NOS DAC from Derek Shek...need opinions!!

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi and General Audio' started by Jose Garcia, Jul 9, 2006.

  1. Jose Garcia

    Jose Garcia

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    Hi guys! Saludos!

    I'm considering to buy one of this new units from Sigtone/Derek Shek and would like to know any new experiences from owners and people who tried them. It's being long since someone write about it. I'm specially interested in its performance and reliabilty.

    Thanks,

    Jose.
     
    Jose Garcia, Jul 9, 2006
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  2. Jose Garcia

    zanash

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    For the price its very hard to beat........

    alternatives include Lite Dac AH

    The Nos does respond well to a better power supply and certain mods can be effective. The top line is that you will have a dac that can compete with with ones for 4x times the price....modded may be upto 6x ......

    This dac will need a good transport to get the best from it !
     
    zanash, Jul 9, 2006
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  3. Jose Garcia

    mr cat Member of the month

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    its a great dac - but it didn't quite compare to my MF a324 - I've got one for sale if you're interested too...pm me :D
     
    mr cat, Jul 9, 2006
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  4. Jose Garcia

    Jose Garcia

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    Thanks for replying!

    I tried a 47 Labs model 4715 Dac last week at a friend's place. Sure this one is a $1,480 US unit, but it's a None Oversampling None Filtering unit too and I read comparisons to the Sigtone.

    Zanash... I believe a better power supply would add deeper bass and more dynamics as well as additional definition. My transport will be a humble Sony SCD-C2000ES machine which were better to my friends transport, even when I used at it for the first time ( no break-in ).

    Mr. Cat...thanks for the offer. I will contact you but I'm from Puerto Rico .....

    One detail. My Sony unit is a SACD/CD machine. The sound I got from the Shigaraki/Sony combination on red-book was much better than the SACD with the disc we tried ( Miles Davis and Dark Side of the Moon ). My unit isn't the best at SACd but it ain't bad neither. To have a much nicier sound from the DAC was an eye(ear) openner to me. That's why I would like to buy this NOS DAC from Sigtone. My previous DAC was good but I prefered the Sony 2000ES.

    Gracias!

    Jose.
     
    Jose Garcia, Jul 9, 2006
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  5. Jose Garcia

    zanash

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    Not with the four units I've worked with..........

    The real gains were in the fine detail and resolution at all levels ....I was suprised by this too.

    Do remember though that these are only personal opinion and are not cast in stone !

    Use the best Digital ic and cables you can get/make, this will
    minimise any signal losses.
     
    zanash, Jul 10, 2006
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  6. Jose Garcia

    Hodgesaargh

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    I have one of the early Shek DACs with an uprated power supply I got from Maplin. The power supply make a big difference to the bass, treble and detail. Using the original power supply the bass was a bit light and soft but I've never had that problem since switching to the higher current supply.
     
    Hodgesaargh, Jul 10, 2006
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  7. Jose Garcia

    Jose Garcia

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    Which model?

    http://www.maplin.co.uk/Search.aspx?criteria=power supply&doy=10m7&source=15

    Jose.
     
    Jose Garcia, Jul 10, 2006
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  8. Jose Garcia

    Hodgesaargh

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    I dont see it there, it was in store I got it, not online. The make is "Sunpower" and it's 12V and 1.5A

    I have seen one that looks identical in Lidl recently for £9.99, worth trying.
     
    Hodgesaargh, Jul 11, 2006
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  9. Jose Garcia

    Jose Garcia

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    Thanks!

    Jose.
     
    Jose Garcia, Jul 11, 2006
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  10. Jose Garcia

    Jose Garcia

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    My friend and owner of the 47Labs model 4715 came to my house yesterday with his unit and a pair of cables from Jena Labs. One was a Digital cable costing about $160 and a pair of Triology RCA's $300. Compared to my existing XLO-Pro100 , the JLTrilogy was way superior it.

    I had a great time hearing different CD's and a Winston Marsalis CD from start to the end.

    The 47 Labs gave a huge air between instruments. I could hear the echoe of the room in some cuts. Everything sounded clear, open, natural, detailed and present. A total revelation could I say in my system....

    The goods aside....I read some people comparing the Derek Shek unit to the sound of the 47Labs as very favorable with minor differences !!!! ( everything with a grain of salt...I know!). But, my friends from Chile at DVDClasico.com have differente opinions regarding a NOS DAC unit.

    The goods are: relaxed sound, very analog, lessering of the bright highs, less fatiguing etc.....

    The bads: less bass, less highs, shrinked soundstage, less transparent, comprimed sound.....

    These results were comparing the NOS DAC to a Cambridge Audio Azur C640v2. The unit was used as a transport to the NOS DAC.

    I know these CA units are from England and most of you have had the opportunity to hear them, maybe as transport too. Is it possible that:

    1- The unit is not as good as a transport?
    2- The Wolfsong Dacs are better than the NOS DAC?
    3- The 640v2 signature seems to better the NOS DAC?
    4- The output on the 640v2 is higher than the NOS DAC and this give it an edge in sound?
    5- The 640v2 is indeed a better unit?

    Any opinions please.....

    Thanks,

    Jose.
     
    Jose Garcia, Jul 12, 2006
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  11. Jose Garcia

    Garmt

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    Just as a side note: do keep in mind that a good transport is more important than the DAC! A good transport will reveal differences between DACs that stay hidden with lesser transports.

    Use a CEC TL-51 or Wadia transport for example.
     
    Garmt, Jul 13, 2006
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  12. Jose Garcia

    Jose Garcia

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    That would be great, but....I have to use my Sony unit ( which are good transports) for budget reasons...you know, 3 childs , 2 mortgages, private school, a wife and a life....:D

    Maybe the Cambridge unit didn't has break-in or their taste are different to mine. Maybe I should try the Cambridge ( at a dealer) vs my unit with their internal Dacs and figure it out. Argh.....that's the beauty ( or madness) of this hobby....;)

    Jose.
     
    Jose Garcia, Jul 13, 2006
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  13. Jose Garcia

    Nuuk

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    Nuuk, Jul 13, 2006
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  14. Jose Garcia

    3DSonics away working hard on "it"

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    Hi,

    I would not know. What I hear of the DS Dac's is that often they seem to have wrongly implemented output stages. That means wrong resistor values in several places that are critical.

    With the kind of design 47Labs use you need to match the resistors to each specific DAC chip AND you must know the rules according to which the output stage is designed. Get it wrong and the symptoms your chilenian friends describe raise their head.

    Just because someone uses the same chips as Kimura does not mean their gear will sound the same.

    Ciao T
     
    3DSonics, Jul 13, 2006
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  15. Jose Garcia

    Jose Garcia

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    Hola!

    "I would not know. What I hear of the DS Dac's is that often they seem to have wrongly implemented output stages. That means wrong resistor values in several places that are critical."

    Does this apply to the old units and/or to the new ones too?

    "With the kind of design 47Labs use you need to match the resistors to each specific DAC chip AND you must know the rules according to which the output stage is designed. Get it wrong and the symptoms your chilenian friends describe raise their head."

    Just because someone uses the same chips as Kimura does not mean their gear will sound the same.

    Like we said .." nadie sabe lo que hay en la hoya mas que la persona que mueve la cuchara"...which means " Nobody knows what's inside the pan but the person who moves the spoon".

    I have considered that, besides your valuable point, a series of events could guide to different views. For example, some of my friends likes the sound but others don't. The comparisons were between the NOS DAC and a Cambridge Audio C640v2 which uses Wolsong Dacs. I have never heard both units and don't know what sound signature has each one.

    Maybe a better power supply, a first time used transport, cables, etc contributed to the various opinions....

    But if in fact there is a bad design behind their results, or maybe a bad unit, it is critical at the time to buy.

    Thanks, Ciao T

    Jose.
     
    Jose Garcia, Jul 14, 2006
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  16. Jose Garcia

    3DSonics away working hard on "it"

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    Hi,

    I have not been following generations. I played with that kind of stuff around the time Kusonoki published the initial designs in MJ in the mid 90's. I quickly found that to get the best from the TDA1543 you need to select the I/V resistors to match the actual output current of the specific DAC chip used (and paralleling them is not a good idea either) and you must then trim the reference resistor with a full scale test CD first and finetune by ear.

    I pretty quickly stopped playing with the TDA1543 as the ultimate performance ceiling is not that high. It is a good entrance into making a cheap and simple DIY Non-Os DAC (a proof of concept) and as Kimura has shown, you can tune the result to surprisingly good sound, but there is much bigger fish to fry.

    You should hear a well implemented PCM56, PCM63 or TDA1541 Non-Os DAC, now there is a very different kettle of fish cooking... :D

    BTW, in my personal view "DAC" is a BAD idea anyway.

    If you good Non-Os Sound cheap, get a 2nd Hand CD-Player using Philips TDA1541 (there is quite a range from the late 80's to early 90's, including Philips, Marantz, Rotel, Studer, Naim and so on) and modify it, the digital filter is trivial to bridge out, upgrade the clock and bring the Analogue Stages up to scratch and replace the old and degraded electrolytic capacitors.

    I have friends who within reason can afford almost anything (say short of the full Zanden Setup for £ 33,000) and they listen to old machines hacked like that. It would take the Zanden to be really better.

    Ciao T
     
    3DSonics, Jul 14, 2006
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  17. Jose Garcia

    vibbles

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    I've just bought a board to build Pedja Rogic's AYA DAC which uses the 1541A, is that a good move then?
     
    vibbles, Jul 14, 2006
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  18. Jose Garcia

    Jose Garcia

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    You should hear a well implemented PCM56, PCM63 or TDA1541 Non-Os DAC, now there is a very different kettle of fish cooking... :D

    Is there any brand/model available right now at under $500?

    BTW, in my personal view "DAC" is a BAD idea anyway.

    You are not the only one....:) But when you have a constrained budget with and entry player, the options are not that wide.

    If you good Non-Os Sound cheap, get a 2nd Hand CD-Player using Philips TDA1541 (there is quite a range from the late 80's to early 90's, including Philips, Marantz, Rotel, Studer, Naim and so on) and modify it, the digital filter is trivial to bridge out, upgrade the clock and bring the Analogue Stages up to scratch and replace the old and degraded electrolytic capacitors.

    About the options...It's not that easy to know which units use what chips. Although I remember a Rotel 971 unit that sound really nice by the time I heard it on a firends system. He sold it for around $125, but I knew about it late after another friend bought it from him ( and still have it).


    I have friends who within reason can afford almost anything (say short of the full Zanden Setup for £ 33,000) and they listen to old machines hacked like that. It would take the Zanden to be really better.

    I don't have the ability or facilities to have one modified locally...:(


    Ciao T ...btw, were you the member of the Audioasylum Forum who brought the details about the innards of the DIY Argent Room Lenses that Jon Risch talked about? I made a set and still use them. You also sound like a former "Dynamite-Audio" writer...;)

    Thanks for your views.

    Jose.
     
    Jose Garcia, Jul 14, 2006
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  19. Jose Garcia

    3DSonics away working hard on "it"

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    Hi,

    Depends. DAC's need a complex reclocking system to avoid severe problems with jitter.

    Ciao T
     
    3DSonics, Jul 14, 2006
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  20. Jose Garcia

    3DSonics away working hard on "it"

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    Hi,

    Not that I know. I don't shop in the price segment for new stuff.

    If you consider the e-bay 2nd hand market of good older players (and there some real gems out there) it can be quite cheap.

    Actually, it is, for the units from that generation. There are several lists floating around the net.

    Learn to solder and to mod. Very therapeutic and much cheaper than constantly buying and selling gear and more satisfying than always having gear you are unhappy with.

    Untill I got the prototype of the CD-Player I designed recently my "reference" CD-Player was a heavily modified Pioneer 1st Generation DVD-Player (which uses the 12MB DVD Memory buffer also when playing CD and which hence plays CD asyncronously) and it has up to now reigned "undisputed bantamweight champion with severe knockout victories even over many heavyweights. Total cost including Mods was well below $ 1,000.

    Can't remember, I still post occasionally on AA (Handle there is Thorsten), I do remember discussing the Room Lenses at the time, but not sure what (if any) I contributed....

    Ciao T
     
    3DSonics, Jul 14, 2006
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