This is a very interesting entry into the DAC market. I have heard the Linear Tube Audio ZOTL Ultralinear+ amplifier and there's a clarity without harshness to that amp which is what I'd want in a DAC. I recently ditched my MHDT Orchid because I wanted more clarity from the source (I have tubes further down the chain), so I'm a bit reluctant to have tubes back in the source but if LTA is achieving the same clarity with this DAC as with their amps, then it might be a winner.
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A friend who is an expert repair person and an audio equipment designer made an interesting comment about the details offered so far: "What they don't say makes me notice, there is no mention of how they are handling the USB input, only that it has one. The I/V converter with no resistors seems all but impossible to me. It says discreet, that's great but one cannot build a discreet transistor or tube circuit without them. I suspect they mean not using a resistor directly for I/V conversion, but how it's written sits poorly with me. It may sound great, I cannot say. Certainly it can't play high bit rate music, but most stuff is 16bit."
@cetla416 I had modified my Orchid as well but when (thanks to @decooney ) I compared it to the Schiit Bifrost 2/64, I realized how much detail I was missing. This was not just a matter of a certain kind of tonality ("clear" or "shimmery" or "brighter") but rather one where the non-tube DAC actually was revealing notes and instruments I didn’t know where in the recording.
Of course, there are various views on this -- a lot depends on the actual DAC, how well it’s designed, parts quality, etc.
For me, this member comment ultimately rang the most true:
This is the direction I went. In short, I want my sources to provide the maximum amount of neutral information and I’ll season further on in the chain.
+1 @hilde45 Very well stated. In a similar vein I’ve also found I want my best and least colored cables more toward my source components and do more “shaping” of the sound more downstream. Like Linn says (heavily paraphrased), you can’t replace what’s not there in the first place. Makes sense to me.
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