Digital Audio Denmark convertors

Has any member of this forum had an opportunity to audition these convertors and if so what is their impression.
I have heard them in my system for a short period of time and thought that they were outstanding on CD plaback alone. I was not able to access their higher resolution playback.
Anyone had a chance to compare this converter with other top rated converters such as Playback designs/Berkeley Audio dac etc?

I have one here in Las Vegas and I can say without hesitation that it is by far the best converter on the market and I have compared it to many highend audiophile players such as the Playback designs & the Berkeley. They don't come close, and best of all, it is cheaper than both of these.

Vincent R Sanders
VRS Audio Solutions
Are you referring to the AX24? If so, are you using 2 channels or more? And, is there a volume control? Thanks
Yes, it is a AX24 and it belongs to a client of mine. It is setup for 2 channel output and can do all PCM formats via the AES digital I/O module. It is being used for computer audio playback and no, it does not have independent volume control. In order to control it, you must use a computer, PC or Mac.

We have the AX24 with DSD/DXD and mic pre option. We also have the EMM Labs separates and the Playback Designs MPS-5.

The MPS-5 is our new Reference Standard! Period!
Vincent: With all due respect, where did you hear or have a chance to compare the Playback Designs? I know of no one in Las Vegas that has one. Nor do I know of anyone who has lent you one.

You make a bold statement when you say "without hesitation that it is by far the best converter on the market" and I have to say I think your credibility is in question on this one.

Jonathan Tinn
Playback Designs
Jonathan Tinn makes a good point. There c-o-u-l-d be a player or converter which is better than the AX24 and also better than all the other players and converters you mentioned. Of course, if you had listened to all those which are popularly thought to be contenders for top of the heap, (those you mentioned and others), and had also listened to many others, and you had come to the same conclusion, and done so with an objective ear and evaluation, then your conclusion would appear to be based on a "rational" process of evaluation, and it could be a credible and defensible opinion. In which case, those who would seek to impugn your credibility simply because you did not share their opinion, and who would do so without also mentioning their similar process of evaluation and the results and t-h-e-i-r opinion, might in turn see their credibility questioned.
don't be so quick to anoint a new champion.

i am reviewing an 8 channel ess tech sabre 32 bit dac.

you may be surprised. the jury is still out on this one.
i have had both the Digital Audio Denmark in my system and the Berkeley too.

the Denmark was in my system last spring when Crna39 (the poster 4 posts above this post) was in my room doing a recording for FIM off my Rockport tt. there was also a Pacific Microsonics Model 2 hi-rez dac being used. we did multiple tests and playback comparing my tt to these sources over a 12 hour period.

the very next week i took delivery of my Playback Designs MPS-5.

neither of these professional DAC's came close to the MPS-5 in performance using the performance of my Rockport as the common reference. the Playback Designs comes closer to sounding completely natural and life-like than the Denmark. not to say that the Digital Audio Denmark is not a fine sounding DAC in it's own right.

obviously; Crna39 owns these products and listens to them daily in his work and you can read his opinion.

a few weeks later i was given a Berkeley to compare to the MPS-5; same result. Again, the Berkeley is certainly a fine sounding DAC but not at the Playback Designs level. i did only compare redbook when i had the Berkeley.

these are just my opinions based on my listening in my system to these products.
Were any of these auditions of the Digital Audio Denmark AX24 done at the 2X DSD sample rate, 5.6MHz? I believe that the AX24 is without peers and I'm not alone as it was chosen as the reference DSD converter at Telarc International records & music studios, Sennheiser, Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR), Dex Mastering, DPA Microphones, and by the Danish Philharmonics to name a few. Perhaps the opinion of Michael Bishop and these other professional users and entities, who can afford to buy any piece of equipment in the world, carry more weight than that of Mike Lavigne, Bruce Brown or myself! Personally, I have owned and used the AX24 for almost three (3) years and I have yet to find or hear anything that sounds better, gives you more resolution or sounds more refined; and that same statement goes for my reference playback system as well. Perhaps the true test is to test one of these systems with a Playback Designs MPS-5 against my own as they may not have enough resolution to truly appreciate the extend of the Digital Audio Denmark AX24's superior performance nor the limitations of the Playback Designs MPS-5. It would be nice to swap the MPS-5 for the AX24 in my reference system and hear and report my observations. Just a thought and again, my doors are always open for such comparisons as my reference system has yet to lose a single challenge!
And NO ONE talks about the playback software used, nor what types (or resolution) of files played back. Sonic differences in playback software are vast. It's not all about "the gear", although all of us have been conditioned to that paradigm over many years. If iTunes was being used as the playback software during these comparisons noted above, I would be highly suspect about the results....iTunes sounds like cardboard in comparison to better pro software suites.

hi Alan,

for the Denmark in my system it was mostly hi-rez 'just recorded' files from the hard-drive that was being used to store the recordings off my Rockport. these were played back and then directly compared to the Rockport played straight.

then a week later i compared my impressions of how the Playback Designs sounded on redbook and SACD to the Rockport played straight.

the Playback Designs was closer to the naturalness and overall musical involvement of the Rockport.

as i mentioned; i just used Redbook for the Berkeley comparison.
Yes, Mike, but what was the playback software used for the "mostly hi-rez" files, and/or your Redbook comparison?

three pro audio guys were recording off my tt into two different hi-rez recording chains. i'm not sure the exact software they were using to store the file. i'm not into such things. Bruce-Cma39-could tell us.

for the Berkeley we just used a CD played on the Playback Designs used as a transport into the Berkeley.
First of all... I am a mastering engineer and use all of these converters everyday. I have also tested the dCS, Lavry, Prisim and Grimm. We do recording/mastering for First Impression Music, HDTracks, PentaTone and Naxos.
We CAN afford any converter made. We have 6 here in the studio. ( We even took the DAD converter to Tokyo and recorded the Yamamoto Trio in DXD.(
There is no editing software what will support DSD128fs, period. The only thing that will record at DSD128fs is the Korg MR-1000/2000S and you can't use outboard converters. We use the Pyramix DSD/DXD mastering software.
Michael Bishop also uses the EMM Labs professional converters, as do we. The consensus of our auditioning as well as several others in the "professional" arena, says the Playback Designs MPS-5 is the best sounding DAC made. Now.. if we could only get Andreas to include an A to D converter!!!! ???????????
Im sorry that I have not responded sooner, but to answer your qusetion, I heard it at my home in Las Vegas. Tim Ryan of Simplifi-Audio had brought it for us to listen. We compared the PD to some of the pro dacs that we have hear using a computer as transport. There were 4 of us that were listening and felt that the Playback designs was not to our liking.
My door is always open as well for anyone that would like to do a shootout or just take a listen. I'm not easily persuaded by the marketing hype that goes on with highend audio. Neither do I allow someone to tell me what and how I should listen. I was a professional percussionist for over 25 years and know what instruments and recording venues sound like. Yes, I made a very bold claim and will stick by it. For me, the DAD is by far, the most organic, detailed, and transparent dac that I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. It is the only dac, and the Sonic Studio 304, that just lets the music through. I'm tired of the hype that comes along in the audiophile world, as most of the gear, never meets my expectations. Cost is not an issue, but implementation is everything. If you ask me what my dislikes are about the Playback design, I will not answer anyone. I prefer you listen for yourself and let your ears decide.

Vincent R Sanders
VRS Audio Solutions
Vincent, how much is the Digital Denmark converter for a normal two channel system using redbook CD?
Who are the U.S. distributors now that DAD has been acquired by NTP? I don't see it on the Trans Audio Group webpage any more. I know Independent Audio is still selling them though.

I'd presume just a basic 2-channel 48k model would be around $5k plus whatever interface you'd choose. Go full tilt boogie like we did and you're plunking down almost $18k!
The price for the unit is $5,416. Even though Las Vegas Pro Audio no longer distributes the unit. We are the only audiophile dealer at the moment for the same unit that is placed under the Merging Technolgies Sphinx 2 name. Here is information that will tell you more:
"Jointly developed with Danish Digital Audio Denmark (DAD) and Merging Technologies, the Sphynx-2 is an 8 channel integrated AD-DA interface offering the latest in Crystal chip technology to produce what we describe as the most advanced and sonically pure converter ever developed."

Go to the website at, Click on Sphinx2 and you will see that they are exactly the same unit, but with a different faceplate.

Now, I want to clear up my comments on the Playback Designs SACD Player. I am not one to slam any one's product, especially on a public forum, as I feel this is not appropriate to do. There are many products that are not to my liking, and I will never, talk about them in a public forum either. I know my comments about the unit is very blank and serve no purpose, and for this I apologize. If you want to know my opinions, then call me and then we can discuss things further.

Vincent R Sanders
VRS Audio Solutions
Let's just recognize each of us may have different opinions of what is "best" base don our own preferences and biases
Let's also recognize that Vincent's first post...

I have one here in Las Vegas and I can say without hesitation that it is by far the best converter on the market and I have compared it to many highend audiophile players such as the Playback designs & the Berkeley. They don't come close, and best of all, it is cheaper than both of these.

Vincent R Sanders
VRS Audio Solutions

.....failed to disclose that he is/was a dealer/distributor for the product he touts.....and his perspective was put in the strongest terms possible.

I am not one to slam any one's product, especially on a public forum, as I feel this is not appropriate to do. There are many products that are not to my liking, and I will never, talk about them in a public forum either.

hummmmmmm. except this time? but if we want more negative stuff we can call ya?

normally Audiofeil would be on Vincent's case big time by now.

i don't know Vincent and he very well may be sincere and fact i assume that he is. but disclosure of a commercial interest is expected. others certainly get slammed for that sort of ommision.
Agreed Mike, anyone with a commercial affiliation with any product they are touting as "best ever" or better than another should disclose as such....

Yeah, where is Audiofeil? He's usually pretty quick on these...
When I first became a member of this forum some years ago, I had nothing to do with the audio industry, so I did not think about changing my status, (if there is such a thing here) having industry affiliation. But me mentioning the DAD really had nothing to do with trying to sell or promote, as that was not my intention. I was just answering someones post, and did not think of it as being a conflict of interest. For this, please allow me to apologize. This will not ever happen again, so my question to anyone here is, how do I change my status in Audiogon to industry affiliation like you can do at the Asylum.
Vincent, I don't believe there is anything you can change to reflect industry status like you can at that other site. I believe the best course of action is to identify yourself as having a commercial interest in any product at the time you post about it. You identified yourself as VRS Audio in your first post, but not as a dealer of the product you mentioned, I'm certain that was simple oversight on your part. Such disclosure allows those reading to filter praise for products as they see fit when it is a dealer giving out the praise.

thank you for taking my communications in the spirit with which it was offered....i meant no personal offense.

unfortunately; AudiogoN is a commercial site which has decided to avoid identifing Industry affiliation. therefore it is left to the community to self police this issue. we do have a few here who do act as 'ethics police' regularly; others occasionally.

there are many industry people who do post on AudiogoN and most do respect the issue of disclosure. i would add that these 'Industry People' have much to offer in terms of information.....but must tread lightly when commenting on products they sell.
Understand, and will always take this into consideration when I post in the future.


Vincent R Sanders
VRS Audio Solutions
Mine is in Fedex;

Should be here on Saturday;

I hope to get it connected via the Weiss Minerva over the weekend. Then I will burn it in for 24 hours a day for 7 days - playback through the computer & will listen to it
after 1 week on next Sunday.

I shall write a detailed reciew on the DAD - AX24 -

My resident ref machine is a Meridian 808i.2.
Wonder how this will stack up.

I shall stay tuned...

Why do you need a Weiss Minerva? Use the DAD AX24 on it's own. That way you'll get the best possible performance.
Use a Lynx AES16 or RME AES32/MADI card in your computer into the DAD.
Hi Crna39,

I think he's using the Minerva in place of the Lynx or any other sound card I think it should be as good or better than a sound card.

Best Regards,

Satyam Bachani.
In my experience, "ad hoc" comparisons of disparate digital audio products such as the MPS-5, DAD AX24 and Berkeley Alpha DAC (and others) without consideration and optimization of the signal chain for each product are misleading and will lead to erroneous conclusions, not even to factor in the wild card variable of personal taste.

At a high level the digital audio chain consists of a source (physical media or electronic file), playback software, source-to-DAC interface (firewire, USB, AES/EBU, coax, toslink, i2S), DAC and pre-amp (not to mention cables, power supply, vibration isolation, etc.).

The MPS-5 is an "all in one" source, playback software, source-to-DAC interface and DAC. All of these variables have been optimzied inside the box by the designer. The DAD AX24 is a DAC only (for these discussions; not sure if it has a pre-amp function) and the Berkeley Alpha DAC is a DAC/Pre-Amp.

I don't know about the DAD AX24, but I can say from experience to my ears, the Berkeley Alpha DAC only sounds its best on CDRB using its filter 1.24 (1.16 is default), its own pre-amp section, and a high quality AES/EBU interface. For example, in my system if I feed the Berkeley an AES input directly from a Lynx AES16 without inserting a noise isolation and reclocker device like the Antelope DA the sound quality is significantly degraded (presumably due to the effects of EMI/RFI noise and jitter). And of course, comparing any of these products without listening to both CDRB and hi-rez seems incomplete.

I'm sure the MPS-5 and DAD AX24 are excellent products, as well as the MH ULN-8 which gets raves, but if one is to conduct a valid comparison then the entire signal chain must be optimized for each piece IMHO.
as far as optimization of digital playback, the Playback Designs MPS-5 does solve the clocking/jitter issue intertnally without reclocking devices.

for some insight into how Playback Designs approaches this issue, follow this link to some answers from Andreas Koch, the designer of the MPS-5;

Link to Andreas's comments

i use the MPS-5 as a high rez server DAC as well as an SACD disc player and Redbook disc player. it's the player i prefer at all three of these tasks i have heard. i use the Lynx AES16 XLR sound card in my server.
We have the DAD AX24, Playback Designs and EMM Labs/Meitner converter in here to compare side by side and use every day. The Playback Designs MPS-5 is our "go to" DAC and disc player. We've heard almost all of them (except for Grimm and Mytek). It's the best out there. We use the DAD for it's A-D and mic pre's, and we do all our HDTracks transfers with the EMM Labs/Meitner gear.
Bruce, have you directly compared the MH ULN-8 to the other ones you mentioned? If so, could you briefly articulate how it compared sonically to the other DAC's you mentioned? From what I've read the ULN-8 seems to be getting consistently rave reviews from the pro community. Perhaps you've seen Barry's posts on the CA forum.

Thanks and have fun at CES.