I have had the pleasure of having the SPL Diamond in the house for a couple of weeks now and I must admit that I have fallen in love with it’s seductive sound in spite of the lack of remote control capability even for the volume. Before we dive into the details let me digress.
I was talking to John over at JM Audio Editions about how to tune my XTC 2.5’s he was building for me, which are amazing by the way. We settled on linear, detailed and slightly on the warm side - just the way I like it. I then asked him what he thinks about the LSA HP-1’s that I have, which have gotten glowing reviews. He responded that he was not a big fan. When pressed he opined that they are not “organic” sounding. I was puzzled. What may this organic sound be? When I received my XTC 2.5’s I think I understand what he meant. It is that illusive, seductive timbre that sucks you into the music. It is more of a sensation than a sound. It is soothing and lets you listen for hours just wanting more.
I am going to take a little different approach to this so rather than trying to describe the performance of the Diamond by endless descriptions of how certain songs sound I will try to describe it in terms of some other DAC’s I own and also love for various reasons.
Hegel HD30 - The most dynamic DAC I can think of with a dynamic range of 150db. It throws a huge sound stage with wonderful natural sound. A true reference DAC.
Benchmark DAC2 & 3 - The pro heritage is evident. Detailed and analytical, while still maintaining musicality.
Bel Canto DAC 2.7 & 3.7 - As one audiophile friend put it they are the most musical and analog sounding DAC’s. Some may call the sound on the lush side. People who love them usually have several the sound can be that seductive - me included.
So how does the Diamond fit into this venerable bunch? It borrows a little from each. It takes the dynamics from the Hegel and combines it with the pro heritage of the Benchmark while borrowing a little of that musicality and analog sound from the Bel Canto. It all adds up to a silky smooth, dense analog sound with amazing dynamics or something one may call “organic”. Linear, detailed and slightly on the warm side - just the way I like it.
Combine the Diamond with a SPL Performer amp and you may never look back. It is worth the walk to adjust the volume.
Here is the system it was in:
Auralic Aries G1
SPL Performer S800
SPL Phonitor XE
Acoustic Zen Adagio
2 X Anthony Gallo Classico 12” Subs
Custom braided Western Electric 1970’s new old stock interconnects and speaker cables