If you want to hear every nuance in your music, these are amazing devices.
I'm looking for dacs also.Members here have pointed me towards MHDT Labs (Linear Tube Audio site),Denafrip,Audio Mirror.There are plenty of user impressions on this site and professional reviews to be Googled and perused.They all seem like they possess a beautiful analog like quality of sound; vinyl like.
The iFi Pro iDSD puts a very large amount of features (wi-fi, streamer, MQA, DAC, preamp, TUBE stage) into a very small chassis (less than half the size of the Holo Spring). It’s literally an all-in-one swiss army type of solution. To make it a small box, it has to use an external switching power supply adapter. This is not good. However, I do see that it uses Elna Silmic capacitors internally which will give it a more laid-back type of sound. I suspect that this unit would really shine if you replace that power adapter with a linear power supply, such as something like this:
Just make sure you have them include the right size DC connector.
I suspect that the Holo Spring Level 3 would be more bright/clinical sounding because of the amount of silver wire they have in the unit (the transformer is all silver wire along with input/output leads being silver). I have not actually heard a Holo Spring, I’m only giving my gut feeling based on my experiences with different components.
Also, the Holo Spring is only a DAC. You still need a streamer/player/transport as well as a preamp with volume control. If you want to look at alternative solid-state DACs that would probably not be as clinical, try looking at L.K.S. MH-D004, any Denafrips DAC, Audio-GD dacs.
The iFi Pro iDSD with an external linear power supply might end up being the most "analog" sounding.
Huh? HOLO Spring L3 has silver wire and therefore probably bright/clinical? And you've never heard a HOLO? I've never read such a ridiculous statement. Or have I?
Actually I have...and sadly, lots of times...always on this Forum. Too many people assuming they know everything.
Advice for the OP: look elsewhere on the web for better opinions especially on Digital, lots of advice out there from knowledgeable people who actually listen to equipment.
A couple other options you may want to consider or compare to the Holo and iFi DACs:
SW1X DACs have gotten good feedback here and they offer a trial period, which is really nice. Uses a tube and reported to have excellent tone and soundstage, but maybe not the last word on upper-octave detail if that's important.
In solid state the Metrum Onyx is worth a look. Probably trades some tonal bloom for added detail up top compared to SW1X. I think HiFi Heaven may offer a trial period that you could take advantage of.
Both of these are R2R non-oversampling (NOS) DACs, which some find more "natural" sounding while others consider them to be less accurate than the more common delta sigma/OS DACs. As always, it comes down to what sounds best to you in your system, which is why I think a trial period is critical. Best of luck.
I was not going to argue 4hannons post because it was just an invite to a flame war, but if you read my statement, I clearly stated that "I suspect" it would sound more bright/clinical when compared to the iFi tube DAC. The OP was trying to figure out possible sound differences between these two devices.
The statement was not intended to describe the Holo DAC as sounding particularly bad. However, I have had lots of experience with silver product used as interconnect, speaker wire, terminations, fuses, fuse clips, internal components, etc. etc. etc. In my experience, silver does indeed increase the conductivity and speed, but it has a by-product of increasing the upper mids/highs and can sound bright/sterile in some systems and if used too much.
@auxinput - I reread my comment; I was careful to paraphrase you correctly. Your suspicions that day were off, the HOLO is not bright. You’re a well respected member. Your opinion in this instance actually hurts more than helps, I’m sure you can see that.
@everyone else - Anyone offering opinions based on the parts or type of wire, or whatever, have no place at that moment. I’m not alone, Agon has several threads with the same complaint. The only way to know how something sound is to listen. Even so, Agon is one of my favorite forums.