Lampizator Horizon v. dCS Vivaldi Apex Listening Comparison

morricab

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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?
Do you honestly think the Kondo sounds louder due to distortion?? I can’t see the amount of distortion there to be high enough for such an outcome. How many volts out are we talking about and what distortion levels? Please be specific if you are going to play scientist.
 

morricab

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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?
Did you set with pink noise and an SPL meter? That would be the only accurate way to do the matching…not electrical output because you have a big difference in output impedance for starters.
 

morricab

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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.
What you found was specific but you made it sound general. You should have said with which preamp(s) you found XYZ to be true and that those were unregulated designs and YMMV for regulated designs depending on the actual quality of the regulator design (they definitely are not all equivalent).
 

Gregm

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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.

;)
:) I couldn't either back in the day when I auditioned a CAT preamp and a Symphonic Line tube pre
 

Gregm

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I guess you re a busy man Lee and have better things to do then rolling tubes
I think he means it's not allowed -- at least that was the case when I auditioned. I was lent the equipment, but I wasn't authorised to intervene in their circuit...
 

microstrip

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Do you honestly think the Kondo sounds louder due to distortion?? I can’t see the amount of distortion there to be high enough for such an outcome. How many volts out are we talking about and what distortion levels? Please be specific if you are going to play scientist.

I know you can't see anything as you have not measured it. I did so and it is significant. In order to debate it properly we would need some time and space , as I would have to show the spectral analysis of the distortion versus level - something I have seen but not logged. FIY I use the HFN test CD that includes signal tracks down to -90 dB and the SpectraPlus analyzer. Not enough to play the scientist as you aggressively object, but enough to support an opinion.
 

microstrip

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Did you set with pink noise and an SPL meter? That would be the only accurate way to do the matching…not electrical output because you have a big difference in output impedance for starters.

Fortunately I know how to properly measure the electrical signals in dynamic conditions as I stated. SPL meters used in typical considerations are not accurate enough to get a .1 dB level matching.
 

Alrainbow

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Fortunately I know how to properly measure the electrical signals in dynamic conditions as I stated. SPL meters used in typical considerations are not accurate enough to get a .1 dB level matching.
Your comment on harsh
top end has merit
And it can be measured
having said this how much on what system is where things need be heard no longer on a bench
ralph can explain very well to you here I wish he would
I do think you have an agenda to discredit anyone who finds DCS bright or harsh lol. our Brian’s love distortion but digital is also not analog so the more natrual distortion to mask distal just might be a good thing
where dcs seems to be more naked to some

some dacs in a digital chain need some cloths
 
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microstrip

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What you found was specific but you made it sound general. You should have said with which preamp(s) you found XYZ to be true and that those were unregulated designs and YMMV for regulated designs depending on the actual quality of the regulator design (they definitely are not all equivalent).

You completely miss the spirit of the WBF informal discussions. I posted a fact, Alrainbow asked for a clarification, I did it. All is good, we now even know you are an expert in regulated designs!
 

microstrip

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Your comment on harsh
top end has merit
And it can be measured
having said this how much on what system is where things need be heard no longer on a bench
ralph can explain very well to you here I wish he would
I do think you have an agenda to discredit anyone who finds DCS bright or harsh lol. our Brian’s love distortion but digital is also not analog so the more natrual distortion to mask distal just might be a good thing
where dcs seems to be more naked to some

some dacs in a digital chain need some cloths

:)

You should read what I wrote on dCS and matching it with the system. I simply want to add distortion and noise after the DAC. And I posted before I could live forever with the Kondo DSL DAC in a compatible system, perhaps including the famous Living Voice $1M system.

Surely my agenda is, in part, liking what I own, I am an happy audiophile who enjoys his system and music! ;)
 

morricab

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I know you can't see anything as you have not measured it. I did so and it is significant. In order to debate it properly we would need some time and space , as I would have to show the spectral analysis of the distortion versus level - something I have seen but not logged. FIY I use the HFN test CD that includes signal tracks down to -90 dB and the SpectraPlus analyzer. Not enough to play the scientist as you aggressively object, but enough to support an opinion.
Still no data...if you have it, share it...waiting...
 

morricab

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Fortunately I know how to properly measure the electrical signals in dynamic conditions as I stated. SPL meters used in typical considerations are not accurate enough to get a .1 dB level matching.
So, you didn't compare it to SPL measurements...thought not...
 

microstrip

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Still no data...if you have it, share it...waiting...

Sorry, I will not enter your childish style. If some one other than you wants to seriously debate the Kondo DAC DSL distortion I would happily post the measurements in another thread.
 
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morricab

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You completely miss the spirit of the WBF informal discussions. I posted a fact, Alrainbow asked for a clarification, I did it. All is good, we now even know you are an expert in regulated designs!
You only think you clarified...you just hand waved some things. I am not an expert on regulated designs in terms of designing them myself but have heard first hand the effects of different regulators on the same circuits and also no regulation. It is also interesting to note which gear one ones that is more or less sensitive to the impact of a power regenerator or listening at different times of the day. Some gear seems impervious and some varies wildly.

What I know about "informal WBF discussions " (aren't they all informal??) is that you are always taking people to task for what you perceive as sloppy logic or pure subjectivist proclamations and yet you do similar things.

IMO, if you say it sounds louder at a given output voltage that should be easily measurable with an SPL meter. If it is not actually louder based on SPL then your argument around distortion has some merit. If it is louder then I would say your matching was off and gave you a false impression about what was really going on.

I used to test gear and would always try to match with pink noise to within 0.5dB (best I could do with my measurement gear). This was close enough for an "apples to apples" comparison...and I didn't have to wonder if one was really louder than the other...

It is possible that the Kondo DAC is simply more dynamic than the DCS and that contrast in dynamics makes it sound "louder". Every DCS I have heard was overly smooth and lacking a spark of life (could be a perception related around dynamics...but it is a consistent perception with all the models i have heard).
 

morricab

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Sorry, I will not enter your childish style. If some one other than you wants to seriously debate the Kondo DAC DSL distortion I would happily post the measurements in another thread.
What was childish about asking for data to back up your claim that it is making the Kondo sound "louder"?? Your calling my style for asking for data "childish" is just an attempt to avoid a serious discussion and obfuscate something that you just made up and are now being called upon to debate...go run and hide Micro!
 

morricab

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:)

You should read what I wrote on dCS and matching it with the system. I simply want to add distortion and noise after the DAC. And I posted before I could live forever with the Kondo DSL DAC in a compatible system, perhaps including the famous Living Voice $1M system.

Surely my agenda is, in part, liking what I own, I am an happy audiophile who enjoys his system and music! ;)
A lot of gear churn for a happy man...;)
 
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microstrip

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So, you didn't compare it to SPL measurements...thought not...
What is the point? The frequency response of the DACs if completely flat in the audio band and the voltage is measured at the speaker input with .1dB accuracy.
 

morricab

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What is the point? The frequency response of the DACs if completely flat in the audio band and the voltage is measured at the speaker input with .1dB accuracy.
Because you heard it SOUND louder...confirm that it actually was the same SPL before you start saying it was distortion making it sound louder. You have to eliminate the obvious before you move on to the more esoteric explanation.
 

microstrip

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Because you heard it SOUND louder...confirm that it actually was the same SPL before you start saying it was distortion making it sound louder. You have to eliminate the obvious before you move on to the more esoteric explanation.

If it is the same voltage and frequency at the input of the same speaker the SPL is the same ...

For fast comparisons I just measure the SPL with a meter, for a more precise evaluation I complement with voltage measurements. Happy?
 

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