Emm labs DA2 v2 upgrade

JOSEP

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Oct 13, 2019
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Hello, I want to share with everyone my satisfaction with my new Emm Labs DA2 V1 converter. It has EVERYTHING (separation of instruments, 3D image, richness of harmonics, musicality, definition, warmth, naturalness and others) the music is not only heard, it is so real, that the instruments can be seen. How will VERSION 2 sound ??? Better not to think about it, it will be in the not too distant future. Regards
 

tonytsui

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Apr 21, 2014
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Finally got the system setup in my new place and now have about 100 hours on it with minor room treatment. I've still got time to go in terms of break in but at this point I feel that I have a good handle on the improvements brought about by the V2 hardware upgrade to the EMM Labs DA2.

It was actually a tough decision as to whether to get the V2 upgrade; I didn't really need an upgrade from the v2 firmware (or so I thought) - I was very happy with my system. I went through with the V2 hardware upgrade primarily because I wanted to support EMM Labs in these uncertain times (it didn’t hurt that EMM Labs has never steered me wrong, from the XDS1 to the XDS1 V2 to the TX2/DA2 and then the DA2 v2 firmware update – the performance of my system had jumped each time with such improvement considerably accelerating with the change to the TX2/DA2 combo and then another massive jump up with the v2 firmware for the DA2).

The two things that immediately jumped out at me with the DA2 V2 are the improved pace and articulation. The pace of the music just flows so smoothly now in combination with my Ayre KX-R Twenty preamp - it's almost hypnotizing. In terms of articulation, so much more can be heard from previously muddled lyrics and unearthed low level effects/ambiance in the music. Having said that, the increase in soundstage both laterally and in terms of depth is impressive in that it is clearly expanded but not unnaturally exaggerated. After how good cymbals and strings were on the v2 firmware I thought there wasn't more there but I was so very wrong, the added definition on cymbals and smoothness of massed strings is just jaw dropping. And the bass, not that it needed any improvement imo (but I was wrong there as well) - the definition and differentiation between types of drums and bass is just astounding.

There isn't one aspect of my system's performance that hasn't been markedly upgraded by the DA2 V2. Until I heard the V2 hardware upgrade, I didn't realize how much improvement could still be wrung out of my system.

Kudos to the EMM Labs team. The DA2 V2 is a revelation.
How does the piano sound, as you mentioned it's a big deal for you? BTW, the V2 gets more natural sounding as it runs in more, and one forgets about everything hifi but is attracted by the music alone. The improvement is so substantial which leads me to think how far is the V2 from the best of analog? And what will the next upgrade bring, bearing in mind the V2 is just 2 years from the last firmware upgrade?
 

Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
145
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Hello, I want to share with everyone my satisfaction with my new Emm Labs DA2 V1 converter. It has EVERYTHING (separation of instruments, 3D image, richness of harmonics, musicality, definition, warmth, naturalness and others) the music is not only heard, it is so real, that the instruments can be seen. How will VERSION 2 sound ??? Better not to think about it, it will be in the not too distant future. Regards
Hi Josep, Thank you for sharing your views!
 

Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
145
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83
How does the piano sound, as you mentioned it's a big deal for you? BTW, the V2 gets more natural sounding as it runs in more, and one forgets about everything hifi but is attracted by the music alone. The improvement is so substantial which leads me to think how far is the V2 from the best of analog? And what will the next upgrade bring, bearing in mind the V2 is just 2 years from the last firmware upgrade?
Hi Tony,

"How far is the V2 from the best of analog?" I think there isn't a straight answer to your question! That depends largely on the recordings. On some recordings, the V2 will be better. I think the V2 is very close to live sound from a mid-hall perspective!
 

Bar81

Well-Known Member
Mar 24, 2017
128
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How does the piano sound, as you mentioned it's a big deal for you? BTW, the V2 gets more natural sounding as it runs in more, and one forgets about everything hifi but is attracted by the music alone. The improvement is so substantial which leads me to think how far is the V2 from the best of analog? And what will the next upgrade bring, bearing in mind the V2 is just 2 years from the last firmware upgrade?
Given that I haven't finished burn in or setup I'm not ready to take a definitive position on piano but certainly it sounds at least as good as v2 firmware, which to me already sounded fantastic.

As to your second comment, I'm not sure why analog is relevant. If someone wants that sound, they should just buy a turntable. I don't want the DA2 to ever sound like that.

The DA2 made me stop looking since v2 firmware and with V2 upgrade I'm not sure what is left to be improved. I expect that I'll be proven wrong (again) in due course but until that time...
 
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Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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Given that I haven't finished burn in or setup I'm not ready to take a definitive position on piano but certainly it sounds at least as good as v2 firmware, which to me already sounded fantastic.

As to your second comment, I'm not sure why analog is relevant. If someone wants that sound, they should just buy a turntable. I don't want the DA2 to ever sound like that.

The DA2 made me stop looking since v2 firmware and with V2 upgrade I'm not sure what is left to be improved. I expect that I'll be proven wrong (again) in due course but until that time...
The piano sound now has a richer harmonic texture, weightier, greater dynamic range with more gradations from ppp to fff and therefore more expressive, and a broader palette of colors. Listen to this: Beethoven Piano Sonatas, Opus 57, Appassionata, Opus 111, The last great piano sonata, by Carol Rosenberger. (TopMusic SACD)
 

marty

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Apr 20, 2010
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The proper method to integrate a subwoofer in a stereo system is to use an active crossover like the JL Audio CR1. JL Audio T/S was very helpful in providing the procedure below. Using this type of setup your main speakers and subwoofer will sound as one cohesive unit.

Adjust phase alignment between the main speakers and subwoofer(s):

CR-1; set bypass button off, sub & satellite frequency 80 Hz; crossover slope 24 dB; mute right main speaker

F212v2; set master volume to off; LP filter off; LP frequency doesn’t matter (set on the CR-1); elf trim to 12 o’clock; phase 0.

- Match volume level match left speaker and subwoofer; turn preamp volume to talking level (frequency disc) 75 dB; standing exactly between the left speaker and subwoofer, turn the master level control clockwise until the volume matches the left speaker.

- Set subwoofer phase (polarity) to 180 degrees.

- play frequency disc in repeat for 80 Hz; turn the subwoofer phase control clockwise & then counterclockwise to find the quietest position 80 Hz position.

- turn the polarity back to 0 on the subwoofer and unmute the right speaker on the CR-1.

Len
I'm glad you are enjoying your CR-1. And there is nobody better in getting you to set it up than Barry Ober at JL Audio. But when it comes to subs, every solution has a risk/benefit. I use a pair of JL Audio Gothams to augment the bottom end of my Wilson Alexandrias. I've been down the CR-1 road and unfortunately, I could not live with the fact that although it is a superb crossover, it unfortunately degrades the sound of the high pass mid/highs. It is still excellent but you just can't expect it to sound like a true pass-through on the mid/highs. There is however, an alternative approach that's worked for me, which is to run the mains full range and simply augment the bottom by operating the subs directly from a second set of preamp outputs and uses the built in crossover of the Gothams to limit the low pass frequencies. Having the slope, gain and most importantly phase controls allows for a pleasing integration. There are always trade-offs no matter which way you choose to integrate the JL's but in any case, they are still the best subs I've heard. The JL sub integration dilemma has been discussed extensively previously. See post #13
https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/time-aligning-subs-to-main-speakers.24316/#post-481133

The only thing that matters is a result that pleases you. Seems like you are there! Enjoy.
Marty

PS, sorry for derailing this thread but I am just responding to Len's post on the JL CR-1 placed here. Perhaps since I owned the EMM DA2 that gives me a pass! HA!
 

marty

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Apr 20, 2010
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Hi Marty,

Do you have an opportunity to listen to the new DA2 V2? The improvements are really substantial!
Yuen,
I have not but I'm sure the tradition of Meitner continues with a legacy line of great products. As you know, the system is a sum of its parts and when I went from a tube pre to a SS pre, I longed for a tube source, which is why I went in another direction with the Lampi GG DAC and the Zanden 1200 MK3 phono. Enjoy your DA2 V2. I'm sure it's wonderful.
Marty
 
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Bar81

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Mar 24, 2017
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The piano sound now has a richer harmonic texture, weightier, greater dynamic range with more gradations from ppp to fff and therefore more expressive, and a broader palette of colors. Listen to this: Beethoven Piano Sonatas, Opus 57, Appassionata, Opus 111, The last great piano sonata, by Carol Rosenberger. (TopMusic SACD)
That is what I've been hearing generally as well but like I said, still breaking in and tweaking setup.
 

Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
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To all lovers of classical piano music,

Listen to these recordings: Beethoven piano sonatas: Tempest, and Appassionata, brilliantly played by Arthur Pizarro (piano: Bluthner concert grand) (LinnRecords SACD).

You will hear everything! The texture, the dynamics, the palette of colors, the extreme speed, the density of the wood of the piano's soundboard. If you can't hear them, don't blame it on the Emm Labs DV2. And compared to vinyl, no wow and flutter!
 
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Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
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Yuen,
I have not but I'm sure the tradition of Meitner continues with a legacy line of great products. As you know, the system is a sum of its parts and when I went from a tube pre to a SS pre, I longed for a tube source, which is why I went in another direction with the Lampi GG DAC and the Zanden 1200 MK3 phono. Enjoy your DA2 V2. I'm sure it's wonderful.
Marty
Hi Marty,

Thank you for your kind words! May I know what SS preamp you are using now?
 

Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
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Hi Marty

1. Thanks for sharing! I noticed that you have pre and power amps from Soulution. I am very familiar with the Soulution components because my good friend is the agent for Soulution locally. I can quite understand why you want a tube source.

2. Subwoofer Integration: My Magico Q-Sub 15 is an essential part of my sound system (and no trade-off). I totally agree with Jonathan Valin : "Are the QSub 15 worth the substantial outlay of dough? Well, how badly do you want to hear those goosebump-raising bottom octaves reproduced with lifelike power, clarity, and extension? If you're in it for the thrills on any kind of power music from classical to pop, I'd have to say, yeah, they're worth it." ("The Magico M3 Review," The Absolute Sound, April 2018, p. 112)
 

Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
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Hi guys,

Just to let you know that a review of the new Emm Labs DA2 V2 by Fred Crowder will be published soon in Dagogo.
 

Bar81

Well-Known Member
Mar 24, 2017
128
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The piano sound now has a richer harmonic texture, weightier, greater dynamic range with more gradations from ppp to fff and therefore more expressive, and a broader palette of colors. Listen to this: Beethoven Piano Sonatas, Opus 57, Appassionata, Opus 111, The last great piano sonata, by Carol Rosenberger. (TopMusic SACD)
Not sure if it's additional break in or the additional treatments to the room but I'm now hearing the full improvement in piano with V2 and it's breathtaking - the dynamic range and richness just tickles at the heart strings but without being euphonic - I just fell in love with my system all over again.

I'm still blown away at the level of overall improvement in the V2 over the v2 firmware. It's really a shame that EMM Labs isn't doing any more transports - the TX2/DA2 combo (with Aural Symphonics ST fiber connection) needs to be heard by more people.
 

Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
145
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Not sure if it's additional break in or the additional treatments to the room but I'm now hearing the full improvement in piano with V2 and it's breathtaking - the dynamic range and richness just tickles at the heart strings but without being euphonic - I just fell in love with my system all over again.

I'm still blown away at the level of overall improvement in the V2 over the v2 firmware. It's really a shame that EMM Labs isn't doing any more transports - the TX2/DA2 combo (with Aural Symphonics ST fiber connection) needs to be heard by more people.
Yes, it must be the additional breaking in! I noticed the new updates required some 600 hrs of run-in.

And yes, the overall improvement is stunning! Fred Crowder says: "Ed really hit a homer with the changes." I can't wait to read his review of the updates!
 

Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
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Hi guys,

I was listening to the Living Stereo SACD: Heifetz Concertos Sibelius/Prokofiev/Glazunov via the DA2 just a while ago. Wow, the huge soundstage and huge image size, the fine details, the lifelike presence and immediacy, the energy, all reproduced in great precision!
 

Bar81

Well-Known Member
Mar 24, 2017
128
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Dagogo updated its review of the DA2 to take into account the new V2 hardware upgrade for the DA2 (confusingly there is also reference to a V2 firmware upgrade which while technically accurate should not be confused with the earlier v2 firmware upgrade for the V1):

https://www.dagogo.com/emm-labs-da2-v2-update-review/
 
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Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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Yes! Here is the best part (I think) of the review by Fred Crowder:

"Scriabin, Symphony 3 and Symphony 4, Oslo Philharmonic, Petrenko, LAWQ, LWC 1088. This label is new to me but so far, I like how they record orchestral music. Their perspective is back from the stage, though not quite middle hall. The string sound never grates nor do we hear much bow to speak of. The instruments are spread across the stage in a realistic fashion, without excessive spotlighting —indeed, with no obvious spotlighting at all. All of which is to say that I can turn out the lights and close my eyes and have moments of thinking I am in a real hall listening to a real orchestra."
 

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