Holo Audio Spring 3 DAC Impressions

Decided to start a new thread focused on the Spring 3 and not the May, since one of the May discussions had spiraled out of control.

I only have about 100 hours on it and haven’t fiddled with anything - just slapped it into place where the Black Ice DAC used to be and hooked up the Jay’s Audio transport using the same cable. My first impression is it is a massive step up from the Black Ice in my system. So much more detail and clarity especially in the bass, space between musicians, hearing things I’ve heard before on albums I’ve listened to dozens of times over the past 30+ years. This could be an end game DAC for me. (Who am I kidding? I want Al’s Gryphon DAC but will need to search change under the car seats!)

I’ll probably give it another week and then switch out cables to use I2S. Will keep those interested posted.

Thanks to @Phil and @goblue for the congrats!

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Sheesh. PS Audio - top seller of Holo Audio DACs🤠

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Congratulations to @richard.martin for his recent acquisition of a Holo Spring 3 :clinking_glasses::clap:

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Congrats Richard. Let us know your impressions.

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And, as OP, congrats to @magicknow for his Holo Spring 3.

How do you like it so far ?

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Major Movie Stars repeatedly toast your choice, bruh!:facepunch:t2:

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DAC of the stars!!

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If you have a Matrix x-spdif, I recommend using it. In my setup, I prefer usb into Matrix and then I2S into Holo. Big improvement IMHO compared to usb direct into Holo.

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The USB is just a noisy mediocre interface. The I2s is a far superior. That is one of the reasons why your PST sounds so good. How is your Dragon HDMI breaking in? Mine is really blowing my mind, it is sounding so good right now.

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I am away on vacation, so I put it in our home theater. My kids are home and breaking it in when they use the TV. They are probably wondering why the image is so good :blush:.

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If you have a chance, try the wonderful PS Audio PST with it. Or the PS Audio DMP.

Added bonus: you should get DSD with SACDs, like I do with my PST and the May. I2S configuration: alternative 2 (alternative 1 swaps the channels on the SACD DSD layer).

A truly magical combination, highly recommended, IMHO.

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And if you have a PS Audio regenerator, make sure you use it with your Spring. I have everything plugged into my P20, and it makes an enormous difference.

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Interesting that you heard an improvement with I2S and the Holo. I’ve been reading about this upgraded USB module on the May, so I assumed there should be no degradation between it and other interfaces. I might pick up a Matrix and give it a try sometime when I get the DAC.

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@cudfoo and myself prefer with the Matrix, but others don’t. For example GoldenSound, in his review, is pretty adamant that the USB input can be used « sans » ddc. @mrderrick and @brett66 seem to concur with him. YMMV. Anyway, with or without Matrix, it’s awesome :star_struck:.

I have about 380 hours on the Holo Spring 3 and it is starting to show its stuff. The articulation is fantastic. Every 24 hours it seems to improve a little more. i will wait till I get over 500 hours as suggested by Tim at Kitsune. to give a final assessment on sound quantity. All in all I am very impressed by this DAC, I hope to acquire the DS Mk2 and compare the two and keep the winner.

Regarding the DDC I have the SingXer SU-1 KTE edition with a very good HDMI cable. I used this for the first 100 hours of burn in. When I switched over to direct USB (PLL On ) it sounded better to me. I will retest this after the 500 hour mark to make a final decision. Regarding the delay in locking up after a bit rate change the USB does not have an issue. It turns out the other inputs can have a few hundred millisecond delay to relock. So if using USB this is a non issue.

Well I am at about at 800 hours and I have to say this unit is incredible, best DAC I have heard.

Up to 500 hours is was good but not really very exciting, just after 500 hours it was like a new set of musicians appeared to show how a piece is really played. Every 100 hours there seems to be another jump in realism. It was like the various instruments came unglued from a 2D plane and evolved into 3D. In many songs it was obvious that the drums and cymbals were very isolated from the instruments. The sound stage got wider and deeper. The giggles keep happening for the last 300 hours. I am not sure if it has fully matured yet, I remember Brett saying that his May was still showing improvements at 1000 hours.

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If there is anything that I have learned recently, it is that the Holo USB implementation is quite different from others.

Not only in regards to sound quality, but also as to what it is fully compatible with.

More variables have been added to the mix regarding what USB source will work and possibly sound best with it.

The source that is sounding best with my KTE May at the moment is the Sonore Signature Rendu SE.
Placing a Matrix between it and the May did not improve things for me.

I have no doubt that every different source will have its preferred path.

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In my situation the I2S (w/matrix-uptone – ps) is far superior to USB direct. Really dramatic difference…

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Well, if the Matrix can convert from USB to I2S, why can’t the DAC do it internally just as well if designed right??

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I’ll end up using the I2S input for my Jay’s transport. My streaming is limited to my fave radio station (KEXP). I have a few digital downloads when I couldn’t get a physical copy. Both are run off my MacBook Pro via USB direct to the Spring 3. I haven’t done a direct comparison with the Matrix in place but USB input on the Spring 3 is definitely a lot better than the Black Ice DAC or the SGCD.

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I agree - no idea why the I2S is so much better - shouldn’t be but it is - and by a large margin in my system.

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