a quantum leap up from only having the hard drive. The quality of sound was similar to what I had with the Wadia, and, compared to what I've been used to, it was very good. Soundstage had breadth again, with good separation of people and instruments left to right. It was nowhere near the Esoteric X-01, though, and definitely behind the X-03 as well.

The La Scala with the new Elgar+ was actually a step up, despite my expectations. dCS will upgrade an Elgar to an Elgar+ for a fee (about £2k) and I'd say it was worth it. This sound was about equal in quality to the X-03 when Mr C was here, and your preference for one box or the other would depend on what you were looking for. They were close enough for it to be down to "how much?" as to which one I went with, if that tells you anything.

Finally, there was the addition of a clock. I expected this to make no discernable difference, but I was absolutely and completelywrong. It had an impact on exactly the things that are important to me: I can sum it up by saying that there is a 3-dimensionality present that I've never had before. I now wish I'd paid more attention when Mr C put the X-01 in the system. The X-01 brought the soundstage much closer to the listener, and broadened it wonderfully. At £10k for one box though, I simply wasn't willing to listen for any length of time, on the grounds that I couldn't buy it. I think the 3-dimensionality of the dCS stack was more apparent, but the X-01 threw a wider, closer sound stage. I suspect an X-01 with a clock would step it away from the dCS stack, but the issue at this level is obviously cost. Without a clock, the X-01 is pretty comparable to the dCS stack (for the things that matter to me) and I could happily live with either. The snag with the Esoterics is that they don't easily allow the occasional inclusion ofthe Slim Devices.

Sane people, of course, would say that the outlay required to get so small a gain over the first combination is simply ludicrous. For me there is a huge difference, but the extra moneyIS hard to justify, particularly when the extra performance is only heard by me alone (when my wife listens with me, we tend to use the hard drive: she gets irritated if she can't talk over the music, and I get irritated if I can't concentrate on the music, so we have it as - not background music, but certainly not serious listening).

So there we have it. Need to decide over the weekend what to do. I want to buy something, then settle down and not buy anything more......but that is not going to happen, is it? (I've seen an identical amp to mine for sale, and I'm wondering what bi-amping would do..............?).

 

jonjin

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 22, 2005
4,711
4
0
London
Very interesting. I must admit the Esoteric X-01 is one serious reference point!

Does the clock make a difference to the Transporter feed as well?

JJ

 

hifinut

Wammer
Wammer
Mar 17, 2006
900
1
0
Ramsgate Southeast K
AKA
Paul
WOW sure as hell impressive set up I belive it is the way to go for vinyl like sound from cd is to send it though several digital boxes to remove hash and extract all the 0s and 1s then process them properly,Iv never heard anything like the topend stuff so cannot comment.

Love the amp did you get a fork lift to place it in the home;)

Im using 3 boxes for my cd frontend and sounds superb Teac T1 to Meridian 518 then Stello DP200 the Meridiancleans andadds more soundstage it's not near yours though but still impressive.
biggrin.png


 
M

Mr Coherent

Guest
So what you saying is Ron, that the La scala/elgar+/Purcell is pretty equal to the a stock X-03se in your system you feel. It takes the Verona (clock) to edge it out so thats about £25K (plus cables).

The X-03se is £5k. Speaks a bit about the Esoteric then!

The word clock does make a discernable difference with the dcs for sure, though I never found the dcs to give (for me) serious palpability and outright realism. Its strengths lie else where.

Interesting you feel the X-01 has a better sound staging??? (help they'll be thinking I'm Mr hifi now!!)

Always fun to try and play with kit.

only wish to say a couple of things Esoteric D-03

 

hifinut

Wammer
Wammer
Mar 17, 2006
900
1
0
Ramsgate Southeast K
AKA
Paul
Id love a Teac topend player read so much about them then it would have to be coherentmodded too;)but sadly :(not got the room for such a setup yet:cs:1 day!

 

Purite Audio

Wammer
Wammer
Jan 29, 2007
6,869
41
0
London, UK
AKA
Keith
Ron Hi, so the DCS was the full latest reference system that you heard? The Teac line-up has just changed has't it, there was the two box set-up right at the top ( £40k ) then under that another two box £25k , then the single box players, is that he current line-up? Keith.

 
M

Mr Coherent

Guest
coopee wrote:

Yes Teac obviously haven't given there players a lot of thought and they need to be 'modified ' by the local bodger.
Humm, swallowed something bitter there coop?
biggrin.png


 

Purite Audio

Wammer
Wammer
Jan 29, 2007
6,869
41
0
London, UK
AKA
Keith
No I just find it odd that you would spend x amount on a class leading product and then send it away to the local guy to have it 'modified' make me wonder how good the product is in the first place?

 

Papa Lazarou

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 18, 2005
12,907
147
123
Bletchley, Bucks
AKA
Phil
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
coopee wrote:

No I just find it odd that you would spend x amount on a class leading product and then send it away to the local guy to have it 'modified' make me wonder how good the product is in the first place?
I thought Ronc stated that a stock X-03se (5k) was only bettered by a full DCS stack (25k). I don't recall any Coherent modifications being mentioned, or did i miss something?

 

Papa Lazarou

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 18, 2005
12,907
147
123
Bletchley, Bucks
AKA
Phil
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
coopee wrote:

hifinut wrote:
Id love a Teac topend player read so much about them then it would have to be coherent modded too;) but sadly
sad.png
 not got the room for such a setup yet:cs: 1 day!
Papa see above.
Yes i see but that comment is out of context. It was made by hifinut and not ronc. I doubt hifinut has made this comparison anyway.

The original poster was comparing the X-series players to the DCS ones - no comment was made that modifications were needed to make them competitive.

My X-03se has sounded stunning in every setup i've tried it in. It has a hint of warmth that allows it synergy with most systems. The X-01LE (Tony's) seems to require careful system-matching in comparison - but is capable of incredible results when you get it right.

I very nearly bought a Wadia before plumping for the Esoteric - i believe i made the right choice in the end.

 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
109,313
Messages
2,317,624
Members
69,453
Latest member
k23435