Conrad Johnson DA2b

I just got one of these and it is a really great sounding DAC. All the info I have found on forums and what not have been from people that have used it with the DR-1 transport and not with modern music servers. I do not have a DR-1 transport, but I have used this DAC with Apple TV and with a Squeezebox duet and I think it sounds quite nice. There is plenty of air and it handles transients quite well. It handles dynamic classical pieces with ease. Transitions show no harshness and instruments sound as they should. Folk music is broad and rich and rock music is full of detail and without harshness. This one has the original GE tubes, but I have some Mullards on the way.
Good luck with it. I really came to dislike mine. Good thing that C-J is just across the river from me, because I made the trip often enough. I had the DR-1 transport too. It refused to play roughly 5% of my CDs. Getting that pair -- I bought them new, at $3,700 -- was probably my biggest audio mistake. Beautiful looking, though.
I have read your same gripe several times on several boards, and I can understand your frustration with an expensive piece of gear giving you trouble. We I had searched for info about this DA converter all of the negative comments seem to come from using it with the DR-1. Did you ever use just the DA2b with a digital music file server or just CDs with the DR-1? And did you have reliability issues with the DA converter itself? If so, what were they?
Djlebaron, both the DR-1 and DA2b were trouble-prone but it's been 10+ years since I had them and don't really remember the particulars, just that I kept schlepping them back to C-J. And I gave away lots of CDs that wouldn't play in the transport but (as it turned out) were fine in every other player/transport. Sonically, the pair were REALLY laid back at (what I assumed to be) their best. This was pleasant enough to me at the time, though my friends were not kind AFTER I sold them.

The "I gotta sell these things" trigger came when I started listening to CDs on a cheap Pioneer 414 DVD player I already had -- it was briefly praised in this CD role in the Absolute Sound -- and could not believe how much better it sounded than the DR-1/DA2b combo.

No I didn't try the DA2b as a separate DAC, and should have. I assumed that the ultra "laidbackness" was a function of the DAC and frankly had lost all confidence in both it and the transport. Dave
This is an outstanding dac. It is the best my system to date. I have tried a moderately priced 24 bit dac (stereophile class c), highly rated dac ss & tube 32 bit (stereomojo), and two older Dac. They all sounded good but did not stand out in music production. I have a CJ ET3 SE with ICE powered Martin Logan Purity speakers. I do know the lower gain of the D/A-2b (I like that 2b = tube) is definitely better in my system as the CJ will sing better at higher volume settings. I replaced the stock tubes with Mullards for $60 and added the Monarchy DIP ( a slight improvement with the DIP (more detail) but also sounded great without the DIP).

I have to say, I will not be changing this unit. The layers of texture, wide sound stage, and liquidity of the music is magical in my system. If you can find one, I would recommend a listen.
Can I play 24/96 and 24/192 flac (vinyl rips) files from it?
Did CJ downsampled it to 16/44 on the fly?
Does it mean that output will be the same as CD?