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At last... (Audiolab) - part I

Discussion in 'audio' started by sq225917, Aug 5, 2010.

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  1. sq225917

    sq225917 Bit of this, bit of that

    Bec, If you believe Johns claim re what the reviewers have said regarding the price comparison, then it seems logical to conclude that it sounds best with amps you would normally reserve for the megabucks digital front end.

    If he's made a DAC that can beat 'them', what's the likelihood he can do it with an amp as well? I wouldn't say it's a cert by any stretch of the imagination. But if you like the sound of his DACs then what's the chance you'll hate the amp he designs to go with them?

    He's made some very good stuff over the years, not least the Pink Triangle, Ordinal, Cardinal and De Capo. (Which he designed when he was 19). I know it's unusual in this day and age, but he's not really known for 'bluster', he's no J.V. or I.T.
  2. Purité Audio

    Purité Audio Trade: Purite Audio

    If John pops back I would be interested in the implementation of the async transfer protocol?
  3. Space is the Place

    Space is the Place pfm Member

    Hi Bec, I think you've taken it a little out of context, i think what he was trying to get across is that its much better than it price would suggest and deserves better speakers and amps to do it justice (better than what Audiolab produce at the moment) which may be considerably more expensive, i think John uses CLX speakers for example.
    John also wrote about building a power dac, basically a digital amplifier to drive the speakers directly.

    Bec if you have a read through this thread youll see where John is coming from with the design.
    What you also find is he very generous and helpful with his support of other enthusiasts. I think this is why he's so well liked, hes a real enthusiast not a business man.

    Im sure if John wanted to he could have sold these designs at a much higher price, more than most people could afford, but judging from his posts over on the other site that's not what he's about at all, its about making something good that most people can afford. :)
  4. technobear

    technobear Ursine Audiophile

    As far as amps and speakers are concerned, some of the better active speakers from the pro-audio arena might partner well with the CDQ at a comparable price.

    In the hifi arena, I can think of at least one amp that offers high end sound for a real world price - the Croft Series 7.

    For passive speakers, you would need to go second hand I think but £700 won't net you a pair of Zu Druids (or CLX's for that matter).
  5. Papa Lazarou

    Papa Lazarou Hello Daaaaaaave!!!!!

    May borrow one of the DACs to try when they come out.
  6. sq225917

    sq225917 Bit of this, bit of that

    Keith, he's explained in detail on diyaudio.

    YNWOAN 100% Analogue

    Perhaps, but I am less convinced than I could be; after all, amplifier design is a much more worn path than DAC design.
  8. Purité Audio

    Purité Audio Trade: Purite Audio

    Simon Hi, can you point me to it?
  9. JohnW

    JohnW pfm member

    Hi bec143,

    Yes Red flags indeed!!! I'm sorry you understood my post like that - being a designer, communications are not my strongest point!

    I would never suggest that only my own designs would be the only good choice... Just as has already been posted, there's just nothing that "I've" heard at this price bracket that really is in the same performance league... That's not saying there is not....

    As has already been suggested, maybe buying a Higher-End second hand unit would be a better option... Second-Hand HiFi - like used cars does not seem to hold its value well - I've seen some real bargains out there!!!

    With Power Amplifiers, the Power Supply is critical, its fair to say (in most cases) the bigger the better!!! However at this price point, design budgets are tight - compromises need to be made, and the PSU is going to be the first item to be scaled to cost... Also items like JFET front ends, or decent size output transformers (if a Tube design) are going to be hard to find...

    It can be done, if done wisely... Although I have pity for those who try manufacturing outside of Asia - from my earlier ramblings, you can read that I'm not "living" in China for the fun of it!!!

    Most amplifiers I've heard at this price point - give credence to the term "transistor" amplifiers, they reproduce sound - but hardly musical.... Cold, hard, lack of sound stage etc etc...

    I use the term "most" - but I cannot think of any I've heard recently that are real HiFi, sorry if this upsets you...

    Second hand, DIY or some smaller brand who's heart really is into audio quality / music, then maybe, but the bigger guys are all about price point and margins...
  10. YNWOAN

    YNWOAN 100% Analogue

    If you could also do a brief summary and then read it to a WAV file that would also be most convenient - is that what you really mean matey ;):D.
  11. JohnW

    JohnW pfm member

    Had a look at the Croft Series 7 as suggested by Chris, Yes I can see this working very well..

    I've never heard the design, however Tube front end for low RF IMD (Digital products by there nature always contain RF on there Analogue outputs), and the use of MOSFET OPS sounds VERY promising!!!

    Maybe we cannot afford CLX's (I use modified CLSIIZ), but I noticed in the "Free Reader Classifieds" section of this months issue of HiFi World has a 6 weeks old pair of FINAL 400i ESL's for something like GBP850 ono!!! now the CDQ or DQ, Croft7 Poweramp and FINAL ESL's sounds VERY Promising - I could imagine I would be very happy with a system like this..!
  12. Dan.Scott1234

    Dan.Scott1234 pfm Member

  13. bec143

    bec143 pfm Member

    Fair enough- I must have misunderstood you. I am a bit sensitized to hyperbole from the trade on these forums, I suppose.

  14. Bolle

    Bolle Active Member

    If the CDQ or DQ has an analogue unity gain HT bypass to add a HT processor/amp it would be my dream product!

    My dream pre-amp:
    *Good DAC to add to my Squeezebox
    *Balanced out if I ever have the budget for active ATC's...
    *HT passthrough so I can buy a good quality stereo preamp. HT can be provided with a more budget processor (ie 8200AP, Onkyo, Emotiva) which can be easily swapped for something new. Do not like spending money on a good quality processor to get good stereo and HT performance, but which is obsolete in a few years with new formats (HD multichannel, HDMI connectors etc).
    *12v DC trigger for power amp
  15. JohnW

    JohnW pfm member

    SQ (Simon),

    Thank you for your understanding and support…


    No Problem, I believe we both share the same distaste for some "actions" within this industry…


    Thank you for reminding me, I’d forgotten to add the “HT Mode” to the Software list for the CDQ / DQ (we included HT Direct on our Peachtree Designs), I well ask Dominik to add the selectable HT mode to each Analogue Input via software – luckily the User Manual has not gone to press yet..

    Sorry no 12V Trigger outputs, but we already support your first 3 “Desires”… but you have got me thinking if we could add and small PCB with trigger outs… It’s late in the Day, but it’s also not that hard… for sure we could add it to the DQ – I well try for the CDQ.


    Dominik developed our implementation of the Async transfer protocol, when we started the code (for our Lakewest DAC), we where very concerned as other companies had been claiming how difficult it was – it took Dom about half a day to get it working, turns out Async USB is much easier to implement then Adaptive Mode!!! We use the TAS1020B from TI for the USB and Mainboard control, running our own software – What do you want to know about it?
  16. Purité Audio

    Purité Audio Trade: Purite Audio

    John Hi, wil it always be limited to 24/96?
  17. Dan.Scott1234

    Dan.Scott1234 pfm Member

    Have retailers had any actual ship dates on the cd and cdq? I know it says late August on the press material but take the Naim Unitiqute as an example that I think is now about 4 months overdue from the original release date due to a software issue I think.
  18. ron

    ron Tweaker

    Hi John, great to see you on here .
    So you decided to go with the Sabre dac in the Audiolab, I presume its the ES9018? apologies if its already been answered

    To Keith, You should compare this Audiolab against the Weiss Dac202, should prove interesting?
  19. sq225917

    sq225917 Bit of this, bit of that

    I think a lot of people would like to hear those two lined up against each other.
  20. SteveS1

    SteveS1 I heard that, pardon?

    Nice to see a product being enthusiastically anticipated without the usual flaming.
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