Audio Aero Pirma DAC versus MF TriVista 21 DAC


Did anyone compared these two DAC's?

I use the AA Prima DAC (also as preamp) with Metronome T1A Signature transport.


Renaat Mattheus
Since you're asking generally, here's my *opinion*: the AA.
Heard both (& a few others) play orchestral music in a Burmester system, A-Physics spkrs.
Is there s/thing you don't like about the AA Prima (I note that you have one)? Cheers!
Well, I know it sounds 'weird' since the AA gets rave reviews, but since I got the AA (8/2004) there is a certain 'sharpness' in the sound wich gives me pain in the ears. Maybe it's not the AA that's causing it, but I tested a Mus. Fid. Tubalog before the AA and there was no 'sharpness'. But I wanted an upsampler and since the AA has both tubes and upsampling, I bought this one (without hearing it first, ...).

That's why I was thinking that maybe another tubed dac could be 'helpfull'?

I must say I get pain in my ears with other setups as well, so maybe there just is something wrong with those things...


The rest of my system = B&W 805 signature, MIT M3 speakercable, Plinius SA201 power amp and Heavens Gate Audio XLR between DAC and power amp.
Have you tried your DAC in a friend's system, one with which you are familiar? That is such a non-fatiguing/non-abrasive DAC, I have to believe that something else is causing your pain.

Have you listened to an all tube-based system? If your ears are that sensitive, you may need to move towards as soft & warm sounding system as possible. Also, have you treated your room? In my room, the harshest tones were always caused by the reflections in the room. As well, the copper speaker cable suggestion is good. Maybe try a pair of Signal Cables. They are excellent and inexpensive.

Oh, and please say hello to the Lion of Flanders if you happen to see him spinning by.

The 'sharpness' you hear is likely caused by the AC, try a power conditioner on your front end components. Dedicated lines are essential as well.
Thanks guys for the recommendations. Maybe I'll start with power conditioning: do you know Isotek Sub II ?

My listening space isn't treated... what would you suggest?

Isn't the MIT M3 a copper cable?

@ Boa: glad to hear you know the Flemish Lion !! I love him !!

Re: wire. I would suggest 1-1,2mm magnet wire (pure copper, enameled). A good, fresh, beer helps, too:) Cheers!

I'll go for the Flemish beer !

Coudl you give me a brandname that makes those enameled pure copper 1-1,2 mm magnet wire...

Just go to any electronics supplies or electronics repair shop and ask for magnet wire (the wire used in winding magnets, voice-coils for speaker drive units, etc). They'll give you the wire for a few Euro. All you need are about 12-15 m to make a 3-3,5m pair of spkr cable.

Cheers (trappiste beer is the healthy stuff)
I would try an aftermarket powercord. I use the Elrod on my AA Capitole. Not sure about the Prima. Power cords tend to be used these days as tuning devises. I know my Audio Aero w. out the Elrod can be less than musical & slightly harsh. With the Elrod everything snaps into place. On another note,you will need time to let everything settle down to hear the benefits. Although you will hear a change right away,the long term listenability will be the ultimate decision maker.

One last guess, is the Primas tubes might be noisy. It can happen.

Elrods come up used quite often here.

Check this out for an effective, and reasonably priced solution:

You can also search the archives here if you want to try and make something yourself. The Michael Green kits are around $250, and you will be amazed at what just a little room treatment can do to take the harshness out of the sound.

Best of luck,

It's indeed most likely an AC problem, but probably otherwise then is stated before. I've had the same thing occuring with my auditioning of an AA Capitole mkII. In my case I had the AAC correctly plugged in my MIT Z-center (wich is very important with AAC), but my poweramp in the wrong way. Indeed pain in my poor ears! First I also tried other cables, but this didn't chanched anything of course. Everything plain on the mains, that was the moment I discovered my mistake with the poweramp.
So check if the rest is connected in phase on the main.

Good luck, Edzard
I just compared the trivista21 with a.a. prima dac (latest version)...
both are very good. both are very smooth & neither has
the nasty digital sound that many cd players have. neither are sharp. the aa is costlier and maybe worth the difference in price. the aa has more depth and is a bit more involving. unfortuantely, cable makes a difference
the $1200 aes/bu cable was significantly better than the $30 & $75 coax cable. however, sound on the cheaper cables
was enjoyable and had no unpleasantness. i used an accustic art tranport (excellent i think) is possible that you may have to
play around with transports/dac combinations (along with cable) to get rid of the nastiness you are experincing

I own the AA Prima SE DAC and have got to compare it to the MF DAC on two occasions using a Sony SCD-1, Audio Research CD3 MKII, and an Orpheus Zero D, as transports. The digital cable was always the Siltech G5 golden Ridge. No matter what the system used the AA was always a much nicer sounding DAC. More musical and at the same time much more detailed with a cleaner sound to it. Bass control was better and everything seemed more focused. When using the Orpheus as transport with the Siltech the AA Prima SE DAC, to my ears it does everything right.
The rest of the system was Audio Research and Maggie 3.6 speakers.