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Article: EMM Labs DV2 DAC Review

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Wow, impressive write up. If you say it equals or beats anything you've heard, that's saying something.

Would love to hear one of these.

It would be interesting if someone compared it to his 2 least expensive DACs and described the difference.


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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23 minutes ago, firedog said:

Wow, impressive write up. If you say it equals or beats anything you've heard, that's saying something.

Would love to hear one of these.

It would be interesting if someone compared it to his 2 least expensive DACs and described the difference.

Thanks firedog. Yeah, this DAC is really something special. I've loved EMM DACs since I first heard the DAC 2X many years ago. The DV2 is on another level though. I think getting rid of the preamp requirement is a great thing for EMM. I wish the company had a Meitner Audio branded DAC with volume control because I must admit the price for the DV2 is quite steep. 


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Chris, my understanding is that the DV2 is MQA-compatible. It'd be great to get Ed's views on MQA, and why he's decided to include it in the DV2. Is it just to give owners choice, or is it because he feels it has sonic merits?

 

Mani.


Phasure Mach III audio PC -> HQPlayer/XXHighEnd @24/705.6 -> Phasure NOS1 DAC -> First Watt F5-cloned mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima horn speakers

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2 minutes ago, manisandher said:

Chris, my understanding is that the DV2 is MQA-compatible. It'd be great to get Ed's views on MQA, and why he's decided to include it in the DV2. Is it just to give owners choice, or is it because he feels it has sonic merits?

 

Mani.

It's in this interview.

 

 


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4 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

It's in this interview.

 

Ah, missed that. Will take a look at it. Thanks.

 

Mani.


Phasure Mach III audio PC -> HQPlayer/XXHighEnd @24/705.6 -> Phasure NOS1 DAC -> First Watt F5-cloned mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima horn speakers

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What is suspending the granite slabs off the carpet?  

 

Unrelated, a warning your wife was out of town would've almost certainly avoided your prized fruit being bruised.  ;)

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4 minutes ago, rando said:

What is suspending the granite slabs off the carpet? 

High end Everbilt carpet sliders. $5.78 for four. 

 

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-3-1-2-in-Beige-Reusable-Round-Furniture-Sliders-for-Carpet-4-Pack-804284/306229456


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1 hour ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

High end Everbilt carpet sliders. $5.78 for four. 

 

Expected a link to somewhere you had digitally print "Audiophile Style" on them for you.  Next time.  x-D

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1 hour ago, input username here said:

Great review Chris.  And I've always had a very soft spot for EMM Labs DACs--my first truly reference DAC was from EMM Labs... but herein lies a problem.  In the review, you said that the DV2 is "the first digital to analog converter from EMM to include built-in volume control."  This is not true however.  My EMM LABs, DAC, the DCC2, also had a volume control.  (Here's a link to the DCC2 brochure from EMM Labs.)

 

Unlike the DV2, the DCC2's volume control was analog--based, I believe on their Switchman preamp technology).   In fact, using an analog volume control/pre circuitry allowed the DCC2 to have pure analog inputs too.

 

Anyway, thanks for the review Chris, and thanks too for making me think back to my DCC2, which I still remember very fondly.  Meitner did--and does--make some very special gear.  And while $30k is an insane amount of cash of any audio equipment, when you compare it to, say, the MSB Select /Reference DACs or the dcs Vivaldi stack today (or as I did against the dcs Elgar stack back then), I always thought that EMM Labs actually delivered very good (SoTA) value for the money.

Thanks so much for the correction and info!


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Just now, Andy Yuen said:

Hi Chris,

 

I shall say it again - This is your best write-up! No need to read between the line! Thank you so much.

Thank you Andy, that means a lot to me. I do my best to write in a straight forward way and say what I mean. You guys give me your time, by reading the site, it's on me to give you something back. 


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Chris,

Thanks for this review.  I loved my MA-1 for years.  And as you know I love DSD implementations.  :)

 

Question:  do you have any fave or well-learned recordings in both DSD and PCM and compared them into the DV2?  IOW, how well does the DV2 internally upsample PCM to 16xDSD vs great PCM dacs you've had?  Do the DSD recordings win over their PCM counterparts (realize this is oversimplified cuz there are VERY few samples of native PCM and natve DSD coming from same recording/mastering..maybe analog tape to digital is bigger pool)?  The Norah Jones DSD and PCM boxsets are a good example, as they use different mastering engineers but get to a similar place.  My Holo dac sounded better with the PCM set at 384 than even the DSD at DSD512.  First world hair splitting I know.  :)

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3 minutes ago, ted_b said:

Chris,

Thanks for this review.  I loved my MA-1 for years.  And as you know I love DSD implementations.  :)

 

Question:  do you have any fave or well-learned recordings in both DSD and PCM and compared them into the DV2?  IOW, how well does the DV2 internally upsample PCM to 16xDSD vs great PCM dacs you've had?  Do the DSD recordings win over their PCM counterparts (realize this is oversimplified cuz there are VERY few samples of native PCM and natve DSD coming from same recording/mastering..maybe analog tape to digital is bigger pool)?  The Norah Jones DSD and PCM boxsets are a good example, as they use different mastering engineers but get to a similar place.  My Holo dac sounded better with the PCM set at 384 than even the DSD at DSD512.  First world hair splitting I know.  :)

Hi Ted - This is something I haven't tried with the DV2. As you say, it's really hard to get an  to  comparison. 

 

You were early on the MA-1 train and I fully understand why. It's a great DAC for reasonable money.


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1 hour ago, ted_b said:

Chris,

Thanks for this review.  I loved my MA-1 for years.  And as you know I love DSD implementations.  :)

 

Question:  do you have any fave or well-learned recordings in both DSD and PCM and compared them into the DV2?  IOW, how well does the DV2 internally upsample PCM to 16xDSD vs great PCM dacs you've had?  Do the DSD recordings win over their PCM counterparts (realize this is oversimplified cuz there are VERY few samples of native PCM and natve DSD coming from same recording/mastering..maybe analog tape to digital is bigger pool)?  The Norah Jones DSD and PCM boxsets are a good example, as they use different mastering engineers but get to a similar place.  My Holo dac sounded better with the PCM set at 384 than even the DSD at DSD512.  First world hair splitting I know.  :)


Hey Ted,

 

We can’t thank you enough for the long-lasting support. We’re very happy to hear you’re enjoying the MA1 V2. If there’s ever anything we can help you with, please don’t hesitate to let us know. 
 

All the best.

 

-Ed & the EMM Labs team. 

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1 hour ago, Andy Yuen said:

Hi Chris,

 

I shall say it again - This is your best write-up! No need to read between the line! Thank you so much.


Thank you Andy!

 

-Ed

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20 hours ago, manisandher said:

Chris, my understanding is that the DV2 is MQA-compatible. It'd be great to get Ed's views on MQA, and why he's decided to include it in the DV2. Is it just to give owners choice, or is it because he feels it has sonic merits?

 

Mani.

Well, not even glancing in that direction. Until MQA is not included

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Just now, EMM Labs said:

 

 

We included MQA support in the DV2 to satisfy market demand for it. Hard stop. IF customers want to listen to MQA material - the DV2 supports that material with MQA's filters.

 

That said, when non-MQA material is passed through the DV2 the MQA filters are bypassed completely.

 

We hope this answers your questions or concerns.

 

-Ed & the EMM Labs team.

 

The way I see it, including MQA in Your products equals endorsement.

Anyone that endorses a fake product will not get a purchase from me.

I mean why would I give money to someone that sell a product that includes a scam ?

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