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If I were to rate the quality of the ears at the gathering on Saturday, I would definitely rate Al's the best and mine the worst

 

The good news is we were all touched, entertained and bewitched by the sound of the performance and the feeling of being there, facilitated by the audio cues listed by Al in the post above

 

A big thanks to Al for bring the still points, what a beneficial effect it had on the T+A. The stock feet are aluminium cones which look reasonably serious. The Stilpoints were amazing. My order for Stilpoint minis was delivered today :-)

 

In our testing of the T+A doing DSD 512, our suspicion is that this new level of sound quality is more sensitive to disturbances than we are used to with DSD 256


Sound Test, Monaco

Consultant to Sound Galleries Monaco, and Taiko Audio Holland

e-mail [email protected]

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If I were to rate the quality of the ears at the gathering on Saturday, I would definitely rate Al's the best and mine the worst

 

The good news is we were all touched, entertained and bewitched by the sound of the performance and the feeling of being there, facilitated by the audio cues listed by Al in the post above

 

A big thanks to Al for bring the still points, what a beneficial effect it had on the T+A. The stock feet are aluminium cones which look reasonably serious. The Stilpoints were amazing. My order for Stilpoint minis was delivered today :-)

 

In our testing of the T+A doing DSD 512, our suspicion is that this new level of sound quality is more sensitive to disturbances than we are used to with DSD 256

 

 

Ed, thank you for the compliment on my hearing.

 

My feeling is when you get to this level of sound you can hear the smallest of changes when it involves making things even quieter in the system.

 

I can tell you one can hear the improvement in sound when using the Stillpoints with DSD256 and even HiRez PCM.


Ambassador for Sound Galleries Monaco and Taiko Audio The Netherlands 

Sound Test USA

[email protected]

 

Sound Galleries SGM 2015 Music Server>ROON-all rates up-sampled to DSD512 by HQ Player>Sablon Reserva 2017 USB>T+A DAC 8 DSD>Merrill Audio Veritas Ncore NC1200 Mono Amps>B&W 802D>High Fidelity Cables Interconnect, Speaker & Power Cords for Amps & SGM & T+A>Power Conditioning High Fidelity MC-6 Hemisphere>T+A & Hemisphere supported by Stillpoints Ultra Mini - B&W 802D & Veritas supported by Stillpoints Ultra SS>All sitting on IKEA Aptitlig bamboo butcher blocks - Taiko Audio Setchi active grounding on SGM & T+A

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Hi Al,

 

Thanks for your kind words. I very much enjoyed meeting you and look forward to our next get together. It was great to meet Robert as well, who came all the way from Chicago. Lastly a big thanks to Ed for making this all possible. Ed both traveled from Europe and hand carried the T+A Dac for us to audition.

 

I think we all learned a lot about this amazing new technology and quite a bit from each other in a very short amount of time.

 

I look forward to our next get together.

 

Larry


nuckleheadaudio.com

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So it sounds like you guys listened to all the other "attributes" of what the DAC had to offer and EVERYTHING just sounded better up sampled to 512 DSD using HQP regardless.

 

There are filter buttons on the front of the DAC. Any of these engaged during your session? How was the DAC configured with their internal filters using HQP? Could you override them?

 

Thanks

Howie

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I usually bypass those comments but it never fails to amaze me when I here that crap from the classical crowd that it's THE barometer to evaluate.

 

There are entirely legitimate and practical reasons for that, correlating to equipment capabilities.

 

Doesn't mean that you as a customer and consumer of equipment don't have the right to choose your own music to judge the equipment you'll buy with your own money.

 

However, just be aware that you are most probably restricting your equipment choice and even to some sub-capabilities (and the lacking capabilities could even be good for the type of music you listen to even if it's not classical acoustic).


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

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

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First Impressions of T+A DAC 8 DSD

 

Is it live? No, but it comes closer then most. It is in a handful that are in this category.

 

Now, this is using HQ Player up-sampling all rates, PCM/DSD, to DSD512.

 

So in conclusion, I think 1 Bit Discrete DSD Converter using a program like HQP on a powerful but quiet PC and up-sampling to DSD512 is the future, here and now.

 

Thanks for the great feedback, hifial, a joy to read.

 

No doubt this is the kind of architecture to go with, additionally with tubes (and SET) for me.


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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Thanks for the great feedback, hifial, a joy to read.

 

No doubt this is the kind of architecture to go with, additionally with tubes (and SET) for me.

 

Thank you for the compliment and you are welcome.

 

I am not sure you would need all your tubes, pre + amp, with using the T+A DAC 8 DSD when up-sampling to DSD512. There is an air and space to the music that you normally do not get with SS. But not like tubes either.

Mind you we used all SS at our GTG at Larry's.


Ambassador for Sound Galleries Monaco and Taiko Audio The Netherlands 

Sound Test USA

[email protected]

 

Sound Galleries SGM 2015 Music Server>ROON-all rates up-sampled to DSD512 by HQ Player>Sablon Reserva 2017 USB>T+A DAC 8 DSD>Merrill Audio Veritas Ncore NC1200 Mono Amps>B&W 802D>High Fidelity Cables Interconnect, Speaker & Power Cords for Amps & SGM & T+A>Power Conditioning High Fidelity MC-6 Hemisphere>T+A & Hemisphere supported by Stillpoints Ultra Mini - B&W 802D & Veritas supported by Stillpoints Ultra SS>All sitting on IKEA Aptitlig bamboo butcher blocks - Taiko Audio Setchi active grounding on SGM & T+A

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I am not sure you would need all your tubes, pre + amp, with using the T+A DAC 8 DSD when up-sampling to DSD512. There is an air and space to the music that you normally do not get with SS.

 

I'm sure I still will want tubes anyway :)


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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While I agree that your statement comes across as snobby, in a way you do make a point. Let me explain why Hotel California from Hell Freezes Over is ONE of SEVERAL I use to test.

 

I agree that one should use a variety of music (genres, rates, PCM and DSD) to hear how a piece of audio equipment can perform.

And one of the tracks I would use is a test track of native recorded DSD (I would do the same for PCM) of what ever is the highest rate the DAC will accept.

 

The reason I use Hotel California is it is not the most pleasant to hear. I find that the instruments can sound very two dimensional, that when all the instruments start playing all at once it becomes hard sounding and you lose some of the instruments. It lacks life and sounds recorded. This is by no means the only track of music like this but is one that I use.

 

On the T+A DAC 8 DSD it takes this track and transforms it.

The instruments have a three dimensional sound and when they all play at once you can hear each and everyone of them. Everything sounds more like it should, guitars have body and strings sound lifelike. You can hear the decay of the notes in a more natural way. Voice has a body attached to it. Speaking of body, bass hits you. It sounds more like you our at a concert. Alive.

 

So for me if a DAC can take a recording that is passable, sound wise, on its best days and transform it to a "can't what to listen to that again".

 

I planed on giving my first impressions of the T+A and I still will. But the above is a preview.

 

Oh, I might not have owned as many DAC's as you but I have heard MANY high end ones. Not all but quite a few.

And if the T+A can give them a run for the money at $4,000 vs $$$$$ that is something to praise not put down.

Hell Freezes Over is of course an analog recording, how does the upsampled DSD512 compare to the vinyl? TIA!

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+1, geez. It really is "lol".

 

I usually bypass those comments but it never fails to amaze me when I here that crap from the classical crowd that it's THE barometer to evaluate.

 

There is no right or wrong type of music - everyone has their preference and reference point, end of story.

 

Sent from CA app

 

While you and everyone else of course may have your preferences musically,there can only be ONE REFERENCE in a true HI FI sense, and that remains acoustic instruments and the human voice.

Do look up the term HI FI to get a better appreciation of what it really means.

Sorry to have to repeat it so often here but those are the facts,everything else is just subjective and lack a real reference.

Your favourite electonica music may sound more pleasing and enjoyable to you via equipment A than B, but that has little to do with HIFI.

And the facts I quote have nothing to do with snobbery, they are simply facts nothing else.

Difficult to deal with for some .But nevertheless simply facts.

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As I've mentioned to others, very few people are going to believe this kind of performance from the T+A's price point without hearing it themselves. That's the terrible thing about hifi, so many people equate $$$$ = better performance. There's no doubt that HQ Player has a big part to play in the DAC's performance, which running at DSD 512 is no small compute load.

 

On paper, with exception to mentioning the 1-bit discrete DSD converter, there's no real clue of its performance. I will at some point write a response of how it contrasts with the Vega, but for now I can say its a big jump from even that. I really liked my Vega DAC too, and as many know its not a slouch.

 

RE: Music choice, surely one's subjective reference is just that... one's subjective reference?

 

Anyway, I would try listen to one if your interested. Isn't that the point of these discussions? Who cares if its worlds SOTA or not, subjective and system fit is possibly more important to oneself.

 

Of course I will audition the T+A asap.

If one can get close to DAVE performance for a fraction of the price DAVE sells for nobody would be happier than me personally.

It would save me a lot of money.

But unlike many here I actually do care if a product performs close to SOTA standard or not.

Because if it performs to SOTA standard it will bring my musical enjoyment one step closer to the real thing acoustic music well recorded in a real venue.

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From the HFN review in the May issue:

 

"despite (or perhaps due to) its ‘two DACs in one’ design, the DAC 8 DSD is pretty agnostic when it comes to the music format being played. Using the excellent range of free downloads available from 2L’s Test Bench [see http://www.2L.no/hires], I was able to compare the same recording – in this case ‘Et Misericordia’ from Arnesen’s Magnificat, performed by Noway’s Nidaros Cathedral Girls’ Choir and Trondheim Soloists [2L- 106-SADB], in everything from CD quality up to 352.8kHz/24-bit FLAC and DSD256.

 

While stepping up the file sizes undoubtedly opens up the recording progressively, revealing ever more detail, the T+A shows no real preference for one or other of the highest-resolution files. Yes, the DSD may sound just a smidge more fluid and organic, but I’m not sure I could consistently tell the two apart if I listened to them blind – which is good news, as it means the DAC performs to the same high standards whichever format you throw at it."

 

Interesting that HFN used some real acoustic music in their test this time around.

 

It would have been even more interesting if they had used THE SAME testfiles when testing DAVE in their April issue.

Instead Andrew Everard who wrote that review used a 60s CBS recording as an example of impressive dynamics!

My guess is that the Wagner album he quoted has a dynamic range of around 50dB or so, which was what could be squeezed onto tape without dolby in the 60s.

I own a direct cut LP of the same music with more dynamic range than that.

 

It is important to know that Morten Lindberg records in DXD natively and all other testfiles are rendered from the native DXD master.

But one thing is sure, close mic'd as they may be,his DXD masterfiles are about as realistic as it gets with today's technology.

 

Here we are really talking HIFI in the real sense of the term.

 

Imho a much better and more accurate way to judge equipment performance than by comparing different digital transfers of orginally analogue recorded material where one has no reference to how things sounded in the studio or even from the mastertape, or the original LP release.

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chrille,

 

you, like everyone else is entitled to there opinion. But please DO NOT make it sound that the rest of us all feel the same vs you when disagree with a few or one.

 

Also, just to be clear for both you and everyone else.

WE DID NOT JUST LISTEN TO HOTEL CALIFORNIA FOR EVALUATION. ALL OF MY COMMENTS OF MY FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE T+A DAC 8 DSD ARE NOT BASED JUST ON HOTEL CALIFORNIA. WE USED VARIOUS RECORDINGS, ACOUSTIC, HUMAN VOICE, ETC.

AMAZING THOUGH HOW MANY ACOUSTIC GUITARS ETC AND VOICES ARE IN HOTEL CALIFORNIA

 

LETS PLEASE MOVE ON.

Edited by hifial

Ambassador for Sound Galleries Monaco and Taiko Audio The Netherlands 

Sound Test USA

[email protected]

 

Sound Galleries SGM 2015 Music Server>ROON-all rates up-sampled to DSD512 by HQ Player>Sablon Reserva 2017 USB>T+A DAC 8 DSD>Merrill Audio Veritas Ncore NC1200 Mono Amps>B&W 802D>High Fidelity Cables Interconnect, Speaker & Power Cords for Amps & SGM & T+A>Power Conditioning High Fidelity MC-6 Hemisphere>T+A & Hemisphere supported by Stillpoints Ultra Mini - B&W 802D & Veritas supported by Stillpoints Ultra SS>All sitting on IKEA Aptitlig bamboo butcher blocks - Taiko Audio Setchi active grounding on SGM & T+A

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So it sounds like you guys listened to all the other "attributes" of what the DAC had to offer and EVERYTHING just sounded better up sampled to 512 DSD using HQP regardless.

 

There are filter buttons on the front of the DAC. Any of these engaged during your session? How was the DAC configured with their internal filters using HQP? Could you override them?

 

Thanks

Howie

 

 

Howie, the only setting for DSD that we used was "wide" vs "narrow" on the T+A. As far as I know the other filter buttons are just for PCM. All DSD (except DSD64) is left alone. DSD64 might be able to be left alone though I need to confirm that.


Ambassador for Sound Galleries Monaco and Taiko Audio The Netherlands 

Sound Test USA

[email protected]

 

Sound Galleries SGM 2015 Music Server>ROON-all rates up-sampled to DSD512 by HQ Player>Sablon Reserva 2017 USB>T+A DAC 8 DSD>Merrill Audio Veritas Ncore NC1200 Mono Amps>B&W 802D>High Fidelity Cables Interconnect, Speaker & Power Cords for Amps & SGM & T+A>Power Conditioning High Fidelity MC-6 Hemisphere>T+A & Hemisphere supported by Stillpoints Ultra Mini - B&W 802D & Veritas supported by Stillpoints Ultra SS>All sitting on IKEA Aptitlig bamboo butcher blocks - Taiko Audio Setchi active grounding on SGM & T+A

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While you and everyone else of course may have your preferences musically,there can only be ONE REFERENCE in a true HI FI sense, and that remains acoustic instruments and the human voice.

Do look up the term HI FI to get a better appreciation of what it really means.

Sorry to have to repeat it so often here but those are the facts,everything else is just subjective and lack a real reference.

Your favourite electonica music may sound more pleasing and enjoyable to you via equipment A than B, but that has little to do with HIFI.

And the facts I quote have nothing to do with snobbery, they are simply facts nothing else.

Difficult to deal with for some .But nevertheless simply facts.

 

Unfortunately, in the real world many recordings are compromised at some stage or another for whatever reasons. I'd only wish that recordings came in better quality by default, but they're often mastered for iphone users and such.

 

For what it's worth and as mentioned earlier, the T+A is a significant step up on the Vega with both human voice and acoustic instruments. It's particularly special with piano timbre, something I'd given up on reproducing accurately and solidly till the T+A arrived. There's no doubt in my mind that this discrete DSD implementation is easily one of the most linear... in the world.

Edited by guiltyboxswapper

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Of course I will audition the T+A asap.

If one can get close to DAVE performance for a fraction of the price DAVE sells for nobody would be happier than me personally.

It would save me a lot of money.

But unlike many here I actually do care if a product performs close to SOTA standard or not.

Because if it performs to SOTA standard it will bring my musical enjoyment one step closer to the real thing acoustic music well recorded in a real venue.

 

Again, you wont believe us till you heard it. The only reason I tried this DAC is due to the discrete 1-bit DSD implementation, including separate analogue output paths. Their PDP 3000 series uses quite a similar implementation, which also has excellent feedback.

 

I do believe its at least very close to SOTA, and possibly SOTA. The Auralic Vega is considered certainly very close to SOTA if not absolutely SOTA from the likes of Stereophile etc and yet it has no problem showing it the door. BTW the Vega was sold on Sunday.

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If someone has $$$ to compare T+A DAC8 DSD head-to-head against PBD Merlot, I'd be happy to hear results. Merlot is also discrete DSD DAC. For comparing only the conversion stage, one could use for example HQP to upsample with same settings. Merlot is about 2x price from European point of view, but less difference in the US.


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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If someone has $$$ to compare T+A DAC8 DSD head-to-head against PBD Merlot, I'd be happy to hear results. Merlot is also discrete DSD DAC. For comparing only the conversion stage, one could use for example HQP to upsample with same settings. Merlot is about 2x price from European point of view, but less difference in the US.

 

Not much less difference in USA. I haven't seen a quoted US price for the DAC 8 DSD, but I knowthat the PBD Merlot is US$6000. A local dealer will be carrying the PBD equipment but didn't have any in the shop when I was there and asked about it 2 weeks ago. Said it was coming soon.

 

Anybody (chad-ra?) ready to offer up what the US price will be on the DAC 8 DSD? Where can it be purchased? Only at Rutherford's Denver store?

 

Also, is the shipment going to make it to the US in time for AXPONA? I can arrange to be there if the unit will be in.

 

Thanks in advance on the questions!

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Unfortunately, in the real world many recordings are compromised at some stage or another for whatever reasons. I'd only wish that recordings came in better quality by default, but they're often mastered for iphone users and such.

 

For what it's worth and as mentioned earlier, the T+A is a significant step up on the Vega with both human voice and acoustic instruments. It's particularly special with piano timbre, something I'd given up on reproducing accurately and solidly till the T+A arrived. There's no doubt in my mind that this discrete DSD implementation is easily one of the most linear... in the world.

 

 

Oh yes and especially with popular music in the electronica genre basically everything is produced and mastered with the mp3 crowd in mind or mastered for iTunes or some other compressed delivery format or platform.

There are exceptions of hi res mastered pop music material but not a lot. And most of those seem to consist of old analogue material like Hotel California or Miles Davies remastered for the umphteenth time from late fifties tape masters or as in most cases just recycled from 24/96 remasters once again.

On top of that most popular albums from the 60s and 70s where not that well recorded anyway.

And dynamic range is limited to at most 25-30 dB in most cases anyway. So judging dynamic range with most Pop and Rock Music is not a very good idea.

Since I haven't heard the T+A yet I can't comment personally, but for the best most realistic SQ with piano or for that matter any other acoustic instrument I can think of I have to say that DAVE seems to currently rule at least as far as HD PCM is concerned.

I won't rule out the possibility that T+A's native DSD route might deliver even more realism from DSD than Rob Watts definitely very different route with DSD does.

But I have to say that the extreme definition and resolution DAVE delivered, with DSD 64 material, if anything it made me suspect that there could be more than a grain of truth to it when Rob Watts maintains that DSD is a "fundamentally flawed format". He even claims that even 16/44.1 pcm "easily sounds better" than DSD 64 via his DACs.

That is not what I hear from my Hugo but anyway.

Dave seemed to reveal so much from DSD 64 that it sounded clearly softer and less resolved than HD PCM to me.

 

There will always be claims and counterclaims. But for me to attach any attention to any claim I have to confirm it myself with acoustic music where I have a reference to the live sound.

And although DSD can sound very pleasing and good via many DACs I also hear that DXD and even 24/176.4 and 24/192 sound more real and more resolved than at least DSD 64 to me.

Then again if some of the "interpolation magic" mr Watts employs within his DACs can be achieved via music player programs like HQ player then ,not only would I be able save a lot of money while still getting SOTA sound.

From a consumer and music lover point of view good indeed if that turns out to be a fact.

 

Not that I put too much trust in HIFI mag reviews either but it seems from the quotes supplied from the HFN review ,that they sort the T+A below DAVE with aspects that once again are basically only present with acoustic music recordd in a real acoustic venue.

Whether they do so for commercial reasons or simply factual ones is another question.

But once again just to hammer in some undeniable facts: to sort the wheat from the chaff one needs proper reference material. Nothing else will do.

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I'll put money on it that HFN didn't use the DAC in DSD 512 mode with HQPlayer. It's no lie, in PCM mode whilst its decent, its not walking past the Vega at that point... pretty close infact if a little better.

 

Personally I read it as "only just behind the DAVE" which is as good as you're going to get from a commercial magazine, especially with such a big price difference.

 

The interpolation magic that HQPlayer can provide is far more than what even Watts can do inside his DAVE's FPGAs. 27% of a modern 6 core Intel CPU is a LOT of processing power....

 

Don't forget that the DAVE and Hugo architectures dont treat DSD as fairly as PCM.

 

I should also add I don't usually chime into threads all that much, but the T+A has taken me by such surprise that I feel T+A deserve some recognition for this product, along with HQPlayer. So much snake oil in this industry on the whole.

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Let me clear about our findings, its only the T+A being fed DSD 512 from HQ Player running on a heavily tricked out PC that snatches the SQ prize away from the DAVE


Sound Test, Monaco

Consultant to Sound Galleries Monaco, and Taiko Audio Holland

e-mail [email protected]

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