Lavryblack DA10`

cjm

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Apr 27, 2006
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I've been reading a bit about the Lavryblack DA10 DAC and wondered if anyone on here has actually heard it. I was interested in a Benchmark DAC, but, based on what I've seen so far, it sounds like (ie reads like) the DA10 may better it in certain respects. I'm also a bit concerned - reading between the lines - that the benchmark may be ruthlessly revealing to the point of soundingsterile when I would like an honest but full and rich midband (subject to the recording being used having this on offer). This is another area where the DA10 may well offer a significant improvement. Your sane and insane thoughts welcome.

Chris

 
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earl of sodbury

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Not heard the DACs mentioned, but may I humbly beseech you to include Stello's DACs in your auditioning - mine has made DAB radio listenable, nay even enjoyable
shock.gif.7732780fe7e208b945ce79ca96402fca.gif


churz, eofs

 

cjm

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Apr 27, 2006
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Other suggestions welcome EofS. I'm sure I'll be faced with the usual problem of being able to demo before buying though. I've tried to find something more about the Stello and seen some reviews. I can't find a UK supplier, nearest is Nethelands, and the price is substantially higher than the DAC1 and DA10 - c. 1500 euros (roughly 1100 sterling). Do you know of a UK supplier and price?

Chris

 

doctorjuggles

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I own the Benchmark DAC1 and have listened to the Lavry DA10 on several occasions.

I am at work and cannot write much now, but just wondered when you were thinking of buying and if there were any issues in specific you'd like me to comment on. I'll try and answer better tonight, but if you could answer those two questions I can provide a much better answer for you. (The reason I want to know when you're looking at buying is because we have regular meets in North London at a friend's place where you'd be able to hear both side by side.)

 

cjm

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Feedback much appreciated, guys.

DrJ: I'm teetering on the brink of getting another DAC. I'm looking for a DAC that can really claim to give a taste of high end sound, but affordably. The DAC1 caught my eye a couple of years back when the hullaballoo was first starting. The stupid pricing where a dollar price in the States was translated into a sterling price here, kept me from going ahead. I'm looking for a truthful sound, with a fullsome midrange - if that makes sense. I'd like to improve upon my existing setups and their ability to lay down a realistic stereo soundstage. I love to hear a sweet, detailed top end and a textured bass, though I'm not a bass freak.I want to avoid a sound which invites me to analyse rather than to relax and enjoy. I know all of that is subjective stuff, but it may give you some clues in giving your own feedback on how the DAC1 compares to the Lavryblack DA10. I'd also be interested in your views about just how irrelevant is transport to the sound the DAC1 is capable of generating.

Harv & EoS:Thanks for the link and comments. On reason the DAC1 particularly took my fancy was its known ability to be relatively/almost completely transport independent, so keeping me from having to stomp up more money on a better transport. How would the Stello cope with a basic DVD/cd player as transport?

Chris

 
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earl of sodbury

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cjm wrote:

Harv & EoS:Thanks for the link and comments. On reason the DAC1 particularly took my fancy was its known ability to be relatively/almost completely transport independent, so keeping me from having to stomp up more money on a better transport. How would the Stello cope with a basic DVD/cd player as transport?
Chris, it's completely impossible to predict system synergy (which is why all recommendations need to be qualified by a demo), but in my experience there's no such thing as a transport-independant DAC simply because the quality of the transport is alwaysafactor in the quality of the sound - though not (again IME) a terrifically important one.

However, the one point I made about the Stello transforming DAB radio was a vital one, because no other DAC I've tried (Shek, Soundpals, MF etc.) has ever managed even a fraction of the performance hike that the Stello has, and that's with a £100 TEAC tuner...

Of course the DACs you've mentioned may well be better - I just don't know, but if you're ever in Oxfordshire you're welcome to bring your DVD/CDP over for a listen and decide for yourself if the Stello really is any good.

churz, eofs

 

doctorjuggles

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cjm wrote:

DrJ: I'm teetering on the brink of getting another DAC. I'm looking for a DAC that can really claim to give a taste of high end sound, but affordably. The DAC1 caught my eye a couple of years back when the hullaballoo was first starting. The stupid pricing where a dollar price in the States was translated into a sterling price here, kept me from going ahead. I'm looking for a truthful sound, with a fullsome midrange - if that makes sense. I'd like to improve upon my existing setups and their ability to lay down a realistic stereo soundstage. I love to hear a sweet, detailed top end and a textured bass, though I'm not a bass freak.I want to avoid a sound which invites me to analyse rather than to relax and enjoy. I know all of that is subjective stuff, but it may give you some clues in giving your own feedback on how the DAC1 compares to the Lavryblack DA10. I'd also be interested in your views about just how irrelevant is transport to the sound the DAC1 is capable of generating.
Okay. DAC1 and DA10 will go for roughly the same price. Both of them are convertible to 240V if you order from the USA, the Lavry takes 100V-240V straight out of the box, while the DAC1 needs a different fuse and a tweak of a setting, all easily user-servicable, it would take a minute or two tops.

In terms of the sound you're after, I don't think you can lose with either unit, but as always it depends what kit you're mating it with.

I use my DAC1 as a PC DAC, while I use a Resolution Audio Opus 21 as my source, so I don't really use the DAC1 in a DAC/transport configuration (well, at least, not in the traditional sense.)

I did use it together with my old Shanling CD-T80 as I found the sound more accurate and, oddly enough, less hard and edgy. The Shanling was a tube based CDP, but not as laid back as any other tube equipment.

Anyway, when comparing the DAC1 fed by the PC's CD-ROM and the Shanling, the Shanling definitely had the edge, but I suspect this had more to do with the lenght of cable + PC noise + lack of audiophile focus that PC setups tend to have. Once I'd ripped the file to hard-drive, things improved, not sure why that was.

Outside of that, though, I've never noticed a transport to make too much difference. My X-Ray V3 through the DAC1 sounded great too. As long as your transport is of sufficient quality with reasonable jitter figures and a good, shielded cable, you're laughing.

Sound characteristics, as I said, depends on the equipment being used. Mine's mainly utilised in a headphone setup with a Ray Samuels Emmeline II 'The Raptor' amp and Sennheiser HD-650 headphones. The Raptor is surprisingly fast and accurate for a valve amp, but the Senns are known to be slightly warmer, so the combination beefs up any small issues you might find with the DAC1. Listening through the DAC1's own headphone out is a little more bright, but still nothing I'd consider unbearable by any means.

As long as the rest of your equipment isn't bright, the DAC1 shouldn't pose much of a problem.

The Lavry is a little more forgiving in terms of matching equipment, but at the expense of resolution. I don't like using the word detail because that can be mistaken for 'brightness', but you'll know what I mean when I say it just loses that extra bit of detail when compared to the DAC1. Given a brighter set of accompanying electronics, I'd head in the direction of the Lavry, but if I had a tube amp or a warm pair of speakers, I'd choose the DAC1. I just find that the detail coupled with good drive and dynamics blends well with my setup to create a fantastic midrange. The DAC1 is on the leaner side of neutral, again, this is addressed by the tubes, so I'm really happy with my DAC1.

The Lavry is quite large though, and I'm not overly keen on the strange volume control, which is like a stepped attenuator, but 'clicks' up and down with a digital readout of what level it's at. Some may like it, and it shouldn't really matter seeing as the DAC1 is stepped too, but I prefer the regular method. It's unimportant in the greater scheme, I think.

Hope this helps. I really don't think you can go wrong though, whichever you choose.

 

cjm

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Apr 27, 2006
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Dr J: your observations are very helpful.I suppose it's inevitable that a 'hyped' product like the DAC1 will take some knocks after its been around for a while, but your views help to put it back into perspective - it's obviously still an extremely good DAC. I also like the fact it has its own volume control and headamp, which, tinkler that I am, wouldgive me something further to explore.

EoS: Your mention of the Stello really got me tempted and I had a feeling about this one! I called Shadow Audio only to find it had sold 1/2 an hour earlier. What's the betting that someone on this forum picked up on it and got there first. Well, suppose it means a little more money in my pocket for Christmas.

Think it's time for me to take stock a bit. Sounds like all of these DACs can give a taste of the real high end (synergy and partnering equipment permitting). So will keep my eyes open for what sort of deals there may be. Thanks also guys for the kind offers to let me hear a demo. Will see how the land lies after the festivities have subsided.

Have a great Christmas

 
E

earl of sodbury

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cjm wrote:

Dr J: your observations are very helpful.I suppose it's inevitable that a 'hyped' product like the DAC1 will take some knocks after its been around for a while, but your views help to put it back into perspective - it's obviously still an extremely good DAC. I also like the fact it has its own volume control and headamp, which, tinkler that I am, wouldgive me something further to explore.EoS: Your mention of the Stello really got me tempted and I had a feeling about this one! I called Shadow Audio only to find it had sold 1/2 an hour earlier. What's the betting that someone on this forum picked up on it and got there first. Well, suppose it means a little more money in my pocket for Christmas.

Think it's time for me to take stock a bit. Sounds like all of these DACs can give a taste of the real high end (synergy and partnering equipment permitting). So will keep my eyes open for what sort of deals there may be. Thanks also guys for the kind offers to let me hear a demo. Will see how the land lies after the festivities have subsided.

Have a great Christmas
Good luck with the hunt, and you know where to find us
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churz, eofs

 

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