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Okey dokey... this review has been on the slow-burn due to work and other commitments (including assembling nearly half a ton of IKEA flat-pack wardrobe fixtures) but I'm not complaining as it has giv

I have received my Kompakt DAC this afternoon as part of the first batch. Clay has been very helpful to establish whether or not it would be the right product for me. I decided that it was on the basi

I'd like to offer some thoughts on the new DAC.   I can make some qualitative observations on things I think are changed since swapping out the SMSL.   It feels like "no more chang

Looking forward for the feedback on Kompakt DAC with comparison to your existing DAC.

 

Much excited.

Edited by QCY
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I’ll have much more to say on friday but the unit at the meetup between a macbook and a felix tube amp feeding zmf aeolus made for, for me, the most enjoyable system i tried. Thanks also to some choice tube suggestions from @Benjet. For the price it was an dead easy decision to grab one. 

 

And anyone wanting to hear it in Brisbane is more than welcome to come for a demo in New Farm. With or without your own gear. I have a few pieces lying around...

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Unboxing video link for Kompakt SN 0001       ?

 

The video is over 1GB so careful of downloading if you have limited storage!

 

Two quick pics showing it a probable temporary position on top of my miniDSP SHD Studio streamer/DSP.

 

I ordered two 0.5m (0.8m?) solid silver coax cables from @Bill125812 because I wanted to use an iFi SPDIF purifier in the chain, however that appears not to be powering up, so just using the one short cable that restricts relative positioning.

 

EDIT and CLARIFICATION: In case there is any confusion from a quick read, it's the iFi SPDIF purifier that isn't powering on. Bill's cables are working fully as intended; one between streamer and DAC SPDIF input, and the other now between a CDP and the streamer SPDIF input.

 

Having had to change from my USB-only Klein III because of the miniDSP outputs, I've been using another DAC for some weeks, so an A-B between Klein III and Kompakt is not feasible, other than on my computer setup.

 

Early listening with the Kompakt (part of one day only at this stage) showed wonderful instrument/voice and inter-instrument separation, with great depth and inky blackness. I'm really looking forward to much more listening and that starts in a few minutes...

 

Thanks again Clay for making another fine product. It's always a pleasure talking to you by phone too.

20200923_Kompakt-1.jpg

20200923_Kompakt-2.jpg

Edited by lenticularis
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4 minutes ago, lenticularis said:

I was half joking when I suggested it.  ?   Thank you.

 

Now, need the silk bag, premium box for the power supply, gold leaf welcome letter...  ? 

9 minutes ago, lenticularis said:

Early listening with the Kompakt (part of one day only at this stage) showed wonderful instrument/voice and inter-instrument separation, with great depth and inky blackness. I'm really looking forward to much more listening and that starts in a few minutes...

Looking forward to reading your more in depth feedback...  

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Congrats @Gieseler Audio Clay! :) Another awesome product indeed by the looks of it.  From memory when i had the Klein III usb + Kraftwerk psu, in my rig, it gave a very smooth, well balanced sound and the bass was punchy! The new Kompakt would be in another league altogether.   

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5 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

I was half joking when I suggested it.  ?   Thank you.

 

Now, need the silk bag, premium box for the power supply, gold leaf welcome letter...  ? 

Looking forward to reading your more in depth feedback...  

Oh dear!  I used a high-quality camera and lens, but my area was too tight, so no actual views of the DAC or certificate - BIG FAIL!!

 

I was thinking of removing that link, however I'll leave it on there as an example of HOW NOT to do one... how embarrassing!  ?

Edited by lenticularis
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15 minutes ago, BioBrian said:

20200923_Kompakt-2.jpg

 

Looks like there's more weight in the L channel ?

Indeed, just an example of my rushed setup... those are now re-positioned and in fact the DAC is probably too light for those isolation thingies to work! I have the Bunnings White's anti-vibration squares available as alternatives.

Edited by lenticularis
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7 hours ago, Snoopy8 said:

I was half joking when I suggested it.  ?   Thank you.

 

Now, need the silk bag, premium box for the power supply, gold leaf welcome letter...  ? 

Looking forward to reading your more in depth feedback...  

ok, some more early impressions:

 

The Kompakt's character is one of increased soundstage width and great soundstage depth, with fabulous delineation between instruments and voices, and a presentation that is both relaxed in a 'good analogue' way, yet revealing. Bass has more texture and presence. High notes and cymbals are deliciously refined with not a hint of digital glare (not that the Klein ever had any of that either).

 

I previously posted elsewhere that a fave album on Tidal is a live concert for Joni Mitchell's 75th birthday.

 

On this track Kris Kristofferson sings in a truly execrable way

...so bad, yet it's still full of atmosphere: https://tidal.com/browse/track/105048398

 

...well through the Kompakt, Kristofferson's voice has even more bass texture. What was most noticeable however, was at the end the Kompakt 'makes' a single whistle from the crowd jump out in stark separation. It's a very clear example of what I'm trying to summarise.

Edited by lenticularis
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More listening today...

 

The Kompakt just delivers a beautiful sound...the slight edge has been taken off instruments like Uilleann pipes (on albums like Davy Spillane's 'Atlantic Bridge' or the fusion of the Afro-Celt Sound System material).

 

Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays' 'As Falls Wichita, So Wichita Falls' album is another fave of mine to test atmosphere and resolution portrayal, particularly the opening track. The final track 'Estupenda Gracia' also impressed.

 

The lovely way bass character is enhanced is a common satisfaction, with or without my Dirac Live boost to my Sonus Faber Concerto Home speakers.

 

I'm also now running a Roon trial for the second time and enjoying that (I may even sign up to the monthly (annual) sub). 

I've gone from Pic1 with Volumio, to Pic2 

 

Update:  The sax solo that features on 'The Bird Song' on Anette Askvik's 'Liberty' album

https://tidal.com/track/5761229 )

has been restored to its full glory! The last time I had similar SQ was a couple of months back when streaming through my Auralic Aries femto into the USB of my Klein III with Enhanced Gold Tune Kraftwerk LPSU. I'm sure the Kompakt is delivering even more of course!

 

Volumio-prob.jpg

Roon pic.PNG

Edited by lenticularis
more listening
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Could one of the new owners describe what the A and B filter switches do to the output? 

 

Meanwhile I’ll be preparing my case for submission to her Honour to get the Court’s permission to buy a Kompakt of my own ... ?

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Very subtle changes with the filter switches.

 

DAC sounds awesome by the way.

Ive only run maybe 10 songs.

 

Instruments have good separation and good soundstage,  im hearing stuff in songs ive never heard before. I've never owned a decent DAC before or heard another gieseler, but ive never read a bad thing about them so grabbed one.

 

Really improved the sound for me.

 

Below in the pic are the different filters 

 

Screenshot_20200924-180152_Samsung Internet.jpg

Edited by Herbs
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I have received my Kompakt DAC this afternoon as part of the first batch. Clay has been very helpful to establish whether or not it would be the right product for me. I decided that it was on the basis that I was looking for superior sound quality and did not care too much about having 101 features and settings. I already own a Groß which I picked up from the forum and have been very impressed with. I preferred the Groß over all other DACs I tried including the Chord Qutest and RME ADI-2. I found it more engaging and with less of a digital edge compared to say the Qutest. 
 

First impressions in terms of the Kompakt’s build quality are excellent. A nice clean design and feels solidly built. The DAC feels quite substantial and has a nice weight to it.

 

Right now it is still warming up. I plan to use it via coax from my Node 2i feeding a Graham Slee ULDE amp and ultimately my beloved Sennheiser HD800S. RCA interconnects used are Van Den Hul First Ultimates. Having listened for the last hour (Beach Boys and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) and A/B ing with the Groß I think this will be a winner. The sound is superbly smooth and enveloping, sounds a bit cleaner than the Gross and displaying great detail and instrument separation. It is still early days but I am pleased with the purchase and I suspect it will only get better once it has fully warmed up. So far I have only listened to the Sharp filter which I like most on the Groß. 
 

At this price point the Kompakt is a no brainer if you are looking for a no nonsense DAC with a focus on detailed but engaging and non fatiguing sound. Looking forward to listening much more and also try it as an external DAC in my speaker system (LS50 wireless) where I currently use a Schiit Yggy.

2D0A56D8-78EA-408A-A2F3-453E7D6B3242.jpeg

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Oooh, got home tonight to find a Kompakt sn0003 on the doorstep!

 

After owning a number of Clays Dacs over the last 8 yrs or so, incl PDX L2 with full Duelunds, Klein SE, USB only Gross with Kraftwerk Gold Tune PS, 3 input Fein2....... I’m pretty excited about the latest creation. Each Dac has shown noticeable incremental refinement along the way, a journey Ive been only too happy to tag along with. I ventured away to try and find improvements but always seem to drift back, the Gieseler foot tapping and engagment that flows from your creations only indicates to me that YOU are the benchmark all others should be compared to.......   cost is irrelevant. 
 

I must say the heavy dense foam packaging must be nearly indestructible. I was thinking of re-using the foam to dampen my Sub cabinets !!!!!Bloody Well done Clay. 
 

How good does it feel !!!! Solid, hefty and very well finished, an undeniable and tactile step up in quality. Bloody Well done Clay. 

 

The first listening reveals that wide, detailed and deep soundstage with that awesome Gieseler bass and texture I love and miss. Bloody well done Clay. 
 

Will let her rip on Audirvana overnight and give it a solid listen tomorrow. 
 

Going to mod my Parks Audio Puffin Phono for digital output tomorrow....... test out the Kompakts Coax input along with USB. Optical is hooked to the TV. This Dac will get a workout over the next few weeks ?

 

The blue LED....... less is more..... again you nailed it Clay?
 

 


 

 

 

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Edited by naggots
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Hi Naggots, let us know what you think about the inputs. I exclusively used SPDIF over the past years and was shocked how good USB sounded when I switched over today for a test. I wouldn’t have expected this but it looks like the USB sounds even better than SPDIF. 

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I’ve been using USB exclusively since 2011. Clay has maintained since switching to his Amanero USB that this was his pick, however Can’t wait to try coax Spdif. Optical has always been for the TV in our house so can’t comment. 
 

 

Edited by naggots
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Same here, optical is reserved for TV. I think Rob Watts recommends it for the Chord Qutest as in theory there should be less quality degradation compared to spdif but I always thought spdif sounded superior.

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Optical makes sense if you want to electrically isolate. I Never had a proper transport to utilise it fully. 
 

Audirvana has been my goto for years and before that Bitperfect. 

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Very happy with my purchase. I love the look of it.

 

Really sounds great to me.

 

Worked flawlessly for me. Plugged it into windows 10, worked without any driver download. But after downloading the amanero USB driver it was possible to increase the sound quality higher in the settings.

 

Plugged my android phone in via audioquest USB adapter, worked straight away using poweramp to play music files, no setup required. USB Audio Pro might even sound better.

Edited by Herbs
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The DAC guy is back.   I just ordered one from Clay.   Was going to get the USB only version but Clay said he has redesigned the input so there is just a relay switch in the input path so took the punt and got the normal one.   Will be using it with the Auralic Aries G1 against the Chord TT2 with M-Scaler, and a Grandinote - all much more expensive DAC's.   Thing to note is the Aries has a volume control so no pre required - just connect straight to Clay's DAC, then into the amp and you are ready to go.   Clay will be bringing out a version, unfortuneately more expensive, with a volume control, but if you use it with the Aries - no need.   Anyway once this horrid pandemic is under control a GTG for sure to check it all out.   But the G1 costs $4K - so if you can save on the DAC without sacrificing sound quality it's the way to go.

 

Thanks

Bill

Edited by bhobba
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Hi Guys,

I hope the new owners of Kompakt DAC enjoying your new Kompakt DAC.

 

Had anyone tested/compared different input on DAC - USB vs SPIDF coaxial

 

Thanks in advance.

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On 24/09/2020 at 8:30 AM, lenticularis said:

The last time I had similar SQ was a couple of months back when streaming through my Auralic Aries femto into the USB of my Klein III with Enhanced Gold Tune Kraftwerk 

Read previous post , Kompakt DAC SPIDF is on par with USB input based on the comments

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Sorry mate,

It's not easy to say.

 

Due to the change in streamer,

I had to change from USB Klein with Auralic Aries femto, to miniDSP SHD Studio with SPDIF input on the Kompakt.

 

I haven't tried the USB input on my new Kompakt, simply because the SHD Studio doesn't interface with it

 

 

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On 05/10/2020 at 5:09 AM, lenticularis said:

Sorry mate,

It's not easy to say

Thank you much appreciated

Edited by QCY
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Just another pretty innocuous post from me...

 

Basically, the Kompakt has slipped into the background in as much as it remains unobtrusive in the best way possible, just letting me get on and enjoy the music.

 

My system has changed in other ways too in recent months, as far as streamer, DSP and DACs are concerned.

 

Basically, I went from:

 

Option 

A/

Auralic Aries femto through wi-fi

Gieseler Klein (USB only). iFi Nano iUSB 3.0 with Chord Silverline and Curious USB cables

Tidal and 44.1, 16 bit FLACs

Stereo Coffee, May 2020 config (homebuilt from kit)

 

B/

miniDSP SHD Studio via Ethernet (wi-fi booster w Ethernet port)

Topping E30 DAC, via SPDIF. Van Damme 75 Ohm digital coax

Tidal and 44.1, 16 bit FLACs

Stereo Coffee, May 2020 config (homebuilt from kit)

 

C/

miniDSP SHD Studio via Ethernet (wi-fi booster w Ethernet port)

Gieseler Kompakt (3-input) DAC, via SPDIF, Bills' solid silver 75 Ohm digital coax (more impact than the Van Damme stuff I managed to scrounge from an old AV interconnect)

Tidal and 44.1, 16 bit FLACs, Roon with first-level MQA unfold when playing those

Stereo Coffee,  BT 2020+ latest config (homebuilt from kit)

 

It's pretty hard for me to appraise a given change, because I've gone from 'Option A' to 'Option C' in recent months. I have a sneaking suspicion that the miniDSP SHD Studio's adoption of 96kHz, 24 bit processing colours my ability to compare it with my former Auralic Aries femto and USB Klein III when I preferred NOS and Lightning DS's delivery compared with an earlier Roon trial.

 

I changed from the Auralic Aries to the miniDSP purely so I could have Dirac Live and I'm still developing the target curves to give me what I hope is more than the moderate differences I detect with and without DL. I do hear improvement however I suspect that the room influences are probably too severe to mitigate mostly by DSP. My room is difficult, with a stub wall close to the LH channel and inability  (due the usual domestic compromises) to move speakers out into the room further. Listening couches are also backed directly by the windows. Between 'B' and 'C' I also replaced some recording studio absorptive foam ( auray IP-L isolation pads cut to size ) with isoAcoustics isoPuck-Minis under the Sonus Faber Concerto Home speakers and that had a pretty dramatic impact on tightening up focus and bass.

 

I love the major upgrade with my new Kompakt (SN 0001 ?  ?  ? ) from the Topping E30 that was purely a stopgap  and the new Stereo Coffee main board from Chris Daly has added even more, also restoring a lot more volume that I originally had and was chasing down why I seemed to be getting attenuation, with Chris's help. 

 

The system is revealing enough that it also really shows up the change in SPDIF cables.

 

Sometime I'm going to serve the Kompakt through its USB, with a laptop and the iFi Nano iUSB and the good USB cables, just to try and appraise that input, compared with the SPDIF that I use with the miniDSP unit. If only I could source a Mutec 1.2 I would then be able to have a decent SPDIF-USB conversion and use the Kompakt's USB input at all times. There is some debate on whether or not the Mutec device permits my required functionality, and it's discontinued.

 

It's really gratifying to me that I have components in my system that are all high performance/price ratio products from the Gold Coast, Redlands Bay and New Zealand.

 

Thanks @Gieseler Audio, @Bill125812 and @stereo coffee!

 

 

20201006_170109-Snapseed.jpeg

20201006_system_snapseed.jpeg

Edited by lenticularis
typos...Mutec clarification, cable detail
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On 06/10/2020 at 4:59 PM, lenticularis said:

Sometime I'm going to serve the Kompakt through its USB, with a laptop and the iFi Nano iUSB and the good USB cables

Does upgrading the cable into the ifi do anything, or only the output?

 

I use a ifi micro usb myself. Does upgrading the stock blue cable it comes with from the pc do anything. Thinking of buying a curious cable for the output into the kompakt dont really want to buy two if it achieves nothing.

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Good question!

The Chord Silverline was an earlier $90 upgrade from a stock cable, so I simply used that on the upstream end. The Curious cable was an additional option from the seller of the iUSB Nano and its reputation meant I didn't hesitate to buy it.

I tend to align with your thinking, however why not ask Mike Lenehan himself?

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Hi Guys - I'm most interested in the changes the ifi iUSB micro/nano makes to the Kompakt DAC sound quality.

I would have thought the main advantage if the iUSB would using it with USB powered DAC's.

Now the Kompakt DAC is not USB powered, the Amanero USB board is powered from a seperate low noise regulator inside the DAC.

The DAC's USB sockets + input pin is fully disconnected.

The iFi units also claim reclocking & signal clean up so with say with a noisey laptop that could certainly help.

However I'm a little sceptical about some of these "add on" devices. I once tried a Intona USB isolator between my Auralic Aries femto & a Fein II. There was an immediate muddying of the sound and drop in resolution.

Anyway I'm certainly keen on any feedback in this area.

 

Edited by Gieseler Audio
Grammar
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2 hours ago, Gieseler Audio said:

Hi Guys - I'm most interested in the changes the ifi iUSB micro/nano makes to the Kompakt DAC sound quality.

I would have thought the main advantage if the iUSB would using it with USB powered DAC's.

Now the Kompakt DAC is not USB powered, the Amanero USB board is powered from a seperate low noise regulator inside

the DAC & the USB sockets + input pin is fully disconnected.

The iFi units also claim reclocking & signal clean up so with say with a noisey laptop that could certainly help.

However I'm a little sceptical about some of these "add on" devices. I once tried a Intona USB isolator between my Auralic Aries femto & a Fein II. There was an immediate muddying of the sound and drop in resolution.

Anyway I'm certainly keen on any feedback in this area.

 

Clay, have you tried the UpTone IsoRegen? 

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No - Only the Regen.

It was hard to say if there was any difference.

I think the Auralic Aries Femto has a very clean output on USB so that is probably why I did not notice much difference.

I would think with a PC or laptop the difference would be more obvious as the source is quite noisey.

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I hear a slightly wider soundstage and maybe a slightly cleaner sound. With the ifi micro before the dac. There isnt much of a difference tho

 

Thats using a 12 year old PC as a source with a usb wifi dongle and a wireless usb keyboard hooked into the motherboard.

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7 hours ago, Gieseler Audio said:

No - Only the Regen.

It was hard to say if there was any difference.

I think the Auralic Aries Femto has a very clean output on USB so that is probably why I did not notice much difference.

I would think with a PC or laptop the difference would be more obvious as the source is quite noisey.

Yep, that's how I was using one with my Gross. With a good streamer it wasn't needed. 

Edited by Raffinator
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I’ve just hooked up my oldish MacBookPro to the Kompakt’s USB input.

 

In between I have a Curious USB cable into my iFi iUSB 3.0 Nano and Chord Silverline USB cable from that into the Kompakt.

 

Sounds very good with a great quiet background. 
 

This is just a quick test and my default streaming will remain using SPDIF from my miniDSP SHD Studio with Dirac Live room correction.

BF705B24-1C46-4E36-A419-BA3F617C1A9C.jpeg

Edited by lenticularis
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Ongoing tests, just for my curiosity mostly, will swap the order of the USB cables, and remove the iFi device altogether.

 

i should also add that all of these combinations are using Roon to access my library (Tidal or home-ripped 16/44.1 FLACs).

Currently streaming Anna Tivel’s thought-provoking ‘Heroes Waking Up’ album from Tidal, followed by Jennifer Warnes’ Famous Blue Raincoat album of Leonard Cohen songs.
Nice stereo depth and that amazing soundstage width that was an immediate hallmark of the Kompakt.

B0BF9A06-34B1-4B2E-A7B3-202CEAE95131.png

Edited by lenticularis
Switched to playing Jennifer Walnes...
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Why hello there! 

 

I'll post my impressions later, but I foresee this being the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

 

Kompakt.jpg.f9788a721447c1b01952624a748bacb8.jpg

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