Lampizator Horizon v. dCS Vivaldi Apex Listening Comparison

morricab

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Apr 25, 2014
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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?
No, because you didn't do it for the DAC comparison. Have you measured the peak voltage from each DAC on various dynamic range climaxes on a given recording? Is it really the same output voltage? WHat was the distortion of the Kondo DAC in THD? IMD? was it more than 0.1% Would you consider that enough to give a loudness injection (normally it is the high order harmonics that contribute to the perception of loudness, not really low order harmonics that one might expect from the Kondo...it is the high order harmonics that signal us to "turn it down")?

You have stumbled across something potentially interesting but if it is not totally clear that the SPL was the same then it might be a big nothing burger...if they were the same SPL then it is possibly very interesting as to WHY they were differently perceived...distortion may or may not be the explanation that fits the best.
 

microstrip

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No, because you didn't do it for the DAC comparison. Have you measured the peak voltage from each DAC on various dynamic range climaxes on a given recording? Is it really the same output voltage? WHat was the distortion of the Kondo DAC in THD? IMD? was it more than 0.1% Would you consider that enough to give a loudness injection (normally it is the high order harmonics that contribute to the perception of loudness, not really low order harmonics that one might expect from the Kondo...it is the high order harmonics that signal us to "turn it down")?

You have stumbled across something potentially interesting but if it is not totally clear that the SPL was the same then it might be a big nothing burger...if they were the same SPL then it is possibly very interesting as to WHY they were differently perceived...distortion may or may not be the explanation that fits the best.

You forget that the maximum voltage level in digital is 0db. Gain is adjusted in the amplification chain to compensate for different DAC outputs. I measure it with calibrated test tracks, not with music. The objective sound levels were the same.

The interesting thing was not the value of distortion but the spectra and how they varied with level - I measured it in 10 dB decrements from 0 to -90 dB. There was plenty of data, properly analyzing it would take a lot of time.

People can ask why I have measured it. Very simple - I am trying to sell it and to be sure it is in perfect condition I fully tested it. The critical point of gear without negative feedback is getting well matched tubes to get the same channel gain.
 

Joe Cohen

Industry Expert
Jun 10, 2012
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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?
Best to output pink noise and measure the amplitude of one DAC and then match amplitude of pink noise with the other using a calibrated mic.
 
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microstrip

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Best to output pink noise and measure the amplitude of one DAC and then match amplitude of pink noise with the other using a calibrated mic.

Why shouldn't we trust in the voltage readout taken with a quality instrument at the speaker input? I was not changing the speaker!
 

Joe Cohen

Industry Expert
Jun 10, 2012
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Shouldn't be an issue. I missed this sentence of yours, "The objective sound levels were the same." It would, however, be interesting to compare REQ calibration readings of both DACs across the audio spectrum to see how they differ.
 
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Audiocrack

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Although I know from own experience in my Tidal La Assoluta, Kondo amplification (Kondo G-1000 preamp and Kondo Kagura 211 / Gakuoh 300b power amps) and Tripoint grounding (Elite NG ‘grounding‘ box and Tripoint’s top of the Line Emperor grounding cables) audio set up - as well as from various owners with top notch audio systems all over the world - how (incredible good) the Wadax Reference combi and Akasa interlink are actually sounding, I am curious to hear your - that is pk-LA‘s - listening impressions regarding this combo, ideally in comparison to the other top dacs (such as the Lampizator Horizon and DCS Vivaldi apex) you were able to listen to in your audio system. Are you willing to share your listening experiences with us?
 

pk_LA

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I do plan to post my impressions from the various dacs I have auditioned soon. That said, I am also trying to be mindful that the various auditions...
1) each dac has been compared against the dCS Vivaldi Apex and none have been compared directly to one another
2) have been done in the same system with the same song lists
3) have not all been exactly level playing field auditions. Some dacs were auditioned with a high-end streamer and clock attached whereas others were plugged into a Roon Nuc via USB. And, one dac was far from broken-in...probably less that 10 hours on it!
4) the impressions are my own and my own only. They are meant for me to determine the right fit for me in my system and are in no way meant to be a definitive statement on any of the dacs!
5) there was really only one dac that would describe as 'not great'. All the other dacs were fantastic but unique and strong in various areas.
 

LL21

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Great! Very interested to read your listening notes on the incredible comparisons you have done!
 

acousticsguru

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Feb 17, 2014
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I think all DAC should be tested against the Same Streamer Same Cables.

If Streamers did not matter we would all be using Laptops or cheap computers!
True. It’s also true some DACs, or perhaps input boards or PSUs of DACs, are much more sensitive to file source and cables, and I find this worth mentioning, too. What it means is that in some cases, one is literally forced to spend a (an additional?) fortune on e.g. streamer and cables to get the best sound, whereas in others, one is not. Also, I feel it’s worth mentioning that the more tweakable a type of connection is (e.g.), logic has it, the more compromised it must appear to be technically, a truism, if surprisingly one that’s often overlooked (e.g. USB, the most tweakable digital connection of all).

Greetings from Switzerland, David.
 
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