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Gryphon Kalliope or Nagra HD


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Wanting to upgrade my DAC, I am considering these two as they have local support (I live in Australia) has anyone heard these?

Music Sever - Taiko Extreme

DAC's - MSB Select II + Femto 33 Clock + Dual power supplies + Pro USB Module

Amp's - Raal HSA-1bMSB Reference HP Amp, MSB Select Estat Headphone Amp Woo 234 Mono's Elite, Takatsuki 300B, 274B

Headphones - Raal Requisite sr1a, MySphere 3.2, Kennerton Thror's, Stax SR-009 & 009S, Sony MRD-Z1, Abyss Phi TC, Audeze LCD-4, 24 & 4Z, Focal Utopia, HiFiMan Susvara

Cables - DHC OPUS HP, Stage III Gorgon XLR's + Xphynx USB

Power - Shunyata Triton V3 & Typhon QR + Sigma PC's Isolation - HRS SXR Ref Stand + MX3R Isolation Bases

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Both are fine DACs for sure. Apart from what your listening preferences are from one over the other, let's put a few comparisons on the table on the numbers.

 

The Nagra has an Amaerno (hope i spelled that right) USB front end, capable of any PCM 358.2fs to DSD128. The real DAC stage is a design from Andreas Koch, it has the FPGA and the character of the Playback designs DACs. The output stage features a tube and Nagra's own end stage. 6 moons has a lengthy write up on this DAC.

 

The Kalliope is based on the Sabre 9018 DAC. Nothing wrong with that really, but it's the line in the sand. An FPGA can be upgraded with new algorithms to suit codecs that aren't yet invented. The 9018's are configured in a differential stage which also some merit.

 

Both Dacs are priced in the same ballpark, I'd give the Nagra the nudge on paper, which always can be trumped by a listening evaluation.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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Both are fine DACs for sure. Apart from what your listening preferences are from one over the other, let's put a few comparisons on the table on the numbers.

 

The Nagra has an Amaerno (hope i spelled that right) USB front end, capable of any PCM 358.2fs to DSD128. The real DAC stage is a design from Andreas Koch, it has the FPGA and the character of the Playback designs DACs. The output stage features a tube and Nagra's own end stage. 6 moons has a lengthy write up on this DAC.

 

The Kalliope is based on the Sabre 9018 DAC. Nothing wrong with that really, but it's the line in the sand. An FPGA can be upgraded with new algorithms to suit codecs that aren't yet invented. The 9018's are configured in a differential stage which also some merit.

 

Both Dacs are priced in the same ballpark, I'd give the Nagra the nudge on paper, which always can be trumped by a listening evaluation.

 

My sentiments too, on paper. I have been trying out some high end DAC's recently and that's bought me to ask the question of myself and others what is the best method, FPGA or more traditional off the shelf chips.

The conclusion I have come to is I am no expert on DAC chips however I'm not sure how you can determine how a chip sounds in isolation without having it converted back into analogue.

 

And I would imagine that what actually determines the sound quality is how the DAC is executed and not just the individual components and chips used. You could have a good chip sound average in a DAC unless the rest of the DAC is executed properly.

The only valid test for me is listening to it and letting my ears and heart decide.

I am currently trying out the Chord DX1000 which has the same DAC as the QBD76 and comparing it to my Hugo. I have a Gryphon Kalliope arriving next week for a trial, I hear that has one of the best if not the best implementation of the Sabre 9018.

Music Sever - Taiko Extreme

DAC's - MSB Select II + Femto 33 Clock + Dual power supplies + Pro USB Module

Amp's - Raal HSA-1bMSB Reference HP Amp, MSB Select Estat Headphone Amp Woo 234 Mono's Elite, Takatsuki 300B, 274B

Headphones - Raal Requisite sr1a, MySphere 3.2, Kennerton Thror's, Stax SR-009 & 009S, Sony MRD-Z1, Abyss Phi TC, Audeze LCD-4, 24 & 4Z, Focal Utopia, HiFiMan Susvara

Cables - DHC OPUS HP, Stage III Gorgon XLR's + Xphynx USB

Power - Shunyata Triton V3 & Typhon QR + Sigma PC's Isolation - HRS SXR Ref Stand + MX3R Isolation Bases

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