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Article: APL Hi-Fi DSD-MR DAC and DNP-SR Streamer Full Review

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17 hours ago, mevdinc said:

Thanks for that.

I was more referring to the similarity in the digital is the new analog claim rather than comparing the two, the APL is 10 times more expensive for that reason alone it should sound so much better.
I'm looking forward to hearing the upcoming Lindemann update before I start considering a new DAC.

 

Could you please explain what you mean by "digital is the new analog"? 

 

/ Marcus, www.perfect-sense.se


 

PERFECT SENSE

www.perfect-sense.se

 

Showroom in Stockholm, Sweden | [email protected] | 08 518 368 00 | Follow us on Facebook

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, Perfect sense said:

There are design considerations involved here to obtain maximum sound quality basically.

 

The technical explanation in short:

 

The DSD-MR processes DSD in its native domain by using a balanced FIR filter, followed by analog filtering stage and balanced tube output stage. Since Lundahl transformers with OFC windings are used for the post-FIR filter analog filtration and I/V conversion, those audio transformers effectively ground the grids of the vacuum tubes in the output stage. This said, introducing a volume control will only deteriorate the audio quality of the DSD-MR. 

 

You could debate if driving a power amp directly is superior to having a dedicate preamp in your system. Based on experience (my own and others), a well built pre amp on a similar level will most often be beneficial adding to the overall performance of the system. A higher end integrated will of course be an option as well, where there are more options available than ever.

 

/ Marcus, www.perfect-sense.se

 

I own a simple Schiit Saga preamp with tube output buffer (no gain stage) and a microprocessor-controlled relay-stepped attenuator for volume control. Shouldn't that sound as good as most preamps? B| Personally I like and prefer  the Saga as a preamp in my system. The sound can be slightly tweaked by 'rolling' the dual triode tube. Nevertheless, I recently found that an RME ADI-2 DAC which uses the digital volume control of its AKM DAC chip, sounds 'better' in every respect without a preamp (active or passive). Do I need a better preamp? Do you think digital volume control would deteriorate the audio quality of the DSD-MR? Could rolling the tubes of the DSD-MR improve the sound?


Current system: MacMini/PC  >> Schiit Eitr (with Uptone Audio LPS-1, for 5V USB power) >>  RME ADI-2 DAC (with Zerozone 12V linear power supply) >>  Xkitz Electronics XOVER-2, 100Hz active crossover (with Zerozone 17.5V linear power supply + LDOVR LT3045-A, ultra-low noise 15V voltage regulator) >> Schiit Vidar stereo power amp to KEF LS50 speakers + Sunfire HRS12/HRS8 active subwoofer. Cables used: Canare star quad speaker cables; AQ Cinnamon USB; AQ Big Sur & Schiit Pyst RCA; Supra CAT8 ethernet cable (with JSSG) for low voltage DC power; unknown coaxial cables; standard mains power cables (with Airlink BPS1502EU, 1500VA, balanced, mains isolation transformer).

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1 hour ago, Abtr said:

 

I own a simple Schiit Saga preamp with tube output buffer (no gain stage) and a microprocessor-controlled relay-stepped attenuator for volume control. Shouldn't that sound as good as most preamps? B| Personally I like and prefer  the Saga as a preamp in my system. The sound can be slightly tweaked by 'rolling' the dual triode tube. Nevertheless, I recently found that an RME ADI-2 DAC which uses the digital volume control of its AKM DAC chip, sounds 'better' in every respect without a preamp (active or passive). Do I need a better preamp? Do you think digital volume control would deteriorate the audio quality of the DSD-MR? Could rolling the tubes of the DSD-MR improve the sound?

If it works, stop trying to fix it. The digital volume controls on most chips these days are way ahead of years ago. Most pre-amps are just going to remove some clarity and filter the sound, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. A tube pre-amp will almost always add distortion which may sound pleasing to some if it is second order distortion only.

 

The moral of the story is, if you like what you hear from the RME DAC, love it and be content.

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16 hours ago, Perfect sense said:

 

Could you please explain what you mean by "digital is the new analog"? 

 

/ Marcus, www.perfect-sense.se

Nothing to explain really. As I said it was a claim by Lindemann for their new DSD DACs. I think the exact phrase was "DSD is the new analog".

Edit: After posting my reply I noticed Matt had already corrected me with the Lindemann slogan, but DSD is digital too. :) The Lindemann DSD DACs can upsample everything up to DSD 256 and the result is supposed to sound analog-like and this point is made in many of the reviews. I have no way of comparing or confirming this but I use the DSD 256 upsampling and am very happy with the sound.

Edited by mevdinc
post #52

Audirvana+3.0 / TIDAL HiFi / Mac Mini (256GB SSD - 16GB RAM)

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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1 minute ago, Lucky Left Hook said:

Thank you for the write-up.  Seems like a very interesting product.

 

Have you tried any rock music, like Led Zeppelin or Pearl Jam?  How does it sound? 

 

Oh yes. Pearl Jam bring my favorite artist, I played nearly every album and it sounded excellent. 


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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44 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Oh yes. Pearl Jam bring my favorite artist, I played nearly every album and it sounded excellent. 

 

Thank you.  Same snap as PCM on rock music, or is DSD softer?

 

Also, how good is this DAC with less-than-stellar recordings?

 

Thank you

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On 3/28/2019 at 4:23 PM, Perfect sense said:

As biased as I might be representing APL in Scandinavia, this is an amazing product which keeps beating all possible contenders coming through our showroom here in Stockholm from the big names. It strikes a perfect balance in between analytical and musical.

 

/ Marcus, www.perfect-sense.se

The description and the approach is wonderful. 

I just hope that some of the magic can be obtained with a much smaller budget, because a circuit based on DSD opens the door for some "simplification".

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Thanks for the review Chris, it is interesting to hear about what AP has been up to lately, as mentioned by Ted B. he used to be known as a modder,  particularly of CD/SACD players.  I am interested to hear that he has fully committed to the DSD approach now, and I am finding (via a very similar DAC approach using an active, discrete FIR filter (thank you @Miska), followed by passive analog filtering using Lundhall transformers with DSD 256 input) that I also really like what a pure DSD conversion approach can accomplish, even with 44.1/16 source files (oversampled to DSD 256 in software in my case).  While I am certain that every detail of this DAC contributes to its sound quality, I would submit, that from my experience, the biggest factor in the sound quality is the "pure" DSD conversion engine running via discrete components.  For those who balk at the price of this DAC, I would suggest auditioning one of the "pure" conversion style DSD DACs available from other sources.

Bricasti's M3 for example, or Denafrips, or Holo Audio, and oversampling in software to DSD 128/256.  While HQPlayer is likely the very best option for this, ROON alone offers very good oversampling to DSD as well. 

 


ROON: DSD 256-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO (ESS 9038) or DSC-2--Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, Cardas Clear AC, XLR, & speaker cables-Synergistic Blue & Hi Fi Tuning Supreme Cu Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.    Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

                                                                                                  SONORE computer audio

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Just an fyi for those who are going to Munich.

 

From APL HiFi's Facebook page:

 

"HIGH END 2019 Munich is only one month away and we are excited to be exhibiting alongside the stellar Davis Acoustics & Esprit Audio this year!

 

Come enjoy our sound in Atrium 4.2, Room 205, we look forward to seeing you all there!"

 

Joel

 

 

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Many, many years ago, I had an Alex-modified Denon.  He simply used the transport and the rest was some of the most amazing point-to-point wiring I have ever seen (which he did himself).  It sounded great but became outdated when new formats were released.

 

I always found Alex to be interested in sound first and foremost.  I had the Denon modified more than once and on one occasion he shipped the unit without payment.  That is the kind of guy he is.  And, of course, he is a genius too.  

 

At some point, he wanted to see what was possible for CD playback in a cost-no-object design.  Seems like he has found out.  Congratulations, Alex.   


Roon / Mola Mola Tambaqui / Kubala-Sosna XLR / Mola Mola Kaluga / KS biwire / B&W 803 D3

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"DSD is the new Analog" ? ... ummm, recordings hold analogue information, encoded by digital in various formats - the big trick is to get the playback chain clean enough so that disturbing, 'digital' anomalies are not audible. Which can be done in myriads of ways, including converting to DSD, if that happens to allow the hardware to do its job more competently.

 

That highly modified Denon is the clue - it's manufacturing shortcuts, lack of attention to detail, that kills digital SQ - take some care on getting the path just right, and "analogue" sound will flood the room.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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On 3/28/2019 at 4:28 PM, mrvco said:

 

A flagship or halo product should serve a valuable purpose, bringing attention to a brand and providing trickle-down technology and manufacturing expertise that can be executed in more cost-effective products... rather than simply enabling conspicuous consumption for status seekers.

I think that it's possible to have several purposes. There's also the consideration of making a total statement, SOTA, product. And (based exclusively on the review) it approaches that. How much money do (what some consider) the best speakers ever made? What is the price of the best sounding amplifier? I don't know all the parts costs here, - but at least in the past, - Alex's "cost-to-build" parts were more than 1/2 of the retail price: which is both unheard of, and which no one pays anyway.

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