Holo Audio Spring 3 DAC Impressions

@cudfoo Which level of Holo Audio DAC (May or Spring 3) do you have?

May KTE

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Well, you have the best USB Holo Audio offers…maybe I should keep my Matrix…

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Maybe it’ll be different for you. I really wanted to simplify and get rid of the Matrix\Uptone PS - HDMI cable etc. Unfortunately that didn’t work out. A good percentage of the magic disappears with USB direct on my system.

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Yeah, I am not even sure which way I am going to go DAC wise.

What’s on your list ?

I concur, same experience. The most striking improvement is a bigger soundstage.

Holo Audio May KTE, Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE, Bricasti M3, and the DirectStream MKII…

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IIRC, you use HQ Player. You probably know this already, but in case you don’t, there are humongous threads on Audiophile Style about the May (1500 posts) and the Spring (1200). Jussi is very active on those threads.

I posted an update to my Spring 3 review from 10 days ago

I am reposting my comments on the Spring 3 HOLO KTE with Preamp review here is one place.

7/26/21 Received the unit via DHL in California after ordering from Kitsune on 7/5/21, great service.

At about 380 hours on the Holo Spring 3 KTE and it is starting to show its stuff. The articulation is fantastic. Every 24 hours it seems to improve a little more.
Minimum of 500 hours break in is suggested by Tim at Kitsune.
At about 600 hours is when the unit really started to excel, up to that point it was a good DAC but not especially thrilling. I am at about 750 hours now and this unit is amazing it is certainly the best I have had. (I sold my DS eight months ago)
The level of definition of instruments and vocals really stands out to me. That goosebump feeling is often present when listening. I like having the preamp built in given I don’t have any other sources.
Regarding using a 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) the USB input sounded better to me.
I reinserted the SU-1 at 750 hours and the sound has noticeably improved. The SS is deeper, and everything is more 3D. The I2S was only used for 100 hours so far, I am not sure if it needs signal going through for more time for break in. I definitely prefer the SU-1 to the USB
It will be interesting to see if DSMK2 can improve on the HOLO.
I understand there will be at least three reviews published on the Spring 3. New Record Day, Golden Ear and Herb at Stereophile

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Nice update, thank you !

Hdmi cable quality seems less important with my Holo than the DS.
Is that also your experience ?

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Not sure have only tried the good one will try a cheapy later and report

Given that the I2S works so well means someone could buy the lower level Spring 3 without the fancy USB circuit and get an amazing DAC for very reasonable cost

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What preamp were you using previously, if any?

Got to love this Stereophile reviewer’s verbiage describing the Holo Audio Spring 3 DAC.

“While I’m reluctant to give too much credit to the Spring’s R-2R architecture, I do suspect that the chief benefit of ladder DACs is that they don’t require the aggressive noise-shaping and filtering of a delta-sigma DAC—which, in a general way, reminds me of those prescription drugs whose side effects are worse than the disease they’re supposed to cure.”

https://www.stereophile.com/content/holoaudio-spring-kitsuné-tuned-edition-level-3-da-processor-page-2

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That’s not the Spring 3 DAC. That is the Spring DAC…

With the DS I just used the internal volume control

One thing I forgot to mention when I first installed the Spring 3 my highest comfortable volume level was at 70 on the Spring 3 volume control. After about 500 hours of use I found I was frequently turning it up to 80. This would seem to indicate that the noise level has lowered.

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What usb cable are you using ? Is the Spring sensitive to usb cable quality ?

I’m using a custom Cable that actually feeds a separate 5 V supply to the input at the DAC.

And yes I do find the Spring to be sensitive to the USB cable

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