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DAC Shootout / GTG - Saturday 15th March


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#1 Marc

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 04:14 PM

As the original thread is full of dribble from mostly those that are not even attending this GTG - i have created a new discussion thread.

 

If you are NOT ATTENDING, or contributing GENUINE CONTENT, do NOT REPLY.

 

Someone may wish to summarise further details of the event in this thread.

 

Finally, just a reminder that you are contributing to a discussion in a manufacturer AND sponsors forum. Show some respect, and some professional courtesy.

 


Thank you for your continued support of StereoNET.


#2 bhobba

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 04:35 PM

Someone may wish to summarise further details of the event in this thread.

 

I think Mike's last post is the most pertinent so re-posting it is likely of value:

 

 

Hi All
 
We will need to firstly consider how much noise is produced by the people not actually listening in front of the system at the time. Depending on how considerate people are of the 4-6 people actually trying to listen to music will determine whether we attempt blind comparisons.
       
Perhaps 3 tracks if there's 15plus people and maybe 4 if there's less. One Classical one Rock  one female vocal and one male. 
 
In any case we'll start tight and see how everyone responds to being locked down,if it gets a bit unruly we can revert to a social day with music playing.
 
9am will be the start time ! I do hope that when the music starts there will be deathly quite. 40 minutes serious play time then 20minutes break every hour could be the way to go.      
 
Regards Mike Lenehan

Edited by Marc, 01 March 2014 - 04:42 PM.

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#3 LenehanAudio

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 01:41 PM

Hoi          could be a little unrealistic to expect everyone to be dead quite all the time so what do we all think of  60minutes on then 20 minutes break . ??   see timeline below.

 

               Lets say we have 20 people ! thats 4 sessions to get everyone past the first DAC (assuming 3 tracks) average 15mins per session .  So 1 hour gets everyone past the first DAC.

              Then we have 20minutes to commune re that DAC. This means in 4 hours we could have all 4 DAC's run past everyone on 3 tracks that will be chosen by us. ( one Classical one Rock one Vocal )

                

               When that is through we could introduce more music and loosen up a bit. Using a Preamp should be detrimental to all  the DAC's,if it's not then the device output stage would be lacking.  My opinion is that adding a pre simply adds another set of interconnects and another distortion creating device ( what is the best PreAmp ? yup you got it ! NO PREAMP)

 

                I'm am absolutely aware that adding an Audio Research Ref Pre may subjectively make the sound more pleasant and subjectively better so I think we should have one here for the later part of the day. All four DAC's ! KillerDac,PDX,AMR and Phasure are designed for direct PowerAmp connection so we'll run with this for the comparisons .

 

               I believe Steve Garland and Clay Gieseler will be here on the day so tech talk may be the order of the day after the comparisons. We will use the new PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium Poweramp also run the new Arion S-500 poweramp . Would love to have Rawl99's awesome hotted up Leak Stereo20 here as well.                      

                                 Regards Mike Lenehan



#4 alcarp

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 11:20 AM

This sounds a great format - we can get to compare the 4 DACs in the morning while leaving the afternoon free for a more creative fun session. It looks as though it won't be blind but that doesn't worry me at all.

 

Only suggest a small change - perhaps we can do without the 20 mins session after the first DAC as we would have no point of comparison.

 

3 tracks is fine - too many will be difficult to hold in memory.

 

Comparisons such as this have their limitations in the interests of practicality - maybe in the pm session we can get to hear a couple of the DACs in their optimum configuration.


"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are so certain of themselves, and wiser people are so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell


#5 bhobba

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 11:16 PM

This sounds a great format - we can get to compare the 4 DACs in the morning while leaving the afternoon free for a more creative fun session. It looks as though it won't be blind but that doesn't worry me at all.

 

I still think its likely to be blind - but a couple of people will know - and if you REALLY want to find out it wont be hard.  

 

Thanks

Bill


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#6 Sparkle

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 05:09 PM

9 am start tomorrow, still all good?



#7 DoggieHowser

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 06:16 PM

8D2BB792-1E51-4D89-AF47-CA01849402A8_zps

All ready.

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#8 bhobba

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 08:36 PM

Hi Guys
 
All's ready for the DAC shoot-out tomorrow at Mike Lenehans place on the Gold Coast - 20-28 degrees tomorrow.  
 
The DAC's have all been checked and are on warming up.
 
Anthony came down to set the Phasure up optimally.
 
Mike can be seen turning the Killer on so everything is ready.
 
There will be three songs on each DAC - A vocal (Tony Moss was mentioned), a rock and a classical.
 
The DAC at the very top is the AMR with its Duelund Cast Capacitors on top.  Next is the Killer.  Next is the Phasure.  Next is the new PDX which was on playing music to ensure its run in as much as possible.  It was only finished a few days ago.
 
The speakers are my ML2 Limited.  Internally lined with 1/4 inch copper, a lot of inch thick cast iron bracing, external crossover connected via a special star wiring scheme, everything wired with the same Ribbonteck speaker wire, 10 gauge air coil inductors, and Duelund Cast capacitors.  Bybees bonded to the driver terminals.  ETI AMG Toppers can be seen on top of the speakers.  
 
The amp is a modified Prima Luna Dialogue Premium - Jupiter staked beeswax have been installed, along with Jensen electrolytics.  The DAC's will be direct connected to the amps via Ribbonflex cable. 
 
The Phasure will be fed with its own PC via XXHighend optimised for that DAC.  The AMR and PDX will be fed via their internal USB using a special windows machine running Jriver set up for Audio and using specially designed a linear supply.  The Killer will be fed from the same computer via my Off-Ramp 4 that has recently been modified by Steve to bring it up to his best spec.  The power supply is a special very low noise supply I had constructed specially for the Off-Ramp with Bybees and other stuff - it makes a surprising difference.   
 
Thanks
Bill

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#9 kdoot

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 06:51 AM

The thing I'm really pleased about for today is just the chance to hear three exotic DACs which would normally be quite difficult to get some time with. (I'm not counting the PDX because Mike's only too happy to show that thing off most days of the week.)
Lenehan ML2 Reference with "limited edition" stands < Ribbontek cables < Rotel RB-990BX (upgraded caps and wire) < Ribbonflex interconnects < Metrum Octave < Dtek digital cable < Audiophilleo 2 with PurePower < Mac mini with Audirvana+ doing upsampling and volume control

#10 mikey d

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 08:19 AM

Wow, you guys are going to have some fun. Enjoy :)


"It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing"


#11 Jventer

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 08:53 AM

Wish I could be there.


Recently moved from Alice Springs to Grafton. Looking forward to some GTG's.


#12 henry218

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 09:57 AM

expecting hourly update reports :D

#13 Sparkle

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 02:09 PM

Not quite an hourly update, but I can report, that a good time was had by all. (the show is still going; i had to leave early :( . We listened to 4 dacs, 3 of them blind. The Phasure couldnt be done blind, something to do with sound levels. yes there was a winner. but i will let someone else be the bearer of the news!



#14 tanehy

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 02:55 PM

That's a bit of a tease....



#15 kdoot

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 04:04 PM

Here's a bit more of a tease for you.

We had three tracks played on each DAC, but the identity of the first three DACs was hidden from the listeners. I found the first DAC somewhat unpleasant, especially in the top end, lacking in mid-range warmth and fullness but impressively grippy in the bass. The second wasn't as strong down low but brought a far more pleasant and even-handed delivery across the whole range without losing any sense of detail. When the third DAC started playing I forgot about taking notes and just listened, foot tapping, face grinning. It was super engaging as well as delivering all full dose of detail, body, warmth, impact, soundstage etc etc.

Then there was the Phasure. I was extremely impressed by the digital filtering and the brilliantly clean, noise-free presentation. But it was all left-brain engagement. No grin. No tapping foot. Hmmm. But it's exactly the kind of thing I look for in a DAC and I'm pretty sure that once I got over being analytically impressed I'd relax into the music all the more.

It was a very close call, but I gave my top vote to the Phasure in the end. 4, 3, 2, 1. From the tally of all the votes most popular preference was... DAC 3! Jolly good show. No real surprise.

Except that I'm not going to tell you which DAC was which :D
Bill can have that honour.
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#16 Nada

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 04:55 PM

congrats to Craig & co. for aussie DIY goodness


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#17 acg

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 07:46 PM

You guys reckon you could tease this out until midday tomorrow? I would like to to write a big post about the setup, the reasons for doing things the way we did, the things we got wrong and issues that we found out about at the end of the day. I think it would make good reading and would give some insight into why we got the results we did but I can't write out until tomorrow.

Bill, how about you share the individual scores from the blind sessions and their respective final tallies but keep the identity of the contestants a little secret for now. That should spark some discussion!

Anthony

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#18 kdoot

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 07:48 PM

Intriguing! Which DAC had issues Anthony?
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#19 acg

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 08:13 PM

There was something that I did not spot until the testing was run and done, something that I had double checked yesterday afternoon but was different when we were shifting the dacs onto the isolation platforms to see what would happen. It is a grounding issue that could have impacted the Killer quite a bit and would certainly have impacted the Phasure a little.

I will explain more tomorrow.

Edited by acg, 15 March 2014 - 08:13 PM.

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#20 Sparkle

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 08:23 PM

aghast! does this mean we will have to do this again? i really hate listening to excellent sound!



#21 kdoot

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 08:27 PM

Yikes. Electricity is a tricky bas tard isn't it? Look forward to your write up mate.
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#22 niss_man

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 08:42 PM

I know nothing. Nothing.



#23 tanehy

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 08:46 PM

Spill the beans already

#24 bhobba

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 11:57 PM

Hi Guys

 

I penned a full response revealing all but it seems while I was away there was a consensus not to reveal the full detail for a bit. 

 

After the shoot-out proper, as we were about to do some informal listening, Anthony noticed there was something wrong with the earthing of the power feeding the Killer and maybe the Phasure.  Then we wanted to try the Killer on an isolation platform and it actually didn't work.- we got nothing but a buzz and heaps of treble.  No one had ever heard anything like that before and I had to leave early to go back to Craig's, the maker of the Killer, place, to sort it out.  It worked perfectly there.  The nearest that can be figured is the Killer wasn't earthed properly - the buzz was 50hz breakthrough that swamped the bass.

 

When it was sorted out I rang back but it was about 8.15 at night and evidently it had finished about 8.00pm.

 

It seems from the posts above there may have been a consensus because of this, and I wasn't there to know, to not reveal all right now.

 

So I will contact my fellow participants to see what the go is before I post.

 

It seems I however can reveal the following:

 

There were three tracks played on each DAC:

 

1. Yello - Boston Reflected 

2. Leonard Cohen - Secret Life

3. LA Philharmonic - The Planets

 

There were 11 people that were done in 3 sessions with a max of 4 people per session.  The score was 1 to 4 - 1 being the best - 4 the worst.

 

They were summed so that the lowest score was the best DAC, the highest score the worst.

 

The ordering was:

 

1. DAC 3 - 22

2.  DAC 2 - 27

3.  DAC 4 - 28

4.  DAC 1 - 33

 

Note all were quite close - but just one point between 2 and 3.

 

Added Later

 

I corrected an error I made when I said the Phasure was moved then developed a buzz.  It was the Killer.  Because of that Anthony thought there may have been an issue before.  There was none anyone could detect.

 

Thanks

Bill 


Edited by bhobba, 16 March 2014 - 10:38 AM.

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#25 Sir Sanders Zingmore

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 12:27 AM

DAC 3 hey, who would have thought?

regards, Trevor

 


#26 Audiobugged

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 08:08 AM

DAC 3 hey, who would have thought?

Correct. I always knew this day would come, where the biggest number doesn't automatically win.

As the results demonstrate, it was a close run thing even though there were significant "technical issues" disadvantaging the heavy favourite.

So, congrats to the old stalwart Bel Canto DAC 3 for the win, beating out both the Benchmark DAC 1, W4S DAC 2 and even the MSB Platinum DAC 4!!!

Ingenious!!!

Edited by Audiobugged, 16 March 2014 - 08:20 AM.

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#27 joz

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 08:25 AM

Waiting for the drum roll! :)


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#28 Marc

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 08:49 AM

It's acknowledged that the KD had some "technical" issues. Now on with the results?


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#29 niss_man

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 09:23 AM

Good to see there wasn't a problem with the killer after all. Well apart for some human error.

Simon

#30 Orpheus

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 09:24 AM

Yes, looking forward to hearing what DACs 1-4 were.

Maybe remove the KillerDAC, because it would be unfair to include it, given the earth fault.

Most unfortunate, if only you could have sorted it out half an hour earlier.