Jump to content
The Computer Audiophile

Article: EMM Labs DA2 Reference DAC and PRE Stereo Preamplifier Review

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Doesn’t the new iFi DSD pro DAC also upsample to 1024 DSD?


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup and a RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, firedog said:

Doesn’t the new iFi DSD pro DAC also upsample to 1024 DSD?

Good question @firedog. Here is what iFi says, but the language is a bit unusual:

 

"For the first time, Pro iDSD brings Studio Grade DSD1024 remastering to the mass. Now one can remaster all his/her music to a superlative DSD1024 format just like in a recording studio and enjoy the ultra-high resolution it provides.

 

For the DSD1024, if the MultiBit DAC is one half of the ‘heart’ of the Pro iDSD’s digital engine, then the other half is surely the Crysopeia FPGA. This is where we believe FPGA excels, by handling the remastering duties to attain the DSD1024 audio format. In fact the Pro iDSD can handle all audio formats to to DSD1024 or DSD512 or PCM 768kHz with user-selectable digital filters."


Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Good question @firedog. Here is what iFi says, but the language is a bit unusual:

 

"For the first time, Pro iDSD brings Studio Grade DSD1024 remastering to the mass. Now one can remaster all his/her music to a superlative DSD1024 format just like in a recording studio and enjoy the ultra-high resolution it provides.

 

For the DSD1024, if the MultiBit DAC is one half of the ‘heart’ of the Pro iDSD’s digital engine, then the other half is surely the Crysopeia FPGA. This is where we believe FPGA excels, by handling the remastering duties to attain the DSD1024 audio format. In fact the Pro iDSD can handle all audio formats to to DSD1024 or DSD512 or PCM 768kHz with user-selectable digital filters."

To me, that's a lot of marketing speak saying you can set it to upsample to 1024. If someone else knows the answer, chime in.


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup and a RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Chris,

 

Great write-up. One of your best if not the best so far. Thank you so much! However, I got a question for you: when you said that the DA2 sit in the middle, are you implying that the Rossini dac has more weight and detail (in a good sense) than the DA2?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Chris,

 

I take it that your Pink Floyd "Wish You Were Here" 24/96 is the Blu-ray Disc from the Immersion Box Set?

If so, I missed out on this set a few years ago. Can you please recommend another good version of WYWH in 2.0 stereo?

 

Thanks...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, audiophile65 said:

Hi Chris,

 

I take it that your Pink Floyd "Wish You Were Here" 24/96 is the Blu-ray Disc from the Immersion Box Set?

If so, I missed out on this set a few years ago. Can you please recommend another good version of WYWH in 2.0 stereo?

 

Thanks...

Let me check my copies and I’ll let you know. 


Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

1 Neither Superphonica nor Computer Audiophile receive a commission on the sale of goods through the dCS brand boutique.

 

OK. But ...


Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Too funny. I didn’t want to hang my head reading negative comments over the 4th of July ?

 

Sorry to perhaps disagree with the majority, but I liked the last video review .  I said in the comments from the last one that maybe that vid. didn't take the maximum advantage of the format, but I still think it's an evolving thing and I put my vote (whatever little that's worth) towards more videos in the future.  

 

HAVE A HAPPY 4TH EVERYONE!


Roon --> ultraRendu/Uptone LPS-1 --> Kii CONTROL --> Kii THREE active speakers (everything on Black Ravioli bases and footers)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, PeterSt said:

 

OK. But ...

Ha! Good catch. As someone who has written code you know that borrowing from something you’ve already written is smart. Except when one forgets to change the variable :~)


Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, michael123 said:

CASH means it needs a lot of cash? ?

 

EMM sounds good, but.. there are millions of options today. 

Like Rossini...


mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock >

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

system pics

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I take no issue with reviews of audio components in this price range. I’ll never own such components but that’s not a reason for the reviews not to exist(or against me taking an interest in reading them). To be realistic, however, we’re looking at spending another 75 to 100 thousand dollars for amp(s), speakers and source to go with this pair of components priced at $25,000(btw, not $25,00)apiece. I would definitely enjoy spend a day listening to such a system in an optimized room(with, again, more money spent on room treatment).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, esimms86 said:

I take no issue with reviews of audio components in this price range. I’ll never own such components but that’s not a reason for the reviews not to exist(or against me taking an interest in reading them). To be realistic, however, we’re looking at spending another 75 to 100 thousand dollars for amp(s), speakers and source to go with this pair of components priced at $25,000(btw, not $25,00)apiece. I would definitely enjoy spend a day listening to such a system in an optimized room(with, again, more money spent on room treatment).

I do know about that. This is really the kind of component pairing you could build a system around over time. I'm sure they really scale as you upgrade your gear and everyone knows that the source comes first!

 

I'm kidding, of course. 

 

I'm with you, the total system investment here would be crazy. I talked to a guy last year that had ~$250k USD in equipment going into $12k speakers, though... I had to ask him about that choice of "balance"...

 

Anyway, this is nice to read and maybe a couple years down the road we'll be able to pick up one of those DA2s for cheap?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any thoughts on this EMM vs. a Chord DAVE? (Please, anyone who has heard both EMM and DAVE sonics, you're impressions would be welcome.) I've been a fan of EMM since their first cd players.

 

I have a DAVE for my desktop system and an EMM XDS1v2 for my old-school CD-based system. Somehow, I still like the EMM player better. There is more non-fatiguing sweetness and silkiness and more transparent bass and a sense of a more natural sound with more definition of texture. And the bass is more detailed.

 

I never heard the Blu2 with the DAVE.

I use (mainly now) Focal Utopia headphones for listening and do some speaker listening too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, bellhead said:

I have a DAVE for my desktop system and an EMM XDS1v2 for my old-school CD-based system. Somehow, I still like the EMM player better. There is more non-fatiguing sweetness and silkiness and more transparent bass and a sense of a more natural sound with more definition of texture. And the bass is more detailed.

I used to own a XDS1v2. Although I enjoyed the sound, in hindsight I find it a little on the analytical side. And I don't have a bright system by any measure (single ended tubes into horn speakers).

 

I moved to a dCS Rossini + Master Clock and the sound acquired a lovely body and tone that was missing from the EMM Labs. 

 

I also had customer support issues with EMM so will never consider an EMM Labs component again.


mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock >

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

system pics

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you. Would you have any quick impressions of the Rossini with DSD-encoded files? (I have .dsf files.)

Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, bellhead said:

Thank you. Would you have any quick impressions of the Rossini with DSD-encoded files? (I have .dsf files.)

Thank you.

Fabulous. Two examples I know very well: Nina Simone’s “Mood Indigo” from the recent SACD remaster from Analogue Productions, and Brubeck’s Time Out SACD (both ripped to DSF via a PS3). Very nice on the XDS1v2. Stunning depth, tone, color, presence on the Rossini. Not close.


mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock >

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

system pics

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, bellhead said:

I have a DAVE for my desktop system and an EMM XDS1v2 for my old-school CD-based system. Somehow, I still like the EMM player better.

Play Rehab from Amy Winehouse's Back To Black from the 24/96 HDTracks download on the XDS1v2. You will find dropouts. One of many examples. Does not happen with ANY other DAC I have tried. Do you really want to buy EMM Labs?


mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock >

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

system pics

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have always heard great sound out of EMM labs gear, so i would expect no difference with these components.  Thanks for sharing your impressions Chris.  But I do take issue with this statement:

 

"...The world's first 16xDSD signal processing..."  This is rather mis-leading.

 

For example, the Mola Mola Makua preamp/DAC and Tambaqui DAC both oversample to 100 MHz and 1 bit before conversion happens via a dual mono discrete DSD DAC section, 16xDSD is 45.1584 MHz, so Mola Mola is converting at twice the rate of EMM Labs in their DACs.  While this is indeed nit picking, I feel it is important to acknowledge that there are other components out there doing DSD conversion at similar, or even higher, rates.

 

In any case, I would expect superb sound from the EMM Labs pair.  Do you have any more details on the volume control in the preamp?  Is it a discrete resistor ladder type controlled via software, or perhaps an on chip resistor ladder type (not necessarily a bad thing, BTW, there is one chip in particular that does VC very, very well), just curious, as with the DSD converters often we need to sue an analog VC.

 

Oh BTW, I LOVE the DSD version of "Wish You Were Here" from Analog Productions, just fantastic here as long as you turn it UP!


ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO or DSC-2--Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC cables, Iconoclast XLR, Iconoclast speaker, cables, Synergistic Orange & Hi Fi Tuning Supreme Cu Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.    Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

                                                       

SONORE computer audio

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/3/2018 at 12:53 PM, miguelito said:

I used to own a XDS1v2. Although I enjoyed the sound, in hindsight I find it a little on the analytical side. And I don't have a bright system by any measure (single ended tubes into horn speakers).

 

I moved to a dCS Rossini + Master Clock and the sound acquired a lovely body and tone that was missing from the EMM Labs. 

 

I also had customer support issues with EMM so will never consider an EMM Labs component again.

 

We're sorry to hear that the XDS1 V2 made an exit before you had the chance to upgrade to V3 analog architecture... To date it has been a game changer for countless XDS1 customers who continue to enjoy the integrated player, even after almost a decade since release. That said, we respect the saying "different strokes for different folks" so we very are happy for you and your system :)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, EMM Labs said:

We're sorry to hear that the XDS1 V2 made an exit before you had the chance to upgrade to V3 analog architecture... To date it has been a game changer for countless XDS1 customers who continue to enjoy the integrated player, even after almost a decade since release. That said, we respect the saying "different strokes for different folks" so we very are happy for you and your system :)

Given the customer support issues - which went beyond lack of customer support - I will never consider any EMM Labs product again. 


mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock >

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

system pics

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, miguelito said:

Given the customer support issues - which went beyond lack of customer support - I will never consider any EMM Labs product again. 

 

We're sorry to hear that from such an avid audiophile but we wish you nothing but the best with your system moving forward. Should you want to explain your customer support issues in more detail I would be happy to hear about it.

Feel free to send an email to [email protected] Cheers & happy listening :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...