“We’d like a touch more openness though, so instruments can breathe more freely. Compared with the Cambridge CXN, the Oppo has a suggestion of restraint to its sound”
” The BorderPatrol was changing the tonal balance, softening transients, sweetening the overall sound, but that’s sometimes a good thing. For instance, when I played the Rolling Stones’ horribly compressed and harsh 2016 album, “Blue & Lonesome,” I really enjoyed the music. That wasn’t possible with the Brooklyn converter — the music’s grit and glare came roaring back. Ah, but a great recording like Kraftwerk’s “Minimum- Maximum” live album on the BorderPatrol was a marvel. The BorderPatrol makes music — even electronic music — come alive.”
“A big factor in a DAC’s sound is how well the USB interface is implemented. Some otherwise superb units are compromised by less-than-stellar performance when driven by a USB input. A good way to isolate the USB interface’s contribution to the DAC’s sound is to insert the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB converter in the digital signal path. The $1895 Alpha USB takes in USB from the source, reclocks it, isolates the output from noise at the input, and reformats the signal into AES/EBU or SPDIF (the latter on a BNC jack). The Alpha USB is the state of the art in such devices; I’ve heard it absolutely transform the sound quality of some DACs, turning mediocre performance into excellence. Significantly, with the Yggy the Alpha USB rendered the least improvement in sound quality of any DAC I’ve done this experiment on. In other words, the Yggy’s USB input is extremely well designed.”
” The treble of the DAC212SE is alive and slightly prominent. To be honest, that kind of a treble presentation might be a little fatiguing. However, the DAC212SE reveals its quality treble notes in accordance with the engineering achievement of the DiDiT team. Personally, I found the treble presentation very enjoyable to listen! There are no piercing, fatiguing, and overly sparkling issues. Even if the treble tone may not be evaluated as the best in the market, the DAC212SE is quite fast, highly resolved, and truly refined when it comes to the overall treble presentation.
“As I was coming to the end of the review I started to wonder how I could live without it, both the sound and the convenience. I want to buy this DAC. But OPPO is also coming out with a new high performance Blu-ray player, the BDP-205. This player, the successor to the BDP-105, will offer the same or better video performance of the new BDP-203, but with much of the high performance audio of the Sonica DAC. It will use the same DAC chipset, USB interface and analog architecture as the Sonica DAC on the audio side.
“. The drum, which descends into the mid-20Hz range, extended quite deeply, but with a smidgen less heft and definition than through the best DACs I’ve heard. Savall’s viola da gamba carries the main melody, and Savall continually varies his loudness and speed, making it challenging for a hi-fi system to follow. The DAC9 didn’t break a sweat, effortlessly capturing even the slightest changes in rhythmic power. The ARC also portrayed a full, accurate harmonic picture of the viola da gamba, further revealing the realism of the recording.”