DCS Verdi Elgar Purcell VS. Audio Aero Capitole

I do have the Verdi-Purcell-Delius and it is better than anything out there. I am rediscovering all my CD collection again becasue I am upsampling to SACD via the 1394 interconnect. It is out of this world. I have not heard Audio Aero but I feel that I don't have to change or upgrade for many years to come. (I hope)
No doubt the DCS is excellent gear.Having owned it would agree with the last post.My only gripe with DCS is, it was too analytical.The Captiole will ccertainly stand up quite nicely with the DCS,and to some,including myself,I prefer it over the DCS.I am very curious with the release of the new Capitole in the next few weeks.Totaly overhauled including the retai price of 8995.00
Having been a former owner of the dCS gear (not the Verdi), I did have a chance to compare it to the Capitole and for me, it was not even close.

After my comparison, I became a dealer for Audio Aero and I assure you that my customers are feeling the same as I. Also, the Prestige SACD/DVD-A player will be out, hopefully before the end of the year, and if it is anything like the Capitole compared to most CD players, it should be unbelievably good.

I also had terrible service on my dCS from the distributor and quite a few problems.
Jtinn, I think you should try the dCS gear with the new firewire upgrade. Also the Verdi is a great combo. I used the dCS gear with Sonic Frontiers top gear, I didn't feel much difference, but when I got the Verdi and used the 1394, it was something else.
I have had the Audio Aero and now have dcs gear. Anyone who says the Aero is better is either a dealer or has an ax to grind. If accuracy is what you want...then check with the studio market...yes...the people who make music...and you will find your answer. The only case where I would pick the Aero is on total price. Dollar for dollar on the used market it is a better bang for the buck. Also, the Aero is more forgiving if you have any weak spots in your system...especially a hard tweeter...Good Luck
Please take everything I write with a grain of salt, since I am the importer of the new Lindemann CD/SACD player.
I would not add to this thread if not many of my customers were former DCS and Audio Aero Captiole customers, who confirmed that the Lindemann is up to par with DCS, only for a fraction of the price and performed superior to any other CD player. One customer especially had been through all big names, the DCS, Audio Aero, Linn, Wadia, you name it and he literarily said that he will go back to vinyl if the Lindemann is not better than all the other players he had auditioned. Well, he is not back to vinyl and enjoying his cd and SACD collection in a new light.
Although i have heard the DCS gear in Norm Luttbeg's systems on repeated occasions, I have not heard it in my system. i do know that Norm has since been through the Audio Note 4 SE and the Zanden as well as the Sony and Marantz SACD players, finally settling on the Lindemann. As a result of hearing these various combinations at Norm's, i also purchased the Lindemann and can only say that after a few false starts, I am very happy with it. Several lessons learned with respect to the Lindemann, (1) the outboard power supply must be carefully isolated, preferably on Aurios and a Mana stand, (2) the main unit does not work well on an air base preferring a Mana type stand and (3) it is sensitive to the power cord used. Properly sited and powered, it is a state of the art product.
I can only second thant Fred. The Mana stands do incredibly well with the Lindemann (I would even say they deserve to be tested in every audiophile sytem). I am using Mana in combination with a Neuance shelf and it was amazing what a difference the Neuance can make to an already great stand. My brother bought a Mana-Neuance combination immediatly for his own audiophile system, after hearing my system.
I recently sent my DCS gear in for the upgrade. My experience with DCS and Audiophile Systems is the opposite of Jonathan's....they offer terrific customer service. I know that the DCS gear was quite a bit better than the Accuphase DP75V I had before I got the Elgar and Purcell. That was before the upgrade. I sold the DP75V to a friend who had the latest Audio Aero Capitole Mk 2. He likes the Accuphase better. I'm sure, depending on the strengths and weaknesses of your system, that the DCS stuff may not be right for you. But there has to be a reason why everyone wants to compare the performance of their digital gear to DCS. DCS sets the standard in digital performance.
DCS never was top 16-bit digital. It has better publicity, more BS-presents in the audio propaganda but performance wise it sit somewhere at the very mediocre Wadia-Levinson level. As usually, it has that glitzy but dry impressiveness meant to electrify a typical audiophile with it’s taste of pterodactyl. In particularly DCS DACs works miserably when they do upsampling… If you looking at the top 16-bit performance (and I am taking about the out of box commercially available units without going into a world of the custom built DACs) then you might find interesting some older DB technology DAC (I think it is 924). Also, the new Waiss Media sounds pretty promising…
So now we're "upsampling to SACD" too?? It's amazing how effective marketing bull**** can be! Wasn't dCS the first to start using the "upsampling to 24/96" phrase? I'm inclined to believe what Verybigamp said above in his 2nd sentence about the qualities of dCS.

For those who are aware that "upsampling", as it has been used over the last few years is simply a marketing ploy, please disregard my next sentence. Folks, you cannot "upsample" to DVD-A and you cannot "upsample" to SACD. Furthermore, and technically speaking, any non-integer oversampling (eg. 44.1 -> 96 or 44.1 -> 192) has the potential to compromise the overall sound. Please read one of the many articles published regarding the marketing hype that is "upsampling". I recommend Sim Moons; it's very clear and readable for a layperson (and short too), but there are many others by Madrigal, Wadia, etc.

Having said all of that, I own (and love) the Audio Aero Capitole 24/192. I have no pretensions that the very fine quality of sound I hear has anything to do with 192 or "upsampling". It is a very smooth and rich sounding player (some may call this analogue-like). It does many things very well, but it is not due to "upsampling". It is due to a good integral transport, good digital filtering and conversion, and a good analog section. Nothing more, nothing less.
dCS components do not upsample to SACD. Nothing can do that. They do convert the digital signal to Direct Stream Digital (DSD), and then use firewire as a transmission method between components. Anyone who has any experience with firewire or I2S cables between digital components knows how much more effective these types of connections are for the transmission of digital information. I2S or firewire are the only true methods of transmitting a 24/192 signal, unless you use the dCS method of using two XLR cables between the upsampler and DAC, as dCS does with the non-Plus version of the Elgar and Purcell. If you would refer to the dCS website at www.dcsltd.co.uk, you would see that nowhere do they claim to be upsampling to SACD.

As far as your statement about non-integer oversampling, dCS and many other DACs give you the option of interger oversampling at 88.2 or 176.4, unlike the Capitole. I have compared those settings with 24/192, and prefer 24/192.

I have owned 2 different DACS that use the Anagram Technologies resampler....the Audiomeca Enkianthus and the Camelot Uther Mk2 V4. The smooth, relaxed, and detailed sound of the Anagram Technologies resampler was present in both of those products. Whether you like it or not, you have upsampling, and it IS responsible at least in part for what you're hearing. If not, then Audio Aero's claims about S.T.A.R.S. and it's effects must just be marketing bull****!

Now you will have to excuse me. My pterodactyl is getting cold.
Glreno, I think you missed my point. What is the significance of "upsampling" to 96kHz, or to 192kHz for that matter? Why not 220.5kHz(5X), or 264.6kHz(6X) or even better yet 352.8kHz(8X)? The ONLY reason for choosing 96 or 192 is due to its name association with the higher resolution format in DVD-A. Is it a coincidence that "upsampling" popped up in the consumer market after all the hoopla of DVD-A's 24/96 or 24/192???

Why add complexity by "upsampling" by a non-integer value? It just makes the mathematics more complicated and wastes processing cycles. If done properly, it probably won't mess up the fidelity, but it WON'T make it any better either.

Yes, I think the Audio Aero Capitole 24/192 uses the 192 for marketing reasons only. It does have a 32bit processor, so maybe they feel they can waste clock cycles for the marketing boost. In the end, to me it is a very good sounding CD Player and not because it has 192 on the face plate. A player, any player, will sink or swim on the quality of its transport, the quality of its digital filtering and conversion, the quality of its reconstruction filter, and the quality of its analog stage. Forget about 96 or 192 and pick the best sounding component.
You say, "Forget about 96 or 192 and pick the best sounding component." Yet your post dismiss the dCS units because of "theory" rather than listening.

Moreover, you reduce the dCS to just upsampling (and dismiss it for that alone) while excusing the Audio Aero for having the same feature, choosing to look to its other features besides the upsampling. I take it that any dCS system lacks a quality transport, digital filtering, conversion, analogue stage, etc? At least with the dCS, if upsampling is so useless, one can run the dCS completely bypassing any upsampling. So now in theory the Audio Aero is at a disadvantage?

This thread shows many different opinions on high-end DACs. Some have compared components, some have not but really like what they already have, and some have a self-interest in promoting certain components. Where does the truth lie? At this level I think that the differences are more of personal taste than an objective better or worse.
Turnaround, I haven't dismissed dCS. I'm frustrated that a simple marketing trick can cause so many of us to part with our hard earned cash. AND I'm not talking about just dCS, although they were one of the early ones to play the game.

If you don't think that many (certainly not all) audiophiles purchase partly based on the current buzz, then perhaps there is not much to discuss between you and me. "Upsampling" created a frenzy over the last 4 years and it ("upsampling") is exactly the same thing digital designers have been doing for years with one exception... now marketing tricks are used to play off the association between 96 and 192 and the higher resolution format on the horizon, DVD-A. It certainly energized the Redbook format, wouldn't you agree? I can't count how many times I've read A-goner's write here how "now that I have an upsampling dac, I don't care what becomes of the high rez formats" [sic].

What really stinks about this to me is that it takes even greater computing power just to achieve a similar level of fidelity as a basic integer upsampler/oversampler. Why waste the resources when they could be applied for more accurate interpolation or used somewhere else in the chain? Computing power is cheap nowadays, I guess that's why.

Now, unfortunately, many good products/mfg's have decided to waste resources for the sake of being on the "upsampling" wagon. Based on the response from the audiophile public, can we blame them? From the beginning the implication has been that "upsampling" is fundamentally different (and better) from oversampling and we as consumers have never called these mfg's and reviewers on it. What IS the difference? Why WOULD oversampling at 4.353741497 times the sample frequency be better than oversampling at 4 times, or 8 times or whatever???!!! The math IS alot harder, so it's somehow better?

Don't be fooled by turning off upsampling on the dCS. I'm sure it is a very good sounding component, but it is what it is by design. If you "turn off" a digital filter (this is what an upsampler or oversampler is basically), then you certainly will change the sound and if it was designed to be used with both sets of filters, it'll likely sound worse.
Verybigampmore. Who THe Hell are you!!!!!!!! BS-presents in the audio propaganda but performance wise it sit somewhere at the very mediocre Wadia-Levinson level. "As usually, it has that glitzy but dry impressiveness meant to electrify a typical audiophile with it’s taste of pterodactyl" as you quoted. I personally take your post offensively. As I see it, someone asked a question and you basically downed Wadia-Levison as being dinosaurs and "typical audiophyles", what exactly do you consider us to be? Is it someone that does not have your equipment? Someone who hears equipment different than you do? Don't define a "typical audiophile", because everyone here hears different things, wants different sounds, and have different budgets. There is no "typical audiophile" as you put it. Everyone has their opinion of what makes music great, and you have no right to put us all in a "typical audiophile" category. I for one think I have a great system, using a Wadia, as you would state being at the medicore level, and am extremely satisified with my system. I guess that means I am a "typical audiophile". Next time why don't you answer the post that's been asked. If you did answer the post that was asked I certainly do not see it. I see someone getting up on a soap box to talk about nothing. Again, I take offense at your post. In my opinion, there is no "typical audiophile", other than people that are at this site that love music most in life. Most of the people here love audio, give good input on posts, and post subjective reviews. I don't see this as one of them. I'm not sure exactly where you were going with your post, but Wadia-Levison is FAR from mediocre. And for some audiophiles, even more out of reach than maybe a simple Arcam, which by itself, is a great cd player at its price point. Regardless of price, we're all in it because we love it. What works for me may not work for you, but don't categorize us as typical.
hi germanboxers, you write:

"If you "turn off" a digital filter ... then you certainly will change the sound and if it was designed to be used with both sets of filters, it'll likely sound worse."

(as clarification, the dcs system is made up of three separate units, a dac, an upsampler and a transport, which came out in that order and years apart.)

stereophile wrote about upsampling some years back when the dcs purcell (the upsampler unit) was new and on their "hot" list. they didn't have definitive answers about how or why upsampling seemed to improve sound, but they hypothesized that it wasn't upsampling per se but that upsampling allows the use of certain filters that cannot be applied to red book 16/44.1.

if that is the case, then this suggests that upsampling by itself isn't the secret sauce: the quality of the digital filters and other other factors in the component still matter ... just that some of those factors might only be possible with upsampling in the mix. but we certainly don't need that stereophile article to know the importance of factors like the quality of the analogue outs, the transport, and so on.

here, one could make an analogy to someone thinking that a $200 sacd player will always beat a $5000 red book player because dsd itself is the secret sauce (and especially if that someone makes the mistake of comparing an sacd of an originally poor recording against a cd of a state-of-the-art recording).

what these dicussions and disagreements on upsampling show, i think, is that no one has the definitive answer. at least, it seems that no one's come up with that one explanation which most audiphiles and manufacturers can agree on. however, just because someone can't explain X doesn't mean that Not X is true, especially when X can be heard, if not broken down in words. absent a clear answer of X or Not X, blame must cut both ways, to people preaching upsampling as gospel and to people preaching upsampling as useless.

while there might be people who buy into a component solely because the manufacturer sells up the upsampling angle, i think that people are smart enough to realize that two upsampling dacs differing in price by 10x aren't exactly cut from the same cloth in the many, many factors that make for good sound.

unfortunately, i can imagine people dismissing upsampling all together because a cheap upsampling unit they tried out didn't sound so hot. seems like the same mistake as buying into a component just because it upsamples. here, one could make an analogy to someone dismissing sacd because that $200 sacd player didn't sound better than the very well built red book player (and again, the materials used for comparison matter too).

advertising "hype" aside, i can agree with you on this: i should hope that an audiophile buying dcs or any other high priced gear take some time to listen and make their buying decision based on that, rather than just upsampling "hype".
The Lindemann continues to provide a fertile ground for experimentation, particularly with respect to mechanical isolation which seems to have a dramatic effect on sonics. A few characteristics remain constant. The unit has a liquidity in the midrange and a musical naturalness that I find sorely lacking in most of the competition which makes it very easy to listen to for extended periods. Coupled with that is the ability to penetrate the musical texture and reveal music's subtle inner details, especially throughout the midrange without distortion or harshness. There is, however, a very slight softening of the uppermost treble which does not effect cymbals and their overtones but which is audible. I think that this may yield to better isolation and a change in cabling; only further experimentation will tell.
This thread is bothersome to me.....
Don't read it! You never know when seeing or hearing something that bothers you will cause you to commit a violent act of aggression.
OK, I'll be brave :-) Haven't heard the DCS gear in a couple of years, but it was mechanical sounding to me then compared with the phono in the same system....The AA is musical as the devil, but has a smaller stage and isn't as dynamic as some....Don't know how the Lindemann got on this thread, but it is lacking low level detail and is rolled up top at least with Fred's current thinking on isolation as of last Saturday night....Assuming the microprocessor problems of the AA have been fixed and your preamp has a fairly high input impedance I would go with the AA....The tube output section in the AA is going to be a lot happier driving 50K or higher pots....Fred didn't have that option as his preamp has 10K pots....Is that violent enough? This was bothersome for me as I used to modify a digital outfit, but haven't in a while and the units are out of print....
Rcrump, you will never find THE perfect player. But the Lindemann seems to be perfect enough, for an extremely discerning customer like Fred is, to keep it.
I have been in contact with Fred to help him find the best support for the player, which is Mana-Neuance table and to take a look at his Valhalla ics. There might be a better, switchable interconnect option out there to close the, what you call the 50k to 10k gap of his pre-amp pots.
I gave up trying to find a perfect player and will likely have to build one....No problems with the Lindemann driving the 10K pots in Fred's preamp, the problem is the Audio Aero's tube output section will not be happy driving 10K as don't believe it is buffered.....Maybe Jonathan will advise on this as I am a wealth of misinformation :-)
It was a waste of time 10 years ago, believing in good digital sound, it is today and in my opinion it will be the same in the year 2525 ......
Why ?
The marketing power makes all manufacturers and dealers live and that's the point. Who cares about the best sound ? What is that ? The digital master ? The engineer who made it ? The whatever .... Forget it.
Even today, when I listen to digital, I think it is just ok, when it doesn't make me leaving the room after 10 seconds crying out loudly. Some Dacs are ok or good, of course, but all these discussions are nonsens.
Every new month, when a new unit comes out, and the discussion starts again, ..." is it better ....how much better ... most bang for the buck ....should I match this with that ....what cable for my transport ....and and and "

I own dCS gear, because it didn't make me cry when listening to CD, most other units I listened to, did that, most digital products are in my opinion more or less all the same average nonsens, but dCS engineers are among the best.

When I wouldn't have my analog combo, I would have quit this ' hobby' many years ago.

And, one thing, never trust a dealer's opinion, when he writes something about the new digital ' revolution' , and be careful with readers recommendations, who owned "everything".
Someone who owned everything, and writes, he got the REAL TRUTH now, has absolutely no idea from the stuff he made his investigations. Tomorrow he gets a new truth ....A waste of time to read that.
Just my 2c.
Jeez, Bob, not even a bite on the phono comparison mention...

Stands for digital PC's? Get a turntable...
In response some comments in this thread about the Lindemann and the Lindemann vs. other players, it may be helpful to share another owner's perspective:

(1) Properly isolating and locating the Lindemann player is key to getting the best sound. The preferable set-up for me is direct placement on an F1 carbon fiber/kevlar shelf of a Grand Prix Audio Monaco stand, using the new GPA Apex feet to couple the Monaco with the floor. The separate analog power supply is extremely sensitive to vibration and, to my ears, sounds surprisingly better when located at least three feet from the player on another F1 shelf. Rotating the power supply clockwise or counter-clockwise on the shelf will noticeably change the tonal balance of the Lindemann. In my system, I have the front of the power supply facing 9:00.
(2) The two power cords that come standard (one for the player and the other for the power supply) are okay for stock cords. The HMS cords that are sometimes sold with the player work well. Results in my system are best using Elrod cords, with any sections that could touch the floor resting on Cardas wood blocks.
(3) Placing Cardas caps on the unused inputs and outputs of the Lindemann slightly improves liquidity.
(4) Even with proper isolation and cabling, the Lindemann still benefits from an excellent power conditioner. I use a Sound Applications XE-12S, but have not tried other conditioners.
(5) With this arrangement in my home and the player driving a Viva Solista integrated amp and Avantgarde Trio Plus speakers, I find CD and SACD recordings to be very good, without any top end roll-off or lack of detail.
(5) How does the Lindemann compare to the DCS combo and the Audio Aero? I don't know for sure, because I never borrowed the latest DCS or Audio Aero to use with my equipment. I did own the Elgar Plus/Purcell (without the Verdi), the EMC 1 (192 version) and the Gamut. For me, the Lindemann is more dynamic, neutral and refined than these processors or players. However, I've listened to both the DCS Elgar/Purcell/Verdi and the latest Audio Aero in two other systems with Trios and thought they also sounded very good. Be careful about reaching any firm conclusions until you've heard direct comparisons in a system you're familiar with.
Asa, I wondered about that as well as I did the work on my digital system using my turntable as a reference and have gotten it pretty darned close, but have been messing with the DAC and transport since 1994. I have run out of things to do and it still isn't quite there, but as Thomasheisig says it is close enough :).....Saddle 1 I am amazed at the lengths you went to to optimize the Lindemann and thanks for posting as maybe Fred will get his working better.... It is still quite a ways from his turntable in terms of performance.....
To put things into perspective, I purchased the Lindemann in early November 2002, and made a conscious decision to avoid any tweaking until the unit had broken in completely. About the time the unit should have broken in, Christmas and CES intervened. Immediately prior to CES I borrowed a brand new set of JC-1's for break-in and audition. Things have been in a state of flux in my system. My only point is that it would be extremely unfair to conclude at this point that the Lindemann is deficient in any areas. Maybe if I had begun tweaking it in 1994, I would have gotten it right by now.
I wanted to wait to post again until I received my upgraded dCS gear. First of all, regarding dCS and any service issues, dCS kept me informed of the progress of my components by email, and were a week ahead of schedule in the updating process. I also paid to have my Elgar updated to the black Elgar plus, so they sent me a brand new unit. Cool! It only took two days to ship the units to my door from the UK.

Now for the sound. Myoussif is right. The 1394 upgrade is much better in terms of smoothness and liquidity, and is even more detailed and soundstages better than the original version. I'm not using a Verdi yet, but they installed a word clock in the Purcell that links to the Elgar via BNC SPDIF. The air and ambience retrieval is stunning. Using a Verdi, the word clock would go from the transport into the Elgar Plus. Amazing stuff! Can't wait until I can afford the Verdi. Build quality is top notch. Together, these components weigh in and are about the size of a 100 watt amp. I would encourage anyone with older dCS components to update to the current version.
I have owned both AA Capitole and the older dCS Elgar/ Purcell non IEEE 1394 equipped gear. The dCS upsampling to 24/192 was better than the AA at more money. Both are excellent. IMHO AA is a good choice in brighter system as it is more polite. dCS is for a system with fewer deficiencies. The new IEEE 1394 dCS gear that I now own is significantly better than the older dCS gear and hence the AA Capitole as well.
one more thing to let you know about my experince with dCS. How many companies out there send you update for your software without you even asking for it? this is a great customer service. I recently received the latest update for all three units ( Verdi, Purcell, Delius) and now the are better than ever. One of the great things that the new software will do, is that all three units will now detect what disk you have inserted in the transport and adjusts everthing accordingly. this is great, now I don't have to select CD or SACD layer, the transport selects it autmatically and tells the other units what to do. I love and enjoy the dCS gear. Any one who thinks otherwise should try the latest hard/software.