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On 1/2/2020 at 8:41 PM, mevdinc said:

That's what I did when I used DACs with no volume control but a good DAC with a decent pre section gives much better results than using software volume control.
My current Musicbook has a very good analog volume control. I may just use it as a pre if I go for the MAY DAC.

 

Well, technically properly done digital volume control is much better than anything you can achieve with analog.

 

But how about something like this as pre?

https://www.stereophile.com/content/benchmark-la4-line-preamplifier

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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On 1/1/2020 at 7:30 AM, louisxiawei said:

Some subjective listening impressions:

 

To better check any difference MAY could possibly bring compared to my previous DAC8, I applied the same HQplayer settings on MAY as on DAC8 DSD, so only DSD512 part. I will check the R2R or DSD1024 bit later on. MAY just has more fun to explore, needs take some time I'm afraid.

 

In general, I find MAY's sounding is very neutral, transparent and resolving. By comparison, I think DAC8 is obviously warmer while MAY is obviously calmer. This "clam" is not related to "not musical" or "thin" sounding, maybe I should say more neutral. 

 

- I'm quite picky about solo piano tone and will always test the piano track first on any new dac. So I played some good DSD piano recording from Challenge Classics label and I think MAY offers equally satisfactions as DAC8. I personally judge the performance of piano playback as an indication of sound tuned to be authentic. 

 

- You might be worried about this "calmness" of MAY might have some trade off like the mid range will not be soothing or musical. But it is not the case. I picked some tracks from some female singers who have edgy or airy voice like Kate Melua, Stacey Kent, Kat Edmonson. The vocal part is musical and pleasing with good density yet the instrumental part is being more neutral and transparent. 

 

- The thing I'm struggling/uncertain to judge now is about the bass. At first listen, I think DAC8 has more punchy and bouncy bass but then I notice that I prefer some other tracks' bass on MAY. For example, I prefer DAC8's more juicy bass when playing Coldplay's album. When playing some Daft Punk's tracks, then I think the bass on MAY is just about right and I can hear more bass details. I'm not sure if it's appropriate to conclude MAY offers better quality bass rather than quantity. I'm also not sure whether the warm/clam tune may have an effect on bass or not. Need more time to check.

 

As you can see in my system, I'm also a Spectral Audio fan. So you might somehow speculate my taste as natural, neutral, transparency, fast. If you want to ask me which one of these two DACs possesses more similar character to Spectral gear. I'm quite sure it's MAY. 

 

 

Thanks for great review! The rest of your system looks fantastic! Hope you will post your experience with R2R listening as well.  Thanks.

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Where is the May actually available? Or is it? I can't find it online. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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On 1/6/2020 at 9:44 PM, Miska said:

 

Well, technically properly done digital volume control is much better than anything you can achieve with analog.

 

But how about something like this as pre?

https://www.stereophile.com/content/benchmark-la4-line-preamplifier

 

Sure, I agree re digital volume.
But I also need just one analog input for home cinema use so hence my preference for a good DAC with a decent pre and one analog input such as what I have now.

Thanks for the pointer, Benchmark LA4 does indeed look like good.
 

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

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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  • 3 weeks later...
18 minutes ago, louisxiawei said:

Frankly speaking, I personally think R2R part sound is a bit dull compared to SDM part when using HQplayer. Less holographic and organic. I don't have other R2R dacs to compare with it at the moment because I used to avoid purchasing ladder type dac.

 

I prefer ASDM7EC DSD256 over AMSDM7 512+fs DSD512 a lot when listening to vocal. I was a bit shocked when I hear a much better presence of vocal detail like spittle, lip smacking and saliva these kind of things. For orchestral, DSD512 is preferred.

 

I have the Denafrips Terminator, before that the ARMATURE Asterion (Holo Spring) DAC, both are R2R-DACs. I prefer DSD for both.

 

Actually a shame not to use the R2R, since this is only possible for PCM. Especially with the Terminator (PCM 1.536kHz).

 

But what should I do? As with you, ASDM7EC DSD256 simply sounds more organic and give more Space.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Can anyone confirm this? It seems the volume buttons on the remote don't function! Does this mean Holo MAY does not offer volume control?

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

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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11 hours ago, normanlu said:

No volume control at all.

Thanks for the confirmation.

That's a real shame and also a deal breaker for me. :(

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

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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On 2/8/2020 at 3:23 AM, clipper said:

Hans Beekhuyzen - Holo Audio May Dac (Level 2):

 

 

I sense him discouraging the oversampling apporach. Quite a pity he has missed so much fun. 😏

Software: Roon, Tidal, HQplayer 

HQplayer PC: i9 7980XE, Titan Xp; i9 9900K, Titan V

DAC: Holo Audio MAY L2, T+A DAC8 DSD, exasound e12, iFi micro iDSD BL

USB tweaks: Intona, Uptone (ISO) regen, LPS-1, LPS-1.2, Sbooster Vbus2, Curious cables, SUPRA Certified HiSpeed USB cable

NAA: Logic CL100, Uptone JS-2

AMP: Spectral DMC 30SV, Spectral DMA 300RS

Speaker: Magico S3 MKII

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  • 2 months later...

I am new to Holo DACs and have been looking at other r2r products. I was very impressed by Hans B.'s reaction in his review. I was considering a Terminator and want to compare that with offerings from Aqua,dcs and MSB. The Terminator is about the same price point and the others while more expensive would provide a upper bar of performance.

 

Does the Holo May hold its own against any of these other products?

 

Hopefully there will be reviews of these eventually or a way to compare them. 

 

It looks like Holo is a direct to consumer no dealers?

 

Thanks

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Holo Audio are distributed in US by Kitsune Hifi and in Europe by Magna Hifi. Wildism are the main stockist in SE Asia.

 

I can't comment on relative performance of the May against those other r2r DAC's, but it seems like a very well engineered device.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've now got a may on order and it should be here mid-june (went for the wildism L2).
Planning to connect it directly to the AHB2 and use Roon/HQPlayer volume control rather than a preamp given as I'll only need a few dB of volume control.

Only thing I'm considering now is what the ideal input is. I know the original spring had some issues with its USB, but supposedly the later revisions of spring 2 and now the may are much better.
Not to mention the May buffers and reclocks all digital inputs, so I'm not entirely sure if using I2S etc is going to provide a benefit over USB anyway.

Has anyone here tried multiple inputs and could comment? I'm torn between:

- Keeping my pi3b endpoint and calling it a day
- Getting an Sotm SMS200 Ultra and connecting the dac via USB
- Getting a pi2AES and using the i2s output.

I'm not sure if the may would actually benefit from the sms200 ultra given its FIFO buffering/reclocking anyway. Would someone more knowledgeable be able to shed some light on this area?

I don't know if i'll be using HQPlayer with it or not. I use HQPlayer with my current ADI-2 DAC as I dislike its internal filters, but will have to play around with the may once it arrives.

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On 5/8/2020 at 9:08 PM, Miska said:

And with some DSP help you can boost these R2R's to even better performance (20+ dB distortion improvements at low levels)...

 

What sort of DSP tweaks would you use with a dac like the May?

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2 hours ago, GoldenOne said:

I've now got a may on order and it should be here mid-june (went for the wildism L2).
Planning to connect it directly to the AHB2 and use Roon/HQPlayer volume control rather than a preamp given as I'll only need a few dB of volume control.

Only thing I'm considering now is what the ideal input is. I know the original spring had some issues with its USB, but supposedly the later revisions of spring 2 and now the may are much better.
Not to mention the May buffers and reclocks all digital inputs, so I'm not entirely sure if using I2S etc is going to provide a benefit over USB anyway.

Has anyone here tried multiple inputs and could comment? I'm torn between:

- Keeping my pi3b endpoint and calling it a day
- Getting an Sotm SMS200 Ultra and connecting the dac via USB
- Getting a pi2AES and using the i2s output.

I'm not sure if the may would actually benefit from the sms200 ultra given its FIFO buffering/reclocking anyway. Would someone more knowledgeable be able to shed some light on this area?

I don't know if i'll be using HQPlayer with it or not. I use HQPlayer with my current ADI-2 DAC as I dislike its internal filters, but will have to play around with the may once it arrives.

I know some people like I2S, but it is somewhat flawed in a technical sense vs. USB.  The USB input on the May has been shown through jitter measurements to be very, very good.  I would expect best performance using the USB input via a very, very good Renderer.  Using a Renderer allows your (powerful one needed for HQP of course) computer to be located far from the audio system where things like electrical and RF interference and even fan noise will be of no concern.  I work with Sonore, so of course you know my preference for Renderers!  Regardless, you will want to use a Renderer which has the HQP NAA protocol available.

ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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1 hour ago, barrows said:

I know some people like I2S, but it is somewhat flawed in a technical sense vs. USB.  The USB input on the May has been shown through jitter measurements to be very, very good.  I would expect best performance using the USB input via a very, very good Renderer.  Using a Renderer allows your (powerful one needed for HQP of course) computer to be located far from the audio system where things like electrical and RF interference and even fan noise will be of no concern.  I work with Sonore, so of course you know my preference for Renderers!  Regardless, you will want to use a Renderer which has the HQP NAA protocol available.

Yeah I think it was more a case of the original USB implementation wasn't great, and so people used I2S.

But the main thing I'm curious about is the May's FIFO buffering+Reclocking solution. Because in theory that should mean that the digital source shouldn't matter, at least not unless the incoming jitter is horrendous and beyond what the PLL can handle.

The spring didn't have that.
Also the may no longer uses an LVDS chipset, but a custom 4 way circuit for the i2s inputs which isolates each line, so that could have an effect.

I really don't know.
Problem is unfortunately trying out different things here is incredibly expensive

 

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