And the winner is...


#1

My DS DAC has been on continuously since I received it on July 1, give or take an hour or two.

My cursory listening of the last week or so has pretty much confirmed that the DS DAC was surpassing the Oppo playing CDs and music files in just about every area. Last night, as a test, I had my son, who played classical double-bass in his school orchestra, and now concentrates on his 4- and 5-string electric basses, select a few choice cuts he likes (within my rock universe) to play through the DS DAC. His verdict, based on what he was listening to as a bass player, was the same every time.

“Dad, the DS sounds real. No contest.”

This morning I had my good buddy over who designs his own tube guitar amps. He’s a fairly seasoned audiophile, but not a fanatic like me (us?). He owns Magneplanars, has a decent CD player, a Pro-ject turntable I sold him nine years ago, and has a pretty discerning ear. He’s not married to tweaks and the like, being a pretty level-headed guy when it comes to his system. He’s had the same basic setup for over a decade. I asked him bring some CDs he loves and knows well.

We proceeded to audition the DS DAC in two steps. First, the Oppo vs. the DS, going through the Bryston 3B-ST, and then going through the McIntosh MC30s. The Oppo and DS are connected to a Channel Islands VPC3 passive preamp, then to the amps. The Oppo is set to output Bitstream to the DS via coax. We listened to four CDs.

After about an hour, it was pretty obvious: every single cut we played through the DS DAC elicited a response from both of us about the “realness” of what we were hearing. As good as the BDP-105 is — and obviously I’m not going to get rid of it — the DS DAC today excelled in imaging, bass response, tonal purity, you name it. Today’s session put any doubts I had to rest.

I did, however, come away with one salient fact from my session today: the combination of tube amplification and the DS DAC is unbeatable. I don’t know, nor will I attempt to explain in my non-scientific way, why this is so. But it is.

Ted and Paul deserve all the credit they get for this magnificent device. The DS DAC is the real deal.

(P.S., my room is now available as a steam bath, courtesy the McIntosh amps… laugh)


#2

As a side note, I have not been able to get the bit-perfect test to work from my Mac Mini yet. Later tonight I’m trying my MacBook with a short USB cable, directly into the DS, to confirm my suspicion that my active USB cable just ain’t cutting’ it…


#3
George Moneo said As a side note, I have not been able to get the bit-perfect test to work from my Mac Mini yet. Later tonight I'm trying my MacBook with a short USB cable, directly into the DS, to confirm my suspicion that my active USB cable just ain't cutting' it...
I'm using an active 5 meter USB cable with a 1 meter usb with no problems, bit-perfect. Win 7.

#4

Same here, but I’m sure there are some bad active USB cables out there.


#5
George Moneo said My DS DAC has been on continuously since I received it on July 1, give or take an hour or two.

After about an hour, it was pretty obvious: every single cut we played through the DS DAC elicited a response from both of us about the “realness” of what we were hearing. As good as the BDP-105 is — and obviously I’m not going to get rid of it — the DS DAC today excelled in imaging, bass response, tonal purity, you name it. Today’s session put any doubts I had to rest.

I did, however, come away with one salient fact from my session today: the combination of tube amplification and the DS DAC is unbeatable. I don’t know, nor will I attempt to explain in my non-scientific way, why this is so. But it is.

Ted and Paul deserve all the credit they get for this magnificent device. The DS DAC is the real deal.

(P.S., my room is now available as a steam bath, courtesy the McIntosh amps… laugh)


Nice! Thanks George, tubes added to the audio stream make for stunning music, I agree. That’s why I am adding one to the new PS Audio amplifier’s input circuit. DirectStream into that bad boy sounds unbelievable.dancing-009_gifdrinking-39_gif

#6

My tubes agree as well. :)


#7

My tubes aren’t as exotic-looking as Lonely Raven’s, but they also get along very well with the DS (c-j preamp, Golden Tube SE-40 driving the midrange and tweeters of my Von Schweikert speaker). I admit that I haven’t been as careful (aka compulsive) as some about keeping track of the hours on my DS, but I’d say it has about 200 by now. Last night I played a favorite track (CD rip, 16/44) that I hadn’t listened to for 3-4 days. I sat up in my chair as I heard things I’d never gotten before from this song. It is a very special DAC and I can’t wait to hear what it sounds like with a couple hundred more hours!!


#8
Paul McGowan said Nice! Thanks George, tubes added to the audio stream make for stunning music, I agree. That's why I am adding one to the new PS Audio amplifier's input circuit. DirectStream into that bad boy sounds unbelievable.dancing-009_gifdrinking-39_gif
I just contacted a dealer to trade in my Bryston for an all-tube integrated amp. I'm really sold on this combo, gentlemen.

Now, the hard part: how to sell it (and tell it) to SWMBO… sorry-smiley-emoticon_gif


#9

Which amp have you decided upon?


#10
Elk said Which amp have you decided upon?
I'm looking at an Audio Research CA-50. Plenty of juice to drive the B&Ws and has lots of inputs.

#11

Forgive my profanity, but I’m enjoying the shit out of the DS DAC. Three CDs since arriving from work. Every one sounds better than I remember.


#12

Nice!


#13

Glad to hear it George! Been there, done that, same reaction. 4_gif