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Phasure NOS1 Without XXHighEnd (Vs. Vega)


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Presently, can a Phasure reach its full potential when fed by a Mac (using *any* software)?

 

Secondly, how does the Phasure stack up to the Vega, specifically in the areas of tone color and refinement (where I find it unmatched at least by anything under $10K)?

 

I am only interested in hearing from people with direct experience.

 

Thanks!

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Presently, can a Phasure reach its full potential when fed by a Mac (using *any* software)?

 

 

In my experience...no...the Phasure NOS1a works best when run from XXHE which needs windows. The interface is very neat now and there are ways the whole system setup almost plug and play for those that are not very computer literate.

 

 

Secondly, how does the Phasure stack up to the Vega, specifically in the areas of tone color and refinement (where I find it unmatched at least by anything under $10K)?

 

 

Can't really help you there other than to say I have not heard a dac to match a properly setup Phasure, regardless of price, and I have personally compared it to a number of much more expensive dacs.

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I just got done reading the thread about 1A when it came out and how it was basically now immune to transport variations. I understand the upsampling an filtering still matters (obviously). Is the issue here that XX still has the best filter? I haven't used HQPlayer on the Mac in awhile (I used to) but found it quite good.

 

How does running XX on Mac hardware running Windows work?

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The best results these days are occurring with XXHighEnd running on a Win10 OS that resides completely in RAMDisk, something not really possible with a Mac.

 

Re other filtering, a user experienced with both XXHE and HQPlayer reports that using XXHE works better with the Phasure.

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I use a Vega with my headphone system and I have also played it with my main speaker system. The Vega, while quite enjoyable, is nowhere near as naturally realistic sounding as the NOS1(I have an NOS1a but the same is true for the NOS1 which I also have direct experience with). The Vega is not even close to being in the same league as the Phasure DACs.

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I think the primary reason why Phasure NOS1 doesn't sound as good without XXHighend is because NOS ladder DACs inherently internally generates more jitter and noise floor modulation when you have big dynamic jumps from one resistor to another which occurs more often at 44kHz. By up-sampling well from 44kHz to 352kHz say, you're reducing the sizes of these jumps. And yes, obviously, filtering helps too. If you think about it, more and more people are raving about the Schiit Yggradasil and it has a built-in FPGA to up-sample 44kHz to 352kHz for their ladder DAC. So XXHighEnd is probably doing the same thing in your computer.

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I use a Vega with my headphone system and I have also played it with my main speaker system. The Vega, while quite enjoyable, is nowhere near as naturally realistic sounding as the NOS1(I have an NOS1a but the same is true for the NOS1 which I also have direct experience with). The Vega is not even close to being in the same league as the Phasure DACs.

 

Do you use Exact mode?

 

Here's a data point. I just got done comparing my Vega against a PS Audio DirectStream, very thoroughly. The DS is pretty good but ultimately sounds boring compared to the Vega, which just has that color intensity and super-refinement sounds much closer to my $10K vinyl rig (playing acoustic jazz) than the DS. On DSD it's closer; on PCM the Vega is far ahead.

 

Yet, 6Moons implies the DS is on par with the Phasure.

 

Now - I've learned to take things especially from that reviewer pair with a grain of salt but there it is.

 

Food for thought, maybe.

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Do you use Exact mode?

 

Here's a data point. I just got done comparing my Vega against a PS Audio DirectStream, very thoroughly. The DS is pretty good but ultimately sounds boring compared to the Vega, which just has that color intensity and super-refinement sounds much closer to my $10K vinyl rig (playing acoustic jazz) than the DS. On DSD it's closer; on PCM the Vega is far ahead.

 

Yet, 6Moons implies the DS is on par with the Phasure.

 

Now - I've learned to take things especially from that reviewer pair with a grain of salt but there it is.

 

Food for thought, maybe.

 

I've compared the older NOS1 to the DS...no contest sorry...the DS was slow and unbalanced by comparison...and the newer upgraded NOS1a has advanced remarkably since the time that comparison was made.

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Can a Phasure aficionado tell me this: What's special about the design? As I understand it it's a very well-implemented resistor-ladder PCM DAC using paralleled chips. That's not unique. What, if anything, in the design is superior to, say, an MSB or a Metrum Psvane or a Yggy?

 

On that note, would the XX software with its high oversampling and superb filter wring the best out of those DACs?

 

These may seem stupid questions but I don't have time to read the forums for the most part.

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Of course DACs are as much about core technology as about implementation but I don't know enough details about Phasure. If I remember correctly, I think the Phasure DAC assumes you'll upsample with XXHighend and use the digital filters so that the analog filter in the DAC is much simpler and therefore more transparent. Other ladder DACs can't do that because they have to assume some customers might want to play 44kHz files NOS. While most DACs might benefit from outstanding upsampling (but not mediocre upsampling), ladder DACs probably benefit most, even if a lot of people prefer NOS ladder DACs. But a lot of the times, it comes down to whether you know what to listen for...

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Can a Phasure aficionado tell me this: What's special about the design? As I understand it it's a very well-implemented resistor-ladder PCM DAC using paralleled chips. That's not unique. What, if anything, in the design is superior to, say, an MSB or a Metrum Psvane or a Yggy?

 

Well, a Phasure dac does almost nothing for itself...it is a model of simplicity...no upsampling or oversampling or analogue filters or onboard volume control. It has a state of the art proprietary USB interface and is really "just a dac" not a dac/preamp like so many these days. The heavy lifting is all done in the PC, including all upsampling and volume control. This makes the dac relatively simple mechanically because it does not need the noise producing FPGA's, switches and such to manage to playback...it gets a stream of data fed to it from the PC and it just plays what it is given no more and no less. That is what makes the Phasure dac different: it is a specialist machine designed for specially for PC playback and is much less the jack-of-all-trades than most dacs.

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  • 8 months later...
more and more people are raving about the Schiit Yggradasil

 

Where?

 

and it has a built-in FPGA to up-sample 44kHz to 352kHz for their ladder DAC. So XXHighEnd is probably doing the same thing in your computer.

Apparently, XXHighEnd does it to twice that, on top of a special algorithm called Arc Prediction, plus many, many other tweakable items.

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