Review: Holo May (L2) DAC and the Musetec Audio (LKS Audio) MH-DA005 DAC Compaired

Musetec Audio (LKS Audio) MH-DA005 DAC and the Holo May (L2) DAC Compared

A comparison of these two DACs is something I wanted to do for months given the numerous stellar reviews of the May and the widely unknown, but highly praised, 005. Those of us who own the 005 believe it is an undiscovered gem. I bought the 005 initially because it was cheaper (approximately 3K) and because of the wonderful experience I had with it’s predecessor, the 004. After hearing and greatly enjoying the 005, I found it hard to believe any DAC could be significantly better. Eventually my curiosity got the best of me and I had to find out. There were no comparative reviews. After selling some equipment that I wasn’t using for a few thousand dollars, I coughed up the 5K to buy it, thinking I could always sell it if I didn’t love it more than the 005.

After about approximately 500 hours of break in, as recommended by the manufacturer, the May was ready to compare with the 005.

First, before I begin, the reader should know my perspective and preferences. I started out in my teens and early 20s, during the 60s and early 70s, as mostly a rock and roll fan with some rhythm and blues and folk music thrown in. Around 1971 I found a lack of good new rock music (the Beatles broke up, the Stones became inactive, and Dylan had a motorcycle accident). So I tried some classical. At first I found it boring but very gradually over the years I became addicted. When I moved to Manhattan, I went to classical music concerts frequently and eventually subscribed to the New York Philharmonic. I continued my subscription for over 20 years. In addition to orchestral music I attended chamber concerts and some opera.

My perspective favors live natural acoustic music, though I still love classic rock and oldies. To me the preferred audio sound is one that feels like a real event, a live, in the room, palpable presence. Natural resolution and detail is essential. (In physics lingo, my goal is to hear all the overtones, on top of the fundamental sine wave, which define the timbre of a real world instrument or voice.) I seek a sound that is accurate and clear, but slightly warm, conveying rich but realistic lower mid-range and upper bass much like what you would hear in Carnegie Hall or Symphony Hall in Boston.

Many music lovers are not into classical so the music referred to below may be unfamiliar. Nevertheless, the conclusions I’ve made as to sound should have relevance to all genres.


I fed both dacs via computers (an Asus mini and an Asus laptop) because I had two. Thus I could do quick comparisons by preamp input switching. I recently bought an Ifi Zen Stream network bridge/streamer which, after some frustration, I hooked up via ethernet cable. Since I only had one I could not use it to do quick comparisons between the two DACs.

For the record, the 005 fed by the Zen Stream via usb did improve the sound by lifting a slight veil of haze, which you might not know was present until it was removed. With the May a slight improvement might have also occurred, but the effect was less clear to me, because I didn’t have time to do much listening with and without the network bridge.

Both DACs were played through a Hegel P30 preamp to a McIntosh MC402 amp, then to Kef Reference 1 speakers and two SVS sb-3000 subwoofers crossed over at 46hz.


I began with critical listening focused on sound quality using a/b switching. Generally, I would listen for about a minute or less to one then switch to the other to hear the same passage.

I will report in the future on longer term impressions after living with these DACs for a few weeks.

I started with the following music tracks. I chose them to facilitate focusing on certain sonic elements listed in parenthesis below:

1. Solo piano: Beethoven Appassionata (transient attack and decay, timbre/overtones, micro detail, clarity)
2. Violin Sonata: No 1 Prokofiev (timbre/overtones)
3. Piano trio: Beethoven “Ghost” (imaging)
4. An aria from an Oratorio by Handel entitled Theodora (imaging, female voice, hall ambiance)
5. Large orchestra, soloists, chorus, and massed strings. Mahler Symphony no. 2, final movement. (congestion, hall ambience and depth, width, and imaging)
6. Light My Fire, Doors (energy, rhythm, male voice)
7. Sunshine of My Love, The Cream (drums, energy, rhythm, male voice)

Round 1
The Solo piano test. I choose Beethoven’s Appassionata played by Arthur Rubinstein. I think a solo piano reveals transient speed, attack (leading edge of the note), and decay like no other instrument.

It was almost a tie in these sonic qualities. Both were excellent. The 005 to my ear had slightly better definition and decay. The May had a slightly richer bass tone and was solid and very pleasing. The 005 was leaner but had more sparkle, capturing all the natural overtones on higher notes.

Round 2
Violin Sonata: No 1 Prokofiev performed by Vicktoria Mullova.

The results were similar to the piano test. The 005 clearly had better reproduction of the natural overtones of the violin. The May was bassier, with the music emerging from a blacker background.

Round 3
Beethoven’s “Ghost” Trio for piano violin and cello performed by Istomin, Stern, and Rose.

Imaging was about equal with each instrument appearing in space laterally where it should. The 005 placed the instruments more forward as if your were seated closer to the stage. The blacker background of the May made the separation of the instruments clearer, but the warmth made the musicians seem more recessed, as if your seat was well behind the 005 “seat”. The May sounded slightly soft but was solid, beautiful, and addictive, if not completely convincing on vivid violin timbre.

Round 4

Next, I played an aria from Handel’s Theodora, sung by the late and brilliant mezzo soprano Loraine Hunt Lieberson. It consists of the vocalist supported by a cello and harpsichord (basso continuo). I chose this because the recording contains only two instruments and a singer. It thus presents a good opportunity to clearly hear imaging and hall ambiance in addition to providing a well defined lower midrange and bass line, and a beautiful female voice.

Both the May and the 005 sounded completely convincing and beautiful, especially in realistic tonal balance, including rich bass and a clear cello, harpsichord, and voice. The sound field width had the same realism in both. Loraine’s voice image was more natural in space, clearer, with a touch more air on the 005. The May had a bit less clarity, as it sounded further away, but was a tad smoother in texture.

Round 5
Mahler Symphony no. 2, final movement. Bruno Walter, the New York Philharmonic. A large orchestra and chorus with soloists is a good test of dynamics, detail, sound stage/ability to retrieve hall ambiance, clarity, and imaging.

The two DACs were equal in dynamics but the 005 was superior in every other way. The 005 picked up more air in the hall, exhibited no congestion between instruments, produced a deeper more natural sound stage, not by virtue of more bass, but more air or hall ambiance. In this case better hall ambiance produced more vivid imaging. The 005 was vivid and conveyed more emotion. Chorus voices were not as distinct in the May. Vocal soloists were clearer in the Musetec.

Round 6
Light My Fire, Doors (energy, rhythm, male voice)
Very close in all aspects. The 005 seemed to articulate higher frequencies better and thus had appropriate edginess.

Round 7
Sunshine of My love, The Cream (Drums, energy, rhythm, male voice)
Again, very close in all aspects. I can’t tell the difference.

First and foremost these DACs were both excellent in every category. At times during the A/B listening I could not tell them apart. To be sure, they are different, but if a listener familiar with the sound of both walked into a room without knowing which DAC was playing, it would not be surprising if he or she guessed wrong. The take-away is, in my opinion, they are both in the same class. The point of this exercise though is primarily to determine their differences.

As I said earlier, the live realistic character of the sound wave comes, in large part, from capturing all the overtones. This gives accurate timbre and detail. The 005 has more than the May. Another component of realism, in my opinion, is solidity of texture and prominence of the sound emerging from the background (black or zero background noise). The May has more of this.

In fact, the May’s blacker background is like nothing I’ve ever heard. It has an uncanny realism, solidity, and ease. It sounds like the very best vinyl. Smooth always listenable and engaging. Overall it is sweeter and softer than the Musetec. Probably even more so than actual live music. I call this natural texture, for lack of a better term.

In sum: sound texture May wins; Realistic space, detail, micro dynamics, and high frequency energy, the 005 wins. Clearly the Musetec works best if listening to a large orchestra where details, hall ambience, and clarity (lack of congestion) are priorities.

If the price were the same then take your pick, they are in the same class. Choose the May if you like two teaspoons of sugar and a little extra cream in your half caf coffee, the 005 if you like your coffee “regular”, as New Yorkers say. But for a $2K difference in price the 005 wins. Even if you lean toward the analog sound of the May you can take the $2,000 saved to tweak the 005 to sound more like the May by adding a nice tube preamp or warmer/smoother sounding cables. If you outright prefer the 005, you have an extra $2,000 in your pocket.



nevertheless, there's a possibility your approach may serve as an example/template for others. 

@stuartk Your welcome.  It was a fun project and gratifying to get so many positive responses. I don't think I'm likely to do another soon given the expense involved in acquiring equipment for review. 

Thank you both for the generous and above all gracious response to my initial concerns as outlined earlier in the latter part of this thread. After much research and analysis, the two contenders for my next dac purchase will be the Denafrips Venus ii and the Musetec DA005. Both being quite strong in the mid range and quite a few mentions in various forums, audiogon included, of impressive delivery of vocals and acoustic music. Re: youtube videos, my office audio setup with very good room treatment is quite remarkable in it's ability to serve up sound akin to a small studio monitor setup. In many ways becoming my reference demo facility before purchases for my home audio room. With that in mind, the song from youtube , second one mentioned in my post was endlessly impressive , most notably displaying traces of the sublime airiness factor most common in more expensive dacs. I have yet to find that same quality with any audition video of the Denafrips Venus ii. 

@dbb Succinctly put how dimming the lights and letting the music flow with the Musetec to capture the essence of a live vocal performance. Same page, line and paragraph in that regard as my preferred music environment outside of a live experience. 

@melm I await with interest finding more on the European dac compared with the Musetec dac in the original thread. 

At this stage of the game, these sensitive ears can conclude the Holo May is well behind the Musetec , most notably in retaining that odious digital signature sound at all turns. Never once captivating or seducing the listener as the Musetec does with ease. 



At your suggestion I spent about five seconds with "Timothy" and my only conclusion is that Timothey has an iPhone with which he can create youtube videos. I like, though, that he likes the Musetec. However as dbb wrote, you can’t tell anything from a youtube video.

As for aural fatigue, there is none for me with the Musetec; I can listen for hours to long classical works. If I’m not listening to digital I have an analog rig with an all tube phono pre that I can listen to for extended periods as well. Interesting that you raise this point now because among the last few posts on the "Musetec (LKS) MH-DA005 DAC" thread a comparison is made with another very well regarded European made DAC selling for about the same price as the Musetec. He preferred the Musetec because he is, "very sensitive to any treble or upper mid grain." If you go through the user’s posts in that thread I think you’ll come across many that write that they can listen for hours.

@sagur80 Thank you for your kind words on my review. For the record, it was posted before the Audioscience review and therefore couldn't be a rebuttal. 

As @melm has said volumes have been written on this dac. I suggest, if you have the stamina, you read through them. I cannot comment on aural fatigue because I have never experienced it with this dac. I wrote my review because I thought it was, at the time, an unknown gem that deserved consideration.


I listened to the Timothy video. I just don’t think you can judge sound quality very effectively through youtube.


@melm..So, it does appear the OP and youself were already discussing the da005 on other online forums prior to the @dbb review. I appreciate clearing that much up. Also, apparently no affiliation to the Musetec company on your part or the OP,

My own experience with this dac is evolving as we speak : namely just two short videos on youtube, one of which makes me want to delve further in exploring the dac , while the other in a video using search  "Musetec 005 DAC - same song as MAY and T plus DAC" by channel owner Timothy was in all honesty some of the worst rendition of female vocals ever .....please comment if you have the chance. As I do find the the component treatment of female vocals as the most telling of all to my ears and correlatively to the overall dac quality in general. 

Next , check out  "Musetec 005 (LKS) DAC - oh wow" by Timothy again. Imo very rarely can a dac under $8k and even more produce the same degree or realism, accuracy and emotive power than shown here. 

One last thing , can you or the OP comment on the onset of aural fatigue while listening to the da500 ?........Any comments in that regard as my listening sessions tend to be far from brief or few and far between. 

I hope the OP will respond to you in time. Just hought I’d set the record straight. Interest in the Musetec began at head-fi a while back. The OP and I were among the early users, each of us had the manufacturer’s earlier DAC the LKS 004. I can assure you that the OP bought this DAC from the factory with his own cash, as did I. I don’t know why anyone could fairly accuse the writer of this review, focusing on classical music no less, of having an "affiliation" with a tiny Chinese company. Apparently the small company can sell all it can make, mostly in Hong Kong.

There are a great many products discussed on these pages that get very little attention from the audio press. It is word of mouth. Some of us have more faith in this method of discovering fine products than in a review. The reviewers have their own reasons for pushing products that are not very good. And they never write about very small companies. As for the Musetec 005, it has been the subject of one of the most extensive person to person threads on any DAC in Audiogon with almost 1500 posts and 150,000 views. It is here. If you make the effort to go through it, you will find a substantial number of positive user reports. Some think it to be a $10,000 DAC selling for $3200. Just look at the parts used. See my response to the ASR review here.  The fact is any competent engineer can make a DAC that measures great.  Sounding great?  That's as much an art!


Quite a well written review it must be said & most if not everyone would be in agreement. Just recently I came across this review while doing some research into various dac offerings in the marketplace at this price point. Then while looking at the Apos website, I proceeded to plumb the depths of the dac section to find any hidden gems lurking there. Aside from the usual suspects , topping & matrix etc, there was one , the musetec audio da005, which drew my attention, as I had never seen this company before. Not to mention it seemed like a dac in my own desired price range and performance category without breaking the bank.

However there was one distinct problem : virtually zero online reviews for this dac in question. So hard to believe given it’s not inexpensive price at approx. $3.5k. Surely the company making this dac must be aware of such low publicity, with obviously significant budget considerations to cause some concern. Then along came an Audiosciencereview article panning this musetec dac as one of the very worst performers in their history or reviewing dac products. Given the absence of any positive online reviews from owners or pro reviewers to counter the claims of ASR, the musetec company should have some real cause for concern. Most any business would it must be said.

Next, out of nowhere, we get the most impressively exhaustive review of the musetec dac which on the face of it does seem conspicious by it’s presence. Generally, the overall quality of writing, even exceeding many professional reviewers Yet for a product with little to no recognition from an fairly obscure company in China making at best, some average performing audio electronics. Not even a product with some cult following status among audiophiles. So then how would a seasoned audiophile such as the OP make the decision to purchase this dac , quite frankly given all we know , which is really little, save for a scathing ASR review ?

I think it not improbable to proffer that the OP has some affiliation with the company making the musetec dac or their distributor here in the USA.. Again, given how poorly received in general the dac had been for a flagship dac , something needed to be done. An appropriate allout attempt to minimize more financial losses by generating more interest and potential sales. No better way than a showstopper style review. Needless to say he/they produced the goods in that particular regard.

This is an update on the Musetec 005 DAC. Jinbo, the owner and designer at Musetec has this response about the measurements at ASR:

"We use a low-gain output stage on the DA005, which is the main reason for poor test data, but it sounds good. 
The same is true for many vacuum tube amplifiers. Low gain, low feedback or even no feedback, the test data is also poor, but it does not prevent them from providing first-class listening sense."


Also I wanted to let you know that if want to elevate the performance of the Musetec to get ultimate performance, you could use the I2s input which allows a pure digital stream to go directly to the DAC chip giving a more transparent sound. Something like the Jay's Audio transport connected with an HDMI cable to the I2s input will provide exceptional performance.(I have tried the Jay's Audio with other DACs over I2s and there wasn't the big leap in clarity and transparency that you get with the Musetec 005 I2s input.) 

Or if you have a server that outputs USB, you can either connect it directly with a USB cable or you can use the LKS 100 USB converter to switch to I2s if you desire, which will give you better performance provided you use good cables.

Thank you,

Jason at Midwest Audio

Now that it has been compared to the Bricasti M1SE MDX, this review becomes even more relevant in placing the Musetec solidly within the community of DACs.

What's funny is if you look at forums on DACS over $3000, you will find that hardly anyone will criticize the DAC they bought. You always have a couple negative reviews but usually very few. We have all heard of expectation bias, but we also have ownership bias. People can make generalized reviews that are often somewhat accurate but, in the end, we have to make that judgement for ourselves in our system. It's too bad we can find a store that sells ALL DACS and will offer them for demo :). 


I agree. My review is the most useful if we share similar musical tastes.

Experiences with DACS will greatly vary by each individual since we all have different levels of equipment and cables! Some are much more resolving than others. We also each have different hearing and sound preferences that are important to ourselves! Even the source and type of music we listen to can impact your judgment and opinions of equipment. Try different DACS and buy the one that sounds best to YOU. No single person's opinion is 100% accurate for everyone.


Thank you for your kind words.


Scientifically explaining how the a dac with excellent S/N misses subtle detail is beyond my pay grade. I listened through speakers, but I would speculate that speakers or headphones would be the same. To my ear, the 005 just had better resolution. This was evident only with  music that contained fine subtlies. Not all music does.




You might find this post written for the Musetec MH-DA005 thread to be relevant to the "missing data" issue you raise here.

Fascinating description. It is hard to think of a DAC with signal-to-noise, linearity, distortion, and other measurements that far surpass human hearing - such as the May - as "omitting" the details of a recording. There must be something about the nature of these presentations that causes the ear-brain to perceive one as "missing data." Is this difference in perspective similar for headphones and speakers?



oh my!! jesus you have get such brilliant comparision..

and nice wrote artical.


very professional although you said you are not ..


thank you and your discription give out a lot of advice and nice view of the 2 product.


well done!


Thanks for your response.

That's great.  Do let everyone know what you think.  There's no published review; there's no advertising.  Just a bunch of guys who bought the unit and are sharing impressions.

Did not mean bandwagon as a bad thing. Now that I reread it it does not sound so nice. Apologies for that. Regardless I have read a lot about what you said and it is very true. So now I am taking delivery of a Musetek from USA Audiomart. Pretty excited to hear how this thing sounds compared to the Topping D90 I have now. Seems like great bang for the buck as far as hifi goes.


Also just saw the announcement of the new AKM 4499EX chip which looks quite impressive. May wait for new DACs with this chip before jumping on Musetek bandwagon.

I’m not sure there’s any "bandwagon" here.

One thing some of us think we have learned over the years is that the chip matters much less than we used to think.* What matters far more are considerations like the power supply and the analog circuit, that is, what happens when the signal leaves the chip. The ES9038PRO chip has been used in what turn out to be DACs of all different qualities ranging from the forgettable to the outstanding. The same, I think, has been true of chips made by other companies.

Be certain of one thing though, whatever DAC you choose, there will always be a better one offered in a few years. That march will go on forever with DACs and with everything else in the technical world..

*An exception perhaps for sigma-delta v. R2R which are thought by some to represent accurate v. pleasant sounding results, this being a very close call in well executed designs.

Midwest Audio is the USA dealer for Musetec, and currently has the MH-DA005 listed on another sales site for $3,199. They're at 55855 Breden Rise Lane in Mishawaka, IN 46545 Tel.: 574-329-1850 .

Where did you guys order the MH-DA005 from? I can only find it in stock from Shenzhen Audio and Linsoul. Apos OOS. Don't know how comfortable I am ordering from these Chinese stores.

Also just saw the announcement of the new AKM 4499EX chip which looks quite impressive. May wait for new DACs with this chip before jumping on Musetek bandwagon.

Any help appreciated.

OK. Thanks. I was just curious-- I have no reason to get rid of my Aqua. 

BTW, I wish all audio reviewers emulated your approach! 


Any chance  you can recommend a US made DAC with sonics similar to the May?

The May verses the 005 seems to be discussed on a few threads here. I just posted this on one of those threads:

@Technorob said: “I currently have both 005 and May. The May just edges it in most areas by a small margin, with the exception of layer separation, stage width and depth where the May is significantly better.”

I will throw in my thoughts. I can definitely see Technorob’s point of view on “layer separation, stage width and depth” being different on the May, but not better. (To my old ear, the other aspects were not “just edged[s]” out by the May but  too close to call.)

It is a matter of perspective, double entendre intended. Many, if not most audiophiles, highly value layer separation, stage width and depth. The underlying frame of reference for most is probably amplified non-acoustic electronically produced music that exists only in recordings, not in real space. Big clear layering and sound stage sounds great with a lot of non-accoustic recorded music and will be preferred by many.

In my opinion, the May does, compared to the 005,  provide an unreal feel of spacial separation and distance at the same time. This is like seeing an image get bigger as you walk further away. As a real concert goer, this is a distortion, even though many will love the effect. It also gains separation by missing natural sound between instruments

I will explain. My perspective is what I hear at a live unamplified concert. If you want maximum separation of instruments and voices, you would have to be very close to the stage if not actually on it. Even then the sound would only be sharply separated and layered if you were listening with your head physically in between instruments. 

Realistic perspective is similar in both sight and sound. When you walk closer to a destination the visual details in you visual field naturally become more visible and separate. It’s the same with sound. When you walk closer to the stage, the sound field gets bigger and instruments sound further apart in space. There is some layering partly depending on your elevation, but nothing in the realm of “audiophile” layering. Sound naturally blends together in the real world. Yes, 3-d palpability exists in the real world, but not in the way many audiophiles love or imagine. 

I said this in my review:

. . . I said in the review I would report back after a few weeks. I hesitated to do that because the more I listened the more it confirmed my initial impressions stated in the review. I would not change my basic conclusions. I have very little to add. I would add this. Over time I felt I was missing musical information when I listened to the May. At times the May seemed to allow more space between instruments or musicians which at first I believed to be a good thing. I came to realize that this was because the May was omitting sound to get this effect. Much like an artist using charcoal shade to create a 3d effect. I decided to sell the May. Not because it is objectively inferior, but it does not satisfy my preference for realism which comes from concert going experience. Different strokes for different folks.

Given a number of recent posts on this very subject perhaps this thread could use a lift.  

@midwesternaudio Hi the N20 has consumer and professional digital level outputs accessed through the app.

I changed to pro and it's night and day. More dynamic and wider competing with the USB again...aargh!!!

@lordmelton  The Musetec 005 will play all the digital outputs from the Aurender N20, and I believe the N20 outputs are standard.

@midwesternaudio Hi please could you tell me if the Musetec 005 can handle a pro digital signal from my Aurender N20 which is 10v I believe as opposed to normal 5v and are there any sonic benefits that you know of?

Just wary of trying it myself.

For those of you looking for a US Dealer, I just wanted to let you know that I am here. I really like this DAC, so I became a dealer.

@goose You're issue will be pin outs, no standardization in I2S. You will either need custom cable built or DDC such as Singxer SU-6.

Does anyone know if this dac will accept DSD (SACD) from an SACD transport via I2S such as the PS audio perfect wave SACD transport?


The recent establishment of a US dealer/distributer for the Musetec adds an additional dimension to the comparison.


i ended up purchasing a second hand MERASON FREROT DAC the the external power supply.  I am very happy with the sound quality. It was so easy to setup and it doesn’t have filters to fiddle with which is fine by me. I wanted a simple but high quality DAC and I got it. It replaced my ancient BelCanto DAC2 which one Audiogon member called a rotary phone! I found a BelCanto DAC with an external power supply for sale in Canada and would have went with it except the seller would not do PayPal. As it happens I then read about the Merason and decided to buy it. So my setup is complete (for now) and I am thrilled to be enjoying the best quality music that I ever have!!


Thanks for the kind words.  There are many fine DACs out there at all sorts of prices. I'm sure you'll find something suitable.  There are many folks around here who know much more than I do.  Don't hesitate to ask if you need to.  Happy New Year.


Thank you for all the information you took the time to post and for your reply to my post! I will be re-reading yours and others posts on this thread to be certain to glean as much knowledge as possible from all the words of wisdom. 
All the Best 


Interesting observation on the Weiss. Maybe the takeaway is that on a highly resolving set up, the Weiss could add too much of a good thing. It might be better with a system tailored for it specifically.

@sns Are you just referring to Stereophile's measurement section, where there's a reference to the okto vs. the Weiss (similar implied resolution)? In the subjective portion of the okto, the Weiss is simply mentioned as one of the best-sounding and best-measuring dacs he had reviewed up to that point, but I don't see a subjective okto vs. Weiss comparison in that review.

Subjectively, I found the Weiss in my system to be an impressive-sounding DAC but not to my taste. The resolution was SO good, it was like watching a 4K blu-ray on a state-of-the-art TV. You can see all the pores and lines on each actor's face, in a way that you never would in real life. I call that level of resolution "hyper" real, rather than simply real, and it took me out of the music. YMMV.

I know there was volume difference between pcm and dsd and or in general and had to do with the volume setting was not set to 100% at the computer or endpoint.  E.g. you had to go into the Win volume/control panel and set to 100% or in Linux there was an equiv. 

I'm not explaining it exactly as I don't recall the thread, but once it was corrected the vol levels we normal.

Oh. I get it now. I did make a comment that the may volume was low when I tried it with the Zen Stream. I then removed the comment after a couple of minutes because I thought it was irrelevant to the comparison of two dacs using computers setup in the same way with the same software player and a usb feed.

The answer to why the May had a lower volume using the Zen Stream than computer usb input is a good academic question for the Holo May thread. I have since sold the Holo May.


I don't understand you comment on "volume drop".

Right now I don't either. I may have confused two threads. I though you had mentioned 1 had some reduced volume when connected to the Zen stream, but I may have misread, confused the threads, or you meant less than the other DAC, not less than on USB direct.



ASIO was used on both May and 005 for testing. The slight difference between the two dacs in volume via single ended outputs is probably explained by differences in output voltage. The May's output voltage is slightly higher than the 005's.

I don't understand you comment on "volume drop".

I'd like to see 005 reviewed on ASR, suspect it will be top notch if not best ever tested. I owned Okto Dac8 stereo concurrently with 005  At the time I owned Okto, it topped measurement hierarchy at ASR, so quite confident 005 would measure at least as good as Okto.


Okto has also received many positive subjective reviews as well, to the point can no longer keep up with orders. Atkinson comparison reviewed against Weiss dac, something like ten times price, did pretty damn well against that dac, 005 better than Okto by fair margin, how it would do directly against Weiss?


My take on measurements is good measurements illustrate good engineering, now as to whether those measurements insure engaging sound quality, who knows? I presume there is much we need to learn, don't have measurement regime that replicates human brain/mind/perceptions. And what about dacs that measure relatively poorly, such as AudioGD?  Many seem to love their dacs. Does this negate validity of ASR measurements?