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DAC recommendations for Jplay


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#101 Marcin_gps

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 10:56 AM

Another short report. This time it's Auralic VEGA

This is the first DAC based on Sabre chip that I like. I was a bit shocked when I found out it uses ESS9018 Sabre after I spent some hours listening to VEGA and not knowing about technical details behind the DAC. Why? Because every single Sabre-based DAC I tried before was harsh and unpleasant to my ears, although I haven’t heard them all. So how does it sound? If I had to describe it using one word, I’d say it sounds ‘neat’. I had to be pressed hard to find flaws in the sound produced by VEGA. Whatever I played sounded nice and polished. But it wasn’t just a cheap trick, a shortcut to hide flaws in recordings and make everything sound similar. Actually VEGA doesn’t have much of its own character. It does sound a bit warm, but I think it’s achieved through very low distortions and low jitter. Resolution is very good, but what really grabbed my attention was how accurately VEGA draws layers in space. I haven’t heard a DAC that can do it better. Timbre is natural. Voices and instruments have proper size and weight. Overall the sound is very smooth. USB input in VEGA is of highest quality. From DACs I tried, only dCS Debussy had similar SQ level via USB. I like Debussy a bit more than Vega as I think it offers more nuanced, more sophisticated sound, but overall it is a similar level of performance, only different taste, which considering price difference is quite exceptional.

Overall score: 9/10

Below on the picture together with SPEC-RSAM3EX amplifier.

/vega.jpg 

#102 kyrill

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 11:30 AM

thx Marcin How is it compared to your Metrum? Or do you have already a better one?

#103 Marcin_gps

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 11:49 AM

As crazy as it may sound, I prefer Metrum in my setup for immediacy not found in any other DAC. My wife says it sounds 'fresh' and I agree. I run it with Audiophilleo 1+Pure Power, two JCAT USB cables (one from JCAT USB card to PP, the other from PP to AP1). Some people say that USB cable between PurePower and Audiophilleo is not important, but I disagree. I think that with proper USB cables and s/pdif cable, AP1+PP is hard to beat. Maybe Totaldac Reclocker is a bit better, but it's very expensive, takes a lot of space and requires additional power cord. I like Audiophilleo for absolute transparency and authentic timbre. I must yet check vega with ap1+pp combo. Metrum is also very transparent and can sound grey & harsh too. But keep it on for at least 2 days, put it on anti-vibration platforms, use best usb-s/pdif converter and digital cables you can get and it may become your ultimate digital front-end. I will report on my ap1+pp & vega experiment in few days... 

#104 kyrill

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 11:58 AM

Thx Marcin In my setup Josef and me preferred The Sonicweld diverter over the Audiophilleo PP It becomes all setup related

#105 Marcin_gps

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 12:07 PM

Absolutely. But sometimes it's enough to change one component in the audio chain and result may be completely different :) I wasn't impressed by Audiophilleo+PP1 until I decided to replace acrolink 6n-d5050II digital cable with 8n-a2080III which is basically analog interconnect, but can be used as digital too (all acrolink interconnects are 75ohm). I couldn't stop listening. Usually the excitement fades after few days, but it's been over a week now and I still can't get enough :)

#106 kyrill

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 01:35 PM

What  can you happily survive in those high priced world ;)

 

Do you use this cable as a spdif cable without a bnc connector?

I learn it is a discontinued cable?   http://www.acrolink....t.....0_3.html  right column beneath

Edited by kyrill, 23 January 2014 - 02:37 PM.


#107 Marcin_gps

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 01:37 PM

Metrum has only RCA input. I use bnc-rca adapter provided with audiophilleo on ap1 side. 

#108 Marcin_gps

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 01:40 PM

Yes, this was a limited series. Only 250 cables were made outside Japan. They no longer produce 8N pure conductors. 

#109 kyrill

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 01:43 PM

I read the blurb at their site for that cable but they only mention the 110 ohms referring to the XLR and saying it can be used for digital, but 'keep their mouth shut' for the RCA cable?

#110 Marcin_gps

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 01:50 PM

Like I said, all acrolink rca interconnects have 75ohm impedance. 

#111 KNed

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 10:31 PM

I have now had the Metrum Octave MrkII w/USB in the system for 2 weeks, replacing a Hegel HD20, and it has been a transformational upgrade. The Metrum is neutral, very musical and deals effortlessly with difficult 16/44 material and really shines with hirez. Early days but very promising!

 

It was interesting to hook up the Metrum. With the Elijah Quad Braid USB cable used with the Hegel HD20 a track would only play 20-30 seconds and then stop, and it was not possible to change this behavior with any JPLAY setting. I then tried the stock USB cable supplied with the Metrum and it worked! In fact, I can now play whole CDs or hirez albums with JPLAYmini, which was not possible with the HD20, so a HUGE bonus!

 

Marcin, with the sensitivity the Metrum has shown for cables, will it run with the JCAT USB cable?

Regards, Kjell

 

Lenovo T410-i7-8GB-Win8 I> JPLAY 5.2A I> MC19 I> Metrum Octave MkII I> Naim 102 PreAmp w HICAP I> 2 x Naim 250 I> Avondale Audio BlackLine Cable I> B&W CM9 

#112 KNed

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 09:13 AM

I missed out some important information in my post above; I'm using JPLAYmini with Ultrastream, hibernation mode, throttle, direct link, US=200 (Young driver).

#113 Marcin_gps

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 10:20 AM

JCAT USB cable should work just fine with MKII. I have MKI, so I'm using USB-S/PDIF converter. If it doesn't work or you don't like it, you can send it back and we'll make you a refund :) Cheers, Marcin 

#114 KNed

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 06:27 PM

I have now had the JCAT USB cable in the system for for a few days, feeding the Metrum Octave MKII, and the combination works great; SQ has shifted to a higher level. The MKII is clearly also a great match with my vintage Naim 102 Preamp (1998- but expertly upgraded and tuned by Avondale Audio in the UK).   And very important; JPLAY-mini plays flawlessly with any number of tracks loaded, CD and hi-rez, and for my single PC system this set-up now delivers tremendous performance. 

#115 Marc5036

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 01:52 PM

Hi Marcin,

 

Do you know this review from Paul hynes on his metrum quad?

 

http://www.audiocirc........c=106868.0

 

No money at this time for this but  hard to resist…(i wish also change rca output for better and the pulse transformer by a lundhal LL1572 on the octave and remove the one in usb/spdif converter)

 

I think also octave Mk1 (and metrum quad, octave MK2 with bypass of usb input too) due to design (and result through my ears)  can be one of best dac with best equipements arround it. I have mod mine with a bnc from amphenol instead rca plug for digital input. As i prefer sound without coax cable, it is direcly connected to my Kenny MKIII by 2 amphenol elbow. An another good friend prefer also this direct connection with his forsell dac (excellent dac too). I wish change my kenny even if it's a great product for berkeley alpha usb or Bel canto Ulink + ifi  in futur…

 

Best regards

Marc

Edited by Marc5036, 27 February 2014 - 04:03 PM.


#116 kyrill

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 11:29 PM

Marcin   What is now the dac and periphery you play at home?

#117 Marcin_gps

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 11:29 AM

Vega – the more I listen to it, the more I like it ;)   Marc, yes, I read Paul's comments and have thought about upgrading my unit, but the cost was very high and recently I came to conclusion that USB-S/PDIF conversion is not the best way. 

Edited by Marcin_gps, 28 February 2014 - 12:33 PM.


#118 Marc5036

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 12:23 PM

I have always thought best way is the native langage I2s, so the best way shoudl be i2s converter the more directly from computer, then connected to dac with i2s input...

#119 kyrill

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 04:33 PM

i2S to I2S is much better than spdif in between. but only a few dacs have i2S IN and only a few USB-I2S converters exist OR5 is one of them. on the other hand the USB in of the metrum octave sounds less than a Diverter into their SPDIF in and i accept the majority of high end dacs with usb in,  sound better with a top notch USB/SPDIF converter into their spdif in.

#120 jmmbarco

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 12:50 PM

Hi All!

 

Finally I decided to return back AGD Master7. I don´t want to keep a faulty unit, even if issue is not big. So now I am in the search for a new DAC/wp-content/forum-smileys/sf-yell.gif/wp-content/forum-smileys/sf-yell.gif/wp-content/forum-smileys/sf-yell.gif/wp-content/forum-smileys/sf-yell.gif!

Among the huge offer in the market I have reading last weeks and I can´t decide between the HEX and the VEGA. Both of them seem great devices. 

The Hex seems kind of 1st class old school DAC and has very possitive reviews but VEGA seems to be one step beyond the HEX. But on the other hand, digital volume control in preamplification stage (which I won´t use now) is not very well reviewed and I wonder if I am paying an extra cost in respect to HEX for a feature that I don´t use, and that it is not very good.

Would be great to know your opinions!

 

Thank you very much,

JM/wp-content/forum-smileys/sf-smile.gif

Almost finishing!!!!





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