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Found 1 result

  1. Snoopy8

    GIESELER Groß DAC Review

    Review Setup GIESELER Groß DAC with usb only input option (standard has s/pdif & usb inputs). Groß connected to Sotm SMS-200 with Audioquest Carbon usb cable. Used XLR outputs to SGR CX3B (Mk 1) powered speakers. Bass optimised with dual subs (SVS SB13U, SB-2000). SMS-200 bridged to Synology DS414 NAS to access music. Used MPD server on SMS-200 and MPDroid on phone for playback. Update 17 Feb 18: Upgraded equipment with Uptone ISO Regen, Behringer DCX2496 with Behringer Mods. Swapped positions of subs with SB13U doing more and further bass optimisation using Multi Sub Optimisation. Update 17 May 18: Upgraded SMS-200 to Ultra version which brought a lot more nuance the music. External Appearance & Remote The unit has a smart looking front, with a power button and 4 line display. Update 17 Oct: new firmware removed Channel, now 3 line display The rear panel has a usb input, XLR and RCA outputs and a 9V AC input from an external transformer to feed low noise internal PSU's. Update 17 Oct: Note that Groß has output transformers which allows it to be directly connected to power amps or powered speakers. Smaller and much lighter than previous Audiolab 8200CDQ (DAC plus pre-pro, CD player, headphone amp). 8200CDQ displayed both the bit depth and sample rate but Groß only the sample rate. Groß display could do with brightness adjustment because it was too bright at night. The remote was slim and easy to use. Red power button cycled through home menu, screen off, large volume and filter display. Channel Up/Down cycled through filters, Volume Up/Down, plus mute button. Volume control was digital with a bypass available for a pre-pro. In my case, requested that bypass be disabled to prevent an accidental overload on the amps in the CX3Bs. Setting up on the SMS-200 was straight forward. After plugging the usb cable into Groß, the SMS-200 picked up the DAC. Then, manually changed DAC setting from non-DSD to DoP in Eunhasu MPD setup. Update 17 Feb 18: using DSD instead of DoP. DAC Comparison As expected, Groß out-performed 4 years old 8200CDQ (which was highly acclaimed then). The difference was marked when switching back to the 8200CDQ after a few hours on the Groß, with less detail, transparency and naturalness among many things lacking. Looking forward to reviews of others comparing Groß with more recent DACs. Update 17 May 18: The Groß comfortably beat the 2Qute with better detail, sound stage, clarity in my setup. Listening Experience Most of my music consisted of ripped 16/44.1 flac, with some purchased 24/96 flac and also have ripped DSD64. Groß is my first unit able to play native DSD; previously DSD converted to PCM during playback. Long time favourite, Parce Mihi Domine (Jan Garbarek & Hillard Ensemble, Officium, 16/44.1 flac) had never sounded so good. Jan Garbarek’s saxophone was more natural and transparent and there was clarity in the position of the saxophone relative to the Hillard Ensemble. In numerous 16/44.1 flac, Groß managed to bring out the details and improved the imaging, depth, sound stage. Vocals, particularly female (e.g. KD Lang, Hallelujah, Hymns of the 49th Parallel) had a presence. Even relatively poor classical recordings sounded cleaner. Groß does 16/44.1 flac very well. With higher resolution music, the piano in Gjeilo’s North Country II, Stone Rose, 24/96 flac was natural and as close as I have heard to a real one. When the flugelhorn comes in, imaging was good and realistic. Diana Krall’s My Love Is, from Love Scenes, 24/96 flac, had deep tight bass bass, tighter than I knew, with an excellent voice. Groß managed to improve the bass a bit more in an already optimised dual sub setup. Groß’s DSD capability is outstanding. Eagles’s Hotel California from the same named album was a revelation in native DSD64. Detailed, transparent, nice sound stage. Much better than 16/44.1 and beat 24/96 version. Similarly, Arnesen’s Magnificat 4: Et Misericordia from Magnificat album (DSD64) on 2L label was very good. However, in an unfair comparison, it could not (& not expected to) match the atmosphere and presence of 5.1 PCM with the piano and organ behind the conductor. DSDs came across superbly on the Groß. Could have written a lot more about how good the listening experience was but above was a fair representation. Update 17 Oct: The listening experience improved after 30 to 40 hours of use. Not sure whether this was because I was getting more used to the Groß’s presentation? Female vocals continued to capture my attention with their presence. And still amazed by the details in PCM material. DSDs remain outstanding, problem now is opening wallet to get more DSD material. Update 17 Feb 18: Details, sound stage improved with the upgrades (ISO Regen, Behringer Mods and Amanero firmware). Am surprised how much the Amanero firmware contributed to audio quality. DSD made my wallet lighter but brought more smiles. North Country II in DSD has now replaced the 24/96 PCM version as my favourite piece, with the piano better. Filters The Groß with the AKM AK4497EQ DAC chip came with 6 filters: Super slow roll-off: no echo reproduces natural sound Short delay, slow roll-off: minimal echo reproduces original sound Slow roll-off: minimal echo reproduces original sound Short delay, sharp roll-off: post echo enhances bass sound Sharp roll-off: pre & post echoes make powerful sound. Low dispersion short delay: sound quality optimised Selecting the filter was via the remote and could be changed on the fly for PCM. Filters do not apply to DSD. There were supposed to be subtle differences between filters, but was beyond my old ears to resolve consistently. Update 17 Feb 18: finally found differences! Used short delay, slow roll-off, previously low dispersion short delay, to reduce the echo. Found the short delay, sharp roll-off and sharp roll-off filters had too much echo. Firmware Owning the first USB unit is wonderful and exciting but came with imperfect beta firmware. The firmware was derived from the Gieseler Konverter (same AK4497EQ DAC chip plus pre-pro) and still displayed channel in first line. Also, there were pops when skipping DSD tracks, and occasional pops elsewhere. Will get update once these niggles have been resolved. Update 17 Oct: Firmware has now been updated which removed channel in display, eliminated the annoying pops/clicks. It turned out that the Konverter firmware had the same problem. Both sets of firmware now been overhauled and improved. Update 17 Feb 18: Used Amanero2003_71A firmware optimised for Linux players (SMS-200) . Note that this is different to the Groß firmware referred above. Skip Groß If You … Like the unboxing experience and want to make a YouTube video of it. GIESELER Audio has spent R&D dollars on how it sounds and none on the packaging (but unit was well packed with 3 layers of bubble wrap). Bonus was no one was tempted during shipment! Update 17 Oct: Clay has sourced a double box for shipping Desire international brands with big reputations, leading edge look & feel and extensive reviews. GIESELER Audio have well regarded niche products here on SNA. It may yet gain a wider acceptance as a result of Groß! Conclusion Proud and delighted to own an Australian designed and manufactured DAC which delivered superb audio. In summary, WOW! Update 17 Oct: a theme coming through from the early owners is that the Groß DAC is addictive and we want to listen to it even more. Update 17 Feb 18: With the upgrades, enjoying the Groß DAC more than ever. p/s Clay Gieseler @Gieseler Audio is a fantastic person to deal with and service is second to none.
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