Lampizator Horizon v. dCS Vivaldi Apex Listening Comparison

wil

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Policies don't exist for contests? My general understanding is that every game or contest has specific rules determined in advance to make the contest fair to all competitors.
Speaking of policies/best practices for such a DAC comparison, I strikes me that knowing which DAC you're listening to is a major flaw.

I know blind listening is anathema to many audiophiles. I remember when I asked the first audiophile I ever met (a dealer), "how can you be sure your bias's, conscious or un-conscious, aren't influencing your conclusions?" -- he went into a emotional tirade against "objectivists", etc, etc!

I think if you really want to remove the variable of bias, particularly when there is a 1300 lb gorilla like the Wadax in the mix, you have to listen without knowing which component you're listening to.
 

Ron Resnick

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Speaking of policies/best practices for such a DAC comparison, I strikes me that knowing which DAC you're listening to is a major flaw.

I know blind listening is anathema to many audiophiles. . . .

I think if you really want to remove the variable of bias . . . you have to listen without knowing which component you're listening to.

I think blind listening is very valuable.

pk_LA was always at the controls, so the great majority of my listening during this entire process across the DACs was blind for me.
 
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Ron Resnick

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I think if you really want to remove the variable of bias, particularly when there is a 1300 lb gorilla like the Wadax in the mix . . .

I continue to be baffled by the purely theoretical and wholly unsupported with evidence claims of bias regarding the Wadax. I don't even understand which way these claims of bias are supposed to cut.

Am I supposed to be biased in favor of the Wadax because it is the most expensive -- so it must be sound the best?

Am I supposed to be biased against the Wadax because it is the most expensive -- so it must not sound the best because it cannot justify its cost?
 
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KeithR

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Precisely my point Rudoloh. Tubes matter. Everything matters. So to say one thing matters more to me is utter BS. The same way you optimized your unit I have done the same. However mine is a tube unit. Yours isn’t. What is it that you don’t get I can bet both you and Mike that if you had a tube DAC both of you would be the first to seek out tubes that fit your system and sound right to your ears. It’s all very basic. All roads lead to Rome. I have found my path. You have found yours. It’s all good. But don’t ever say that a demo of a tube DAC is complete with just the stock tubes. This is the premise upon which Ron and Patrick based their decision. Frankly I totally disagree. Patrick knows my feelings. I had a long talk with him last night. He also told me that the best sound of all the DACs he has heard was at my house in February. He just couldn’t achieve the same sound at his house even though he admits 15 hours with a new unit and new tubes is woefully inadequate
Don't recall you rolling Audio Research tubes on audition back in Danville. Or Lamm before you bought it soon after. Optimizing a piece is different than an initial purchase. You never really tried any other dacs so guess I really don't understand all the push back.

I purchased an LTA preamp with a 14 day return policy - like Lampi, it comes with better than usual tubes. Is the assumption that I should have ordered a bunch of NOS tubes to *audition* it? I liked it so bought it. Only upon further diligence did I find the stock tubes were best in one position and we were able to improve another. The fundamental signature of the dac remained.

Unfortunately, this all reads by you and Ked as if the only reason not to prefer a Lampi is the tubes used - this is pure silliness. I'll note that Pat has tried several tube dacs over his investigation. Is he supposed to purchase NOS tubes for all of them prior to audition? Fred just said he ships with tubes that he feels the purchaser will enjoy. Isn't that enough to make a purchaser decision?

You and Pat's system is completely different. Lamm with former Wilson titanium tweeter vs. Boulder w/ newer silk dome and alnico midrange? why would you expect them to be the same or for one to perform similar?

I don't have a dog in this fight and am just enjoying Pat's journey to find a dac. Similar to my speaker one. I hope he finds the magic and enjoys it for a long time.
 
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Audiocrack

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Precisely my point Rudoloh. Tubes matter. Everything matters. So to say one thing matters more to me is utter BS. The same way you optimized your unit I have done the same. However mine is a tube unit. Yours isn’t. What is it that you don’t get I can bet both you and Mike that if you had a tube DAC both of you would be the first to seek out tubes that fit your system and sound right to your ears. It’s all very basic. All roads lead to Rome. I have found my path. You have found yours. It’s all good. But don’t ever say that a demo of a tube DAC is complete with just the stock tubes. This is the premise upon which Ron and Patrick based their decision. Frankly I totally disagree. Patrick knows my feelings. I had a long talk with him last night. He also told me that the best sound of all the DACs he has heard was at my house in February. He just couldn’t achieve the same sound at his house even though he admits 15 hours with a new unit and new tubes is woefully inadequate
Hello Steve, I am sure I fully ‘get’ or understand you as regards the importance of (quality) tubes for audio components equipped with valves. We - and I suppose that applies to Mike as well - totally agree that tubes really matter. We possibly / likely disagree about a. whether a tubes based component is ideal as a source component in a top notch audio system and b. the importance of (top notch) grounding, but - as you mentioned - different opinions are totally fine.

In short, my previous post was not intended to be critical towards you.
 

Mike Lavigne

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Hello Steve, I am sure I fully ‘get’ or understand you as regards the importance of (quality) tubes for audio components equipped with valves. We - and I suppose that applies to Mike as well - totally agree that tubes really matter. We possibly / likely disagree about a. whether a tubes based component is ideal as a source component in a top notch audio system and b. the importance of (top notch) grounding, but - as you mentioned - different opinions are totally fine.

In short, my previous post was not intended to be critical towards you.
i've had a few recent tube rolling experiences; the Golden Gate 1 and 1.5 where i did lots of that, the Lamm ML3 where i did roll one tube, the Aesthetix Eclipse Io where i did roll one tube, and now the EMIA phono corrector where i've rolled one tube.

in each case, the tube rolling did move things down the road to better sound. the Golden Gate was most changed; since i was rolling multiple driver tubes and the rectifier tubes.

however; in no case was the fundamental character of the gear changed. more just matters of degrees of preference. and my grounding efforts throughout my system has done some similar 'tuning' things.
 

Steve Williams

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Hello Steve, I am sure I fully ‘get’ or understand you as regards the importance of (quality) tubes for audio components equipped with valves. We - and I suppose that applies to Mike as well - totally agree that tubes really matter. We possibly / likely disagree about a. whether a tubes based component is ideal as a source component in a top notch audio system and b. the importance of (top notch) grounding, but - as you mentioned - different opinions are totally fine.

In short, my previous post was not intended to be critical towards you.
No problem as I never took it that way.
Don't recall you rolling Audio Research tubes on audition back in Danville. Or Lamm before you bought it soon after. Optimizing a piece is different than an initial purchase. You never really tried any other dacs so guess I really don't understand all the push back.

I purchased an LTA preamp with a 14 day return policy - like Lampi, it comes with better than usual tubes. Is the assumption that I should have ordered a bunch of NOS tubes to *audition* it? I liked it so bought it. Only upon further diligence did I find the stock tubes were best in one position and we were able to improve another. The fundamental signature of the dac remained.

Unfortunately, this all reads by you and Ked as if the only reason not to prefer a Lampi is the tubes used - this is pure silliness. I'll note that Pat has tried several tube dacs over his investigation. Is he supposed to purchase NOS tubes for all of them prior to audition? Fred just said he ships with tubes that he feels the purchaser will enjoy. Isn't that enough to make a purchaser decision?

You and Pat's system is completely different. Lamm with former Wilson titanium tweeter vs. Boulder w/ newer silk dome and alnico midrange? why would you expect them to be the same or for one to perform similar?

I don't have a dog in this fight and am just enjoying Pat's journey to find a dac. Similar to my speaker one. I hope he finds the magic and enjoys it for a long time.
Did you even read the tubes he used. None were similar to mine that were shipped. So yes I agree that the tube set is determined by one’s system and one’s ears. Have you not read what I posted or are you just being your usual self.
 

Steve Williams

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Fred just said he ships with tubes that he feels the purchaser will enjoy. Isn't that enough to make a purchaser decision?
simple answer is that it’s a starting point for everyone. Personally I don’t know one Horizon owner who has stuck with the supplied tubes.
 
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wil

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I continue to be baffled by the purely theoretical and wholly unsupported with evidence claims of bias regarding the Wadax. I don't even understand which way these claims of bias are supposed to cut.

Am I supposed to be biased in favor of the Wadax because it is the most expensive -- so it must be sound the best?

Am I supposed to be biased against the Wadax because it is the most expensive -- so it must not sound the best because it cannot justify its cost?
Definitely, conscious or un-conscious bias can swing both directions and points in-between. With the Wadax being particularly large and expensive -- it draws attention to itself. All the more reason, in a listening evaluation of DACs, the Wadax, in particular, should be critically listened to with ears only, imo.

I'm not saying that components can't be competently evaluated when sighted, but I think the results are going to be more questionable.
 

Ron Resnick

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I'm not saying that components can't be competently evaluated when sighted, but I think the results are going to be more questionable.

This is why I like blind auditioning. This is why I'm glad that, thanks to pk_LA manning the controls, I, for the most part, was able to hear many of the tracks, during many of the comparisons, without knowing to which DAC we were listening.
 
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microstrip

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It goes beyond being a Lampi owner. This applies to owners of all tube components IMO

We have many degrees of tube rolling, it is not possible to have general rules - at best we refer to experiences.

IMHO tube rolling is essentially an attitude - some people like the idea, others dislike it. There are equally valid arguments pro and against, but I personally never liked the idea. In order to carry it we need a lot of time - long burning tube times and long settling times before being able to listen again.

I have found in the past that changing mains voltage about 5% makes much greater sonic changes in many tube preamplifiers than tube rolling. In fact, when I test or match tubes I have to connect my testing jig to a very accurate mains stabilizer +/- 0.5%.
 

microstrip

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I think blind listening is very valuable.

pk_LA was always at the controls, so the great majority of my listening during this entire process across the DACs was blind for me.

The main issue with any tests is statistical validity, needed to establish consistency and control of the switching conditions. You need a lot tests and the conditions are hard to establish and control.

When listening to to the two DACs residing in my system - the dCS Vivaldi and the Kondo KSL I have found that my preferred sound level for those two DACs is different - the tubed Kondo that has much higher measurable distortion sounds apparently louder at equal electrical volumes. How should I set the volume for an A/B test?
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
We have many degrees of tube rolling, it is not possible to have general rules - at best we refer to experiences.

IMHO tube rolling is essentially an attitude - some people like the idea, others dislike it. There are equally valid arguments pro and against, but I personally never liked the idea. In order to carry it we need a lot of time - long burning tube times and long settling times before being able to listen again.

I have found in the past that changing mains voltage about 5% makes much greater sonic changes in many tube preamplifiers than tube rolling. In fact, when I test or match tubes I have to connect my testing jig to a very accurate mains stabilizer +/- 0.5%.
Francisco

I will say again, I am not a tube roller. It took me 2 sets of different tubes after those supplied to get me to where I want to be. I have obtained back up sets of all of these so I am quite happy with no desire to find the next greatest tube or to change my tubes as a matter of habit. I won't. So I must be the least degree of a tube roller
 
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Alrainbow

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We have many degrees of tube rolling, it is not possible to have general rules - at best we refer to experiences.

IMHO tube rolling is essentially an attitude - some people like the idea, others dislike it. There are equally valid arguments pro and against, but I personally never liked the idea. In order to carry it we need a lot of time - long burning tube times and long settling times before being able to listen again.

I have found in the past that changing mains voltage about 5% makes much greater sonic changes in many tube preamplifiers than tube rolling. In fact, when I test or match tubes I have to connect my testing jig to a very accurate mains stabilizer +/- 0.5%.
I know your a smart man
and this must weigh heavy in replies to you
it seems you measure to find a sound difference in ways most would not consider
5% on line voltage side
have you measured the psu ? Lol. I’m asking as I think most all preamps is highly regulated ?
so tubes are not as much as a vol variable
lol.
the title of this thread is horizon and dcs both excellent dacs and very far apart on sound
 

Alrainbow

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And for the record I don’t feel Steve is a tube roller but one who seeks out what he feels is best
and I think any lampi dAC using tubes makes this a much more exciting journey
 

microstrip

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I know your a smart man
and this must weigh heavy in replies to you
it seems you measure to find a sound difference in ways most would not consider
5% on line voltage side
have you measured the psu ? Lol. I’m asking as I think most all preamps is highly regulated ?
so tubes are not as much as a vol variable
lol.
the title of this thread is horizon and dcs both excellent dacs and very far apart on sound

Surely I am just addressing the preampfiers with unregulated power supplies - some purist or inexpensive preamplifiers just rely on capacitor and choke filtering in the power supply. I have one close to me today - the VTL2.5 .

As far as I see I have no technical details on the Horizon tube section.
 
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Alrainbow

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Surely I am just addressing the preampfiers with unregulated power supplies - some purist or inexpensive preamplifiers just rely on capacitor and choke filtering in the power supply. I have one close to me today - the VTL2.5 .

As far as I see I have no technical details on the Horizon tube section.
Hahahaas good answer
it’s all good man really
 

pk_LA

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A more important question has arisen begging inquisition! Is Steve a tube-roller...possibly living in tube-rolling denial?\;)
 
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Lee

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I am enjoying this discussion, but I fear that my upcoming Rossini Apex review will be unsatisfying for some as I cannot tube-roll the unit.

;)
 

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