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bhobba

John Kenny SABER DAC

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Just for the heck of it it tried connecting it directly to my Patek amp and used the volume control in Pure Music or Itunes. Holey crap - everything improved - detail, sound-stage, life - everything. Once you hear this no going back - direct connection is the way to go. Anyway decided the comparison with the other DAC's needed to be done again so contacted my acquaintance who had arrived back and headed on over for another comparison.

Another experienced audiophile was also there who had not heard any of these DAC's except the PDX before and we sat down to listen. First up we all agreed this was a very good SABER implementation - IMHO it is the best SABER I have heard but the others did not have recent experience with the Saber so were not willing to make that call. I had been listening to the WFS for a number of days previously so I knew what it sounded like very well. The JK Saber sounded very good indeed. The only thing we noticed was a slight graininess and the dryness to the sound. No glare or sibilance that the WFS has a bit of trouble with - this was easily above the WFS DAC2 that I know quite well. I know the base level Tranquility very well and thought this had beaten it but to be sure we put that on. No doubt about it - it bested the Tranquility when directly connected to the amps - more detail and realism - previously when going through a pre-amp I thought it a tie - but now it was better. The Tranquility can not be directly connected to amp because it is only 16 bit so we had to use a pre-amp. All agreed the JK was better. This is really a fine showing for the JK Saber - its the first DAC cheaper than the Tranquility I know that bested it - and it is significantly cheaper as well. Next up the Tranquility SE. Yep the SE was better - more fluid and life like with a beautiful beguiling mercury like mid-range - simply more of a joy to listen to. The JK is not a total giant killer - but it took a DAC three times the price to do it - and you also need a pre-amp. This SE was also the DAC that along with the Overdrive wowed them at the last RMAF - so that it took a DAC like that to best the JK Saber is again a fine showing. Next was a base level PDX - and yes it was better again - more life like and a real joy to listen to - but it was $2.7k - again much more expensive.

My new DAC ordering is Tranquility, JK Saber, Tranquility SE, PDX, Killer.

At $650-700 depending on the exchange rate this DAC is simply stupid good value for what you get. And direct connecting it to your amp will save money as well.

Thanks

Bill

Edited by bhobba

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Bill, what system configuration were you using before this?

I'm of the opinion that simpler is usually better (once done correctly) - have you tried it directly into headphones yet? Makes for a great high resolution portable (tethered to the laptop) headphone device (volume controlled by software audio player). Might save the cost of a headphone amplifier too!

Edited by jkeny

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Bill, what system configuration were you using before this?I'm of the opinion that simpler is usually better (once done correctly) - have you tried it directly into headphones yet? Makes for a great high resolution portable (tethered to the laptop) headphone device (volume controlled by software audio player). Might save the cost of a headphone amplifier too!

I was using the best pre-amp I know - the Truth. But even that was not as good as direct connection. The rest of the system was Lenehan Ribbontek interconnects, a Patek Amp and ML3 Reference. The system at my acquaintance was a pair of Mac 501 mono-blocks into ML1 Plus R's using the same Ribbontek cables. The ML1's and ML3's are very transparent and revealing - they are very close to stacked Quads in the mid-range but bass, treble etc are much better. They are lined with steel to reduce resonances to a minimum.

No headphones because I don't own any - well none of any real quality and certainly not with RCA plugs

Thanks

Bill

Edited by bhobba

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"Just for the heck of it it tried connecting it directly to my Patek amp ... holey (sic!) crap" - bhobba, your enthusiasm for the jkdac is tempting me to press the 'buy' button: I don't think I can wait for the trial! Unfortunately, I've got a Naquadria pre/active set-up, so can't by-pass the pre, though it's 'passive'.

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How come the Tranquillity can't be connected directly to an amplifier?

Its only 16 bit and you bit drop if you do. But for the heck of it tried anyway - this is one case where the pre-amp killed direct connection.

Thanks

Bill

Edited by bhobba

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Hi Guys

I have now contacted the last person in the Brisbane/Gold Coast area that wants to hear the JK DAC and I am waiting for them to get back to me. When they have finished its down to Sydney for the Sydney guys. If anyone else in the Brisbane/Gold Coast area wants to audition it now is the time to speak up.

Thanks

Bill

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If anyone else in the Brisbane/Gold Coast area wants to audition it now is the time to speak up.Bill

hmmm........

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So how many people in QLD had a listen to the jkenny dac?

Also could we have some feed back from auditions

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