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15 hours ago, Quadman said:

This May was clearly a step up from the T+A, which I had thought was audio Nirvana at DSD512.

This is very good news. Many thanks Quadman. At present, also I am basically thinking that the T+A DAC8DSD at DSD512 is audio nirvana ... However, at times, I have the impression that bass transparency/speed could still be a tad better as well as the soundstage depth. I had realized this e.g. in comparisons to my Chord Mojo which however is lacking in other departments such as physical presence. Seems that the May is delivering both great timing as well as physical presence. Great that this can be achieved at a reasonable price.

Apple Powerbook G4 15\", iTunes, Metric Halo LIO-8, active speakers

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@Quadman you are using your DACs not directly connected to power amps right? Did you ever try to bypass your preamp and to use HQP volume control for example? Setting the T+A to fixed output connected directly to power amps with volume controlled in software is where I got best SQ with the DAC8DSD. Would be very interesting to hear how well the May performs in such a setting when fed with DSD512.

Apple Powerbook G4 15\", iTunes, Metric Halo LIO-8, active speakers

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For Holo May connecting to active speakers, would using HQPlayer to control the volume be a good choice? How does this compare with using a pre-amp, say Holo's Serene?

 

Would appreciate any input and suggestions! After all Serene is also expensive.

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Well, to start:

 

- you would not have a detrimental effect of contact resistance X 2  (RCA's / XLR's) on sound quality

- same applies to one interconnect cable (which you would not have to use).... each cable will have specific capacitance, inductance, resistance and the cable material (copper, silver) would also provide their own coloration

- one less HiFi unit to pollute the power outlet

Now, here comes the pre-amp in itself:

- switches / potentiometers.... still only contacts / wipers / relays, all causing sound degradation

- resistors, capacitors, PCB traces... same as above

- internal hook-up wiring, PCB design => additional capacitance , inductance, resistance

- active elements (transistors / valves); each gain stage will introduce a bandwidth limiting, phase shifts (that will not be the same for the full frequency spectrum, even audio spectrum)... 

 

 

 

 

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I will be using a stupendously good preamplifier with my KTE dac , Sparkos Lab Aries , built in Colorado and for 3k it’s a stupid good bargain.
Sure that puts in about the same price category as the Serene however the Sparkos Lab has much to offer , transparency in spades including a list of other attributes this preamplifier has.

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18 minutes ago, Hiker said:

I will be using a stupendously good preamplifier

Indeed, I had tought that my Ayre KX-5 falls into the same category ... and with all other DACs experienced in my system so far it had a crucial role. Nevertheless, using the T+A DAC8DSD direct to power amps with software volume control gave such a wonderful purity to sound that made the great KX-5 clearly superfluous in my system. I would expect the same to hold for the May.

Apple Powerbook G4 15\", iTunes, Metric Halo LIO-8, active speakers

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similar experience here, first "no preamp is like no preamp", than from different Preamps to Pass (XP-20). Imho good preamps open the Soundstage...and the May can prepair this Job excellent...

It is as always a question of personal taste and synergie... 

 

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2 hours ago, Toni-Mang said:

good preamps open the Soundstage...

I had experienced the benefits of a high-end preamp as well. Before that I had hoped so much that no preamp would be better than a preamp. With several DACs in my house, this has clearly not been the case and the preamp ended up being a crucial element in my chain. Also I had been very sceptical to use software volume control and in fact in many of my settings it did not turn out to be convincing. Even more surprised I was to experience how great the HQPlayer volume control is working when using the DAC8DSD directly on the power amps. In fact, being biased from previous experiences, I was very close not to try that setting at all which would have been a big pitty.

2 hours ago, Toni-Mang said:

It is as always a question of personal taste and synergie...

Often yes ... but not so with the T+A DAC8DSD once fed with DSD512, set to fixed volume output and using HQPlayer volume control: The added sonic purity is clearly evident and amounts to added realism in my opinion. Here adding my preamp added something somewhat artifical ... but of course I have only a very limited hands-on experience with one single high-end preamp.

 

Still with these experiences, one of my first tests with the Holo Audio May would be to see how well it would be working directly connected to power amps when controling volume within HQPlayer. I really would not like to add back a preamp and for me I will pick my next DAC - maybe the Holo Audio May - only if the preamp turns out to be superfluous ...  Even when focussing on one single preamp, too many additional variables/elements all affecting SQ to a significant extend: one additional pair of interconnects, one more power chord and one more set of footers under the preamp ...

 

PS Appearantly - as can be read in @ray-dude's extreme writeup here on this page - with a Chord DAVE this can even be driven further by connecting the DAVE directly to highly efficient speakers for maximum transparency. Very tempting.

Apple Powerbook G4 15\", iTunes, Metric Halo LIO-8, active speakers

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Preamplifiers , I understand that however my personal experience with a new server has put me on a new path , it prompted  me sell off my aging system .
The Sparkos preamplifier was purchased primarily for headphone listening , I plugged it in my main system for a listen . What I noticed right away was a little jump of a living presence with vocals , a more human sound with well recorded person speaking and with vocals , which is very , very pleasing to my ears and so much more enjoyable then I have ever heard in my system .

 

Thats just my experience,,. 

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To pre or not to pre will always be situational and personal preference.  That being said, if one looking at a DAC like the May or any other high quality unit for that matter, how would you approach running dual / multi subs?  Running a signal direct from the amp(s) to sub can be an option but what else?

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I use a splitter and drive a powered sub and the power amplifier in parallel, room-corrected with acourate.  But a more elegant solution is to use a multichannel dac like the okto or exasound and drive it with HQP implementing digital cross-overs or use DIrac with bass management.  I would not consider trying to implement multiple subwoofers without DSP room-correction because you are just going to mess it up otherwise.  

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1 hour ago, Hiker said:

Preamplifiers , I understand that however my personal experience with a new server has put me on a new path , it prompted  me sell off my aging system .
The Sparkos preamplifier was purchased primarily for headphone listening , I plugged it in my main system for a listen . What I noticed right away was a little jump of a living presence with vocals , a more human sound with well recorded person speaking and with vocals , which is very , very pleasing to my ears and so much more enjoyable then I have ever heard in my system .

 

Thats just my experience,,. 

If you like that better, great, but you need to understand that the sound which you are preferring is a coloration, and not part of the original recording.  There is nothing wrong with that, you are welcome to like whatever you prefer.  For those who prefer to hear a high fidelity to the the original recording, using a DAC with a robust output stage direct to the amp(s) will achieve that end.

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

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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5 minutes ago, barrows said:

If you like that better, great, but you need to understand that the sound which you are preferring is a coloration, and not part of the original recording.  There is nothing wrong with that, you are welcome to like whatever you prefer.  For those who prefer to hear a high fidelity to the the original recording, using a DAC with a robust output stage direct to the amp(s) will achieve that end.

I see , a more natural more living presence with a well recorded human voice is nothing but a coloration,...

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54 minutes ago, scintilla said:

I use a splitter and drive a powered sub and the power amplifier in parallel, room-corrected with acourate.  But a more elegant solution is to use a multichannel dac like the okto or exasound and drive it with HQP implementing digital cross-overs or use DIrac with bass management.  I would not consider trying to implement multiple subwoofers without DSP room-correction because you are just going to mess it up otherwise.  

Those are options for sure and may be required is some instances + rooms but totally unnecessary in others with proper setup.  My pre has multiple outs and thus I use my subs settings for bass mgmt - the integration is ridiculously good in my current setup.

 

I was just curious how some are doing multi subs without pre when going dac direct.  I personally wouldn't be interested in getting a multi chnl dac "just because".  Anyway this is getting way OT and there are plenty of pre discussion threads.  Back to Holo discussions everyone!

 

 

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My pair of REL subs is connected via the high level outputs of the monos. Then they are placed on the sides at half the depth of the room. The crossover between mains and subs is set to be below 80 Hz. Works ok ... but here (with my T+A and it would be the same with a May unfortunately) I really miss to have a multichannel DAC. Thus, I am still dreaming of a multichannel version of either the T+A or the May (or a DAVE). Also the ExaSound S88 looks highly interesting this way. I know for sure that using Acourate and Audiolense with a multichannel DAC would allow for much better sub-integration ... however the realism offered by the T+A native DSD DAC was just too convincing so that I had to keep it ... and it seems that the same would hold (and maybe even more so) for the May.

Apple Powerbook G4 15\", iTunes, Metric Halo LIO-8, active speakers

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