R2R DACs 2017

sbo6

Member
May 19, 2014
693
0
16
Round Rock, TX
#21
Border Patrol & Audio-gd both appear twice in the first list; and Metrum also has DACs in the 5-15K range.
Thanks, removed redundant in same price band. TotalDAC, Audio-gd etc. appear 2x if they have products in more than 1 price band.

Up to 3k: Border Patrol, Monarchy, Denafrips, Audio-gd, MHDT, Holo, Soeskris, Metrum, Schiit

5-15K: Audio Note, MSB, Aqua, LessLoss, Totaldac, Lampizator, Denafrips, Audio-gd, Resolution Audio, PSAudio, CAD,

15K+: CH Precision, Aries Cerat, Audio Note, MSB, Totaldac, Lampizator, Audio Aero,
 
#22
Audio Aero is out of business
 

asiufy

Member Sponsor
Jul 8, 2011
2,697
3
38
San Diego, CA
almaaudio.com
#24
Aqua has the La Voce, a $3k product. It's not fully discrete, but it's R2R.
 
#27

j.phelan

New Member
Mar 25, 2014
54
0
0
#29
Thanks to everyone. I just added Light Harmonic.

All high-end processors used R2R in the 90s, meaning at 40-50 brands w/ U.S. presence. This dropped to about 5, now it's 20. 14 are solid-state.

One of (3) "reversals" on digital's road to greatness. Delta-sigma (noise-shaping) DACs, cheap hard-drives acting as dedicated transports and too-early use of USB. Only today (2017) does USB have great potential.
 
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Jun 22, 2013
188
0
0
Soquel, CA
#30
The new $23,000 plus Pacific DAC shown by Lampi has a new "chip" for DtoA conversion. Suppose to be better than previous discrete R2R according to designer. This new "chip" is probably Delta-Sigma. A lot of people who heard the recent demos feel this is a big step up for Lampi......and no R2R.

Upsampling to DSD512 is hot right now and the new Sabre DACs do this quite well. Several of the R2R jobbies do not do DSD or cannot do DSD512. Sabre's have always had a reputation for DSD playback (some love the Nadac, for instance, and it is nothing but an older ESS DAC with some op amps on the output). If you are doing upsampling to DSD and a great Delta-Sigma DAC like the new ESS9038 can do this in a great way then maybe we don't need R2R?!?

It will be interesting to see how a modded LKS DAC with dual ESS9038 chips in it playing HQPlayer upsampled to 512 compares to some of the expensive R2R DACs. One super way of doing this is to use Ethernet from the computer to a ultracap powered Sonore Rendu, then usb to a ultracap powered modded Singxer SU-1 and then I2S into the DAC.

It makes sense to me that really super done R2R would beat most Delta Sigma playing PCM......but DSD? Most Delta Sigma DACs that you can buy have Op Amps on the output and are not done to the same level of refinement as many of the R2R DACs (using discrete circuits, tubes or no output stage). The only 9038 ESS based DACs that I know of that have discrete output stages are Ayre, the LKS and my modded Sonica.

This certainly is a fun time for digital.....so many choices! So much to learn.
 

sbo6

Member
May 19, 2014
693
0
16
Round Rock, TX
#32
It will be interesting to see how a modded LKS DAC with dual ESS9038 chips in it playing HQPlayer upsampled to 512 compares to some of the expensive R2R DACs. One super way of doing this is to use Ethernet from the computer to a ultracap powered Sonore Rendu, then usb to a ultracap powered modded Singxer SU-1 and then I2S into the DAC.

This certainly is a fun time for digital.....so many choices! So much to learn.
Another way would be cut out the middle man and run I2S off the motherboard straight to an I2S input capable DAC.

Also, yes it is a fun and exciting time, digital is making sonic leaps!
 

wisnon

Active Member
Dec 12, 2011
2,480
5
38
#33
The new $23,000 plus Pacific DAC shown by Lampi has a new "chip" for DtoA conversion. Suppose to be better than previous discrete R2R according to designer. This new "chip" is probably Delta-Sigma. A lot of people who heard the recent demos feel this is a big step up for Lampi......and no R2R.

Upsampling to DSD512 is hot right now and the new Sabre DACs do this quite well. Several of the R2R jobbies do not do DSD or cannot do DSD512. Sabre's have always had a reputation for DSD playback (some love the Nadac, for instance, and it is nothing but an older ESS DAC with some op amps on the output). If you are doing upsampling to DSD and a great Delta-Sigma DAC like the new ESS9038 can do this in a great way then maybe we don't need R2R?!?

It will be interesting to see how a modded LKS DAC with dual ESS9038 chips in it playing HQPlayer upsampled to 512 compares to some of the expensive R2R DACs. One super way of doing this is to use Ethernet from the computer to a ultracap powered Sonore Rendu, then usb to a ultracap powered modded Singxer SU-1 and then I2S into the DAC.

It makes sense to me that really super done R2R would beat most Delta Sigma playing PCM......but DSD? Most Delta Sigma DACs that you can buy have Op Amps on the output and are not done to the same level of refinement as many of the R2R DACs (using discrete circuits, tubes or no output stage). The only 9038 ESS based DACs that I know of that have discrete output stages are Ayre, the LKS and my modded Sonica.

This certainly is a fun time for digital.....so many choices! So much to learn.
I think the PACIFIC step up claim is not about chips or R2R, but more about the active triode loading tube circuit and ultra clocks.
I personally never heard Sabre DSD challenge Lampi chipless on DSD. MSB perhaps and some new chip bypass designs.

I do take your overall point and agree too. Until rpven otherwise, I like R2R best for PCM and chipless for DSD. I dont like FPGA DSD at all!
 
Jun 22, 2013
188
0
0
Soquel, CA
#34
Yes, there are many things in the Pacific that have been improved. But in both videos of Lukasz talking about it he said the new chip was much better than his old discrete R2R and this is the sound he has been "looking for".

Those who implement the Sabre DACs usually do it with op amps and other not so great execution. Also the new ESS 9038 is way better sonically than the older 9018 (which is what most have heard and compared to). The Ayre DAC (which has a single ESS9038 and discrete output stage) only does DSD128......what a shame! Everything you do to something affects the sound. Even the type of heatsink mounted on top of the ESS 9038 chip makes a big sonic difference. We shall see what a somewhat tweaky dual mono ESS9038 DAC can do pretty soon when people compare my modded LKS DACs to others. Even the PCM sound from the modded LKS is really good. I have not heard upsampled DSD512 through it but would love to.
 
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j.phelan

New Member
Mar 25, 2014
54
0
0
#35
Up-sampling doesn't seem to help, with a very good R2R. I'd be surprised if folks here said otherwise. This is a "best" forum isn't it ? Meaning products are so good here, they don't need upgrades, outside grounding. (And maybe the latest Bybee RF-noise killer).

Ric S. offers a ground-mod and it *is* a great one. Similar to what Empirical is doing -emphasis on hardware vs. software.
 
#38
Tidal Audio [Camira] is also multibit ladder DAC.

The price is $ 28,500.

PCM : Bit-Perfect (24bit/384KHz)

DSD : DoP (DSD 256)
 
#39
I would say the Aries Cerat Kassandra range is very interesting indeed. The Ref II is about 18K euros and sports probably the best sounding chip ever made, the AD1865NK, but uses 16 of them in a new digital engine. It also has a powerful tube output, I/V stage using custom transformers, and output transformers that result in a line level of 6v or 10v at 18 ohms or 40 ohms. It has a 384 USB input and SPDIF with a super clock. Hugely over specified power supply, it goes on. I am thinking this is my destination DAC, watch this space of my review soon .... I think my 20 year search is going to be over. So many DACs been and gone, mostly NOS and latter were all Audio Note models.

To me, Aries Cerat take a different path to so many others, no cutting corners, no small parts, just design it right, even if it ends up big. It comes in at 60 kilos.

See how big it is, next to Stavros (the designer) with an Audio Note M10 (middle shelf) in the background for scale, which is the size of my previous DAC the Audio Note DAC 5.

Stavros.jpg
 

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