Good measuring DACs vs.

I recently owned and compared a number of DACs in my system and was particularly interested in the sound of two "perfect measuring" DACs, the Mola Mola Tambaqui and the Benchmark DAC3 HGC. With either of those, it seemed every note came out clearly, cleanly, and accurately, without a hint of distortion. Both have been reviewed by Stereophile, and John Atkinson concluded his review measurements with,

"The Mola Mola Tambaqui offers state-of-the-digital-art measured performance. I am not surprised HR liked its sound."


"Benchmark’s DAC3 HGC offers state-of-the-art measured performance. All I can say is "Wow!"

So, why is it that neither of these two objectively perfect DACs seem to emotionally engage me to the same level as my Mojo Audio Mystique EVO Pro, which is an R2R design using (basically antique) AD1862 "Z" chips? How can I not perceive the same levels of body, tone, or dimensionality from two DACs which exhibit "state-of-the-digital-art measured performance" and that really do nothing wrong?


@koestner That is highly unlikely, but I’d be curious to hear if there are any. 300B are directly heated triodes, which tend to emit tons of RFI and EMI. Placing their circuits near a digital signal almost always results in noise leakage / interference. Typically any circuits of that sort have to be kept a good 2-3ft away from the digital circuit. 

@koestner Check out Lampizator. They have a few models with DHT tubes and at one time employed the 300B.  They may still.

I also compared Mojo and Benchmark. Agree that Mojo is more emotionally engaging. Sold the Benchmark. I also had a Border Patrol dac and really liked it. I have 300B amps. One might conclude that I like distortion, but what I listen for is dimensionality (presence, immediacy, life size weight), tonality, and a naturally put together soundstage. When listening, I prefer to think I am at a performance in front of me instead of being in the seat of the sound engineer. Benchmark is a good analytical tool but not something I could relax to for extended sessions.

Is it along the same lines as why listening to "The Doors -break on through to the other side" is more engaging in the car than on my hifi? Love the heck out of it on a long drive. Such a let down at home; and 24/192 remaster is no better.