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Is there any point in a valve DAC

Discussion in 'audio' started by rockingdoc, Aug 2, 2020.

  1. RichardAusten

    RichardAusten pfm Member

    The problem with the internet is that it is an alternate reality of sorts. There is your real world and your working knowledge but you can't expect someone on a forum half a world away or even 3 blocks over to take you at your world. I didn't take the word of a guy on TV who said he was the least racist person on the earth and that he knew all the best people who he hired and fired the next week. I mean if they were the best people why would they need to be fired 10 days later? Guess they were not the best people.

    There was a fellow on another board who used to say that he owned the best speakers on the planet - they were his own modifications to a Bose 901 speakers. Most people heard and disliked the 901s but according to him he was a great speaker designer and he alone made the greatest speaker wherever was in the whole of history. How can anyone check on that? There is no way for me or anyone to put his "words" to the test. There is nowhere to go to A/B his speaker versus what is sold on the market.

    As a teacher, it reminds me of the student who says "Sorry My dog ate my essay but believe me it was the best essay ever written in the whole of humankind." Sorry we can't take the kid at his word.

    The only thing I have to go on is some sort of product to audition. Almost every manufacturer in audio says their product is the best of the best and their approach is the best. The consumer has to put those claims to the test the only way they can - listening. They don't need to know a resistor from a radish. They need to know when they put on Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata or Barber's Adagio for Strings is which system moves me or feels more "right."

    The only way that can happen is to have some product to actually listen to. If you make no product for us to try then the second option is to provide people with a list of things you consider to be say the best preamps/integrated/power amps/Source players/speakers etc that can be purchased today.

    You mentioned Nelson Pass - so do you consider his amplifiers to be among the elite - or do you consider his First Watt amplifiers to be the best. You see his Pass Labs amps are entirely different sounding than his flea watt First Watt designs that try to emulate a SET. So was he right in the 80s/90s with his ADCOM/Threshold/Pass or is he correct now with his SET-inspired First Watt products? Since you think SET is trash - then I guess you feel Nelson has gone senile?

    Have you ever considered that you are wrong? It's easy to always be right when you never put your products to the test. The guy who says he is a better writer than Shakespeare but never lets anyone read his work. He may be but who is to know? Did he graduate from a famous writing school - the Oxford of writing schools? The guy with his Bose 901 modification - did he graduate from a premium university or was he just doodling in his basement as some sort of crank?

    The market decides what is good - at least over time it usually does. Regardless of whether individual forum posters like or dislike something - the market decides what holds and has value. For example, I am not a fan of Magnepan or B&W loudspeakers. I can have my say but in the end, both of been around longer than I have been alive. The market spoke, and the market has decided they make good-sounding products. In other words, I am WRONG about these brands. I mean personal taste and all I am right for myself as I subjectively don't like their sound. Just as I don't like Brussels-Sprouts - someone obviously loves those demon pods of sick.
    Cato, Whizzy, G T Audio and 1 other person like this.
  2. the caretaker

    the caretaker pfm Member

    Didn't know jolida valve dac sounds very good...but I wouldnt say it makes my solid state amp sound like a valve amp! Sounds great though..but not beguiling
  3. RichardAusten

    RichardAusten pfm Member

    I am in error - I drew a conclusion that when someone makes a comparison with 300B amps they normally do so with very good speakers specifically designed with such amplifiers in mind. So when you wrote about your comparison I made the erroneous assumption that you had limited experience as no one who typically buys SET amplifiers tend to run them with less SET friendly favourable speakers. And you didn't mention specifically which tubes amps you ran. One can own and be a valve audiophile for 50 years for all I care - it doesn't I wouldn't like a SS amp over all the tube amps they owned. I don't consider myself a tube amp fan - I put up with tubes if the specific amplifier does it for me.
  4. badger748

    badger748 Like en eel. But in reverse.

    Two points.
    1. Jez, are you my ex-wife in disguise?
    2. Enjoying this thread.
  5. flutteringwow

    flutteringwow I am a sound quality evaluation device

    Another thread turned into

    ''The Jez Show'

    Makes me chuckle.
  6. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    I would agree with that also, but in the top 4 would also be the EML20B. Its a great valve. I use 2 of these in my OTA amplifier (One Tube Amplifier) design where there is only one tube amplifying device per channel in the whole amplifier. That really is wire with gain.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2022
  7. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    Oh here we go again, distortion and valves... FFS, people buy valve amplifiers because to them the sound produced is more natural and more realistic in their room. It's got nothing to do with sound colours or distortion.
    Cato, Rosewind, ssimon and 6 others like this.
  8. earlofsodbury

    earlofsodbury Wastrel.

    Yes, I can imagine it...

    ACT 1, SCENE 1: [depressing northern town: ratty urban pub, interior - black shiny carpets, vinegar flies, baseball bat behind bar]

    Hifi Protagonist 1: [Gets round in, sits down.]

    Hifi Protagonist 2: "So, ..."

    Hifi Protagonist 3: "Valv..."

    Arkless: [Talks loudly about himself for 4 solid hours, 'explains' to all present why they're idiots, 'forgot' his wallet...]

    Hifi Protagonists 1 - 3: [climb out of toilet window to escape]

    Arkless: [Tells empty pint glass about how he's the best amp designer ever to draw breath for another hour.]

    Landlord: "Time, gentlemen, please!"

    Curtis, brumjam, clive7164 and 7 others like this.
  9. messengerman

    messengerman pfm Member

    From the perspective of someone who has spent thirty years working in the advertising and PR industries I might venture that such calls to the benign guidance of "markets" rather miss how things typically work.

    Individual posters, or clusters of posters, can have a huge impact on what people buy. Mostly because they are read as having no commercial skin in the game and because those who are looking to spend actively seek out such posts. People believe the internet far more readily than they will believe a manufacturer or dealer.

    Yet, as Arkless rather astutely points out earlier in this thread, those who have personally made big spending calls are anything but neutral or objective. Self-affirmation bias is very powerful. Publishing praise on the internet - rather like fancy packaging or clever branding- makes us feel better about our choices and attracts pats on the back and professions of envy from kind people who enjoy making others feel happy. It also somehow weds us to what we've written in very personal ways that can eventually lead to a particular brand or a particular technology becoming a part of a persons identity and one in which they might put serious effort into promoting. Direct from consumer "advertising" has probably supplanted all other forms of marketing now as the most powerful driver of sales around. For better or worse you can decide for yourselves. But let's just say that it is , rather obviously, completely unregulated and unmoderated. And, therefore, there are no limits to how misleading or untruthful it can be.

    This is tricky no? We don't want to upset each other by challenging choices others have made (who cares right?) but nor should we want more people to be drawn into buying expensive things that will likely disappoint. Finding an effective balance isn't easy.

    Perhaps it would help to remind ourselves that no-one should ever feel defined or judged by by their buying decisions. None of us has a consumer led personality. And perhaps we should pause before posting paeans to our latest fabulous gizmo and remind ourselves that we all feel a powerful need to believe in what we've done and the choices we've made. And yet we also have a duty not to exaggerate or make up nonsense about expensive stuff we've bought. That is not a harmless thing to do in public.
    torstoi, Nytechy, leroyd and 15 others like this.
  10. anubisgrau

    anubisgrau pfm Member

    i don't get this thread. first you should ask yourself is there any point in a valve amp or preamp and if your answer is no, than the same applies to a dac.

    and vice versa.
  11. eastone

    eastone pfm Member

    Markets are not natural or necessarily benign.

    Not everyone has access to the market.

    Success in the marketplace and quality are not intrinsically aligned.

    ‘Classics’ exist. Some were successful in the marketplace and others were not.

    I think an understanding of this feeds some of the grandstanding you are talking about and to that extent I can empathise with it.

    The effect that can have on the enjoyment of online forums is another matter.

  12. mega lord

    mega lord Centre tapped

    If I could like the above post by messengerman multiple times I would.
    PhilDick likes this.
  13. Purité Audio

    Purité Audio Trade: Purite Audio

    Yup super post, bias in all its iterations is hugely powerful.
  14. ssimon

    ssimon pfm Member

    Thanks, after reading 10 pages you have answered the question of why my DAC uses a valve.
    My Zanden model 5000 has a valve power supply as well but I understand that use.
    G T Audio likes this.
  15. Paul McDonough

    Paul McDonough pfm Member

    I have an Audio Note One DAC, I purchased 2nd hand in a moment of madness, that has a valve output stage. Its sits on the shelf unused because it lacks bass response and sounds a little rolled off in the high frequencies to me. I prefer the sound of the solid state DACs which I own.

    I did discuss mods with the factory, they suggested one possible change, but advised that it would compromise the design and added that they wouldn't bother, so I have left it as stock.
    DimitryZ likes this.
  16. Paul McDonough

    Paul McDonough pfm Member

    Out of morbid curiosity for things that glow red when connected to 6.3V AC I tried the Lukasz mod on my Sony CDP 227 esd CD player, one of his favorites apparently, only I chose to build it on a PCB basis rather than his chaotic point to point methods.
    Yes it still works as a CD player, however it doesn't sound better than the stock Sony effort. A quick glance at the output waveform shows you all that is wrong with this mod. Sine waves are not supposed to have steps in them, if this sounds better to anyone, great, perhaps some people like the sound of a spray of odd harmonics which were not in the original music but, it is not high fidelity.

    I have no idea how his commercial stuff is designed or sounds.

    'Glowing experiment' over I have since reversed the mod, so all is well!
  17. Tigerjones

    Tigerjones Bagpuss

    How did you come up with the name?
  18. John Phillips

    John Phillips pfm Member

    And this is why social media (even close to home, perhaps) gets extensively weaponised by those with: a personal agenda ("follow me!"); a commercial agenda ("buy my product!"); or a political agenda ("vote for my party!").

    But widely distributed media has been almost forever thus, at least since printing became inexpensive enough for "pamphlet wars".

    I would like to think that recognition bestows some immunity from undue influence but I actually think not.
    messengerman likes this.
  19. Barrymagrec

    Barrymagrec pfm Member

    It was hatched from an OVA.
    Tigerjones likes this.
  20. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    My experience with AN 1 was similar. With it, ECM and Atlantic records sounded like Blue Notes from Van Gelder's studio.
    Paul McDonough likes this.

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