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New Direct Heated Triode Tube DAC by Allnic Audio Labs


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Birdeye.jpgThe New Allnic D5000 DHT tube dac is finally available in North America. I have been a huge fan of Allnic since my introduction to them two years ago by John Wright, former engineer for Ed Meitner. I recently became familiar with Direct Heated Triode tubes with the purchase of a used Allnic L5000 Linestage (preamp) which lists for $23K. So my heart leapt like a gazelle when I heard this was in production.

 

I have not myself heard the D5000 yet but expect to in the near future. However, I am very impressed with Waversa Systems digital architecture design. Most of the components are custom designed for this application. I believe the designer offers a fresh perspective and addresses areas where other dac designs fall short. Most important to me is complete galvanic isolation of the USB input which eliminates noise from the switch power supply of source components. This will likely negate the sonic benefit of my custom ten-rail linear power supply designed by Paul Hynes ($5000). But this alone to me makes their dac competitively priced, given the potential front end savings. I will also perform a USB cable comparison to determine any sonic benefit between a range of cables, including my $1600 Vertere Pulse-R USB 1.5 meter cable.

 

The analog output uses a fully balanced circuit from input to output with no coupling capacitors, only all pure nickel permalloy cored transformers. Each channel uses twin 3A5(DCC90) DHT tubes. The DHT 3A5 amp’s frequency range is from 20 Hz to 50 kHz (-3dB) with a perfect square wave form of 20 kHz. 3A5 tubes operate at a very low temperature that ensures long tube life. The circuit displays no negative feedback, not even a partial feedback. This design has absolutely no microphonic issues, which is the biggest obstacle to DHT realization. KS Park’s design resolved this issue through a newly designed 7-pin gel damper socket. In addition, the main PCB is floated with a drum rubber specific for this application. High S/N ratio and dynamic operation is achieved through full tube designed automatic voltage regulation which protects the DHT amp from both internal and outside voltage irregularities. The front panel displays a current meter which monitors safe operation and status of the tubes.

 

The D5000 is very unique in today’s DAC world because most of its components are not from any routine audio market source except the DAC chips. The USB interface, SPDIF receiver and high end upsamplers are all specifically customized for this application. D5000 uses very unique technologies for audio signal processing. The clock does not directly connect to the DAC chip. Instead, the audio processor uses clock alignment algorithms that determine exact alignment for the DAC chip in a real-time manner. The ES9018K2M SABRE 32 Reference DAC chip is a high performance 32-bit, 2-channel audio D/A converter with sampling to 32/384 kHz, 128 DSD and uses a 1.5 MHz upsampler through a field-programmable gate array USB interface.

 

While most ES9018K based DACs use the dac chip for audio processing, the D5000 has a proprietary internal processor that performs real time PCM upsampling or upsampling and conversion to DSD. The SABRE Reference DAC chip only performs the digital to analog conversion.

 

Front.jpg

 

Real-time PCM to DSD conversion function is implemented when “conversion” is selected. All input samples are converted to 128 DSD with an internal 5.6 MHz/32 Bit upsampler and DSD converter. When de-selected, input audio sampling is either upsampled, if selected, or bypassed to the DAC chip.

 

The USB interface is implemented through custom hardware by Waversa Systems and is UAC2 standard compliant. This provides very clean audio through complete galvanic isolation, thereby stripping the digital signal of any PC noise commonly created by the server’s internal power supply. Thesycon driver is provided for Windows application. Drivers are not required for Mac/Linux.

 

I2S input will be provided in the near future. This separate system will be connected to DAC by a proprietary method through the AES port and provide not only PCM but also DSD. This system has the capability to support extreme upsample and cross conversion between DSD and PCM. Details will be published on a future date.

 

Every source component has a word clock that sends an impulse to the D/A converter ‘x’ times per second triggering it to take a sample -- this becomes the sampling rate. The precision of this clock determines accuracy of the conversion process which is essential to avoid frequency drift between the internal oscillators of the device. The D5000 frame clock provides synchronization information to the outside device allowing it to precisely match the D5000 MEMS clock. If word clock input is provided then the D5000 internal system will use word clock for playback. By providing an exact data rate, data overrun or underrun are avoided and this reduced jitter creates clearer transients, pronounced attack, crisp inner detail in the higher frequencies and overall improved stereo image.

 

Unlike the EMM DAC2x which uses a Service USB, firmware updates are completed through the USB input designated for music data using a special interface unique to Waversa Systems.

 

rear.jpg

 

Inputs:

 

2 Coax

1 Toslink

1 AES/EBU

1 USB

 

Output:

 

Balanced XLR

RCA

 

Analog Specifications:

 

1) Output RMS voltage: 2.5V

2) Output impedance: 150 ohms constant

3) Frequency range: 20 Hz-20 KHz flat

4) THD: less than 0.1%

5) Tubes: DHT: 3A5 X4; Tube-based internal power supply: 7233X1, 5654X1

6) Dimension: 430mm, 290mm, 150mm (W, D, H: 17", 7.4", 6")

7) Weight: 9.2 Kg

8) Power consumption: 23W /230/50Hz Or 23W/120V/60Hz for North America.

 

Digital Specifications:

 

1) Toslink Sampling limit 96 kHz (Note: In case of TOSLINK, some devices will work correctly with D5000 at any rate. This depends on the signal quality of the transport.)

2) AES/EBU and Coax sampling limit 192 kHz (if the source is SPDIF standard compliant). Higher sampling rates have been demonstrated with some source components.

3) USB Sampling limit 384 kHz, DSD128

4) USB Input Custom USB Audio Interface design with Cypress FX2/FPGA

5) DAC Dual Mono/Mono ES9018K-2M Reference Audio DAC

6) Word Clock: Clock Reference Output, Clock Reference Input

7) DSD Conversion FPGA Based DSD Converter: PCM to input DSD128

8) Upsampling FPGA Based Upsampler: Up to 384 KHz

9) Mac OSX 10.6, Linux OS with UAC2, Windows OS (Thesycon Driver)

 

List Price: $11,900 USD.

 

Contact your regional Allnic dealer or Allnic international distributer David Beetles at www.hammertoneaudio.com

 

Hammertone Audio

252 Magic Drive

Kelowna, British Columbia

Canada V1V 1N2

 

Contact Person: DAVID BEETLES

Office Phone: 250.862.9037

 

Disclaimer: I have no professional relationship or financial interest with Allnic Audio Labs.

 

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Since it will be a month before I will be able to report a meaningful evaluation, I thought this would be of interest for people here. Albert Porter has a following over on Audiogon and is a dealer for both Allnic and Stal-Tec. Although he is a dealer, my sense from reading his comments: His thoughts invested in sound quality and they are even-keeled, apolitical. He states topics as he sees it. Google Albert Porter system and it will come up.

 

"Last night several of my group members came for music and again, we listened to digital for more than half the night. This has never happened, I have a deep prejudice against digital because it never delivered on it's promise. (Perfect sound NEVER rather than perfect sound forever).

 

My analog system can still beat it on most material but I'm so in love with the Allnic D5000 DAC I'm still in shock. I never thought digital would come through for me. Always too much money, too low performance or both.

 

I honestly wonder if there is any DAC out there as good, even for more money. As I've stated before, the Stahl~Tek drive and DAC combo for $73,000.00 was the only other time I had a DAC here that excited me. As of last night I'm not sure the Allnic is not better and for a fraction of that price.

 

I had three members of my group email me today saying sound was the best they had heard so it's not just me, some of these guys have been coming for decades and are a tough crowd to impress."

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...The analog output uses a fully balanced circuit from input to output with no coupling capacitors, only all pure nickel permalloy cored transformers...

 

You make that sound like a good thing. I really dislike trafos in the signal path, except for some music that lacks needed bite. I do enjoy tubes though, I hope it sounds good.

Mac Mini 2012 with 2.3 GHz i5 CPU and 16GB RAM running newest OS10.9x and Signalyst HQ Player software (occasionally JRMC), ethernet to Cisco SG100-08 GigE switch, ethernet to SOtM SMS100 Miniserver in audio room, sending via short 1/2 meter AQ Cinnamon USB to Oppo 105D, feeding balanced outputs to 2x Bel Canto S300 amps which vertically biamp ATC SCM20SL speakers, 2x Velodyne DD12+ subs. Each side is mounted vertically on 3-tiered Sound Anchor ADJ2 stands: ATC (top), amp (middle), sub (bottom), Mogami, Koala, Nordost, Mosaic cables, split at the preamp outputs with splitters. All transducers are thoroughly and lovingly time aligned for the listening position.

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Kev, the Lampizator has had a DHT Dac on the market for 10 months now, 2 versions, 2 box L7 and a single box Big7. They use the big Poweramp tubes, ie 300b, 2A3 and EML 45 triodes.

 

I finally heard one 3 weeks ago. Extremely tasty. Albert wrote in his blog that he will try to do a comparison listening session.

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Details of conversions:

 

1. Any native rate up to 32/384, per SABRE chip.

 

The D5000 has a proprietary internal processor that performs real time PCM upsampling or upsampling and conversion to DSD. This is separate from the SABRE chip itself. Some dacs use the processor of the SABRE chip. Waversa Systems designed their own.

 

2. PCM upsampling to your rate of choice up to 384 kHz.

 

The internal processor upsamples to the 1.5 MHz limit of the SABRE chip and the SABRE chip downsamples to 384/352 kHz or below, depending on your setting. Potentially the SABRE chip could D/A at 1.5 MHz, but this is limitation of the chip. If ES9018S standard was adopted then 32 bit/1.5 MHz playback is possible even in case of PCM.

 

3. PCM upsampling and conversion to DSD. The internal processor upsamples to 5.6 MHz PCM before conversion to 128DSD.

 

From the limited feedback on the dac for those limited few who have one tend to like the upsampling and upsamping>dsd conversion over native rate playback. Some like the upsampling sans DSD conversion as the latter has less gain, inherent to the DSD topography.

 

I will report my findings in a few weeks. My unit should ship from South Korea by the end of the week.

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This PCM to DSD on the fly conversion seems to be the next big move !

 

Lampizator on his Facebook says: "From many many experiments that we do now developing our DSD lineup, I can see that probably the future of High End is - decline of CD spinning transports and huge increase of computer based systems where EVERYTHING will be played as DSD via DSD DACs. Even PCM files, simple CD rips wil be played via DSD. I Really dont know why, everything benefits from conversion to DSD. That's where I see high end 2 years from now."

 

and the New $20.000 NAGRA HD DAC also convert everything to DSD (no choice) !

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Hello Kevalin,

 

I am new to the Computer Audiophile community but thought to join this discussion after discovering it on Facebook. I happen to be one of the lucky first users of the new D5000 and have promised Mr. Dave Beetles that I will share my thoughts in writing on it's performance soon.

 

Thank you so much for your comprehensive work reporting on both the digital engine and overall technical details regarding the D5000. Your commentary is excellent and has helped my own experience with the DAC. My sample did not come with a manual of any kind. Since it's so new I understand from Mr. Beetles that is working on preparing on.

 

I've had the DAC for about a month and I can say that the D5000 sounds exceptional. I've heard a number of different Allnic products including three of the phono amps, two of the preamplifiers and three of their amplifiers. Performance wise the D5000 is at the top of their list. On par, in my opinion, with the H3000 LCR phono amp.

 

Thanks again for putting in the work and sharing the details at the top of this thread. I look forward to reading your thoughts on the sound and performance of the D/A when it reaches you. I will certainly share my own discoveries as well.

 

Best regards,

 

David

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This PCM to DSD on the fly conversion seems to be the next big move !

 

Lampizator on his Facebook says: "From many many experiments that we do now developing our DSD lineup, I can see that probably the future of High End is - decline of CD spinning transports and huge increase of computer based systems where EVERYTHING will be played as DSD via DSD DACs. Even PCM files, simple CD rips wil be played via DSD. I Really dont know why, everything benefits from conversion to DSD. That's where I see high end 2 years from now."

 

and the New $20.000 NAGRA HD DAC also convert everything to DSD (no choice) !

 

^^^ This!!

 

As soon as PCM -> DSD conversion became available I ordered a $149 Schiit Loki just to test it out - to see if everything functioned properly and if I detected any obvious sonic issues. I could tell from my experience with even that modest DAC that I was done with native PCM playback for good.

 

I tried several other DSD DACs, but I've chose a Lampi L4 DSD (only, no PCM) DAC/Preamp with volume control, balanced outputs and Duelund caps. I run that with audioPhil optimized Windows Server 2012 straight into my power amp.

 

The Allnic and the L7 are out of my comfort zone financially, but I'd love to hear them. My system is the best sound I've ever heard, so maybe I don't want to hear them!

 

But anyway, like Lukasz, I think that the benefits of real-time DSD conversion are so significant that native PCM playback will slowly decline in popularity over time. Whenever I say something to that effect on these boards, I usually get replies with links to white papers explaining why it's a bad idea. I never respond. There is nothing I could read that would convince me that I don't like what I'm hearing.

Roon Server: Core i7-3770S, WS2012 + AO => HQP Server: Core, i7-9700K, HQPlayer OS => NAA: Celeron NUC, HQP NAA => ISO Regen with UltraCap LPS 1.2 => Mapleshade USB Cable => Lampizator L4 DSD-Only Balanced DAC Preamp => Blue Jeans Belden Balanced Cables => Mivera PurePower SE Amp => Magnepan 3.7i

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But anyway, like Lukasz, I think that the benefits of real-time DSD conversion are so significant that native PCM playback will slowly decline in popularity over time. Whenever I say something to that effect on these boards, I usually get replies with links to white papers explaining why it's a bad idea. I never respond. There is nothing I could read that would convince me that I don't like what I'm hearing.

Nobody should be able to dispute what you hear, just try to ignore those that push their endless arguments requiring double blind testing and such. Music is something that needs to be enjoyed and is therefore subjective by nature. Measurements cannot always determine what sounds best to any specific individual, only you can determine that. So I say to each their own, let us all listen and enjoy whatever we prefer!

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Dardemm,

since you own the D-5000 I will be more than interested to know of you compared, for the SAME PCM file, Native PCM playback versus real time PCMupsampling or upsampling and conversion to DSD.

 

--> Between the 3 solution, do you hear a big différence ? Which one did you prefere ?

 

Thanks

 

Thanks

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Dardemm,

since you own the D-5000 I will be more than interested to know of you compared, for the SAME PCM file, Native PCM playback versus real time PCMupsampling or upsampling and conversion to DSD.

 

--> Between the 3 solution, do you hear a big différence ? Which one did you prefere ?

 

Thanks

 

Thanks

 

Hello bmichels,

 

To be clear, I don't own the D5000. I have a sample from the distributor David Beetles at Hammertone Audio in B.C. Canada. Dave has asked me to test the D5000 and to write a report on my findings for my blog at myhifilife.com. I have written a few reports on Allnic equipment in the past and Dave appreciated my work, thus he sent me one of the first sample D5000 units to try. I added my comments to this thread because of how impressed I was with Kevalin's original posting on the technical design of the new Allnic DAC.

 

So far I have not tested the sonic effects of the up-sampling feature. It wasn't until I read this thread that I was fully aware of what was happening with the processing options for either PCM or DSD, as the unit came without a manual describing these features. It's fairly obvious what the PCM up-sampling does, however I was not certain what type of processing was going on with the DAC when engaging DSD, either native or with PCM files.

 

Technically I've had mixed results with DSD files so far, and have had trouble with both the AES/EBU and SPDIF connection options for high resolution audio files. I have been in communication with both Allnic and Waversa regarding my findings. As such my listening to date has been in native-only mode with PCM audio files via USB, ranging from 16/44.1 to 24/192.

 

For my own musical selections I tend to value recording quality, production level and digital mastering equally, and as such I gravitate toward playing files in their native mastering format, trying to avoid getting hung up on how the sample rate or bit depth is effecting the listening experience. The most honest comment I can make thus far is that with quality audio recordings, of any bit depth or sample rate, the D5000 sounds marvellous. When I have a more concrete or thorough analysis on the details of the unit to share I will certainly alert this thread board. As others gain experience with the new DA I'm will also be curious to read of those findings as well.

 

Regards,

 

David

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  • 2 months later...
[ATTACH=CONFIG]13932[/ATTACH]The New Allnic D5000 DHT tube dac is finally available in North America. I have been a huge fan of Allnic since my introduction to them two years ago by John Wright, former engineer for Ed Meitner. I recently became familiar with Direct Heated Triode tubes with the purchase of a used Allnic L5000 Linestage (preamp) which lists for $23K. So my heart leapt like a gazelle when I heard this was in production.

 

I have not myself heard the D5000 yet but expect to in the near future. However, I am very impressed with Waversa Systems digital architecture design. Most of the components are custom designed for this application. I believe the designer offers a fresh perspective and addresses areas where other dac designs fall short. Most important to me is complete galvanic isolation of the USB input which eliminates noise from the switch power supply of source components. This will likely negate the sonic benefit of my custom ten-rail linear power supply designed by Paul Hynes ($5000). But this alone to me makes their dac competitively priced, given the potential front end savings. I will also perform a USB cable comparison to determine any sonic benefit between a range of cables, including my $1600 Vertere Pulse-R USB 1.5 meter cable.

 

The analog output uses a fully balanced circuit from input to output with no coupling capacitors, only all pure nickel permalloy cored transformers. Each channel uses twin 3A5(DCC90) DHT tubes. The DHT 3A5 amp’s frequency range is from 20 Hz to 50 kHz (-3dB) with a perfect square wave form of 20 kHz. 3A5 tubes operate at a very low temperature that ensures long tube life. The circuit displays no negative feedback, not even a partial feedback. This design has absolutely no microphonic issues, which is the biggest obstacle to DHT realization. KS Park’s design resolved this issue through a newly designed 7-pin gel damper socket. In addition, the main PCB is floated with a drum rubber specific for this application. High S/N ratio and dynamic operation is achieved through full tube designed automatic voltage regulation which protects the DHT amp from both internal and outside voltage irregularities. The front panel displays a current meter which monitors safe operation and status of the tubes.

 

The D5000 is very unique in today’s DAC world because most of its components are not from any routine audio market source except the DAC chips. The USB interface, SPDIF receiver and high end upsamplers are all specifically customized for this application. D5000 uses very unique technologies for audio signal processing. The clock does not directly connect to the DAC chip. Instead, the audio processor uses clock alignment algorithms that determine exact alignment for the DAC chip in a real-time manner. The ES9018K2M SABRE 32 Reference DAC chip is a high performance 32-bit, 2-channel audio D/A converter with sampling to 32/384 kHz, 128 DSD and uses a 1.5 MHz upsampler through a field-programmable gate array USB interface.

 

While most ES9018K based DACs use the dac chip for audio processing, the D5000 has a proprietary internal processor that performs real time PCM upsampling or upsampling and conversion to DSD. The SABRE Reference DAC chip only performs the digital to analog conversion.

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]13933[/ATTACH]

 

Real-time PCM to DSD conversion function is implemented when “conversion” is selected. All input samples are converted to 128 DSD with an internal 5.6 MHz/32 Bit upsampler and DSD converter. When de-selected, input audio sampling is either upsampled, if selected, or bypassed to the DAC chip.

 

The USB interface is implemented through custom hardware by Waversa Systems and is UAC2 standard compliant. This provides very clean audio through complete galvanic isolation, thereby stripping the digital signal of any PC noise commonly created by the server’s internal power supply. Thesycon driver is provided for Windows application. Drivers are not required for Mac/Linux.

 

I2S input will be provided in the near future. This separate system will be connected to DAC by a proprietary method through the AES port and provide not only PCM but also DSD. This system has the capability to support extreme upsample and cross conversion between DSD and PCM. Details will be published on a future date.

 

Every source component has a word clock that sends an impulse to the D/A converter ‘x’ times per second triggering it to take a sample -- this becomes the sampling rate. The precision of this clock determines accuracy of the conversion process which is essential to avoid frequency drift between the internal oscillators of the device. The D5000 frame clock provides synchronization information to the outside device allowing it to precisely match the D5000 MEMS clock. If word clock input is provided then the D5000 internal system will use word clock for playback. By providing an exact data rate, data overrun or underrun are avoided and this reduced jitter creates clearer transients, pronounced attack, crisp inner detail in the higher frequencies and overall improved stereo image.

 

Unlike the EMM DAC2x which uses a Service USB, firmware updates are completed through the USB input designated for music data using a special interface unique to Waversa Systems.

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]13934[/ATTACH]

 

Inputs:

 

2 Coax

1 Toslink

1 AES/EBU

1 USB

 

Output:

 

Balanced XLR

RCA

 

Analog Specifications:

 

1) Output RMS voltage: 2.5V

2) Output impedance: 150 ohms constant

3) Frequency range: 20 Hz-20 KHz flat

4) THD: less than 0.1%

5) Tubes: DHT: 3A5 X4; Tube-based internal power supply: 7233X1, 5654X1

6) Dimension: 430mm, 290mm, 150mm (W, D, H: 17", 7.4", 6")

7) Weight: 9.2 Kg

8) Power consumption: 23W /230/50Hz Or 23W/120V/60Hz for North America.

 

Digital Specifications:

 

1) Toslink Sampling limit 96 kHz (Note: In case of TOSLINK, some devices will work correctly with D5000 at any rate. This depends on the signal quality of the transport.)

2) AES/EBU and Coax sampling limit 192 kHz (if the source is SPDIF standard compliant). Higher sampling rates have been demonstrated with some source components.

3) USB Sampling limit 384 kHz, DSD128

4) USB Input Custom USB Audio Interface design with Cypress FX2/FPGA

5) DAC Dual Mono/Mono ES9018K-2M Reference Audio DAC

6) Word Clock: Clock Reference Output, Clock Reference Input

7) DSD Conversion FPGA Based DSD Converter: PCM to input DSD128

8) Upsampling FPGA Based Upsampler: Up to 384 KHz

9) Mac OSX 10.6, Linux OS with UAC2, Windows OS (Thesycon Driver)

 

List Price: $11,900 USD.

 

Contact your regional Allnic dealer or Allnic international distributer David Beetles at www.hammertoneaudio.com

 

Hammertone Audio

252 Magic Drive

Kelowna, British Columbia

Canada V1V 1N2

 

Contact Person: DAVID BEETLES

Office Phone: 250.862.9037

 

Disclaimer: I have no professional relationship or financial interest with Allnic Audio Labs.

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]13935[/ATTACH]

[ATTACH=CONFIG]13936[/ATTACH][ Lot's of cool Ear Candy, but let's be realistic. I don't want to rain on the parade, but how many of us are going to go out and drop 12k on a piece of gear? If this stuff isn't affordable, at best - it ends up being nothing more than a pipe dream.

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I hear your frustration regarding audio gear. I historically purchased all my high end gear used because items like a 22K pre-amp are unattainable for me personally. Selling used gear can be frustrating as well. I had a difficult time selling my perfect condition EMM dac2x. A dealer was selling them new sealed from the factory at 50% off this summer. I did enjoy the D5000 dac enough to purchase it as I felt it best EMM as did Empirical Audio Overdrive SE dac. Empirical is bar none the best dac offered at the price it is offered. That said, there are also other dacs people here have heard for 5K or less that also was felt to beat EMM to their ears. EMM is a wonderful dac, especially with the new firmware update. As I tell anyone, everything you listen to is both user and system dependent. If able, auditioning a DAC is necessary. Although, the recent dac shoot out on audiogon, by Matt:

AudiogoN Forums: Absolute top tier DAC for standard res Redbook CD

This link is very helpful and worth your time reading. I commend Matt for orchestrating this endeavor as comparing many high end dacs simultaneously is difficult. This has been my frustration, especially given my geographic location. I also appreciate Sanjay Patel at Ciamara, who carries many excellent manufacturers and is more than willing to let you audition any of them. The customer service at Ciamara is top notch.

 

Anyone interested in this piece, call an Allnic dealer and see the price it is offered.

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Kevalin, with all due respect, that serial evaluation (not a shootout) while entertaining is almost USELESS. Anyone could spot his biases and tell what he would like (indeed I had pals emailing me predicting his choices beforehand). He also stated that US made was important to him, so how is that a sonic evaluation?

 

He also refuses to do things like simple tube rolls, so stuff like Allnic Dac gets a hit right away. Basically, he is looking for a US made SS Dac from a manaufacturer that indulges him. The best thing about the thread is the opinions of the other people.

 

I also have my own bias and as I have a DHT Dac, I can attest that tube rolling is fun and is equivalent to frimware rolling. You can completely change the presentation by changing rectis and signal tubes. I have 45 triodes, 2A3 and 6A3s to try. I would love to borrow a pair of 300Bs to try and will likely buy a pair of Psvane 101ds.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Read the test specs in the latest issue of Stereophile. It came set one standard of measurement.

I only read JA's testing of the dacs and speakers in each issue. Looking to see a dac with true 24 bit resolution. For now 21-22 bit delivers fantastic results.

The tests showed about 17 bit resolution. On the good channel. The tests results surely will be repeated with either another unit, or after updates on the sample reviewed.

 

2012 Mac Mini, i5 - 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM. SSD,  PM/PV software, Focusrite Clarett 4Pre 4 channel interface. Daysequerra M4.0X Broadcast monitor., My_Ref Evolution rev a , Klipsch La Scala II, Blue Sky Sub 12

Clarett used as ADC for vinyl rips.

Corning Optical Thunderbolt cable used to connect computer to 4Pre. Dac fed by iFi iPower and Noise Trapper isolation transformer. 

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  • 1 month later...

After a somewhat long delay, I wish to report my thoughts on the D5000. Since this is a DHT tube dac, I was not able to burn the dac in 24/7 and rapidly achieve what I believe close to its optimal sounding potential. Instead this dac was burned in over longer time period of normal use. Surprisingly this dac sounds wonderful new and although the sound did improve over the next 300 hours, the improvement heard with the SABRE chip was not as pronounced when compared to other dacs. By my experience, I believe you will hear 90% of the dac potential after 40 hours when the tubes have had time to settle. For a short period of time I had two D5000's in my possession. The DHT tubes have a silicone ring positioned midway and I was able to A-to-B the dac with and without these rings. While I prefer not having these rings on either my L5000 DHT linestage (preamp) or the A6000 300b monoblock amps, they do give sonic improvement with a larger, deeper sound stage and better inner detail, particularly clearer attack transient and subsequent decay mostly noted in higher pitched percussion.

 

The USB interface is implemented through custom hardware by Waversa Systems and is UAC2 standard compliant. Because of this compliance, the XMOS Windows driver links the D5000 to my custom CAPS server without issue. After a multiple USB cable trial, I found galvanic isolated interface greatly reduces the sonic differences between cables. Although there remains a difference between extremes comparing a USB 2.0 generic USB printer cable to my preferred Vertere Pulse-R 1.5 meter USB cable, the difference is muted demonstrating subtle differences. The Pulse-R removes a slight course texturing or hash bringing the overall soundstage into focus.

 

Waversa's custom internal processor will perform either upsampling or conversion to DSD in real time. When upsample is selected, repeat pressing of the button will progressively increase upsampling from 44/48 to eventually 352/384 then revert to 44/48. Therefore, the user may inadvertently select a lower sampling rate than native and down sample that particular track. The user selection of a specific sampling rate was intentional as some tracks may sound better upsampled but the sweet spot may not be DXD. I tend to prefer upsample to DXD over conversion to 128 DSD for reasons difficult to qualify. Maybe this simply has to do with the sonic signatures of PCM vs DSD.

 

Listening to the D5000 right out of the box while playing red book files without any upsampling I noticed the smoothness and fluidity of the music with a natural quality that immediately reminded me with great fondness listening to my older brother's studio reel-to-reel decades ago. Both upsampling to DXD and conversion to DSD options improve openness and transparency.

 

Unlike the EMM which produced a precise, neutral clinical sound, the D5000 is both involving with improved timing and pace creating a natural liveliness across all frequencies and viscerally engaging triggered through a deeper intricately layered larger soundstage where the speakers disappear into the music often creating phantom imagines that become palpable.

 

Empirical Audio Overdrive SE (ODSE) is my current reference dac. This unit is fully loaded with all available options offered by Empirical. Like the ODSE, the D5000 naturally envelops me in the music. While they both are excellent dacs, they truly are a different flavor. The D5000 provides more stage presence, as if you were at a nice outdoor venue sitting in a lawn chair somewhere in front of the soundboard. Empirical has more delicacy, revealing the fingertip-friction sounds on an instrumental string, better voice articulation and over all inner detail creating an ambience of a small studio session. I remain to find a dac that re-creates this level of timbre with such realism that naturally differentiates the uniqueness of each individual instrument when simultaneously playing the same note.

 

My sound system has naturally evolved into an all Allnic system over the years, consisting now of 26 vacuum tubes in total when I add the D5000 into the system. Because of this, I wonder if the DHT output stage of the D5000 would provide sonic benefit in a solid state system that perhaps otherwise becomes lost it an all DHT sound system. The solid state output stage of the ODSE is well designed and includes Paul Hynes voltage regulators that provide greater inner detail. What the ODSE offers pairs very well with Allnic gear.

 

To me the D5000 is sonically better than the EMM DAC2x and different than the Empirical Audio ODSE. In today’s market there are many excellent dacs and I realize the sonic qualities I have come to appreciate are not linked to market price. Dacs if this quality are like wine, each with their own strengths and sound characteristics. Despite the poor bench test demonstrated by John Atkinson’s review in Stereophile published in December, 2014 which most certainly has to do with the DHT tube characteristics, the D5000 is very musical, organic and engaging. I recommend anyone interested to audition this dac. Sunil at Care Audio (Care-Audio.com) is offering an in-home demo program. He will send any Allnic model to your home anywhere in the lower 48. This requires a 50% deposit which is 100% refundable. Experience dictates dealers offer some discount off list price, especially with a multi-unit purchase.

 

I am certain other Allnic Dealers too will offer an in-home demo arrangement, which I believe is wonderful. I am unable to get any local audiophile dealer interested in letting me trial gear in my personal system without full purchase and return restock fee. When Sanjay Patel at Ciamara had no issue sending me any gear I desire and offered a great price on any piece I am interested in, he was my go to person since Ciamara deals with many quality manufacturers. Unfortunately Ciamara does not deal with Allnic, but they have gone virtual and national and if they carry gear you are interested in, they will treat you well.

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I've come to the same conclusion (and arguably, the good people at PS Audio have too), but Lukasz sure knows why: it's all in the filter and output stage implementation, and as we know a good tubed output, let's say Single-Ended Triode into great and efficient speakers sound fantastic.

 

I've been saying this for a while: up-converting PCM to DSD 2x then playing it through a native DSD 2x DAC (coupled with tubes if you can, is rather blissful).

 

:)

 

This PCM to DSD on the fly conversion seems to be the next big move !

 

Lampizator on his Facebook says: "From many many experiments that we do now developing our DSD lineup, I can see that probably the future of High End is - decline of CD spinning transports and huge increase of computer based systems where EVERYTHING will be played as DSD via DSD DACs. Even PCM files, simple CD rips wil be played via DSD. I Really dont know why, everything benefits from conversion to DSD. That's where I see high end 2 years from now."

 

and the New $20.000 NAGRA HD DAC also convert everything to DSD (no choice) !

Dedicated Line DSD/DXD | Audirvana+ | iFi iDSD Nano | SET Tube Amp | Totem Mites

Surround: VLC | M-Audio FastTrack Pro | Mac Opt | Panasonic SA-HE100 | Logitech Z623

DIY: SET Tube Amp | Low-Noise Linear Regulated Power Supply | USB, Power, Speaker Cables | Speaker Stands | Acoustic Panels

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I've come to the same conclusion (and arguably, the good people at PS Audio have too), but Lukasz sure knows why: it's all in the filter and output stage implementation, and as we know a good tubed output, let's say Single-Ended Triode into great and efficient speakers sound fantastic.

 

I've been saying this for a while: up-converting PCM to DSD 2x then playing it through a native DSD 2x DAC (coupled with tubes if you can, is rather blissful).

 

:)

 

Can't argue there. The Lampizator DSD DAC provides some serious bliss in DSD... :)

(As I listen to "Isn't She Lovely" by Doc Powell & his Jazz Quartet on Fone Jazz DSD Download).

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Read the test specs in the latest issue of Stereophile. It came set one standard of measurement.

I only read JA's testing of the dacs and speakers in each issue. Looking to see a dac with true 24 bit resolution. For now 21-22 bit delivers fantastic results.

The tests showed about 17 bit resolution. On the good channel. The tests results surely will be repeated with either another unit, or after updates on the sample reviewed.

 

I've read those test measurements. I couldn't stop shaking my head. I would expect a tubed DAC to measure less than perfect, but this DAC also showed huge, and I mean HUGE problems in its digital domain.

 

I was a while since I read ths, but didn't JA describe the DAC as worst DAC he had ever measured ?

Adam

 

PC: Hot rodded CAPS v4 Pipeline: Teradak ATX linear PSU, MojoAudio super regulator, Pink Faun Ultra OCXO USB card

Digital: Lampizator Pacific DAC

Amp: Dan D'Agostino Momentum Stereo

Speakers: Magcio M3

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I too find the Stereophile review intriguing, where the bench tests run discordant to the audiophile reviewer's assessment. I wish John Atkinson also reviewed the sonics of the dac in his audio system; however, Stereophile may intentionally have this structure to remove bias. Unless the dac was taken apart, all testing data travels through the DHT output stage. So my hypothesis is the DHT tubes themselves skew any testing in the digital domain. I decided to send my unit in for evaluation and the test results support John Atkinson's. The engineer who analysed the dac also felt most certainly the characteristics of the DHT tubes cause the poor bench test results. He also reviewed the dac and found it to be very musical and engaging but not the most revealing. He felt it sounds good but tests poor.

 

This image was sent to me by the bench test from Waversa. I see perfect symmetry between the two channels but I also see some distortion in the wave form, albeit symmetrical between the channels. I was assured this does not affect the sonics of the dac. I am uncertain if this could be inherent to the testing methods.

 

d5000 -90dbfs.jpg

 

I am interested in testing and auditioning the new Modwright Elyse tube dac and Lampi 7 along side the Allnic D5000. Anyone with this opportunity, please post here. The Elyse dac is much more economical and from my experience price does not predict quality.

 

Here is another DSD only tube dac that is reasonably priced and looks wonderful. It may be best to separate PCM dac from DSD dac and have both.

 

The new VAD DSD Player

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