DACs that excel at DSD playback (other than Lampi GG)?

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
3,883
12
38
Greater Boston
#41
#42
I've used "analytical" is its widely accepted, borderline pejorative use. I see you have a different understanding of what it means.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/sounds-audio-glossary-glossary

analytical Very detailed, almost to the point of excess.
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/sounds-audio-glossary-glossary#sGE6GZvV1uIsRgrR.99

Well, pretty much what I said. IMO is is very difficult to be both analytical AND musical or real sounding. And in many cases it sounds impressive to start with and then becomes fatiguing or boring. This is my personal view, and as in all these audio subjects, many will say the opposite i.e. I want hyper detail and I am happy. My personal ideal is everything is there to hear but in the right quantity. A lot of digital doesn't get that bit right IMO. What is the right quantity? Well real music of course.

Most audio folk use the term to mean 'too much', or 'examining the detail' as opposed to 'playing it'. It is hard to describe and emotional connection of 'feeling' with music that can not be requoted to mean something else, the opposite even.
 

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
3,883
12
38
Greater Boston
#43
analytical Very detailed, almost to the point of excess.
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/sounds-audio-glossary-glossary#sGE6GZvV1uIsRgrR.99

Well, pretty much what I said. IMO is is very difficult to be both analytical AND musical or real sounding. And in many cases it sounds impressive to start with and then becomes fatiguing or boring. This is my personal view, and as in all these audio subjects, many will say the opposite i.e. I want hyper detail and I am happy. My personal ideal is everything is there to hear but in the right quantity. A lot of digital doesn't get that bit right IMO. What is the right quantity? Well real music of course.

Most audio folk use the term to mean 'too much', or 'examining the detail' as opposed to 'playing it'. It is hard to describe and emotional connection of 'feeling' with music that can not be requoted to mean something else, the opposite even.
The problem is not the amount of detail. Unamplified live music listened to from close-up actually tends to be more detailed than a reproduced sound with exaggerated detail. Why? Because every distortion takes away information. The issue is if the detail is presented in a natural manner. That is why I do not find any usefulness in the dichotomy between "warm" and "organic" on one hand, and "analytical" on the other. A "warm" and "organic" sound may harbor more true detail than an "analytical" sound. But often "warm" and "organic" in a system's sound are a sorry excuse for "rounding away" detail. In that case "warm" and "organic" are actually vices rather than virtues.
 
Dec 17, 2015
197
0
16
Moscow
#44
Can you rephrase "while not being anywhere near the MSB" to "while not as outstanding as the MSB," just to comfort an owner of the Aqua Formula like me a little :p.

Tang
Hi Tang,
How did you end up with the Aqua Formula? Have you had a chance to compare it to other DACs?
Thanks, Aziz
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
8,849
44
48
London
#46
Another question. Has anyone had a chance to compare Aqua Formula and Lampi GG with a source other than SGM sever, without any signal processing?
Shakti.
 
#49
Bonzo75, I think he also tested the Audio Note kit DAC 5.1 at the same session. I had a PM from one of the guys who attended the session, and he thought the kit DAC was the best. I would be interested in Shakti's input on that. I have not heard any Aqua DACs, but the guy I bought my Audio Note DAC 5 off then went off and bought the Aqua La Scala MK2. It didn't last long, a few weeks, and he told me it was miles off the Audio Note on his horn system with Kondo Integrated.

I would really love to have an array of top tier DACs in the house at one time, just for the fun of it, try and see if there is a big difference in presentation and sound quality in general. I believe there is more of a difference in DACs and how they affect the systems final sound than many may realise?
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
8,849
44
48
London
#50
Bonzo75, I think he also tested the Audio Note kit DAC 5.1 at the same session. I had a PM from one of the guys who attended the session, and he thought the kit DAC was the best. I would be interested in Shakti's input on that. I have not heard any Aqua DACs, but the guy I bought my Audio Note DAC 5 off then went off and bought the Aqua La Scala MK2. It didn't last long, a few weeks, and he told me it was miles off the Audio Note on his horn system with Kondo Integrated.

I would really love to have an array of top tier DACs in the house at one time, just for the fun of it, try and see if there is a big difference in presentation and sound quality in general. I believe there is more of a difference in DACs and how they affect the systems final sound than many may realise?
I don't think he did it over only one session, but over multiple sessions, but I could be wrong. He ranked La scala > big 7 > aqua formula > GG. I don't know about AN kit but you can ask him. I do know he systematically rolled his tubes to match his phonos too, I read his german threads in detail (using google translate of course), as he was changing tubes to keeping one of his phonos as reference. If you read his Koetsu threads, he follows the same detailed methodology. Each Koetsu, changing headshell, screws, etc etc, trying damped and undamped arms, keeping one thing as reference then changing another. That to me is audiophile life. I want to be doing this a few years from now in my next apartment.
 
May 19, 2014
693
0
16
Round Rock, TX
#51

Tango

VIP/Donor
Mar 12, 2017
1,854
46
48
Bangkok
#52
Hi Tang,
How did you end up with the Aqua Formula? Have you had a chance to compare it to other DACs?
Thanks, Aziz
Hello Aziz,

To be honest, I read MikeL's positive comments in one of the threads here and the price didnt prohibit me to try so I had my agent ordered from Italy. I am more analog person. I dont play digital much because of my low computer literacy. But my wife and some friends like to listen to cds so I have one tail in digital.

I didnt compare with other brands. I needed a dac to play with my transport. I just took the risk. Before Aqua, I had Berkely Reference, top Soulution, Audionet, EAR dac. The best digital I heard was actually in my room with Aqua and my JMF transport :D when Michael of Zellaton brought his own cd to do a demo of Schnerzinger devices. It didnt sound like my analog, but sounded extraordinary.

Kind regards,
Tang
 
May 19, 2014
693
0
16
Round Rock, TX
#53
It didnt sound like my analog, but sounded extraordinary.
Considering your analog is 10 fold more than your digital that's a pretty compelling testament in company with such high end analog. ;)
 
May 19, 2014
693
0
16
Round Rock, TX
#55
Hello Aziz,

To be honest, I read MikeL's positive comments in one of the threads here and the price didnt prohibit me to try so I had my agent ordered from Italy. I am more analog person. I dont play digital much because of my low computer literacy. But my wife and some friends like to listen to cds so I have one tail in digital.

I didnt compare with other brands. I needed a dac to play with my transport. I just took the risk. Before Aqua, I had Berkely Reference, top Soulution, Audionet, EAR dac. The best digital I heard was actually in my room with Aqua and my JMF transport :D when Michael of Zellaton brought his own cd to do a demo of Schnerzinger devices. It didnt sound like my analog, but sounded extraordinary.

Kind regards,
Tang
Tang, are your comments wrt the Aqua with or without the upgrade?
 
May 19, 2014
693
0
16
Round Rock, TX
#56
The JMF transport is similar cost to the kronos?
LOL, one of Tang's cartridges costs as much as the Aqua, forget the TT, phono pre or any isolation!
 
May 19, 2014
693
0
16
Round Rock, TX
#58
Without the upgrade. I havent contacted Aqua whether there is a way to upgrade without having sent back to Italy.

Tang
Thanks Tang. I thought someone on this forum said it can be done local in the US, not sure about Bangkok.

Steve
 
Feb 16, 2013
139
0
16
Brazil
#59
I got the answer from Aqua that I could only upgrade if shipping to Italy.
 
May 19, 2014
693
0
16
Round Rock, TX
#60
Same here, guess I was wrong. I have to ship to Italy also. Will likely do it in the spring.
 

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