Emm labs DA2 v2 upgrade

Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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Hi folks,

You may be interested in the following write-up by Fred Crowder on Dagogo (May, 2022): One man's dream: the Acapella Spharon Excalibur speakers system.

The front end of the system consists of a Mark Dohmann Audio Helix One Mkii turntable equipped with a Schroeder CB tonearm with carbon fiber arm tube and a Lyra Atlas cartridge (setup by Mark Dohmann), running into an updated Lyra Connoisseur 4.3 SE phono stage. Initially, the turntable was used with the supplied Dohmann record weight; however, the Stillpoints record weight proved to be much superior. Digital is handled by an EMM Labs XDS1 used solely as a transport driving an EMM Labs DA2 digital to analog converter through an Enklein XerXes AES/EBU cable.

The speakers are supported by bespoke Stillpoints Ultra 7 feet, while a combination of Stillpoints Ultra 6 and RevOpod dampers support the electronics, which are sited on HRS racks and platforms.

As one might expect, this is a system where digital media is superbly rendered, yet analog is simply on another level.
 
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Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
266
111
128
Hi folks,

You may be interested in the following write-up by Fred Crowder on Dagogo (May, 2022): One man's dream: the Acapella Spharon Excalibur speakers system.

The front end of the system consists of a Mark Dohmann Audio Helix One Mkii turntable equipped with a Schroeder CB tonearm with carbon fiber arm tube and a Lyra Atlas cartridge (setup by Mark Dohmann), running into an updated Lyra Connoisseur 4.3 SE phono stage. Initially, the turntable was used with the supplied Dohmann record weight; however, the Stillpoints record weight proved to be much superior. Digital is handled by an EMM Labs XDS1 used solely as a transport driving an EMM Labs DA2 digital to analog converter through an Enklein XerXes AES/EBU cable.

The speakers are supported by bespoke Stillpoints Ultra 7 feet, while a combination of Stillpoints Ultra 6 and RevOpod dampers support the electronics, which are sited on HRS racks and platforms.

As one might expect, this is a system where digital media is superbly rendered, yet analog is simply on another level.

Hi Guys,

When I asked Fred Crowder how Jim's sound system (as listed above) sounded on digital media as compared to his own (Fred has the Acapella Audio Arts Triolon Excaliburs speakers as well as the EMM Labs PRE Reference, MTRX Reference Mono amplifiers, TX2 SACD Transport and the DA2 V2 D/A Converter), he said via email:

"Yes, we did listen to digital media including SACD’s. I brought about twenty.CD’s and SACD’s with me and listened to most of them. In general, the differences between my system and Jim’s were less pronounced on the digital media but still audible. Differences were most audible in the resolution of the upper bass and lower midrange which were superb and in the perspective which was nearfield. Think of listening where the conductor stands rather than in the audience 10-12 rows back. Personally, I prefer the more distant perspective. Also, the Spharons can move a massive amount of air."

Hence, the lesson is that everything can be improved!
 
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Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
266
111
128
Hi folks,

You may be interested in the following write-up by Fred Crowder on Dagogo (May, 2022): One man's dream: the Acapella Spharon Excalibur speakers system.

The front end of the system consists of a Mark Dohmann Audio Helix One Mkii turntable equipped with a Schroeder CB tonearm with carbon fiber arm tube and a Lyra Atlas cartridge (setup by Mark Dohmann), running into an updated Lyra Connoisseur 4.3 SE phono stage. Initially, the turntable was used with the supplied Dohmann record weight; however, the Stillpoints record weight proved to be much superior. Digital is handled by an EMM Labs XDS1 used solely as a transport driving an EMM Labs DA2 digital to analog converter through an Enklein XerXes AES/EBU cable.

The speakers are supported by bespoke Stillpoints Ultra 7 feet, while a combination of Stillpoints Ultra 6 and RevOpod dampers support the electronics, which are sited on HRS racks and platforms.

As one might expect, this is a system where digital media is superbly rendered, yet analog is simply on another level.

Hi guys,

Fred emailed me yesterday: "Jim also owns two sets of the Aural Symphonics optical which was what I used when listening. Note that the Enklein is very good but not as good as the Aural Symphonics."
 

Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
266
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128
I just want to share this with you guys: I have the opportunity to test out the Ansuz Mainz DT-C2 (power cable) on my sound system. The Shunyata Sigma is richer, darker and has better concert hall ambience retrieval. The Ansuz is lighter and forward sounding on my sound system.
 

marty

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Apr 20, 2010
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United States
hi,

What preamp do you use with DA2 V2 or DV2? I'm using Mola Mola Makua, but wondering if a tube pre an improvement? Or what solid pre you've heard that match well with DA2 V2/DV2?

There is no right answer here. Personally, I've used hybrid tube/SS systems for decades as I think Dave Wilson got it right when he said "you need a tube in there somewhere". If you like an all SS, then stick with it. When I had my DA2 I used a VTL 7.5III preamp and I thought it provided some sense of life to an excellent but somewhat two dimensional SS EMM sound. When I moved to a Lampizator DAC, I switched to a Soulution 725 preamp. Again, it's the net sound that matters, not necessarily the sound of an individual component. Why not borrow a nice tube preamp (so many to choose from) to hear what that might bring you before considering any purchase?
 
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Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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Hi folks,

I would like to highly recommend this SACD: Johannes BRAHMS Rhapsody No. 1 in B minor, Op. 79 No. 1 (1879) Piano Sonata No. 2 in F sharp minor, Op. 2 (1852) Béla BARTÓK Rhapsody, Op. 1 (Sz. 26) (1904) Franz LISZT Hungarian Rhapsody No. 11, Alexandre Kantorow (piano), recorded in 2019/20, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; Tapiola Concert Hall, Espoo, Finland BIS BIS-2380 SACD

Alexandre Kantorow (First Prize, 2019 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition) provides a thrilling, passionate and sensitive account of the works. The recordings are state of the art.
 

Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
266
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Hi folks,

Earlier, I was digging into a box of SACDs I have put away and found this particular disc which I subsequently give it a relisten: The World's Greatest Audiophile Vocal Recordings, Chesky Records SACD. And I am glad I did! Some of the tracks are really good. Tracks 4 (Christy Baron - Ain't No Sunshine) and 6 (Kenny Rankin - Round Midnight): The double bass was weighty, resonant, full, dark, rich, woody and has great 'presence' and immediacy. The vocals were transparent and also has great 'presence'.Track 10 (Xiomara Laugart - La- Habana Joven) - the percussions sounded spacious, airy, pure, crisp, transparent and has 'presence' and immediacy. Listening volume: - 25dB of the maximum volume.
 
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Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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1652334719535.png
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 (Pathetique), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Daniele Gatti, conductor (Harmonia Mundi SACD)

This may be the greatest Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 recording to acquire for the quality of the sound - accurate timbre, good dynamics, and its performance - great passion and precision!
 
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Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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1652593996554.png

Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809-1847)
Concerto in D minor for Violin, Piano and Strings (1823) [35.26]
Octet in E flat major Op.20 [30.50]
Polina Leschenko (piano); Richard Tognetti (violin)
Australian Chamber Orchestra (BIS SACD)

Hi guys,

As expected, these performances by Richard Tognetti, Polina Leschenko and the Australian Chamber Orchestra were exhilarating, and were played with great passion, vitality, energy, finesse and textural clarity! Via my EMM Labs DV2, the sound was transparent, immediate, vivid, detailed, and spacious. The timbres of the strings and piano were spot on. Listening volume: - 25dB of the maximum volume.
 
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Yuen A.

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1652685804700.png
RACHMANINOV Variations on a Theme of Chopin, Op.22; Piano Sonata No.2, Op.36 (Horowitz version); KREISLER (arr. RACHMANINOV) Liebesleid; Liebesfreud; Song Transcriptions - Lilacs, Op.21, No.5; Daisies, Op.38, No.3: Yevgeny Sudbin (piano) BIS SACD 1518

These are extraordinary and dynamic performances by my favorite pianist, Yevgeny Sudbin. The sound of the Steinway D was realistically captured and reproduced via my sound system - the vibration of the diaphragmatic soundboard and also the steel strings that produces the richness, the power, the warmth, and the color. Listening volume: - 25dB of the maximum volume.
 
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Yuen A.

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1652941850934.png

I found this gem among the others put away in a box. My favourite here is John Williams' two minutes of pure pleasure - Sound the Bells, a truly demonstration piece! The brass and percussion sounded so right and real, many thanks to the Ansuz Acoustics D-TC Supreme and D-TC signal cables. The drum was solid and resonant.
 

tonytsui

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Apr 21, 2014
40
2
138
Good and bad news for those with DA2/DV2 and NS1. We have been lamenting about the lack of a second optical input at the dac. A friend just compared the Odin 2 AES with the Aural Symphonics optical cable and found the Odin 2 ”more analog on vocals and strings”. Bad news is Odin 2 AES is net around US$7,000.
 

Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
266
111
128
Good and bad news for those with DA2/DV2 and NS1. We have been lamenting about the lack of a second optical input at the dac. A friend just compared the Odin 2 AES with the Aural Symphonics optical cable and found the Odin 2 ”more analog on vocals and strings”. Bad news is Odin 2 AES is net around US$7,000.

My friend recently bought an Ansuz Acoustics D-TC2 AES for his NS1 while using the Aural Symphonics optical cable for his EMM Labs SACD transport. The D-TC2 is way more expensive than the Odin 2!

For those of us playing SACDs, we still need the optical cable.
 

Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
266
111
128
Good and bad news for those with DA2/DV2 and NS1. We have been lamenting about the lack of a second optical input at the dac. A friend just compared the Odin 2 AES with the Aural Symphonics optical cable and found the Odin 2 ”more analog on vocals and strings”. Bad news is Odin 2 AES is net around US$7,000.
A simple test (upon my request to the above mentioned friend) was done to provide a perspective: The same recording was used to test the sound quality of the Emm Labs SACD transport + the Aural Symphonics optical cable and the NS1+ the Ansuz Acoustics D-TC2 AES. The EMM Labs SACD transport + the Aural Symphonics optical sounded better than the NS1 + the Ansuz D-TC2 AES.
 
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Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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Probably the best Rachmaninov concerto No. 1 and 3 currently available! However, you need a top notch sound system plus the EMM Labs DA2 V2 /DV2 to bring out the passions, the emotions, the dynamics, the intensity and the precision of these performances.
 
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Yuen A.

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For those who love the drama of Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 2, this is the disc to listen to! Listen also to Freire's Etudes No. 3 (played with lyricism and sensitivity) and his version of Barcarolle, Op.60. Nelson Freire has both the temperament and the technique. The recording by Decca (96 kHz /24 bit) is first-rate.
 
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Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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Hi guys,

If you have this Telarc SACD, give it a relisten which I did today, after putting it away for a long time. Previously, I cringed at each track ending, where it starts to break up. But not today. It shows the importance of controlling resonances in an audio system!

This recording is a blockbuster! The soundstage was huge. The timbre and musical dynamics of the orchestral instruments were spot on. The Overture of the Ben-Hur suite was rich, colorful and impactful. The second track starts with solo timpani thwacks that sounded so real! In fact, all percussion instruments sounded real and immediate. Even at fortissimo, the sounds does not break-up! One caveat: The choir was recorded separately and sounded 'too dry'.
 

Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
266
111
128
Hi guys,

I am writing to share some great news provided by Jason Victor Serinus of Stereophile (Meitner MA3 Integrated D/A Processor Review, Stereophile, Jun 3, 2022): "The MA3 arrived during a transitional period for my two considerably more expensive digital references, EMM Labs' one-piece DV2 and the two-piece dCS (Digital Conversion Systems) Rossini Series 2.0 DAC ($26,000)/Clock ($9000) combination. Both companies were poised to move their technology a step further. EMM Labs' upgrades remain under development, for both its top-line EMM and lower-priced Meitner products. Release dates are uncertain. However, just before I began this review, EMM insisted on upgrading my reference DV2 ... That sound [Jason's latest upgraded DV2] is noticeably different from the darker, more contained sound I heard from the early DV2. ... Amadeus Meitner told me that Ed's "passion project" for the last few years has been perfecting the company's DS-EQ1 Optical Equalizer, a dedicated phono preamp for DS Audio optical cartridges. Through his research, EMM Labs learned how to make "serious improvements to its analog architecture." My upgraded DV2 includes component-value adjustments and "optimized" circuits in the (analog) output stage. The considerably more open soundstage and extended top of the upgraded DV2 significantly altered my impressions of this flagship integrated DAC."
 
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tonytsui

Well-Known Member
Apr 21, 2014
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Hi guys,

I am writing to share some great news provided by Jason Victor Serinus of Stereophile (Meitner MA3 Integrated D/A Processor Review, Stereophile, Jun 3, 2022): "The MA3 arrived during a transitional period for my two considerably more expensive digital references, EMM Labs' one-piece DV2 and the two-piece dCS (Digital Conversion Systems) Rossini Series 2.0 DAC ($26,000)/Clock ($9000) combination. Both companies were poised to move their technology a step further. EMM Labs' upgrades remain under development, for both its top-line EMM and lower-priced Meitner products. Release dates are uncertain. However, just before I began this review, EMM insisted on upgrading my reference DV2 ... That sound [Jason's latest upgraded DV2] is noticeably different from the darker, more contained sound I heard from the early DV2. ... Amadeus Meitner told me that Ed's "passion project" for the last few years has been perfecting the company's DS-EQ1 Optical Equalizer, a dedicated phono preamp for DS Audio optical cartridges. Through his research, EMM Labs learned how to make "serious improvements to its analog architecture." My upgraded DV2 includes component-value adjustments and "optimized" circuits in the (analog) output stage. The considerably more open soundstage and extended top of the upgraded DV2 significantly altered my impressions of this flagship integrated DAC."
Is this upgrade a new one which has not yet been introduced? Or the old one from last year?
 

Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
266
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Is this upgrade a new one which has not yet been introduced? Or the old one from last year?
Hi Tony,

The upgrade that Jason is talking about is the up-coming upgrade, and therefore is new and will be a considerable upgrade.
 
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