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GIESELER Fein DAC II owners thread

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5 hours ago, Gieseler Audio said:

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

USB only & 3 - input versions. 

I swear you are going to make me poor(er) than I am if you keep this up! *joke*

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Hey I’ve just found out Esoteric have used the AK4493 (used in Fein II)

in their new $10K SACD/CD player.

https://www.ttvjaudio.com/Esoteric-K-05Xs-SACD-CD-Player-p/eso0000089.htm

Good to know I’m not the only one who thinks this chip sounds so good!

Quote

Following in the Footsteps of the Grandioso K1:
The New Dual Mono D/A Converter

The digital-analog converter section has been fully redesigned based on the latest platform used in the Grandioso K1. An AK4493 32-bit DAC from Asahi Kasei Electronics has been combined with premium components and the latest design technology to provide an exceptional level of sound quality.

 

Edited by Gieseler Audio

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Update.

We have just completed a small Fein II firmware revision which adds a few behind the scene improvements 

but also adds a brand new menu feature.

High low output level option.

Low is the default & the same as before at the standard 2.0 rms.

High is 2.65v rms. 

It is only a small increase but may helpful in a direct DAC to power amplifier situation.

The behind the scenes stuff is mainly improved DSD to PCM switching.

The new firmware will go out to all owners this week & is a simple process of swapping a plug in chip.

Edited by Gieseler Audio

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There are 10+ Fein II’s out there in the field now so some owner feedback would be great!

 After all this is what this thread is all about.

Also there is a new final revision Linux firmware for the Amanero USB board.

I have tested this & I’m very impressed.

Perfect DSD playback right up to DSD512 with no pops on track or sample rate change.

Any owners wanting more info on this please PM me.

 

 

Edited by Gieseler Audio
added info

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RE high low gain setting on the Fein II

I just been listening carefully to a few different tracks  & I think the "high gain" setting actually sounds a bit better.

It's hard doing a accurate compare because the volume level changes but the high gain setting seems a little fuller, slightly less sibilant & smoother.

Anyway I just thought it would mention it & it might be worth doing a comparison yourself & see what you think.

Technically I'm struggling to work out why there would be a difference but maybe the higher gain setting is changing a few parameters around the 

internal op-amps which possibly results in a better match with the output transformers.  

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On 30/04/2019 at 7:02 AM, Gieseler Audio said:

There are 10+ Fein II’s out there in the field now so some owner feedback would be great!

 After all this is what this thread is all about.

Also there is a new final revision Linux firmware for the Amanero USB board.

I have tested this & I’m very impressed.

Perfect DSD playback right up to DSD512 with no pops on track or sample rate change.

Any owners wanting more info on this please PM me.

 

 

I have also upgraged my firmware and I am running a Linux front end system using Daphile (previously Antipodes/Vortex box)with a Gross.  I think the improvement is significant and works in my system with no pops at all.  I would highly recommend the firmware update.

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Just received Fein Dac II serial number 14 :) 

Delighted with its sound right off the bat - and will no doubt improve in the coming days as it settles in.
Simply amazing how smooth it sounds.

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Keen to hear people's thoughts on this especially with comparisons to other devices.

I heard what I think was an early Grob so no upgraded PSU

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Just found some internal photos of the latest build - Fein II 3 - input

Notice the nice Nichicon Gold Tune capacitors for the built in Enhanced Kraftwerk PSU.

Also the nice chunky Jensen output transformers.

 

IMG_3653.thumb.JPG.ec5fc61eb6619fecb423647a449f29c4.JPGIMG_3654.thumb.JPG.23425e5b1e2f0449b6ad12ad4836a68f.JPG

 

 

Edited by Gieseler Audio

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I have the Gieseler Fein II 3 input version dac in house, thanks to Conch/Liam. :thumb: 

 

At the get-go the Fein II is a very fine sounding DAC (pun intended). It is significantly better than the MF Trivista 21 dac @ RRP $4.5K, NuForce Reference 9 dac @ $1,200USD, a DIYAudio.com Aya II Sabre 9018 dac with Amanero USB input and the little Topping D10 DSD dac, I have been playing around with.

 

I will not mince my words, the Fein has greater clarity, soundstage and instrument separation than the above mentioned dacs. The Fein dac has fantastic detail retrieval due to the foregoing attributes and is thrilling to listen, while at the same time is tonally beautiful and inviting. Bass is articulate and perhaps a tad light (or its just perfectly judged) and is therefore subject to further assessment.

 

The $64K question is, is the $2.3K AUD Fein II better than the Holo Audio Spring Level 3 r2r DAC with silver transformer @ $3KUSD - that is a benchmark for many of us?? You know, it just might be. The Holodac is long gone now in my previous quest for the ultimate dac within reason and audio memory is fickle, but I do recall that the Holodac may have been a little whispy in the highs (suggesting a lightness of touch) that may have lead one to believe that it was slightly artificial in its presentation - whereas the Fein seems to have all the clarity of the Holo, but has a more fleshed out palette. The Holodac was very good with hirez DSD material showing the minutiae in the music, and DSD replay is something I have not yet been able to get going with the Fein. More to do with my CA set-up and JRiver settings than anything else I think, something for me to sort through and on which I will report further tomorrow.

 

Just when I had settled (detoxed) my mind to thinking that dac cost does not matter too much so long as it is reasonably high quality - along comes the superb sounding Gieseler Fein II DAC. It’s made me rethink some audio priorities ...

 

Cheers,

 

Steve.

Edited by Steve M

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OK, over extended listening today the Gieseler Fein II DAC continues to impress with its vividness and overall ‘lit up from the inside’ presentation. The MF Trivista 21 valve dac @ $4.5K is not shamed and did not disappoint with this morning’s listening session and more than keeps up with the Fein albeit in a midrange valve accentuated beguiling way, as opposed to the refreshing modern clear tone of the Fein. Bass output with the Fein was considered to be more than competent as displayed by the various reggae and techno tracks I played today. I still could not get the Fein to play ball in DSD mode so cannot compare it to the Holodac which is is excellent in this regard. I’m told that the Fein II that I have at hand is oriented towards DSD replay via Linux as opposed to the laptop Windows 8.1/JRiver PC and server that I am presently using.

 

Tomorrow the Fein II dac goes to John Daly of Sublime Audio for further assessment. John has the reputedly excellent sounding Mola Mola dac - so that should be an interesting comparo.

 

Cheers,

 

Steve.

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Of course these little Bakoon pre-power amps @ $8K from Pat O’Brien at WAR Audio at only 15w/ch Class A are a magical response in the whole mix ...like the best SET amp possible with solid state (accuracy) virtues!

 

6BE9D4F4-EE58-4F42-94F5-9C2CB5E54CC6.jpeg

Edited by Steve M

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Guest Misterioso
On 09/08/2019 at 10:40 PM, Steve M said:

Tomorrow the Fein II dac goes to John Daly of Sublime Audio for further assessment. John has the reputedly excellent sounding Mola Mola dac - so that should be an interesting comparo.

Interesting. How did it go?

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@Jeffo GeeI have the Gross Dac an earlier model with a different chip. This or the Gross Dac are well worth having a listen to.

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Alright, I've received the demo Fein DAC II to compare with the Topping D70. Here is what I've noticed:

  Quote

Anyway, my initial impressions of the Fein DAC 2 is that there is a noticeable improvement in precision, instrument separation and 'airiness' compared to the Topping D70, which sounded a bit thicker on USB connection. This could be an effect of the different output stage and psu Clayton uses for the Fein Dac 2 

I will try the coaxial output on both units as well. 

Both are good units and will serve their users well. I will say that Fein DAC II definitely has improved casework compared to the GroB unit I had before. 

Clayton has done a great job with the Fein DAC II, in my opinion.

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Okay, just tried the Fein DAC II with USB connection to my PC with my Hypex based stereo amp. I think I'm getting noticeable differences between the D70 and the Fein DAC II. Both are great but if you are on a tighter DAC budget and can deal with the more limited warranty on the Topping D70 compared to the Fein DAC II, the Topping D70 makes a compelling product. However, if you can afford it and have good gear, the Fein DAC II is an excellent choice especially with local aftermarket support of high quality.

 

@doomigee2 The Fein DAC II does not have a headphone out and from what I can tell, there doesn't seem to be plans to add one to it, considering they've already released a separate HP amp.

Edited by Suopermanni

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2 hours ago, doomigee2 said:

Does this have a headphone out? If not, @Gieseler Audio any plans on adding a headamp? 

Gieseler already sells a high quality, stand-alone headphone amp - I’d wager that your best bet would to be to add one of those to your Gieseler DAC of choice. :)

 

Edit. D’oh - this was covered in the post above. 

Edited by pete_mac

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The Fein II will actually drive headphones directly but you will need a RCA or XLR to 6.5mm adaptor 

cable. 

The power available is not a lot  but with efficient headphones reasonable good levels are obtainable.

Definitely worth a try.

 

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Okay, I've tried the coax input out of both the D70 and the Fein DAC II. Both sound good to my ear, though I favour the Fein DAC II on my Hypex amp setup. The D70 is still very good value for money.

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Isn't comparing a Topping D70 to the Fein II a little hopeful? The Topping would be a good budget DAC at A$450 but is over-priced at RRP and under-developed in most important areas (power supply, output stage). In high school terms it is in Year 3 compared to Year 12 for a fully fledged DAC like the Fein.

 

For those of us contemplating buying the Fein II, more owner reviews would be most welcome.

 

 

 

 

Edited by was_a

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On 01/11/2019 at 11:10 AM, was_a said:

Isn't comparing a Topping D70 to the Fein II a little hopeful? The Topping would be a good budget DAC at A$450 but is over-priced at RRP and under-developed in most important areas (power supply, output stage). In high school terms it is in Year 3 compared to Year 12 for a fully fledged DAC like the Fein.

 

For those of us contemplating buying the Fein II, more owner reviews would be most welcome.

 

 

 

 

Hello @was_a, I don't doubt that the D70 does not have the 'chops' of the power supply or output stage that the Fein II and GroB has. If the exchange rate were more favourable to the Aus $, the D70 would certainly be more attractive I agree. I do think the Fein DAC II is sonically superior to the D70 though for people who are more price sensitive, Topping aren't a bad buy. Though I will say that Clayton's service pre and post sale and his warranty is unbeatable.

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Hi Clay,

Thought I would let you know that I am very happy with the Fein II.

I did some A/B listening against my vinyl setup.

As I still have the Klein III I also did an A/B against vinyl.

The Klein fell short of the vinyl rig in that it seemed slightly veiled.

However, the Fein was spot on and I could not tell the difference so I guess that means the Fein is very analog/warm sounding (I'm far from being an expert in reviewing audio gear - I just know when it sounds bloody good!)

 

FYI my vinyl setup is... Thorens TD160 (modified with The Wand tonearm and Hana SL MC Cart) > Moon 110 LP V2 phono stage > Parasound Halo Integrated > Lenehan ML +R speakers with Lenehan Foilflex cables (also Audeze LCD XC headphones)

 

Digital setup is Roon/Tidal > mac mini (12v modified with SSD) > jitterbug and curious cable > Fein II > Foilflex IC and into the Parasound.

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