Audio Note DAC will not fit since you want hi-rez, so Lampizator DAC.
15 responses Add your response
I also enjoy the sound through tubes and if you are driving your amps directly from the DAC, then a tube DAC may be essential. However if the DAC is feeding a tube pre-amp you may find a SS DAC to be just what you want. I have a Bryston DAC (AES) into an ARC tube pre-amp and couldn't be more pleased with the sound. You just have to try it.
i too have the mini max dac, but i replaced the stock tube with a nos 5814. i lost some resolution but gained by realizing a fuller-bodied presentation.
have you replaced the tube ?
theis dac is not my reference. i use an audio note cd2, with a brimar 12au7 and the ps audio perfact wave combo.
Lampizator v3 Level 3
APL DAC-S (stretching budget @ $4950)
3 Dimension Audio 18se (no hi-rez)
Exemplar Extant (no hi-rez)
The used DAC's would be an inexpensive trial into tube DAC's. I don't want to jump on the Lampizator band-wagon solely because of the excitement but it seems to be the real deal based on feedback from an audiophile acquaintance whose opinion I trust as well as many others who have replaced some very highly regarded DAC's.
Pkubica: The DAC would feed a Thoress F2A11 integrated. Reimyo DAP-777 is SS so I think a tube DAC is in order if I want to take it up a level or two. This sentiment is also shared by the audiophile acquaintance who uses and prefers tube pre/amps and DAC's.
If you're willing to go $4950 for the APL DAC-S, what about the Berkeley Audio Alpha DAC (made in the USA) for $5000? It will play anything from 44.1/16 up to 192/24 files, whether they be broadcast wave (BWAV), WAV or FLAC. It can also play HDCD-encoded files. In early April, Berkeley Audio will release their new USB>AES/EBU converter made to work in tandem with the Alpha DAC.
I haven't heard the Alpha DAC. I just offer it as an option at the $5000 price point.
I'm in the market for the same thing as yourself, and I'm considering both these DACs.
I believe Sakahara is looking for a "tube" DAC. APL DAC-S while looks fantastic (have not heard) but I believe the DAC is not a tube design. For the same performance level, Lampizator Level 4 with 4 output tubes in balance configuration plus a 5th tube rectifier dual diode power supply is the one to audition. Problem is there are not enough dealers and you may need quite a bit of a "leap of faith".
The new Aesthetix Pandora DAC also has balanced tube output stage and can do 24/192. However, that's $5,000.
03-12-11: SirotsetaYes, that was mentioned in the original post.
However, he stated on 3/11/11:
03-11-11: SakaharaWhich indicates he has either changed his mind about restricting his choices to tube DACs, since the APL DAC-S is solid state, or he didn't realize the APL DAC is solid state. If it's the former, then the Berkeley Audio Alpha is a valid option to the APL DAC-S.
I decided to try the Lampizator v3 Level 3. I will also be auditioning the APL DAC-S in a couple weeks. Alex is very convincing. I am intrigued that the DAC-S offers much of what the NWO player does, similarly to how the Reimyo-DAP delivered most of what their CDP did.
With regards to Tron Seven DAC, I'm told to forget it with my $4K max budget. An updated version is about to be released and the price has gone up.
Sorry for the belated reply. I thought I should at least mention which DAC I preferred between the Lampizator Level 3/Gen 3 and APL DAC-S. I preferred the Lampizator, especially following the upgrade mods (NOS rectifier tube, Hi-Fi SilverStar fuse, Trompeter UBJ27 BNC jack, and AN Silver RCA jacks). The Lampizator just had more musical soul if you will, although the APL did provide a bit more upper registry extension/control.