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SOLD: FS: Lenehan Audio PDX DAC - Level 2+


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#1 Sir Rab of Acoustat

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 10:39 AM

Item: Lenehan Audio PDX DAC with S/PDIF & USB (Hiface) inputs & opto volume control - Level 2+
Location: Melbourne
Price: Price drop - and priced to sell at only $2,800!!!
Item Condition: Mint
Reason for selling: complete system re-think, selling everything
Payment Method: Pickup - Cash, Paypal, COD Only
Extra Info:
I am the original owner of this DAC. It has the full house upgrades and more. It also has both S/PDIF and USB inputs, selected by a relay actuated by a front panel switch. The USB input is to an internal M2Tech Hiface USB to I2S converter, with I2S going straight to the PCM1704UK DAC chips. The "more" includes three separate LiFePO4 batteries (and NO voltage regulators) powering the Hiface, whereas other PDX DACs (and to my knowledge the Jkenny M2Tech interface) include only two batteries and use at least one regultaor. The batteries are internally recharged by (switchable) smart recharge circuitry. When I had the HiFace module installed last year, I was told that my DAC sounded better than Mike Lenehan's own reference PDX DAC. Since then, the B+ and heater power supplies for the tube output stage have been upgraded with Jensen and Soren caps and an Audio Note resistor.

The current price for the above is > $5k (see http://www.lenehanau...ac-level-2.html).

Prefer local pickup, but can post if necessary, at the buyer's expense.

Pictures: can upload more pics if required, but it looks like all other PDXs...

Attached Files


Edited by rab, 21 May 2012 - 09:08 PM.


#2 Sir Rab of Acoustat

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 03:15 PM

Price drop to $3,400. Not bad for a mint condition DAC costing more than $5k new!

Remember, with this DAC you will not need a preamplifier! You can go straight into a power amplifier, using the extremely transparent optical volume control: essentially just an opto-resistor in the signal path!

Read the many reviews etc on SNA. The most recent compares the PDX favourably with a $6k Playback Designs DAC. SNA user Bhobba has both!

Worried about jitter? Worry no more with the battery powered Hiface receiving redbook or hi resolution audio data up to 24/96 over USB and outputting I2S straight to the DAC chips, thus avoiding the use of a S/PDIF receiver chip! As good as the megabucks Offramp according to Bill Hobba - read his report on SNA! (Playback Designs thread)

I have no steak knives, but I do have some plastic picnic plates and cutlery - all yours if you want it!

- rab

#3 Sir Rab of Acoustat

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 09:15 PM

Price drop to $3300!

#4 Sir Rab of Acoustat

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 09:43 PM

It occurs to me that I have been assuming that people reading this would be very familiar with the virtues of the PDX DAC, but that might well not be the case. I thus hope the following recent comments from respected SNA members (on the Playback Designs thread) might be helpful:

“I had now the PDX level2 with Dueland Arrived, just a quick listen last night on some songs. Huge different to the standard PDX i heard before. Impressive sounds from the PDX level 2. - dalamii 26feb

There followed a shootout between the $17k Playback Designs MPS-5 SACD Player and a Level 2 PDX. The DAC only version of the MPS-5 is the $13k MPD-5. So the shootout was effectively between the PDX and a $13k Playback Designs DAC. Unlike the PDX, the Playback Designs DAC does not include a USB interface.

The shootout attendees commented as follows:

“while the MPS-5 offers a kind of audio presentation different to anything I can recall hearing - hugely impressive in some regards - I enjoyed music more with the PDX.”
- kdoot

“I think when people say they find the PDX to sound more "live", it has a lot to do with the tube output stage. “ - DoggieHowser 18mar

“To really unlock its potential [The Playback Designs] the Off-Ramp was required. It does not surprise me kdoot and others preferred the PDX through it internal USB - it [The Playback Designs] was slightly ordinary that way to my ears and the PDX was better.” - Bhobba 18mar

The owner of the Playback Designs SACD player (who preferred it to the PDX) commented as follows: “There is no doubt that the PDX is a great value for money DAC. And I can only recommend that it is on your short list no matter what your budget.” - jrisles 21mar

“I have got both a PDX and Playback Designs because I see the virtues of both. The Playback Designs was the first DAC that got to me compared to my PDX.”
- Bhobba 22mar

“I had the chance to have a listen to the PDX level 2 with upgraded caps this morning. It certainly has "wow" factor. And it's a very, very capable DAC. - alastairm 22mar

“At my house I preferred the Pdx over the mpd 3 player. My system is fully Solid state. The pdx added a lovely forward mid which makes it really additive to listen to, especially to string instruments. Not exactly neutral, but sure is musical. The PBD is mean lean detailed, never bright, but in my system I needed the pdx warmth injection. - petng

Mike put the PDX and the Playback on an AB this morning, running through the Macs and ML3Reference and I personally preferred the PDX. - DoggieHowser 5May

Clearly, the PDX is an excellent DAC! Make the most of this opportunity to buy a DAC that is clearly competitive with the $13k Playback Designs DAC, for a small fraction of that price! -- AND you don't need to buy a $1500 offramp USB interface to make it shine: there is a battery powered jitter reducing USB interface built right into the PDX!

Edited by rab, 09 May 2012 - 07:12 AM.


#5 Nada

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 12:54 PM

Im just trying to find what the output impedance is for the PDX to see if its compatible with my power amps impedance ( I tried the product link you posted but the Specification page only had option upgrades?). Any bump idea?

Edited by Nada, 09 May 2012 - 12:55 PM.

Better to be kind then clever.


#6 Sir Rab of Acoustat

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 05:26 PM

Hi nada, I just called Mike and he told me it is 800 Ohms.

#7 Sir Rab of Acoustat

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 10:05 PM

... and more praise on SNA for this superb DAC:

"Well my [Playback Designs] MPD-3 finally arrived but I was down in Canberra so Doggiehowser was kind enough to do some initial checking out for me...

Anyway when he finished with it on his system he took it down to Mikes to compare it to the PDX and thought in that system the PDX was better. I went down yesterday and did a preliminary listen.

To my ears and in that system I thought the PDX was better - more alive and with greater detail and bass. The PD had a smoother more analogue like sound - very good mind you - but for me without the excitement and realism of the PDX. We tried the Off-Ramp and to my ears it was better with more detail - but still the PDX was better." - bhobba 9 May 2012


Come on people, I need some cash! $3,300 is great price for this DAC - it will cost you over $5k to buy new!

#8 Nada

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 01:08 AM

Can you explain about the three batteries for the internal HiFace in terms of what kind of batteries they are and what they they feed and how it differs to the usual two battery mode?

Better to be kind then clever.


#9 Sir Rab of Acoustat

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 11:03 AM

*** Price drop to $3200!! ***

Hi Nada, here's the story as I understand it: as you know, last year John Kenny was having great success taking the M2Tech Hiface USB interface device but using two rechargeable batteries to supply power to the Hiface rather than using the (noisy) USB power supplied by the USB cable from the computer and associated voltage regulators. Mike Lenehan heard the Jkenny version outputting S/PDIF into a PDX and decided to use the same idea to incorporate these devices right into the PDX itself to replace the rather average USB interface he was supplying previously.

But more than that: rather than output S/PDIF and then have to use a S/DIF receiver chip to extract a clock signal and convert the S/PDIF to I2S for the DAC chips, Clay (the PDX designer) had the Hiface output I2S direct to the DAC chips so that S/PDIF (and hence its associated noise and jitter) could be avoided completely.

But more again! The M2Tech USB interface actually requires three separate input voltages. The Jkenny device used two batteries and at least one voltage regulator to generate the third. In what may have been (and may still be!) a world first, my PDX has THREE independent batteries to supply the three input voltages required by the M2Tech board, and NO voltage regulators at all!

The three batteries are charged by three independent charging circuits. The batteries are the amazing LiFePO4 batteries and are powerful enough to start a car! Clay told me the charging circuit has safety features to prevent battery explosions! The charging circuit is enabled by a front panel switch that can be operated independently of the main power switch so that the batteries can be charged even when the DAC is otherwise powered off and in particular without running the tube output stage. I just leave it on all the time unless I am doing critical listening, because there is no risk of overcharging the batteries.

Finally, when he added the above in September last year, Clay also fully recalibrated the optical volume control, brought the circuit of my PDX up to the latest version, and then did some additional tweaks, including dropping the B+ voltage of the tube output stage a bit. As already stated in one of my previous posts, Mike found that my PDX sounded better than his own reference PDX, so the configuration of my DAC (except for the three batteries) then became the configuration used for subsequently manufactured PDX DACs.

Edited by rab, 13 May 2012 - 11:08 AM.


#10 Sir Rab of Acoustat

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 09:17 AM

Final price drop to $3k. If it doesn't sell at this price, I will either move it to the 'bay or keep it.

Oh, i forgot to mention that it has Eichmann ETI phonopod RCA connectors?

Meanwhile, more accolades:

Yep, the MPD-3 most definitely has a smooth sound... Then I switched back to the PDX (Duelund output caps but cheap tubes) and 16/44.1, and I'm sorry to say it was game over for the Playback Designs within a few seconds. Depth, texture, detail, colour and slam. Like when photographs get digitally enhanced by somebody who knows what they're doing without going over the top. More accurate? Who knows, but on the incredibly un-coloured speakers and amps these DACs were partnered with, the result was far more pleasing with the PDX.


I heard the same comparison on the same equipment and also preferred the PDX - the difference in 'life' was clear and unambiguous to my ears.


Edited by rab, 15 May 2012 - 09:44 AM.


#11 Sir Rab of Acoustat

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 07:24 AM

Let's be clear: early PDX DACs used an inferior USB input that (i) does not provide any jitter reduction circuitry, and (ii) was powered from the USB cable. My DAC originally had one of those, and I paid Mike $650 to upgrade the USB input to the three-battery M2Tech device.

If you look at the photo of my PDX, you will notice it has THREE switches on the front panel: (i) power, (ii) battery charging, and (iii) USB/S/PDIF input selection.

If a PDX has USB input but no battery charging switch on the front panel, then it has the original USB receiver board.
Moreover, that also indicates it does not have the revised and superior audio circuit configuration (see my previous posts).

Of course, mine also includes the optical volume control for the ultimate in transparency! (it adds only two opto-resistors to the audio circuit!), a $500 option.

There is no way to add jitter handling to the older USB interface: you would have to replace the entire board/

Edited by rab, 17 May 2012 - 07:47 AM.


#12 Sir Rab of Acoustat

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 08:24 AM

*** Price drop to only $2,900!!!

NOTE: This particular unit could be the BEST Sounding PDX Ever Made, because:

1. It uses the superior audio circuit configuration developed only a few months ago, in September 2011;

2. It uses a battery powered M2Tech Hiface USB device as used by John Kenny in his JKenny products, and using the same M2Tech technology licensed by Steve Nugent in his Offramp USB to S/PDIF converters;

>> The PDX uses an I2S output directly to the DAC chips from the M2Tech Hiface board: this is superior to using an external Hiface device outputting S/PDIF, as that then has to be converted to I2S

>> Note that early PDX DACs used an inferior USB interface that does not reduce jitter at all! -- If a PDX has a USB input but no battery charging switch, then it uses this old USB board!

3. To my knowledge, it is the only DAC in the world to use three independent LiFePO4 batteries to power the USB interface!! Other PDX DACs use only two batteries and a regulator to provide a third supply (different voltage).

4. The generic capacitors in the power supply have been upgraded with audiophile-grade Jenen and Solen caps.

#13 Telecine

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 08:44 AM

Do you have a picture of the internals that you could share?
Learn from the mistakes of others - you'll not live long enough to make them all yourself!

#14 Sir Rab of Acoustat

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 09:08 PM

Hi Telecine,
sorry i don't have any pics of the inside, but in any case i don't think Mike would want people putting such things on the Internet!

- r.

#15 Sir Rab of Acoustat

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 09:08 PM

Price drop to $2800!

This now just a little over HALF the new price!!!

It may be worth mentioning that although I haven't sold here on SNA since the web site platform change, my last sale (to Moondog) was a ~$4500 Balanced Audio Technology amp, and before than a YBA Passion amp.
I also have more than 10 years of buying and selling on eBay (as rab28) with 100% positive feedback, including high end gear. I have also bought and sold on Audiogon (also as rab28), but again the web site update there seems to have wiped my history... so you can buy with confidence!
Finally, Mike Lenehan knows me very well, and would probably be willing to act as a middleman if necessary!

- r.

Edited by rab, 22 May 2012 - 07:33 AM.


#16 Sir Rab of Acoustat

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 10:28 PM

Posted just 3 days ago on the forum AudioNervosa by US based high-end dealer "Rollo":


"Tonight we will compare the PDX DAC [Level 2 DAC with Dueland VSF output caps and volume control with internal M2Tech board] to a Plinius 101 CDP. The Plinius lists for $5400."


"We compared the Clapton unplugged CD on the Plinius to the hi rez through the PDX. . To my ears [the PDX has] much more clarity, separation of instruments and killer bass. Claptons voice as well as his tapping his foot was more defined. Just more dimension."


"What impressed me the most with the PDX was the top end. The culprit of digital. Vocal sibilants were delivered naturally, no hype no sizzle no spotlighting. Just pure treble with ZERO artifacts. Vocals were more intelligible The emotion of the players came through in spades. Goosebumps actually"


"Overall the Mac and PDX delivered the most real to life presentation. Fast, accurate and dynamic as heck.
If I only had the Plinius without hearing the PDX life would be great. The PDX showed me what is capable with computer Audio. There is no turning back now. "

"... the information provided through the PDX was astounding. Heard more of the inflections that remind our brains of the real deal."

"If I had to take one to a desert island it would be the PDX hands down.
Yes we are working out a dealer agreement. We were that impressed."


Edited by rab, 23 May 2012 - 10:30 PM.


#17 Telecine

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 10:38 PM

Hi Telecine,
sorry i don't have any pics of the inside, but in any case i don't think Mike would want people putting such things on the Internet!

- r.


The insides of the PDX Level 2 are prominently featured on the front page of his website. It doesn't show one fitted with a battery however, let alone your implementation of a battery based solution.

Edited by Telecine, 23 May 2012 - 10:40 PM.

Learn from the mistakes of others - you'll not live long enough to make them all yourself!

#18 Sir Rab of Acoustat

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 03:41 PM

The insides of the PDX Level 2 are prominently featured on the front page of his website. It doesn't show one fitted with a battery however, let alone your implementation of a battery based solution.


Hi Telecine, just to be clear: this is not 'my' implementation: Clayton Gieseler, the PDX designer did it himself. Last August we were discussing the new battery configuration for the M2Tech OEM board, and he told me that he had sourced a LiFePO4 battery with the correct voltage for the third supply input and asked me if I wanted him to use it with my DAC. So I paid an additional cost and had it added.

#19 Sir Rab of Acoustat

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 06:15 PM

sale pending

#20 GraemeB

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 07:00 PM

About bloody time Rab!!! It's like trying to push jelly uphill sometimes! Congrats.
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#21 Viognier

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 12:58 AM

Congrats Rab for finally selling. And well done to the lucky buyer who got a bargain.
Do your ears and system a favour and get out and listen to live music.

#22 Willco

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 01:10 AM

About bloody time Rab!!! It's like trying to push jelly uphill sometimes! Congrats.


Or herding Cats-- yes I'm also surprised this stretched this long-for such a much touted product on this site.

Congrats on the sale

Willco

#23 matt200sr

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 05:20 PM

I must have grabbed a great deal with so much praise for this particular PDX.

Thank you Richard for passing this on to me and good luck with the ML3’s!

#24 Sir Rab of Acoustat

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 07:53 AM

Sorry i missed those congratulations earlier: thanks guys!

The funny thing with this sale is that I had almost zero interest for ages, and then two firm offers to buy and an expression of interest all on the same afternoon! Go figure!

Thanks Matt for such an easy transaction.

SOLD

#25 Marc

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:04 AM

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