Holo Audio May DAC

Just read a very nice review of this in Stereophile this month and after doing some research it looks like this one could be a very nice option for me.  
It's made in China I think (or could be Taiwan?, and yes, I am very well aware that these are two very different countries. ;)), and employs a direct to consumer model to keep the price as low as possible.  This does not worry me after purchasing a Jay's Audio transport from Vinshine Audio and having zero issues.  

Just curious if anyone here has heard one or purchased?  I'm very intrigued.  I know the Denafrips Terminator is another highly regarded DAC with a similar ordering model, but costs a couple grand more than this one.  Considering that one as well.

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Showing 12 responses by cal3713

Is it possible to get these dacs with a home trial period?
Great, thanks so much for the information JC. Always super informative to know the within-system pecking order...
@jcarcopo Congrats on the great outcome. Could you mention some of the other dacs you've had in the system? Thanks.
@snackeyp you should email stereophile with a link to your first post and say "what took you so long??"
@snackeyp Thanks for the information. Appreciated...
@nonoise Indeed. I just don't buy the pure measurement perspective pushed by ASR, but it appears that this dac measures quite well and is a real technical achievement: 

Ha. I guess in that case "thank you!" instead...
@cd45123 I'm still naïve in regards to the Holo products, but I've had the Directstream DAC in my system (posted on agon) twice for extended periods.  It just never worked for me.  My theory is that some people (and systems) are particularly sensitive to phase coherency and that something about the DSD's processing is influencing phase.  Whatever it is, that product sounds like it puts the music into a blender to my ears.  I was so happy to find a R2R dac (the Audio Mirror T3-SE) that eliminated whatever was happening and just sounded so much more natural to my ears.  Clearly other people with different ears and systems are having a *very* different experience with the DSD.  I'll note that I had a PS Audio PWD II for many years and loved it.  I downgraded back to it the two times I tried to move on to the DSD.
Thanks George.  I was just reading about the Directstream and the designer was discussing how they paid special attention to phase preservation, so perhaps that's not the source of my issue.  Perhaps it is just as simple as being bit-perfect (although I haven't really had that issue with other non-bit-perfect dacs). 
Unfortunately it looks like kitsune has discontinued the home demo/trial offer. I emailed them and was told it's no longer feasible. A shame, tough to buy unheard...
I think he's just referring to the AK4137  chip that handles all upsampling. But you're right that the standard r2r modules are still involved. See below:

From: https://www.kitsunehifi.com/product/holo-audio-may-dac/

"The oversampling is done by AK4137, ‘OS PCM’ converts the input stream to PCM no matter it is PCM or DSD, then send to DAC. ‘OS DSD’ converts the input stream to DSD no matter is is PCM or DSD, then send to DAC. ‘OS’ over-samples the input stream. If it is DSD input, it over-sample to DSD256. If it is PCM input, it over-samples to PCM384K or 352.8K ‘NOS’ does no oversampling. send the input stream directly to DAC module.'
Wow, two *very* different approaches for the Holo vs AB. NOS vs upsample everything to dsd512. Would be an interesting and informative comparison.