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Mr Underhill

R2R NOS DAC and DDC Mini-Bakeoff

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Posted (edited)

That’s great news. I am glad you heard and liked a ANK 4.1. If the ANK 4.1can sound as good as a AN 2.1sig I will be very happy. The benefit of the 4.1 is the transformer coupled output which lowers impedence to around 10-13ohms making preamp/amp matching easy. My integrated tube amp’s is very low impedance and this will work great. 

ANK is crazy busy with their level 5 gear, so they are gave me a great deal on the 4.1. Also, I am in Canada which helps.  At the end of the day, I am only paying about $300-500 more then a fully loaded BP DAC. Not including tubes upgrades or the CuTFs. I didn’t really want more tubes to maintain, but a proper tube output I think is the way to go with these filterless DAC chips.  Plus, I still feel better knowing the heart of the DAC, the AD1865 is a much superior chip to the TDA1543. 

Thanks again to everyone on this thread posting your comparisons. When you can’t demo gear, it is really helpful to read about detailed comparisons. They give valuable reference points. I almost went for an Yggy, but saw that it would be too similar to what I already have: Detailed but slightly sterile. I don’t flip gear as shipping is so expensive in Canada. 

Edited by Orangecrush

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18 hours ago, Orangecrush said:

I almost went for an Yggy, but saw that it would be too similar to what I already have: Detailed but slightly sterile. I don’t flip gear as shipping is so expensive in Canada. 

The Yggy seems to have its cult followers. I've only heard that it is detailed and sterile, which was re-enforced when I encountered one at a show stand with headphones. I have no issue with detail so long as things don't have accompanying digital glare/hash or end up being too analytical/sterile. My own system is not bright, but it is detailed and can lack emotional involvement, which is why an AN/ANK may suit. I want to keep or even improve resolution, but have the resolution naturally conveyed such that it is emotionally involving.

Would you be buying a pre-built ANK or building it yourself? 

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I didn't find the Yggy suffered from glare or edge. It IS very detailed, but I found it strangely uninvolving. It was akin to being at a post-mortem, all the pieces were revealed and laid out for you to inspect, but the glory of the whole was absent. Still worth trying in your own system if you can borrow one, which i think is easy in the USA & UK.

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Posted (edited)

Well, its been a while but I received my ANK DAC 4.1 Limited Edition. I only have about 125 hours on it and the upgraded V-Cap CuTF output caps need 500 hours. I am using a the stock tubes which are actually really nice. All NOS except for the regulator tubes which is a Electro-Harmonix 6BM8 / ECL82.

Once I get to 400 hours, I will put in my top tier NOS tubes.

I was worried about adding a tube DAC to my system as I have very high efficiency speakers 101 dB-SPL and a tube amp Decware Torii III. I was worried that it might adversely affect the super quiet noise floor I have. The DAC is dead quiet. The noise floor has remained the same. Which is amazing on these speakers and considering it replaced a DAC that measures very well. The Anedio D2 was the only Sabre based DAC that I liked. Extremely transparent, but with a slight silkiness to it. Very refined.

The ANK DAC has been a revelation. The second thing I was afraid off, was a loss of detail or transparency. That also was unfounded. While there is a huge increase in weight, texture and dynamics, there is no loss of resolution or transparency. This really surprised me. I was expecting a trade-off.

It might be the V-Cap Cuft's that help in this regard. Expensive, but you only need two small valve caps, so it was worth it.

Before I say anything more, I need to put some more hours on it. But so far with inexpensive tubes, it has far surpassed all my expectations. There is no trade off or weakness that I can detect so far. A really full sound that seems to be more palatable. Almost like you can reach out and touch it. I have never experience anything like it. 

I will report back in another 200 hours!

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Edited by Orangecrush
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Moderator

Nice....but then I am biased.

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Yes. Funnily in my system I preferred George's 2.1 over his 4.1; although you could hear the quality and resolution, the 2.1 was just more fun. In George's system the 4.1 shone.

...... huge increase in weight, texture and dynamics, there is no loss of resolution or transparency.

This is my experience with the BP and AN DACs.

........and still loving the BP. Revealing changes upstream transparently.

M

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Posted (edited)

So 500 hours later and the good tubes in. Everything is just so good. Listening to music much more now which is the biggest compliment. All the other things I mentioned still hold true, but now I can add that the highs are actually more present but in such a beautiful way. Seemingly limitless.  The common argument against NOS DACs is rolled off highs. They obviously have never heard a Audio Note DAC. This is definitely it for me. 

Edited by Orangecrush

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22 hours ago, Orangecrush said:

So 500 hours later and the good tubes in. Everything is just so good. Listening to music much more now which the biggest compliment. All the other things I mentioned still hold true, but now I can add that the highs are actually more present but in such a beautiful way. The common argument against NOS DACs is rolled off highs. They obviously have never heard a Audio Note DAC. This definitely it is for me. 

Ain't that the truth....

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