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Danny Kaey

Article: LessLoss Echo’s End Reference DAC Full Review

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37 minutes ago, Superdad said:

 

To be clear, I was not trying to take anything away from the product or your assessment and enjoyment of it. :)

 

However, my personal style is one of greater plain-speak and honesty about the technology used.  One ought not have to go hunting on the web to discover the origin of the entire heart of the product.  What got me curious in the first place is their quote about concern for jitter--yet all we can see on the DAC board is a $2 clock for the FPGA (in the Soekris design the FPGA synthesizes the audio clocks).

I also go numb when I read vacuous marketing catchwords like "Firewall 64X modules" and see all the circuits hidden with plexiglas (carbon fiber?) shrouds.  

 

But as you say, if it sounds good, who cares?  :D

 

Agreed. I get your numbness, believe me, I have my own numbness for most of this sort of stuff... that said, Louis - LessLoss - is in my view legit and have built enough street cred over the past 15 years that I take their word for it. You really ought to try their cables - this new C-MARC strand they developed is quite special and priced on the very low end of where you would expect it if another name was inscribed on it.

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I echo SuperDad's sentiment. I infect think the engineering and prototyping etc... is worth a lot. My Brother has in fact brought an item to market and I have seen first hand the steps he went through to get there. I would love to hear one of these for myself, but perhaps the 5K model and not the 19K model.

 

 


“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.” – Marcus Aurelius

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2 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

sounds like a post on Porsche...

 

 

 

hey, I know damn well where my 20K+ went on engine work... 😉


“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.” – Marcus Aurelius

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1 hour ago, Danny Kaey said:

 

That’s a great question and I don’t know the answer to it, nor do I frankly care. The DAC is fabulous and LL Implantation of the final product is terrific.

 

Can you verify that it is indeed limited to 24/192 in actual implementation? Did I miss that in your review?


“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.” – Marcus Aurelius

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53 minutes ago, Danny Kaey said:

 

Well let’s see. Go find a supplier of genuine Panzerholz, have them give you a quote for a case the size of this DAC. Once you have that number, add another zero to it, because by the time you actually have the chassis you want, you’ll probably go through 20 revisions. Then, once you took out a second mortgage on your home, carefully source all the other parts, because this isn’t a review of the Soekris DAC modules. Once you have all those parts, the pretty box and DAC modules, find an engineer who will put it all together for you. Finally, when you’re done, shoot me an email and send one for review and let’s see what you put together.

 

Is that fair enough?

 

PS: of course, you don’t have to go for the Reference edition either; I bet the Original Echo’s End for $5342 sounds great too... 

 

😎

There is maybe $2-300 of Panzerholz in that case.  That wouldn't include the machining of it.  But a CNC will do that just fine.  And I could make prototypes of another material until satisfied with the shape.   Might need to mortgage the dog house.  Couldn't get a second mortgage on my house or the dog house as I don't have a first one.   Don't need an engineer to assemble it either.  

 

So I don't see $20k in the gear.  As already said, if it sounds good and you are happy fine.  But considering the very heart of this multi-bit DAC is a relatively affordable Soekris I'm straining to see where the extra money came in.  I realize small runs are more expensive and don't expect anyone to sell their product for parts cost.  I believe Soekris makes two versions, one having tighter resistor tolerance.  Just as a guess maybe the non-reference version uses that.  You also can't tell from the website, but is the Original in the same case made of the same material?  


To paraphrase Rick James, "sighted listening is a helluva drug".

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I certainly hear what people are saying about parts cost and final product cost but we’ve been down this path before many times. 

 

There are so many things that go into the price of a product that people conveniently leave out. These aren’t made by 10 year olds in a third world country. LessLoss builds these in a location that likely has some monthly fees to keep the roof over its head. It likely has a bunch of stock that it can’t sell in the event that there are failures down the road. The company likely participates in expensive trade shows. I could go on, but the cost of doing business is more than the sum of the products parts. 

 

 


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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23 minutes ago, AudioDoctor said:

 

hey, I know damn well where my 20K+ went on engine work... 😉

 

sorry! I meant to say Ferrari


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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6 minutes ago, esldude said:

I already said I didn't expect people to sale products for cost of parts.  For all the reasons you list. Yet there is some link to parts cost and final product cost.  All of those things are true of Soekris as well.  Yet I can purchase a finished product with the same board in it for a small fraction of the cost.  They've got a more expensive box, and some other parts, but it still kind of takes my breath away to see inside and think $20k?????  That is okay, but it sure would be nice if someone did a comparative review of the Soekris as offered and this expensive version.  

I certainly hear you. 

 

I like comparisons as well but I’m not sure the Soekris is the only selling point of this DAC. 

 

$20k ain’t cheap that’s for sure, but I’ve yet to see a product like this anywhere else. 


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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15 minutes ago, Ralf11 said:

the cost of the parts was subtracted out in the post up above

 

the huge amount left over must represent R&D + pure profit

 

I expect per unit profits to be much higher on a product that sells to a small market

 

but...  how much is going to "excess profits"??

 

a comparison test with a $10k DAC or a $5k DAC is what's needed

$5k and $10k? Why not $5.00 and $10.00. I’m sure you can find one on Aliexpress made in a sweatshop. 


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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5 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

I certainly hear you. 

 

I like comparisons as well but I’m not sure the Soekris is the only selling point of this DAC. 

 

$20k ain’t cheap that’s for sure, but I’ve yet to see a product like this anywhere else. 

Other than the unusual case material, and the price what is so unlike any other product?  


To paraphrase Rick James, "sighted listening is a helluva drug".

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11 minutes ago, esldude said:

Other than the unusual case material, and the price what is so unlike any other product?  

 

C’mon, you can say the same about every product ever made and reviewed, here or elsewhere... 

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7 minutes ago, Hugo9000 said:

 

(My bold of the above posts)

Some here have questioned a $20k product, and this is the response?  So is it your intent to imply that something more affordable than $20k might have been made by children in third world countries?  Isn't that a bit over the top?

It’s way over the top. Just an illustration and a bit absurd. 

 

However, I used this to make a point. Labor costs a hugely variable. Working conditions are hugely variable. 

 

Also, I though the $10k and $5k numbers were quite arbitrary and if this DAC was that expensive, people would be asking for $1k and $500 comparisons.

 

Bonus, a cheap Aliexpress DAC may measure well 😁

 

 


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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13 minutes ago, esldude said:

Other than the unusual case material, and the price what is so unlike any other product?  

Wow, I look at this product as a whole, taking everything into consideration, and can’t think of another one like it. 

 


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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Value and cost are mutually exclusive concepts to me.  Something may cost a fortune to build, market, and sell but that does not equate to value towards consumers. 

 

On another front, are we about to start the "tone wood" debate, Panzerholz vs Rosewood vs Ebony vs......?

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17 minutes ago, Danny Kaey said:

 

C’mon, you can say the same about every product ever made and reviewed, here or elsewhere... 

Not every product, but yes the huge majority of them.  


To paraphrase Rick James, "sighted listening is a helluva drug".

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14 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Wow, I look at this product as a whole, taking everything into consideration, and can’t think of another one like it. 

 

I'm honestly lost as to what you see that is different.  Can you elaborate? 


To paraphrase Rick James, "sighted listening is a helluva drug".

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52 minutes ago, Ralf11 said:

the cost of the parts was subtracted out in the post up above

 

the huge amount left over must represent R&D + pure profit

 

I expect per unit profits to be much higher on a product that sells to a small market

 

but...  how much is going to "excess profits"??

 

a comparison test with a $10k DAC or a $5k DAC is what's needed

 

 

Only two of the parts to be fair. There are more parts inside the DAC, but I don't know the cost of those.


“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.” – Marcus Aurelius

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23 minutes ago, esldude said:

I'm honestly lost as to what you see that is different.  Can you elaborate? 

 

Sure digital goes in and analog comes out. But I believe this DAC is very unique. 

 

Think of all the things people may value when it comes to a product of any kind. I’m not saying I value all of these, just that this DAC has differences from others with respect to these as a whole. 

 

Craftsmanship

Materials

Component selection

Hand made 

Made in Europe

 

 

Plus, is there another DAC with these? Not saying I value all of them, but I know some are unique to this DAC. 

 

Echo's End Reference

Solid Panzerholz enclosure (it does the same thing for sensitive gear that it does for natural sound used for speakers).

Grounded custom hand made carbon fiber transformer shroud (really lowers the noise floor down to incredible stability at very high frequencies, important for Jitter reduction).

Cryogenically treated, solid copper, gold plated power inlet (Sound is smooth and dynamic as a result.)

Most precise resistors available (we only ever use the very best ones with the very best specs available).

Dual power supplies, dual Soekris boards, reprogrammed by LessLoss for dual mono configuration (this provides amazing stereo separation and a whole lot of nuance in terms of spacial presentation. Everything becomes more 3D and liquid. It is really nice when compared to a single board in normal stereo mode.)

XLR output derived from four mono channels of resistor ladders (output buffering schematics completely bypassed. This is possible because one board's Right channel converts the signal in phase and the Left channel converts the same digital signal out-of-phase. The phase reversal is done still in the digital realm, so the balanced signal is digitally perfect, without noise from an output buffer. This provides amazing clarity, transparency; a holographic sound and a super low noise floor.)

LessLoss special custom S/PDIF - I2S conversion schematic (developed and manufactured by LessLoss, it is much better than Soekris onboard solution).

LessLoss controlled automatic digital input selection (Soekris boards receive only I2S from LessLoss board)

LessLoss unique 3.3V generation for internal I2S (The USB 5V supply is discarded; and the 3.3V is made with our own power stabilizer and Firewall 64X technology. It is super smooth and stable. Makes you forget you are listening to a computer USB source!)

All floating bolts point-to-point star grounded (you can see this in the picture as silver looking wires coming from bolt to bolt throughout). This lowers the internal noise reflections and makes it dead silent inside.

New integrated Firewall 64X technology (6 units implemented here. This is brand new technology, the best we ever made.)

C-MARC™ internal hook-up wire (All power and analogue signal leads are C-MARC™. This takes a lot of labor to prepare but we feel the results are so organic and natural with great speed but never getting tiring to the ear. Well worth the extra effort.

DSD (2x) ready over USB.

Plays up to 192 kHz sampling rate PCM data.

Hand polished 100% natural beeswax impregnated (Looks very beautiful in real life, even smells really good, too, though never overpowering.)

Will have a precision engraved brass placard on the front of the unit, with model name engraved by laser on top.

Ships in a LessLoss branded water-tight flight case


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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MAIN - Peach Audio Balanced Isolation Power Supply,   Sonore microRendu + Uptone LPS-1,  
 LH Labs Geek Pulse S Infinity + LPS1,     McIntosh MA2275,  
Paradigm 30th Anniversary Tributes,    SVS SB13-Ultra,    Van Den Hul + Isotek DIY cables,    Nordost Sort Kone AC
 
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PREVIOUSLY OWNED - Definitive Technology BP7006,     Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC USB

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