Holo Audio May KTE Dac

audioarcher

Well-Known Member
May 7, 2012
1,339
6
135
Seattle area
#1
Hi guys, Have not posted much in some time, but think this Dac is worth posting about.

I've had the May in my system for almost 4 weeks now. I traded in my Holo Spring 2 KTE Dac for the May KTE version. Had the Spring 2 for about a year. I have about 400 hrs on the May so far.

I'm using a I-9 SonicTransporter for a music server with Hqplayer as the player. Usb cable is an Intona Ultimate. Still using Innersound Kaya loudspeakers, but now use custom made active crossover with copper chassis, z-foil resistors, and various highend caps. Innersound amps still in use. Added two Rel G1 mk2 subs, and ELAC 4Pi Plus.2 super tweeters roughly a year ago.

The May is a very quiet Dac. Not just for an R2R, but for any kind of Dac period. Had a Mola Mola Tambaqui Dac before I got the Spring 2 and the May is right up there with the Tambaqui in the SNR department. The Tambaqui was very good, but was ultimately too fatiging in my system. The Holo dacs on the other hand are not fatiging at all. Which is very hard to do without sounding boring.

The differnces I hear between the Spring 2 and May are these. The May is quite a bit quieter. The May also does the frequency extremes better and is more resolving of detail. Stereo separation is noticably beter as well. The May is dual mono construction with a separate power supply, so that makes sense. As far as tonality between the two it is very similar.

Other dacs I've had in my system lately are the Yggy 1, and the Emm Labs DA2. Had the Yggy for a couple of years. I liked it and it compared favorably with the Spring 2. Only had the Emm Labs DA2 for a couple of days. Sounded lovely with PCM, but DSD was behind the Spring DAC by far. Decided to stick with the Spring at that time. Wonder how the mk 2 version of the DA2 sounds?

Anyway that is my 2 cents so far.
 
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spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
11,295
2,168
433
E. England
#2
Great stuff, Audioarcher. There is a real choice now in dacs at the $5k and below price bracket. Good to hear your comparisons.
Can I ask, does the May favour I2S connection as does the Spring? This variance btwn USB, AES/EBU, S/PDIF and I2S, on different dacs and thus knock on effect on which streamer is best suited, is a consideration.
I'm very much liking your comment that the May is quiet but not boring. I suspected the Mola dac might be relentless (like the Mola Class D amps), and this is the single biggest turn off in digital audio.
My local streamer contact is a confirmed fan of the Holo Spring. He'll have to get the May in to demo.
 

audioarcher

Well-Known Member
May 7, 2012
1,339
6
135
Seattle area
#3
Hi Spiritofmusic, I have not tried the I2S on the May yet. Did try the Singxer SU-6 I2S on the Spring 2 and did not find it superior to USB. The Singxer sounded a little less clear to me, which to my mind means it probably introduced more jitter. From what I've read people did like the I2S better with the original Spring 1, but they have improved the usb implementation since then.

I will try the spidf input in the future. They say they have much improved the PLL design in the May. I have an old server with a Lynx card I could try out. Also an old disc player.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
11,295
2,168
433
E. England
#4
USB would be great, tbh. My likely server choice is Innuos Zen or Zenith where USB is the optimal choice, with a possible upgrade to Phoenix USB Reclocker.

For you as an experienced Holo Springs owner, the May is a definite step up? And thus over Yggy too?

I take your comment on glare v seriously. In the last few years I've been to so many demos where digital glare is as bad as it was in the dark days of the 80s. My Eera Tentation cdp has such an analog sensibility that I can listen to disc after disc as if they're vinyl. I need the same "organic" reproduction from any dac used in streaming. Hence your comments here are piqueing my interest.
 

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