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Quad Vena or Cambridge Audio CXA60?

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insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
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Should it suit the setup it's an absolute bargain especially should you buy one second hand. I didn't like charging it but its sound more than made up for inconvenience.

If used in a lean sounding system it can make a real difference.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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You did very well to come to any conclusions given the amount of kit involved.

I have always found the differences between more mainstream dacs to be very small but those that are software driven do appear to offer something different. Sometime ago, working with Wadia, I was able to see/hear how such dacs could be 'tweaked' by altering the software, they had a setup where programing could be changed virtually live, you could do virtually anything.

Changing the subject slightly, I would be interested in how you are getting on with the Red Rose Classics. They, and the smaller Rosebuds, have some interesting qualities and I really like those ribbon tweeters, I was quite familier with them at the time but have not heard them for some years. They do seem to need some power though, we used the RR Afirmation amplifier, a 'variable' class A design, somewhere between the Krell 'sustained plateau' and true class A.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
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davedotco said:
You did very well to come to any conclusions given the amount of kit involved.

I have always found the differences between more mainstream dacs to be very small but those that are software driven do appear to offer something different. Sometime ago, working with Wadia, I was able to see/hear how such dacs could be 'tweaked' by altering the software, they had a setup where programing could be changed virtually live, you could do virtually anything.
Initially I thought the differences were bigger. After level matching I though there was hardly any :) It's only after a period of days and eventually weeks I've managed to understand what each dac contributed. I knew Yamaha and Minidsp already, Chord was new and TeraDak was on loan. I think one of the more interesting things that I did not mention was that I felt that Mojo performed better via USB and not optical. It's the most bizarre thing and I can't quite explain it other than it processes these two in a different way. I know it prioritises USB over others as well as accepts higher sampling rates via USB but can't quite explain why two different digital sources would sound different.

davedotco said:
Changing the subject slightly, I would be interested in how you are getting on with the Red Rose Classics. They, and the smaller Rosebuds, have some interesting qualities and I really like those ribbon tweeters, I was quite familier with them at the time but have not heard them for some years. They do seem to need some power though, we used the RR Afirmation amplifier, a 'variable' class A design, somewhere between the Krell 'sustained plateau' and true class A.
I'll start a thread not to detail any further :)
 

jonathanstromstedt

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Oct 29, 2017
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loving where this thread has taken us! Very grateful to read all of your comments and to learn so much on the way. I build PCs and similarily have learnt so much from threads on forums and so forth...

Question! What are you opinions then on the DAC in the Quad Vena?

I am finally going to be able to hear the Vena paired solely with Bronze 6 Audio Monitor...hum...will see how they sound... but it really feels like all of the information is tallying up to a CXA 60 + Dali Zensor 7 (combo which i borrowed home and loved) or CXA 60 + Q 3050s...

J
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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jonathanstromstedt said:
loving where this thread has taken us! Very grateful to read all of your comments and to learn so much on the way. I build PCs and similarily have learnt so much from threads on forums and so forth...

Question! What are you opinions then on the DAC in the Quad Vena?

I am finally going to be able to hear the Vena paired solely with Bronze 6 Audio Monitor...hum...will see how they sound... but it really feels like all of the information is tallying up to a CXA 60 + Dali Zensor 7 (combo which i borrowed home and loved) or CXA 60 + Q 3050s...

J
People interact with systems in different ways, if you hear a setup that you really like, go for it. In the uk, where prices are somewhat different, my preference was slightly different, I preferred the Zenzor 5 but with a bigger amplifier but if the Zenzor 7 and CXA60 worked for you, go for it. More on speakers in my post on the 'other' thread.
 

maroonbells

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Sep 18, 2017
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insider9 said:
davedotco said:
insider9 said:
Agreed

I've compared Mojo against a few other DAC (level matched) and it did sound very good indeed and it's an excellent dac and a bargain. However it didn't suit my system so sold it in the end.
Interesting.

Care to take a few minutes to expand on that?
Mojo in my eyes (ears) good timing, well detailed and really nice resolution. Really liked how it handles layer upon layer of music. But its particular strength was its bass were notes were very well pronounced and precisely timed. Seemed as if it had more attack then most (AKM was on par). Overall tonal balance was rich sounding with very good timbre but on the warm side. Especially mid to upper bass and lower midrange felt exagerated and this is what ultimately made me sell it.
I agree with these comments, layering very good, you can pick everything apart. You will hear details that you have never heard before.

CXA60 DAC rubbish in comparison, but OK for low enders.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
739
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jonathanstromstedt said:
loving where this thread has taken us! Very grateful to read all of your comments and to learn so much on the way. I build PCs and similarily have learnt so much from threads on forums and so forth...

Question! What are you opinions then on the DAC in the Quad Vena?

I am finally going to be able to hear the Vena paired solely with Bronze 6 Audio Monitor...hum...will see how they sound... but it really feels like all of the information is tallying up to a CXA 60 + Dali Zensor 7 (combo which i borrowed home and loved) or CXA 60 + Q 3050s...

J
Glad you didn't mind.

Bronze 6 will give a different presentation to Dali. They may feel a little safe and a little more hifi. Try to listen to as much as possible even if it's for a few tracks you will know better to what traits you're looking for.

Last summer I went in for a demo and came away with Zensor 3 and Onkyo A9010. From what I understand it should be with a built in dac where you are I'd try it as alternative if you can maybe with Zensor 5 or even 3 (they're large you know).
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
739
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maroonbells said:
insider9 said:
davedotco said:
insider9 said:
Agreed

I've compared Mojo against a few other DAC (level matched) and it did sound very good indeed and it's an excellent dac and a bargain. However it didn't suit my system so sold it in the end.
Interesting.

Care to take a few minutes to expand on that? 
 

Mojo in my eyes (ears) good timing, well detailed and really nice resolution. Really liked how it handles layer upon layer of music. But its particular strength was its bass were notes were very well pronounced and precisely timed. Seemed as if it had more attack then most (AKM was on par). Overall tonal balance was rich sounding with very good timbre but on the warm side. Especially mid to upper bass and lower midrange felt exagerated and this is what ultimately made me sell it.
I agree with these comments, layering very good, you can pick everything apart. You will hear details that you have never heard before.

CXA60 DAC rubbish in comparison, but OK for low enders.
Not sure you know this track but "Caribbean Blue" by Enya shows this trait in Mojo incredibly well.
 

Pedro

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May 31, 2016
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I fail to see why the DAC in the CXA60 is rubbish. DACs nowadays are pretty much transparent and I find somewhat odd that someone playing music at high volumes will conclude audible distortion is DAC-related when we know speakers, by far, produce much much higher levels of distortion than DACs or amps, period.

Sighted tests without matched levels (0.5db or less) and done within a few seconds are no means of comparison. They can't rule out the good old Mr. Placebo or expectation bias, even a tiny increase in volume can influence the general perception of sound quality (difference in bass response for instance) and echoic memory is ultra short term memory.

And I guess the Wolson DAC is good for low enders and those Q Acoustics 3050 are good for what, high end audio?
 

Pedro

New member
May 31, 2016
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With all that nonsense about distortion and grating or whatever I'm not the one missing something.
 

Infiniteloop

Well-known member
Jul 23, 2010
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CnoEvil said:
jonathanstromstedt said:
Thank you for the comments on the euphony of the tube amplifier. I hear what you are saying. Yet, yesterday i was able to demo the Quad in Stockholm and it sounded quite mutted compared to a similarily priced Vincent.
Vincent make some great Valve and Hybrid amps.

Also, don't assume that a Valve amp is all warm and over honey'd....a good modern one, will give an exciting and dramatic presentation, but with that "liquid midange", which is where the emotion resides.
+1

In addition, the choice of Valves you use can also make a difference. I’ve recently had some NOS Siemens silverplate 12AU7’s in my S8. Doing this has transformed the sound. It was great before, but a change to better valves has elevated everything further.
 

maroonbells

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Sep 18, 2017
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Haven't heard that one, will loook out for it.

I found with the mojo that when I first got it I struggled to listen to music with it as I was just hearing the different strands and wasn't able to focus on the whole. Once I had re-trained my hearing it was then fine, took a fair few weeks though. Definately heard things that I never heard before, like MJ whispering bad across the top of the bad track.
 

maroonbells

New member
Sep 18, 2017
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Pedro, you are obviously one of these people that knows everything and can't listen to anyone elses experience.
 

jonathanstromstedt

New member
Oct 29, 2017
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so is the DAC responsible for allowing such separation, so that one can as an example hear MJ whispers 'bad' across the track? I think that i am getting more interested in this more spacial experience of music instead of the usual warmth etc which i have mentioned till now.

With regards to the above, what are your opinions on the Quad Vena DAC vs. the CxA60?

thanks

j
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
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19,070
Thanks for the clarification about your location. First of all, if you liked the CXA + Dali, especially in your home, go for it. If I were you, I wouldn't stress too much about the difference in dacs, as I think they will be minimal for integrated amps at this price point. It's also totally not worth getting an amp you don't like just for a supposedly better dac section. You can easily correct this later, with a streamer or external dac or whatever.

On the subject of speakers, I think Q Acoustics 3000 range (not Concept) can sound too "bite" in the treble with the wrong amplification and cabling, and the Zensor range have a "liquidy" characteristic to them that you seem to like (although they can be too slow in the bass from what I recall). The one alternative I would suggest, for the CA, would be Focal Aria range, but it's probably out of your budget if you don't find a very good deal on a pair.

As for CA, the new Rega Brio and Exposure stuff might be worth investigating, as well as the tube stuff the others have suggested.
 

maroonbells

New member
Sep 18, 2017
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I can't comment on the Quad Vena as I havent heard it.

I have been thinking further about the Mojo sound and will say that because it splits the strands out it sometimes can lose some impact on some tracks. With cheaper simpler DAC's the sound comes at you in a blob so it can sound like it is bigger, the mojo spreads it out so it can appear thinner at times. Some people may not like this. If I switch between my CXA DAC (or Marantz CD player DAC) and the Mojo I can instantly hear the soundstage height double. Maybe that is why you can hear the separation, not sure.

There is a hell of a lot of processing power in the mojo, it's a mini masterpiece to me.
 

jonathanstromstedt

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Oct 29, 2017
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so in the end i was able to demo both the quad and cxa60 at home with my new DAli Zensor 7s. And it was really quite clear that the CXa60 was the winner in my listening room and for my ears and that of my partner: deeper, more volumetric sound stage, wider and more loaded mid range with more vibrancy and resonance, higher and more separated high notes that wrap around the listener. Vocals seemed closer. Everything was more emotional and 'latched on'. The Quad is lovely, soft, mellow, maybe restrained...but i felt this hole in the middle of the soundstage, with all of the notes on either side, like listening to a concert in a big concert house but with not enough power, so i have to strain to get my ear in there...

Thank you for all of your help and support, looking forward to listening to this combo and then moving on some day to bigger and better things!

Jonathan
 

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