Abbas dac 2.1 se

jespera

Well-Known Member
Jan 12, 2018
172
116
115
Copenhagen
... is a valved nos r2r dac by the ukranian master abbas zulfugarov that i have owned for two years.

It is based on the classical philips tda 1541 chip, but the implementation is highly non-standard. I dont know all the details but here are some highlights:

- selected tda 1541r- dac chip
- single 5687 valve based output stage
- soviet vintage germanium transistors for i/u conversion
- dem valve clock
- three separate power supplies and trafoes
- valve rectification both for output stage and dem clock
- germanium transistors used for power supply regulation
- mix of vintage and modern components of high quality
- western nos valves
- boards gilded and covered in violin varnish
- approx 8 kg

The dac is a mid level model and costs around 2500 usd. Abbas sells on ebay.

So what about the sound? Killer! Simply the best digital i have heard.

Like other nos valve dacs it has a smooth tone and like the very best it manages to retain some of the life that is normally lost in the digital process.
But detail, resolution and verve is simply way better than anything else ive heard. Including top level audio note for example.

Its important to stress that detail and resolution produced here is not the plastic 4k hyper reality that comes out of many modern delta sigma dacs, like for example dcs and chord. More in the direction of real instruments and sounds.

Tonal balance is ever so slightly to the bright side. I replaced the stock philips ecg 5687 with a tung-sol.

The dac only takes spdif input. Abbas makes valve based usb-spdif converters. Needless to say its critical of the quality of the digital signal and any sniff of usb haze will be brutally exposed. More about this later.

Abbas’ top level dacs have big valve output stages (like el 84 and 6080) and reputably bigger dynamics.

Smaller models can be picked up for very reasonable money.

Big models are based on either pcm 58 or tda 1541, smaller on pcm 63 and tda 1543.

Picture of abbas digital boxes below. Dac is black box to the left.

Ready to race against anything in the copenhagen area. Particularly a lampizator would be interesting.

More abbas later.

Jesper


C9922BAD-6A74-4F40-99EE-682D9BC26285.jpeg
 
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Samsoum

Member
Sep 9, 2018
58
47
23
... is a valved nos r2r dac by the ukranian master abbas zulfugarov that i have owned for two years.

It is based on the classical philips tda 1541 chip, but the implementation is highly non-standard. I dont know all the details but here are some highlights:

- selected tda 1541r- dac chip
- single 5687 valve based output stage
- soviet vintage germanium transistors for i/u conversion
- dem valve clock
- three separate power supplies and trafoes
- valve rectification both for output stage and dem clock
- germanium transistors used for power supply regulation
- mix of vintage and modern components of high quality
- western nos valves
- boards gilded and covered in violin varnish
- approx 8 kg

The dac is a mid level model and costs around 2500 usd. Abbas sells on ebay.

So what about the sound? Killer! Simply the best digital i have heard.

Like other nos valve dacs it has a smooth tone and like the very best it manages to retain some of the life that is normally lost in the digital process.
But detail, resolution and verve is simply way better than anything else ive heard. Including top level audio note for example.

Its important to stress that detail and resolution produced here is not the plastic 4k hyper reality that comes out of many modern delta sigma dacs, like for example dcs and chord. More in the direction of real instruments and sounds.

Tonal balance is ever so slightly to the bright side. I replaced the stock philips ecg 5687 with a tung-sol.

The dac only takes spdif input. Abbas makes valve based usb-spdif converters. Needless to say its critical of the quality of the digital signal and any sniff of usb haze will be brutally exposed. More about this later.

Abbas’ top level dacs have big valve output stages (like el 84 and 6080) and reputably bigger dynamics.

Smaller models can be picked up for very reasonable money.

Big models are based on either pcm 58 or tda 1541, smaller on pcm 63 and tda 1543.

Picture of abbas digital boxes below. Dac is black box to the left.

Ready to race against anything in the copenhagen area. Particularly a lampizator would be interesting.

More abbas later.

Jesper


View attachment 71238
Hi jesper,i m about to pull the trigger in ine of the model.
If you can helo me choose i ll be very thankful.
I m interested in the tda 1541 chip.
I heard a lot about it,being an old owner of worldclass dac using 32 -ad 1865 chip am very curious to hear what this dac can do.
I m between 2 models : 2.3 se or 3.1 with 6080 output stage and ez90 module.
Can you highlight differences between 2 models please if possible.
Nb: I m in contact with mr abbas ,just trying to understand more.
Thks
 

jespera

Well-Known Member
Jan 12, 2018
172
116
115
Copenhagen
Hi jesper,i m about to pull the trigger in ine of the model.
If you can helo me choose i ll be very thankful.
I m interested in the tda 1541 chip.
I heard a lot about it,being an old owner of worldclass dac using 32 -ad 1865 chip am very curious to hear what this dac can do.
I m between 2 models : 2.3 se or 3.1 with 6080 output stage and ez90 module.
Can you highlight differences between 2 models please if possible.
Nb: I m in contact with mr abbas ,just trying to understand more.
Thks

I have only heard my own. But the bigger model is supposed to have bigger dynamics as well as two digital inputs.

So personally, that would be the one id go for next time I buy a dac.

If you pull the trigger on one of them, remember to let us know how you like it.

Jesper
 
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Samsoum

Member
Sep 9, 2018
58
47
23
I have only heard my own. But the bigger model is supposed to have bigger dynamics as well as two digital inputs.

So personally, that would be the one id go for next time I buy a dac.

If you pull the trigger on one of them, remember to let us know how you like it.

Jesper
Ok ,i will be sure.
Thks
 

jespera

Well-Known Member
Jan 12, 2018
172
116
115
Copenhagen
As already mentioned the Abbas dac is sensitive to the quality of the digital source.

At the moment i prefer the lowly hifiberry digi+ pro to my auralic aries g2 streamer. For some reason the mellow character of the former suits the abbas dac better than the brighter sound of the latter.

However, if you want to get the best out of digital you need a quality cd player. Abbas likes the early philips players. I trusted his advice and bought a modified marantz cd 94 player.

The modifications are only performed in the digital domain:

- germanium transistor regulated power supplies
- vintage mos fet spdif buffer
- external tube clock based on valve rectification and vintage 1920s tubes
- the player is 110v so abbas made me an external 2:1 transformer

The analog side of the player is not modified.

The tube clock came with two different 71a tubes. I prefer the rca one.

The setup is completed with an abbas spdif cable made of vintage klangfilm copper.

So what does all this bring to the table? Organic character! Together with the dac i have a system that creates a musical, soulful and smooth reproduction, closer to analog than anything else ive heard. Particularly, with early original AAD cd’s.

Vinyl has more life and sometimes higher resolution but the clean cd sound can be very enjoyable and even emotionally involving when served like this.

Using the unmodified analog out you can hear that the digital modifications do have an effect. Yes, significant drop in clarity and insight, relative to what you get with the dac, but remarkable how musical a 30y cd player can sound.

The digital cable has a smooth character and is by far the best digital cable ive tried.

Approx 2500 usd for the full package. 5000 usd including the dac.

The full abbas digital system is shown in the picture in the first post.

Jesper
 
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Samsoum

Member
Sep 9, 2018
58
47
23
As already mentioned the Abbas dac is sensitive to the quality of the digital source.

At the moment i prefer the lowly hifiberry digi+ pro to my auralic aries g2 streamer. For some reason the mellow character of the former suits the abbas dac better than the brighter sound of the latter.

However, if you want to get the best out of digital you need a quality cd player. Abbas likes the early philips players. I trusted his advice and bought a modified marantz cd 94 player.

The modifications are only performed in the digital domain:

- germanium transistor regulated power supplies
- germanium transistor spdif buffer
- external tube clock based on valve rectification and vintage 1920s tubes
- the player is 110v so abbas made me an external 2:1 transformer

The analog side of the player is not modified.

The tube clock came with two different 71a tubes. I prefer the rca one.

The setup is completed with an abbas spdif cable made of vintage klangfilm copper.

So what does all this bring to the table? Organic character! Together with the dac i have a system that creates a musical, soulful and smooth reproduction, closer to analog than anything else ive heard. Particularly, with early original AAD cd’s.

Vinyl has more life and sometimes higher resolution but the clean cd sound can be very enjoyable and even emotionally involving when served like this.

Using the unmodified analog out you can hear that the digital modifications do have an effect. Yes, significant drop in clarity and insight, relative to what you get with the dac, but remarkable how musical a 30y cd player can sound.

The digital cable has a smooth character and is by far the best digital cable ive tried.

Approx 2500 usd for the full package. 5000 usd including the dac.

The full abbas digital system is shown in the picture in the first post.

Jesper
Hi jesper,
I pulled the trigger today On the 3.1 with ez90 module with 6080 output stage.
I have an amazing server with usb output only wich put out many know streamers like dcs nb,rockna net,aurender n10 etc...
This 3.1 replaces a 20 k euro dac,with output tubes as well.
I m not expecting same level,but just musicality.
I m figuring out now wich uusb to wich usb to spdif converter i will use on long run.
I ordered topping 10s for now,just to listen to some stream music.
It will be used as ddc later with the 3.1.
A friend have a singxer u1 usb to digital converter wich i will try.
A guy on another forum is confirming to me that abbas usb converter is unbeatable. Let s see....
 
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Artnet

Member
Mar 7, 2021
7
5
5
56
Hi jespera,
Thank you for your post on the Abass. Am interested in going down this path. I wondered if Samsoum had any further feedback on the 3.1?
I may just go with the 2.3SE and Mutec USB to spdif convertor or Abbas?
Much research still to be done but very impressed with the Abbas philosophy.
Interesting comment on the hifiberry digi+ pro as an option and synergy!
Thanks again.
 

jespera

Well-Known Member
Jan 12, 2018
172
116
115
Copenhagen
Hi jespera,
Thank you for your post on the Abass. Am interested in going down this path. I wondered if Samsoum had any further feedback on the 3.1?
I may just go with the 2.3SE and Mutec USB to spdif convertor or Abbas?
Much research still to be done but very impressed with the Abbas philosophy.
Interesting comment on the hifiberry digi+ pro as an option and synergy!
Thanks again.

No, I havent heard from Samsoum.
I have been in contact with another 3.1 user whos very happy with it and says its way better than a holo may dac he has compared it to.

If youre in the market for a usb-spdif converter i think you should consider an abbas model. They come in all budget levels. But, if you already have the mytec you may just start with that one and see how it goes.

The hifiberry works for me in my setup (roon and google wifi), but computer audio is difficult and i think i should add the fwiw and ymmw disclaimers to that recommendation.

Jesper
 

Carnelian

New Member
Nov 18, 2020
1
1
3
57
I'll jump in that I have the DAC 2.2 (fantastic) and have both a Mutec MC3+ USB with separate LPS as well as the Abbas USB/SPDIF converter (the nicer of the two he makes). Considering the Abbas is cheaper even with his cable and it sounds at least as good (it is ruthlessly revealing), I would go with the Abbas.
 
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MattyW

New Member
Mar 9, 2021
2
1
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41
I'm another owner of an Abbas Audio DAC2.2SE. It actually caused me to give up on vinyl. Easily the best playback I've ever heard. His RCA cables are nothing short of spectacular also. It just sounds incredibly real and lifelike. Nothing else I've experienced comes close.

I feed mine with a Mutec MC-3+USB from my Roon server. I've an Afterdark "Queen" 75ohm Square Wave OCXO on the way for the Mutec also which should prove interesting.

I may try his SPDIF and USB cables at some point too. Everything I've tried from Abbas has performance far above expectation.
 
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Artnet

Member
Mar 7, 2021
7
5
5
56
I have been in contact with another 3.1 user whos very happy with it and says its way better than a holo may dac he has compared it to.

If youre in the market for a usb-spdif converter i think you should consider an abbas model. They come in all budget levels. But, if you already have the mytec you may just start with that one and see how it goes.

The hifiberry works for me in my setup (roon and google wifi), but computer audio is difficult and i think i should add the fwiw and ymmw disclaimers to that recommendation.
Hi jespera,
Strangely I was looking at the Holo may for DSD ability but am not sure of implementation of DSD in R2R DAC (sure its good but I havent heard enough) and have resolved to listen to native DSD from SACD's in a compatible player.
Not wanting to open up a can of worms here for fans of the Holo may and other compatible DACS as we all have different ears etc. Happy to listen to NOS DAC's given what I have heard in up sampling and resolve myself to 16 bit 44khz.
Synergy, compatibility of product would make me lean to Abbas usb convertor as budget permits and I am fully endorsing both your recommendation and your disclaimer on the hifiberry.:)


I'll jump in that I have the DAC 2.2 (fantastic) and have both a Mutec MC3+ USB with separate LPS as well as the Abbas USB/SPDIF converter (the nicer of the two he makes). Considering the Abbas is cheaper even with his cable and it sounds at least as good (it is ruthlessly revealing), I would go with the Abbas.
Nice to have another recommendation for the Abbas line. Dont have a Mutec but was chatting with MattyW on another forum and it seems a neat fit. I would probably go for the Abbas as am taken with ruthlessly revealing and will ask about the various models when time to buy.

I'm another owner of an Abbas Audio DAC2.2SE. It actually caused me to give up on vinyl. Easily the best playback I've ever heard. His RCA cables are nothing short of spectacular also. It just sounds incredibly real and lifelike. Nothing else I've experienced comes close.
Hi MattyW, cant give up on vinyl yet, but am excited that a DAC can sound that good. I would definitely give his cables a try. Curious about the clocking with the Mutec but am a little way of purchase as just bought another tonearm courtesy of jespsera recommendation on another thread regarding SPU's.
Plenty to think about and listen too.
 
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jespera

Well-Known Member
Jan 12, 2018
172
116
115
Copenhagen
I'm another owner of an Abbas Audio DAC2.2SE. It actually caused me to give up on vinyl. Easily the best playback I've ever heard. His RCA cables are nothing short of spectacular also. It just sounds incredibly real and lifelike. Nothing else I've experienced comes close.

I feed mine with a Mutec MC-3+USB from my Roon server. I've an Afterdark "Queen" 75ohm Square Wave OCXO on the way for the Mutec also which should prove interesting.

I may try his SPDIF and USB cables at some point too. Everything I've tried from Abbas has performance far above expectation.

Im not going to give up vinyl any time soon. Maybe because Im also using an abbas phono and sut. Abbas crossovers for my vintage tannoys too. ;)

Another thing that im not going to give up on is cd. Switching from streaming to my abbas cd player really brings home the difference. If you want to hear digital at its best you need an (abbas) cd player used as transport. Particularly, early AAD transfers can be great and the best can almost rival vinyl. An example is "jazz at the pawnshop" which sounds phenomenal on my 1990 cd transfer. The remastered version on tidal (and cd/sacd) is rubbish.

Im glad to hear that Im not the only one that has discovered that the abbas products are outstanding. And outstanding value.

Jesper
 
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spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
12,635
3,209
703
E. England
I'm struggling to find a website, ordering info. Please tell me his details are not exclusively on FB or Ebay, or other SM only.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
12,635
3,209
703
E. England
Thanks Jesper, interesting to hear of the convergence/divergence with SW1X dacs.
 

matthias

Well-Known Member
Mar 14, 2019
547
200
53
Germany
Another thing that im not going to give up on is cd. Switching from streaming to my abbas cd player really brings home the difference. If you want to hear digital at its best you need an (abbas) cd player.

Hi Jesper,

please can you share some details about the Abbas CD player(s).

Thanks

Matt
 

jespera

Well-Known Member
Jan 12, 2018
172
116
115
Copenhagen
Hi Jesper,

please can you share some details about the Abbas CD player(s).

Thanks

Matt

see post #5.

Occasionally Abbas modifies early philips/marantz players like my cd94, to be used as digital source for his dacs.
The main feature is a valve clock that drives the digital stream, but he also introduces vintage germanium transistors for voltage regulation and digital signal buffering.

He sells the boards separately for diy’ers that wish to do these modifications themselves.

His usb/spdif converters also use valve clocks and buffers to control the usb digital stream.

Jesper
 
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matthias

Well-Known Member
Mar 14, 2019
547
200
53
Germany
Does Abbas build only valve based DACs or is it possible to get complete solid state DACs as well?
Thanks

Matt
 

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