Breaking news from DCS….

Al M.

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I don't know of any way to build a ladder DAC where the absolute and relative precision of the resistors wouldn't matter. It seems to me as if the concept for the Ring DAC was originally born out of the technical feasibility to overcome what is ultimately a manufacturing problem. Needless to say, laser-etching has been improved etc. (one of my friends is an engineer in chip design, who'll occasionally educate me on the latest developments), but it appears there are technical limitations.

Greetings from Switzerland, David.

Different ladder DACs are built to different specifications of precision and measure differently. The four expensive precision AD5791 DAC chips in my Schiit Yggdrasil OG DAC (Yggdrasil Analog 2 DAC) apparently have very good DNL (differential non-linearity) and INL (integral non-linearity) measurements:


(For the suggested precision applications, see there.)

As stated its operation is guaranteed monotonic, the importance of which is explained in this link about DNL and INL:


The designer of the DAC (Mike Moffat, formerly Theta Digital) chose this precision DAC chip for its linearity, even though it has a zero-crossing glitch energy problem and thus is not recommended for audio applications by the manufacturer (he solved the glitch energy problem in his DAC circuitry; a 1kHz sine wave at -90 dB measures perfectly). He says most audio ladder DAC chips have such bad linearity that the measurements are not even listed in the data sheets (a cursory check by me of a few data sheets for some widely used audio ladder DAC chips seems to bear out such lack of linearity measurement listings).
 
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microstrip

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While we are waiting for the Apex upgrade I could borrow my dealer dCS Vivaldi for the weekend - and may be a few extra days if he his not able to collect it!

As John has suggested a few posts before I also find it it has better subjective resolution - strings seems to be more bowed than with the non Apex, but not the extra added resonance of some tube DACs. Music flows better, compared to the non upgraded model. Although I have listened now mostly to CD's and SACD's, I could not resist some DXD - the Kuijken- la Petite Bande were better inserted in my room, that seemed to get a larger acoustic space. Bass performance and presence are also enhanced.

Fortunately the typical dCS absence of artifacts is kept - no added warmness, fullness or softening, transients and attack were not compromised with the enhanced fluidity.

The amount of easy and clear detail is fascinating - I listened just to a few tracks of "Opera do Malandro" - surely not an audiophile recording, but it is was refreshing listening to a few tracks with a better studio perspective.

Tomorrow is a work day, the recent Savall recordings have to wait until tomorrow!
 

microstrip

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And the recent Savall was really impressive - more music, surely. The bass had better delineation, making it fuller and better integrated in the recording. Curious that it seems fuller, but also faster - something that seems contradictory. Probably I should say more energetic, not fuller, but it sounds so.

I also listened to the magic performance of Michel Petrucciani in Trio In Tokyo. The way the drums and bass integrate in the piano tunes is decisively better IMHO. I could not stop listening until the last track stopped.

BTW, yesterday I could not resist to listen to Harmonia Mundi Manuel de Falla theatrical pieces - glorious in all its dramatic voices and vivacious small chamber orchestra directed by Josep Pons. The power of instruments and their reality on stage are impressive.

The dCS Vivaldi APEX is simply more and better music. Returning it while waiting for the upgrade will be a punishment!

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Jpspock

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Many thanks for your feed-back. Very interesting especially you have the Vivaldi clock, and your description let me think when adding this clock. Still more when you add a master clock 10mhz. For me Apex becomes a must. Thank you
 

microstrip

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Many thanks for your feed-back. Very interesting especially you have the Vivaldi clock, and your description let me think when adding this clock. Still more when you add a master clock 10mhz. For me Apex becomes a must. Thank you

IMHO the clock is almost mandatory - it raises significantly the "easiness" of the system. A pity good clock cables make a difference and are expensive. The Vivaldi APEX DAC has now reached the end of the forth day switched on and I clearly noticed today an improvement in voices nuance and expression - going through the recordings I listened the first days I find positive differences.

Unfortunately due my future move I have now put in storage the Studer A80's and can't compare the APEX DAC directly with master tape. Even more unfortunately my dealer probably will take it back tomorrow!
 

microstrip

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The british magazine Hi-fi News has now reviewed extensively the dCS Vivaldi APEX. Measurement show some improvements due to the new DAC and analog stage, and the subjective review is enthusiastic , focusing on the same aspects we have referred before at WBF based on preliminary auditions - rhythm and swing, more inner detail and more real. I quote a short sentence from the conclusion:

"Whatever your impression of dCS’s earlier Ring DAC, in this latest APEX implementation it’s rediscovered a sense of fun, making the new Vivaldi not just a highly accomplished piece of
high-end hi-fi, but an absolute pleasure to listen to."


Fortuntely my fun has been extended for a few extra days - I am keeping the dCS Vivaldi APEX until Wednesday!


.
 

microstrip

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An important aspect for many dCS users of the new APEX Vivaldi is the enhanced capabilities of the analog stage output. As I referred several times, I always preferred to use the dCS Vivaldi with an active preamplifier - although it can used to drive power amplifiers directly I found the sound in such conditions too "dry" for my taste. Using a good preamplifier, such as the ARC REF40, cj GAT or the VTL 7.5mkIII significantly enhanced the presence, envelopment and spaciousness of my system.

However I am finding that the new dCS Vivaldi APEX can drive power amplifiers with great success. Today I connected it directly to my "neutral" reference amplifier - the old Quad 606mk2. With the output level set to .6V - the Quad has high gain - it sounded impressively good, much better than I ever experienced with the non APEX.
 

bryans

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An important aspect for many dCS users of the new APEX Vivaldi is the enhanced capabilities of the analog stage output. As I referred several times, I always preferred to use the dCS Vivaldi with an active preamplifier - although it can used to drive power amplifiers directly I found the sound in such conditions too "dry" for my taste. Using a good preamplifier, such as the ARC REF40, cj GAT or the VTL 7.5mkIII significantly enhanced the presence, envelopment and spaciousness of my system.

However I am finding that the new dCS Vivaldi APEX can drive power amplifiers with great success. Today I connected it directly to my "neutral" reference amplifier - the old Quad 606mk2. With the output level set to .6V - the Quad has high gain - it sounded impressively good, much better than I ever experienced with the non APEX.
To you Is it good enough to leave out the premp all together? Or will you be replacing the preamp?
 

microstrip

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To you Is it good enough to leave out the premp all together? Or will you be replacing the preamp?

Too early to have a definitive opinion on it. But probably I will keep the preamplifier - it helps creating a large soundstage, something I praise a lot. Besides, I need a switching unit for tape and vinyl.
 
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bryans

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Too early to have a definitive opinion on it. But probably I will keep the preamplifier - it helps creating a large soundstage, something I praise a lot. Besides, I need a switching unit for tape and vinyl.
Totally understand!
 

bryans

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New headphone setup from dCS

 

Mrmb

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Jun 30, 2014
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An important aspect for many dCS users of the new APEX Vivaldi is the enhanced capabilities of the analog stage output. As I referred several times, I always preferred to use the dCS Vivaldi with an active preamplifier - although it can used to drive power amplifiers directly I found the sound in such conditions too "dry" for my taste. Using a good preamplifier, such as the ARC REF40, cj GAT or the VTL 7.5mkIII significantly enhanced the presence, envelopment and spaciousness of my system.

However I am finding that the new dCS Vivaldi APEX can drive power amplifiers with great success. Today I connected it directly to my "neutral" reference amplifier - the old Quad 606mk2. With the output level set to .6V - the Quad has high gain - it sounded impressively good, much better than I ever experienced with the non APEX.
Good to hear about that the Vivaldi's amp driving sonics may be enhanced. I wonder if others are finding the same regarding the Apex upgrade to the Rossini? I am presently driving Atma-sphere MA-1's/SoundLab M845's with good success (switching not needed). If the Rossini Apex improves the sonics of the analog stage and as its amp driving capabilities, would obviously be quite welcomed.
 

caesar

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May 31, 2010
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The british magazine Hi-fi News has now reviewed extensively the dCS Vivaldi APEX. Measurement show some improvements due to the new DAC and analog stage, and the subjective review is enthusiastic , focusing on the same aspects we have referred before at WBF based on preliminary auditions - rhythm and swing, more inner detail and more real. I quote a short sentence from the conclusion:

"Whatever your impression of dCS’s earlier Ring DAC, in this latest APEX implementation it’s rediscovered a sense of fun, making the new Vivaldi not just a highly accomplished piece of
high-end hi-fi, but an absolute pleasure to listen to."





.
Finally some expert admits that dCS has been sterile! (Something that has been obvious to music lovers all along.)

But only after after a new version comes out. Such is the level of honesty and integrity in this industry.
 

andromedaaudio

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i have listened to a lot of top DCS at the Munich show incl the new apex ( at least i think i did with the wilson Alex d agostinos )
They can keep it afaik , what a sterile unmusical presentation .
I take the wadax anytime
 
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microstrip

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May 30, 2010
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Finally some expert admits that dCS has been sterile! (Something that has been obvious to music lovers all along.)

But only after after a new version comes out. Such is the level of honesty and integrity in this industry.

No where in the review it is said that dCS has been sterile - although you have said it tens of times. Curiously most of the people who happen to prefer the dCS in WBF have shown in this forum to be trusted music lovers.

Any knowledgeable audiophile knows how to interpret hyperbolic reviews of new quality products. Using the typical high-end reviewing style as a proof of lack of honesty and integrity is misleading.

Feel free to post on your own preference - it is why we are here. But please do not use my posts to spread your morbid toxic poison against reviewers.
 

caesar

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May 31, 2010
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our tastes are all different like for wine , most important is R.E.S.P.E.C.T. …
I believe respect should start with not lying and misleading honest, hardworking people so they don't waste their time and money.

Guys can imagine whatever they want to imagine listening to their systems. If they want to enjoy their wilson / dcs systems, God Bless. But if the despicable, scum bag "audio journalists" compared gear of different designs and technologies and differentiated it, many problems in this disgusting industry would be alleviated.
 

Al M.

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Sep 10, 2013
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The british magazine Hi-fi News has now reviewed extensively the dCS Vivaldi APEX. Measurement show some improvements due to the new DAC and analog stage, and the subjective review is enthusiastic , focusing on the same aspects we have referred before at WBF based on preliminary auditions - rhythm and swing, more inner detail and more real. I quote a short sentence from the conclusion:

"Whatever your impression of dCS’s earlier Ring DAC, in this latest APEX implementation it’s rediscovered a sense of fun, making the new Vivaldi not just a highly accomplished piece of
high-end hi-fi, but an absolute pleasure to listen to."


Fortuntely my fun has been extended for a few extra days - I am keeping the dCS Vivaldi APEX until Wednesday!


.

I am glad to hear that rhythm and swing have improved. I heard some weakness there in the pre-Apex Vivaldi. Now the Vivaldi appears to become an even more complete player, which is great.
 

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