But how much that noise gets through to the DAC and affects the sound will depend on the type of noise, the measures to block it (whether in source output, DAC input, or something between them), and might also depend on the nature of the DAC conversion process itself. So it seems to me that with one one DAC there might be big audible differences between two different sources, and with a different DAC that is better at filtering and better at preventing modulation effects there might be no audible difference (maybe both sounding as good as the best from the first DAC).
Re the first point, maybe it depends on whether his critical listening is to enjoy ultimate sound quality, or to hear how well his designs are doing with a source that is noisy. I am also aware that he travels a lot, taking the Mac and Dave with him - another possibility is that he needs a mobile source, and doesn’t want the added variable of another source when at base. I have no idea if the reason may be one of these, but unless he has indicated otherwise it is a possibility.
Regarding the second point, leaving aside the inevitable possible explanation of different ancillary equipment, different room effects and different ears, my response to Stringerbell might explain, some DACs being more ‘resistant’ to source than others.
It would be nice to know for certain - but unless someone (preferably more than one person) does some proper comparative reviews of several sources,including the ones talked about here, into several DACs, using top quality ancillary gear, I suspect there will remain an element of conjecture Our own abilities to assess, in our systems and to our ears, is obviously appropriate, but not always easy or affordable to do other than in a very limited way.
The trouble with that review is that it is not comparative, other than by memory with other DCS products, and a reminiscence about the sound of master tape.
I would love to see a proper formal comparative review of, say, that product, a top and bottom Melco, ditto Innuos, ultraRendu, a couple of renderer implementations on computers, quiet computer vs general purpose, all into a small selection of high level DACs. Whilst I doubt that would ever happen, a few more limirlred ‘shootout’ type reviews would be good.
IB . A comparative review would have been better , for sure. But the relevant point in the context
of our discussion is that a well designed transport made a positive difference with the mighty
DAVE dac, which is said to be source agnostic by Rob Watts. Differences also heard with other hugos.
To understand what ATC speakers are capable of , and even more so with active atcs , you need a very good source, and the transport is a very important of the source. Jason Kennedy , in his the-ear.net review of 19 actives is saying some very similar…
What about 272, acting as Pre/Streamer/Dac, the best option would be floating or chassis?
Without being comparative all the article does is say that the reviewer liked it, from memory more than he liked their other products…
I am not disputing that there can be differences between different sources - indeed, I have heard it myself, finding an optimised Audirvana setup in a Mac Mini to sound better than the rendering stage of an ND5XS. However I wonder to what extent different DACs mitigate that by dealing with the interferences, and I wonder how much difference there is between the different sources, e.g in the context of things already mentioned, the DCS bridge and whatever renderer Rob Watts uses setup however he has it on a MacBook running in batteries.
As for ATC speakers, I am sure you can hear what they are capable of with a variety of sources. You will undoubtedly get the best out of them with the best sounding sauce, of course including the best sounding DAC, but if they are good sounding then they will be good sounding with lesser sources.
I’m freaking torn with this decision. I still have active 19A on demo and I’ve switched them back on yesterday. I connected my own setup for two days in between. I’ve already decided that I won’t go for 19A because it lacks the deepest bass but 40A is the one which tempts me now. My passive system, compared to the demo 19A system, still has its own strengths. I must say that the demo combo of Mutec MC-3+ USB bridge to Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ to 19A sounds extremely good for something so compact. It offers better resolution, detail retrieval, airiness and control with great dynamics and enjoyable top end but still doesn’t sound clinical or lifeless like many equipment with studio/pro roots often do. What it lacks compared to my Naim passive setup though is the organic and smooth, yet with all the PRaT -sound which I’ve come to enjoy during my years with Naim. Naim DAC is truly a special source IMO. 272 to 19A didn’t offer the same experience.
Going for the 40A means selling my current system completely, that’s what scares me.
It sounds like the 40A is for you - the question is how to achieve them without loss of other parts that seem also to do it for you. Waiting and saving up, perhaps? And most definitely the speakers secondhand.
I couldn’t do that to my dealer, he ordered 19A pretty much just for me to demo them. I’ve also bought my passive 40’s from him. Also there’s zero 40A’s for sale second hand at the moment, at least can’t find any through hifishark. I got very good offer for a new pair of 40A’s so that’s the way if I decide to go for them. I’d just need to live some time with the Brooklyn or some other dac/preamp and build from there on. 40A is pretty much and endgame speaker so it’s good base to build upon.
Patu, curious about your 19a and deep bass… although I haven’t tried the 19a at home, I drive the 19 passives on the end of my Naim. I have taken a frequency room performance measurement using a calibrated mic in my listening position with pink noise, and I have fairly reasonable levels down to about 28 Hz and then falls off more steeply… in fact I have a peak around 40Hz so I tame using some DSP… to stop low frequency rumble on some tracks… admittedly I know this is sometimes very dependent on stands of which you don’t have with the 19a as well as the room.
Although the 40’s have a slightly lower cutoff than the 19’s have you moved the 19s around to see if you are driving some sort of null?
What was interesting when I tamed the 40 Hz peak, the audible effect was punchier, more tuneful, but most interestingly more powerful bass… great slam with rock. but now no irritating rumble.
It’s also fair to say it wasn’t until got my 552 that I had to be more mindful of deep bass with my ATCs…my 252, and 282 really didn’t seem to drive those lower frequencies as dominantly.
By no means is 19A bass shy, it has very balanced sound and bass hits deep in general sense. I could certainly live with them but the problem is that I’ve used passive 40’s in my room for five years now and have got used to their reach in low end. I had PMC 20.23 before 40’s and 19A definitely hits lower than them. But room acoustics is never a simple thing. My sweet spot, where my sofa is, has clear dip in low frequencies. Pretty much everywhere else in the room the bass hits with more power and deeper but in the spot it dips clearly on certain frequencies. Midbass comes through nicely but it feels that the low frequencies roll of very early in the sweet spot. I have never done measurements here but it’s clearly audible. Because of this, SCM40 works just perfectly in my room. The extra bass reach gives perfect balance to the sweet spot and, probably because of the closed box design, SCM40 is extremely fast and agile speaker so you get best of both worlds really. I admit it can get little bass heavy outside the spot but of course I adjust the sound to the sweet spot. I play electronic music pretty much and it works great with deep hitting bass. I have very limited space to move the speakers around so I have to live with that.
I’ve also experienced deeper hitting bass when I changed from original SN to SN2 and most notably when I added external PSU to Naim DAC. Without PSU it really sounds much more flat. What took the low end performance even further was the change from HiCap DR to an aftermarket PSU. Of course the usual Naim attack and PRaT took slight hit with this change but I preferred the result in the end.
Picture tells more than thousand words and there you can see the space more clearly. Some changes to the equipment has happened after the pic was taken but the space is same ofc.
Thanks for the reply, interesting… good luck with your actives.
I’ve also considered my options on moving up the ladder with Naim but after nDAC + SN2 it gets ridiculously expensive to climb up. Also I’d imagine the improvements get smaller on every ladder. 250DR should be only marginally better than SN2 so 300DR would be logical next step I think but it costs an arm and leg and comes in two boxes. Next step with preamp is 282 which can be had for almost reasonable price second hand but I’m not sure it helps with driving the passive 40’s much better, also two boxes or even three with NAPSC and HCDR. I wouldn’t want to go up in the box count so active route seems more tempting.
This is true regarding upgrade cost, but if you have a good dealer who will let you trade in and possibly buy used… it can become more manageable. I admit I was very fortunate with some Bitcoin investments about 13 months ago which made my new 552 purchase straightforward.
BTW don’t forget the Hugo mk1… I used to be NDAC/555PS fan boy, in fact I am still rather fond of it with its slightly rough organic and deep sound… really sounds great with some rock and EDM… but I moved to the Hugo and didn’t look back… but the Hugo does need a good NAC to sound worthwhile… however one to bear in mind for the future perhaps…
Oh yes in my humble opinion, the Hugo mk1 outguns all the later Chord offerings other than DAVE when using a Naim transport.
Those 40’s look great in your room Patu , I’m sure you’ll be more than fine with the Mytek or similar for a while with Active 40’s . Regarding future upgrades at least you’ll only have to focus on source and Pre amp so the Upgrades could be more significant , that was kind of my plan … I hope things work out .
Yeah in Finland and with Naim equipment you pretty much always have option to trade in the old gear. But the trade in refund is always much worse than the price you get when selling by your own or by commission account through dealer. And when the equipment prices get higher, it’s more difficult to move the used gear in our small country. I’ve had to sell few things to UK/Europe lately after six months of no interest in Finland.
It’s fun how many people call Naim DAC organic and deep sounding, because that’s exactly how it sounds. It’s difficult sound signature to get right but nDAC does it with success. Often smooth/organic also means bad resolution/speed/rhythm but not with nDAC.
I still haven’t auditioned any Chord stuff even though it’d be easily done since we have many dealers here. Hugo TT2 would be my choice with proper remote control, desktop look which works in my equipment stand and proper balanced outputs.
Yeah that’s what I think atm also. Currently playing the new White Lies album through Mytek and 19A’s and it sounds stunning. Mytek can also be upgraded with quite reasonably priced linear PSU upgrades and I already have Mutec’s brilliant USB bridge hooked to it.
Hi Patu - see if you can get your mits on a Hugo mk1 or a TT mk1 (they are essentially the same with an ever so subtle difference in signature). These are only available used now so you might be able to get a bargain in Finland?? These are superior IMO to the later Hugo 2 and TT2 products (using SPDIF)
Patu, I previously ran Hugo TT directly into SCM40A, it’s stunning. If you can then demo before you make a decision, it’s a considerable step up from the 19A.
Simon, I’m interested in Hugo TT2. Have you tried one? What were your thoughts?
And IIRC TT has balanced XLR outputs, lending itself to balanced cable connection to active ATCs, for which Mogami cable can make for top quality at low cost. (I use Dave’s balanced outputs to my active XO.)
Ah, but IB both Dave and TT are single ended so the audio signal at the end of the path is converted to balanced/differential thereby degrading transparency.
I actually used a custom Mogami 2549 RCA to XLR cable to to get the best possible sound wired like this https://benchmarkmedia.com/collections/a-stock/products/benchmark-rca-to-xlrm-adapter-cable
Alternatively, a simple Neutrik RCA to XLR adaptor.