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Article: T+A DAC 200 D/A Converter Review


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7 minutes ago, all300b said:

Nice review - and nice recommendation on that Esa-Pekka Salonen album. Great sounding.

Did you get a chance to specifically evaluate the preamp section of this unit?

 

 

Thanks for the kind words. I didn’t use the preamp section, as I had it connected to my Constellation preamp. 

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Appreciate the review. Do you know what the differences are between the DAC 200 and HA 200? Other than the headphone connections on the HA200. As far as I can tell researching online, the HA 200 is the DAC 200 plus the additional headphone outputs -- and I might be headphone only, iow not audio outs to an amplifier. 

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13 hours ago, Andrewteee said:

Appreciate the review. Do you know what the differences are between the DAC 200 and HA 200? Other than the headphone connections on the HA200. As far as I can tell researching online, the HA 200 is the DAC 200 plus the additional headphone outputs -- and I might be headphone only, iow not audio outs to an amplifier. 

I’m not totally sure, but I bet @OE333 will know the difference. 

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Hi Chris. Thanks for an excellent review of the DAC200. I am considering a new DAC and dated on your enthusiastic review I will add the DAC200 to the list. I am seriously considering the Holo Audio May KTE DAC, based on many equally enthusiastic review from users and reviewers. I am interested in your opinion, if you have had an opportunity to listen to the May DAC and if so, your thoughts in comparison. BTW I stream Qobuz, Tidal, through an INNUOS Zenith MkII SE, Phoenix USB Reclocker. I very much appreciate your comments. Thank you. 

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I find it extremely surprising that this has a NOS mode but the ~$39,000 SD 3100 HV which has a built in NAA input has no NOS mode and non-defeatable filters. If you send it PCM upsampled to 768 it doesn't get upsampled, but still goes through the filters.

 

Are you 100% sure the DAC 200 has a true NOS mode Chris?

 

DSD sent to the SD 3100 HV is handled as native DSD, this could be solved by just using HQP to upsample everything to DSD of course.

No electron left behind.

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1 hour ago, AudioDoctor said:

I find it extremely surprising that this has a NOS mode but the ~$39,000 SD 3100 HV which has a built in NAA input has no NOS mode and non-defeatable filters. If you send it PCM upsampled to 768 it doesn't get upsampled, but still goes through the filters.

 

Are you 100% sure the DAC 200 has a true NOS mode Chris?

 

DSD sent to the SD 3100 HV is handled as native DSD, this could be solved by just using HQP to upsample everything to DSD of course.


I’m going by the user manual, which says it has NOS. 
 

Perhaps @Miska has verified this with measurements, if he has a 200 series product?
 

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2 hours ago, ALLDIGITAL said:

Hi Chris. Thanks for an excellent review of the DAC200. I am considering a new DAC and dated on your enthusiastic review I will add the DAC200 to the list. I am seriously considering the Holo Audio May KTE DAC, based on many equally enthusiastic review from users and reviewers. I am interested in your opinion, if you have had an opportunity to listen to the May DAC and if so, your thoughts in comparison. BTW I stream Qobuz, Tidal, through an INNUOS Zenith MkII SE, Phoenix USB Reclocker. I very much appreciate your comments. Thank you. 

Hi @ALLDIGITAL unfortunately I’ve never listened to a single product from Holo Audio. There’s only so many hours in a day :~)

 

P.S. I remember hearing the Phoenix at its RMAF introduction and it surprised me very much. Really cool product. 

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5 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

I find it extremely surprising that this has a NOS mode but the ~$39,000 SD 3100 HV which has a built in NAA input has no NOS mode and non-defeatable filters. If you send it PCM upsampled to 768 it doesn't get upsampled, but still goes through the filters.

Of course the T+A SD(V) 3100 HV can be operated with PCM and DSD in NOS.  😉

 

On 4/15/2019 at 1:59 AM, OE333 said:

Conversion to ultra-high rate DSD can be done in many ways but only the very best algorithms will bring an optimal performance. The computing power needed for such algorithms is extreme and can be best achieved with very powerful PCs (and GPU co-processing). So we leave the task of conversion/upsampling to specialized programs like HQPlayer and concentrate on doing a best possible D/A conversion with the ultra-high rate DSD signals delivered from the Audio PC. Also it is only possible with a PC based upsampling to support the vast number of algorithms as for example HQPlayer does.

This approach is also very future-proof as both the upsampling software and the PC hardware can easily be upgraded when new algorithms get available and more powerful processors come to the market. Such easy upgrade is almost impossible if the conversion is an integral part of the DAC.

For PCM upsampling things are somewhat different. Here less computing power is needed and the upsampling can well be integrated - like it is done in the T+A DACs. But also with PCM it is possible to do the upsampling externally and send PCM 768 directly to the DAC completely bypassing the internal processing.

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21 minutes ago, AudioDoctor said:

ccording to T&A themselves, it can not be set to NOS in PCM and the filters are always active.

The user @OE333 is the former chief developer of T+A. There is no OS/NOS switch on SD(V) 3100 HV. The trick is to feed the highest possible PCM rate to the DAC. 

 

24 minutes ago, AudioDoctor said:

I emailed with them to clarify this for myself.

For me this is not significant, as I prefer DSD. But the answer would interest me. 👍

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8 hours ago, StreamFidelity said:

The user @OE333 is the former chief developer of T+A. There is no OS/NOS switch on SD(V) 3100 HV. The trick is to feed the highest possible PCM rate to the DAC. 

 

For me this is not significant, as I prefer DSD. But the answer would interest me. 👍

 

Yes, I mentioned all of this in my post...

No electron left behind.

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Hi Chris:

Thank you for the review. You conclude by saying that the T+A DAC 200 "has set a new standard for digital to analog conversion at a competitive price". How would you compare the T+A DAC 200 to high price DACs you have heard or tested, e.g. EMM Labs DV2? IOW, are you able to comment on what some very expensive DACs do better, and to what extent diminishing returns apply?

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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1 hour ago, bbosler said:

I'll take a stab at that... diminishing returns kick in very early with today's DACs. Having tried a variety of high end DACs over the past few years I am convinced that spending huge amounts gets you very little.. and most of what you get is small differences, not better, just different. I've had all of the below for extended periods. Maybe I have a tin ear, but IMHO anything above the $2000 Schiit gets you nothing but bragging rights about how much you spent. And there are DACs below that price that perform very, very well. I've had these along with various servers , ethernet switches,  USB  re-clockers, master clocks, and a variety of digital cable... etc.......all long gone ...... Nobody that has dropped $20K + on all this stuff wants to hear it or believe it, ,, but  save your money 

 

  • Chord DAVE with MScaler and external linear supplies
  • DCS Rossini with clock
  • EMM Meiner MA3
  • Denafrips Terminator + with Daiai DDC
  • PS Audio Directstream
  • Schiit Yggdrasil LIM
  • some I can't recall at the moment

 

That is interesting.  Having owned the PS Audio DS for some time, in my setup the Mola Mola Tambaqui was on a different level (more natural, detailed, flowing, dynamic, timbral realism, etc.) not just different, but perhaps that is because I use the DACs as volume controls too, and initially used the Tambaqui's Roon streaming capability (now done by the Grimm Audio MU1).  

 

Regardless, the only way to know is to listen in one's own setup.  Your comment is a good heads up to try something like the Schiit along with more expensive options like the T&A DAC 200.  Of course, Chris has already done that so perhaps we should ask him.  🙂

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Hey Chris + Between your review and Dave Nauber contacting me today, I ordered one.  Looking forward to hearing it.

 

Rick Milam

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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I really wish that T+A would offer two other versions (PCM only and DSD only) given that each is segregated internally. Yes, I know this is wishful thinking and probably never going to happen due to a number of factors (mfg, testing, marketing, etc).  But it seems that lots of people are in one camp (PCM or DSD) or the other so why have to pay for components you are probably never going to use. The same is true of headphone vs speakers.

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Barrows,

Do you think it might be worth the extra $$ over the Holo May KTE?  Or are we too incremental here?  The much pricier Mola Mola Tambaqui is a large step up (I demoed for a few weeks and lust for it now) over the May, but again, the $$ increase is substantial too.  And the Tambaqui eschews things like HQPlayer cuz it upsamples internally quite substantially.  You feed it Roon, period.

Ted

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