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stuart1927
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Joined: Aug 14 2014 - 10:21am
Just a dac?

Ok....so I currently have an Emotiva dc-1, which is a great little dac, but unfortunately is not DSD capable. I wouldn't mind so much, but I have a Denon SACD player and I'd really like to hook it up to a compatible DAC.

I'll back up just a bit. I have a reasonable system comprising of Doge audio, 6 (cd player) Doge 8 (pre-amp) and Doge 9 (Monoblocks). I have an olive one player for flac files that I hook up to the Emotiva dc-1 and feed to the Doge 8.

Speakers are Tekton Pendragons.

The system is pretty impressive for the money sound-wise.

As I've started to get more into digital music, I dusted off my older Denon DCD-1500AE SACD player and tried to see what the difference would be v's my Doge 6 CD player. What I found really surprised me.

I'm a big Hiromi fan (who isn't?!) and I have most of her cd's and equivalent SACD's. I did a direct comparison with her Spiral album from a few years ago. Both the Denon 1500AE and Doge 6 were connected to the Doge 8 pre-amp. So a direct comparison between a CD and SACD from Telarc. Initially I thought I had mixed things up, but the Doge 6 with regular cd absolutely kicked the ass of the Denon SACD player. A really massive difference in clarity, depth and presence. I really expected the opposite. My only conclusion is that the DAC in the Denon must be pretty poor v's the Doge 6? Admittedly, I have upgraded the Doge 6 with several hundreds of $'s of Mullard NOS tubes. But the difference was very significant.

Anyway, for a while I had been thinking of upgrading my Emotiva Dac, not because it is in any way deficient, but purely because I'd like to have DSD capability and be able to bypass the Denon's Dac. However, I've been going around in circles about options. I have considered the following:-

Wyred 4 sound dac2-DSDse
Oppo HA-1
Eastern Electric MiniMax Dac supreme
LKS MH-D003
BMC Puredac

With the exception of the Oppo and BMC, my choices are aimed primarily at DAC only options. I don't particularly want to pay extra for a headphone amp or pre-amp....I have a great pre-amp and I intend getting a dedicated headphone amp later. I would like a really good quality DSD compatible dac that doesn't break the bank. My budget is $2500, but preferably under $2000. Although the Oppo has more functionality than I need, it is an interesting option, but I really don't need the headphone amp....which is essentially what it is!

I would also like the DAC to be a proper Hi-Fi component....not a pc-desktop device, so a full size component is preferable.

Another consideration is I'd like the dac to have switchable voltage as I move around a lot for work.

Any ideas / recommendations most welcome!

Stuart

bierfeldt
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I know this is above your budget

check out the Marantz NA-11S1. It gets an A+ rating from Stereophile and the review here compared it to a $40K DACS and it held up well. For perspective, the Oppo BDP 105 gets a B rating. The functionality is exceptional and it is the best sounding DAC/Network controller I have ever heard. At $3500 it is clearly above your budget but this is a true standout unit at that price point. It does explicitly say it supports DSD via it's USB input.

Laen
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Joined: Mar 12 2015 - 6:24pm
Comment on the Olive One. I

Comment on the Olive One. I am considering one with storage,please discuss pros and cons

shp
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Joined: Nov 18 2007 - 4:57pm
Of the ones you've listed the

Of the ones you've listed the only one I've heard was the Wyred, which was close enough to the PS Audio that I probably couldn't have told the difference in blind testing.

Based on your criteria -- under $2,500, support for DSD, no headphone amp, and no pre-amp, Toslink or coax input -- the only products I could suggest is Chord's Chordette QuteHD and upcoming 2Qute.

So many other products available at that price point, but they have a pre-amp or headphone amp, including (apologies if they don't have the input you need, but II tried to filter out USB-only):
* Benchmark 2
* Mytek 192
* Naim V1
* Hegel HD12

ednazarko
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I have an Olive One - not ready, my opinion

I got one without internal storage since I have a custom-built media server, and just wanted the Olive One to act as a client in our bedroom, pulling streaming audio from the server, and internet radio from our network. We have Logitech Transporters in our family room and in my photo studio that we stream to and have for years, along with a Logitech Touch in my office, and an older Logitech Duo in my wife's office. Our pain-free experiences with the Logitech stuff, which is quite old, gave me hopes that the Olive One would bring some new capabilities and sound quality to the party.

The amp is very good, although low powered. I have it running through some high efficiency open baffle speakers and its a good match.

The problems I've had - and many - are all with the Olive One itself. I set it up with the external antenna installed, and you have to select that option on an internal menu. Unfortunately, it will from time to time forget that, and I have to re-select it. I set it up connected to my music server (JRiver) via DLNA. After multiple issues with losing connectivity, even losing awareness of the server instance it was playing from, I switched to legacy UPnP on JRiver. Same problems there. If I get it running, playing back, one night, the next evening I'll turn it on and it won't show a server connection. I have to go through the whole process of searching, connecting, etc. Sometimes I have to reboot the Olive One to get that to work. And sometimes I can't get it to work - if I'm going to bed, my tolerance for fiddling around trying to get something to stream music is pretty low, and in general I haven't been able to get music with less than 15 minutes of fiddling around. The tech support has said maybe I have a network problem, or maybe I should use a different UPnP server... I'd be more open to that if I wasn't using decades-old Logitech gear in five places in my house, successfully, using both Logitech and JRiver server software for streaming. I also have a cheap Grace Audio internet clock radio, and I never have issues with it losing track of the server.

Then there's internet radio. I've found that, about half the time, I'll start streaming and after some period of time - five minutes, a half hour, an hour - the Olive One will lose connection, and never connect again. Sometimes even shuts itself off, because its idling. My comparison is a house full of other streaming receivers, including a cheap clock radio (about $100) that locks on the stream and doesn't lose it.

Finally, the touchscreen interface is laggy. So much so that sometimes I can't tell if there's a network connection problem, if it didn't detect a touch on an option. I'd have maybe thought the lag was network latency, except again, I've got a number of other streaming client devices that respond crisply and fast. The interface also does not always respond in the same way - sometimes it plays something when you touch, sometimes it moves it to another column and doesn't play. Kind of like how in some software a "back" button can do different things depending on what kind of page you're on - which is really a no-no in interface design. I work with software developers in my day job, and the lags that I see feel like poorly designed and poorly timed polling. That could be poor interface code, or it could be interface code trying to compensate for hardware issues.

I've been through many rounds of back and forth emails, and we're now at the point where nothing they've recommended (including restoring to factory defaults and re-doing the system updates, which I've done three times now) have fixed anything. They're now asking to get on the phone with me, which means I'll have to spend an hour or two with them going "nope, that didn't work." I really don't have time or patience for that - for what I spent on the Olive One, I could have bought an NOS Logitech Touch, which is probably what I should have done.

At this point, I'm going to move it out of our bedroom into a guest room or someplace where we won't use it much. I've had it too long to demand a refund, and I suspect that eventually they'll get the software right, at which time I'll be happy to move it back into someplace where I'll use it more. This is the only crowd-funding technical bet I've made that I haven't been pleased with, and that's sad - it's a lovely design, with a nice amp section.

stuart1927
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Olive one promising but patience required

I've had the olive one for approx 5 months now. I think all the main issues are clear and have been stated elsewhere. The great thing however is that active software updates improve performance and functionality. The unit has improved greatly since I bought mine. The only issue I have currently is that the wall wort went bad and olive are taking too long to replace. I ended up getting a custom one made. I still think the olive is a unique product at its price point. I only use mine as a file source/ storage and interface, and for that alone its good value.

stuart1927
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Last seen: 2 years 6 months ago
Joined: Aug 14 2014 - 10:21am
Olive one promising but patience required

I've had the olive one for approx 5 months now. I think all the main issues are clear and have been stated elsewhere. The great thing however is that active software updates improve performance and functionality. The unit has improved greatly since I bought mine. The only issue I have currently is that the wall wort went bad and olive are taking too long to replace. I ended up getting a custom one made. I still think the olive is a unique product at its price point. I only use mine as a file source/ storage and interface, and for that alone its good value.

stuart1927
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LKS MH-D003 Dac

Hi Guys...In the end I couldn't resist and got the LKS dac. I have not seen any reviews on this unit...anywhere, but the specs were too hard to resist. Sorry for the link to a store, but it's one of the few listings that show the specs, albeit in pretty broken English!

http://www.shenzhenaudio.com/l-k-s-audio-mh-da003-es9018-2-dual-channel-...

I got mine from Shenzhen audio, but you can also get via Amazon (from same source)

The unit arrived yesterday...4 days from China to Houston...not bad.

My initial impressions on this machine are....Wow!

A very solid and high quality Dac. I have an Emotiva Stealth DC-1, which as a dac is a pretty solid and nice sounding dac. However, the LKS is significantly better in every respect. My initial listening session last night revealed much more authority, tighter /meatier bass and I guess what I believe people refer to as better imaging. I'm not a professional audiophile by any means, but I feel that the LKS has improved the overall sound quality of my system by a significant margin.

I only listened to cd level and up to 192 KHz/ 24 Bit files from HD tracks via the Olive one so far. I will play around more and hope to try some DSD recordings, once I work out how to do that!

Unfortunately the Olive one is waiting for Software upgrades to allow DSD via the USB....hopefully in a few months.

So, I'm more than happy with the LKS dac, it's a great piece of kit for the money. Highly recommended.

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