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GIESELER Fein DAC II owners thread

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I thought I would get this started early as units are already shipping.

I'm very excited about the Fein DAC II & critical listening tests are proving very positive.

The big difference is this model has the equivalent of a Kraftwerk Nichicon Gold Tune PSU built into the main board.

Now that is normally a $450 extra so at $2000 (USB only ver) this represent excellent value.  3 - input version $2300

Total main filter capacitance is actually 40,000 uf all gold tune so slightly more than the separate Kraftwerk version.  

Also the other plus over previous DAC's is totally separate PSU's for the left & right VREF supplies to the DAC chip. This seriously adds more separation & improves imaging.

 It is mainly for owners to comment on their impressions but other related input welcome.

Enjoy!

IMG_3365.thumb.JPG.1d136104dfcb7fdd85b696fcade3d8ee.JPG

 

Edited by Gieseler Audio
better photo

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Hi Clay,

congratulations for Fein II.

Will there be a Groß II as well or is because of the larger output transformers no place on the circuit board for an interior power supply like Fein II?

Thanks

 

Matt

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Hi Matt,

at this stage it will just be the Fein II & I will probably wait for the AK4499 to do a new higher end model.

 

 

 

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Very keen to hear about comparisons with the Groß, Fein 1 or indeed a PS audio DSJ if anyone is lucky enough to have any of those?

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Mmmm, so when the AK4499 is out will we see a Groß II with the Nichicon Gold built in? Are these better than the Silmics? Still really enjoying mine :)

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noddy

I don't have a Groß so can't do a comparison with the Fein I but there have been some comparisons between the DS & the Groß.

 

Matt,

yes you summed that up pretty well.

I have stopped production of the Groß as the AK4499 will become AKM's top chip when it is released in May.

Nichicon Gold Tune vs Elna Silmic.

They are a bit different in terms of application. The Nichicon's are a much larger "snap in" design suited as a main filter cap in a PSU.

The Silmic's have normal wire thru hole connections & suit decoupling, extra smoothing etc.

I'm using the Nichicons Gold Tune's in the Fein II as it has a large Kraftwerk style PSU built in. I need 40k uf of filtering & you would need a crazy number of Silimic's to do that. 

The Fein II & also the Groß will be at Benjet's gtg in Brisbane so a good time to do comparisons.

 

 

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Thanks for that link I have been keeping a close eye on that thread and yes waiting for a comparison of the DSJ with a Groß + external PSU. Shame I am not in Brisbane would be great to here the comparison between the Fein ll and Groß.

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Maybe I should organise a demo Fein II trip to Melbourne as I have had a few enquireys from there.

I have just ordered the pcb’s for the 3- input version which  has quite a few upgrades in the S/PDIF section compared to all earlier models. Upgrades are ultra low noise regulators for analogue & digital supplies to the Wolfson WM8804. Also low ESR Tantlum decoupling caps in the same area & improved rf I2S switching relays. Also the S/PDIF section now has full auto 

muting on signal unlock or disconnection - no more loud unexpected white noise.

With this new version I would expect minimal sound quality differences between the 3 input & USB only version.

 Now all I have to do is pray that I have no mistakes in my new PCB layout.  The tracks are so fine there’s no way I can change anything. 🙏🙏🙏

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 Well I’ve finally had a chance to carefully compare the Fein II with a Gross DAC.

 The Gross was a very well run in USB only version ( supposedly best sounding version) powered by a Kraftwerk  gold tune power supply. The Fein II was a brand new build (no run in) 3 - input version powered by the standard 9v external transformer/plugpack.  For the record there is no point in powering the Fein II with anything else as it has a built-in Kraftwerk  gold tune Enhanced  power supply.

 First up both DAC’s sound extremely good but in my opinion the Fein II is clearly better in a few areas.

Improvements were, imaging, separation, resolution & bass control.  Initially I thought the Gross was fuller in the bottom end but with careful listening  I think it was a looser bass without the control/tightness the Fein II had.

 Now please take note this is my opinion only and obviously subjective.  I will try some to do some organised double blind testing with additional listeners when time permits. 

 I’m very confident one of the big reasons for the improvement is the built-in Kraftwerk Enhanced power supply that the Fein II has.  No doubt the Gross would also improve with  that treatment but I’ll save that for the new AK4499 version but that will not be for a while.  Also the AK4499 is “current out” ( not voltage RE Fein) so I won’t be able to use the simple Jensen line output transformer topology - dam shame!

 So summing  up the Fein II is  now my benchmark DAC And in my opinion the best sounding unit to date.

 Bold statement I know but there should be a few units out there shortly so looking forward to some owner reviews  which this topic is for.

Edited by Gieseler Audio

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Thanks for the comparison of the two. Am very interested in the Fein II but will wait for more reviews. Sounds like the 3 input version of the Fein II is shipping now? 

Edited by noddyc43

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 Yes the 3 - input Fein II is now shipping.

There will be a Gross DAC + Enhanced Kraftwerk PSU as well as a new Fein II 3 - input at the Brisbane headfi club meeting on the 30th of March - I’m sure there will be some critical comparisons done there.

 

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 Yes the 3 - input Fein II is now shipping.
There will be a Gross DAC + Enhanced Kraftwerk PSU as well as a new Fein II 3 - input at the Brisbane headfi club meeting on the 30th of March - I’m sure there will be some critical comparisons done there.
 

If anyone is serious about purchasing a Fein II or the HP amp and if time allows, we can arrange a time for a private audition on the following day of the meet at my house. As least you’ll be able to spend quality time with them, without all the noise of the gathering.

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Mmmm, how much is a 3 input version? I got itchy and got a TDA1541A R1 based DAC for my second system.  If I'd just waited 1 week longer....

 

Ah well, I can tube roll and have a used TDA1541A S1 chip  coming for it. That's something I guess :)

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 I have owned The Fein II for a week or so now and it is fabulous! The first things I have noticed are its clarity and channel separation with a much more three dimensional sound stage than I have heard on my system before.The grip this DAC has on the music is firm and it has tightened up all aspects of the sound...I know it is an oft used cliche but 'I have heard things in the recordings I have not heard before". I had previously owned a PDX and loved it for its fluidity and engagement but this DAC is sharp and well controlled and I am captivated.Congratulations Clay!

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Hello, just wanted to check if there is anyone in the group happen to compare it with Consonance Reference DSD1.1  Thanks.

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Over the last couple of days I have had a Fein II on loan and managed to compare it to my Gross.

The Fein II has a built in Gold Tune power supply so I just used the external power supply that came with it. The Gross was powered by one of Clay’s external Gold Tune Kraftwerks.

The Fein II clearly provided the better sound quality in my system. The most obvious differences were that it was smoother, with less hard or harsh edges, and had better separation within the soundstage. The Fein II soundstage was less cluttered, most noticeably around the center of the stage on the tracks I was listening to. The soundstage was also a bit larger, including being deeper.

Piano was more natural sounding and seemed to be tonally better balanced with longer decay. Bass was a little more authoritative.

Overall, the Fein II resulted in a smoother, more enjoyable and more mesmerising listening experience. It produced a less digital and perhaps even more tube-like sound.
@Snoopy8 also came by for a listen and seemed to be in general agreement.

Another great product from Clay!

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The Fein II sounded more analogue than the Gross with gold tuned Kraftwerk PSU. Perhaps slightly better mids with Diana Krall (My Love Is) and better presentation with piano (Gjeilo North Country II).

 

I am glad I no longer have a standalone DAC setup (Marie Kondo struck!). I told @RussB that I would have been severely tempted to changeover to the Fein II based on it being more analogue. And the difference is obvious even with the short listening time.

 

Well done Clay for delivering a worthy successor to the Gross in the Fein II.

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@RussB @Snoopy8 thanks for the detailed comparison. Not only does it have a great PSU inbuilt but a step up sound wise to the gross. I was wondering for a moment there snoopy8 if you had left Maria K at the bus stop and were coming back to the separates! I am keen also to go the all in one pathway but the Fein II is really tempting me. 

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6 hours ago, noddyc43 said:

I was wondering for a moment there snoopy8 if you had left Maria K at the bus stop and were coming back to the separates! I am keen also to go the all in one pathway but the Fein II is really tempting me. 

Still happily on the Marie Kondo bus!  🚌    Looking at how to incorporate room correction...

 

Not sure what you have at the moment, but DO be tempted by the Fein II.  😀  The Gross DAC which I previously had could compete with DACs costing many times more (reviews and impressions here).  The Gross was further improved with the PSU.  Don't know how Clay weaved his magic, but he managed to improve on the Gross + PSU and at same time, made the Fein II cheaper (** no need to buy separate PSU)!

Edited by Snoopy8
Added **

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I currently have an azur 851n I use as a streamer and DAC. I have heard many good reviews of the gross + PSU as you stated and am torn between the Fein II paired with a  sMS 200 Sotm and sticking with my current pre/power setup. Or going extreme and an all in one option like a pair of devialet phantoms. Or in between and the new all in one offerings from the naim uniti series. I guess I just have to work out what I see as important at present. Minimisation of components or persuit of my ideal sound. 

Edited by noddyc43

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Just letting everyone know that I currently have built up stock of

USB only & 3 - input versions. 

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