Regarding the AN- Have you experimentsed with different: tubes, transports, and power cords? Just curious.
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Yes, I experimented with many 6DJ8 variation tubes. The Amperex PQ Holland sounded just a tad too bright for me in my system and for the warm sound I like, and some USA made Amperex smoother than the Holland as well as JAN Amperex. Overall, for musicality and detail I found Telefunkens to be the best with the Amperex USA and JAN a close second followed by more distant Mullards.
As a digression on tube rolling, in a Audio Note CD player that was designed to use 12AU7s (not 6Dj8s), the best tube I heard in it was a Mullard 12AT7 (not 12AU7)which had a rectangular getter with a double bar on one end and terminated with the first plate it seemed. The Mullard was vivid, smooth, yet extended and also the 12AT7 gave me a very nice bump up in output of around 50%+ from the CD player which helped going into my Almarro 318B. Mullard 12AU7s, and Telefunken 12AT7 and 12AU7s did not sound as good to me.
By the way, with the Almarro 318B I ultimately settled with a Mullard CV569 (6SL7) pre tube which provided musicality and detil coupled with another pre tube a Sylvania 6SN7GTA which added some depth and warmth to the sound. And the usual SED 6C33C power tubes sounded more extended. My speakers are Zu Druids. I previously had Dynaudios and Dalis, later switched to Spendors for more richness in the mids, and finally topped them for vividness and richness with Zu Druid speakers which are very easily run by my Almarro 318B. I found the Almarro produced the best midrange I have ever heard but had a slightly recessed soundstage and not as dynamic compared to a very nice, warm and immediate sounding Cayin A88T. It was a tough decision, but the mids of the Amarro for my preference finally won out after much listening and deliberation. I would actually like both amps for different types of listening.
Of course, with any system other components do make a big difference in the net sound and what is best is largely a matter of how well the component matches systergisticlly into that system and where you want to move the sound and your personal preferences. A brighter or warmer amp or transport all play parts as well as their tubes and the speakers.
I also like the slightly warmer yet less detailed and dynamic and also organic sounding Kora Hermes DAC. Which DAC is best would certainly be determined by where one wanted to move the sound with their system I think. The two are almost apples and oranges and both the Audio Note and Kora were organic sounding and are very good at what they do.
Interesting comments Plangco.While I own the W4s DAC and find it a real value for the dollar I can't say it is better or worse than the Audionote,
But I do agree with your comment:
"one who also likes to get to the point and is not interested in talking on and on in carefully couched nuances of Audiophilease lingo and buzzwords with meaning hidden between the words..."
Those types drive me crazy also.
I have the DAC-2. I had mixed feelings about it until this week. I purchased a Kimber USB cable and an Pangea AC-9 and used them on the DAC-2. I have to say the improvement was tremendous. Classical became an emotional experience for me. I am not a classical fan. I have never heard a any Audio Note stuff in my home because I could never justify the cost. But the Wyred is making a good case for making my vinyl collection obsolete.