Which electronics would you choose for Sasha DAW with the given budget?

Which electronics would you choose for Sasha DAW with the given budget?

  • CH Precision M1.1 + LampizatOr GG3 DAC with VC + Lumin U2/Aurender N200

    Votes: 1 5.6%
  • CH Precision M1.1 + LampizatOr Pacific DAC with VC + current streamer

    Votes: 5 27.8%
  • Vitus Audio SIA-030 Integrated Amp + LampizatOr Pacific without VC + Lumin U2/Aurender N200

    Votes: 2 11.1%
  • Gryphon Essence amp and preamp + LampizatOr Pacific without VC + Lumin U2/Aurender N200

    Votes: 8 44.4%
  • Others - please specify in the thread

    Votes: 2 11.1%

  • Total voters
    18

Blackfield2023

New Member
Feb 10, 2023
18
10
3
49
Hi,

I have been lurking on this great forum for sometime now and learning a lot from it.

I am planning to upgrade my electronics (timeline: later this year and early next year) and need your inputs.

Please note that I understand the importance of auditioning gears myself, the fact is it is very difficult to audition different amplifiers, etc. to be in my room at the same time.

Secondly, I am a novice and frankly I am unable to express my sonic preference due to lack of experience in listening to different options.

Thus, your subjective suggestion with the understanding that you do not know my detail sonic preference, room, system synergy, etc. - the regular caveat is understood when replying.

Here is my current system:
1. Digital streaming only, currently via Roon (Qobuz and FLAC over network). I ripped all of my CDs into FLAC a while ago.
2. Listening room: 12'W x 16'L x 11'H. I listen at 70-85dB range, 90 dB at the most.
3. Speaker: Wilson Audio Sasha DAW
4. Integrated amp: McIntosh MA12000 - 350w. This has built in DAC and currently using it.
5. Streamer: Optical Rendu + power supply
6. Cable: Shunyata Research and WireWorld

Earlier this year, I upgraded the speaker from WA SabrinaX to Sasha DAW.
Sasha DAW is definite improvement of most areas (midrange, bottom end, sound stage, vocal height presentation, etc) and really happy with it.

I enjoy a wide variety of music:
1. Prog rock - Pink Floyd, Steven Wilson, Porcupine Tree
2. Female vocals, Diana Krall, Sarah McLachlan, Norah Jones.
3. Electronic: Daft Punk
4. Blues - Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters
5. Jazz - John Coltrane, Miles Davis
6. Pop: the Beatles

I grew up with my dad listening to classical music as well, I listen to it from time to time.
So yeah, it's all over the place.

My next step is to improve the electronics (preferred used) and I plan to allocate around $50k for:
1. Amp
2. DAC
3. Streamer


Requirements:
1. Amplifier: Solid state that can grip Sasha DAW - 91Bb sensitivity, nominal impedance: 4ohms, 2.48ohms@85hz.
I am going to exclude McIntosh amps. Not because it is not great, I would like to experience different sonic flavor.

I would like the amp to be as close to neutral sonically as I prefer to use DAC tube to experiment with the sound if I want to do so.
e.g. Gryphon Antileon EVO intrigues me, however, I read its sonic characteristic is on the warm side thus I decided to exclude it from my consideration.

2. DAC: tube so I can experiment with different sonic flavors. Bonus point: one with excellent volume control has stronger appeal to me since I may not need a linestage in the digital only system.

3. Streamer: dedicated streamer function (no DAC nor linestage on the streamer).
I would like to spend the least here, from 0-10% at the most. I would like the ability to upgrade only the streamer in the distant future.

4. The brand must have good US customer service reputation.


The goal of this thread is to:
1. Gather options from you - for me to consider options that I have not discovered.

2. Learn from your feedback and see how you would allocate the budget for the different electronics.

3. Help me narrow down from the seas of options out there



Examples of options that I am considering - keep in mind all of these are using used price:

1. CH Precision M1.1 (~$32k) + LampizatOr GG3 DAC with VC (~$13k) + Lumin U2 (or Aurender N200). If Pacific DAC with VC turns up in the used market and say around $18k, stay with current Optical Rendu as streamer for now.

2. Vitus Audio SIA-030 Integrated Amp ($27k) + LampizatOr Pacific without VC (~$16k) + Lumin U2.
This integrated amp appeals to me as it can be both Class A or AB. I am not sure about Vitus Audio's reliability and US customer service reputation.

3. Gryphon Essence amp and preamp ($27k) - although my room is small, I am still concern whether 50W (I know it is class A) is sufficient to strongly grip Sasha DAW on all cases.
Secondly, I read that it may take 30 mins or so to sound best - this may not be ideal as my listening session is usually around one hour or less.
Thirdly, I am in TX, listening during summer may mean I need a towel as well, :).

From the above, you can tell given the budget, I would allocate 50-60% of the amp, 30-40% on the DAC, while I even be happy to not upgrade the streamer if it means I maximize on the amp and the DAC.
 

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Welcome to WBF, Blackfield2023!

(Yes, Kedar, the Welcome RonBot is active.)

You have a great room, and a very nice set-up!
 
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I enjoy a wide variety of music:
1. Prog rock - Pink Floyd, Steven Wilson, Porcupine Tree
2. Female vocals, Diana Krall, Sarah McLachlan, Norah Jones.
3. Electronic: Daft Punk
4. Blues - Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters
5. Jazz - John Coltrane, Miles Davis
6. Pop: the Beatles

I grew up with my dad listening to classical music as well, I listen to it from time to time.

So yeah, it's all over the place, :).
 
Welcome to WBF, Blackfield2023!

(Yes, Kedar, the Welcome RonBot is active.)

You have a great room, and a very nice set-up!
Thank you, Ron!

I have been building it slowly in the past two years.

I read your system thread and saw your interviews on YouTube.
Keep up the great work, I enjoy the interviews!
 
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Essenes won’t be enough, consider next level up. If budget not enough, keep your current streamer and wait for a future upgrade.
 
Hi Blackfield -
First off, I would keep the current streamer for now.
Amp: any one in your shortlist amps will probably surprise you with the sonic improvement (as per your your stated preferences) - I would probably go for CH or Vitus (Gryphon will heat the place up -- you'll need aircon, the ceiling fan won't do it!) my personal preference being the CH. BTW there is also an integrated CH precision with DAC...

From personal experience, I would also recommend the Dartzeel integrated (8550?, or whatever the current iteration), or the big symphonic line Kraft amps, or eve Lamms although the latter also run hot (not as bad as the Gryphon).

DAC: if I may, I would advise against getting tubes for the sake of tuning; I suggest you get the most revealing DAC (i.e not strident, pseudo-clear) and tune the system with the room & the attendant accessories. By all means get the Lampi -- if you prefer the sound over, say, a Vitus, Wadax, Ideon, etc.

Important: you have a small room (as have I): turning your attention to the room acoustics will yield superb results, incomparably superior to tube rolling, etc (granted though, it's not as much fun!)

Good luck, the search is half the fun!
 
CH. But, you cannot get away with a dac as a preamp.... You will need a proper preamp at some point.
 
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I heard Alexx V recently at a show driven by ARC 160M, not sure the pre but expect it was Ref6, dac was dCS. For me it didn't really hold up, lacked transparency in this implementation. I went back later and they were in the process of changing the ARC out for Constellation. From cold the Constellation was far more to my taste, the music had flow and the clarity I look for. A brand worth researching for use with Wilson
 
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Hi,

I have been lurking on this great forum for sometime now and learning a lot from it.

I am planning to upgrade my electronics (timeline: later this year and early next year) and need your inputs.

Please note that I understand the importance of auditioning gears myself, the fact is it is very difficult to audition different amplifiers, etc. to be in my room at the same time.

Secondly, I am a novice and frankly I am unable to express my sonic preference due to lack of experience in listening to different options.

Thus, your subjective suggestion with the understanding that you do not know my detail sonic preference, room, system synergy, etc. - the regular caveat is understood when replying.

Here is my current system:
1. Digital streaming only, currently via Roon (Qobuz and FLAC over network). I ripped all of my CDs into FLAC a while ago.
2. Listening room: 12'W x 16'L x 11'H. I listen at 70-85dB range, 90 dB at the most.
3. Speaker: Wilson Audio Sasha DAW
4. Integrated amp: McIntosh MA12000 - 350w. This has built in DAC and currently using it.
5. Streamer: Optical Rendu + power supply
6. Cable: Shunyata Research and WireWorld

Earlier this year, I upgraded the speaker from WA SabrinaX to Sasha DAW.
Sasha DAW is definite improvement of most areas (midrange, bottom end, sound stage, vocal height presentation, etc) and really happy with it.

I enjoy a wide variety of music:
1. Prog rock - Pink Floyd, Steven Wilson, Porcupine Tree
2. Female vocals, Diana Krall, Sarah McLachlan, Norah Jones.
3. Electronic: Daft Punk
4. Blues - Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters
5. Jazz - John Coltrane, Miles Davis
6. Pop: the Beatles

I grew up with my dad listening to classical music as well, I listen to it from time to time.
So yeah, it's all over the place.

My next step is to improve the electronics (preferred used) and I plan to allocate around $50k for:
1. Amp
2. DAC
3. Streamer


Requirements:
1. Amplifier: Solid state that can grip Sasha DAW - 91Bb sensitivity, nominal impedance: 4ohms, 2.48ohms@85hz.
I am going to exclude McIntosh amps. Not because it is not great, I would like to experience different sonic flavor.

I would like the amp to be as close to neutral sonically as I prefer to use DAC tube to experiment with the sound if I want to do so.
e.g. Gryphon Antileon EVO intrigues me, however, I read its sonic characteristic is on the warm side thus I decided to exclude it from my consideration.

2. DAC: tube so I can experiment with different sonic flavors. Bonus point: one with excellent volume control has stronger appeal to me since I may not need a linestage in the digital only system.

3. Streamer: dedicated streamer function (no DAC nor linestage on the streamer).
I would like to spend the least here, from 0-10% at the most. I would like the ability to upgrade only the streamer in the distant future.

4. The brand must have good US customer service reputation.


The goal of this thread is to:
1. Gather options from you - for me to consider options that I have not discovered.

2. Learn from your feedback and see how you would allocate the budget for the different electronics.

3. Help me narrow down from the seas of options out there



Examples of options that I am considering - keep in mind all of these are using used price:

1. CH Precision M1.1 (~$32k) + LampizatOr GG3 DAC with VC (~$13k) + Lumin U2 (or Aurender N200). If Pacific DAC with VC turns up in the used market and say around $18k, stay with current Optical Rendu as streamer for now.

2. Vitus Audio SIA-030 Integrated Amp ($27k) + LampizatOr Pacific without VC (~$16k) + Lumin U2.
This integrated amp appeals to me as it can be both Class A or AB. I am not sure about Vitus Audio's reliability and US customer service reputation.

3. Gryphon Essence amp and preamp ($27k) - although my room is small, I am still concern whether 50W (I know it is class A) is sufficient to strongly grip Sasha DAW on all cases.
Secondly, I read that it may take 30 mins or so to sound best - this may not be ideal as my listening session is usually around one hour or less.
Thirdly, I am in TX, listening during summer may mean I need a towel as well, :).

From the above, you can tell given the budget, I would allocate 50-60% of the amp, 30-40% on the DAC, while I even be happy to not upgrade the streamer if it means I maximize on the amp and the DAC.
Hi,

I’ve compared Gryphon Antileon EVO with CH A1.5 and Mephisto Stereo with CH M1.1 monos in my room. I like both Gryphon and CH, although they are very different. Once you hear Gryphon’s crazy dynamics and base control, it’s very difficult to unhear it. Gryphon is also meatier and darker sounding. But, on the other hand, CH is more musical in MF and HF area. It’s probably more transparent, delicate, closer to the tube single-ended amp, I had before. It’s a very difficult choice and in my view it’s a lottery unless you try both side by side in your listening room. And even then it would be hard to do:)

Good luck!
 
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I heard Alexx V recently at a show driven by ARC 160M, not sure the pre but expect it was Ref6, dac was dCS. For me it didn't really hold up, lacked transparency in this implementation. I went back later and they were in the process of changing the ARC out for Constellation. From cold the Constellation was far more to my taste, the music had flow and the clarity I look for. A brand worth researching for use with Wilson
If you are talking about the 160M it might depend on what series it was. The recent Mark II is a big improvement over the older Mark I Ref 160M. The Mark II uses the circuit and parts improvements frome the Ref 160 Stereo which I have. It offers tremendous transparency with my Alexia Vs.
 
First of all, thank you for all of the replies and generous time!

Have you considered a CH I1 with streaming card? It can be had new in your price range and save you on cabling and shelving options.
Hi DSkip, I have.
If I am going with CH route, I would prefer to go separate, say with CH A1.5 used where I will have the budget.

Essenes won’t be enough, consider next level up. If budget not enough, keep your current streamer and wait for a future upgrade.
Hi TDX,
I forgot to mention that Essence is 100W @ 4ohm and almost double at 2ohm and it is class A and please keep in mind my room size. Curious, do you have experience with Essence? If so, please do share more.
I agree that streamer is my lowest priority to upgrade.

I was quite satisfied driving my Sasha and Alexias with Lamm M1.2 monoblocks. Pure Class A 110 Watts into 4 or 8 Ohms, 220 Watts into 2 Ohms, and 400 Watts into 1 Ohm. Used prices run $7.5k to $20k.
Hi tima,
Thank you for bringing up Lamm to my attention, it is a brand that I am not familiar with. I will research it more.

Hi Blackfield -
First off, I would keep the current streamer for now.
Amp: any one in your shortlist amps will probably surprise you with the sonic improvement (as per your your stated preferences) - I would probably go for CH or Vitus (Gryphon will heat the place up -- you'll need aircon, the ceiling fan won't do it!) my personal preference being the CH. BTW there is also an integrated CH precision with DAC...

From personal experience, I would also recommend the Dartzeel integrated (8550?, or whatever the current iteration), or the big symphonic line Kraft amps, or eve Lamms although the latter also run hot (not as bad as the Gryphon).

DAC: if I may, I would advise against getting tubes for the sake of tuning; I suggest you get the most revealing DAC (i.e not strident, pseudo-clear) and tune the system with the room & the attendant accessories. By all means get the Lampi -- if you prefer the sound over, say, a Vitus, Wadax, Ideon, etc.

Important: you have a small room (as have I): turning your attention to the room acoustics will yield superb results, incomparably superior to tube rolling, etc (granted though, it's not as much fun!)

Good luck, the search is half the fun!
Hi Gregm,

Thank you for confirming my thought process that streamer should be my lowest priority - for now.

On Amp, I excluded Dartzeel from consideration due to budget. I also would like to move away from integrated (I know that I mentioned Vitus integrated, :)) to experience separate.
Just from reading, yes, it seems I would exclude Gryphon as well per my many of the concerns with it.

On DAC - originally I wrote on draft that I won't have preference whether it is tube or state as I want to use the tech to narrow it down. I will rethink DAC to see if I will get the opportunity to do comparison at my house on my system.

Yes, I was still surprised at the improvement of the sound after adding room treatment - even after reading so many posts that this is super important. I am a believer now. My next step in this area is to learn on how to measure the room acoustic, etc.

CH. But, you cannot get away with a dac as a preamp.... You will need a proper preamp at some point.
Hi 2fastdriving,

I read many posts on this, if I decide to go direct from Dac -> Amp, I will let the system settle first. It seems people have different experiences in regards to this depending on the VC implementation on the DAC and the pre-amp you compare with.

Boulder 1160 amp
Playback Designs DAC, MPD8 or MPD6
Boulder amps don't get hot, have great grip and are the most neutral.
HI chuck,

I read about Boulder and my concern is that it may be too dry - not musical enough. I also have perception that I need to move up to 2060 (that is out of my budget) for it to be compared to CH M1.1 for example - of course, this is just me reading, not comparing.
I will research more on Playback Designs, so many DACs, so little time. What do you like about Playback Designs vs. other brand - say LampizatOr?

I heard Alexx V recently at a show driven by ARC 160M, not sure the pre but expect it was Ref6, dac was dCS. For me it didn't really hold up, lacked transparency in this implementation. I went back later and they were in the process of changing the ARC out for Constellation. From cold the Constellation was far more to my taste, the music had flow and the clarity I look for. A brand worth researching for use with Wilson
Hi defride,

I heard ARC 160M driving Sasha DAW at my dealer, I will be honest, I was not impressed by it. However, this was limited listening on my dealer's room - which is not the greatest.
On Constellation, I saw a photo of their amp inner component before and I have prejudice against it since. It is not rational, I know - however, it sticks with me for sometime.
 
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Hi,

I’ve compared Gryphon Antileon EVO with CH A1.5 and Mephisto Stereo with CH M1.1 monos in my room. I like both Gryphon and CH, although they are very different. Once you hear Gryphon’s crazy dynamics and base control, it’s very difficult to unhear it. Gryphon is also meatier and darker sounding. But, on the other hand, CH is more musical in MF and HF area. It’s probably more transparent, delicate, closer to the tube single-ended amp, I had before. It’s a very difficult choice and in my view it’s a lottery unless you try both side by side in your listening room. And even then it would be hard to do:)

Good luck!
Hi abeidrov!

I was hoping you saw my thread as I read your thread and saw your YT videos in the past comparing these amps that I am interested using Sasha DAW.
They are so valuable and your input is greatly appreciated.

From your description above, I may prefer CH over Gryphon as I would value musicality over darker sounding and extreme bass grip.
In addition, I mentioned that my room is small and I live in TX, the summer here is very hot. Even yesterday - May 5th, the high was at 90F outside.
I remember that you live in Russia - your Mephisto has a side benefit as room heater, I am sure!

Questions for you:
1. What is your room size?
2. Which DAC do you use now?
3. I remember you added CH L1, curious if you ever connect DAC with volume control directly to Mephisto?
4. Curious about CH A1.5, did it drive your Sasha DAW to your satisfaction? Do you also prefer Antileon EVO over it? I read that Antileon EVO is warmer than Mephisto and Essence.
 
Last edited:
Hi abeidrov!

I was hoping you saw my thread as I read your thread and saw your YT videos in the past comparing these amps that I am interested using Sasha DAW.
They are so valuable and your input is greatly appreciate it here.

From your description above, I may prefer CH over Gryphon as I would value musicality over darker sounding and extreme bass grip.
In addition, I mentioned that my room is small and I live in TX, the summer here is very hot. Even yesterday - May 5th, the high was at 90F outside.
I remember that you live in Russia - your Mephisto has a side benefit as room heater, I am sure!

Questions for you:
1. What is your room size?
2. Which DAC do you use now?
3. I remember you added CH L1, curious if you ever connect DAC with volume control directly to Mephisto?
4. Curious about CH A1.5, did it drive your Sasha DAW to your satisfaction? Do you also prefer Antileon EVO over it? I read that Antileon EVO is warmer than Mephisto and Essence.
Is Gryphon really dark sounding? That's not the impression I get from Hugh's setup.
 
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Is Gryphon really dark sounding? That's not the impression I get from Hugh's setup.
Relative to CH? Yes, maybe dark is not the right word, more dense.
 

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