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I have been on the look out for a new DAC for sometime, but so far the new COS engineering D10 DAC seems a potential candidate.
I only listen to digital sources and prefer all-in-one DACs with proper volume control. I don't have a preamp and prefer to go DAC direct to my active speakers.

This DAC also has streaming and phone boards as additional options.
I hope to read some reviews and user experiences before making a commitment. Any contributions will be welcomed.

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

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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13 hours ago, mevdinc said:

I have been on the look out for a new DAC for sometime, but so far the new COS engineering D10 DAC seems a potential candidate.
I only listen to digital sources and prefer all-in-one DACs with proper volume control. I don't have a preamp and prefer to go DAC direct to my active speakers.

This DAC also has streaming and phone boards as additional options.
I hope to read some reviews and user experiences before making a commitment. Any contributions will be welcomed.

It sounds nice and glare free in this video, of course the server manufacture claims alot of the credit:

 

 

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COS H1 user here. Just dropping by to say hello to fellow COS Engineering users.

Note that COS uses proprietary upsampling filter through DSP with 1 second buffer, meaning audio starts 1 second later. There's a switch to disable it (for video). But with the buffer, SQ improvements is quite observable.

 

I believe D10 is based off the DAC section of D2. If you like the COS house sound, you'd probably like all of them considering they all share similar DAC technology.

 

One of the best thing about COS DACs is the workmanship, even the H1 feel so luxurious and sturdy. The front plate is nearly 1 inch thick!

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Thanks for the input Andrew.
I have never heard a COS DAC before. 
No problem with 1 sec buffer delay. As you say it can be be easily switched off when watching videos/movies.

What DACs have you had/heard before and how does COS sound differ? Any particular highlights/strengths?

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

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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I heard the Rockna Wavedream earlier version (couldn't remember if it was MSB-board, 24bit, or 26bit) compared to COS H1. The distro showcased Mytek Brooklyn Bridge & Wavedream with ATC speakers (modified Line Magnetic tube amps). Rockna has a very "correct" and beautiful sound to it. H1 is good, but absolutely no match. Hahahahaha!

 

Unfortunately didn't manage to listen to AudioByte.

 

My dream DAC (when budget allows to upgrade) will be a Rockna.

 

I'm possibly the only COS owner in Singapore, so I took H1 on a little tour: 

- Zeppelin & Co. headphone cafe: sounded somewhat harsh, screechy, shouty on many headphones especially HD800 and some Stax. It's less than 50hrs on it, for people who can hear burn-in (I can't hear it doesn't mean others can't).

 

- Rockna distributor's shop with 3000W isolation transformer: COS H1 about 50-100hrs... it sounded thin, lacking body/weight, weak vs Rockna. The owner mentioned COS has the typical "BurrBrown" sound signature and bass (I'm clueless about this, so no comments).

 

- Audio buddy's home using 3000W iso-trafo, Chord BLU-mk2, DAVE, Esoteric class A, Vivid Kaya 45: H1 has some similarities with DAVE e.g. sound stage, transparent clear voicing. It didn't embarrass itself, and my buddy was quite impressed considering the price difference. But DAVE is just crazy good. It was my dream DAC until I heard Rockna. Blu's M-Scaler improves H1 by a margin that is easily observable, I suspect that Rob's algorithm might be better than COS algorithm. (COS upsamples to 24/192 using proprietary filter/algorithm on a DSP board.)

 

Finally, my current setup:

PC → multiple USB voodoo → COS H1 → Nuforce STA200 → Audience Ones + Adam Sub7 subwoofer. Nearfield less than 1m from speakers.

Audience entry level cables all over except for USB. Plus lots and lots and LOTS of voodoo tweaks...enough for objectivists to burn me on a stake many times over. In fact, COS hand-solders silver wires from DAC chip to the output circuits.

 

I suspect H1 is sensitive to clean power. 

 

I've been listening to this setup for more than a year now. It is a very satisfying and enjoyable setup. On good recordings, the main vocals jump out from vacuum and and "appear" taking me by surprise at how clear and holographic the singers are.

Imaging is specific, layered, though not wide & deep enough for my taste. Slightly below average for body & weight. "Fast" & "dry" sound.

 

My sound preference: transparency & clarity, imaging (sound stage width, depth, layering & specificity), low distortion.

Music preference: No audiophile-vocal-wannabes (lots of these in east Asia that has no soul in the music). Rarely any classicals. Typical audiophile vocals, jazz, heavy metal, pop rock, Canto-pop, anything with "creative soul" in it.

 

 

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On 11/24/2020 at 4:26 PM, mevdinc said:

Thanks for the input Andrew.
I have never heard a COS DAC before. 
No problem with 1 sec buffer delay. As you say it can be be easily switched off when watching videos/movies.

What DACs have you had/heard before and how does COS sound differ? Any particular highlights/strengths?

I've own Chord Mojo (for 2 channel audio, no much of head fi), Yamaha A-S801 (DAC-amp), iFi iDAC2, Centrance DACport (tube shaped ori version. I still have it), Topping D50, Questyle CMA600i previously.

 

Mojo & Yamaha were in an old setup with diff gears, and I was n00b back then. So I don't remember much to comment.

 

Topping D50: imaging—wide, quite pin point, not much depth or layering. High clarity & transparency. Poor bass. Can be shouty at the upper mids especially at loud volumes as there seems to be an emphasis in female vocals when singing high notes. Same for piano at the higher keys, it sounds "clear" but emphasised and not quite right or balanced. Cymbals can be painful. Due to lack of bass body/weight/pressure, there's a tendency to increase the volume which makes that upper mid emphasis fatiguing and painful (note that I didn't have a sub at that time). Very sensitive to clean power, SPDIF (ISOregen + WaveIO USB-SPDIF converter) sounds way better than USB+ISOregen. I always like low distortion and well measured gears, I bought it assuming worse case scenario that if it sounds bad, at least it measures well. It didn't disappoint, but it was a phase that I grew out of. Chassis is milled from solid aluminium billet.

Good starter DAC, very good value, not giant killer. Once a person experiences a better DAC, no turning back.

 

Questyle CMA600i

Imaging—OK width, depth, layering.

The bass. Wow the bass. Switching from D50 to Questyle, I would have sworn that some one added an invisible subwoofer to my room. And it was good bass—tight, punchy, not boomy. 

It has a lot of groove factor. Friends who knows Questyle products note that 600i is different from their house sound, and has a punchy groovy mid/upper bass (where the drums are). Is you like pop, rock, drums, anything rhythmic... you'll like it. Compared to Blu-DAVE, 600i is more fun. Other aspects of 600i are all above average, nothing out of the ordinary and quite balanced. And nothing really to complaint about. Sounds good in a lot of music—class A output will do that. And current feedback makes it sound "fast" and clean (which suits my preference).

USB+ISOregen input is mediocre/average, SPDIF is observably better (ISOregen + WaveIO).

Bought Adam Sub7 during this period. More fun!

 

However COS H1 has always been my dream DAC (for my budget). Read all the reviews I can find about it. Hate 6moons idiot writing style, but he's one of the rare few that actually describes different aspects sufficiently, patient readers can take the info and decide for themselves. So is AudioArt Taiwanese magazine. It was group-reviewed by the whole team of in-house reviewers with excellent descriptions of pros, cons, sound signature, etc., and almost all of them were tempted to buy it. From what I can read, almost all reviewers of H1 wanted-to or finally bought the H1. 

 

And I like the fact that COS founders are all engineers who happen to be audiophiles, they write their own code for upsampling, tune the sound using silver hookup wires directly on the DAC chip, compared various buffer times through listening tests to identify 1s as best sounding. I was sure these guys have good appreciation of musical enjoyment backed by solid science. And they had good tastes too—the chassis looks and feels luxurious.

 

So when I happened to meet a Taiwanese who was willing to help me buy and bring it to SG, I bought it.

 

The DAC came in a felt bag (after unboxing), which can be re-used to carry the DAC for travel. Even the remote has a fancy felt pouch for it. A lot of attention to nice touches to make a user feel happy using it.

 

And the sound:

vs D50: H1 is calmer, cleaner, more specific imaging, very balanced, more holographic, better layering, no emphasis on any freq, but punchy and feisty if needed. "Fast" sounding. I feel the line out is better than single-ended headphone outputs (haven't tried balanced output, not much of a head-fi).

USB and SPDIF are both good. In fact, I found the WaveIO sounding too dry for my liking.

 

vs CMA600i: 600i is more fun and punchy due to emphasis of mid/upper bass. Some may prefer 600i. I prefer the calm, elegant, cleaner sound signature of H1. Vocals sound beautiful on H1 (I guess this is the DSP doing its job). Good singers who can portray emotions can be amazing and emotional. I use the headphone outputs to feed the Sub7.

 

There are newer better DACs out there today, like the Rockna Wavelight. But I will live with H1 for quite a few more years.

It sounds like the mini version of the buddy with Blu-DAVE, Esoteric & Kaya 45.

 

All the audience cables and Lush USB cable also contributed significant beautification to the sound as these cables are known for musical signature rather than purely neutral or ultra technical. So I would advice pairing H1 with something that adds a little "body/weight" to the sound, or perhaps even a tube-pre (just made a Pass B1 Nutube recently).

 

My assessment is obviously biased as I derive a lot of enjoyment from H1. And also I use voodoo tweaks and cables to tune the whole setup to fit my personal preference. If you're in Singapore, I'd gladly host you.

 

 

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@andrewinukm,


Thanks for the info and sharing your experiences.

I don't know anything about the COS H1 model but COS D10 a new DAC and seems to perform very well.
Obviously, I would to read a few more reviews.
Yes, Rockna DAC sounds good too but COS D10 also offers a streaming model.

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

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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