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These units seem to measure well - like off the charts, or to the far left of the audio science review bar chart - but I wonder how the sound in nice hifi systems like the guys here tend own?  The SMSL and Topping units have incredibly low jitter, distortion...but I wonder how these units will drive amps, how good their output stages are...?

Tone with Soul

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Glad you like the D90.  My son (very frugal) needs a system and believe I'd recommend it to him.

 

Early Mytek adopter myself, so I use a Brooklyn + running my amp directly to nice effect, but it's limited on Mac to DSD128 whereas these newer units could do DSD256.

 

Would be cool to have a review of several of these units in comparison with say Mytek and Auralic (mid priced units straight up, with no additional boxes, gizmos, D2D processors that cost as much or more than these value priced DACs) with observations of relative strengths and weakness in sonic performance.  

 

The Gustard A22 looks like a beast (in a good way) with dual DAC chips and independent digital and analog LPSs in the box.  Had to get a Keces 6amp LPS to fire up the B+ providing a subtle improvement in clarity, flow and bass response.

 

Tone with Soul

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On 9/22/2020 at 2:24 PM, 57gold said:

but I wonder how these units will drive amps, how good their output stages are...?

 

Unless your amps have low gain or variable gain, better to get a DAC with multiple gains to maximize SNR. Although not AK4499, check the RME ADI-2 DAC FS v2. I have one connected directly to the amplifier.

https://bit.ly/32X1keE

1. Sonore ultraRendu - UpTone ISO Regen - Mola Mola Makua - Apollon NC800 SL PRO - Thiel CS3.7

2. RME ADI-2 DAC FS - Apollon NC502MP - Monitor Audio PL100

3. Hidizs S8 - Audeze LCDi3

4. TempoTec Sonata HD - 1More Triple Driver IEM

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Agreed with @lmitche - the Modius, for the money, is great. I use it with a curious cable out of my laptop, feeding the Magnius via Cardas Iridium XLR interconnects, with balanced out into Audiquest NightOwl Carbons. It is a humble set up for my work desk, but I've really been enjoying it. I don't recommend the Magnius for SE outs, though Modius sounds good on SE out into a more capable single-ended amp (which, again, Magnius is NOT). 

 

Just my two cents. 

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limtche & barrows - Thanks for the input on these units ability to drive amps.  Been spoiled by a Theta Gen Va, then a Wadia 861i then the Myteks, which all have strong output capabilities to dynamically drive an amp.  

 

Guessing that the Gustard A22 unit with twin LPSs and discrete analog output would be the best of the above for these purposes.  I only listen to digital files play don one DAC so no need for a preamp with channel switching to serve as attenuator of a strong output signal.

Tone with Soul

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  • 1 month later...

I want to pul the trigger on an AK4499 DAC. I was about to get the Topping D90, but now seeing the Singxer SDA-6 from a company that got great feedback on thier USB interfaces. Anyone tried this one - connected directly to a power amp in my case (Hypex Ncore).

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I had high hopes for my Topping D90, based on the many positive reviews it has received.  Tried hard to love it and configured it various different ways, including the highly recommended DSD 256.  USB, Coax - played with all the settings etc. The sound detail was impressive - especially using DSD mode - but the music sounded soul-less.  I never found it enjoyable listening for long periods and sent it back after 30 days.  Replaced it with a Qutest and it was instant joy.

Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> Supra 8-->EtherRegen --> AQCinnamon --> microRendu 1.4 / CI Audio LPS --> Curious Evolved Link --> Chord Qutest--> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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7 hours ago, OldBigEars said:

I had high hopes for my Topping D90, based on the many positive reviews it has received.  Tried hard to love it and configured it various different ways, including the highly recommended DSD 256.  USB, Coax - played with all the settings etc. The sound detail was impressive - especially using DSD mode - but the music sounded soul-less.  I never found it enjoyable listening for long periods and sent it back after 30 days.  Replaced it with a Qutest and it was instant joy.

All the AKM DACs auditioned here sound lifeless as well, except for the Schitt Modius, which tried but just couldn't get the bass right.

 

I agree the Qutest sounds good. In that price range it would be fun to hear the latest Yggy as well.

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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7 minutes ago, lmitche said:

All the AKM DACs auditioned here sound lifeless as well, except for the Schitt Modius, which tried but just couldn't get the bass right.

 

I agree the Qutest sounds good. In that price range it would be fun to hear the latest Yggy as well.

Of course, not all AKM based DACs will sound the same and much depends on the implementation.
My experience with my AKM based Lindemann DSD 20 DAC is anything but lifeless.
I have been using it with my active system with great satisfaction.

Audirvana+3.0 / Qobuz Studio / Mac Mini (256GB SSD - 16GB RAM)

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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57 minutes ago, lmitche said:

All the AKM DACs auditioned here sound lifeless as well, except for the Schitt Modius, which tried but just couldn't get the bass right.

It is very, very important to understand that the AKM 4499 DAC chip uses an entirely different topology versus all of AKM's previous DAC chips.  All previous AKM chips (4493, 4497, etc) are voltage output designs and the 4499 is a current output design.

It would be a huge mistake to judge the sound quality of the 4499 by what one has heard from ANY other AKM based DACs.

After hearing the AKM 4499 in direct DSD mode (sending the DSD input straight to the chip's conversion stage, bypassing the onboard DSP and modulator) I am a strong believer that a fantastic DAC could be made wiht this chip for solely DSD 256 input.  I do not think that DAC has been produced by anyone, yet, but I would not be surprised to see a really good high end company achieve this (not from the Chinese pretenders though...)

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 AC, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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24 minutes ago, barrows said:

After hearing the AKM 4499 in direct DSD mode (sending the DSD input straight to the chip's conversion stage, bypassing the onboard DSP and modulator) I am a strong believer that a fantastic DAC could be made wiht this chip for solely DSD 256 input.  I do not think that DAC has been produced by anyone, yet, but I would not be surprised to see a really good high end company achieve this (not from the Chinese pretenders though...)

 

Agree,

but caused by the recent AKM factory fire there might be a worldwide shortage of all highend AKM DAC chips.

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 9/22/2020 at 3:45 PM, stefano_mbp said:

 

 

Singxer SDA-6

Could the be the best build with great USB input implementation that is galvanic isolated and high quality preamp output.

spacer.png

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  • 1 month later...

Hi, 

 

I have not listened to it yet. I currently have a Singxer SU-2, with a Mutec REF10 as a master clock, connected to either a Matrix Audio x-Sabre or a Topping D90. 

What I really appreciate with the SU-2 is the very good galvanic isolation of the USB input, and the capability of the product to apply a high precision clock signal to the i2s flow it is creating. Clocking/Reclocking is a skill of their engineering team and they know how to do it for sure.

 

I am very interested in this new DAC from Singxer. It has very good measurements: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=https://www.l7audiolab.com/f/measurementreview-of-singxer-sda-6/

 

It also has a design which is compliant with the requests of @barrows in terms of direct DSD implementation (NOS mode for DSD): https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://singxer.com/pd.jsp?id%3D81

 

On top of the galvanic isolation which I can judge from my SU-2 and the capability of the designers to implement a good programming of their FPGA to process a high precision clock, this DAC seems to offer at a very reasonable price all what I would expect from such a product... ie this NOS DSD mode, the well designed analog output stage, aso...

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/7/2020 at 11:15 PM, barrows said:

It is very, very important to understand that the AKM 4499 DAC chip uses an entirely different topology versus all of AKM's previous DAC chips.  All previous AKM chips (4493, 4497, etc) are voltage output designs and the 4499 is a current output design.

It would be a huge mistake to judge the sound quality of the 4499 by what one has heard from ANY other AKM based DACs.

After hearing the AKM 4499 in direct DSD mode (sending the DSD input straight to the chip's conversion stage, bypassing the onboard DSP and modulator) I am a strong believer that a fantastic DAC could be made wiht this chip for solely DSD 256 input.  I do not think that DAC has been produced by anyone, yet, but I would not be surprised to see a really good high end company achieve this (not from the Chinese pretenders though...)

Fully agree with you !!!

 

The I/V conversion and the output stage is where you can win (read: not spoil) or loose (read: spoil) the sound.

I have the chance to check the Topping D90 - it has completely lost in my system against two ESS-based DACs. The D90 sounded matt and lifeless.

That is why I am desperately looking for opinions about Singxer SDA-6 and Gustard A22 DACs - only these two have advanced discrete output stages.

 

Have a look here - SwissBear has just put some light on the Singxer SDA-6 DAC:

 

 

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