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Gieseler DAC Reviews & Impressions


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Been going through the Gieseler DAC threads to dig up owners’ reviews & impressions over the past 2 few years.  Together, they provided an impressive picture of how well Clay has made his DACs and has lead me to consider  purchase the upcoming Groß DAC with balanced outputs.   

 

Kompakt Reviews & Impressions

lenticularis 23 Sep 20, 29 Nov 20 compared with Klein III

herbs 24 Sep 20

franky995 24 Sep 20 compared with Gross

naggots 25 Sep 20

pete_mac 20 Oct 20

John0001 10 Nov 20

ray4410 24 Nov 20 compared with Denafrips Ares II

 

Fein II Reviews & Impressions

helland 28 Mar 19 

RussB 14 Apr 19 compared with Gross with gold tuned PSU

Snoopy8 14 Apr 19 compared with Gross with gold tuned PSU

Galatic Soap 30 Jul 19 compared with Chord Hugo TT2 + BluMk2

Max Headroom 30 Jul 19 compared with Chord Hugo TT2 + MScaler

andrewyuri 2 Aug 19 compared with Chord 2Qute

Steve M 8 Aug 19 compared with Holo Audio Spring Level 3, MF Trivista 21,  NuForce Reference, Topping D10

Suopermanni 12 Sep 19 compared with Topping D70

Pete Gardner 16 Jan 20 compared with Klein III

Scott Daniel 6 Jun 20

 

Klein III Reviews & Impressions

pnes_nv 20 Oct 18 compared with Arcam irDac II

pete_mac 10 Nov 18 compared with Klein

DrSK 11 Dec 18 compared with Oppo 205

Snrub 8 Mar 19 compared with Audiolab M-Dac

lenticularis 4 Sep 19 compared with Modi 3

pete_mac 24 Sep 19 compared with Audio-GDPCM1704UK 

bjs 30 Oct 2019 compared with Musical Fidelity M1 Dac, 14 Nov 19 compared with Chord Mojo

krappo 26 Feb 20 

 

Groß (Gross) Reviews & Impressions

illbarto 18 Sep 17 compared with Klein II

Snoopy8  5 Oct 17 compared with Audiolab 8200CDQ, 13 May 18, compared with Chord 2Qute, PS Audio Direct Stream jnr

BAM 6 Oct 17 compared with PSAudio Directstream

bhobba 28 Nov 1722 Jan 18 compared with PSAudio Directstream

Ancientflatulence 15 Dec 17

Suopermanni 23 Dec 17 compared with Gungnir Multibit

Bill125812 18 Jan 18 compared with PS Audio Nu Wave

scumbag  18 Jan 18 compared with PS Audio Direct Stream jnr

RussB 23 Feb 188 Apr 18 compared with Klein, Chord Qutest

Mattw 4 Mar 18 6 Mar 18 14 Mar 18 compared with Starting Point Systems DAC3

Mike13 6 Mar 13 compared with Chord 2Qute, 13 May 18 compared with Chord 2Qute, PS Audio Direct Stream jnr

Francisco 8 Mar 18

Stereophilus 11 Mar 18 compared with Mola Mola Makua, PSAudio Directstream, Chord DAVE

Assisi 11 Mar 18 compared with Mola Mola Makua

Rosco8 24 Mar 18 compared with Cayin (Valve/SS),  ARCAM-II DAC II 

Bunno77 26 Mar 18 compared with Geek Pulse S Infinity

Rawl99 2 Apr 18 compared with Killer

rmpfyf 2 Apr 18 compared with Killer

Conch 16 Apr 18 compared with Klein II, Chord 2qute, Accuphase Dac50

Max Headroom 10 May 18, 13 May 18 compared with Chord 2Qute, PS Audio Direct Stream jnr

buddyev 31 Oct 18 compared with Topping D50

lemarguis 10 Jul 19 compared with Klein II

Pkay 23 Jul 19 compared with Chord Qutest + Mscaler

noisuf 23 Oct 20  compared with Denafrips Ares II

 

Konverter Reviews & Impressions

~Spyne~ 29 Apr 17

 Woadl 13 Jun 17 compared with Auralic Vega


Klein II Reviews & Impressions

 Andrewyuri 1 May 16 compared with Klein

 Jonny 31 Jul 16 compared with Antelope Gold

 

Klein Reviews & Impressions

 GPK 17 Jun 15

 Bill125812 28 Jun 15 compared with NAD M51

 naggots  29 Jun 15

 rambada 7 Aug 15

 matt200sr 10 Aug 15

 naggots 21 Sep 15 on SE version

 scumbag 16 Oct 15 compared with MyDac

 joz 29 Oct 15

 pete_mac 5 Nov 15 compared with audio-gd DAC16DSP

 pop9745 25 Nov 15 compared with Chord Hugo, Resonessence Labs Concero HD, and Ifi

 betocool 1 Dec 15

 woadl 1 Dec 15

 andrewyuri 13 Apr 16 compared with Arcam irDac, Nad M51 

Jventer 15 May 16 compared with PSAudio Directstream

 NcA 27 May 16

 Tellmidd 16 Jul 16

 Powerav 15 Oct 16

 Zypr 16 Jan 17

Terry0 11 Mar 18 compared with Oppo 205, Bluesound Node2

 

Please post if corrections, additions required…

 

p/s no association with Gieseler Audio.

Edited by Snoopy8
Added latest reviews, updated title, typos, added Klein III, Fein II, Kompakt
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Been going through the Gieseler DAC threads to dig up owners’ reviews & impressions over the past 2 few years.  Together, they provided an impressive picture of how well Clay has made his DACs and

Hi guys & thanks for all the positive comments. The new DAC only is extreamly close now. I actually took a prototype version to Lenehan Audio last week which we had a good listen to via

I received my 3 input Gros dac yesterday. I have had it powered up for about 24 hours and have played music for maybe 8 hours now. Clay tells me it needs several days to come on song but I'd have to s

Hi Guys

 

Did one early on against the Killer DAC which is much much more expensive.

 

Considering the price difference everyone was impressed with how close it was.  Later it was at a comparison with the Killer and PS Audio Direct stream.  Same result - shocking how close it was and the price difference - you went - how is that possible.

 

But Clay's later DAC's like the Konverter and a new one he has mentioned on this forum he is working on is the natural choice to compare to these much more expensive DAC's.   I have done that one with the Konverter - well I wouldn't like to make the choice.  You have to hear all three to decide.  I have a Killler, a Direct Stream an may just have to get Clays new DAC.

 

Thanks

Bill

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22 hours ago, bhobba said:

Hi Guys

 

Did one early on against the Killer DAC which is much much more expensive.

 

Considering the price difference everyone was impressed with how close it was.  Later it was at a comparison with the Killer and PS Audio Direct stream.  Same result - shocking how close it was and the price difference - you went - how is that possible.

 

But Clay's later DAC's like the Konverter and a new one he has mentioned on this forum he is working on is the natural choice to compare to these much more expensive DAC's.   I have done that one with the Konverter - well I wouldn't like to make the choice.  You have to hear all three to decide.  I have a Killler, a Direct Stream an may just have to get Clays new DAC.

 

Thanks

Bill

I did see your comments in the threads but wasn't sure whether to include it in the links. :sorry:

 

Looking forward to seeing your review of the new DAC when it comes out.  Hopefully Clay will update us soon on an approximate timeline.

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Hi guys & thanks for all the positive comments.

The new DAC only is extreamly close now.

I actually took a prototype version to Lenehan Audio last week which we had a good listen to via some Lenehan ML5 references.

I must admit I get a bit nervous when trying out one of my new products at Mikes as he always gives an honest (& ruthless) opinion & past experiences have not always had a good outcome.

Well the prototype passed with flying colours which was a great relief! I was about to order  $1k plus worth of transformers from Jensen so I just wanted to be certain the new DAC was right up there sound wise. It definitely was!

The bonus is that although this is just a straight DAC we have managed to include variable output level (on remote) by using the AK4497's  internal level antenuator. This is done in digital form so you are throwing bits away with lower volume settings but fortunately due to the AKM's 32 bit architecture & as long as you are not listening to very low levels it shouldn't be a problem. 

Bottom line is the new DAC will drive a power amp directly so perfect for a nice simple set up & this is how we tested it at Mikes.

Max output level is 1.8 v rms but this seems fine on the three different power amps I have tested it with so far.

I'm working on the final board layout at the moment so hopefully I will be ordering the pcb's in about a week.

As the finished product is very close I will start a new product release thread shortly with lots more info & details.

 

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Hi Clay.  Sounds like you're gonna be busy when the new DAC's ready!!  Silly question, but is it recommended to use one of your power supplies with your Konverter/new DAC, or is this already covered with the design? 

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Hi Mat,

All my designs have multiply low noise internal PSU's & run off external transformers so require AC input only.

So the answer to your question is - No 

None of my PSU's would be suitable as they are all DC output.

Edited by Gieseler Audio
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Updated with latest reviews and impressions.  Please post if corrections, additions required...

 

Have updated title; not every one is an owner and some posts are short impressions.

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  • 2 weeks later...

In case anyone missed it, MattyW's review of the Groß below. Have updated first post of this thread with all the latest.

 

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Hi everyone,

 

I apologise for the messines but at the same time I would like to thank Richard @Suopermanni for bringing his Grob over today for a listening session.

 

We compared the Grob to my Geek Pulse. The Geek did have an unfair advantage in that it was being fed by a Microrendu and the Grob direct from a PC.

 

We both listened for about 2 hours and in every song the Grob won out. Kinda the usual stuff, it was more relaxed while still presenting an extemely full representation. It bettered the Geek in bass control, impact and detail. The highs also showed a little more detail. I don't know what happened to the mids but on male vocals they weren't as pronounced. This may be a more even display but I am not sure. 

 

The Grob was certainly better in all regards apart from mid forwardness but as stated that may be a truer representation. A beautiful DAC and as has been stated before most likely is better than the PS audio DSD. 

 

A real credit to Gieseler and especially at this price point. Thanks again to Richard for bringing it over

 

29527070_218622532053135_914447017_o.thumb.jpg.0aef51a43c115996fdfbd8f175ac1ccf.jpg29633441_218622498719805_107633508_o.thumb.jpg.2d6d7b67e20f29a0912f0ad6c0021909.jpg

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I have the Geek Pulse S Infinity which I believe is the top model with the lps1. 

I was also using it with a microrendu with its lps1 which is a big step up from using a pc. So just from that the Grob was at a disadvantage but it sounded better in all but the mids but maybe that means it is more balanced? 

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I have the Geek Pulse S Infinity which I believe is the top model with the lps1. 
I was also using it with a microrendu with its lps1 which is a big step up from using a pc. So just from that the Grob was at a disadvantage but it sounded better in all but the mids but maybe that means it is more balanced? 

Great, thanks. Mine is further down the range than yours. I have the Pulse Fi with a 12v PSU from Clay, fed by SOTM SMS200/Regen so our set ups are not dissimilar. If the Grob betters yours fed by PC, it will be more so with mine I imagine. Thanks for the info.
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Great, thanks. Mine is further down the range than yours. I have the Pulse Fi with a 12v PSU from Clay, fed by SOTM SMS200/Regen so our set ups are not dissimilar. If the Grob betters yours fed by PC, it will be more so with mine I imagine. Thanks for the info.
Yep, will be a bigger margin for sure. The Lh Labs LPS also has the benefit of the USB signal being fed to it not the DAC itself. It strips the 5v USB power so removes the noise on the line.
Makes the Grob even more impressive.
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  • 3 months later...
On 03/09/2018 at 8:14 PM, cox11 said:

Hi guys, looking to add a streamer to my system and curious if anyone compared the sq of a klein 2/sms200 combo to a cambridge cxn?

 

 

I have a friend with a CXNV2 and a Klein SE. The CXN can either digital output to the Klein or via its own dac. He streams Spotify and accesses a NAS with the CXN. Theres no comparison between the Klein SE and CXN sound wise. The Klein SE is superb. 

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I have a friend with a CXNV2 and a Klein SE. The CXN can either digital output to the Klein or via its own dac. He streams Spotify and accesses a NAS with the CXN. Theres no comparison between the Klein SE and CXN sound wise. The Klein SE is superb. 
Thanks naggots
Although a little more complex, it seems like the klein/sms200 combo is a no brainer at the price point
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The CXN is quite slick to use but by the time you log into Spotify connect or search through the music on the NAS it’s almost as easy to use a PC/Mac from your phone. I’ve not used a sms200. 

 

The Klein SE is far superior in any case, it’s using the coax input. Clay says it sounds best with USB. 

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On 04/09/2018 at 10:07 PM, naggots said:

I have a friend with a CXNV2 and a Klein SE. The CXN can either digital output to the Klein or via its own dac. He streams Spotify and accesses a NAS with the CXN. Theres no comparison between the Klein SE and CXN sound wise. The Klein SE is superb. 

I have an SE being built at the moment, can’t wait to hear it. Having owned a Klein 1 and loved it, can only imagine I’m in for a real treat!

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I had a PDXL2 then Klein 1 then the SE for a couple years. The SE was the best. I now have a Gross which is better (Femto Upgrade next) I sold the SE to my friend with the CXN after he tried it, liked it didn’t want to give it back....... I then bought the Gross......wouldn’t of sold the SE otherwise. 

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Totally agree.  All of Clay’s Dacs  are great. But the GroB is just fantastic.    I’ve put it up against so many other dacs now, and have never been disappointed. For the money almost unbeatable 

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Well I will be the lucky owner of a souped up Klein SE next week, the word from Clay is that this one is “the best Klein he has ever heard/built”! It’s benefitting from some improved componentry since he made them in mass.

 

As a previous Klein 1 owner I’ll be sure to report back with some feedback in a week or so.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Interesting,  I’m also the owner of a CXN using a SOTM SMS-200 Neo and considering upgrading to the Grob. Can anyone tell me how the process works in terms of time frame from order of receiving please?

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On 06/09/2018 at 8:22 PM, naggots said:

I had a PDXL2 then Klein 1 then the SE for a couple years. The SE was the best. I now have a Gross which is better (Femto Upgrade next) I sold the SE to my friend with the CXN after he tried it, liked it didn’t want to give it back....... I then bought the Gross......wouldn’t of sold the SE otherwise. 

Clay, what's this about a Femto clock upgrade?

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Hi John,

yes currently working on that at the moment.

I have some Crystek Femto clocks but they are about double the size of the ones on the Amanero so

not a drop in replacement unfortunately. Crystek do make ones in the correct size but they don’t have an enable (remote on pin) I need that option to be compatible with the Amanero control circuitry. 

I have two options.

1. Use the correct larger size clocks but mounted on a small daughter board.

2. Use the right size drop in clocks & add extra control circuitry to be compatible with the Amanero

Ah - life was not meant to be easy!

 

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On 19/09/2018 at 5:30 AM, Gieseler Audio said:

Hi John,

yes currently working on that at the moment.

I have some Crystek Femto clocks but they are about double the size of the ones on the Amanero so

not a drop in replacement unfortunately. Crystek do make ones in the correct size but they don’t have an enable (remote on pin) I need that option to be compatible with the Amanero control circuitry. 

I have two options.

1. Use the correct larger size clocks but mounted on a small daughter board.

2. Use the right size drop in clocks & add extra control circuitry to be compatible with the Amanero

Ah - life was not meant to be easy!

  

Which option is the option with the least hassle for you? I wouldn't mind giving up my GroB for a bit to get the Femtos fitted.

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Actually it is not looking very straight forward unfortunately. I had a close look at it today & none of the femto clocks I had came even close to fitting on the Amanero pcb. Looks like a daughter board is the only way to go. The good thing is as I will have more room I can add a couple of ultra low noise regulators to power each clock - two needed. Independent low noise PSU for each clock is definately a good way to go.

 

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That sounds good. I guess the daughter board is the way to go. Though would this require any significant changes to the PCB of the GroB? I wouldn't know as it's outside my knowledge. But when this gets up and running, I'll be putting mine in.

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On 18/09/2018 at 9:17 PM, omara31 said:

Interesting,  I’m also the owner of a CXN using a SOTM SMS-200 Neo and considering upgrading to the Grob. Can anyone tell me how the process works in terms of time frame from order of receiving please?

 

Get the USB only version.  I have verified - sorry Clay I have to tell it like it is - it's appreciably better than the 3 input version - or even my 2 input version without the USB.  Clay has my USB only version down there right now and if you want it straight away I am happy for Clay to sell it to you.   Its brand new - just used by a couple of people to check the DAC out.  If you can get to Clays I am happy to lend it to you before purchase.

 

If you want a USB source get a second hand Macbook and use Audirvana.  I wasted money on Windows machines and associated driver issues before I realised the Mac is a lot simpler - Audirvana sounds as good as HQ player - but is easier to use and connects to Tidal, plus does first stage unfolding of MQA. I did comparisons and honestly on 44.1/16 I cant tell the difference between material on the disk and Tidal.   MQA to my ears though to my ears sounds better.

 

Thanks

Bill

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11 minutes ago, bhobba said:

 

If you want a USB source get a second hand Macbook and use Audirvana.  I wasted money on Windows machines and associated driver issues before I realised the Mac is a lot simpler - Audirvana sounds as good as HQ player

This is a bit off topic so feel free to delete but why would anyone go backwards to a pc/apple equivalent when they have a renderer like the Sotm?

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15 hours ago, Bunno77 said:

This is a bit off topic so feel free to delete but why would anyone go backwards to a pc/apple equivalent when they have a renderer like the Sotm?

If you have a library of files they have to be stored somewhere, and of course so does the software Audivarna etc.  

Maybe if you’re just using tidal you don’t need the computer. 

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On 28/09/2018 at 9:42 PM, Bunno77 said:

This is a bit off topic so feel free to delete but why would anyone go backwards to a pc/apple equivalent when they have a renderer like the Sotm?

Sotm?

 

I have two Auralic's - both lent out right now.  Also I have a Grandinote, but that is down at Mike Lenehans so I can hear it with my Magnesium's he is working on.   To get by I used HQ Player, which was very good, and even got a dedicated Windows machine for it (a low powered cheap one but with a SSD which raised the price a bit).  HQ Player sounds very good but I was having trouble with drivers all the time - a new update to windows and it would stop working.   I can usually sort such things out, and always managed to do it.   But was going to use it in a comparison and it went wonky - I vowed then and there, and this is what I should have done in the first place IMHO, to get a second hand mac and use Audirvana which also decoded MQA.  Haven't looked back since.  But everything is just interim at the moment until I get my Magnesium's, and there are a few other logistical things that are my issues so wont be talking about them here 

 

Also it may be possible to use Audirvana to cast to the Grandinote and hence it can play MQA - but that needs some sorting out - it's just a possibility right now.   The Windows machine did not allow that then as Audirvana for Windows only came out in June sometime this year.

 

Thanks

Bill

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5 hours ago, bhobba said:

Sotm?

 

Ok as indicated by the above I didn't know about the Sotm - but have investigated it:

https://cruxaudio.com.au/collections/sotm-ultra

 

As can be seen some are at a price point well above Clay's USB only DAC.  The one that looks the most cost effective is:

https://cruxaudio.com.au/collections/sotm-ultra/products/sotm-sms-200-mini-network-player-1

 

It should drive Clays DAC well.  Better than Audirvana, HQ Player, or Auralic - I do not know.   What I will say is Clay's power supply is likely to make an improvement.

 

For me it doesn't have any advantages over Audirvana, HQ Player, or Auralic on the surface.   You would have to do a comparison to find out.   

 

If you have purchased one it will likely sound great - personally I wouldn't worry you made a bad purchase.   If I was starting from scratch at the price of a second hand Mac-Book I would use Audirvana and DLNA to transmit to something like the SOTM.

 

I know Clay is working on a DAC with something like the Sotm built in, but he has not solved all the issues yet.   I am sure he eventually will but until then Audirvana connected to the Grob looks good.

 

Thanks

Bill

 

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1 hour ago, bhobba said:

It should drive Clays DAC well.  Better than Audirvana, HQ Player, or Auralic - I do not know.   What I will say is Clay's power supply is likely to make an improvement.

Since I am the OP, I suppose I am allowed to take this OT for one more post???  :unsure: 

 

I use a SOtM SMS-200 Ultra to drive a Gieseler Groß DAC and the results are superb.  I have not compared it with either Audirvana, HQ Player, or Auralic, but I suspect it will beat them. Yes, it is my speculation based on what I read of other people's reviews, feedback on the web.  Would love to hear from someone on SNA who has done a compare.  And yes, Clay's latest PSU definitely improves the Ultra, see here.

-------------

Back to topic, have been comparing the new Fein DAC to the Groß DAC today.  Will post my feedback in the next few days.

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17 hours ago, Snoopy8 said:

Since I am the OP, I suppose I am allowed to take this OT for one more post???  :unsure: 

Mate we are a pretty laid back lot here.   I do not think Clay or anyone worries if it goes off topic a bit every now and then - I certainly do not - but I am only one of many.

 

BTW - nice post - good to hear from someone with actual experience - I knew nothing about it.

 

Thanks

Bill

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      5.      Telefunken E88CC 1968
       
      Any questions, please ping me a PM or ask here.
       
      I am very reluctant to post this – not due to weight but rather due to potential damage in transit, so pick-up only at the moment. I can deliver within Greater Sydney if required and pre-arranged. No in-home auditions at this stage – sorry.
       
      Cheers,
      Ralf











    • By peppy
      Item: AUDIO GD
      R27
      R28
      D27
      D28
       
      Any of the above All in One models.
      Price Range: Nego
      Item Condition: New or Used
      Extra Info: I am based in Sydney . Can cover postage
       
      Please don't forget to report your post as FOUND when possible. (You can now delete this text).
    • By swcng2001
      Item Condition: Excellent Shipping Options: Pickup available but audition is not available.,Shipping is available at agreed cost. Suburb or Town: Camberwell State: VIC Payment Method: Paypal or cash on pickup only Reason for selling: Have alternative DACs Further information:
       This is the mastering version of professional quality digital/analogue convertor, with a multitude of digital inputs (SPDIF, USB 1.1 and 2.0, AES/EBU, Firewire and TOSLink) and has both balanced and RCA outputs. There is also a headphone output. This version has the LED input level arrays. Its an excellent sounding unit and very well built.
      Specifications
      - Conversion: 32bit, PCM up to 192k, 64xDSD, 128xDSD.
      - Dynamic Range: 128dB (ESS Sabre chipset in 8 mono to 2
      stereo config.) THD DAC: -110dB.
      - Digital Audio Inputs: SPDIF, AES/EBU, Toslink all up to 192k
      single wire. (64xDSD and 128XDSD SDIF DSD interface on
      Mastering Version).
      - Clock: Internal Clock Generator (10ps jitter,) Wordclock In and
      Out, or sync to incoming digital audio input with low jitter JET (tm)
      PLL.
      - Internal Async Hardware Upsampling- 16bit 44.1k etc. can be
      optionally upsampled prior to conversion to 192k/24bit with clock
      jitter eliminated.
      - Transparent, 1dB stepped programmable analog attenuator,
      separate for main out and headphones.
      - Relay bypass of the attenuator for direct purist DAC out.
      - High Current, High Slew Rate ultra low distortion 500mA
      hi-fi headphone amp.
      - Worldwide user switchable linear power supply.
      - Online downloadable firmware updates.
      - Optional infrared remote (avail 2012).
      - Enclosure: Compact portable 1/2 rack space 1.72in H x 8.5in W x
      8.5in D.
      - Weight 6 lbs.
      User Menu Choices:
      - Functions assignable to buttons: MUTE, PHASE INVERT,
      MONO, (L-R), M/S, DIM.
      - Selection of clock choices.
      - Choice of upsampling or not.
      - Selection of slow or fast/steep filter for PCM.
      - Selection of 3 filters for out of band DSD.
      -Assignable input selection (display only active).
      - Dimmable intensity of display/led meter.
      Photos:
       
      PLEASE READ
      If you are advertising multiple items, you must post one bulk price only, or post seperate ads for each item If you include any reference to pricing whatsoever in this section (excluding RRP), your ad will not be approved If you don't include photographs of the actual item being sold, your ad will not be approved  








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