Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register
Decware Audio Forums
09/17/21 at 09:03:24†


       


Pages: 1
Send Topic Print
DAC Comparison Listening Session (Read 1636 times)
HockessinKid
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 718
DAC Comparison Listening Session
07/16/21 at 17:40:52
 
GroovySauce will be heading my way next week. We'll have a chance to compare the venerable Holo Audio May KTE DAC and the Modwright modified Cambridge Audio CXN V2 DAC in my humble system.

I had hoped to bring my DAC out to Decfest this year, but alas my plans did not pan out. Oh well, at least the two of us will have some time to give them a good listen.

Cheers,

HK
Back to top
 
 

Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 cart + Modwright PH 9.0X phono pre OR Modwright modded Cambridge CNX V2 streamer/DAC > CSP3-25th mods preamp > ZMA-25th mods amp > PI Audio UberBUSS > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Lii15+ speakers > various cables & tweaks.
  IP Logged
Geno
Seasoned Member
****


Without music, life
would be a mistake.
Nietzsche

Posts: 1387
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #1 - 07/16/21 at 19:08:34
 
Very cool! †Glad that this will happen. I look forward to your impressions.

Best,

Geno

Back to top
 
 

SE84UFO(25th Mods) OR Sansui AU-222 Intgr. Amp OR Sansui 800 Recvr
Cambr. Audio CXN (ModWright) ē Cambr. Audio CXC ē ZBIT
Technics 1210 MK5 (KAB Mods) - KAB/Ortof Concorde 40 cart
Otari MX5050 R2R
ZLC Pwr Cond.
Lii Cryst 10 Open Baff ē Lii W15 Bass Baff
  IP Logged
CAJames
Seasoned Member
****


"I've run every
red light on memory
lane."

Posts: 293
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #2 - 07/16/21 at 20:13:52
 
Very cool indeed. I wish there was a way to get Denafrips into the mix as well.
Back to top
 
 
  IP Logged
Dominick
Seasoned Member
****


Still like that old
time Rock and Roll!!

Posts: 560
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #3 - 07/16/21 at 20:50:55
 
Roger,

That sounds like a great time.  Looking forward to hearing your impressions and comparisons between these two great DACís.  

Dom
Back to top
 
 

iMac 7, Google CCA/Raspberry Pi 4, Schiit Bifrost True Multibit DAC, My Audio Cables [MAC] Ultra Silver+ Cables, ZSB, ZSTAGE [Beeswax Caps], DAG Cables, DHC1, Torii MKIV w/25th Ann. mods, Reg P3 Turntable, Velodyne Dual Firing Sub, ERR Radials [Bubbinga Wood].
  IP Logged
Dr3wman
Verified Member
**




Posts: 42
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #4 - 07/17/21 at 04:56:15
 
Iím definitely looking forward to your impressions. Iím in the market for a DAC and trying to whittle it down.
Back to top
 
 

On the waiting list for Torii MKV. Parks Audio Puffin. Rega P1 with Ortofon 2M Blue. Emotiva T1 towers. Sonos connect.
  IP Logged
GroovySauce
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 292
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #5 - 07/17/21 at 14:20:36
 
I'm looking forward to it also Smiley

I'm familiar with the Cambridge CXN v2, I've spent many hours listening to music with it serving as the DAC and digital source feeding a PS Audio DSD. There are a lot of really good options in the DAC market today.
Back to top
 
 

Rega P8 | SS Zephyr MIMC Star | Innuos ZENith MK3 | FTA Callisto USB | Jay's Audio CDT MKIII | Holo Audio May KTE DAC | ZP3 25th ZMC1 | ZR2 25th | EMIA Remote Autoformer | Torii MKIV 25th | Snake River Audio Cables | PAP Quintet 15 1.6 Vox | PiAudio uberBUSS
  IP Logged
HockessinKid
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 718
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #6 - 07/23/21 at 15:20:10
 
I enjoyed hosting GroovySauce at my home yesterday. We spent several hours listening to my MWI modified Cambridge CXN V2 and his Mojo Audio May KTE DAC.

The May KTE was tethered to the CXN V2 initially via a Triode Wire Labs coax cable then a Snake River cable. Groovy brought a couple of IC's so the CXN and May KTE could be connected to my CSP3's two RCA inputs, this allowing easy comparison between the two units. We listened to a variety of music streamed via Qobuz w/ Roon. Hopefully GS can provide info on the cables he brought, as I did not write them down.

The musical reproduction and listening proved superb through the Caintuck Audio Lii 15 open baffles. These speakers are very efficient and excelled in allowing comparison between the CXN V2 and Mojo Audio May KTE DAC's.

The May KTE is the real deal! While the DAC's have a very similar tonality, the May just exuded gobs more detail and separation of detail within a deeper and wider soundstage on all the music selections. Music appears from the blackest backdrop and provided me the most immersive listening i've ever experienced.

Both units have a similar tonality and natural sound. The CXN V2 has a bit more lively and a mid-hall listener placement presentation. It exhibits a wonderful deep, wide and high soundstage. The placement of individual instruments and vocals just doesn't have the amazing separation and "reach out and touch quality" of the May DAC IMHO. The May DAC places a listener closer to the front of the hall, not in a bad way at all. The presentation is ultra articulate, a bit less lively but the detail and realism is there in spades.

Suffice to say the SQ of both units is superlative IMHO. The May KTE as as stand alone DAC requires a separate streaming device unless your just listening CD's, so one should keep this in mind.

The May KTE runs $4995 plus shipping from China. The CXN V2 is $1099 shipped from Crutchfield with $1500 for the ModWright modifications. So $ $2600 for the whole enchilada.

While I was deeply impressed with the May KTE I won't be buying one as I'm completely satisfied with the CXN V2. More importantly, I thoroughly enjoyed my time getting to meet GroovySauce and sharing some our mutual joy of all things audio and life in general.

BTW, on an interesting note there was a very discernable difference in the when we swapped out the Triode Wire Labs coax with the Snake River (a non coax) cable. TheTRL gave a somewhat softer presentation. So digital cables can sound different, maybe worth some experimentation in your system 😉.

HK



Back to top
 
 

Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 cart + Modwright PH 9.0X phono pre OR Modwright modded Cambridge CNX V2 streamer/DAC > CSP3-25th mods preamp > ZMA-25th mods amp > PI Audio UberBUSS > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Lii15+ speakers > various cables & tweaks.
  IP Logged
Geno
Seasoned Member
****


Without music, life
would be a mistake.
Nietzsche

Posts: 1387
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #7 - 07/23/21 at 16:08:47
 
Thanks for the in depth review, HK. I have been waiting for it.

That is about what I figured would be the case between the two. Even though the May is better (it better be for double the price), like you, I am perfectly happy with the modded CXN. †It ain't goin' anywhere Smiley
Back to top
 
 

SE84UFO(25th Mods) OR Sansui AU-222 Intgr. Amp OR Sansui 800 Recvr
Cambr. Audio CXN (ModWright) ē Cambr. Audio CXC ē ZBIT
Technics 1210 MK5 (KAB Mods) - KAB/Ortof Concorde 40 cart
Otari MX5050 R2R
ZLC Pwr Cond.
Lii Cryst 10 Open Baff ē Lii W15 Bass Baff
  IP Logged
Tony
Verified Member
**




Posts: 44
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #8 - 07/23/21 at 16:30:41
 
Brilliant.  Thanks for the review.
Back to top
 
 
  IP Logged
JBzen
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 352
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #9 - 07/23/21 at 17:37:48
 
Thanks HK and GroovySauce. Sorry to see you can't make it to Decfest this year HK.

John
Back to top
 
 

AMC CD8b>XO3>Cambridge CXN2>(ASKA>Wicket One>)Stokes DAC>low dilectric 5-9s silver>ZKIT1 Milflex copper 25th>cotton clad #8 silver plate>lii Crystal 10 in Huijgen cabinets. Ortofon 2M Bronze>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation>ZP3. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>Room treatment
  IP Logged
GroovySauce
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 292
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #10 - 07/23/21 at 19:31:18
 
HK was a great host! It was a fun and enjoyable afternoon. HK covered the heavy lifting between the two DACs.

We used the Snake River Audio Boomslang digital cable after using the Triode Wire Labs cable. The differences were immediately noticeable. The downside of the Boomslang, it being non-coax, and thus not as well shielded was a raising of the noise floor, my guess some sort of RF noise. The noise wasnít an issue when listening to music. Only when paused it brought itself front and center.

For the RCA cables we connected the ICONOCLAST UPOCC between the MAY and CSP3. The SRA Mamushi is a difficult to route cable, so we didnít try that one.

The price of the MAY KTE was recently increased to $5,598 + $230 shipping to the USA = $5,823. If thatís in your budget with the rest of the needed equipment itís a winner.

If you are looking for a solid digital front end, the Cambridge CXN V2 with the MWI mods out of the gate or added later is terrific solution for years of great music.

HK Thank you again for hosting!
Back to top
 
 

Rega P8 | SS Zephyr MIMC Star | Innuos ZENith MK3 | FTA Callisto USB | Jay's Audio CDT MKIII | Holo Audio May KTE DAC | ZP3 25th ZMC1 | ZR2 25th | EMIA Remote Autoformer | Torii MKIV 25th | Snake River Audio Cables | PAP Quintet 15 1.6 Vox | PiAudio uberBUSS
  IP Logged
piezoman
Seasoned Member
****


God damn the pusher
man! - John Kay

Posts: 753
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #11 - 07/23/21 at 21:46:52
 
Great review, guys! Sounds like you had a ton of fun. Thanks for sharing your afternoon together with the rest of us. I love stories like that! And great info on the two outstanding DACs!

Brad
Back to top
 
 

Torii MK V-25th [on wait list], CSP3, ZRock2-25th, ZBIT, Omega Jr. XRS ALNICO spkrs, Omega DH 8 sub, Bryston BDA-3/BDP-2, Brick Wall 8, Ansuz Conditioning, Audeze LCD-3F...PI Audio AQD1 Diffusers, DIY room treatments.

  IP Logged
HockessinKid
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 718
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #12 - 07/23/21 at 23:45:55
 
Happy to host fellow Decware folks if you want to travel to Northern Delaware. Plenty of music to share! Just shoot me a PM.

HK
Back to top
 
 

Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 cart + Modwright PH 9.0X phono pre OR Modwright modded Cambridge CNX V2 streamer/DAC > CSP3-25th mods preamp > ZMA-25th mods amp > PI Audio UberBUSS > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Lii15+ speakers > various cables & tweaks.
  IP Logged
dao
Verified Member
**




Posts: 32
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #13 - 07/24/21 at 05:24:53
 
Thank you so much for sharing your experience with these two great piece s. I came kinda close to buying the KTE May, but with just getting my toes wet again into the hi-fi scene, it just didnít feel right. If your first car was a Ferrari, would you appreciate it as much as someone who owned a VW Beetle first?
Back to top
 
 

Forte IVs . Reisong A10 (temp) . 2 x SE84UFO2's (on order) . Pontus II . CXN V2
  IP Logged
MrDerrick
Seasoned Member
****


"We all live in
our own personal
version of
Hell"

Posts: 155
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #14 - 07/24/21 at 11:36:44
 
Nothing better than getting together for some audio fellowship.

I wanted to make Decfest this year, but wouldn't you know it, we had that slot already booked up.

Now there needs to be a Modwright version of the KTE May.

A couple of big ole honking tubes poking out through the top cover.

I would go for it even if they were just for show and did nothing.
Back to top
 
 

HQPe + HAF 1.4/1.5 MHz 20 Bit PCM
ESW>ETH>oM>FOC>STi9
ESW>ETH>oM>FOC>oM>ETH>MeLE NAA>USB>Intona 3.0>USB>HOLO KTE May
SA1X/47>ZBIT>ZSTAGE25>SE84UFO25
Avantgarde Duo Omega Horns & Townshend Super Tweeters
IsoMax>Rives Parc>Sub225
PSA PW PP3 & Cinepro PP20
  IP Logged
HockessinKid
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 718
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #15 - 07/24/21 at 11:44:49
 
Or maybe just settle for this PH 9.0X MWI picture.
Back to top
 

20210720_090751.jpg

Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 cart + Modwright PH 9.0X phono pre OR Modwright modded Cambridge CNX V2 streamer/DAC > CSP3-25th mods preamp > ZMA-25th mods amp > PI Audio UberBUSS > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Lii15+ speakers > various cables & tweaks.
  IP Logged
Dominick
Seasoned Member
****


Still like that old
time Rock and Roll!!

Posts: 560
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #16 - 07/24/21 at 14:58:00
 
Sounds like you guys had a really great time! †Nothing better than a bunch of Decware guys getting together to listen to music with a DAC shootout. †I would love to hear both of these DACís someday.

Your listening impressions were very descriptive and much appreciated. † For a an all in one DAC/streamerÖthe modified CXN seems to be the best out there. †For a while I was interested in the Teac NT-505, but for not much more, the Cambridge is clearly the best choice.

Dom

Back to top
 
 

iMac 7, Google CCA/Raspberry Pi 4, Schiit Bifrost True Multibit DAC, My Audio Cables [MAC] Ultra Silver+ Cables, ZSB, ZSTAGE [Beeswax Caps], DAG Cables, DHC1, Torii MKIV w/25th Ann. mods, Reg P3 Turntable, Velodyne Dual Firing Sub, ERR Radials [Bubbinga Wood].
  IP Logged
HockessinKid
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 718
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #17 - 07/24/21 at 17:26:12
 
Dom,

The Holo Audio MAY KTE is phenomenal. For those who plan to use it primarily for streaming, you'll need to add a PC or other streaming device and a good coax cable.

For those that want the ultimate, it's a no brained IMHO.

For those who want a solid streamer/ DAC one box solution at a lower cost, the MWI modified CXN V2 is a viable choice. I believe Dan has modified over 75 units so far, so it's a pretty popular option.

HK
Back to top
 
 

Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 cart + Modwright PH 9.0X phono pre OR Modwright modded Cambridge CNX V2 streamer/DAC > CSP3-25th mods preamp > ZMA-25th mods amp > PI Audio UberBUSS > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Lii15+ speakers > various cables & tweaks.
  IP Logged
johnnycopy
Verified Member
**




Posts: 22
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #18 - 07/25/21 at 04:32:50
 
Was very surprised and happy to see this thread as well as the sister thread Ed started on the holo May kte.

Thanks for the nice write up and comparisons.

My existing dac failed 6 weeks ago, and in doing a lot of net research came to the holo products.

Was going to pull the trigger on a holo May kte, but kitsume audio indicated an new dac was on the way.

Being considerably cheaper I ended up going for the top iteration (Kte) of the new holo spring 3 dac announced in July.

Same USB board as the May, , and even comes with a brand new optional volume control.

They lowered cost by making it nos only as nobody ran the May in non nos modes

The cheaper price will not last as the distributor indicated price increases of 10% were at hand.

Ordered but have not yet received it.

Thanks again for the comparison review.

I plan to run it with Lii audio new reference speakers.
Back to top
 
 
  IP Logged
Steve Deckert
Administrator
*****


If the 1st watt
sucks why continue?

Posts: 5184
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #19 - 07/26/21 at 02:48:58
 

Sounds exciting! †I can see deleting the second set of ladders used just for DSD because many customers would not use it. That would really drop the cost. Your TORII and the HOLO with the Lii Reference speakers will ensure your post count stays low. Hehe, maybe we should name the pairing ' TORIIOLO '.

Yea, that's it... what happened to Jonny?  He had a Toriiolo.  No one's seen him since.

Steve



Back to top
 
 
WWW   IP Logged
jslateiv
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 160
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #20 - 07/26/21 at 19:39:08
 
The KTE May is the real deal as everyone else here who's heard it mentions.    I've had one for about 6 months now,  previously owning a PSA DSD for 3 years and a Lampizator Atlantic TRP for about 9 months as well.   In my system (F15 OB/Large Zen style and the 25th Anniv amp),  the Holo is simply amazing and smoked the competition. I actually really liked the PSA-DSD and Lampi but they were almost too polite and the natural decay recorded into the music was lost a bit.  With that Holo,  the spatial sense and natural decay of the recorded sounds are just eerily and spookily natural.    Easily and instantly discernible over any other DAC I've ever heard.  Certainly takes a great amp and speakers to hear it in spades though.  BUT,  if you have some of the Lii FR speakers implemented and a DECWARE amp driving them,  your golden.  I can't imagine it really getting much better,  but I say that from time to time and the next thing you know something new comes out that raises the bar.  In this case though and from a full systems standpoint,  I just can't see a DAC raising that bar much beyond the KTE May.   Speakers maybe, amp maybe but not that DAC!
Back to top
 
 

PureFidelity Harmony (SS Zephyr MIMC) > Roon ROCK/NUC > Holo KTE May > Supratek Cortese LCR > 25th Anniv. Zen Amp / Gerus 300B / Radu Tarta Ultimate 300B > Triangle Celius 202 / Zu Omen (Hi-Mod) / ZenMstrL-F15 : PSA P12 : Iconoclast Cabling
  IP Logged
MrDerrick
Seasoned Member
****


"We all live in
our own personal
version of
Hell"

Posts: 155
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #21 - 07/26/21 at 22:53:08
 
The KTE May still continues to amaze me every time I listen to it.

The only thing that I miss is the volume control of the PSA DSD.
Back to top
 
 

HQPe + HAF 1.4/1.5 MHz 20 Bit PCM
ESW>ETH>oM>FOC>STi9
ESW>ETH>oM>FOC>oM>ETH>MeLE NAA>USB>Intona 3.0>USB>HOLO KTE May
SA1X/47>ZBIT>ZSTAGE25>SE84UFO25
Avantgarde Duo Omega Horns & Townshend Super Tweeters
IsoMax>Rives Parc>Sub225
PSA PW PP3 & Cinepro PP20
  IP Logged
Lon
Seasoned Member
****


"Love without
guts is
worthless!"
Philip K. Dick

Posts: 18492
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #22 - 07/27/21 at 00:31:45
 
Sure seems like the hot DAC to own and to have the goods to back up the claim!

For the foreseeable (well sort of) future I won't be able to upgrade my DAC and I'm very happy with my PS Audio DSD--and with my system's ZBIT, ZROCK2 two Decware preamps, and extensive tube-rolling options I've dialed the system in exactly how I like it and it serves me well across all the quality natures of my disc collections. Not sure I'd go for a Holo May if I were to make a change--their lack of a US presence beyond one guy as a distributor gives me pause. But likely that won't be much of an issue in a continuingly global market once we get past the pandemic bumps and grinds.
Back to top
 
 

HR-1,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th x2, CSP3-25th.Taboo Mk IV; Rega RP3 w all GrooveTracer mods PS Audio: DMP+DSD,P15,NPC,PowerBases,AC-12 pwr cbls, Reference spkr cbls;Mapleshade:Samson V3;;VooDoo:Cremona+Amati intrcncts, Iso-Pods;headphones:PM1,HD800S,ZMF Ori
  IP Logged
Brian
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 771
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #23 - 07/27/21 at 04:57:58
 
Is any one here familiar with other Holo Audio DACs?  I see they have a model called Cyan which also is a discrete resistor ladder DAC, for $1100 Ė $1500 depending on options. A considerable saving over the May model. I wonder how it sounds.

Brian
Back to top
 
 
  IP Logged
jslateiv
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 160
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #24 - 07/27/21 at 14:36:33
 
I would imagine that they are solid DACs since they are designed by the same fellow (as far as I'm aware),..  probably on par with other similar offerings of similar price points from other manufacturers,. Their Spring model has garnered some good press over the years but like most DACs out there, it's almost a flavor of the month kinda deal.  You really need the ability to listen in your own environment (as with any gear) to be able to make an informed decision.    Purchasing something from Holo (or any other oversea's manuf) def. gives pause when you consider the need to deal with any trouble down the road. It's certainly a risk you have to be willing to take.  I do think that Holo would do everything in their power to make things right but it's not as if you can just ship the unit across a few states and have the company repair for you.  I have heard that in the few rare cases where there was a problem,  once identified,  the company would ship a replacement board or such and the user would then swap out themselves.   Due to the modularity of the components this is apparently the best solution to issues,..    

Back to top
 
 

PureFidelity Harmony (SS Zephyr MIMC) > Roon ROCK/NUC > Holo KTE May > Supratek Cortese LCR > 25th Anniv. Zen Amp / Gerus 300B / Radu Tarta Ultimate 300B > Triangle Celius 202 / Zu Omen (Hi-Mod) / ZenMstrL-F15 : PSA P12 : Iconoclast Cabling
  IP Logged
Ellsworth
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 109
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #25 - 07/31/21 at 15:19:24
 
Thanks for the thread and the listening comparisons. †I have the Holo Spring 2 †Kitsune Edition. † Wonderful DAC but I am sure the May is on another level. †

I have been really interested in Lampizator DACs and am surprised I donít hear more about them with Decware users. †Based on comments above it sounds like the May was preferred over the †Lampizator Atlantic TRP by a fair margin. †Very interesting comments. †
Back to top
 
 
  IP Logged
jslateiv
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 160
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #26 - 08/02/21 at 17:13:09
 
I never felt like I heard alot about the Lampi's either save for in a couple Forums where there were some very specific threads for Lampi and all of the members/posters were Lampi owners, (and they all raved about them ,lol)...     I really liked the Lampi and would put it on Par with the PSA - DSD.  I had the Atlantic TRP which had the Power Tubes on top (used essentially as preamp output) and you could def. roll those to suit your tastes.  I think the Lampi had a little more 'jump' factor than the DSD but all in all the Presentation was pretty similar and very smooth across the board.  I ultimately ended up not wanting to deal/mess with tubes in my DAC since all the rest of my gear is tube based.   Ultimately I just didn't feel like there was enough difference betwen the PSA and Lampi  and I was really looking to take my DAC implementation to the next level so I sold the Lampi,..   I do feel like the KTE May brought me to that next level.
Back to top
 
 

PureFidelity Harmony (SS Zephyr MIMC) > Roon ROCK/NUC > Holo KTE May > Supratek Cortese LCR > 25th Anniv. Zen Amp / Gerus 300B / Radu Tarta Ultimate 300B > Triangle Celius 202 / Zu Omen (Hi-Mod) / ZenMstrL-F15 : PSA P12 : Iconoclast Cabling
  IP Logged
Ellsworth
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 109
Re: DAC Comparison Listening Session
Reply #27 - 08/05/21 at 01:55:00
 
Thanks for the detailed impressions of the Lampi. †I do wonder if most of the enthusiastic Lampi supporters have SS amps. †The idea of rolling tubes in a DAC while fun might be more hassle than I want to go through
Back to top
 
 
  IP Logged
Pages: 1
Send Topic Print