Aries Cerat Kassandra II Ref DAC: Wow!

the sound of Tao

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Jul 18, 2014
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So the final day came and kassandra took place on my system and started playing !!!

I waited 83 days 18 hours and 30 mn and 45s for it after the order
The first hour ,i was very stressed eventhough i was aware that this dac was special,why? Because bass was a bit shy and overal sounded kind of recessed; but tonality ; timbres; soundstage; etc etc was already there and expanding.....

When i opened the box i thought this thing is so hugeeee! But built quality is top notch;and the look is outstanding to my taste! ( my daughter said oops it s ugly)
My wife likes the look as well.



Tube bias settings was with the help of the master stavros the chief designer, very helpful and available instantly thru sms for any question or inquiry.
Tube bias was left as from factory settings: 2,33 v with mullard tubes.
At my surprise , i found an extra mullard tube pair on the box( a gift from stavros), the standard ones being the siemens.

The manuel is very helpful ; clear and concise!




The kassandra took place on a temporary system consisting of pre+ power amp from artisanal master ; they consist of fully analogue balanced class A pre and fully balanced class A 50wpc and 750 class Ab wpc power amp.
IC to the pre are the siltech 110 classic mk2 rca.
( mbl c51 on long loan ; is next to be connected to kassandra)
Source is macbook pro with roon 1.6 ,usb cable is sablon elite panatela.
Speakers are the W.A sabrina and sc are the audience 24 se
Power conditioner is isotek sirius
Pc siltech on kassandra
Hms from isotek to the wall







I decided writing this review in many steps in order to give good impressions to interested audiophiles and this will continue till 300 hours.
So i m writing now this after 24 hours of running continuously the kassandra.
( 30 hours were consumed on aries cerat factory according to the manuel)
So first impressions; are very good and as i expected this dac to be: emotionally envolving!

Like any audiophile do, when he receives a new equipment, went thru my favorites test tracks , but later i found myself lost on tracks i never heard; and were chosen by roon radio and i couldn t skip or stop those tracks!
I can go thru all the tick boxes we like( soundstage, imaging, seperation, tonality; etc etc); but i will just say; as of now everything is there and more: timbre and tonality are exceptionnaly good compared to my compared dacs(dave,ps audio direcstream,qutest, oppo ha1,denafrips terminator,questyle cma400,hugo 1)except:bass and mid bass were overhelming,( too much to my taste)
The dac is very very musical !

Today ; after 4 days continuous playing kassandra have logged in 124 hours.
Today session was done in the presence of some sharp ears.

This evening was a revelation: many testing and swapping but clearer mind and lot of foot tapping.
We tested 3 amps combinations ; 3 sources; and the one and only kass.
So heres the combinations:
1_ macbook pro Running Roon_ sablon usb elite_ kass_silteck classic 110 mk2 rca_mbl c51 integrated_ isotek pc_isotek sirius conditionner
2_sotm neo 200 se + sp500 _ sablon usb elite_kass_silteck classic 110 mk2rca_mbl c51_isotek pc_sirius conditionner
3_aurender n10 _sablon usb/ aq wel aes/ true signal coax_ kass_silteck classic 110/ aq fire xlr_ gryphon 300 _ sablon king pc_ isotek sirius conditionner
4_ aurender n10_sablon usb_kass_silteck classic rca_ pre_ aq fire xlr _amp_sablon king pc _ isotek sirius conditioner
My self it was n2: most musically envolving ; foot taping and happiness.
Best connection output for kass is rca.
Best input is usb; then aes; then coax
Kass was playing mostly with true signal pc then silteck pc.
Obviously , this evening session wasn t a kassandra comparaison but more a discovery for a fellow friends of the so waited dac.



4 of the fellas present share the same feelings and impressions as mine: mbl+ kassandra was the best combo.
One was conservative,and insisted sharing thoughts after 200 hours burn in.

Any how, back to listening this morning with: sotm neo 200 se+sp500_kass_mbl.
Bias tube was set to 2.0 v.
More to come, to be continued.......
Thks
Sami


Sent from my iPad View attachment 50861
That is awesome to read Sami... just joyful, congratulations.
 
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LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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Samsoum,

Big congratulations!!! Very exciting to be reading such detailed notes about the Kassandra...I have heard superlatives from everyone who has heard it and a few who own it as well Enjoy...please continue to write. That is genuinely a great read!
 

Gemini

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Oct 14, 2015
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Congratulations, and thank you for your report

May I ask what your impressions were regarding the different server options you tried. I am also waiting for a Kassandra and have not yet decided on the source to feed it.
 
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Samsoum

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Sep 9, 2018
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Samsoum,

Big congratulations!!! Very exciting to be reading such detailed notes about the Kassandra...I have heard superlatives from everyone who has heard it and a few who own it as well Enjoy...please continue to write. That is genuinely a great read!
Thks! The review is to be continued, enjoy!
 

Samsoum

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Sep 9, 2018
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Congratulations, and thank you for your report

May I ask what your impressions were regarding the different server options you tried. I am also waiting for a Kassandra and have not yet decided on the source to feed it.
Hi, thks .
Between macbook pro- sotm neo 200 se+ sp500- then aurender n10 , the sq goes crescendo, but the gap between the last 2 doesnt justify the price difference in term of sq alone.
Aurender have hard drive, clock etc ......
This impression comes after one evening listening, but i will give more details in the future , cause the sotm neo is here for one more week.
Thks
 

Samsoum

Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2018
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Today kassandra is waving at the 160 hours mark_ 29/04/19



One more artificial stone platform with a 3 mm layer caoutchouc under, was added under speakers , wich make them a total of 2.

Platform+layer of caoutchouc +platform+ layer of caoutchouc: very effective tightening the base and focusing the image( picked the idea from one audiophile)

Cheap and effective what not to like??





Ok , this morning Bass is much much better to my taste , more controlled,more natural.

I dont feel any false note, sound is very coherent and balanced.

Also noted,whether the recording is good or bad the emotion is there ,i cant tell exactly why; but i think it s the accuracy of timing and the richness of harmonics.

Vocals are just magical: clear, detailed;the right tone.

Separation is stunning.

Details are dave like( chord dave dac is: details details details ....)

Same feeling of letting the music play and dont want to stop eventhough i needed to go !



Tap footing is always present

My system today sound very very nice and envolving and i don t want to change anything( speaker change)

The mids are so silky,rich,and controlled.

On the sweetspot, eyes closed: there s no speakers :eek:nly a music presentation, this dac is special.



My room is deprived from acoustics at the moment,and i can feel each musician position and him playing in front of me.

Sounding fantastic in any type of music, jazz,pop,classic.



With sotmneo+ sp500 i feel resolution can be slightly better if going higher quality streamer,what i hear is very clear, but delineation of singer voice and instruments can be better i think( don t get me wrong please, the resolution is very good, but what i m trying to explain is, i feel that, a top streamer is a more logical match with kassandra to give it justice,and i feel that :eek:n the front digital end the weak link now is the sotm combo.A top streamer will give more the feeling of resonances in the studio ,more air around instruments, etcccc)



When you hear kassandra one thing comes to mind is Finesse and subtility

Harmonics are to die for!



This dac is a magnet for music lovers believe me; and i m not in any way involved in AC marketing or sales, just a happy customer!



I was suppose to have a brief hour session; ended up to 3 hours!

It s “a blue word” of ella fitzgerald from album “jazz standarts”that have put a smile on my face this morning : she was playing in front of me, stunning!

This morning session ended with a very good feeling of happiness and joy!

I was so happy that i shared many videos on fb on different groups and sent videos to my friends wich were impressed even thru recorded videos!



To be continued.......
 

ariescerat-espana

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Dec 28, 2015
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www.ariesceratespana.com
Nice reports Sami. I am also looking at the weakest link - the server. I am looking at the SOtM combo. The addition of the Ultra USB box is supposed to take it higher, and then the external clock even more.

Are you using Room with it? And if you are feeding it with a Laptop, that will hold it back some. I am also looking at the entry points into my house, they have an impact. Routers and switches etc. These can be lowered by an LPS to clean them up.

How are you connecting the SOtm, from your Laptop? Does your Laptop run the Room Core?

Don't forget to not upsample any data with the Kassandra, it likes it as is, but perfect, no resampling.

Also your USB cable, what are you using? I am trying the Final Touch Audio Callisto tn a day or so, against my Curious USB. The Curious is very transparent, and beat many others I tried so far.
 
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