Holo Audio May KTE vs DCS Rossini Player / Clock

Like the title says.

I’ve been using the Holo May DAC for a while and really like it a lot. Because it’s what I do I bought the DCS to try out as an alternative or possible upgrade to the May DAC.

I don’t have the DCS (none Apex) home yet but I’m wondering if anyone has compared these two units as DACs and what your experience is? Also, can anyone comment on the Apex upgrade… at $9k that’s a lot of moolah, can it be justified? 
I’m using an Aurender N10 as source, various amps, preamps, and main speakers currently are the ProAc D40R which tend a little to the warm side, this being one of the prime reasons for trying something a little more neutral than an R2R DAC.

I will report back with what I hear, but predictions??




@rooze ,

So, did you move to the DCS? Did you compare the DCS Vs Holo? If yes, can you please share your experience?

@milpai Yes, I’ve moved away from the May KTE DAC. The May is a fantastic DAC and I’ve enjoyed it a ton. I’ll set it up in the second system pretty soon or maybe move it along.

The dCS has more of everything apart from warmth. So the May is on the warmer side of neutral where the dCS Rossini is right in the middle, as neutral as I’ve heard. Which is exactly what my system needed, with the ProAcs and the KT66 amp.

The Rossini sounds bigger, images are more defined and more stable within the soundstage. There’s more detail but the top end is beautifully integrated and never harsh sounding.

So I’m quite happy for now. Also, the best sounding way to connect to the Rossini is via its own Mosaic app with a NAS hard drive so I can free up my Aurender N10 as it isn’t needed. Another shelf opening up for something new!


So the May is on the warmer side of neutral where the dCS Rossini is right in the middle, as neutral as I’ve heard.

Than You @rooze for this important feedback. I am still a few months away from getting a new DAC. But collecting all the user feedback on this forum, I have come to the conclusion that I need a DAC that should be neutral. A bit bright might not hurt, but a warm DAC will most likely not work for me.

@milpai Keep in mind that with the May DAC you can switch between NOS function and oversampling mode. NOS gives you the extra body and that hint of warmth where oversampling is more detailed and a little more neutral. So you have shaping options with the Holo May. It’s a great DAC IMHO.

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I own both a Holo KTE May DAC and a dCS Bartok with Apex.Though I like the Holo May the Bartok is far superior.It produces higher resolution and more defined musical quality especially with delicate classical musical passages. I added the Rossini clock which added even broader, fuller, more detailed, open and effortless sound quality. The sound stage appeared wider, more defined and unrestrained.All these provided a neutral as well as non-colored or cluttered sound stage and what appeared to produce endlessly seamless sound experience.


I had the Holo May KTE for around a month. Great build quality and functionality but there was something incredibly irritating about that DAC for me. Same reaction I get when I listen to Chord Dacs... It was layered and textured, and more or less smooth, I wouldn't say warm by any stretch-more clinical. Issue for me was it was NOT musical at all to my ear, and quite honestly I think alot of the folks lauding it haven't really taken the time to listen, or audition truly musical DACs. 


To each their own but that DAC was cold to me and not musical. Listen to an Audio Note DAC, or a Wavelength Audio DAC, or MSB or Total DAC, thats musical. I think this DAC is widely being mischaracterized as something it is not. 

@jc51373  as you say, to each their own. I read a lot about the unit before buying it and most chatter was overwhelmingly positive. Perhaps there was some synergy issue with your system, but obviously that’s speculation that can’t really be confirmed one way or another at this point. 
As a small aside, I moved from it to a dCS Rossini Player/DAC with Master Clock, and I still think that the May Dac was a special component that most people would enjoy.


@rooze I read alot about it too, which is why I purchased it (at the right price)..But the proof is in the pudding at they say, put my ear on it and just didn't sound like music. Definitely not a system issue, I have had a bunch of dacs in here as of late, all sound decent, not like the May though. 

Have you listened to Audio Note, or Total Dac in your own system? Heck even the Border Patrol DAC sounds better than the May.. If not give it a whirl you will see what I am referring to. 

@jc51373 I reached the same conclusion as you. I daily drive playback designs and emm labs and got interested in May due to many people talking about how great May is and how amazing it sounds for the price. I put my ears on them (not once, not twice but three times) and each time came away disappointed. Not worth the price IMO.