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Danny Kaey

Article: LessLoss Echo’s End Reference DAC Full Review

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11 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

 

but maybe made in Romania or Bulgaria, no matter where the designer lives...

The Echo's End DAC is made by LessLoss right here in Lithuania. We have here a VAT tax rate of 21% and income tax rate of 15-35%, not to mention mandatory state social security tax. Whoever said that the retail price does not include international shipping is incorrect. Our prices include international shipping via 2-3 day courier with full tracking on every item we sell, including all versions of the Echo's End DAC. 

Kaiser acoustics currently use the twin enclosure Echo's End Reference Supreme edition, having compared it to other cost-no-object DACs costing $100k. Ours is about one third that price. 

 

How do we do it? By being very careful to spend exactly on those features and implementations which bring direct sonic advantage. This is done by a lot of experience and countless direct listening evaluations. 

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This "review" was painful to read. Too much fluff and half of the review was about the other equipment used. This is a dac. It converts digital to analog. No need to know what brand nas and laptop you use. The fact that the author was waxing poetic about all odbthe file formats the dac was able to handle leads me to believe technology might not be his strong suit. Next time it would be good to see some charts, graphs, etc. 

 

Reviews like this are proof that some of these things should be conducted like wine tastings. You don't see the label, you don't know the brand. You only review based on what's in the glass.   Same here, I have a feeling this review was heavily Influenced by looks and marketing materials

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1 hour ago, Louis Motek - LessLoss said:

Kaiser acoustics currently use the twin enclosure Echo's End Reference Supreme edition, having compared it to other cost-no-object DACs costing $100k. Ours is about one third that price. 

 

Do Kaiser make demos with it at HIGH END Munich in May?

Thanks

 

Matt

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14 hours ago, Archimago said:

 

Hi Danny,

Yeah, well that's the thing isn't it? Many companies are pricing their devices way beyond what I suspect 99% of audiophiles are likely willing to pay. If one places "sound quality" as the #1 priority, it is I believe realistic to say that there is no need to own a beautiful sounding DAC anywhere approaching that 20k price figure.

 

Those kinds of prices are chasing the luxury market. The company knows they will sell very few; and they only need to sell a few to make a profit. What I've for years called "non-utilitarian" features of the device like how it looks, the exotic materials they're made of, or pride of ownership of something "special". I have no problem if anyone buys a device with those goals in mind.

 

I know companies want to link the two: high-priced device made of unique construction/material = "better sound quality" and will create all kinds of "attribution theories" to explain why their device is special (such as the wood material having better vibration control). That linkage of ideas of course is not necessarily true. While I would love the look and feel of Panzerholz, there is as others have noted no reason to think this is any better than thick metal shielding for a DAC.

 

Yeah... Lots of companies with lots of high priced goods. Nice to have options. But "good sound quality" I think is best correlated to the physical characteristics of the sound waves in our rooms and the quality of the electrical signals. For me, that's where "job #1" lies when it comes to writing a review and impressing upon the the readers that the gear is worthy/valuable for their consideration...

 

completely in agreement with you - I have seen my fair share of fancy and extremely expensive casework make its way through Chez K only to be largely disappointed with the overall sound quality. Therein lies one of the problems with high-end audio... not that there aren't any other problems with it.......... 🤣

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Serious question regarding the casing: Would it influence the audio signal a wood enclosure versus an aluminum/metal enclosure? ...Say in an audio rack in proximity of other audio components and in the vicinity of audio interconnects, AC power cords and outlets, etc. ...Even a display nearby, or a laptop. 

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Possible, sure.  Metal shielding is a bit of an art form, small changes can make big differences, but you are always reflecting or dissipating energy.  Dielectrics (insulators like wood/teflon/PVC) will always absorb/slow down airborne wave forms, but not reflect much energy if at all.  Whether these effects are audible to most people is open to debate. 

 

In an ideal world,  an all dielectric solution MAY work better, but there are things to consider there.  Dielectrics work best when there are air gaps between signal/power wires, and the dielectric material itself contains a fair % of air in it's composition.  Kind of like foam.  When you foam an insulator like that, it gains volume/thickness quickly.  So you may gain performance but at the cost of added bulk, not to mention this route is more expensive to design. 

 

I would imagine that a MDF entertainment center should do an OK job of keeping interference between components minimized, as it is quite thick and contains a good % of air.  The enclosure for this DAC is probably most of the cost, just due to material selection.  And like I stated earlier, subject to debate as to how much of an effect there actually is.

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5 minutes ago, soekris said:

I'm a little tired of people claiming that with 0.01% resistor it can't be more than a 13-14 bit DAC, while the measurements of my dam1021 module show a dynamic range of at least 130 dB....

Dynamic range is not the same thing as linearity.

 

8 minutes ago, soekris said:

We can agree that the pcm1704 was the best audio DAC chip ever made

No, we cannot. If it was, they'd still be making it.

 

8 minutes ago, soekris said:

So I couldn't make a DAC based on the pcm1704, and then started to think, it can't be that complicated to make a discrete sign magnitude DAC.

Complicated, no. Accurate? Also no.

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27 minutes ago, mansr said:

Dynamic range is not the same thing as linearity.

 

No, we cannot. If it was, they'd still be making it.

 

Complicated, no. Accurate? Also no.

You need the linearity to get the dynamic range. And the key here is level linearity, which is where the sign magnitude DAC really shines....

 

Just because the pcm1704 was the best, does not mean that TI was making money on it.... And semiconductor manufacturer like to keep their expensive fabs used for money making parts....

 

So what DAC chip do you consider the best ?

 

And the dam1021 is accurate enough to that the customers like it, just read the dam1021 thread at diyaudio.com....

 

Seems like the audio community is divided in two parts, those that trust their ears and those that believe in numbers....

 

 


Søren

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8 hours ago, mav52 said:

Agree Chris. Listeners listen to what they like, they like their system regardless of what some might want them to think.  It ain't about them that's for sure.  Like you said, who cares, only the ones that want you to be just like them. 😉

 

The point is, what are you after? If one enjoys the slant that a particular rig applies to everything it plays that's perfectly OK - but some then confuse that with the concept that "it's better at playback than other systems!".

 

My own interest is in hearing what's on the recording, less additives - the rig is merely a means to an end.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

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

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4 hours ago, Axial said:

Serious question regarding the casing: Would it influence the audio signal a wood enclosure versus an aluminum/metal enclosure? ...Say in an audio rack in proximity of other audio components and in the vicinity of audio interconnects, AC power cords and outlets, etc. ...Even a display nearby, or a laptop. 

 

Most assuredly, Bob. Every time I do an major run at tweaking it turns out "everything matters"; one would be swamped by the number of things that one can experiment with, so I tend to focus on a different batch of areas with each effort.

 

I end up pushing a particular combo of gear into what I consider an acceptable level of performance - I could always go much further, but there are only so many hours in the day ... :D.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

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

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15 minutes ago, soekris said:

You need the linearity to get the dynamic range. And the key here is level linearity, which is where the sign magnitude DAC really shines....

Crossover distortion is just one of many problems with a ladder DAC. At full scale, the distortion of a discrete resistor ladder is at best equivalent to 14 bits or thereabouts.

 

15 minutes ago, soekris said:

Just because the pcm1704 was the best, does not mean that TI was making money on it.... And semiconductor manufacturer like to keep their expensive fabs used for money making parts....

If it was that great, they could have raised the price enough to make it profitable. In actuality, they made a better and cheaper DAC, presumably resulting in higher profits.

 

15 minutes ago, soekris said:

So what DAC chip do you consider the best?

Who cares?

 

15 minutes ago, soekris said:

And the dam1021 is accurate enough to that the customers like it, just read the dam1021 thread at diyaudio.com....

I'm sure it's good enough that the sound is acceptable. A THD+N of 70 dB or so is sufficient to beat vinyl, after all.

 

15 minutes ago, soekris said:

Seems like the audio community is divided in two parts, those that trust their ears and those that believe in numbers....

I think you mean eyes (on the price tag), not ears.

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I got my first round of "blow me over with a feather" SQ with a CDP that used a single PCM56, not even the premium version, per channel. This old warhorse chip has pretty miserable specs by today's standards - but that didn't get in the way of the system projecting massive soundstages, etc.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

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

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I thought the latest ESS Sabre DAC was the best. 

 

Anyway, it's the sound that counts, coming out from the measurements and the measured loudspeakers...the entire connection. ...The synergy of the implementation of all parts...big and small...everything's important, even our bank accounts, and cable transfers. 

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7 minutes ago, Axial said:

Delete 

 

Lend the DAC to Archimago so that he can put it on its paste from his test bench.

Hey, I'd like to see that, I always like to see more and hear more.

 

That'll be the day ...

 

Stereophile, with the proper connections ...

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23 hours ago, Axial said:

Serious question regarding the casing: Would it influence the audio signal a wood enclosure versus an aluminum/metal enclosure? ...Say in an audio rack in proximity of other audio components and in the vicinity of audio interconnects, AC power cords and outlets, etc. ...Even a display nearby, or a laptop. 

 

Not a chance.  And if it did influence it, it would be in a negative way.  Think about all of the high precision laboratory equipment, medical devices, quantum computers, space shuttle electronics, etc. that are not encapsulated in a wooden box.   Its fine if someone wants to make a product like this and jack up the price;  I get it, there is a level of craftsmanship here.  But to say the wooden box is there because of performance reasons is absurd.

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On 4/23/2019 at 8:09 PM, Danny Kaey said:

 

That’s absolutely correct - duckduckgo-ing the interwebs, you’ll find that pointed out in other reviews. Then again, I wasn’t reviewing the Soekris DAC DIY module. My question is simply this: so what? I can buy Sabre and TI chips all day long and won’t be able to make a box sound anywhere near as good as proper digital gurus using the same parts. This DAC’s magic lies in the overall execution leveraging pre-fabed modules. Nothing wrong with that. If LL want to charge ten times the asking price for the finished product, let them. The market will decide if it’s saleable or not. 

 

😎

 

 

That's like reviewing a server and failing to mention it has a xeon processor with an intel motherboard.  Do the components of this device not matter at all?  Or was this review supposed to just be about the box and user experience without delving into any technical data.  Also, why are you using pics from the manufacturer?  I would think a review would include photos of what it really looks like.

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Will Kaiser demo with Lessloss in Munich?

 

Usually in Munich we partner with Audionote Kondo Japan - which is deeply into analogue vinyl playback.

 

We will have two systems with turntables and maybe a DAC. Kondo is not in favour of having a DAC.

And when we have a DAC on the small system it should be one which is very well known. Sadly the Echo End Ref 2 chassis dac is not so well known as the MSB Ref DAC for example.

So we will have most probably the MSB REF dac with femto options and 2 external power supplies,

 

Privately in my showroom I listen to Lessloss  :). If you want to listen to this extraordinary machine and compare to vinyl or other DACs you can do that in the Kaiser showroom.

 

Best regards

 

Rainer Weber

Kaiser Acoustics

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On 4/24/2019 at 1:05 AM, BrokeLinuxPhile said:

Interesting that the first link that comes up when you google panzerholz is the LessLoss website.

Just because  you have never heard of it, doesn't mean it hasn't been around. I have it on some machines in my shop including one that dates back to the 80's. A decade ago I looked into it for a project. IIRC, there was only one US dealer and a 10 sheet minimum.


Forrest:

Win10 i7 3770k HQPlayer>Win10 NAA

DSD512>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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Oh i've heard of it before, like you said it's been around forever and I know it as tank wood.  Considering it is so widely used especially in speaker cabinets, it is strange to me that the first web link returned on google search is LessLoss a pretty small company.  

 

They aren't using it in the typical manner.  I would expect the first returned link to be something like a wiki page or distributor, not a company pushing cabling/dacs.  Odd.

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On 4/26/2019 at 3:04 PM, Nsummy said:

Not a chance.  And if it did influence it, it would be in a negative way.  Think about all of the high precision laboratory equipment, medical devices, quantum computers, space shuttle electronics, etc. that are not encapsulated in a wooden box.   Its fine if someone wants to make a product like this and jack up the price;  I get it, there is a level of craftsmanship here.  But to say the wooden box is there because of performance reasons is absurd.

 

 

The design requirements here, for a consumer in home audio device, are way different than the scenarios you are describing.  All the high precision applications you quoted main concern above all is durability.  Another problem is regulatory issues often requiring metal or nothing.  Of course metal wins out there.    Panzerholz cost more as well, why spend more when it will just fall apart in a humid/harsh environment, gets wet in a hospital, etc.  It is extremely dense so it should dissipate RF energy well as long as it doesn't get wet or beat on.

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