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Online debk

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Re: Users opinions
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2015, 09:16:40 AM »
The DAC gets better wih time.  Even with streaming  Pandora to it,  the music takes on a new dimension. I am very impressed with it, my old DAC doesn't hold a candle to the BH DAC.  I hear nuances in the music I didn't hear before, and it is simply a pleasure to listen to

Thanks again

Debra K

Eros 2Phono amp
BeePre2, Psvane ACME 300b
Kaiju, Linlai Elite  300b
Monamour 2a3 amps various tubes
Sota Sapphire, Pete Riggle Woody Tonearm, Kiseki Purpleheart Cartridge
Rega P6 Ania Pro cartridge
Roon Nucleus
MHDT Labs Orchid DAC
Jager speakers

Offline Chris Adams

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Re: Users opinions
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2015, 04:17:17 AM »
I meant to post this under "Users Opinions" and I want to follow up so here it is:

"My DAC arrived last Friday . . . while I was away  :'(  Home on Monday and I hooked it up and ran a burn in disc for 24 hours.  Sat down on Tuesday night to take a quick listen.  Put on Sarah Jarosz "Build Me Up From Bones" and ended up listening to the whole album.  I had tears in my eyes and I've heard this album many times.

Gear is a McCormack SST-1 transport, BH DAC, Bent AVC-1, D-Sonic M3-1500M mono blocs, GoldenEar Triton One speaks.  I'd been using an SMc (McCormack) Ultra DAC which at this point in time was my reference having beat out an Audio Note Kit 2.1 that had been greatly enhanced and built by Digital Pete.  Both these DACs are in the mid 2k range so having the BH DAC soundly (no pun intended) trounce the Ultra DAC was a very satisfying experience.  After my brief listen what came to mind is and openness, smoothness, and rich detail that I had never heard.  Softened sibilance but no lack of high frequency involvement.  The sound stage seems slightly compressed but may be more real.  More listening will tell.

Thank you, thank you, Bottleheads all for a truly remarkable DAC.  I can't wait to do some more listening."

It's been about a week and the sound stage that I heard as slightly compressed has opened up nicely. Width, height, and depth are extremely good, as good as I've heard.  As debk said, "DAC gets better with time".

I have a PS Audio PWT memory player arriving today and I'm curios to hear if it makes an improvement because from what I've read this DAC is supposed to minimize jitter thus making differences in transports minimal.

Offline Johnnycopy

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Re: Users opinions
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2015, 12:05:15 PM »
The more i listen, the more i realize how good this dac is.

I am listening only to 44.1 from my denon 2930 player that was upgraded by david schulte at the upgrade company to his signature mod.

This dac brings me closer to what i have been searching for (higher resolution, detail without harshness) than anything i have heard before.  Micro and macro dynamics are stunning from a black background. Billy Joels japanese 20 bit pressing of "an innocent man" is breathless (with air to die for).

I am not sure what differences i would notice with battery power, but am interested in hearing whether it, or other upgrades, are being contemplated.

Great accomplishment Mr. Swenson,  Doc, and all involved.

Offline Mike B

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Re: Users opinions
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2015, 08:21:28 AM »
I fired mine up yesterday.  Yeah, it's been sitting here over a month now.  Not really set up for it.

I was playing CD's through a DVD player which was connected to a TV via HDMI and then TV to DAC via TOS.  Even so the difference was easy to hear.  All the detail w/o the "edge", very nice.

I ordered up the smallest transport I could find, the "Nano-Compo CD-1" in black to match the DAC.  This is in my bedroom and space is tight.

I got the TV and the player going started the CD playing and powered up the DAC.  Nothing.  The display showed a bunch of crap so I pulled the power jack out and plugged it back in.  Sound issued forth and the display showed "48"


It worked, but it is not ideal.  One should not have to reach around the back and be unplugging and plugging to re-boot all the time.  I had to do it twice.  Please consider a power switch on "rev 2"

When I get the new transport in and all the wiring done I'll have more to say.  So good so far.  I agree, it makes CD's sound more like vinyl, just what I was hoping for.  Looking forward to seeing just how good my CD collection sounds!
Far away from the bleeding edge

Offline Doc B.

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Re: Users opinions
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2015, 08:32:59 AM »
The ad copy for the Nanocompo says it only outputs 44.1, 88.2 and 96. I suggest setting the transport to send 44.1 to the DAC and letting it do all of the upsampling.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline mcandmar

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Re: Users opinions
« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2015, 05:02:39 PM »
My DAC arrived on friday so i spent the weekend listening through my speaker system and headphone setup and came to the conclusion that it is simply stunning. Has far exceeded my expectations, and without a doubt it has been worth waiting for.

To date my main DAC has been a CiAudio VDA2 which has a fairly unique design using a discrete transistor output stage and any reviews i have read always praised it for being refined and analog sounding. The Bottlehead DAC immediately stomped all over it, everything about it is improved, lovely tight and dynamic low end, sweet detailed high end, nothing ever sounds harsh or sibilant or badly recorded.  Even low quality MP3 files sound good. The more i have listened the one thing that has impressed me the most is its ability to separate different sounds into different layers. It’s like listening to multiple sound sources at once as nothing ever seems to get in the way of each other, truly remarkable imaging and separation.

I know it’s a bit cliché to say i am hearing things i have never heard before in songs i know well, but it really is a case of listening to things differently as there is so much more depth and detail to be found. I just love it, thanks Bottlehead!

P.S. I found a 3 meter USB cable caused some stutters and artifacts during playback, 1 meter cable is working perfectly.  Both were Belkin Pro USB2 cables.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2015, 05:14:12 PM by mcandmar »

Offline Grainger49

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Re: Users opinions
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2015, 12:34:16 AM »
I was listening to MJQ on MOFI CDs yesterday.  I have the Carnegie Hall and Music Inn live recordings.  The soundstage has definitely taken a step back, about a foot or two.  The double bass has a more "together" sound.  I used to hear it only when it was playing in the upper and lowest registers.  It is now there up and down the scale.  I didn't get too far into the Carnegie Hall CD before Bear, the new puppy decided I had to leave.  She usually sleeps through most music.

This is with the same Harmonic Tech SPDIF cable I have used for 12 years with a gold plated Radio Shack RCA to BNC adapter on the end.  I'll consider a dedicated RCA to BNC cable now.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2015, 11:32:20 PM by Grainger49 »

Offline kumasan

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Re: Users opinions
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2015, 05:37:50 AM »
After 2 weeks of listening to the BH DAC I feel comfortable writing how I hear the BH DAC.

My system is Horning Alkibiades speakers, a Lowther based hybrid with modified Lowther units, a modified tweeter and two 12" Beyma woofers. In my small system I have Orca Classic with matching sub. I actually prefered the Orcas in a near field setup over the Alkibiades for a short while as the Orcas have a nice woody tone but now the Alkibiades are back in my main rig. Amps are the 6c33c based Almarro 318B with various NOS tubes, a Crayon CFA-1.2 mosfet DC coupled amp and a TBI millennia chip amp driven by a 12 volt scooter battery. In addition I have a Bottlehead Parabee 300B but tubes have worn out and it’s inactive at the moment.

Front end is digital, a small Cubox-i unix box with an linear PS running Volumio, a Linux system stripped of all non audio related stuff. For the BH DAC I had to bring in my IBM laptop running Daphile - again a linux stripped of the non audio stuff. Other DAC's on the shelve are Hegel HD2, a NOS Audio Note Dac 1.1 kit and my new DAC an Aqua Hifi La Voce, a modern filterless NOS dac.

My Cubox/Volumio could not detect the BH DAC and after a few restarts I used the Hegel as a USB to BNC converter. As the La Voce also have a BNC I could switch between the two dac with a few cable swaps. After a week I brought in the IBM/Daphile which could detect the BH DAC from USB and I used the Cubox/Volumio for the La Voce. This let me A/B the units from the source selector on the amps. Impressions did not change through the various digital sources.

The first impression made me realize that the Hegel and the Audio Note was out. The BH DAC is in a different league. The only true competitor on my shelve is the La Voce.

The difference between the two DACs are minor so the following is written to emphasize the differences rather than giving an objective description.

Comparing the two DACs the La Voce is more (micro)dynamic, more spacious, more sudden, more vibrant, but more slim on tones where the BH DAC have more round transients, play bigger tones, are more grounded and heavy. The La Voce has a more live character where the BH DAC is more studio like. The BH DAC is more "the musicians are here" where the La Voce is more "the musicians are there". The BH DAC have a more relaxed presentation than the La Voce. Quality wise I can't say which is better as they are quite near so we're down to subjective preferences and system synergy rather than different leagues.

On my TBI I prefer the BH DAC as the TBI have that clinical chip sound and the BH DAC eased it up a bit. On my Almarro and Crayon I prefer the La Voce as I like that slightly more raw, direct, dramatic presentation. Tommy Horning did a fine job taming the "Lowther shout" in my Alkibiades but my guess is that on a standard Lowther I would prefer the BH DAC on all amps.

Edit - please read the rules.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2015, 06:14:31 AM by Doc B. »

Offline umea101

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Re: Users opinions
« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2015, 01:50:41 AM »
My Cubox/Volumio could not detect the BH DAC and after a few restarts I used the Hegel as a USB to BNC converter.

I am using a Cubox with Volumio without any problems. Just restart Volumio when everything is connected and it should be fine.

Offline tcell

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First listening session with my new Bottlehead DAC
« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2015, 03:48:40 PM »
Took the DAC out of the box and hooked it up by toslink to my unmodified Squeezebox Touch as source.  The DAC's RCA outs went into my home theater setup (Marantz one piece) into pair of Magnepans (MG12 Q/R) + Outlaw 12"sub (LFM1 EX).  Really cheap cables.  Not the most revealing system I have, but I couldn't wait to get going!  I only listened to 16/44.1 material streamed from my music server through the Touch, but all sorts of music (including Miles Davis-Kind of Blue, Jewel- Spirit, Dream Theater-Awake, Thomas Dolby-Flat Earth, King Crimson-Thrak, Fixx-Reach the Beach, Alison Krauss & Union Station Live, The Cult-Beyond Good and Evil, Andy Summers-Green Chimneys, Bob Marley, Fabulous Thunderbirds-Walk That Walk Talk That Talk, Los Lobos, Suzanne Vega-Solitude Standing and more).  Started off without warming the DAC up.  Started opening up in about 20 minutes and kept getting better.  Lovely soundstage with great instrument placement, very musical, enough detail for me without getting etched.  Just a pleasure!  Zero fatigue.  And that's just getting started.  Can't wait to get my Bottlehead amplification into the mix.  Also to get EDO applet running on the Touch, and to use foobar on Windows 7 computer.  Bottom line: this DAC sounds great already and thank you so much Doc, John S and everyone else who made this possible.  Cheers! Jeff 
Bottlehead Gear: Foreplay 2&3, Extended S.E.X., Paramours I w/ iron upgrade, Straight 8's, Tode, Bottlehead DAC.  Guitar gear: Les Paul Standard 1981, Ernie Ball John Petrucci BFR, POD HD500x, Marshall JCM1, TC Electronic G-Force.

Offline ToolGuyFred

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Re: Users opinions - Another significant upgrade
« Reply #25 on: August 09, 2015, 06:48:26 AM »
Anyone like me into the 4th decade of the HiFi hobby will have pieces of kit which are "keepers". My Logic DM101 turntable with Alphason HR100-MCS arm (companies now long gone but early Linn competitors). My ParaSEX power amps (now with MQ outputs). My Foreplay. My Lowther 115s. Now my Bottlehead DAC.

I had been saving for an Eros (my vinyl still has an SS stage). Having missed the first DAC batch through indecision, when the second opportunity came along I had to get out the plastic. This of course affects 3 of my signal sources: TV on the TOSlink, CD on the SP/Diff and last but not least, Volumio running on a Raspberry Pi on the USB.

The Bottlehead DAC has all the high end attributes the press extol but few of us mortals on a regular salary experience. It is both neutral and unfatiguing: characteristics which could make a quick superficial listen leave you with the impression that it sounds "ordinary". Well it isn't. Allied to this natural sound is an impressive ability to resolve musical detail. This is another "keeper". Well done Bottleheads!

Having once run an MC head amp on NiCads, I had to try batteries. Eight NiMH AAs gave me the test I needed. This was followed by eight D cells. How did it sound? Have you driven through the summer rush hour for weeks and then go to clean the inside of your windshield? Its like removing that layer of grime that you didn't even know was there.

Going DIY battery is not for the uninitiated: you need low internal resistance, a sensible battery life, the correct voltage and a charging regime which will not over-voltage the DAC or accidentally feed it with AC. If the Bottlebatt is half the improvement that I am listening to as I type then it is worth every penny (and of course it will at least equal my set-up). Go battery!

Amateur Audiophile and Backstreet Boffin.
Original Foreplay with C4S + Sweet Whispers
ParaSEX amps with MQ nickel-cored outputs
Factory-built Lowther Acousta 115s with silver-coiled DX3s, wired in DNM solid-core
KEF active sub (help for the last couple of octaves).
Bottlehead DAC on batteries.

Offline kumasan

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Re: Users opinions
« Reply #26 on: October 16, 2015, 01:34:05 AM »
I was curious if a better power supply would improve the BHD so in June 2015 i bought a Teddy Pardon Teddy9/2 - 9V 2A Power Supply which they claim has less noise than a quality linear supply. At the time I didn't expect BH to actually finish the battery supply so soon and thus I bought the Teddy supply.

As a remark I found the standard power supply solution for the BHD to be below standard. Living in Europe BH included a 240/110 volt converter but this has a lot of mechanical hum, it become very hot and after 10-20 hours it shuts down. I expect there is some sort of thermal protection because it just needs to be replugged to run for another 10-20 hours. BH should consider a better solution for a product of this price.

Anyway, with the Teddy supply the BHD have improved in all areas. Background is now more black and maybe because of this dynamics have increased on macro,  micro, and nano level. Exemplified with the full crescendo of a big band, the pluck of a string or the hit on a drum rim, and the after shimmer of a cymbal. All in all the BHD with a better PS have a more dynamic and organic presentation.

Compared to my Aqua La Voce NOS DAC the BHD with the TP PS is better in most if not all areas. On some recordings the La Voce sounds slightly more relaxed but I consider this to be because of the now less dynamic. Also, the La Voce can from time to time sound more spacious but I'm afraid it's artificial artifacts from the NOS process surrounding the notes in a cloud of digital dust. I'm not sure about that last part but the spaciousness of the La Voce sounds more alike across different recordings where the BHD plays the space more different on various recordings hence I expect this to be an artificial effect on the La Voce. Whether you like it or not is probably subjective. Price Wise the BHD plus an updated PS is quite near the La Voce making them as direct competitors as you find them.

Now the BHD with an updated PS is the best DAC I have had in my system. I can only speculate if the BH battery pack could take the BHD up another notch compared to the TP PS.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 01:36:01 AM by kumasan »

Offline mcandmar

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Re: Users opinions
« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2015, 02:42:50 PM »
Interesting power supply. I had the same issues with the 240v converters and give up on them, after a few hours they would cut out and that was that until they cooled down again. I came to the same conclusion that there is a thermal cutout inside them as whenever the case hit 60c they just died.  I used my own 100va step down transformer for a while but got fed up with it buzzing away all the time so i built a 9v linear power supply, and as you say it was a dramatic improvement over the supplied brick which is nothing more than a few diodes and a 2200uf cap.   Bottlebat is on my wishlist though, maybe santa will bring me one if i'm good :)

Offline Bryce

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Re: Users opinions
« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2015, 06:50:30 PM »
Being relatively new to DAC and BH, hi-fi audio, etc. I have found the BHDAC amazing.  It is an investment, but well worth it.  In the end, it amounts to if you can hear the difference.  To me, it makes appropriate digital audio life-like whether through speaker or headphone, so I can enjoy music as if it were live and in front of me. Just my opinion. To you it may hear/feel entirely different depending on YOU. That is ok because everyone is different.  Enjoy it if you have one.
I get up every morning determined both to change the world and to have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning the day difficult.

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Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Users opinions
« Reply #29 on: October 20, 2015, 12:39:24 PM »
As a remark I found the standard power supply solution for the BHD to be below standard. Living in Europe BH included a 240/110 volt converter but this has a lot of mechanical hum, it become very hot and after 10-20 hours it shuts down. I expect there is some sort of thermal protection because it just needs to be replugged to run for another 10-20 hours. BH should consider a better solution for a product of this price.
I would comment on this that we initially planned to ship the DAC with an inexpensive switch mode power supply that would work on any line voltage.  After that planning, the current linear supply that we use became available, and we were impressed enough with the difference that we made the upgrade despite the cost difference.  For our European customers, it came down to either shipping the DAC with the sub-par switch mode power supply, or using the linear supply and purchasing an additional small step-down transformer.  We opted for the small step-down transformer, which despite being run very conservatively, appears to overheat in some situations.

It is possible to simply substitute it for another 9-12V switch mode supply to avoid the issue, or to use a different step-down transformer.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man