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Music Hall DAC 25.3 Tube Dac (Read 4669 times)
Digger
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Music Hall DAC 25.3 Tube Dac
02/14/14 at 00:36:59
 
     

      I'm looking for some input on this particular Dac. Has anyone had any experience with these or any other tube Dacs? My situation is this I have a sony DVD player I'm using as a transport it is a bit bright sounding and was wondering if the tube Dac would soften it up a bit. I originally had a Schiit Dac and returned it for the Uber upgrade but after a month of waiting for it to be shipped decided to cancel the order and look around a bit. The Schiit Dac was also very bright sounding to me on the Sony transport. I have two other DVD players that I have also put into the system to compare sound and that is how I figured out how bright the Sony sound is but very detailed compared to the other two transports. If anyone has any other recommendations for tube DAC's I would like to hear about them. If you feel I'm off course on the way I'm trying to tame the brightness please chime in! Thanks all for your input.   Smiley

      There is one other scenario I am thinking about one of my other transports actually sounds a bit more musically pleasing and not as bright to listen to but does lack the detail of the Sony. Would I be better off with a non tube DAC with this transport? Would a decent DAC bring out more detail in this type of transport? Sorry lots of questions not enough experience with different arrangements. I've even considered an upgraded CD Player but like the idea of the flexibility of separates.




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« Last Edit: 02/14/14 at 01:22:03 by Digger »  
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Fireblade
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Re: Music Hall DAC 25.3 Tube Dac
Reply #1 - 02/14/14 at 12:19:50
 
Check out the Yulong U18/D18 combo (USB-SPDIF Converter / DAC). It's the warmest Sabre-based DC in town (9018) and is quite resolving but very smooth, tube-like, and affordable to boot.

Based on the material I've read over the past 18 months on DACs, the Music Hall DAC is becoming obsolete and does not compete in SQ anymore with the latest designs.

A less resolving alternative is Grant Fidelity's TubeDac. Not as good as Yulong's but still warm and smooth at half the price of Yulong's combo.

Finally, Yulong's DA8 used with the Soft Filter option is as smooth as the Metrum Octave MK II, itself famous for its warmth and body, but with plenty more resolution and DSD capabilities. More expensive though.

Lots of choices these days.  Take these suggestions only as my personal perspective and I suggest you give some of these a free audition trial.

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« Last Edit: 02/14/14 at 12:31:52 by Fireblade »  

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Lon
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Re: Music Hall DAC 25.3 Tube Dac
Reply #2 - 02/14/14 at 13:31:38
 
It's too bad the Decware ZDAC is no longer available, that was the warmest DAC I've ever heard, perhaps too warm for some systems.

I've not been a fan of the Sabre DAC I've heard in Peachtree and Oppo products compared to some others. Just a personal thing but I wasn't charmed by the family sound. If I were in the market I would look at the PS Audio NuWave just because I have two of the PerfectWave DACs that preceded this (at a much more expensive price point) and they are amazing. This little brother should be very good.

http://www.psaudio.com/products/audio/media-players/nuwave/
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DBC
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Re: Music Hall DAC 25.3 Tube Dac
Reply #3 - 02/14/14 at 15:33:09
 
Digger,

Sorry you have probably covered this in other posts but what Amp and Speaker combination are you using? What is the approx size of your listening area? What type of music do you generally listen to and at what volume (low, moderate, moderate +, loud).
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Digger
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Re: Music Hall DAC 25.3 Tube Dac
Reply #4 - 02/14/14 at 22:55:38
 
 DBC,
         I'm currently running a Sony BDP-S590 transport Decware interconnects to Decware CSP3, Decware interconnects to Jolida 502 P with stock 14 gauge wire into Heavily modified Polk LS 70 speakers and a set of Pioneer HPM 100's stacked under the Polks both pair SPL 90 good match and running at 4 ohm. All Pangea power cords. The listening area is 24' by 22' with 12 foot high cathedral ceiling no really flat direct reflecting walls lots of furniture and wall coverings almost has a cathedral sound effect if your familiar with live sound effects.  Any way that is pretty much it. I listen to John Hiatt, Three Dog Night, Dire Straits, Pink Floyd, Celine Dion, Curtis Stigers. I do listen to rock music but not so much anymore. Hope this will help you out on understanding my set up.



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« Last Edit: 02/15/14 at 17:36:06 by Digger »  
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Digger
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Re: Music Hall DAC 25.3 Tube Dac
Reply #5 - 02/15/14 at 00:56:35
 

       Lon,
       Thanks for the heads up on the PS audio Dac. I have read a lot of good things about them. Underwoods High FI just sent me an offer on the Perfect Wave DAC MK2's for $1,880 and matching transport for $2,190 Perfect wave memory player. I do wish I could spring for the set.
       You had mentioned the OPPO and Peachtree I have read the OPPO's tend to be on the brighter side sounds as though the Peachtree's are on the brighter side to. I do know it may depend a lot on the rest of the systems synergy.
       I was hoping to find some thing to soften and warm up the Sony transports sound a bit wasn't sure if a tube DAC would be the way to accomplish it. Thanks again for your input!     Smiley




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Digger
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Re: Music Hall DAC 25.3 Tube Dac
Reply #6 - 02/15/14 at 01:04:46
 
   FireBlade,
   Thanks for the info on the Yulong I have not ever come across it looking at DAC's looks interesting and a bit closer to my budget. The Grant Fidelity would really fit the budget. I will probably do more reading on the Yulong didn't notice any US sellers when I looked I need to keep looking.

Thanks



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Lon
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Re: Music Hall DAC 25.3 Tube Dac
Reply #7 - 02/15/14 at 01:08:24
 
Digger,

Are you able to connect with an optical connection? Sometimes I find these to have a warmer, smoother presentation. . . .

Music Direct also has the Perfect Wave DAC and Transport for that price. . . they got me this summer, I ordered a second duo for my second system, but I should have left the money in the bank if I were responsible. But . . .I'm not.
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will
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Re: Music Hall DAC 25.3 Tube Dac
Reply #8 - 02/15/14 at 01:11:54
 
Grant show Yulong http://shop.grantfidelity.com/Yulong-Audio-v13/

Have you listened to one FB?
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« Last Edit: 02/15/14 at 01:19:16 by will »  

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Digger
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Re: Music Hall DAC 25.3 Tube Dac
Reply #9 - 02/15/14 at 01:24:19
 
     Lon,
     Yes I do have an optical out on the Sony. I actually had the Schiit Bifrost running off of this Sony when I first received it and it was so bright when I first heard it I almost had to turn it off. Unbelievable Ear fatigue like I've never had made my forehead hurt. It did soften a bit after a few hours or my ears did not sure! I actually was thinking as bad as it was maybe had an impedance miss match going on.
     Oh by the way I do know what you mean life isn't as much fun living responsible I am sort of struggling in that dept myself. I know what I'd like to do and I also know what I should do! He He! And this time should will probably win! Life can be fun.           Wink



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Lon
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Re: Music Hall DAC 25.3 Tube Dac
Reply #10 - 02/15/14 at 01:38:02
 
Wow. That must have been pretty bright!

I run my DVR or my Blu-ray player (switch them around every now and then) off optical (I use a glass cable) and I think it's a bit smoother than coaxial, though the coaxial is very good, perhaps a bit more dynamic.

Shouldn't be different, bits are bits right?

I had an easy time being responsible when I had a wife. Since she has gone. . . it's harder. I should try harder.
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Digger
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Re: Music Hall DAC 25.3 Tube Dac
Reply #11 - 02/15/14 at 02:05:08
 
     Lon,
     Yes the Schiit was bright like a spot light. I don't blame you for not holding back on your hobby. Fortunately for me I still have my wife and yes that is a big part of my restraint in spending on equipment. Although she will push me to make purchases she also appreciates me keeping it in line at least what she feels in line to be. I may If I was in your situation do just as you have done time for all of us is running out. I'd rather have a nice stereo set up than give it all to the medical industry and not ever enjoy it. You have some wonderful equipment to be proud of.
       I am using an Analysis glass optical cable. My Toshiba is the transport that seems to be more musical and pleasing but lacks the detail and darker background that the Sony has delivered. Without pulling things out and looking at them I'm not sure the Toshiba has an optical out the unit is a bit older.



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« Last Edit: 02/15/14 at 02:07:36 by Digger »  
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Lon
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Re: Music Hall DAC 25.3 Tube Dac
Reply #12 - 02/15/14 at 02:50:48
 
That's a common opposition: musical vs. detailed. Hard to get the synergy where the balance between those is just right (for personal taste) but when you do. . . that's when you stop and be happy.

I used to work with a crazy old fart when I was in my twenties who at the end of every day would tell me. . . "Go . . . and be happy." He seems less weird to me now than he did then.
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beowulf
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Re: Music Hall DAC 25.3 Tube Dac
Reply #13 - 02/15/14 at 05:17:23
 
Quote:
Fireblade said,
Check out the Yulong U18/D18 combo (USB-SPDIF Converter / DAC). It's the warmest Sabre-based DC in town (9018) and is quite resolving but very smooth, tube-like, and affordable to boot.


Do you know if the D18 does DSD?  That would be one I would put on my short list if so.  I know the D8 does, but ... who on the Decware forums is looking for an amp other than Decware? Grin
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Fireblade
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Re: Music Hall DAC 25.3 Tube Dac
Reply #14 - 02/15/14 at 21:59:45
 
Digger, as Will referenced it, the ideal place to buy it from would be Grant Fidelity (Canada), as they really back up their sales, so you don't need to be dealing across the world. In fact, they sell Yulong cheaper than any other place in North America.

The Grant Fidelity TubeDac (from Yulong), is considered very good (and warm) also, except it is much less resolving than the D18, at almost half the price (no Sabre 9018).

The Yulong U18/D18 is very good according to many reviews by actual fan users in Head-Fi org., for example.

The trick of this design is it is the first successful attempt to keep the good aspects of the new Sabre DAC without the artificial or analytical projections it may suffer from. Just a very well voiced Sabre 9018 application design that comes across quite warm and smooth with all the detail-mining of the Sabre still on.

I was about to pull the trigger on that combo until I heard it may be too warm for my situation. Contrary to Digger's case, I already own two warm system pieces (MIni-Torii and DM945's) and I need a more neutral DAC. Yet, I'm still considering it as it is a great design. If my Mini-Torii would accept balanced inputs I would have gotten one already. Some have found the balanced output in the Yulong to be excellent, superior to the single-ended option.

beowulf, the Yulong that does DSD is the newer and much more complete (and expensive) DA8 model. Some consider it much better than its price range ($1,200 at GF). Of course, it has a preamp and headphone amp you're paying for.

There's a new D200 Yulong DAC coming up in April at half the price of the DA8 without so many features but same sound quality ... Right now Yulong is just perfecting the USB input stage on it, as everything else on the design has been completed. I may stick around and give this one a shot after the initial reviews come up.
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« Last Edit: 02/15/14 at 22:18:37 by Fireblade »  

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