Looking for a more organic dac

speakerlust

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Mar 26, 2011
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@delphi17,

If you are using HQ Player with Tambaqui, I would be interested in reading more of your impressions and how you have configured HQ Player doing so. I have not found much on the web on this combo, with some believing there is little change. With my limited testing on USB and ethernet cables with the Makua, I am thinking HQ Player could indeed be influential with Mola Mola DAC, but again depending how configured. Thanks in advance.
 

caesar

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May 31, 2010
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I think we are getting drunk with the vocabulary ... dCS can be many things but not boring, it is the most exciting dac I have ever heard. Nor would I call it sterile. Previously had a Chord TT2 and the Bartok had a lot more meat on the bones, is fuller and sounds more natural.

Hi Opm,
Obviously our tastes are different. I had dCS in several of my systems at home. And it was analytical as hell! I couldn't even take it in the spectacularly musical Zu- Audion Golden Night system. Now dCS is not as sterile, hang yourself from the chandelier ... Swing... Swing... Swing... Swing... as the Berkeley Reference DAC but on that side of the spectrum...

But I agree with you about the audiophile vocabulary, that's why I brought it up initially, as we all use words differently...

Let me bring a psychological perspective to help make my point even more salient: it has been said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture. This is also true when it comes to putting words around subjective experiences of audio.

Words like “warm” and "organic" are really nothing more or less than words that anyone can use to indicate anything we please. The problem is that people use these words to indicate a host of different things, which has created a tremendous terminological mess…

A lot of the mess stems from prior experiences – or a lack thereof. If someone lacks the machinery for a sexual orgasm, then our experience of orgasm is one that this person will never know -no matter how much we talk about it.

Experiences of fine tequilas, string quartets in world class venues, caring deeds, ice cream, and high end audio are rich, complex, multidimensional, and impalpable. Because “warm” or "organic" are also experiences, they can only be approximately defined by its antecedents and by its relation to other experiences. That’s why I can’t stand Neil Grobbers/ "audio journalist" scumbags who never compare, but just proclaim something as “best” because some new detail they heard tickled his analytical preference. Of course, it is best only in the worthless guys' imaginations and contributes to fukc the audio fan culture… (And thank God Goebbels did not have access to the talent of these despicable propaganda artists!)

Once we have an experience - hear a component that does something very new or very different – like speed and inner detail of a horn or an electrostatic midrange, we cannot simply set it aside and see the world as we would have seen it had the experience never happened.

Additionally, distorted views of reality are made possible by the fact that experiences are ambiguous -that is, they can be credibly viewed in many ways, some of which are more positive than others. Different moods, auditioning circumstances, people we like or don’t like, preconceived notions, etc…

Furthermore, to complicate things even further, our remembrance of things past is imperfect, thus comparing our new understanding of “organic” with our memory of our old "organic" is a risky way to determine whether two subjective experiences are really different.

With all that said, coming back to comparisons, I offered options that may be "warm" or "organic", but definitely more emotionally satisfying than dCS: TotalDAC, Lampizator and Jadis.

Good Luck in your search!
 
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musicfirst1

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Mar 8, 2015
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Organic DACs to consider:

1) Aries Cerat Helene **** and Kassandra (the Kassandra II ****+ is the best DAC I've heard)
2) Mola Mola Tambaqui **** the digital volume control is the best I've heard and volume control is not available on the AC DACs.
3) Metrum Adagio ***+ a world beater, esp if you need a preamp
4) Sonnet Morpheous ***+ many prefe rthis to the Adagio, but not me. Close but no Cohiba...
5) Aqua HiFi *** (Optilogic ***+)

Others I've owned and would not Recommend:

Yggdrasil (way overrated, I have a 240v version that someone can have cheap)
Lampizator (Big 7 and Pacific) very colored IMO and extemely noisy
Chord Dave(really good ***+ to **** with the MScalar, but too expensive as a combo for what they do)
 
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delphi17

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Aug 6, 2021
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@delphi17,

If you are using HQ Player with Tambaqui, I would be interested in reading more of your impressions and how you have configured HQ Player doing so. I have not found much on the web on this combo, with some believing there is little change. With my limited testing on USB and ethernet cables with the Makua, I am thinking HQ Player could indeed be influential with Mola Mola DAC, but again depending how configured. Thanks in advance.
I used Antipodes version of HQ Player.
It's really well integrated inside Roon, but you do have to buy the HQ Player license.
There's a setting in Roon , and it's very easy to direct the module to use the HQ Player integration.

However, I found I personally preferred the Roon sound, and as I only have the S40+S60.
I end up just using the S40 as a pure server to feed the Tambaqui as that gave me the cleanest and more relaxed sound for my taste.

However , if I were to move up to the K50, I would definitely use the HQ Player and use the I2S or the AES to power the Tambaqui.

There's also another way and that's using LinQ's HQP NAA module.
You will not need to buy HQ Player license with this, as it comes with the module.

Below is a Netherland reviewer who has tested K50, LinQ and Tambabqui in various configuration.
Well worth a read, as its very very detailed. All in English, don't worry.


Hope that helps.

David
 

delphi17

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Aug 6, 2021
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Organic DACs to consider:

1) Aries Cerat Helene **** and Kassandra (the Kassandra II ****+ is the best DAC I've heard)
2) Mola Mola Tambaqui **** the digital volume control is the best I've heard and volume control is not available on the AC DACs.
3) Metrum Adagio ***+ a world beater, esp if you need a preamp
4) Sonnet Morpheous ***+ many prefe rthis to the Adagio, but not me. Close but no Cohiba...
5) Aqua HiFi *** (Optilogic ***+)

Others I've owned and would not Recommend:

Yggdrasil (way overrated, I have a 240v version that someone can have cheap)
Lampizator (Big 10 and Pacific) very colored IMO and extemely noisy
Chord Dave (really good with the MScalar, but too expensive as a combo for what they do)
Agreed.

Chord Dave with Mscaler was really good, but definitely too expensive as a combo , considering the Tambaqui's pricing.

However when heard in combination with Chord's pre , amp and full loom, definitely a fantastic combo.
That's when it truly shines.
 

delphi17

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Aug 6, 2021
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And for people who have Tambaqui in their system.
The footer (or lack of) on the Tambaqui is definitely something that can be improved.
I am currently using CMS Centerstage 2 0.8 on them at the moment.

The improvement on the dac is really an eye-opener.
I am getting the just released CS2M in 3-4 weeks, will report back.

But definitely something to consider, as I think it elevates an already great dac to even higher levels.
 

Uk Paul

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Sep 27, 2012
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Hello Paul, interesting appreciation. I am lucky that the MSB distributor is also from T + A.

When I had the Chord TT2 I tried it with the MScaler and I didn't like it. I'm not sure but I think upsampling is not for me and it could be one of the things I have left over from the Bartok. Does the T + A scale everything to DSD512?

Tbh, I do not know whether the T+A upsamples to DSD512, I can ask of course.. The other thing you will need to be aware of is your power supply to the digital side; this is most important when trying to achieve better more analogue like sound from digital. It is as important as the DAC choice itself..
Best Rgds,
Paul
 

morricab

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Klipsch Cornwall III, Audio Research REF150SE. Right now I am in the process of changing the speakers, which I suppose will be a Harbeth 40.3. But it is yet to be confirmed.
Have a look at Ayon DACs and/or music servers...or the Aton cd-35. These are one of the best in terms of detail but organic sound. If your budget can stretch further then Aries Cerat Helena and Kassandra are the ones to look for the sound you want.
 

Uk Paul

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Have a look at Ayon DACs and/or music servers...or the Aton cd-35. These are one of the best in terms of detail but organic sound. If your budget can stretch further then Aries Cerat Helena and Kassandra are the ones to look for the sound you want.
Actually that is a good call, Ayon would work very well here!
 
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morricab

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One other point; the Ayon DACs really do not need a preamp...the output stage is really a good preamp and the volume control is analog on the newer ones.,

Aries Cerat would require a preamp...something like the Aries Cerat Incito would work great.
 
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morricab

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Actually that is a good call, Ayon would work very well here!
I have both and while AC Kassandra is better my Ayon Skylla2 is really good...meaty and organic with still a lot of detail and resolution...particularly of space.
 
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Uk Paul

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True, the Stratos DAC/Pre that we use is really very good direct to amps, it takes a top level pre such as the Concert Fidelity 080 that we also use to surpass it..
The Stealth would also be a great fit..
 
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christoph

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Lampizator (Big 10 and Pacific) very colored IMO and extemely noisy
Absolutely NOT my experience. Did you try different tubes?
...and by the way, a Big 10 never existed ;)
 
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christoph

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Mola Mola Tambaqui **** the digital volume control is the best I've heard and volume control is not available on the AC DACs.
A friend who's ears I absolutely trust had the Mola Mola Tambaqui and the Lampizator Atlantic TRP with built-in preamp and Remote Volume Control at the same time at home in his system to directly compare and then bought the Lampi TRP :D
 
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bonzo75

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delphi17

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Have a look at Ayon DACs and/or music servers...or the Aton cd-35. These are one of the best in terms of detail but organic sound. If your budget can stretch further then Aries Cerat Helena and Kassandra are the ones to look for the sound you want.

Another vote for trying the Ayon.. Tried the S10 MK2 , it was very enjoyable, and has streamer built in, which would work well for OP.
 
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delphi17

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Lampizator definitely are not noisy, probably bad tubes?
I quiet like them when I heard them in a friend's system.

But they are certainly not quiet like the Tambaqui though....
Tambaqui is ridiculously quiet.

To be honest, I think tubes have their attraction.
It's a personal taste thing.
Comparing S/S to tubes is just un-necessary in my view.
Both are great for their target audience.
 
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Al M.

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There are several factors here, setup, system context and personal taste.

Nobody knows how good the eco system around any given DAC is when it is evaluated (power, cables, type of input to the DAC [USB, AES/EBU or others], server etc.), an eco system to which also different DACs in a head to head comparison may react differently. I also suspect, BTW, that those who think the Yggy DAC is overrated, for some reason of system setup have never heard what it really can do (regardless, my vote on No as for a recommendation of the DAC to the original poster, opm, still stands based on his personal tastes). But at the same time, many very expensive DACs have also not been heard under the best circumstances, and are therefore underrated by various people as well.

Second, system context is everything. For example, differences in baseline tonal balance of a system will decide how well the tonal balance of a given DAC will fit in. Other characteristics of system presentation will play a role as well. Thus, judgements on a given DAC in a shootout will depend on overall system context. In that regard, I find the advice to the original poster to wait with a DAC decision until he has his new speakers an excellent one.

Third, personal taste is always an elusive factor. What are you listening for, what are your listening priorities? That will be decisive in making judgements, in rating different DACs against one another. It is hard to trust others' opinions, regardless of their best intentions, when you don't know if they listen the same way as you do. That is also why personal audition is paramount, as opm has pointed out as well as a condition for his purchase.
 

morricab

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Apr 25, 2014
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True, the Stratos DAC/Pre that we use is really very good direct to amps, it takes a top level pre such as the Concert Fidelity 080 that we also use to surpass it..
The Stealth would also be a great fit..
The Stratos has the same power supply and output stage as my Skylla but the digital part is different. A bit different presentation but quite simply in.most important ways.
 
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Joe Cohen

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5DDB342F-08D5-4C0F-A93D-FA83153A77FB.jpeg SW1X DAC V

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