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Hey peeps,

I'm currently riding the DAC merry go round and looking for some feed back. 

I'm fairly comfortable now that I've narrowed it down to two choices after reading as much info as I could find. 

Line Magnetic LM-32 

Holo Spring II Kitsune Edition

I'm able to audition the LM in system, but not able to find the HS for auditioning. 

The LM is a valve DAC, so has the versatility of being able to be tweaked, has all the required inputs except for i2s. 

The Holo Spring has all the inputs and is an R2R style which from reading reviews has a more analogue type sound. 

I'm after musicality rather than critical listening. 

Is no I2S an issue? 

I'm currently using a google audio into an Oppo 205 for Spotify at this stage, disc spinning and flac files off a drive.

Plans to move to a dedicated streamer later in the year so thinking about connectivity options now. 

Any thoughts or experiences welcome? 

 

Edited by Gambit 1870
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Hey Gambit.

I haven’t heard those DACs but I’m sure they’re quality.

I’ve played with a few different  Dacs over the years and I think they are probably the hardest piece of the puzzle to get right. As you would know it’s quite hard to match different gear together.

There are some on here who are very experienced and have solid knowledge in this area. I suppose you just have to list what you have (amps, components, speakers) and hope one of the gurus comes to your aid with a tip or two.


Personally, for convenience I use my phone to play music so I transfer the data through an audio engine B1 into my BelCanto 2.5 DAC. (I have them teamed up with a Michi amp and ATC SM40 speakers +sub).

to be honest I reckon I fluked it with this combo, it could have gone south like other mismatched equipment but it didn’t, if fact I’ve never heard a better stereo (I have heard equivalent but not better). I’ve done my playing now, it was a fun journey but I’m staying with this combo for life.

My music gets my hairs standing up and my foot tapping and that’s what it’s all about.. 


Good luck and have fun playing with it all. 

 

 

Edited by Tony Martello
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1 hour ago, Gambit 1870 said:

Line Magnetic LM-32 

Holo Spring II Kitsune Edition

I'm able to audition the LM in system, but not able to find the HS for auditioning. 

The LM is a valve DAC, so has the versatility of being able to be tweaked, has all the required inputs except for i2s.

Do you like what you hear?  If so, why not get it and stop the compare  merry go round which can spin forever..

 

1 hour ago, Gambit 1870 said:

Is no I2S an issue?

A few here swear by I2S, but most people use USB, optical, coax, AES/EBU.  There are not many streamers that can do I2S and your future choices will be limited.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Tony Martello said:

Hey Gambit.

I haven’t heard those DACs but I’m sure they’re quality.

I’ve played with a few different  Dacs over the years and I think they are probably the hardest piece of the puzzle to get right. As you would know it’s quite hard to match different gear together.

There are some on here who are very experienced and have solid knowledge in this area. I suppose you just have to list what you have (amps, components, speakers) and hope one of the gurus comes to your aid with a tip or two.


Personally, for convenience I use my phone to play music so I transfer the data through an audio engine B1 into my BelCanto 2.5 DAC. (I have them teamed up with a Michi amp and ATC SM40 speakers +sub).

to be honest I reckon I flunked it with this combo, it could have gone south like other mismatched equipment but it didn’t, if fact I’ve never heard a better stereo (I have heard equivalent but not better). I’ve done my playing now, it was a fun journey but I’m staying with this combo for life.

My music gets my hairs standing up and my foot tapping and that’s what it’s all about.. 


Good luck and have fun playing with it all. 

 

 

Thanks mate, I'm essentially doing the same thing, phone to google audio then optical into oppo. 

 

I'm happy with my amp Vitus Audio RI-101, I think for me this  is my end game amp, speakers are VA Beethoven Concert Grandes which I'm happy with as well. 

Hoping I can sort a dac/Streamer and be done with as well. 

 

Edited by Gambit 1870
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1 hour ago, Snoopy8 said:

Do you like what you hear?  If so, why not get it and stop the compare  merry go round which can spin forever..

That's where I'm at now, I'm the process of organising a demo of the LM, the retailer is going to bring to my house for an in system demo which is fantastic service! 

1 hour ago, Snoopy8 said:

 

A few here swear by I2S, but most people use USB, optical, coax, AES/EBU.  There are not many streamers that can do I2S and your future choices will be limited.

Good to know

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1 hour ago, Gambit 1870 said:

I'm happy with my amp Vitus Audio RI-101, I think for me this  is my end game amp, 

Why not add the DAC module? It is excellent.

1 hour ago, Gambit 1870 said:

Hoping I can sort a dac/Streamer and be done with as well. 

Would you consider a streamer/DAC?  They would internally use I2S and saves the hassle of getting a good cable. A simpler setup as well.  

Edited by Snoopy8
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38 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

Why not add the DAC module? It is excellent.

I spoke to Boris at Absolute Hi End about that, there is no tech support in Brisbane to do the install. Else I would have to freight the amp back and forth. While I'd be comfortable doing it myself, there are warranty issues etc. 

38 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

Would you consider a streamer/DAC?  They would internally use I2S and saves the hassle of getting a good cable. A simpler setup as well.  

I've considered that as well, I came to the conclusion that if you don't like the DAC sound you're kinda stuck......hence why I was thinking transport?

 

Thanks

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30 minutes ago, Gambit 1870 said:

I spoke to Boris at Absolute Hi End about that, there is no tech support in Brisbane to do the install. Else I would have to freight the amp back and forth. While I'd be comfortable doing it myself, there are warranty issues etc.

Pity...

 

31 minutes ago, Gambit 1870 said:

I've considered that as well, I came to the conclusion that if you don't like the DAC sound you're kinda stuck......hence why I was thinking transport?

Streamers also have their own sound!   Suggest investigating Auralic, Lumin or Innuos.    The better streamer/DACs have better power supplies, better clocks and better chassis.  For me, simplicity and having them integrated wins, resulting in better SQ.  However, many people here like the chase of the next upgrade of components and see that as an integral part of this obsession errr... hobby! 

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I’ve got the Holo May KTE.  I’ve been following another thread on Audiophilestyle and apparently the Spring 3 is coming out soon and the KTE version will have same USB implementation as the May.  Which is something special and on the May USB is all you really need.  So if you are interested in the Spring suggest you wait a month or two to get the latest.

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16 hours ago, madfonzy said:

I’ve got the Holo May KTE.  I’ve been following another thread on Audiophilestyle and apparently the Spring 3 is coming out soon and the KTE version will have same USB implementation as the May.  Which is something special and on the May USB is all you really need.  So if you are interested in the Spring suggest you wait a month or two to get the latest.

Thanks for the heads up ?

Probably not bad timing, I've been reading up too long..... Need to take a breath and let it all sync in?

If only you could hear them locally... 

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Perhaps you could get off the merry-go-round with something truly exceptional like one of the midrange to higher end Abbas Audio DAC's. There's a few of us running them here on Stereonet and without fail it has been end game for anyone who's tried any DAC from the 2.1 and above.

 

Abbas forgo features and convenience in favor of the one thing that never goes out of fashion: Sound quality.

 

Hence you get a power switch on the back and a single coax SPDIF input. No hi res and frankly hearing these you soon find how unnecessary that is.  :)

Edited by MattyW
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1 hour ago, MattyW said:

Perhaps you could get off the mery-go-round with something truly exceptional like one of the midrange to higher end Abbas Audio DAC's. There's a few of us running them here on Stereonet and without fail it has been end game for anyone who's tried any DAC from the 2.1 and above.

 

Abbas forgo features and convenience in favor of the one thing that never goes out of fashion: Sound quality.

 

Hence you get a power switch on the back and a single coax SPDIF input. No hi res and frankly hearing these you soon find how unnecessary that is.  :)

Can't find much/anything on their dacs. Looks like only on ebay from Ukraine?

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I was sold on the Holo May KTE however may wait to see what the Spring 3 brings. Always on the lookout for alternatives/better though.

Edited by blakey72
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38 minutes ago, blakey72 said:

Can't find much/anything on their dacs. Looks like only on ebay from Ukraine?

You can deal direct, and yes...he resides in the Ukraine.

 

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=https://www.abbasaudio.com/&prev=search&pto=aue

 

Lots of interesting stuff on his forums relating to his products and his thoughts on design and parts choices.

https://ym6t3zcngbqjloregzh5737kiy-jj2cvlaia66be-abbasaudio-listbb-ru.translate.goog/

This guy does good stuff.

 

But it does depend on what you are looking for, and if local support is important I'd look at Gieseler Audio.

 

 

Edited by muon*
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I have an Oppo 205 and haven't used it for music since buying a Gieseler Audio Konverter. And also have a Gieseler Audio Klein III fed from an Oppo 103.

 

These DACs kill the 205 which is the best of the Oppos. 

 

I have the Konverter set to take coax off th 205 for movies and music occasionally. But music is nearly all off a USB streamer (Microrendo) into the Konverter. You do get a quality drop passing from Spotify etc into the Oppo and then to the DAC. 

 

I use the 205 to output analogue in movies to surrounds. I don't bother with HT bypass on the front analogue and instead use the external DAC. The SQ improvement is worth learning how to balance the front and rear with two volume controls. Both fronts and surrounds run off stereo amps. Far better quality than AVR. 

Edited by DrSK
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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, MattyW said:

Perhaps you could get off the merry-go-round with something truly exceptional like one of the midrange to higher end Abbas Audio DAC's. There's a few of us running them here on Stereonet and without fail it has been end game for anyone who's tried any DAC from the 2.1 and above.

 

Abbas forgo features and convenience in favor of the one thing that never goes out of fashion: Sound quality.

 

Hence you get a power switch on the back and a single coax SPDIF input. No hi res and frankly hearing these you soon find how unnecessary that is.  :)

Thanks Matty, I hadn't heard of those DAC's before.

 

I did come across the post of your journey with the Abbas DAC, between you and @muon* I couldn't help but get drawn into the the feeling of how good the DAC is or your excitement with how good it sounds.

 

After reading that and looking through his website, has highlighted how little I actually know about DACS even with all the reading I've done over the last month.....so much to consider???

Edited by Gambit 1870
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29 minutes ago, Gambit 1870 said:

After reading that and looking through his website, has highlighted how little I actually know about DACS even with all the reading I've done over the last month.....so much to consider???

You can go on forever reading and upgrading DACs. 

 

If I were you, I'll courier your Vitus via Star Track (found them to be fast & careful), and get the DAC module added.  Since you love your Vitus, adding an integrated DAC makes a lot of sense.

 

And no more chasing down DAC rabbit holes...

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If researching the Abbas DAC's make sure you sign up to dastereo.ru and use Google Translate.  Lots of discussion over there. The translation isn't the best but you do get a good idea of what people think of the DAC's. 

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16 hours ago, blakey72 said:

I was sold on the Holo May KTE however may wait to see what the Spring 3 brings. Always on the lookout for alternatives/better though.

Comparing the May to the Spring 3 with trickle down tech from the May.  The main thing that will be missing is the two chassis design of the May and dual mono DAC design in the May.  I have not heard the Spring but these extras in the May will add up to that little bit more detail and listening pleasure.  

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Posted (edited)

Ok, so I got to trial the first DAC other than my OPPO 205, @TerryO kindly lent me Prima Luna Evo 100 DAC.

I set it up using the OPPO as a CD Transport and also streamed Spotify via s/pidf and optical as the OPPO does not have USB out. Terry informed me that the DAC only had roughly 5 hours run time since unboxing so I gave it 3 hours background running Sunday arvo and then at house work volumes for most of yesterday, so it now has around 1 5 hours on it, I'm assuming there will be further improvements as it runs in. 

I spent a bit of time sorting out input levels, the Vitus has the ability to modify the gain per input, I don't have a dedicated dB meter so I just used an app I downloaded, I was able to get average dB levels for the same piece of music on both inputs. 

Oppo DAC via balanced output and PL via unbalanced. I didn't have a second set of RCA's. 

Once my second set of ears turned up we sat down for the comparison. 

Initially I didn't think there was much in it between the 2 DAC's, but the more we listened the more we started to realise that the difference was actually fairly pronounced from the PL. 

Soundstage became wider, the bass became much more defined, less muddy and felt punchier, mids smoothed out and the highs sounded clearer and less harsh and as my partner described it to me, each instrument sounds clearer as if it's by itself not overlapping each other (separation). Guitars tones sounded more defined and resonant, cymbals rung clear and bright, I could hear drum decay clearly and bass lines coursed through with solid undertones. Vocals sounded so much clearer and tonally pleasant, even on poorer recordings it made for easier listening. 

I'm not blessed with the ability to write flowery or flattering prose to convey what we were hearing, so you'll have to excuse my laymen attempts?

I'm a bit of a 90's and Metal tragic, but have a diverse enough taste to listen to most genres, plus the other pair of ears helps balance things. here's a list of bands we played last night. 

Tool

Pearl Jam

Queen 

Stevie Ray Vaughan 

Slash feat Adam Levine

Skunkhour

London Grammar

Billie Eilish

BB King

Blue Oyster Cult 

New Order

The Weekend

Eminem 

We did try the PL using the optical input from the OPPO, that was not a pleasant experience sonically so I would not recommend that as an option. 

Cheers

 

Edited by Gambit 1870
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Posted (edited)

Hi all, 

 

I'd like to put out a request for any local Brisbanites that would be willing/interested in demoing their DAC's..... not a shoot out, more of a comparison... OK, it sounds like a shoot out ?

It would be an interesting session I think?

 

The issue for me is, not being able to demo in store or more importantly in system it's kind of doing my head in so this would be super helpful! 

 

I'd be keen to listen to any of the Chinese R2R DAC's, Schitt or any other options to be honest, just so I can get an idea of what's sonically out there now that I have base lined my oppo. 

 

The other upside is we get some like minded enthusiasts together for a bit of audio nerd fun for a few hours and, I don't mind entertaining????

 

Cheers

 

Jason

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Gambit 1870
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Yep you are well and truly on the dac merry go round, and it can definitely  be like throwing darts at a dart board.

 

My first Dac was a Klein 1, my second was a Klein SE, both were amazing to my ears at the time.

 

But it wasn’t until I got the Nad C658 and two Rel subs and let Dirac bring it all together until I was completely floored by what I was hearing. Speakers were the same but Dirac plus Subs made a difference so much bigger than any Dac change did before it.

 

Point being, maybe focusing on just the Dac is pinning too much hope and expectation on the Dac itself, and maybe it’s the cohesion of the rest of the system that’s holding you back and not getting you where you want to be?

Edited by Hi-Fi Whipped
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39 minutes ago, Hi-Fi Whipped said:

Yep you are well and truly on the dac merry go round, and it can definitely  be like throwing darts at a dart board.

Some people enjoy the chase (merry go round)!  

 

39 minutes ago, Hi-Fi Whipped said:

Point being, maybe focusing on just the Dac is pinning too much hope and expectation on the Dac itself, and maybe it’s the cohesion of the rest of the system that’s holding you back and not getting you where you want to be?

+1

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On 07/04/2021 at 12:47 PM, Gambit 1870 said:

Ok, so I got to trial the first DAC other than my OPPO 205, @TerryO kindly lent me Prima Luna Evo 100 DAC.

I set it up using the OPPO as a CD Transport and also streamed Spotify via s/pidf and optical as the OPPO does not have USB out. Terry informed me that the DAC only had roughly 5 hours run time since unboxing so I gave it 3 hours background running Sunday arvo and then at house work volumes for most of yesterday, so it now has around 1 5 hours on it, I'm assuming there will be further improvements as it runs in. 

I spent a bit of time sorting out input levels, the Vitus has the ability to modify the gain per input, I don't have a dedicated dB meter so I just used an app I downloaded, I was able to get average dB levels for the same piece of music on both inputs. 

Oppo DAC via balanced output and PL via unbalanced. I didn't have a second set of RCA's. 

Once my second set of ears turned up we sat down for the comparison. 

Initially I didn't think there was much in it between the 2 DAC's, but the more we listened the more we started to realise that the difference was actually fairly pronounced from the PL. 

Soundstage became wider, the bass became much more defined, less muddy and felt punchier, mids smoothed out and the highs sounded clearer and less harsh and as my partner described it to me, each instrument sounds clearer as if it's by itself not overlapping each other (separation). Guitars tones sounded more defined and resonant, cymbals rung clear and bright, I could hear drum decay clearly and bass lines coursed through with solid undertones. Vocals sounded so much clearer and tonally pleasant, even on poorer recordings it made for easier listening. 

I'm not blessed with the ability to write flowery or flattering prose to convey what we were hearing, so you'll have to excuse my laymen attempts?

I'm a bit of a 90's and Metal tragic, but have a diverse enough taste to listen to most genres, plus the other pair of ears helps balance things. here's a list of bands we played last night. 

Tool

Pearl Jam

Queen 

Stevie Ray Vaughan 

Slash feat Adam Levine

Skunkhour

London Grammar

Billie Eilish

BB King

Blue Oyster Cult 

New Order

The Weekend

Eminem 

We did try the PL using the optical input from the OPPO, that was not a pleasant experience sonically so I would not recommend that as an option. 

Cheers

 

Descriptions are consistent when I went from my 205 to running a Gieseler Audio Konverter off the 205's coax. Improvements hit me about 3 seconds in. I like your play list, listen to that too among other things. The differences were more apparent in jazz, acoustic recordings, Nitin Sawhney etc. 

 

Edited by DrSK
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would love to know how the 205 sounds compared to 105.

 

in saying that i find my coax connection from my 105 to my digital input / reclocker very flaky. for 1 thing no SACD pass through via coax or optical. so i just ordered a converter from hdmi to i2S to see if this solves the issue ive been having.

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On 07/04/2021 at 12:47 PM, Gambit 1870 said:

Ok, so I got to trial the first DAC other than my OPPO 205, @TerryO kindly lent me Prima Luna Evo 100 DAC.

I set it up using the OPPO as a CD Transport and also streamed Spotify via s/pidf and optical as the OPPO does not have USB out. Terry informed me that the DAC only had roughly 5 hours run time since unboxing so I gave it 3 hours background running Sunday arvo and then at house work volumes for most of yesterday, so it now has around 1 5 hours on it, I'm assuming there will be further improvements as it runs in. 

I spent a bit of time sorting out input levels, the Vitus has the ability to modify the gain per input, I don't have a dedicated dB meter so I just used an app I downloaded, I was able to get average dB levels for the same piece of music on both inputs. 

Oppo DAC via balanced output and PL via unbalanced. I didn't have a second set of RCA's. 

Once my second set of ears turned up we sat down for the comparison. 

Initially I didn't think there was much in it between the 2 DAC's, but the more we listened the more we started to realise that the difference was actually fairly pronounced from the PL. 

Soundstage became wider, the bass became much more defined, less muddy and felt punchier, mids smoothed out and the highs sounded clearer and less harsh and as my partner described it to me, each instrument sounds clearer as if it's by itself not overlapping each other (separation). Guitars tones sounded more defined and resonant, cymbals rung clear and bright, I could hear drum decay clearly and bass lines coursed through with solid undertones. Vocals sounded so much clearer and tonally pleasant, even on poorer recordings it made for easier listening. 

I'm not blessed with the ability to write flowery or flattering prose to convey what we were hearing, so you'll have to excuse my laymen attempts?

I'm a bit of a 90's and Metal tragic, but have a diverse enough taste to listen to most genres, plus the other pair of ears helps balance things. here's a list of bands we played last night. 

Tool

Pearl Jam

Queen 

Stevie Ray Vaughan 

Slash feat Adam Levine

Skunkhour

London Grammar

Billie Eilish

BB King

Blue Oyster Cult 

New Order

The Weekend

Eminem 

We did try the PL using the optical input from the OPPO, that was not a pleasant experience sonically so I would not recommend that as an option. 

Cheers

 

I'll just add, I found with Spotify I got a big improvement sending USB from a Surface or streamer to the DAC rather than from the 205. For the 205 I was using Chromecast HDMI to get Spotify into the 205 which I think was the weak link, having a fairly long chain with multiple conversions of the signal. 

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15 minutes ago, genkifd said:

would love to know how the 205 sounds compared to 105.

 

in saying that i find my coax connection from my 105 to my digital input / reclocker very flaky. for 1 thing no SACD pass through via coax or optical. so i just ordered a converter from hdmi to i2S to see if this solves the issue ive been having.

 

I'm not having any flaky issues on coax from either my 103 or 205. 

 

Other weirdness on my 205 once losing a channel, the support team in Melbourne got me through it but ended up being a matter of factory reset then reload the updates. 

 

For HT I take the digital coax set to 2.0 to the fronts, don't use a centre speaker and use the Oppo analogue outs to other channels. 

Edited by DrSK
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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Hi-Fi Whipped said:

Yep you are well and truly on the dac merry go round, and it can definitely  be like throwing darts at a dart board.

On the merry go round yes, but only due to a lack of available units to audition. 

Quote

My first Dac was a Klein 1, my second was a Klein SE, both were amazing to my ears at the time.

 

But it wasn’t until I got the Nad C658 and two Rel subs and let Dirac bring it all together until I was completely floored by what I was hearing. Speakers were the same but Dirac plus Subs made a difference so much bigger than any Dac change did before it.

I just sold a pair of subs, my amp and speakers provide fantastic bass response

Quote

Point being, maybe focusing on just the Dac is pinning too much hope and expectation on the Dac itself, and maybe it’s the cohesion of the rest of the system that’s holding you back and not getting you where you want to be?

I know my room is having an influence, but I'm not willing to commit to any improvements knowing that I'll be moving in the not too distant future. 

 

I'm not pinning all my hopes on a DAC, but from the exercise with the PL there are gains to be made, the 205 is after all a UDP and not a dedicated DAC. 

 

I'm also looking to keep DAC/streaming components separate for no other reason than personal preference. 

 

 

2 hours ago, genkifd said:

would love to know how the 205 sounds compared to 105.

 

in saying that i find my coax connection from my 105 to my digital input / reclocker very flaky. for 1 thing no SACD pass through via coax or optical. so i just ordered a converter from hdmi to i2S to see if this solves the issue ive been having.

Might be one for sale soon ?

Edited by Gambit 1870
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2 hours ago, DrSK said:

I'll just add, I found with Spotify I got a big improvement sending USB from a Surface or streamer to the DAC rather than from the 205. For the 205 I was using Chromecast HDMI to get Spotify into the 205 which I think was the weak link, having a fairly long chain with multiple conversions of the signal. 

I'm currently using google audio via optical into the OPPO, so again not ideal. 

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