Better, perhaps not...different, perhaps so -- I cast my lot with Audio Note :-)
The two NOS DACs I'd compare (I have both and like both on separate systems) are the dbaudiolabs Tranquility and the Tranquility SE.
I agree, it would be very interesting to get a collection of NOS DACs in one room and over a period of time listen to all of them and create a ranking based on clarified criteria.
As to best (or "King") my vote would be for the Tranquility SE. Of course, quality power cord, quality USB and single-ended interconnects, computer-server, playback software, etc. become more and more crucial the better and better the DAC. The price to performance of this DAC is quite surprising to the upside...
just my opinion and experience,
Yes I've had the pleasure of using both, kept the Lavry 924 the longest (loved those little built-in ovens!) and the stupidest thing I did was sell the Lavry. Just listen to a lot more analog.
This is saying a lot since I import Kondo!!!!!!
Kondo DAC did have a bit more "earthy" character
The failure of both DAC's to handle 24/192 bit depth/sampling rate is enough for me to pass on them. I have 24/192 sources. Wouldn't sound as good at 24/96 downsampled. At the price of the Lavry, I would buy the Berkeley Audio Design DAC that can handle that bit depth/sampling frequency. The Kondo is obviously way over priced, imo.
Rockitman, specs are specs. sometimes they matter, often they don't. BADA's a good DAC, but i wouldn't necessarily rule out the 2 (as well as other highly regarded non oversampling DACs) simply because they don't handle 24/192.
& as with Rademaker, i'm also interested in Sksos1's view of Lavry Gold vs. Kondo DAC, & Lavry Gold vs. analog.
boils down to whether 24/96 format (&/or higher sampling) will become mainstream (i hv my doubts considering it's all abt convenience these days).
no doubt some "audiophile labels" will attempt to remaster popular audiophile recordings in 24/96+ formats (until a new format emerges), but... i'd rather hv a music system that will play most recordings well vs. a hifi system that will only play a handful of "approved" recordings exceptionally well.
I hear what you are saying 11flat6. I have been ripping DVD Audio discs to hi-rez wavs. Most have been 24/96. Some have said the rez was 24/192 on the label(Chicago II) only to find out using a DVD ripper that the MLP files were only 24/96. The DVD Audio Eagles Hotel California is 24/192 and is pretty much my reference standard for the best in digital audio sound from a rock music standpoint.
Reference recordings HRx is 24/176.4 kHz. I wouldn't be surpised if HDtracks.com get more digital source material that samples higher than 96. One thing for sure, sampling rate does matter. 192kHz sounds better and more natural than 96kHz. Cheers !
"One thing for sure, sampling rate does matter. 192kHz sounds better and more natural than 96kHz."
agree, but only if raw files were mastered at higher bit & sampling rates (many hi-rez recordings are mastered at 16/44kHz & simply "upsampled" to higher rates, then marketed/sold to audiophiles. such tracks are often only marginally better than redbook versions. this is mostly "smoke & mirrors" since most DACs upsample anyway).
Reference Recordings are great for showing off the technical capabilities of digital technology (as well as ones music system), but they're not a mainstream record co., & i get bored listening to their somewhat eclectic "showcase recordings" over & over).
anyway, i think we are digressing fm Rademaker's orig. topic.
p.s. Lavry Gold does handle 24/96kHz.