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buddyev

Fein dac - impressions

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I’m in the market for a new dac. I was leaning to a Qutest but a Gieseler might be a better option in that native DSD is a high priority, as well as 16/44 cd rips. 

Has anyone heard the Fein yet?

any SQ comparisons with the Gros or any other dacs?

https://www.gieseler.com.au/product-page/fein-dac

 

if any one has one in melbourne I’d be keen to have a listen.

Edited by buddyev

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Yep in the Gieseler section there are quite a few comparisons to the gros

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53 minutes ago, Bunno77 said:

Yep in the Gieseler section there are quite a few comparisons to the gros

Yes, saw those but I don’t think there’s anything on the new Fein yet.

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Ahh I'm sorry. I misread your question above

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1 minute ago, Bunno77 said:

Ahh I'm sorry. I misread your question above

I have a feeling noones bought one yet. 

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26 minutes ago, buddyev said:

Yes, saw those but I don’t think there’s anything on the new Fein yet.

Was hoping to get the Fein to do a comparison before Clay went on holidays but that fell thru.  Will have to wait till he gets back.. :sad: 

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1 minute ago, Snoopy8 said:

Was hoping to get the Fein to do a comparison before Clay went on holidays but that fell thru.  Will have to wait till he gets back.. :sad: 

Are you planning to buy one or borrow a test unit?

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Just now, buddyev said:

Are you planning to buy one or borrow a test unit?

Have the Gross, was hoping to borrow a Fein test unit but it fell thru. 

----

Have not heard the QuTest and am trying to schedule a compare. It will be interesting to see how well it handles DSD.  The Gross is superb for DSD.

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18 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

Have the Gross, was hoping to borrow a Fein test unit but it fell thru. 

----

Have not heard the QuTest and am trying to schedule a compare. It will be interesting to see how well it handles DSD.  The Gross is superb for DSD.

I’m a recent convert to dsd and have now collected quite a lot so i’m keen to get the right dac.  I’m using a topping at the moment - it’s ok but I’m looking for something a bit better. I was plannng on getting a Qutest but have read differing opinions on how well it does dsd. It would be great to do a comparison with the gieseler. 

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On 20/11/2018 at 12:37 PM, Cardiiiii said:

Any update on comparisons between the two?

Im time poor at the moment but will hopefully write more on the weekend. The Fein is bloody amazing for the price...

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23 hours ago, Max Headroom said:

Im time poor at the moment but will hopefully write more on the weekend. The Fein is bloody amazing for the price...

And you had the Holo DAC as well previously?

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57 minutes ago, Cardiiiii said:

And you had the Holo DAC as well previously?

Yes! So my comments take that into account 

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2 hours ago, Max Headroom said:

Yes! So my comments take that into account 

Great, looking forward to it!

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Ok everyone. Sorry but I've literally been snowed under the last couple of weeks...

 

OK where to start...

 

Over a period of several weeks I got to test and compare:

 

GIeseler Fein

Chord 2Qute (which I used to own)

Chord Qutest

Chord Hugo 2

Chord Hugo TT2

Chrod Hugo TT2 + M Scaler

Holo Spring Level 1 Dac + Sonore Signature Rendu (with i2s)

 

I wont go into a long explanation of each DAC and comparisons so I will try and keep it short and to the point. And also keep in mind that I didn't have the Holo Dac / Sonore combination at the same time as all of the Chord DACs. I listened to the Holo Dac on a Saturday and had the Chords for several days from the Sunday.

 

I have previously borrowed the PS Audio Direct Stream DAC and compared to the previous Chord DACs and it was found wanting... even against the 2Qute. I had the Gieseler GroB Dac on loan at the time and it wasn't even fair to the PS Audio.  Yes yes yes before anyone starts it had the latest firmware (the last version until the recent upgrade), and was burnt in. It was soft, inoffensive and bloomy... probably why people say it sounds analog, but reality is they've never heard good analog.

 

But back to the Fein. I had it on loan at the same time as the Holo Dac and the Chords. The Fein kept up with the DACs but he Chords were more consistent across the frequency range, and the Holo Dac and the Hugo TT2 with and without M Scaler were better than the Fein. But that's a BIG difference in price. It's a bit more interesting when comparing against the 2Qute, Qutest and Hugo 2 and TT2. The Fein is better than the 2Qute and compares to the Qutest and Hugos but gets a run for its money. The midrange is more balanced and filled out on the Chord DACs, so you get a more coherent sound.

 

Hugo TT2 + M Scaler and the Holo Spring 2 Dac + Sonore Signature Rendu combinations are absolutely sublime. Really stunning. But even against these the bass control and extension of the Fein still beats these DACs. Really phenomenal. (the USB input on the Holo Dac is pretty woeful so use BNC/SPDIF, ideally i2s or get a really good USB to SPDIF converter)

 

I was really hoping the Fein would be a giant slayer... but had to admit that the better DACs in the comparison were better in the mid-range and more consistent across the frequency range. Fein had the best bass and painted a huge and spacious soundstage so easily compared there... UNTIL...

 

Well I thought 'you know what, for $1750 or so its an interesting alternative to commercial DACs any near its price, but not perfect, and beaten in the mid range'... but I though I've 'experienced this before', and was wondering whether there is an impedance mismatch between the Fein and my pre. SO I tweaked. I happened to have Claytons new Kraftwerk power supply on loan, and a Musical Fidelity tube buffer and a sonore micro rendu stashed away somewhere.

 

Well, firstly, I added the the Kraftwerk power supply, and OMG what a transformation. The sound coming from the Fein now fleshed out, the sound stage grew. Now the Fein and power supply combination at approx $2150 sounded alot more consistent throughout the frequency range, and was a lot closer in sound to the other DACs. The bass extension and control on the Fein is unbeatable, and it projected and huge, open soundstage.

 

I then added the tube buffer and now there was hardly anything in it between the Fein/Kraftwerk/tube buffer combination and the top 2 DACs.  The mid range filled out, to accompany the amazing bass and sound staging. Even though I didn't have the Holo Dac and the Hugo TT2/M Scaler together they were so obviously in the same league and a cut above all of the DACs I had heard previously, including the Qutest, Hugo 2 and Hugo TT2. But here I was listening to a $2600 or so combination comparing with some of the best out there until you start to get to really silly money!!! (Yeah I know Hugo TT2 and M Scaler is about $15,000 so definitely NOT CHEAP). Yes its a bit of a hassle with the extra cables on the Fein, but hey we are comparing with DACs as good as the Hugo TT2 / M Scaler and/or Holo Dac with the Sonore Sig Rendu. Really unbelievable. And at significantly less cost!

 

I added my Sonore micro rendu to the Fein combination and now I'm sitting there shocked at how good it all sounded. I have to say that I was powering the Sonore with my Uptone Audio JS-2 linear power supply so that makes a more expensive combination again, but oh my what a combination. So for about $3700 (if you buy a sonore micro rendu with one of the additional power supplies they sell) you've got sound that just beats anything anywhere near the price, with bass extension and control, and imaging and sound staging that is better than most DACs below mega buck DACs. I was amazed and grinning like a cheshire cat - best bang for buck I've ever discovered. Really serious performance for not ridiculous amounts of money.

 

On the Saturday @gonefishing999 brought over his Holo Dac and Sonore Signature Rendu which we connected via i2s. It soundly beat the Fein on its own, before I started tweaking. Playing a track by the Jacques Loussier Trio - their version of Saties Gymnopedies / Gnossiennes, it sounded great via the Fein, until we tried the Holo Dac / SIg Rendu. There is a double bass in the track which is being strummed, sounds powerful through the Fein, but the Holo Dac combination adds presence and tone to the instrument, making it sound much more real. Going back to the Fein it sounds dull and thuddy in comparison. Also the treble region... well the Fein was soundly beat here. There is wind chimes/chime bells that are played at the beginning of the tune - on the Fein you can hear it clearly in the background with a metallic sound. With the Holo Dac / SIg Rendu the chimes are much clearer, more forward in the mix and take on a shimmering effect - as if they were veiled with the Fein. And the piano - well the Holo Dac / SIg Rendu filled the room with a body and naturalness to its tone the Fein couldn't match. Keep these observations in context though. I thought the Fein sounded great till I compared it to the Holo Dac / SIg Rendu combination. But temember thats an $8000 combination compared to the Fein at $1750 DAC. You'd be happy with the Fein if you heard it in isolation - its a terrific dac for the price! But when you add the Kraftwerk power supply, a tube buffer and stream via an external device like a Sonore to the Fein you get a combination which comes in at under $4000 but compares to much more costly combinations!

 

What really pushes the Fein combination out front, and was obvious with the TT2/M Scaler and Holo Dac/Signature Rendu is the quality of the sound and the effortlessness of that sound. For example it's not just great detail, body, sound staging, rhythm, attack, extended highs, shimmering treble, mid range with body and extended and full bass. These elements were all there in abundance, but added to this was an ease and effortlessness to the sound which makes every other DAC not at that standard sound contrived or unnatural. And this is why you get turntables often being considered as delivering a much more natural sound - instruments and music don;t sound contrived like the average digital playback chain. 

 

If I had the money to afford the Holo Dac/Sonore Sig Rendu or Hugo TT2 and M Scaler, I'd still be considering the Fein. The price difference between the first 2 DACs and the Fein combination is considerable, but the sound quality is at the same level. I know where I'd rather spend my money...

 

If presentation and packaging of a DAC is important to you, well nothing looks and feels quite like a Chord DAC, and the Hugo TT2 and M Scaler is a thing of beauty. The Holo DAC has its own look which is up to the standard of the Chord DACs, and quite attractive in its own right. But if sound quality is your priority, then the Fein combination is an outright bargain.

 

On a final note - just so everyone knows, here is a list of my equipment. It bothers me when people write reviews and don't list the associated equipment they are using. Many times their equipment is not capable or revealing enough for them to be able to offer a valuable opinion. 

 

Michell Gyrodec with Ortofon Kontrapunkt C moving coil cartridge

Pioneer PD 70-AE SACD player

Mac Mini, modded with Uptone Audio JS-2 linear power supply

Chord 2Qute DAC with MCRu linear power supply

OAD CP1 pre amp and UF1 power amp

PS Audio P3 power regenerator

Dynaudio Focus 380 speakers

Lightspeed 10G usb cable

Inakustik LS1603 speaker cables

Inakustik LS1603 inteconnects

ISO Acoustics Gaia speaker isolators

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Thanks for the review though a little bit confusing.

Maybe you can give us your ranking from top to bottom of all combinations you listened to.

Did you have an USB only Fein for review?

Did you listen to Holo Spring always as combo with Sonore Sig. Rendu or alone as well?

What would you say about comparison Gross vs. Fein?

Thanks

 

Matt

Edited by matth

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Ok everyone. Sorry but I've literally been snowed under the last couple of weeks...
 
OK where to start...
 
Over a period of several weeks I got to test and compare:
 
GIeseler Fein
Chord 2Qute (which I used to own)
Chord Qutest
Chord Hugo 2
Chord Hugo TT2
Chrod Hugo TT2 + M Scaler
Holo Spring Level 1 Dac + Sonore Signature Rendu (with i2s)
 
I wont go into a long explanation of each DAC and comparisons so I will try and keep it short and to the point. And also keep in mind that I didn't have the Holo Dac / Sonore combination at the same time as all of the Chord DACs. I listened to the Holo Dac on a Saturday and had the Chords for several days from the Sunday.
 
I have previously borrowed the PS Audio Direct Stream DAC and compared to the previous Chord DACs and it was found wanting... even against the 2Qute. I had the Gieseler GroB Dac on loan at the time and it wasn't even fair to the PS Audio.  Yes yes yes before anyone starts it had the latest firmware (the last version until the recent upgrade), and was burnt in. It was soft, inoffensive and bloomy... probably why people say it sounds analog, but reality is they've never heard good analog.
 
But back to the Fein. I had it on loan at the same time as the Holo Dac and the Chords. The Fein kept up with the DACs but he Chords were more consistent across the frequency range, and the Holo Dac and the Hugo TT2 with and without M Scaler were better than the Fein. But that's a BIG difference in price. It's a bit more interesting when comparing against the 2Qute, Qutest and Hugo 2 and TT2. The Fein is better than the 2Qute and compares to the Qutest and Hugos but gets a run for its money. The midrange is more balanced and filled out on the Chord DACs, so you get a more coherent sound.
 
Hugo TT2 + M Scaler and the Holo Spring 2 Dac + Sonore Signature Rendu combinations are absolutely sublime. Really stunning. But even against these the bass control and extension of the Fein still beats these DACs. Really phenomenal. (the USB input on the Holo Dac is pretty woeful so use BNC/SPDIF, ideally i2s or get a really good USB to SPDIF converter)
 
I was really hoping the Fein would be a giant slayer... but had to admit that the better DACs in the comparison were better in the mid-range and more consistent across the frequency range. Fein had the best bass and painted a huge and spacious soundstage so easily compared there... UNTIL...
 
Well I thought 'you know what, for $1750 or so its an interesting alternative to commercial DACs any near its price, but not perfect, and beaten in the mid range'... but I though I've 'experienced this before', and was wondering whether there is an impedance mismatch between the Fein and my pre. SO I tweaked. I happened to have Claytons new Kraftwerk power supply on loan, and a Musical Fidelity tube buffer and a sonore micro rendu stashed away somewhere.
 
Well, firstly, I added the the Kraftwerk power supply, and OMG what a transformation. The sound coming from the Fein now fleshed out, the sound stage grew. Now the Fein and power supply combination at approx $2150 sounded alot more consistent throughout the frequency range, and was a lot closer in sound to the other DACs. The bass extension and control on the Fein is unbeatable, and it projected and huge, open soundstage.
 
I then added the tube buffer and now there was hardly anything in it between the Fein/Kraftwerk/tube buffer combination and the top 2 DACs.  The mid range filled out, to accompany the amazing bass and sound staging. Even though I didn't have the Holo Dac and the Hugo TT2/M Scaler together they were so obviously in the same league and a cut above all of the DACs I had heard previously, including the Qutest, Hugo 2 and Hugo TT2. But here I was listening to a $2600 or so combination comparing with some of the best out there until you start to get to really silly money!!! (Yeah I know Hugo TT2 and M Scaler is about $15,000 so definitely NOT CHEAP). Yes its a bit of a hassle with the extra cables on the Fein, but hey we are comparing with DACs as good as the Hugo TT2 / M Scaler and/or Holo Dac with the Sonore Sig Rendu. Really unbelievable. And at significantly less cost!
 
I added my Sonore micro rendu to the Fein combination and now I'm sitting there shocked at how good it all sounded. I have to say that I was powering the Sonore with my Uptone Audio JS-2 linear power supply so that makes a more expensive combination again, but oh my what a combination. So for about $3700 (if you buy a sonore micro rendu with one of the additional power supplies they sell) you've got sound that just beats anything anywhere near the price, with bass extension and control, and imaging and sound staging that is better than most DACs below mega buck DACs. I was amazed and grinning like a cheshire cat - best bang for buck I've ever discovered. Really serious performance for not ridiculous amounts of money.
 
On the Saturday [mention=141230]gonefishing999[/mention] brought over his Holo Dac and Sonore Signature Rendu which we connected via i2s. It soundly beat the Fein on its own, before I started tweaking. Playing a track by the Jacques Loussier Trio - their version of Saties Gymnopedies / Gnossiennes, it sounded great via the Fein, until we tried the Holo Dac / SIg Rendu. There is a double bass in the track which is being strummed, sounds powerful through the Fein, but the Holo Dac combination adds presence and tone to the instrument, making it sound much more real. Going back to the Fein it sounds dull and thuddy in comparison. Also the treble region... well the Fein was soundly beat here. There is wind chimes/chime bells that are played at the beginning of the tune - on the Fein you can hear it clearly in the background with a metallic sound. With the Holo Dac / SIg Rendu the chimes are much clearer, more forward in the mix and take on a shimmering effect - as if they were veiled with the Fein. And the piano - well the Holo Dac / SIg Rendu filled the room with a body and naturalness to its tone the Fein couldn't match. Keep these observations in context though. I thought the Fein sounded great till I compared it to the Holo Dac / SIg Rendu combination. But temember thats an $8000 combination compared to the Fein at $1750 DAC. You'd be happy with the Fein if you heard it in isolation - its a terrific dac for the price! But when you add the Kraftwerk power supply, a tube buffer and stream via an external device like a Sonore to the Fein you get a combination which comes in at under $4000 but compares to much more costly combinations!
 
What really pushes the Fein combination out front, and was obvious with the TT2/M Scaler and Holo Dac/Signature Rendu is the quality of the sound and the effortlessness of that sound. For example it's not just great detail, body, sound staging, rhythm, attack, extended highs, shimmering treble, mid range with body and extended and full bass. These elements were all there in abundance, but added to this was an ease and effortlessness to the sound which makes every other DAC not at that standard sound contrived or unnatural. And this is why you get turntables often being considered as delivering a much more natural sound - instruments and music don;t sound contrived like the average digital playback chain. 
 
If I had the money to afford the Holo Dac/Sonore Sig Rendu or Hugo TT2 and M Scaler, I'd still be considering the Fein. The price difference between the first 2 DACs and the Fein combination is considerable, but the sound quality is at the same level. I know where I'd rather spend my money...
 
If presentation and packaging of a DAC is important to you, well nothing looks and feels quite like a Chord DAC, and the Hugo TT2 and M Scaler is a thing of beauty. The Holo DAC has its own look which is up to the standard of the Chord DACs, and quite attractive in its own right. But if sound quality is your priority, then the Fein combination is an outright bargain.
 
On a final note - just so everyone knows, here is a list of my equipment. It bothers me when people write reviews and don't list the associated equipment they are using. Many times their equipment is not capable or revealing enough for them to be able to offer a valuable opinion. 
 
Michell Gyrodec with Ortofon Kontrapunkt C moving coil cartridge
Pioneer PD 70-AE SACD player
Mac Mini, modded with Uptone Audio JS-2 linear power supply
Chord 2Qute DAC with MCRu linear power supply
OAD CP1 pre amp and UF1 power amp
PS Audio P3 power regenerator
Dynaudio Focus 380 speakers
Lightspeed 10G usb cable
Inakustik LS1603 speaker cables
Inakustik LS1603 inteconnects
ISO Acoustics Gaia speaker isolators


Out of interest, have you tried comparing the Fein powered by Kraftwerk vs. JS-2?

I have a JS-2, and have ordered a Kraftwerk for my Gross. Similar to you I use ultraRendu and microRendu.

You are seriously tempting me to get a Fein for my desk setup!

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5 hours ago, matth said:

Thanks for the review though a little bit confusing.

Maybe you can give us your ranking from top to bottom of all combinations you listened to.

Did you have an USB only Fein for review?

Did you listen to Holo Spring always as combo with Sonore Sig. Rendu or alone as well?

What would you say about comparison Gross vs. Fein?

Thanks

 

Matt

Yeah, it was late and perhaps not the clearest, but the comparison wasn't clear cut. So to answer a couple of questions...

 

I won't rank top to bottom, more group.

 

Fein was USB only.

 

Listened to the Holo Spring as a combo with Sonore Sig. Rendu, and standalone, but take my comments as a Combo. Great both ways, but seriously good and obviously better with the Sonore.

 

Hugo TT2 is amazing on its own, but with the M Scaler takes it to a new level. I suspect I was reaching the limits of my system and in a better, more revealing system the difference between Hugo TT2 on its own and with the M Scaler would be so much more obvious, and then totally justifiable from a cost standpoint. Otherwise if your system is mid-fi and not very revealing you may not hear the difference.

 

The 'lesser' DACs were still amazing, so you cant go wrong, but the better DACs were better and clearly so.

 

I dont think you can by a Musical Fidelity tube buffer new now, so you'd have to look another brand. 

 

Fein is amazing, incredible bass control and extension, and paints an airy and large sound stage - without any extra attachments and power supplies. On that cout beats all the other DACs without a doubt. But music and sound isn't just all about bass and soundstage. So in that regard I would say it comes down to preference and your tastes, but I've had enough of making excuses for equipment that doesn't paint a sound stage larger than the space between my speakers, and that replays drums and instruments in lower frequencies 'accurately' but you can't feel the energy of those instruments. With the Fein I can turn the volume down and still get a sense of the scale of the music and have the same presence and impact as when the volume is turned up. So the Fein ticks boxes for me and my preferences. I can totally understand people preferring the Chords in this situation

 

So 2 groups

I place 2Qute, Qutest and Hugo 2 in the first group, and Holo Dac (with or without Sonore Sig. Rendu) and Hugo TT2 (with and without M Scaler) in a second group as far as ultimate sound quality goes. They second group were better, and I suspect with an even better system than mine the differences would show even more. (Sort of makes the Holo Dac a bargain on its own if you avoid the USB input) I frankly couldn't be bothered with the frigging around with cables with the Hugo 2 as its clearly designed for use as a headphone amp/portable DAC, but it sounds fantastic, just really not that much better than the Qutest to justify the trouble or extra cost. The difference is there, but you wouldn't lose any sleep over it if you dont use your DAC as a portable rig.

 

So without additional power supply and tube buffer:

Fein easily bests the Chord 2Qute, and keeps pace with the Chord Qutest, Hugo 2, and would come down to preference, but it does many things so right. And while it has amazing abilities in sound staging and presentation of the lower frequencies, the the other DACs are ahead in the mid range frequencies. The Holo Dac (with or without Sonore Sig. Rendu) and Hugo TT2 (with and without M Scaler) still have a more complete presentation, naturalness to the instruments, better tonality and high frequencies and uncontrived sound, so you can easily hear they are better.

 

WIth the Kraftwerk power supply:

Fein comes closer to the Chords in the mids and builds on its strengths of deep, controlled and detailed bass, and increased air around instruments, larger sound stage not contained by my room or speakers. Also improves the naturalness and tones of the sound of instruments, considerably improves the treble frequencies. So less of a preference thing in the first group as its such a strong performer with the Kraftwerk power supply - extremely impressive. At this point you may be so impressed that you would save the difference and not go the Holo Dac/Sonore Sig Rendu or Hugo TT2/M Scaler. But they were still better and more consistent and complete with their presentations. But hey we are talking $2150 for the Fein and Kraftwerk power supply, and you'd have a damn impressive DAC and sound quality at less money than all the other DACs. Really we are talking a bargain.

 

With the Kraftwerk power supply and Musical Fidelity X-10D tube buffer:

Nothing in it really, as the Fein now has a very complete sound across the frequency range, much more coherent and consistent, and easily within a hairs breath of the 2 better DAC's. I think this shows where the extra money goes in the more expensive DACs - I suspect the output stages have alot to do with it as when I add the tube buffer to the Fein it's very competitive with the more expensive DACs. They might edge ahead still, slightly, but you'd hope so for approx $16000 for the Hugo TT2/M Scaler and approx $8000 for the Holo Dac/Sonore SIg Rendu combinations. The Holo Dac is an amazing DAC in its own right, but I think the Fein/Kraftwerk/MF X10-D combination is better at around the same price.

 

With the Kraftwerk power supply, Musical Fidelity X-10D tube buffer and Sonore Micro Rendu:

The Fein is there playing with the big boys, no questions asked. I'd say there would be small differences and seriously you'd have to sit and have a long listen to each and compare to pick a difference, but I would not say that one is better than the other. In much better (and more expensive) systems than mine then you would hear more clearly the differences so you may have a stronger preference for one or the other brand, but thats all that it would come down to I suspect.

 

So Clayton, when am I going to get my Fein and Kraftwerk power supply?!!! 

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41 minutes ago, Raffinator said:

 


Out of interest, have you tried comparing the Fein powered by Kraftwerk vs. JS-2?

I have a JS-2, and have ordered a Kraftwerk for my Gross. Similar to you I use ultraRendu and microRendu.

You are seriously tempting me to get a Fein for my desk setup!

 

Yes... and I didnt want this to be so, but... no comparison...

 

KRAFTWERK kills the JS-2 with the Fein! I didn't think there would be that much of a difference, but the improvement was considerbale. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor.

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2 hours ago, Max Headroom said:

Yes... and I didnt want this to be so, but... no comparison...

 

KRAFTWERK kills the JS-2 with the Fein! I didn't think there would be that much of a difference, but the improvement was considerbale. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor.

Wow, that I did not expect.

 

Would you mind elaborating on the differences.

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Well it's been weeks now and unfortunately I didn't take notes. I was meaning to capture all of my findings when I had all of the gear but due to family responsibilities I didn't have time. 

 

I was expecting the JS-2 to be unassailable but the Kraftwerk made the Fein sound better in every way. From memory sound opened up more. Timbre of instruments improved dramatically, already good soundstage width, depth and height increased. And it wasn't subtle. Music had more body and density, as if to fill out a thinness you only really notice if you have much more expensive DACs/better equipment. JS-2 paired with te Fein was good, and definitely improved upon the stock power supply, the Kraftwerk was just so much better.

 

I have the JS-2 powering my Mac Mini. Makes a huge difference to the Mac, and I've had it powering USB devices and DACs from the second output, but I am solely using it for the Mac most of the time. Great product, but not up to the standards of the Kraftwerk when paired with the Fein DAC. The Kraftwerk also worked wonders on my 2Qute DAC. Dramatically changed the nature of the sound from that DAC and really opened up the sound. Again, not subtle changes! I don't like tweaks that give you a little bit of an improvement here, a smidge there... If an improvment is obvious and clear and not just different I'll call it very worthwhile. I dont like chasing my tail for subtle differences and improvements.

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On 05/12/2018 at 11:14 PM, Max Headroom said:

Yeah, it was late and perhaps not the clearest, but the comparison wasn't clear cut. So to answer a couple of questions...

 

I won't rank top to bottom, more group.

 

Fein was USB only.

 

Listened to the Holo Spring as a combo with Sonore Sig. Rendu, and standalone, but take my comments as a Combo. Great both ways, but seriously good and obviously better with the Sonore.

 

Hugo TT2 is amazing on its own, but with the M Scaler takes it to a new level. I suspect I was reaching the limits of my system and in a better, more revealing system the difference between Hugo TT2 on its own and with the M Scaler would be so much more obvious, and then totally justifiable from a cost standpoint. Otherwise if your system is mid-fi and not very revealing you may not hear the difference.

 

The 'lesser' DACs were still amazing, so you cant go wrong, but the better DACs were better and clearly so.

 

I dont think you can by a Musical Fidelity tube buffer new now, so you'd have to look another brand. 

 

Fein is amazing, incredible bass control and extension, and paints an airy and large sound stage - without any extra attachments and power supplies. On that cout beats all the other DACs without a doubt. But music and sound isn't just all about bass and soundstage. So in that regard I would say it comes down to preference and your tastes, but I've had enough of making excuses for equipment that doesn't paint a sound stage larger than the space between my speakers, and that replays drums and instruments in lower frequencies 'accurately' but you can't feel the energy of those instruments. With the Fein I can turn the volume down and still get a sense of the scale of the music and have the same presence and impact as when the volume is turned up. So the Fein ticks boxes for me and my preferences. I can totally understand people preferring the Chords in this situation

 

So 2 groups

I place 2Qute, Qutest and Hugo 2 in the first group, and Holo Dac (with or without Sonore Sig. Rendu) and Hugo TT2 (with and without M Scaler) in a second group as far as ultimate sound quality goes. They second group were better, and I suspect with an even better system than mine the differences would show even more. (Sort of makes the Holo Dac a bargain on its own if you avoid the USB input) I frankly couldn't be bothered with the frigging around with cables with the Hugo 2 as its clearly designed for use as a headphone amp/portable DAC, but it sounds fantastic, just really not that much better than the Qutest to justify the trouble or extra cost. The difference is there, but you wouldn't lose any sleep over it if you dont use your DAC as a portable rig.

 

So without additional power supply and tube buffer:

Fein easily bests the Chord 2Qute, and keeps pace with the Chord Qutest, Hugo 2, and would come down to preference, but it does many things so right. And while it has amazing abilities in sound staging and presentation of the lower frequencies, the the other DACs are ahead in the mid range frequencies. The Holo Dac (with or without Sonore Sig. Rendu) and Hugo TT2 (with and without M Scaler) still have a more complete presentation, naturalness to the instruments, better tonality and high frequencies and uncontrived sound, so you can easily hear they are better.

 

WIth the Kraftwerk power supply:

Fein comes closer to the Chords in the mids and builds on its strengths of deep, controlled and detailed bass, and increased air around instruments, larger sound stage not contained by my room or speakers. Also improves the naturalness and tones of the sound of instruments, considerably improves the treble frequencies. So less of a preference thing in the first group as its such a strong performer with the Kraftwerk power supply - extremely impressive. At this point you may be so impressed that you would save the difference and not go the Holo Dac/Sonore Sig Rendu or Hugo TT2/M Scaler. But they were still better and more consistent and complete with their presentations. But hey we are talking $2150 for the Fein and Kraftwerk power supply, and you'd have a damn impressive DAC and sound quality at less money than all the other DACs. Really we are talking a bargain.

 

With the Kraftwerk power supply and Musical Fidelity X-10D tube buffer:

Nothing in it really, as the Fein now has a very complete sound across the frequency range, much more coherent and consistent, and easily within a hairs breath of the 2 better DAC's. I think this shows where the extra money goes in the more expensive DACs - I suspect the output stages have alot to do with it as when I add the tube buffer to the Fein it's very competitive with the more expensive DACs. They might edge ahead still, slightly, but you'd hope so for approx $16000 for the Hugo TT2/M Scaler and approx $8000 for the Holo Dac/Sonore SIg Rendu combinations. The Holo Dac is an amazing DAC in its own right, but I think the Fein/Kraftwerk/MF X10-D combination is better at around the same price.

 

With the Kraftwerk power supply, Musical Fidelity X-10D tube buffer and Sonore Micro Rendu:

The Fein is there playing with the big boys, no questions asked. I'd say there would be small differences and seriously you'd have to sit and have a long listen to each and compare to pick a difference, but I would not say that one is better than the other. In much better (and more expensive) systems than mine then you would hear more clearly the differences so you may have a stronger preference for one or the other brand, but thats all that it would come down to I suspect.

 

So Clayton, when am I going to get my Fein and Kraftwerk power supply?!!! 

Thank you for clarification.

I would like to listen to a comparison of Gross with Kraftwerk vs. the new Holo Audio Spring2 DAC. Both should be superb with higher rate DSD.

 

Matt

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Hopefully Clay can answer this, but what are the chip specs for the Fein? Can it do DSD512 like its big brother Gross? 

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Hi John,

yes the Fein DAC will do DSD 512 & even has switchable 50k/150k DSD filters which are new.

The Ak4493EQ  DAC chip (used in the Fein) has very similar specs to the AK4497EQ (used in the Gross) but slightly lower THD+N. However the AK4493EQ is about two years newer in design  vs the AK4497EQ & actually has some new features like auto DSD detection the same as the AK4499EQ which is about six months away. 

 

 

 

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Hi all!

 

Are there any posts I may have missed with some cool internal photos of the Fein like there was of the Klein III?

 

I really want to grab a Klein but without 3 inputs worries me a little future proof wise, so I think I’m going the way of the Fein to be super safe and most likely have a better DAC over the Klein. 

 

Not having any cash but having 2K ZipMoney ready, I’ve been trying to come up with the best way to get something better then what I have (which I’m really not enjoying at all) I almost pulled the trigger on the Cambridge CXN V2 as from all indications seems to be a real winner for the price. However in the back of my head from all the suggestions I’ve had, I keep looking back at Gieseler.

 

So I think to stop this struggle, the Fein with the Yamaha WXC50 via coax is the best way to go, then save and look for a better transport/streamer only down the road and then I can go USB. 

 

Anyway, without ZipMoney I’ll have to just keep saving and hopefully my brain doesn’t do my head in to much in the meantime and change direction again. 

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