DAC Help : Please Weight In - Down to 5

In no particular order, I am looking to get a new dac streamer.

1) Mola Mola Tambaqui

2) Terminator Plus with Gaia

3)  Lampizator Golden Gate 2 / THE BIG SEVEN MK2

4) Aqua La Scala MKII Optologic DAC

any strong recommendations based on experience?

Ag insider logo xs@2xdaniellaruso

I own a Lampi Atlantic for years, owned the Termi twice (second version) and demoed the Aqua La Scala… The La Scala and the Lampi have a more organic flow of the music. The La Scala was the highest resolution. 

We sell the Mola Mola and the Aqua lines. Amazing DAC's but very different designs. If you are also looking at a streamer, the Mola comes with one, the others you would need to add one. 

I think some of the options depend on the accompanying components. I have heard the Aqua (with tubes) add some holographic dimensions to a solid state rig, and with the Tambaqui I have never heard things so clear, and image so large. 

Any specific questions let us know! Here to help


we also sell the Aqua one of aqua’s most unique attributes completely modular upgradable design this means that the dac can evolve


we sell aqua the Bricasti and Naim atoll dac streamers please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

dave and Troy


Audio Intellect NJ

streaming specialists.


Good choice on the Golden Gate.  I have the GG3.  the big DHTs in the output section really cast a huge soundstage and a large presentation.



I had considered purchasing a Golden Gate II balanced but passed as it was a previously owned unit in Germany with no possible way to demo. I decided to go with the latest Golden Atlantic TRP3 balanced and it is better than I could have expected. If you get a chance I would definitely recommend listening to one.

I’ve never owned a Terminator but I do own an Aqua La Scala Optologic MKII and had honestly considered the former a step backwards. The Aqua responds well to tube rolling as well, especially (at least as I’ve found) with older NOS Telefunken 12AT7’s. I’ve heard from others that NOS Tele 801S and Mullard 6060’s are also very special. IMO the Aqua is a fantastic dac and I’ve chosen to keep mine even though I use the Lampizator for daily use. 
The Aqua has a beautiful sound- especially in the midrange though some claim it to be a little rolled off in the upper frequencies. To “me” this trait (compared to other dacs) meant a more natural presentation that made others sound harsh and led to more fatigue.

While great the Aqua falls behind the GA TRP3 when it comes to overall drive, soundstage and detail. The Lampizator was definitely a large step forwards. If considering a GG 2 or Big 7 bear in mind that you may be looking at considerable cost should you decide to pursue upgrading to the latest circuit/processor but that also could be a good entry point for you if you’re considering a DHT dac. 
Good Luck!

PS  If you are in Socal, you're welcome to come by and listen to the Lampizator.


The Mola Mola Tambaqui all the way.  Nothing touches it at anywhere near its price.

"The Mola Mola Tambaqui all the way.  Nothing touches it at anywhere near its price." 

No DAC is preferred in every system. Dealers should be required to identify who they are when they post.

Have you heard any/all of them or tried any in your own system? Do you own the YGA Carmel 2 speakers you discussed in another post. Those have low’ish efficiency and probably need some power to push. These choices are so subjective and also can be dependent on your system and the types of music you listen to.

Ideally you will hear from someone who has heard several or all of your choices. I have not, but I did own the Tambaqui a couple of months ago. IMO, it basically sounded "perfect" but maybe too perfect and too precise, for me at least. I did not use the I2S input, but I did play with the output voltage. It has enormous flexibility so may have the ability to be "dialed in" more so than some others. It did absolutely nothing wrong, but didn’t quite engage me as much as others. However, that opinion easily could have been on me related to not having an optimal set-up.

I owned a LaScala some time ago, but not the optologic version and it was ok but nothing that overly excited me. I have not owned one of the more expensive Lampizators but the lower level model I owned displayed a really nice tone and an expansive soundstage (maybe too much). The Terminator and Plus have been reviewed multiple times at Six Moons and elsewhere so their sound is pretty well documented. I have not owned one, but I did own the Hermes DDC (step down from Gaia) and I appreciated what it did. I currently use a Singxer SU-6 DDC which, like the Hermes, provides some subtle benefits in addition to providing additional connection choices.

Unfortunately, reading about things and opinions are never the same as hearing for yourself. Good luck.

I have tried many DACs in my system in the last few years.  For me the Lampizators brought it all together.  I currently have a used Big 7 mk2 that came directly upgraded from Lampi that has almost no miles on it as I got a great deal on a Golden Gate.  Both are killer Dacs.  It still has some warranty left on it.  If interested message me.  I'll make the best deal I can as I have way too much equipment laying around that needs new homes.