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… )