Review: Audio Mirror D-1 DA converter

Category: Digital

What a surprise is this new DAC by Audio Mirror!!! Audio Mirror makes vacuum tube pre and power amps, and recently came out with a solid state DAC. This is a non over-sampling DAC. I bought this on a hunch, because there are few web comments out about this new to the scene DAC. I was hoping for a DAC that would unify the virtues of an Ack! and a Nixon DAC. Over the past couple years, I've favored non over-sampling DACs, having had lengthy experience with a conrad-johnson Premier 9, Scott Nixon tube DAC+, and a couple Ack! dAck!. My experience finds that the non over-sampling DACs have a more coherent, cohesive sound, without any hyped harmonic detail. Other digital sources that I've spent lengthy time with have been an Ah Tjoeb99, Sony SACD-777es & Cary 308.

This DAC is one of those ear openers: I can't believe digital can sound this good.

First off, fresh out of the box, I heard unusually good bloom in the gradiations of musical emotion: relaxing music sooths, but surprises startle. Spacially, the stage is deep and tall with the very best instrumental placement I've heard. The electronic atmosphere seems quieter than the battery run Ack!; perhaps an electronic haze has cleared. The tonal color of wind intruments it clear and round and liquid, just right in weight, never thin or bloated. I can distinguish orchestra violin and viola, better than ever. Brass shines and shimmers with breath fluctuations (back to visual reality: the unit shines with a gold plateing). Voice is wet and fleshy. But it is the emotion of music, that this DAC allows, which most engages me.

Even after two days of use, I'm convinced. How wonderful will this DAC be when it mellows with age. Perhaps I'll buy a second for my living room system.

Associated gear
Sony DVP-s7700 transport
Gainclone amplifier
Jordan JX92s transmission line single driver speakers

Similar products
Ack! dAck!, Nixon Tube DAC+, conrad-johnson Premier 9.
Clio09, I had read your review of the stock D1 vs. the TRL-modded version and it was one of the many reviews that convinced me to buy this DAC...nice job on the comparison of the 2 versions. As someone else said on this thread, it's rare to find a review with AB comparison of a stock version vs. a modded version, because most people will part with the stock version to get it modified, but you had both on this was a very interesting review indeed. It's great to know that there's another level of performance that can be attained above and beyond the already eye-popping performance from the stock unit. We live for this...knowing that what you have can be improved even more, and the price of the mod is not to painful, relatively speaking. I will definitely put this info in my back pocket for future reference. This is exciting stuff! Tks.
I own an Audio Mirror D1 and use it alternately with a Bel Canto SET40 tube amp and a BAT VK200 solid state amp. What would you like to know?
Hi Gunbei

Does it matter what kind of cd player is being used? Mine is an older Adcom GCD-575.. 16 bit player with sampling up to 176.4 khz. Essentially a very good transport and a nice sounding cdp.

I'm concerned whether the Audio Mirror D1 would sound edgy in any way up top in the treble for instance. Brightness, any smearing of sound, any over-coloration. Also how would one characterize it as Cold, Warm, Neutral? Used with a tube amp does it have much of a transistor/ss sound added to it? If you know what I mean that transistor buzz/hum that solid state gives with a flatness to the sound (IMHO).

My main listening is with Classical piano, Good Singers (mostly classical and Dusty Springfield, Tim Hardin, Maria Bethania, Erna Sack, and suchlike). A piano conerto or 3. That sort of thing.

Sorry I'm getting lost here trying to explain my concern. Does the Audio Mirror impart a more 3 dimensional imprint even though it's not a tube dac?

Thanks Gunbei
In stock form the Audio Mirror D1 Signature is very analog sounding. It mates well with a tube amp as I used mine with a Cary V12i. The highs and mid range are very smooth and the bass is excellent. I have since had mine modified bt TRL and used it with the Cary, and now the TRL D-225 solid state amp. See my review for more details as I was able to compare the stock and modded unit side by side.