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Phasure NOS1a DAC


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Phasure (headed by PeterSt, who frequents these boards) has just released the latest version of the NOS1 DAC, designated the NOS1a. All previous NOS1 DACs can be upgraded to a NOS1a for 1250 EUR.

 

What's different? Well, one thing is that the audio clocks now sit right next to the DAC chips and the USB interface is slaved to these clocks. The latter means that the DAC is now totally immune from the PC and the USB cable. I've been testing things all morning and can confirm that making any changes to the PC make absolutely no difference to the sound. I use an expensive 'Tellurium Black Diamond' USB cable between the PC and DAC and can confirm that a standard $1 USB cable now sounds identical to this. Yep, really!

 

Otherwise the sound from the NOS1a is simply sublime. What really jumps out is the sheer 'musicality'. I mean, instruments don't just sound 'clear' now (they did before) but actually very beautiful. They shimmer and resonate in sympathy to the music. Weirdly, I can almost see the colour and grain of their wood (or sheen of their metal). I don't mean to say that these cues are embedded in the music - of course not. But it's almost as though my mind is now free of doing any unnecessary processing making sense of the sound and can rather drift and wonder about the other elements of the musical experience.

 

Ultimately, the NOS1a makes my Pacific Mircosonics Model Two (which I was using exclusively whilst my NOS1 was being upgraded) sound like an AM transistor radio in comparison.

 

Yeah, I know this probably sounds like a nice piece of advertising for Phasure. Sorry, can't help that. But what I will say is that I am affiliated to Phasure in absolutely no way, shape or form. I have always paid the full retail price for every product I've ever bought from Phasure. And actually I wouldn't want it any other way - XXHighEnd and the NOS1a are such serious value for money that I would feel as though I'm stealing from someone if I didn't pay the full retail price.

 

I can't help it if Phasure keeps on re-defining the leading edge of computer audio. Apparently there's a new filter for XXHighEnd coming up next... Can't wait...

 

Mani.

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima horns + 2x Rotel RB-1590 amps -> 4 subs

Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers

Vinyl: Technics SP10 / London (Decca) Reference -> Trafomatic Luna -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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Mani

Have you listened to any well recorded 24/192 material such as "Americas" from Barry Diament with it ?

Regards

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

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Phasure (headed by PeterSt, who frequents these boards) has just released the latest version of the NOS1 DAC, designated the NOS1a. All previous NOS1 DACs can be upgraded to a NOS1a for 1250 EUR.

 

What's different? Well, one thing is that the audio clocks now sit right next to the DAC chips and the USB interface is slaved to these clocks. The latter means that the DAC is now totally immune from the PC and the USB cable. I've been testing things all morning and can confirm that making any changes to the PC make absolutely no difference to the sound. I use an expensive 'Tellurium Black Diamond' USB cable between the PC and DAC and can confirm that a standard $1 USB cable now sounds identical to this. Yep, really!

 

Otherwise the sound from the NOS1a is simply sublime. What really jumps out is the sheer 'musicality'. I mean, instruments don't just sound 'clear' now (they did before) but actually very beautiful. They shimmer and resonate in sympathy to the music. Weirdly, I can almost see the colour and grain of their wood (or sheen of their metal). I don't mean to say that these cues are embedded in the music - of course not. But it's almost as though my mind is now free of doing any unnecessary processing making sense of the sound and can rather drift and wonder about the other elements of the musical experience.

 

Ultimately, the NOS1a makes my Pacific Mircosonics Model Two (which I was using exclusively whilst my NOS1 was being upgraded) sound like an AM transistor radio in comparison.

 

Yeah, I know this probably sounds like a nice piece of advertising for Phasure. Sorry, can't help that. But what I will say is that I am affiliated to Phasure in absolutely no way, shape or form. I have always paid the full retail price for every product I've ever bought from Phasure. And actually I wouldn't want it any other way - XXHighEnd and the NOS1a are such serious value for money that I would feel as though I'm stealing from someone if I didn't pay the full retail price.

 

I can't help it if Phasure keeps on re-defining the leading edge of computer audio. Apparently there's a new filter for XXHighEnd coming up next... Can't wait...

 

Mani.

 

If that's the case maybe xxhighend isn't required any more? A Mac mini running Audirvana would be just as good?

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Mani

Have you listened to any well recorded 24/192 material such as "Americas" from Barry Diament with it ?

 

Hi Alex, I don't have 'Americas', but do have 'Confluence' and 'Equinox' - will take a listen and let you know. I've already listened to RR's 'Exotic Dances', which sounds simply superb.

 

But I have to say that well-recorded 16/44.1, upsampled with the Arc Prediction filter in XXHighEnd to 24/705.6, sounds superb too. I never even think of the recorded format nowadays - just choose what I want to listen to and press play.

 

Mani.

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima horns + 2x Rotel RB-1590 amps -> 4 subs

Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers

Vinyl: Technics SP10 / London (Decca) Reference -> Trafomatic Luna -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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If that's the case maybe xxhighend isn't required any more? A Mac mini running Audirvana would be just as good?

 

Almost. It's true that the NOS1a no longer requires any of the 'dials' in XXHighEnd to sound good. But it still requires a good, non-ringing filter. There's only one that I'm aware of that doesn't have any pre- or post-ringing, and that's XXHighEnd's 'Arc Prediction' filter. Although having said that, PeterSt is apparently just about to release a new filter which he believes is better than AP.

 

Other than the filter, I see no reason why a Mac Mini running Audirvana wouldn't give very good results. Oh maybe just one other issue: only XXHighEnd and HQPlayer are capable of feeding the full 24/768 to the NOS1a.

 

Mani.

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima horns + 2x Rotel RB-1590 amps -> 4 subs

Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers

Vinyl: Technics SP10 / London (Decca) Reference -> Trafomatic Luna -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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Interesting about the NOS1a update. I wonder if Marja & Henk of Six Moons, who use the NOS1 as their digital reference, had that update when they wrote this as the last sentence of their recent review of the PSA DirectStream:

 

"With its great sound quality and versatile usefulness, the DirectStream DAC from PS Audio offers the best way we’ve yet encountered to convert ‘digital’ music into real music. "

 

http://www.6moons.com/audiorev…..dio/1.html

Mac Mini / Pure Music > Firewire & USB > Metric Halo LIO-8 > Hypex NCORE 400 > Geddes Abbey Speakers > Rythmik Servo & Geddes Band Pass Subs // DH Labs Cables, HRS MXR Isolation Rack, PurePower 2000, Elgar 6006B

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I'm pretty certain that the NOS1a was NOT available to the folks at 6moons. As far as I know, only a handful of people have ever even heard it and only Peter St, Mani and one or two others have the NOS1a in their possession(set up in their homes).

 

Esau

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Thanks @esimms86. That was my assumption. There's a significant FW update in the works for the DirectStream as well so perhaps someone at some point will be able to compare the two DAC's in their absolute most current trim.

Mac Mini / Pure Music > Firewire & USB > Metric Halo LIO-8 > Hypex NCORE 400 > Geddes Abbey Speakers > Rythmik Servo & Geddes Band Pass Subs // DH Labs Cables, HRS MXR Isolation Rack, PurePower 2000, Elgar 6006B

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Interesting about the NOS1a update. I wonder if Marja & Henk of Six Moons, who use the NOS1 as their digital reference, had that update when they wrote this as the last sentence of their recent review of the PSA DirectStream:

 

"With its great sound quality and versatile usefulness, the DirectStream DAC from PS Audio offers the best way we’ve yet encountered to convert ‘digital’ music into real music. "

 

They have the original NOS1. They also say:

 

"...playback via our reference XXHE PC/NOS1 combination sounded very similar indeed even if the workflow involved to get it to play is a real PITA compared to the PWT/PWDSD experience."

 

So the PSA and original NOS1 are "very similar indeed". I haven't got a PSA so can't compare, but what I can say is that the NOS1a takes a quantum leap in performance over the original NOS1.

 

Mani.

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima horns + 2x Rotel RB-1590 amps -> 4 subs

Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers

Vinyl: Technics SP10 / London (Decca) Reference -> Trafomatic Luna -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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Hey Mani. Thanks for the post and happy that you are liking your NOS1a upgrade. I think this will help extend Peter's market appeal - higher performance and easier to use. Its nice to see so many 'next gen' digital playback options coming to market with a large spectrum of features.

Mac Mini / Pure Music > Firewire & USB > Metric Halo LIO-8 > Hypex NCORE 400 > Geddes Abbey Speakers > Rythmik Servo & Geddes Band Pass Subs // DH Labs Cables, HRS MXR Isolation Rack, PurePower 2000, Elgar 6006B

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Hey Mani. Thanks for the post and happy that you are liking your NOS1a upgrade. I think this will help extend Peter's market appeal - higher performance and easier to use. Its nice to see so many 'next gen' digital playback options coming to market with a large spectrum of features.

 

Sounds like you should buy one!

W10 NUC i7 (Gen 10) > Roon (Audiolense FIR) > Motu UltraLite mk5 > (4) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference +4 subs

 

Watch my Podcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXMw_bZWBMtRWNJQfTJ38kA/videos

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Hey jtwrace....you a funny guy....btw, I thought you only posted these days on the Aeries thread?

Mac Mini / Pure Music > Firewire & USB > Metric Halo LIO-8 > Hypex NCORE 400 > Geddes Abbey Speakers > Rythmik Servo & Geddes Band Pass Subs // DH Labs Cables, HRS MXR Isolation Rack, PurePower 2000, Elgar 6006B

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No sir. I do post on the ARIES a bit though.

 

:-)...Aeries / ARIES - well I am excited for you to get your ARIES....very interesting new product.

Mac Mini / Pure Music > Firewire & USB > Metric Halo LIO-8 > Hypex NCORE 400 > Geddes Abbey Speakers > Rythmik Servo & Geddes Band Pass Subs // DH Labs Cables, HRS MXR Isolation Rack, PurePower 2000, Elgar 6006B

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So the PSA and original NOS1 are "very similar indeed". I haven't got a PSA so can't compare, but what I can say is that the NOS1a takes a quantum leap in performance over the original NOS1.

 

Mani.

 

Something that interests me is that Peter has apparently solved the problem of most or all of the effect of the USB cable, if I understand correctly (and I may not) by slaving the USB bus timing to the DAC clocks? This is the type of thing that may have potential for moving to other products.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Phasure (headed by PeterSt, who frequents these boards) has just released the latest version of the NOS1 DAC, designated the NOS1a. All previous NOS1 DACs can be upgraded to a NOS1a for 1250 EUR.

 

Mani,

what about the price of NOS1a new, not upgrade.

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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I thought this dac was an NOS dac as implied by it's name. Despite that you seem very enthused by arc prediction up-sampling logarithms and playing back 16/44 at 24/705.6. I thought NOS was playing back at the original rate?

 

The NOS1 does no 'internal' up/oversampling - all processing is done upstream in the player software (typically in XXHE) and for this reason, AFAIK, it is referred to as 'NOS'.

Mac Mini / Pure Music > Firewire & USB > Metric Halo LIO-8 > Hypex NCORE 400 > Geddes Abbey Speakers > Rythmik Servo & Geddes Band Pass Subs // DH Labs Cables, HRS MXR Isolation Rack, PurePower 2000, Elgar 6006B

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I thought this dac was an NOS dac as implied by it's name. Despite that you seem very enthused by arc prediction up-sampling logarithms and playing back 16/44 at 24/705.6. I thought NOS was playing back at the original rate?

 

Feeding native 16/44.1 to a NOS DAC is a really bad idea... unless you like loads of harmonic distortion. What you really want to do is upsample the 16/44.1 to 24/705.6 with as little pre- and post-ringing as possible, and feed that to a NOS and filterless DAC capable of accepting this resolution. And that's the XXHighEnd and NOS1a combo in a nutshell.

 

Mani.

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima horns + 2x Rotel RB-1590 amps -> 4 subs

Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers

Vinyl: Technics SP10 / London (Decca) Reference -> Trafomatic Luna -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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The NOS1 does no 'internal' up/oversampling - all processing is done upstream in the player software (typically in XXHE) and for this reason, AFAIK, it is referred to as 'NOS'.

 

Exactly. The NOS1a is a non-upsampling, non-oversampling and totally filterless DAC. It does no processing, other than convert what it's fed into analogue via its eight PCM1704U-K DAC chips. In this respect it's extremely transparent, so the quality of the software filter is of paramount importance. For example, using the NOS1a, it's easy to hear clear differences in the various filters in HQPlayer. You get a real sense of how the filter itself sounds because the DAC is doing nothing other than converting.

 

Mani.

 

Mani.

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima horns + 2x Rotel RB-1590 amps -> 4 subs

Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers

Vinyl: Technics SP10 / London (Decca) Reference -> Trafomatic Luna -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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Mani,

what about the price of NOS1a new, not upgrade.

 

Matt, I have absolutely no idea. I suspect it's around the $5500 mark, but you could contact PeterSt directly to find out for sure.

 

Mani.

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima horns + 2x Rotel RB-1590 amps -> 4 subs

Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers

Vinyl: Technics SP10 / London (Decca) Reference -> Trafomatic Luna -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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Feeding native 16/44.1 to a NOS DAC is a really bad idea... unless you like loads of harmonic distortion. What you really want to do is upsample the 16/44.1 to 24/705.6 with as little pre- and post-ringing as possible, and feed that to a NOS and filterless DAC capable of accepting this resolution. And that's the XXHighEnd and NOS1a combo in a nutshell.

 

Mani.

 

You don't really believe that, do you? "A really bad idea. Loads of harmonic distortion"? Wait till the people enjoying their Audio Note and Havana dacs find out. ;) Seriously though, I listen to unfiltered 16/44 and it sounds far superior to my ear than upsampled. xxHighEnd is my preferred player and I don't care for the sound of Arc Predict or any of the other upsamplers. Most of my listening is in 24/88 and 24/96 however, again without upsampling.

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Thanks @esimms86. That was my assumption. There's a significant FW update in the works for the DirectStream as well so perhaps someone at some point will be able to compare the two DAC's in their absolute most current trim.

 

Can you elaborate on the significant FW update of the Directstream?

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Can you elaborate on the significant FW update of the Directstream?

 

A new FW update for the DirectStream is in final beta review. You can read about it on one of the PS Audio Forum threads. The talk is that it provides a notable SQ improvement. I believe it is a refinement of the FPGA-based filter(s).

Mac Mini / Pure Music > Firewire & USB > Metric Halo LIO-8 > Hypex NCORE 400 > Geddes Abbey Speakers > Rythmik Servo & Geddes Band Pass Subs // DH Labs Cables, HRS MXR Isolation Rack, PurePower 2000, Elgar 6006B

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... I listen to unfiltered 16/44 and it sounds far superior to my ear than upsampled. xxHighEnd is my preferred player and I don't care for the sound of Arc Predict or any of the other upsamplers. Most of my listening is in 24/88 and 24/96 however, again without upsampling.

 

I think it depends on the DAC you're using. With both my Audioquest Dragonfly and iFi Nano iDSD DACs, my preference is that same as yours - I don't like any upsampling in the software player (be it XXHighEnd or HQPlayer) and simply feed the native resolution to the DAC. But with the NOS1a, upsampling in the software player to 24/705.6 (or 24/768) is clearly superior. Feeding native 16/44.1 to the NOS1a just sounds wrong and immediately fatiguing.

 

Mani.

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima horns + 2x Rotel RB-1590 amps -> 4 subs

Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers

Vinyl: Technics SP10 / London (Decca) Reference -> Trafomatic Luna -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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