I haven’t had the opportunity to hear the Blu MkII upscaling CD transport. I have a music server and can’t justify getting the Blu upscaler...at least not yet:)! My friend asked me to try one, but I refused. I'm going to play around with the Dave this weekend without my preamp. I said I wouldn't try direct, but I've changed my mind. Have you heard the Blu MkII? If so, what are your thoughts?
Well I tried the Chord Dave direct tonight. I had my wife play her favorite songs. She immediately asked me what I did. She simply said, "something didn’t sound right." I started writing down my thoughts:
1. two dimensional-height, width, and depth collapsed
2. either too loud or not loud enough
3. vocals are recessed
4. reduced spacing between instruments
I still absolutely love the Chord Dave, but I have yet to hear a DAC that I prefer directly into the amplifier. The Corus may not be the best preamplifier, but for now I’m keeping it. Ladies and gentleman I think I’m done for a while!
I have definitely noticed this with a lot of DACs. It entirely depends on what the I/V and output stage of the DAC is. If it's general solid state or op amp, you will definitely need some sort of preamp to help with waveform smoothing or attack. I suspect that a DAC that uses a very nice Class A or tube output stage (with some sort of volume control) could potentially sound very good direct to an amp.
I noticed this with Oppo bluray players (both the 103 and 105). As good as the audio is from these players (and it's VERY good for the money), it sound very dry and somewhat flat coming straight form the player. It really starts to shine when you put a Class A preamp in the mix.
You say, "I was underwhelmed with the Dave in my system." That's why I always say, no absolutes in Audio, only preferences. I submit we put too much focus on individual components and forget it's a system. The Chord Dave is just outstanding in my "system ".
If the Dave sounded good direct, I would have sold my Corus to purchase the Blu mkII. Unfortunately funds prevent me from pursuing the Blu mkII at this moment.
" I actually was underwhelmed by the DAVE in my system ."At present a reviewer friend is doing a review the new Chord Hugo, he has the top Total dac himself, passive preamp, Wilson Alexia and Gryphon Antilion Evo as his reference system.
He told me he is very impressed with the new Hugo up against his Total dac getting very close to it.
We found that it uses a discrete type of Delta Sigma conversion technique. He said it was the first DS dac that he has heard that he’s been impressed with up against the R2R ladder multibit Total Dac.
This is the sort of systems (even better than his) that he listens to on his reviewing journeys.
I just sold my Chord Dave, I do miss it, I can not listen to music more than a few minutes without being bored with the DAC I currently have till I get a new one. The Dave worked great in my system (Wilson Audio Sasha’s and T +A amp, High Fidelity Reveal cables, Aurender MS). With the Chord Dave, I could listen for hours. Miss the big soundstage and the eerie vocals and the lifelike clarity of the Chord Dave. Would definitely buy it again.