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Devilsound Cable DAC

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Yeah, well, after I submitted my post I took I nap. I got up 20 min. ago and logged on here and decided to look around the Site. I found the Equipment section and there it was: The Devilsound.


Two months ago I spent a lot of time shopping on-line for DAC in the $150 to $250 price range: reviews, manufacturer's web sites, retailer's sties, forums - a lot of time. I never came across a reference to the Devilsound. 'Course, I didn't find this Forum until after I bought my MD10.


The Devilsound is getting a lot of favorable comment recently on the AVS Forum. That's what cuased my to post here.


But, man, look at the thing: its like a $30 Behringer U-Control w/ captive RCAs.


I'd still like to hear from people who are using it.


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Of course I bought mine just weeks before they upgraded them to v2 ;-) I took it and my laptop/xpp/media monkey over to a friend's place that has a very high resolution system consisting of the top of the line Marantz Reference stuff including the SA-7 SACD and Revel Performa F52's. Brought the CD's I had ripped onto the external USB drive and compared. We both thought the HDD/Devilsound DAC was better. I was not expecting that and my friend was blown away- a laptop and a $250 USB DAC beating a $7000 SACD player. I did not compare other USB DAC's- pretty much went by Chris's recommendation.




Mac mini, iFi Audio iDAC2, Marantz SR6009, Furman Elite-15 PFI, NHT Sub Two i, Monitor Audio SoundFrame 2 On-Walls

Cary, NC

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I just purchased the Devilsound DAC v2 for $279 shipped


My goal was to find a good sounding, non-fatiguing, inexpensive DAC to listen to CDs and (rarely) internet radio while higher resolution USB options sort themselves out in the market during 2009


I did not see many detailed reviews of this unit so thought I would jot down my first impressions on my system:




+ At the Devilsound's price point ($279 shipped) I think this is a pretty good sounding little DAC. I would expect more discussion of this unit on the CA site going forward


+ There is a money back policy on Devilsound's website so there is limited downside to trying this out (just shipping back to the company?)


+ Very small, quality black aluminum box with what appear to be good RCA plugs


+ Lack of features, buttons and gizmos, if you are convinced that inherently low quality controls, buttons etc. in the signal path, at this price range, will degrade sound


+ 15+ feet of USB cable


+ Simple install on MacBook Pro/iTunes (15 seconds)


***Listening impressions***


=> Overall pretty good sound, especially for the price, although did not blow me away like the $5,000 Alpha DAC did or my superb Sansui tuner does. I am running the Devilsound through some very revealing equipment so your experience may be different than mine


=>I tried the Devilsound with a wide variety of CDs that I know well for about six hours today; most CDs sounded surprisingly good and a few sounded good. The Devilsound tended to emphasize the difference between well and poorly produced CDs, penalizing poorly produced ones. Issues I noted on certain, but certainly not all, CDs were a slightly veiled sound, slightly muddy sound and/or slightly thin sound. I enjoyed listening to the Devilsound and did not notice any major shortfalls. I have heard better sounding CD reproduction, just not near this price point


=>Interestingly internet streamed music sounded good via the Devilsound. Just to be clear, streamed music suffers some major limitations but there is a lot of interesting music being offered so I tried five 128kbps stations on iTunes and found them all quite listenable, smooth and non-fatiguing with the Devilsound. Don't bother with lower quality stations


***Cons - with my solutions you can implement***


- When listening to the tuner the Devilsound USB cable stays live and can inject noise into a nearby tuner, 75 Ohm antenna cable or antenna

===>place tuner/cable/antenna a few feet away from USB cable or just unplug USB cable from computer when listening to tuner


- RCA cables are short so DAC activity and USB cable are right next to preamp

===>keep DAC and USB cable as far away from other components and cables as possible. Extension RCA cables did not work well for my system


- Devilsound could have shipped the DAC with more cushioning as there are delicate electronics inside

===>but unit is so light I think there is a relatively low probability of shipping damage vis-a-via a class a monoblock; regardless, I would request that they add some bubblewrap


- I purchased the DAC v2, although see no way of telling it is not v1, not even on the receipt

===>Ask Devilsound to note version on receipt at a minimum


I will close noting that I have no association with Devilsound or the audio industry


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  • 2 months later...

I'm curious as well to hear what your impressions have been with Devilsound V.2. I'm thinking about pulling the trigger.


How does it compare to the more expensive Headroom Ultra Micro DAC or any other you've compared it to?


Thanks in advance.


Lyngdorf TDA2200 int.\ Accuphase E-211 int.~ Totem \Mani's & "The One\" monitors~Bryston BDA-1 DAC~Halide HD DAC~Micromega Transport~AnTi cables & Synergistic Research cables~JohnBlue JB3~(mod) Totem orig. Model One monitors[br]Mini Mac,1.8ghz Core 2 Duo

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I went ahead and ordered a Devilsound V.2 but I find it strange that there is silence (no responses or posts) and no recent reviews on it.


I'll have 60 days to burn it in and try it out. I wish I had a late model Valab DAC to compare it to.


Has anyone else been listening to these ??????????





Lyngdorf TDA2200 int.\ Accuphase E-211 int.~ Totem \Mani's & "The One\" monitors~Bryston BDA-1 DAC~Halide HD DAC~Micromega Transport~AnTi cables & Synergistic Research cables~JohnBlue JB3~(mod) Totem orig. Model One monitors[br]Mini Mac,1.8ghz Core 2 Duo

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Mr Macgee:


I purchased the Devilsound V2 in March and noted my comments in a post above. As you may know Chris did a review of the v1 version; it is one of just a handful that made the CASH recommended list.


The Devilsound is not perfect but is inexpensive and works fine while I wait for computer/DAC interfaces to sort themselves out; I think a few of the guys are making good progress.


My experience with preamps is anecdotal. After trying dozens of preamps, including some very "highly rated" and well known units, I became frustrated with the poor quality of sound coming out. A lot of the problems are related to poor quality components such as resistors and volume pots (some argue there are no good quality volume pots...)


I finally decided to splurge for a Placette unit. The Placette is not fancy in any way (plain black box, 1 stiff toggle switch on the box for volume control, and a lousy Sony universal remote control). That said the sound is absolutely transparent and correct, which I attribute to clean engineering and very few but very high quality parts.


On that thread, with inexpensive DACs you can not expect that the engineers can load the units with high-end components. The physical size of the Devilsound limits the number of poor-grade electronics that could get in the way; the fact that there are no lousy volume controls or switches is another major step in the right direction.










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Thanks for the reply Steelman,


I look forward to receiving the Devilsound and finding out how it sounds. I'm like you I rather sit back for a while and let the dust settle in the DAC world. I also have a Enlighten Audio Design DSP-7000 DAC and was surprised at how well it stills sounds compared to some very recent large sized DAC's that I have auditioned. I just want to downsize (shrink) my gear and need the USB option. The less cables the better with good sound/music.


Funny you should mention the Placette, I came across it while doing some research. There is something to be said about passive preamp's. I currently have a Reference Line Preeminence passive preamp with solid silver wiring (Stereophile highly reviewed it back in the day), the only problem is that is has no remote. Very esoteric and a bit old school but it's very transparent and reveals anything you plug into it, you can hear everything good and bad. I have orig. Totem One monitors that have been mod. (imaging monsters), if anything the set up is a bit too forward & revealing (fatiguing) for my liking with a SS amp but anytime I change things to mellow it out, it sounds colored. It's more of a reference set up than a sit back relax with a nice bottle of wine set up.


I also have a Linn integrated & transport which I find very uneventful but serves a purpose but been meaning to sell both and get a Creek 5350SE.


I'm now going (small footprint) with just a Mini Mac, devilsound DAC, integrated amp, a nice plasma screen, some nice monitors (upgrading from the Totems) and a lot less cables.


I'll report back when I get the DAC plugged into my Mac but will only have the EAD with a toslink (not a fan of tos) to compare it to which won't help the forum much but it will be something to read for the bored.









Lyngdorf TDA2200 int.\ Accuphase E-211 int.~ Totem \Mani's & "The One\" monitors~Bryston BDA-1 DAC~Halide HD DAC~Micromega Transport~AnTi cables & Synergistic Research cables~JohnBlue JB3~(mod) Totem orig. Model One monitors[br]Mini Mac,1.8ghz Core 2 Duo

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The devilsound arrive today in the mail.


When it arrived in the mail I thought it something else I ordered because the box was so small. In the box was the DAC (in it's own white box), a single sheet of instructions and a generic 10' USB extension cord.


The DAC itself is a total length of 7' from the USB to the interconnects. With six inches of nicely made custom cable from the DAC to the Eichmann annealed 4n silver Bullet Plugs interconnects. The USB is gold but from the outside of that the cable looks ordinary. The DAC itself is about the size of my car key remote (it's small). This is the perfect traveling DAC, which is actually one the reasons why I purchase it. It's also good for a desktop/office setup or who want a small footprint.


Pic of devilsound: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3327/3645577026_6453cba0a8_b.jpg


Pic of the interconnects: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3353/3644815163_9b9cb271ef_o.jpg


I hooked it up, went to system sound preferences and clicked to make the Devilsound the default and Voila, we now have music. Having the Devilsound connected to my MacBook Pro is clearly sounding better than using the onboard DAC/soundcard on the MacBook Pro. That's all I'm going to say because it needs to be broken in first before I'll give my opinion and sound impressions but so far I'm very happy. I do have a Valab and a old EAD DAC that I will compare it to later on. I have the Devilsound plugged into a Linn Classik Movie and Totem Model 1 speakers.


So far all correspondence with Devilsound has been excellent with Jonathan replying quickly answering all the questions.






Lyngdorf TDA2200 int.\ Accuphase E-211 int.~ Totem \Mani's & "The One\" monitors~Bryston BDA-1 DAC~Halide HD DAC~Micromega Transport~AnTi cables & Synergistic Research cables~JohnBlue JB3~(mod) Totem orig. Model One monitors[br]Mini Mac,1.8ghz Core 2 Duo

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There seems to be this wired debate all over the internet. I feel that the future is wireless. Lets take a look at how well satellite/Wireless broadcast TV has worked. Just as well as cable! If not better! I have Direct TV now. Just as good if not better than my Comcast cable in terms of audio and video quality. Why wouldn't audio be the same? There is no reason! No electrical interference. The future is here! Go wireless!




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Eric - You're adding nothing to the discussion of the Devilsound DAC by professing your belief that wireless must be as good or better than wired. Please let me know your credentials or what information other than these analogies you are basing your opinion on.


Your statements in another thread about USB cables "shouldn't" effect the sound were based on what knowledge? Would you be willing to present your opinion to a group of audio engineers at an AES conference?


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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Hi Chris


Common sense is what I am talking about here. Digital is bits from start to finish. Noise is analog. You can take digital and copy it and transfer it time after time and it will remain the same. The issue is that there is always a noise element in the transfer and reconstruction process. Electrical noise that is transferred over a USB cable is analog noise. You don't need an EE degree to know that!




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I said I wouldn't comment for a while till it was burned in but I connected the new Devilsound V.2 to my Mac Mini as a source to watch a DVD movie and it blew away my Linn classik Movie in regards to sound and I was still using the Linn as a amp/re-amp with the Mac and Totem 1's speakers connected to it. It was more involving, It had more transparency, larger soundstage and transients, much better bass. I was able to A/B between the two with the same disc. The picture wasn't bad either. The Linn is now officially for sale.


Lyngdorf TDA2200 int.\ Accuphase E-211 int.~ Totem \Mani's & "The One\" monitors~Bryston BDA-1 DAC~Halide HD DAC~Micromega Transport~AnTi cables & Synergistic Research cables~JohnBlue JB3~(mod) Totem orig. Model One monitors[br]Mini Mac,1.8ghz Core 2 Duo

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Great to hear the sound is wonderful!


Eric - An attempt to use "common sense" for an engineering problem can lead us down a very bad road. When I talk to many engineers and components designers thay all say the amount of misinformation on internet forums is huge. Most of the time it's people making assumptions and being armchair engineers. Don't get em wrong I encourage discussion in all forms even if it is conjecture based on someone's belief, but when someone states emphatically with exclamation points that their opinion based on common sense is right, and it clearly makes other opinions based on engineering or belief wrong, then I have a problem.


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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Okay so really off topic here ... but I find that the problem with common sense is ...


1) it's not that common to find someone talking sense and

2) most of what's common knowledge on the Internet doesn't make sense.


Great big smiley to you all


(another "armchair engineer")


P.S. the DevilSound "cable" is very interesting ...




...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have had my Devilsound for a couple of weeks now and am very happy with it. I haven't any experience in audiophile circles so I can't compare with anything else. All I can say is that I am definitely hooked and wondering what I can do to make the sound even better!

I'm just using an XP laptop + iTunes and have downloaded a Vivaldi album with Sara Chang on the violin. Even though this is lossy I get a thrill hearing the timbre of the instruments so clearly. I've ripped some other CDs to lossless and some of these are as good as the Sarah Chang recording but nothing so far is better.

When I first hooked up the DAC the music sounded good, but my left speaker was weak. I wondered if the DAC was faulty but changing the old speaker wires cleared that up beautifully. I think there was a bad connection.

I bought my system in 1985 - a Denon 755 receiver (75 watts per channel) and a pair of dbx Soundfield 10s that are hooked up with a Soundfield Imaging Controller, and I don't think it has sounded so good. I paid good coin for these back then, but don't know what advances have been made since or how this would compare to other equipment. I guess I'll find out!





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Glad to hear you like the Devilsound.


I'm really pleased with mine.


Now that you have had a taste, you're in for it now. It might be time play around with other gear. If you start doing some homework, you'll find out a lot about how good the new equipment is, it's reasonably priced and sounds excellent. Look into tri-path (Class t) amp's ( I recommend Virtue Audio Amps) or the new small tube amps ( I like Glow Audio tube Amps) are a lot of fun. You don't necessarily need lots of wattage. These are all under $500.

Same thing with speakers, Although it has not been as easy to find really good speakers for little money but AudioEngine 5's are getting great reviews, (I really like JohnBlue JB3's) they are also full range single driver speakers (like Tektons). Within there limits they are hard to beat and cheap. I have made my own with very little cost. You can also later add a sub (I really like the Glow Audio sub one, especially for the price & size)


These suggestions are more for smaller rooms but deliver excellent sound and you'll start to get the most out of your devilsound and iTunes. You can also go to audiogon.com and look for good deals. There's a lot of excellent gear (if you know what to look for) being sold for pennies on the dollar.


Search around the forums and read up.




Lyngdorf TDA2200 int.\ Accuphase E-211 int.~ Totem \Mani's & "The One\" monitors~Bryston BDA-1 DAC~Halide HD DAC~Micromega Transport~AnTi cables & Synergistic Research cables~JohnBlue JB3~(mod) Totem orig. Model One monitors[br]Mini Mac,1.8ghz Core 2 Duo

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There is a reference to my speakers in Stereo Review December 1985 that says 'Recommended amplifier power of 40 to 300 watts per channel into 4 ohms'. I don't really know how to interpret these figures but doesn't this mean that a low-powered tube amp (less than 40 wpc) would not work very well?


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I am not familiar with your speakers and they may indeed need more than 40w.


I was more referring that you do not necessarily need a high wattage amp if you match the amp with an efficient speaker. It also depends what type of music, how loud, how much distance away you'll be listening and how big the room is.


There are audiophiles that very happy with there 2.5 watt amps. Tube amps sound great and have more muscle than what there wattage is specified at.


Generally, the higher quality the amp is the wattage is very much understated compared to the large companies like Harmon Kardon, Yamaha, Sony or Denon...etc. I have a Ayre AX-7e integrated amp and it's incredible how muscle it has, tight bass and how much air it pushes into the room while still sounding sweet. It's specified as 60 watts per channel, my speaker reviewed in Stereophile recommends 100-200w amps, it's a very hard speaker to drive. I had separates for years and the amp was 150w and did not nearly sound as good or as much bass, not even close.


Today speakers have gone a very long way since 1985, they are much more efficient. I highly recommend taking a look at recent models. You current system may still sound good but I think it's worth checking it out.


You may want to take your laptop (fully charged) and Devilsound to a audiophile store (not a Bestbuy or circuit city) to audition new speakers and amps properly setup to give you an idea and a comparison to what you have now. It will be very informative. I don't think the changes are too much different in comparison to you now using a Devilsound and a laptop compared to tape.


Happy Fourth


Lyngdorf TDA2200 int.\ Accuphase E-211 int.~ Totem \Mani's & "The One\" monitors~Bryston BDA-1 DAC~Halide HD DAC~Micromega Transport~AnTi cables & Synergistic Research cables~JohnBlue JB3~(mod) Totem orig. Model One monitors[br]Mini Mac,1.8ghz Core 2 Duo

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