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

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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Well, COS D10 is starting to become a firm favourite after a Blue Moon award over at 6moons.
I would also like to read the review that will include the streamer module.
 

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

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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On 11/22/2020 at 5:32 PM, Rexp said:

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

 

 

Ummm!!!  I fail to see the relevance of trying to determine audiophile level sound quality via a streamed video, recorded almost certainly by a crappy microphone, likely subject to a few AD/DA conversions and digital format conversions on its way to us, and very likely transmitted i by a lossy compression codec?  Everytime I see these "video reviews" it makes me cringe with wonder at how anyone could use these to assess possible sound quality in a high end sense?

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4 hours ago, barrows said:

Ummm!!!  I fail to see the relevance of trying to determine audiophile level sound quality via a streamed video, recorded almost certainly by a crappy microphone, likely subject to a few AD/DA conversions and digital format conversions on its way to us, and very likely transmitted i by a lossy compression codec?  Everytime I see these "video reviews" it makes me cringe with wonder at how anyone could use these to assess possible sound quality in a high end sense?

I may start a new thread just for you. 

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On 11/27/2020 at 2:54 AM, mevdinc said:

@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.

I was hoping to provide some glimpse into the COS house sound through their H1 DAC, if that makes sense.

 

Just saw a Taiwanese magazine published a review. It seems the power supply is more elaborate than their D1 flagship, DSP & DAC architecture seems very similar to D1, and headphone amp is basically same as H1.

 

I would hypothesise that D10 would sound "larger" compared to H1 (i.e. floorstander vs bookshelf), somewhat closer to D1's sound signature. 

 

I happened to noticed that you are interested in Mola Mola Tambaqui in another thread. Ooooooh! Why not go for Tambaqui instead? Based on reviews, its sound signature seems to be focused on precision, clean sound, yet musical. If this is your preference... Tambaqui could be your end game (for some time at least). 

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@andrewinukm,

Thanks for further input.

For me, the problem with Tambaqui and similar DACs is that they don't have a pre-amp built-in. I only listen to digital sources but I want a DAC that provides all in one box solution such as Lindemann I have now and COS D10. COS D10 is modular too, you can even add a phono later if you want.

 

I have an active speaker system and prefer to keep it simple by just going DAC direct to my actives. Having a good analog volume plus analog inputs also gives COS D10 advantage.
In fact, recently I even started considering upgrading my Lindemann Musicbook DSD 20 to their new Musicbook Source, the same functionality as my existing DAC but with improved streaming and SQ.
 

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

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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5 hours ago, mevdinc said:

@andrewinukm,

Thanks for further input.

For me, the problem with Tambaqui and similar DACs is that they don't have a pre-amp built-in. I only listen to digital sources but I want a DAC that provides all in one box solution such as Lindemann I have now and COS D10. COS D10 is modular too, you can even add a phono later if you want.

 

I have an active speaker system and prefer to keep it simple by just going DAC direct to my actives. Having a good analog volume plus analog inputs also gives COS D10 advantage.
In fact, recently I even started considering upgrading my Lindemann Musicbook DSD 20 to their new Musicbook Source, the same functionality as my existing DAC but with improved streaming and SQ.
 

The Mola Mola solution for you would then be the Makua preamp, with the same DAC as the Tambaqui internally.  It can also include a very, very good phono preamp onboard, and of course includes inputs for additional sources.

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.                                                       

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5 hours ago, barrows said:

The Mola Mola solution for you would then be the Makua preamp, with the same DAC as the Tambaqui internally.  It can also include a very, very good phono preamp onboard, and of course includes inputs for additional sources.

I never liked the idea of having a separate preamp in the chain. I believe in less is more and in my experience, a DAC with a good volume control/preamp connected directly to amp gives better results. 
Thanks for your input.

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

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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1 hour ago, mevdinc said:

I never liked the idea of having a separate preamp in the chain. I believe in less is more and in my experience, a DAC with a good volume control/preamp connected directly to amp gives better results. 
Thanks for your input.

What???  You just said you needed a preamp in the chain because you want to have multiple sources???  The Mola Mola Makua is still a single box solution, it has the DAC onboard and connects directly to the amplifier?

If you want, call it a DAC with an internal preamp, that is what it is.  You can also add an internal phone stage, and remove another box from your set up if you would like.

So with Mola Mola you can have either approach:

The Tambaqui, a stand alone DAC with volume control designed for connecting to amp(s) directly

Or the Makua, with the DAC module onboard which allows for multiple inputs and direct connection to the amp(s).

Either way they have you covered.

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.                                                       

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Sorry my bad, I didn't realise Makua was a one box solution and DAC was a module. But then again I want it the way other way around i.e a DAC with a pre/ or a very good analog volume control with preferably one analog input (not absolutely essential but would be nice to have for multichannel home cinema setup). Whereas, Makua is a fully pledged preamp first then you can add a DAC module plus others.
I haven't crossed off Tambaqui yet and I am in no rush. Will decide between Tambaqui, COS D10 and an upgrade to Musicbook Source unless something else comes along.

Thanks and happy listening.

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

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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8 hours ago, mevdinc said:

Sorry my bad, I didn't realise Makua was a one box solution and DAC was a module. But then again I want it the way other way around i.e a DAC with a pre/ or a very good analog volume control with preferably one analog input (not absolutely essential but would be nice to have for multichannel home cinema setup). Whereas, Makua is a fully pledged preamp first then you can add a DAC module plus others.

The above is not really making much sense to me.  It is only semantics, but perhaps you do not understand fully the architecture of these products:

 

Tamabaqui DAC looks like this:

 

Input receiver with digital inputs-DAC section with digital volume control-discrete analog output stage to drive the output.

 

Makua preamp with DAC module looks like this:

 

Input switching for analog inputs and digital receiver section-DAC stage-variable gain discrete analog output stage to drive the output.

 

The Makua preamp is as simple as it gets, with just a single analog output stage, which uses variable gain (like Ayre) to control the volume.  The only real addition in comparison to the Tambaqui stand alone DAC is that of analog inputs with the ability to switch between them, and the best possible analog way to control the volume, which is necessary if one wants to have an analog input.  It does not get any more simple than this.  Whether one calls it a DAC with analog inputs, or a preamp with a DAC onboard and digital inputs, it is the same thing. 

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.                                                       

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I've got the Lindemann Source, COS D10, Mola Mola Tambaqui + Makua and Rockna Wavelight amongst others here within this segment. All of them offers digital (and analogue - except for the Tambaqui) inputs with a high quality output stage and volume control. That's a start in terms of features. The next step is to consider system matchning, personal preferences and of course budget as these stretch from approx. €5.000 - €15.000.

 

/ Marcus, www.perfect-sense.se

 

PERFECT SENSE

www.perfect-sense.se

 

Showroom in Stockholm, Sweden | [email protected] | 08 518 368 00 | Follow us on Facebook

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, barrows said:

The above is not really making much sense to me.  It is only semantics, but perhaps you do not understand fully the architecture of these products:

 

Tamabaqui DAC looks like this:

 

Input receiver with digital inputs-DAC section with digital volume control-discrete analog output stage to drive the output.

 

Makua preamp with DAC module looks like this:

 

Input switching for analog inputs and digital receiver section-DAC stage-variable gain discrete analog output stage to drive the output.

 

The Makua preamp is as simple as it gets, with just a single analog output stage, which uses variable gain (like Ayre) to control the volume.  The only real addition in comparison to the Tambaqui stand alone DAC is that of analog inputs with the ability to switch between them, and the best possible analog way to control the volume, which is necessary if one wants to have an analog input.  It does not get any more simple than this.  Whether one calls it a DAC with analog inputs, or a preamp with a DAC onboard and digital inputs, it is the same thing. 

I really thank you for your effort to explain things in detail.
What makes you think I don't understand anything about the architecture of either Tambaqui or Makua?
I already accepted that  it was my mistake not realising Makua is a fully pledged preamp with an optional DAC board. So, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Makua other than it is a proper preamp with all the preamp functions with enough analog inputs etc. I only listen to digital so I don't really need a fully functioning preamp with lots of inputs including phono, it's more than I need. That's why I dismissed this option, no point in paying all that extra money.
Whereas, Tambaqui seems like an excellent DAC but it lacks an analog volume, no matter how good the digital volume is, I prefer analog volume. I also would like a single analog input, in case I would use the DAC in a home cinema setup.
So, there are plenty of one box solutions to satisfy my needs, I am just making sure I decide on the best possible option.
BTW, my Lindemann DAC is very good and  seems to be a good match with my ATC active system too, hence also considering the upgrade path to Lindemann Source, which makes sense, as upgrade only costs around 1,490 euros.
Perhaps, Marcus of Perfect Sense would share his thoughts about Lindemann Source as to what he makes of it.

Thank you for your input and thoughts.

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

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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@mevdinc: I still do not understand why you think the Makua, with the DAC option is "more than I need".  The phono stage is optional, you are not obliged to add it.  It appears that you would like a DAC with an analog volume control and an analog input, that is exactly what the Makua preamp, with the DAC option added is.  Yes, it has a few more analog inputs, but those do not add any additional circuitry except for the switches used to select them, it does not add anything to the circuit in use, there are no additional gain stages or anything, vs. a stand alone DAC like the Tambaqui.  It is a simple and basic component from a signal perspective, and uses, arguably, the very best analog volume control approach: adjustable gain, which does not throw any of the signal away, unlike resistive volume controls which add noise and distortion in the signal path.

My system is digital only, so I use a Bricasti M3 DAC with its analog volume control, but I would rather own the Tambaqui, but it is a bit more money than I care to spend on a DAC, otherwise it sounds fantastic-although I have no fear of digital volume controls when well implemented, and I trust that Mr. Putzeys has designed a very, very good implementation.

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.                                                       

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8 hours ago, barrows said:

@mevdinc: I still do not understand why you think the Makua, with the DAC option is "more than I need".  The phono stage is optional, you are not obliged to add it.  It appears that you would like a DAC with an analog volume control and an analog input, that is exactly what the Makua preamp, with the DAC option added is.  Yes, it has a few more analog inputs, but those do not add any additional circuitry except for the switches used to select them, it does not add anything to the circuit in use, there are no additional gain stages or anything, vs. a stand alone DAC like the Tambaqui.  It is a simple and basic component from a signal perspective, and uses, arguably, the very best analog volume control approach: adjustable gain, which does not throw any of the signal away, unlike resistive volume controls which add noise and distortion in the signal path.

My system is digital only, so I use a Bricasti M3 DAC with its analog volume control, but I would rather own the Tambaqui, but it is a bit more money than I care to spend on a DAC, otherwise it sounds fantastic-although I have no fear of digital volume controls when well implemented, and I trust that Mr. Putzeys has designed a very, very good implementation.

@barrows,
Mr. Putzeys is a great engineer and a designer and both Makua and Tambaqui are excellent products. Makua being a fully pledged preamp with all the additional inputs and modular design also has a price tag to go with it, at around £8,000. And that's without a DAC board, which is around £6,000 in addition, that's £14,000! Now you should be able to see what I mean by 'it is more than I need'. Tambaqui is around £9,000 which makes it a better value, hence why I am considering it, but unfortunately it lacks analog input, which is I would also like to have.
So, I have nothing against the Mola Mola units, they are much more expensive and don't quit match my needs.

 

That's why I am considering alternative DACs with great sound quality at reasonable prices that offer analog volume, streaming and one analog input. I would like to read more reviews about COS D10 to see if it actually sounds as good as I expect.

DS 10 costs around 5,400 euros with the streaming module included, which makes it an excellent value. And upgrading to Lindemann Source would only cost me 1,500 euros.
And there are quite a few others too. Looking at all the options, reading about them and obtaining input from experienced users such as yourself is part of the fun. Thanks again.
 

Best.

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

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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