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Dave Dac is a cracker

ellisdj

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Dec 11, 2008
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I had an excellent demo session today from Nintronics - these seem a great dealer with a huge variety of excellent quality kit - providing me with an outstanding demo service today - no pressure and nothing was too much trouble,

I wasnt there to demo the Dave but I asked them to put it on for me - using a Oppo 105 transport, Dave as the Dac and pre amp into a Classe sigma 5 channel power amp into first Monitor Audio PL100 Mk2 then Kef Reference 3.

It was literally a 5 minute demo - that was all it took - I listened to a song I heard today about 5 times today and in my life 50 times.

Age old cliche - there was detail I never heard before - I literally mean it resolved background noises so clearly that they were part of the presentation. This is stuff I have never heard before - not even remotely heard before or background sound I couldnt make out - literally presented sounds I didnt know were in the recording. Wow moment really.

Also the soundstage had great depth beyind the speakers and clarity but smooth with lovely decay around the notes.

5 Minutes was punishment enough, I didnt want to hear anymore, I know I wont have that at home so no point hearing any more, better off not to - Outstanding, no wonder WHF praised it up so much
 

ellisdj

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I cant comment on this really.

I was there to test the Kef Ref's for multi channel to see if there is anything to be gained from the Ref 3 over the Ref 1 as front speakers.

I then tested some music through the same system to again see if there is any benefit.

I then tested the same music throught the Pl100 Mk11.

For this the music standard was only ok at best really - the Kef's did a decent job at creating a sound stage - the Plat's sounded flat and congested.

However the plats were still plugged in when the dave was fired up - the song on was track 2 of Chasing the Dragon CD - about half way through from the previous test.

So this started playing and it was a huge improvement from the plats - they imaged great beyind the speakers with each member of tthe choir clearly defined in the sound stage - its the best I have heard that before - If you know the song you will know what I mean.

The Ref 3 was quickly put back on and initially the same piece didnt sound as good - that individual member of the choir clarity was gone it more a muddle as I am more used to it - bearing in mind the speakers are next to each other - so one has a different placement and toe in compared to the other and they had been off for a while etc.

This is by no means a test of the 2 - but I can say both sounded Much better off the Dave
 

nopiano

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Feb 15, 2009
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Very interesting. As has been said so often, the source really matters!

The DAVE does seem to be pretty much state of the art, although there are many more exotic looking designs at absurd prices.
 

Philim

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Jan 16, 2013
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Ellis. I currently have 2qute and Hugo TT on demo. I am not normally an advocate of spending a lot of money on dacs but the Hugo TT does things I didn't think possible so I fear ever hearing a dave. The 2qute and Hugo sound relatively average in comparison.
 

abacus

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Sep 24, 2008
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You have to be careful with a lot of Hi-Fi DACs, as a lot of manufactures deliberately colour the sound to make them sound more impressive over a neutral DAC. (This also applies to a lot of other HI Fi equipment; hence you get a manufactures house sound)

BTW. You can also get the same sound using studio quality equipment/software, by just adding the right effect to an affordable DAC.

Bill
 

ellisdj

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I can honestly say that was not it.

There was no change in general tone from the dac / pre amp we was using before just a big improvement in the presentation of the same content.

Cleaner, clearer and more free of the speakers. A larger more authentic presentation of a big harp - thats what we was listening to - track 5 chasing the dragon.

I could hear the breathing of the player which I can now hear at home but its not as clear - however I could hear people in the background - whispering occasionally etc. I did not know thatt was in the content.

This was not forced, or brought about because of forced resolution - this was the dac actually getting at more the sound locked away on the CD. Remember its just using an Oppo 105 transport - nothin flash and a 5 channel class d power amp - a good one.

I can imagine plugging the Dave into a pair of Chord monoblocks - plugged into 2 Kef Reference 3's which I really really like, in a good room and being lit up witth the quality
 

Gazzip

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ellisdj said:
I can honestly say that was not it.

There was no change in general tone from the dac / pre amp we was using before just a big improvement in the presentation of the same content.

Cleaner, clearer and more free of the speakers. A larger more authentic presentation of a big harp - thats what we was listening to - track 5 chasing the dragon.

I could hear the breathing of the player which I can now hear at home but its not as clear - however I could hear people in the background - whispering occasionally etc. I did not know thatt was in the content.

This was not forced, or brought about because of forced resolution - this was the dac actually getting at more the sound locked away on the CD. Remember its just using an Oppo 105 transport - nothin flash and a 5 channel class d power amp - a good one.

I can imagine plugging the Dave into a pair of Chord monoblocks - plugged into 2 Kef Reference 3's which I really really like, in a good room and being lit up witth the quality
A word of caution on Chord DAC's... They are extremely revealing as you have identified, which is great, but live with one for a little while on home demo before buying.

Many moons ago I was the proud owner of a QBD76. At the time this was state of the art, reviewing well in many publications as "possibly the best DAC in the world", and like you I was completely blown away initially. However this did not last... Within a few months I had grown fatigued by the sound. It dawned on me that there was perhaps a reason that all that detail it was dragging out of nowhere is usually further back in the presentation. I also found the very forward presentation of the DSX1000 equally fatiguing.

Personal thoughts obviously, but I don't think I am on my own with this view of the Chord sound.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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Gazzip said:
Personal thoughts obviously, but I don't think I am on my own with this view of the Chord sound.
I have found the same...but like you said, it's very personal....and I suppose it's also down to system matching as well.
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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Do you really want to hear everything, such as people talking in the background? For me thats too revealing and discrathing from the music. I imagine some acoustic guitar playing would sound unbearable on some systems.
 

ellisdj

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I think the opposite if the info is there you should be hearing it - plain as.

It added Authenticity to the sound - made it sound more like someone playing an instrument rather than than listening to played back music - the sound as a whole was like this - that is what grabbed me not just the extra detail

Also factoring in the Kef Ref 3 were able to resolve this detail perfectly - makes me like them even more
 

BigH

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ellisdj said:
I think the opposite if the info is there you should be hearing it - plain as.

It added Authenticity to the sound - made it sound more like someone playing an instrument rather than than listening to played back music - the sound as a whole was like this - that is what grabbed me not just the extra detail

Also factoring in the Kef Ref 3 were able to resolve this detail perfectly - makes me like them even more
Yes everyone is different I would rather hear the music than all the other things, for example do want to hear the note of the guitar string or do you want to hear the sound of it being plucked and the fingers moving up and down the strings. As others have said these canbe intially impressive but harder to live with for long term listening.
 

ellisdj

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I think its harder living without the detail once you know its supposed to be there - thats the kind of bug that never goes away
 

BigH

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ellisdj said:
I think its harder living without the detail once you know its supposed to be there - thats the kind of bug that never goes away
For you yes but for others no. Is it supposed to be there. All recodings are different, some are closely miked and right in your face, others are less revealing but no worse for it. If you are recording music, that should be it, if you are picking people talking in the background, I don't want to hear that, for me thats not supposed to be there.
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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When you can tell which direction the Tube train is going under the concert hall then it's time to stop.

When you can hear the audience chewing their steaks on "Sinatra At The Sands" then it's gone too far! (I can hear murmurs and glasses clinking in between numbers when Frank is talking and that's already enough. I don't need to hear a gecko farting behind a fire exit.
 

CnoEvil

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BigH said:
Yes everyone is different I would rather hear the music than all the other things, for example do want to hear the note of the guitar string or do you want to hear the sound of it being plucked and the fingers moving up and down the strings.
IME. It is very easy to to associate "extremely revealing", with being edgy, bright, analytical and tiring....but in some very well designed, low distortion components, this adds to the realism and enjoyment of the listening experience.

If I was to give examples of the latter, it would be Linn Klimax DS, MF AMS amps and New Refs/Blades.

On the other hand, I have found brands like Chord and Focal Utopia to cross the line into being too analytical for my taste.
 

ellisdj

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Maybe the mastering equipment quality was not good enough to hear it - so the decision to leave it in or take it out was not made - who knows

I assume everything I hear was designed to be there as its been picked up by the mic in the first place.

To me that is what High Fildelity is supposed to do - give you the sound the microphone picked up (if a microphone is used obviously) - overcoming all the detrimental steps the sound takes to get to my ear. Impossible goal but a good one in my eyes.
 

BigH

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ellisdj said:
Maybe the mastering equipment quality was not good enough to hear it - so the decision to leave it in or take it out was not made - who knows

I assume everything I hear was designed to be there as its been picked up by the mic in the first place.

To me that is what High Fildelity is supposed to do - give you the sound the microphone picked up (if a microphone is used obviously) - overcoming all the detrimental steps the sound takes to get to my ear. Impossible goal but a good one in my eyes.
I don't think so. Also on older recordings they can be too revealing. I don't want to be like some audiophiles and only play audiophile recordings, most of which I don't like anyway. I still want to play 1950s jazz. If you really want to hear everything why not buy some revealing studio monitors?
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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CnoEvil said:
BigH said:
Yes everyone is different I would rather hear the music than all the other things, for example do want to hear the note of the guitar string or do you want to hear the sound of it being plucked and the fingers moving up and down the strings.
IME. It is very easy to to associate "extremely revealing", with being edgy, bright, analytical and tiring....but in some very well designed, low distortion components, this adds to the realism and enjoyment of the listening experience.

If I was to give examples of the latter, it would be Linn Klimax DS, MF AMS amps and New Refs/Blades.

On the other hand, I have found brands like Chord and Focal Utopia to cross the line into being too analytical for my taste.
Totally concur with Big H. I personally don't want to hear beads of sweat hitting the drum kit.

Years ago I started a thread about something along the lines of "Is there such a thing as too much detail"? believe there is, especially if your system, like mine, majors on transparency. Adding a welter of extra detail isn't pleasant on a daily basis. Great for quick dems, otherwise...
 

Infiniteloop

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Jul 23, 2010
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CnoEvil said:
Gazzip said:
Personal thoughts obviously, but I don't think I am on my own with this view of the Chord sound.
I have found the same...but like you said, it's very personal....and I suppose it's also down to system matching as well.
+1

I use a Chord DAC with my Valve Amp and the two work together very well. Vocals and acoustic instruments are glorious with plenty of definition and bite on strings and clarity on vocals with no sibilance. It's the sort of sound you can listen to for hours on end......
 

ellisdj

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I want it all - no ifs no butts that why spent so much money on all this stuff - I dont want any left behind otherwise its been a waste of money buying the disc to only hear 85% of it

They dont offer me any discount for less than 100%
 

Infiniteloop

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Jul 23, 2010
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ellisdj said:
I want it all - no ifs no butts that why spent so much money on all this stuff - I dont want any left behind otherwise its been a waste of money buying the disc to only hear 85% of it

They dont offer me any discount for less than 100%
Maybe the artist and recording engineers never intended you to hear 100%, or were never aware that you would ever be able to.

Doesn't that mean that the 'extra' you're getting is actually detrimental to the intended musical message?
 

TomSawyer

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Apr 17, 2016
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ellisdj said:
I can imagine plugging the Dave into a pair of Chord monoblocks - plugged into 2 Kef Reference 3's which I really really like, in a good room and being lit up witth the quality
I heard the Dave through a pair of Chord monoblocks at a dealers fairly recently. I can't recall the transport feeding it but it was into Dynaudio Confidence C4 speakers.

I wasn't there to audition anything as expensive, this kit was obviously the centre-piece of the listening room and so was playing while my audition was prepared. I disliked it to the point I'd turn it down everytime the salesman left the room. We all have our preferences so I'm not saying anything bad about any of the equipment, but that combo was too brittle a presentation for me.
 

ellisdj

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Infiniteloop said:
ellisdj said:
I want it all - no ifs no butts that why spent so much money on all this stuff - I dont want any left behind otherwise its been a waste of money buying the disc to only hear 85% of it

They dont offer me any discount for less than 100%
Maybe the artist and recording engineers never intended you to hear 100%, or were never aware that you would ever be able to.

Doesn't that mean that the 'extra' you're getting is actually detrimental to the intended musical message?
I think you took me too liberally there - that was meant light hearted in jest.

But still I want to hear everything clearly and if my system brings stuff out that even the mastering engineer didnt hear then I have spent my money well
 

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