Chord Dave FPGA DAC Review

June 1, 2023 § Leave a comment

iFi Audio NEO Stream Network-Attached DAC Review

May 23, 2023 Comments Off on iFi Audio NEO Stream Network-Attached DAC Review

While experimenting I also discovered the NEO Stream can actually handle two connected DACs, one via the rear USB-A, one via the USB-C port on the front. It won’t stream to both simultaneously, of course, but maybe the rule is: if you can think of a reason why you would want to hook up two DACs at the same time – a comparison listening test, for example – you’re smack bang in the target group of iFi Audio’s well-featured device.


TAD DA1000TX $15,900 Review

April 20, 2023 Comments Off on TAD DA1000TX $15,900 Review

Despite all these great things, there are still a few areas where we feel there is space for improvement. One of them concerns rhythmic drive. There is real momentum to Cave’s Babe, I’m On Fire but the DA1000TX doesn’t quite capture that energy. Our feet are still tapping but we know the similarly-priced Chord DAVE would capture more of the verve and drive of the track. It seems TAD’s search for refinement, analysis and control has sacrificed a little of the music’s fun in the process. That includes the way it pulls its punches when it comes to delivering the leading edge of transients and powerful large-scale dynamic shifts. This DAC prefers to err on the side of politeness, and on some more aggressive forms of music, we can feel the loss.

T+A DAC 200 Review

April 1, 2023 Comments Off on T+A DAC 200 Review

dCS Vivaldi Apex D/A processor $46,500 Review

March 18, 2023 Comments Off on dCS Vivaldi Apex D/A processor $46,500 Review

I wasn’t feeling up to rock music, but I ventured as far as the first tracks of Roger Waters’s Amused to Death (24/192 MQA, Columbia/Tidal) and was wowed again by the Vivaldi Apex’s ability to harness detail in service to emotion. In Yosi Horikawa’s fascinating, gimmicky “Bubbles” (footnote 3) (16/44.1, Tidal), I felt surrounded by the dropping balls at the beginning—uncanny. In “Twilight Song,” from bassist Charlie Hayden and pianist Kenny Barron’s sublime live recording Night and the City (16/44.1, Verve/Qobuz), every note of the piano sounded like a precious pearl. And on Harmonia Mundi’s wonderful period-instruments recording of Beethoven’s Archduke Trio, with violinist Isabelle Faust, cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, and pianist Alexander Melnikov, the sound was so natural and flowing that I closed my eyes and thanked the universe for the glory of it all.

Aavik U-280 Integrated Amplifier/DAC REVIEW

February 23, 2023 Comments Off on Aavik U-280 Integrated Amplifier/DAC REVIEW

I’m not trying to be all Rod McKuen here, but this will give you an idea of what I heard with the Aavik U-280 and that huge assortment of products from Audio Group Denmark. I knew I was listening to a very low noise floor–I feel like I’ve had a lot of practice identifying low noise floors after spending the last couple of years investigating high-end audio grounding gear. I did learn, for example, that low noise floors have very little to do with putting your ear up to the woofer cone and trying to hear some sort of electronic presence. It’s more of the same philosophy about lowering the noise floor so that more music comes through. It comes across as lower distortion and razor-sharp transient images. It’s funny that in 2022, a lot of audio manufacturers are starting to talk about these same approaches in their ads and seminars and exhibition rooms. Audio Group Denmark is at the vanguard, it seems, and not the fringe.

Still, I was tempted. I was all set to cue an LP when suddenly I noticed that my ear was fairly close to the woofer of the Børresen Z1 Cryo and I thought well, I’m right here. Let’s see what happens with this Aavik U-280 and all the other stuff in the system

Auralic Altair G1.1 Network-Attached DAC Review

February 21, 2023 Comments Off on Auralic Altair G1.1 Network-Attached DAC Review

Listening further, it became clear these two filter options represent the extremes of what’s on offer. On the other hand, both ‘Dynamic’ and ‘Balance’ take a less outspoken approach, with the last of those two lacking a bit of liveliness when heard in my particular set-up. However, regardless of the filter selected, these sonatas by Bach are rendered engagingly with just the right amount of warmth and depth, giving you enough insight to focus on the nuances brought by each stringed instrument of the quartet.

Ultimately, the sonic character of the Altair G1.1 can be described by the same ‘do it all’ terminology as its functional description. This is a streamer/DAC that covers all bases and does so with panache.

CH Precision C1.2 D/A processor $36,000 Review

February 18, 2023 Comments Off on CH Precision C1.2 D/A processor $36,000 Review

In my review of the D1.5, using it as a player, digital conversions carried out by its dual-mono DAC boards, I found—this surprised me—the external clock made a big, meaningful difference. I did not find that to be the case this time, with the C1.2. I heard differences, subtle and difficult to describe, but none that substantially increased or decreased my pleasure in listening. The X1 power supply made a bit more difference, adding, I thought, a touch more flesh, more tangibility, to acoustic objects, but I could live without that, too. Call me easy to please, but I’m willing to settle for just the $38,500 version (with the options I’d need installed)—although I’d also be tempted to include the analog input board for another $2500. I guess a $40,000 DAC—this $40,000 DAC—is good enough for me. So sue me.

Topping DM7 8-channel D/A processor Review

February 11, 2023 Comments Off on Topping DM7 8-channel D/A processor Review

After I selected the DM7 as the output device in Roon and JRiver, I wanted to hear something new. The timing was just right. For many years, I have really enjoyed Holst’s St. Paul’s Suite whenever I have come upon it, especially, the third movement Intermezzo. Written to mark the opening of a soundproof music studio in St. Paul’s School for Girls in Hammersmith, it is filled delightfully with variants and interlacings of traditional melodies familiar from Holst’s other works, such as the Second Suite for Band. The quasi-Oriental section that opens the Intermezzo, with its solo-violin melisma, is perfectly placed and startling. I already had two recordings of the suite, but neither was especially satisfying, so I looked for a better version, in multichannel if possible. HRAudio. net listed three. In my auditions on Qobuz, one stood out, the one by Ensemble Esperanza. I ordered the SACD (Ars Produktion ARS 38 227, SACD), which arrived in time to be ripped and played back for the DM7’s debut in my system.

The clarity and spaciousness of the recording was wonderful, the dynamic range impressive, in stereo or multichannel. Both versions approached, but did not equal, similar achievements (in different music) of the much immersive 2L recordings by the Trondheimsolistene; still, the DM7 rendered a traditional and believable soundstage from the Ensemble Esperanza’s recording. I heard striking purity in Chouchane Siranossian’s solo violin, especially in that wonderful Intermezzo—and also in the suites by Grieg, Bridge, and Nielsen that fill out the disc.


January 29, 2023 Comments Off on AURALiC ALTAIR G2.1 Review

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Dacs category at Audiophilepure.

%d bloggers like this: