if you understand German
This DAC performs well beyond its retail price point of $5,000. If you happen to be in the greater Atlanta area drop me a line and we can arrange for a dealer demo in our showroom or perhaps an in home audition.
From experience I can state it competes at the level of the AMR CD-77.1 CD Player.
Disclaimer: I am an authorized AMR reseller.
I will say at this point it is the best dac I have heard. I replaced my Bidat with Plus mod with a MSB Power Dac, the MSB in turn got smoked by the Metrum Octave + the Sonicweld Diverter HR. I am using the DP777 with my mac mini feeding it directly. It's built in USB connection was so good I sold my Diverter HR. I have not to this point heard anything quite like it.., and I have hear a lot of dacs. The AMR is so good, I really just don't have a lot to say about it other than just do yourself a favor and go hear the unit. I bought the DP777 and I have been thrilled with my latest aquisition. I have my mac mini usb connected and use Pure Music in Hog Mode for music. I have the analog out of the mac mini feeding one of the analog inputs on the AMR for movies and Pandora...etc.
The other analog input is connected to my PS3 for Blu Ray movies and such. It is a very very very function control center as well as a superior music making machine.
Also I can report that the built 71 step resistor matrix array preamp has a transparency that is uncanny.
It is amazing what this thing offers for $5K.
I had the chance to do a direct A/B with the new Audio Horizons top DAC the 3.1Sv+ (Its not even in their website yet), the 3.1Sv+ with E88CC NOS is $4.9k, the 777 as you know is $5k.
I'm still in the process of choosing, but there was something with the AMR and depth and instrument placement that just couldnt convince me immediately. On the other hand, the Audio Horizons showed more detail, 3d depth and was slightly more musical, effortless and analogue sounding. What is keeping me from not jumping to buy the Audio Horizons? The preamp of the AMR, which is very good, and it might be a necessary sacrifice.
I will continue my audition of the two, so far I have eliminated the usual suspects: Weiss 202, BADA, PS PWD, EMM MA-1, Naim Dac.
I will post again with more detail. Digital has sure leveled up with vinyl...
Guydebord: I can say with authority (I have broken in 2 AMR DP777 units) that if you do not have about 300 hours on them what you are describing is EXACTLY one of the characteristics I experienced. Before full run-in the DP777 almost had a mono character and left to right realization was not very good; hence instrument placement was off. Once it got past the 230 hour mark all that was an after-though.
With that said, the unit is sublime, I have literally sat and stared at it because the way it makes music is uncanny. I thought my Bidat and the Dynavox Dynastation made beautiful music and they do..., but quite frankly the AMR makes them sound dated.
I actually used the stopwatch function on my iphone and my mac mini with pure music to take note of the changes in sound at various points in time. I have broken 2 of these units in. One for a buddy and then my own personal unit.
I said it before and I'll say it again, it is better than my buddies USD ~ $38K analog front end and that is NO hyperbole. I have listened to that system multiple times and each time it fails to deliver the musicality and sheer enjoyment of the AMR.
Also note that the line stage portion of the AMR HAS to be engaged in order for it to break in along with the dac and power supply.
All my music is ripped into the AIFF format. I have noticed that there is a very subtle difference between using the NOS dac as compared the HD dac. The HD dac has a bit of a very very very subtle airiness as compared the NOS chip whereas the NOS chips seems to be ever so slightly more solid sounding than the HD chip (of course we are talking redbook). I would not say that one is better than the other, just a very slight difference I have noticed after scrutinizing the dac over the break in periods (I have broken in 2 DP777 units). It is in my opinion so subtle as to not warrant any effort on my part. I allow the dac to choose NOS for redbook and HD for my hi-res files. I am actually planning on purchasing another DP777 for one of my other systems... it is that good. I hope that helped, let me know if you have other questions. Hrx files on this thing are incredible sounding!
My two cents here re 16-bit NOS mode.
The AMR 777 is excellent with high rez, but I wouldn't say it is that much better than competitors. The mode that sets it apart is the 16-bit NOS mode. I had several NOS DACs before, all of them would give you that liquid mid range and palpable timbre. The instruments just sound more real. However there are not enough air and usual the size of the soundstage would be relatively narrow. The AMR's NOS mode just retain those NOS qualities with lots more openness and "air". I think this quality is very unique in the market. If you listen much to 16/44 and like NOS sound, then this is the perfect DAC.
Beat the MSB Powerdac and the Metrum Octave hands down on high res and redbook. I am still shocked by what it offers for the money, 2 dacs, a linestage (71 steps) with 2 analog inputs and a total of 7 inputs. Master clock with a 28 million options selection to choose the closest clock for the incoming signal (all done automatically of course) completely seperate transformer for the display...etc. The tubed VD-i digital input. When I look at what the other guys are offering for 5K or even 4 times the price... it just becomes a no-brainer. Couple all of that goodness LOL with the sound this thing produces and you have a winner. This dac has a lot of manufacturers shaking and I have already caught one very very very big shill on this site trying to throw veiled disparaging remarks about where it is built (very non direct) LOL. I happen to know this individual has a silent partner role in the product he is extolling. I HATE shills.
My uncle also purchased the AMR and found it far better than a slew of his former digital purchases some of which were the Concert Fidelity ($10K) the Esoteric (ludicrous money LOL)P01 vu/D01 vu/G-0rb, (more crazy money) Wadia Series 9, ($20k)Stal-tek Vekian...
If i sound excited about the product I am. I take the enjoyment of my music very serious and names don't mean anythig to me if the product can't produce that certain ineffable experience which is very difficult to achieve. The Bidat could do it, the Dynavox Dynastation could do it. The MSB Powerdac could do it ... sometimes :) the MSB was very good, but it was not a consitent performerm, sometimes it would be downright scary good and other times it was just better than most :) The Metrum Octave... for $1k... NO BRAINER... that thing is scary freakish good with the right USB/SPDIf converter (if you are using a computer) I would reccomend the Sonicweld Diverter HR or the Kingrex UC192 both of which I owned.
The AMR DP777 tops all of the aforementioned dacs (in my opinion) :)
Ok, back to work, I have to write some code :)
your writing deomostrates allot of enthusiasm, you have mentione allot above. I would like to touch bass on a few areas.
1. you are a dealer, for what?
2. you made mention of your having a $38K analog front end, what does this consist of.
3. Have you heard the 77.1 all in one unit and compared the 777 dac mentioed here with a transport "what was the transport actually used" and what the outcome.
Describing in detail what you heard, do you feel the dac out performs the one in the 77.1?
Been around for a long time and if you look at my post you will see that I have constantly upgraded my gear from my Bidat, to the dynastation to the Metrum ...etc. I'm a software developer. The turntable is not mine, and I think i stated that fact. It is a friends, I'm not into analog... Too much work :)
Shills usually only praise one brand of gear consistently, I have always went with whatever was the best sounding so long as I could afford it. f1a I'm surprised you would label me a shill when there are people who Obviously praise one or two particular brands of gear and they always seem to rear their heads when certain gear is mentioned.
A lot of people followed my posts when I was all about my former Bidat, then MSB PowerDac, then Metrum with the diverter... Keep it moving.
Nice try F1a but I'm just an enthusiastic Audiophile in Chicago... Agon went so far as to dropnthe thread on the Octave that I was commenting on.
Dev, I a dealer for my services as a software developer..., does that answer your query?
I think that f1A is trying to take the attention of the subject at hand, the Dac under discussion. Attempting to obsfuscate the topic with crazy claims only makes you look suspect.
Audiofun, I understand it wasn't your table, my mistake "typo" and not being able to edit adding your friends words.
I was curious what you were a dearler for and you answered that, thanks.
Now back to my other audio related questions because you did answer any.
1. You made mention of your "FREIND" having a $38K analog front end, what does this consist of.
2. Have you heard the 77.1 all in one unit and compared the 777 dac mentioed here with a transport "what was the transport actually used" and what the outcome.
Describing in detail what you heard, do you feel the dac out performs the one in the 77.1?
Dev: the analog front end is made up of a Monaco Grandprix turntable and associated gear. While it is a VERY VERY impressive analog front end and something to behold, I find that I prefer the sound of my digital. Now I will say that I personally think that digital done right can be better than... thought I was going to go there didn't you? LOL Not opening that can of worms but in this case, yes I preferred the digital. This is not the first time I have had this experience. Some years ago I did a head to head with my Bidat with the Plus-Mod to another friends Sota Vacuum TT with a Lamm phono stage. I don't remember the arm or cartridge combination and I prefered the Bidat. NOW, I realize setup setup setup and it is possible that my friends turntables are not optimized... that I don't know.
I am not privy to a 77.1 (plus I don't spin discs anymore)so I have not been able to do a head to head comparison so I have no opinion :) Around the beginning of 2009 (if memory serves) I went fully to the camp of music servers. I sold my last cd player on this forum and never looked back. I automated everything with a Mac Mini, my iPhone and iPad, Plex, Remote and a NAS drive.
Audiofun, thx for the limited responce.
I also have and use vinyl and had the 77 in my system and no way did it come close to my set-up sonically.
I use to have a amazing referrence red book set-up listed at over $40K and still was not on par with my vinyl set-up, I sold it off for that reason along with the real estate it was taking up.
I still have a nice collection of cd's that I can't get on vinyl so I still wanted a player to listen hence getting a 77.1.
I have listened to allot of servers and not one has done anything for me, great for convenience but that's about it.
So that's my take on this
Well I think we all know that money does not necessarily equate to great sound :) I went to one home with $85K speakers installed. The amps and all associated gear was placed in a purpose built equipment room with custom cabinetry to house all the electronics. Absolutely stunningly beautiful room!!! Probably about 4 to $500K invested between the room and gear... and the sound ???
Absolutely NOTHING to write home about. It was impressive to behold and utterly uninvolving... And no, I will not list the gear so as to protect the innocent :)
Some of my friends have LARGE album collections and a turntable makes absolute sense for them to own. While I have wanted to play with a TT, I have about 20 LP's LOL and I simply don't think I will get the ROI were I to go that route. I am also very spoiled with my iPad controlling my whole rig.., can't go back now :)
Fla: It's all good :) I would like to know what you think when you hear it. Also if you get a chance to hear a Metrum Octave (only once it is fully broken in) you may be surprised what that little $1k box can do.., with the right USB/SPDIF converter.., if you are using a computer as a source that is :)
Audiofun, Have you tried Off-Ramp4 USB/SPDIF converter? Or have you compared your stand-alone USB/SPDIF converters to the USB port on the DP-777? The X-mos 2.0 USB chipset inside the DP-777 is very similar, if not identical to the one inside April Music Stello U3, but having a jitter-less internal I2S connection is much better than a USB-powered U3 with SPDIF interface. That being said, my Off-Ramp4 with Dual TurboClock and battery power supply handily beats the U3.
Yingtonggao: Hi, I have never had the privilege of auditioning an Off-ramp 4 or any Empirical Audio gear for that matter. I did compare my (former) Sonicweld Diverter HR and Kingrex UC192 to the USB port in the AMR DP 777. To be succinct it was the only time I preferred another interface to the Diverter HR. It is very good and though the XMOS chip is used it is not that simple. AMR wrote their own USB code, it is not licensed from wavelenth as so many others have done.
Also the I2S is a definate plus as it is one less conversion to be done.
The Diverter HR was close when feeding the HD-VDi input of the AMR but at the end of the day I thought USB direct in the AMR was best... that's why I sold my Diverter HR.
Having a direct USB implementation inside the DAC is superior (in theory) to an external box like the Stello U3. Converted USB can go direct to chip set as i2s without having the need to get converted from SPDIF again. SPDIF as you know is jitter-prone. XMOS chip set is the industry standard for asynchronous transfer and now used in most of today's asynchronous USB dacs/converters.
Audiofun, after fully break-in your AMR, do you leave it on all the time? If you turn it off, how much warm-up time do you need to reach the optimum performance? I have a big class A amp that takes 1~2 hours of music play to sound its best, and can't be left on due to the heat it generates, so I bought a class A/b amp that can be fired up cold and sound great right away. In reality most of us live a busy life and when you get a chance to listen you don't want to wait an hour. Normal people with iPod and Bose docking station don't have this problem, why should we audiophiles suffer it? Do we pay extra premium to suffer or to enjoy?
Yingtonggao: After 500 hours I "sometimes" leave it on for days at a time, but then again (like this morning) I sometimes place it in standby. On the wknds, I usually just leave it on. As to warm up time, a cursory listen while being attentive to that very point last night indicated around 20 minutes, so not long. In standby I think the low level circuits remain powered.
"Normal People" will not know what reproduced music is capable of sounding like unless they are privy to an exceptional high-end system... so yes, you have to pay to play :)
This reminds of about 13 years ago when I owned the Legacy Whispers and a Tube Research Labs amplifier and preamp. A friend came over (a lady friend) and looked at my system and commented "That is ridiculous, it does not take all this to listen to a song). She listened and commented, my Sony stereo sounds just as good. I replied.., ok cool.
Three days later she knocked on my door, I answered.., she had an attitude with me. Her comment was that she turned her Sony (not picking on sony) on and immediately had to turn it off as it had become un-listenable after hearing the Whispers and company :)
So... yes it is worth the wait :)
If I continue to write your story above, that lady friend would later on become your wife. LOL.
Well, I plugged my preamp in a PS Audio P300 all the time, and now the P300 has stopped working -- no lightening strike, no insufficient ventilization, no coffee spill, no nothing.
Art Dudley used the word "warm" to describe the sound of DP-777 (he originally used "liquid"). What is the word you would use to describe it? is it very much on the warm side of neutral?
Are you still using a preamp or just the DAC's own volume control? I know this is a classic debate and I've tried a lot of DACs with volume to different levels of success. I normally prefer a good (should I say really good) preamp.
I would not characterize it as warm (and certainly not sterile). My former Metrum/Diverter HR combination was immensely dynamic and musical with resolution to die for... the AMR is all of that and more. It (the AMR) imbues a sense of continuity to the overall presentation that the aforementioned combo could not match. Having said that, the AMR is more fleshed out than the Metrum/Diverter HR combo and more resolute (which is a hard trick to pull-off). The AMR simply makes a beautifully musical statement and I could see how some could find an analog rightness to the sound.
The built in attenuator is very very very good (hint: it MUST be used to be broken in, i.e. it is possible to break the dac in and not the attenuator if you leave it in bypass mode and use another method to attenuate the signal). Now as good as it is I think the digital volume control on Pure Music is by far one of the BEST methods for signal attenuation I have heard. PM falls victim to my Music First Audio Copper Classic and certainly to my MFA Reference TVC's. If I had to rank them, I would say MFA then PM and finally the built in Attenuator. The built in unit has just as much resolution as PM, but I think it ever so slightly diminishes image size comparatively speaking. Now granted I probably have 300 hours on the built in attenuators and not he 500+ that I have on the dac itself.
Honestly I usually using some combination of attenuation i.e. I set the MFA Ref to a master level (such that when the AMR is in bypass (no attenuation) and PM is at 0dB)it almost oo loud for comfort. Then I use either PM or the AMR's attenuator to fine tune the volume. WHY NOT just use the MFA for all of my volume needs (the ref is remote controlled); because the crappy switching PS that came with my MFA Ref destroys the sound of my stereo. So until I stop being lazy and build a real regulated (actually it does NOT need to be regulated, but I designed it and have used it in other project already :) and linear PS....
FYI, I control all of this with a Harmony 900 remote control. It works beautifully with the AMR and my PS3 and the Mac Mini. It keeps me from having to manually select inputs and I only need one remote :) For controlling the volume in Pure Music, I use either my iPhone or iPad.
Hope that helps...
I just hooked up my 777 last week. This is after ~550 hours of burn-in. I am using an Audio Valve preamp & Symphonic Line Kraft amps (will be trying the "direct" to amps option this weekend - remove preamp....I want to hear "exactly' what this DAC sounds like). My initial impression is very favorable but too limited to comment extensively. I will say that it is on the "warm' side (tonality). I would say it is a "6" on a scale of 10 (5 neutral..10 too warm). This leads me to believe that it will work best with associated equipment that is not overly warm. I will say that it is extremely dynamic and frequency extension is superb. Imaging is outstanding -- particularly front to back layering. So, first impression is that this is a very good DAC and a superb value at its price. More to come....
Ok, I can report that with probably 350 hours on the preamp section that the anomoly (I observed) of making the music seem somehow smaller than that of my MFA preamps or the Pure Music used as the pre has completely evaporated. The difference between PM used as the attenuator is much closer to the sound of the AMR using it's own line stage. I still think PM has the advantage at this point as the sound is a little more tonally dense. The MFA units are just better but the entry level Copper Classic at the time was $3K so I would say the AMR is in good company. I could understand if someone drove their amps direct. I still need about another 100 to 150 hours on the pre section before I am sure. The transparency of the linestage is as good as anything I have heard at ANY price. It is just when it comes to the density of tone at this point that I would say some may prefer a stand-alone pre.., but it is not done breaking in and I am just reporting as I go... sorta like a ships log LOL!!!
Have a good wknd, back to listening the music David Garrett for now.
Strange -- When I play 16/44.1 redbook CD ripped into apple lossless format in iTunes (Windows XP), the USB-connected DP-777 automatically goes to "96/96 organic". This happens even if I put a redbook CD in the CD-Rom and play it directly through iTune. I really want it to do to "44/44 BitPerfect" mode using classic DAC, but it won't. Anything from my PC/iTune is "96/96". Are there any settings I need to change?
Just tried going direct to the amps (no preamp). I like this better. All the detail / dynamics / soundstage and tonality and better focus. Plus the volume level is more than adequate. Just seems cleaner w/o the usual "thinness" that typically occurs when going DAC direct to amps. Bass is fabulous. I didn't realize how good this DAC truly is until trying this setup. Best DAC I have ever owned (and I have owned a bunch). A true bargain at full $5k price.
I also tried DAC direct, and still prefer a high-end analog preamp, which adds density, weight and scale. I admit the volume control inside the DP-777 is very good, and some Asian audio forum says it's as good as US$3000 preamps, but not beyond. AMR is smart enough to implement an analog volume instead of digital, which I always find disappointing even at the level of Wadia/Weiss/Accuphase. Impedance matching is another thing, if the output impedance of the DP-777 and the input impedance of your power amp matches (>20x difference), and your cable has low capacitance, then you have a better chance to do without a preamp.
Ok, I now have right at 500 hours on the preamp section and I will say that the built in preamp sounds exactly the same as Pure Music used as the volume control which is to say world class. I preferred Pure Music as the attenuator over the Allnic 3000 (the unit with the optional larger output transformers)and the Bat Rex (yes these were in my home in my system). I would say that you would have to shop carefully and spend about right around $7K to equal or beat it. Obviously the Allnic and the Bat cost more that $7k which is why I said you would have to shop carefully.
Neither of those units could compete with PM on transparency or dynamics and as I stated the AMR and PM are indistinguishable. The guys at AMR do their homework and it does take 500 hours before the linestage is run in. In all fairness, the MFA Copper Classic has routinely been compared to active preamps that cost $10K and up so that was not a fair comparison (one reviewer stated that you would need to spend $80K on an active t obeat the Classic but that was some years ago and things move on :). I will say that the linestage is good to the point that if one has not dropped serious money on a pre...I would fully run it in and then audition a preamp if you still think you are missing something. I agree with Jeffga., best dac I have ever heard...and like him I have heard and owned a BUNCH.
I would say the built in linestage is better than most active preamps I have listened to recently with the exception of the Concert Fidelity ($20k) and the ARC Ref 40 ($24K)... that's good company :) YMMV
Yingtonggao: That is weird, if it was an apple computer I would know the issue but in Windows I think it should perform the necessary sampling frequency change automatically with no third party software. I would say look in the audio setup to see if you somehow have it set to always send the datastream out at 96khz. Sorry if that is not much help.
One other thing you can try is to hit the AMR button on your remote control to put the unit back in factory default settings just in case something got changed.
I solved the problem by going to QuickTime player, and change the output to 16/44.1. Under Windows OS, iTunes is just a file manager for QuickTime, which actually plays the music. Now my DP-777 (USB) now recognizes 16/44.1 and decodes accordingly using its classic DAC; the sound is... better, but still not there. I was told iTunes convert 16 bit to 24 and back down to 16... don't really know where the myth is.
Other than the USB quibbles I also have problem with DP-777's bass, compared to my previous Dodson 218 DAC the DP-777's bass is both weak and veiled. I hope a full burn-in solves the problem (now 100+ hours) but from the reviews I read even after 500+ hours the bass is still not a strength of the DP-777.
I can honestly say that it is not really worth judging it before 500 hours, it changes that much. The bass is flabby and soft when new. I have broken 2 of them in and the units broke in identically. I have found the bass to be as good or better than any dac I have owned, it just sounds real. Some dacs do have a pistonic (artificial electronic sounding bass) but even when
I listen to Hardcastle Jazz series music the bass is represented perfectly. At less than 200 hours you have a good ways to go before you know what it can do. I remember my Metrum Octave with the Diverter HR was quite a bit better than the AMR until I go t about 300 to 350 hours on it.., then it was bye bye Metrum. Have fun.
Audiofun: thank you for your encouragement!
Other than burn-in, I notice the USB input sounds much worse than SPDIF. Before I bought the AMR, I was using Off-ramp 4 + Dodson 218, the PC/USB sounded extremely close to CD transport/SPDIF. But then the AMR arrived, transport/SPDIF sounds better now, CAS/USB sounds TERRIBLE! I break-in the USB input for a while already, and even tried the PC >> USB >> Off-ramp 4 >> SPDIF >> AMR, no matter what I do, if a PC is involved, the sound deteriorate significantly. AMR seems to hate my PC while my previous Dodson loved it, even a Benchmark DAC-1 USB sounds better directly from my PC.
Yeah, I am gonna buy a Mac mini sooner or later, but why is there such a big discrepancy between a PC and a transport? Does anybody experience this? Does USB input takes longer to burn-in? Can you eventually get USB to sound as good as SPDIF inputs?
Essentialaudio: Good to know "JRMC + Win 7" sounds good. I am not sure if I want to go with "JRMC + Win 7" or "Amarra + Mac mini". I am a PC person and not a Mac fan, but I like the convenience of iTunes too, does JRMC piggy back onto iTunes' interface? Does it support apple lossless format? My problem is I've copied all my CD into apple lossless.
Yinngtonggao: You seem to be having a lot of issues with your AMR/PC combination. I have not experienced any of the issues you have mentioned sans break-in issues. Perhaps you should try a Mac Mini with Pure Music. The USB sounded good right off the bat in the AMR. My Mac Mini going into the AMR was better than my Mac and Diverter HR with the HR feeding the VDi-HD spdif input. I noted that the USB was about burned in at about 72 hour mark. It is possible I guess that your PC has a lot of power supply noise on the USB output. I honestly did not expect the USB input to be as good as the HR.
On another note, I just purchased 2 Accurian (Halcyonics) Silencers (not delivered yet). I will post my impressions using it with the AMR :) Very excited!!!
Transport --> AMR's BNC input = 9/10
Transport --> Dodson's BNC input = 8/10
PC --> Off-ramp 4 --> Dodson's BNC input = 8/10
PC --> Off-ramp 4 --> Benchmark DAC1's BNC input = 8/10
PC --> Benchmark DAC1's USB input = 7/10
PC --> AMR's USB input = 4/10
PC --> Off-ramp 4 --> AMR's BNC input = 5/10
I am not convinced it's the PC, and my PC sounds the same as my transport when Dodson DAC is used. My PC has been optimized over the years and I know the common tricks. Believe me, I've hear beautiful music from my previous PC-based setup and can still go back to it -- but then what's the point of buying AMR?
Maybe I should shut up for now until AMR's full break-in + Mac mini.
Can anyone compare the AMR to the Audio Note dac? I'm considering replacing my 2.1 with either a 3.1 or 4.1 LE, but this amr has piqued my interest.
I like the idea of possible replacing my integrated with an amp, probably the ayre v-5xe and going straight in.
Also, I currently use the ht bypass feature of my integrated with my home theater receiver, is there a way to accomplish that with the amr?