Review: Emm Labs DCC2 DA converter

Category: Digital

Initial impressions:
I have had the Emm labs DCC2 in my system for a little over 75 hours- break in time- so far and am in awe of its performance(I have about 12 hours listening time so far). I will post a follow up this weekend at some point, but I know many inquiring minds want to know if this piece is the "real deal" or not. Let me say this IT IS!

Upon installing this component in my system I noticed an immediate improvement- more so then ANY other product I have tried. The first note I heard played was unlike any reproduced sound I have ever had in my system. It was closer to the original performance then I have ever been. I've used the term "palpable" in the past to describe the sound of various systems or upgrades, but only now do I truly understand the meaning of it. Strings have texture and body that jump out at you, voices have a presence I can not put into words, percussion has weight and speed unlike anything I have heard before. The soundstage is DEEP and WIDE, with so much resolution I find myself hearing things I have never heard before on recordings I have listened to literally hundreds of times in the past. Detail and resolution so overwhelming that I get confused about everything that I am hearing- the best way I can describe it is: imagine you were deaf and never heard music before and for the first time you hear a song. That is the overwhelming that I am talking about, its down right scary sometime, but a real good scary. Keep in mind this unit is still breaking in and will get- I am told- a lot better.

The one thing I can not stand about a system is a fatigueing sound, this is a big problem with most digital sources. The sure fire way to test this is to listen...... a lot, do you get bored? lose interest in the music? if so its fatigueing. Up until I had the Audio Aero Capitole mkII in my system that had been the case for me, I just could never get into long listening sessions. Upon installing the Cap. I found myself listening and listening and staying up WAY to late rediscovering all of my music- I felt I had finally "arrived"- well I was wrong. However good I thought the Cap. was/is it can't keep up with the DCC2- its not as resolving, detailed........ you know all of the audiophile goodies. Compared it sounds dull and lifeless, and that is an accomplishment because I LOVE(d) the Audio Aero Capitole MkII because it allowed me to enjoy digital for the first time. But like all things something better came along, and this plays SACD's too!

I have been listening to way to many discs the last few days to list them all, however it is clear that SACD is MUCH more resolute, dynamic, faster, more defined soundstage and palpablity(is that even a word!) is increased yet further. This is really clear on Ryan Adams "Gold", James Taylor "Hourglass", Roxy Music "Avalon", Muddy Waters "Folk Singer", Beck "Sea Change", The Soprano's "Pepper's & Eggs"(one of my favorites right now), Szell- The Cleveland Orchesta Grieg*Bizet*Mussorgsky. As the unit breaks in further and I have more time to listen I will compare more of the Redbooks Vs. SACD's- I have around 200 SACD's and have listened to maybe 50 of them on this unit so far- so I have a long joyful road ahead of me.

The bar is raised. Redbook disc's have been brought to the next level. Greg Brown's "The Poet Game"(one of my favorite discs of all time), is even BIGGER then before, the soundstage has become much wider and more defined. I can almost feel the growl of his voice as he is telling me about his "'64 dodge". The bass is more articulate and detailed and slightly faster, with NO sluggishness or coloration. Just accurate, tight bass with a natural harmonic feeling which I have never heard from digital before. Aimee Mann's vocal's on "Bacholer no. 2 or the last remains of dodo" her voice is so fragile and delicate, yet smooth and refined with not even a hiccup of sibilance. This disc is due out as a MoFi hybrid soon, so I wanted to pay attention to the differences from the original to the remaster/sacd.

So far I have not explored much of my classical collection, I am not sure where or when to start but I have to start soon. My collection is probably about ½ classical so it will take some time to go through it accurately. So far what I have heard LAGQ "Latin" is snappy fast, dynamics galore, very well defined stage for the four musicians and a very natural sense of decay as the guitars are playing independently together- if you have this disc you will understand that, if not you'll think I am even weirder. I have listened to some of the Szell discs that I have and they seem to be hit and miss, some are FANTASTIC recordings, some are just fair- but the performances are all really quite good.

At this point the only flaw I can find with this piece was the delay to get it, but after waiting for nearly a year in only three days it seems like a moot point. After the few days of living with this piece I can not think of a single piece I would rather have at ANY price to replace it- maybe the Emm Labs DAC6e if I wanted multichannel. The conclusion I have so far about Emm labs is that Ed Meitner(the man behind Emm labs) has an understanding of digital that NO one else has- his digital front ends are amazing, something is turning in his mind that makes sense to him but baffles everyone else.

With the 3+ days of use on it, the sound has smoothed out even more, more detail is coming out, it seems like resolution is a little better(didn't think that was possible!). Out of the box it sounded fantastic, now it is just settling in and perhaps the sound is a little more laid back, its hard to tell going from one recording to another it could just be the mastering of the various discs. In the next few days if anything is to change a lot I will be sure to post it other wise expect the second part of this review on Sunday when I have more listening time and the unit is a lot closer to being broke in. If your thinking about purchasing this unit, do NOT listen to it if you are not prepared to buy it, because you will do what EVER it takes to get it when you hear it.

Associated gear
Click to view my Virtual System

Similar products
Have used in my system:
Accuphase DC-300 + DP-90 combo
Accuphase DP-75v
Audio Aero Capitole MkII
Philips SACD1000
Sony 9000es

Have heard:
Pretty much EVERYTHING at various shows- dCS, Burmester, Audio Mecca, Electrocompaniet, Wadia, Resolution Audio and Ayre to name a few.
Well... "Drool" seems indicated.

Geez, T, I really can't think of something intelligent to say -- as in, "dramatically improve yr system with these three easy moves". Other than you can probably do multichannel by adding a processor to the DCC2, can't you?

I'd like a DCC2 you wouldn't have a spare one lying around collecting dust?
What is the price tag on this unit? What kind of digital ins and outs are on it?
Thanks for the report tireguy. 3 questions:

1) is the build quality reflective of the price?

2) have you compared it with and without a high quality pre? I just wonder about the quality of the pre section in the DCC2. I know its supposed to be comparable to the switchman, but I have no idea how good that piece is either.

3) how does it compare to the DCC6/switchman combo for 2 channel reproduction?

Tireguy, nice report on your first impressions. I got tired of waiting for my DCC2 so got the DAC6e around Nov. instead.
I'm using it with a Pass X2.5 pre. As I'm about ready to upgrade the pre-amp was also interested in questions 2&3 from Dolphin. Also how do you like the remote?
Thanks, Frank
hey Tim how is the volume control working? Enough volume steps? How big are the steps etc.? Thanks Justin
I am jealous,this I would truly love to hear.
Bah humbug, that EMM Labs gear sucks!!
This sounds like a great piece. Look forward to hearing it myself. I was going to put the Capitole on my long time wish list, but now I'll have to wait on that.
I see that you no longer have a vinyl system. Was this dac the driver behind getting out of vinyl, or did you drop the LPs a while back?
Cheers, Spencer
Jesus Christ, Fmpnd! What are you, a brain surgeon to afford what you've got for a rig?!
No Timo, just a mere bank employee (and no, I am not dipping my hands in the til). I HAVE been VERY lucky to get some incredible deals on some of the gear which, at retail, I would not have been able to afford. Also, it has taken me some time to put this system together. I inched my way up over many years.

Now, I have no desire to upgrade because I HAVE NO DESIRE TO MOVE 635 POUND (EACH) SPEAKERS EVER AGAIN!!!!
Tireguy -- Congrats on your DCC2. I am constantly amazed by my Dac6. I travel a bit in my line of work, so when I come home, I tend to enjoy long listening sessions. By the time I leave, I've become used to the Emm Labs' amazing sound. When I return again, fresh -- I am repeatedly awed. And, as it breaks in, new levels are reached. The only possible drawback to owning this equipment is that you become incredibly spoiled and you have a hard time listening to music through anything else. It is addictive. The bar has been raised. Indeed. Nice review -- admire your ability to put the experience into words.
Gregm- I wish I had a case of these to give to my friends! But I do not- sorry :o)

Timo- The unit retails for $9995(I know I had to include that when making the review but I don't know where it got placed). It has multiple inputs:
• AES/EBU (2 connectors and 1 connector)
• SPDIF (Coax)
• Optical TOSLink
• PCM over optical ST glass (AES formatted)
• SDIF-3 (DSD)
• EMM OptiLink
There are digital outputs.

1. That is a very hard question to answer, I am a form over function sort of person. That being said this piece is fairly small(its actually smaller then the Philips SACD1000 on all measurements) but it feels quite dense. The face plate is a high quality brushed aluminum panel, its not the quality of a Rowland front plate(but then again what is!). The rest of the chassis is rigid, sturdy and finished in an anti-reflective black paint or poweder coating. The display is unique(as the picture shows)the numeric LCD display is for the volume, the LED's are actually buttons as well. When you change settings or switch inputs the corresponding LED/button will light up. Built like a tank- sure, solid feel- absolutely, does it look like it belongs in a jewelry store- not quite.

2. The only testing I have tried was with a placette passive line stage and the results were inconclusive due to me not having enough interconnects to make a fair comparison. So far I am hearing more body, texture and dynamics then I have from any digital source and transparency is also the finest I have listened to. There may be a benefit to using an external high quality preamp, but I don't feel that there is a reason to even think about at this time.

3. Its been so long since I have listened to the DAC6e/switchman combo that I could not answer that with any accuracy. I can tell you the "magic" that I heard from the multichannel combo is here- which is better?? I could not tell you. The DCC2 makes a much cleaner looking and simpler system, by both components and accessories needed and the compact size of the DCC2.

Frankg- I would love to have a remote! At this time the remotes are not ready yet, so I don't have one, major bummer. I am told they should be ready in a month or so. I am glad I have the unit and am not waiting for a remote to be produced- it keeps me fit getting up to change the volume!

Mejames- The volume control works very good- while going up and down at certain levels I get a barely audible tick coming through the speakers- the placette passives are the same way. Its not enough of a problem to even bother me, the same thing also happens when tracking up or down on a cd, I am told it is the clocks relinking with one another. Again this is a minimal tick and it doesn't always do it. The volume ranges from 00-99(99 being the highest) I have listened as high as 35 and it was around 90dB with my 84dB speakers! It has plenty of gain available that's for sure! The magnepan speakers I am using are not known for there low level resolution and even at 05 I have audible high quality sound. I typically listen in the mid to high twenties.

Fmpnd- I know its nothing special but its gotta hold me over till you return my Bose system! :^)

Sbank- You must have me confused with someone else, I have never had an analog rig. I have thought about it many times, but I am to young for LP's- I just can't get into it like a lot of you guys do.
Tim, Tim, Tim . . . too YOUNG for LPs????????? You hurt me Grasshopper!! Actually, I am TOO OLD for LPs - you know, these rickety old bones can't keep getting up off the chair to change sides and I can't see the "needle" anymore.

Hell, at yer tender young age I don't know anyone with that kick ass of a rig!!! Hell, at your age I was LUCKY to have my good old Marantz receiver and Dual turntable (we didn't have no stinkin CeeDees in those days!!) Hell, we didn't have electricity in those days!!!

Enjoy that DCC2 - it's a killer!!!
Dont let Fmpnd kid you. He is a pornstar and his stage name I'm sure you know- Seymore Butts. That is why he can afford all that gear. And he doesn't ever move those 600 plus pound speakers, I do. Why? Because I am his cabana boy. Sometimes you do what you have to do to enjoy the top dollar gear :>)
Tim, when you're ready, I'll be your cabana boy too.
Camboinc, I bet you say that to all the men!!!!

Yeah, I caught a glimpse of Camboinc in the shower the other day and I can ASSURE you, "boy" is an accurate categorization. However, when it comes to intellectual prowess, "boy" is giving him much too much credit.

Oh well, whaddya expect from any one who uses that Sissy Boy Krell amp (can you say: I am emasculated and have penis envy?"). It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood!!

Now get over here Cabana Boy and schlep around my REAL man Tenors!!!!!! (he got a hernia from the Kharmas)

Tim, be afraid, be very very afraid. This is what you get living a couple miles from Camboinc!!!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go pose for my photo shoot!
Tim, does this piece have line-level (analog) inputs? It is my understanding that one would never run its analog outputs into another line stage.
Hiya Tim,

Great review! Looks like you are now in Audio Nirvana. Patience is a virtue. Me, I couldn't have waited that long but it looks like (with your review) it was well worth it!

Linc- direct from the manual(which happens to be a cd you pop into your computer- pretty neat!):

Analog Inputs

• Balanced on XLR (switchable to be unbalanced)
• Unbalanced on RCA

Analog outputs

• Balanced on XLR for signals after pre-amp
• Unbalanced on RCA for signals after pre-amp
• Balanced on XLR for signals bypassing pre-amp
• Unbalanced on RC for signals byappsed pre-amp

You should try to arrange an audition on this piece I don't think you will believe what you hear. I'm going to have to listen to The Ric Sanders Group live in Lincoln Cathedral this weekend and I'll let you know how much better it gets!

Rob, Brian and Michael- Thanks for the comments and help through out this whole project!

Frank- I am shaking my head in disbelief, I know I sent you a copy of my boxed set but I didn't think you would try to "live the life". Just make sure you monitor your heart at your age, it would be quite a shame to have an "incedent" with a fluffer........... again- she's nearly recovered. And I thought this was an audio review! WTF happened?!?!?!
Tim: I've been anxious to read your review and here it is.

I thought you'd really love it, but wanted to see your thoughts, not only because I respect your opinions, but I know you've heard and have used a variety of digital pieces, including the AA Capitole MKII.

Time to start saving my hard-earning dollars, it appears. As I said in a previous thread...I now have only you and JTinn to blame :) for using, what should be, retirement dollars for more hi-fi upgrades. (thanks):)

Anyhow....and by the way, I bought Roxy Music's - "Avalon" SACD hybrid last night and was completely blown away by the dramatic improvement in sound quality over the previous copy I had, circa 1982. And, remember, it was only the remastered redbook I listened to. Now, I can only wonder and dream about how this would sound on the new EMM DCC 2 in DSD.

Question: If I go this direction and sell the Cap, should I buy a used Sony or Phillips SACD transport and get it Meitnerized or buy the EMM transport?

Can you only imagine how many 2 channel dacs Ed would sell if he produced just a 2 channel dac in its own chassis assuming that it's price would reflect its now reduced complexity...

BTW, great read Tireguy!
Gerryn "Phillips SACD transport Meitnerized" was told over 8 months ago by Jtinn that Meitner wasn't going to be modifying any more Philips SACD 1000 for use as the transport. So to send DSD signal to the DCC2 you would have to find a already Meitner modified Philips 1000 somewhere or wait for the Meitner transport to be released until then you wouldn't get 100% of the quality possible using the DSD interface you would be limited to the standard SPIDF type interface like AES/EBU balanced connection sent from all other transports as their is currently no standard regarding DSD interfaces yet every system is proprietary currently.
Gerry- Better start saving them pennies! This just keeps getting better and better. I hear you about the money thing though, my financial advisor really dislikes me having this audio habbit :o) as if he isn't getting enough of my money already!!

Roxy Music "Avalon" is spectacular on this remaster. I must admit I have never heard of Roxy music prior to getting into SACD- give me a break I was born in 1981- and am not only blown away by the sonics on this disc, but the music is very very good. I want to get the Brian Ferry "Frantic" disc as well, I suspect it will be very similar. "Avalon" even on two channel does some amazing imaging(including from behind and along side the listener) they must have took some lessons from Roger Waters("Amused to Death" has a similar effect).

You CAN NOT use a Sony as a transport so DO NOT buy one of them. The only player they modify is the SACD1000, talk to Jtinn and get the scoop, I ordered/paid for mine so long ago I don't know what the scoop is currently. If available the Philips is the easy way to save bit of money, comparing it to the Emm labs transport. FWIW I bought my Philips from Emm labs, I am not sure if they still offer this service or not, but it made my life easier. Mejames is correct in stating that the "magic" lies in the Emm opti-link that is employed by the both the DAC and Transport from Emm labs. I am not sure about not modifying SACD1000's though, the reason they were going to stop was because they were going to have there own out- as we can see there transport is still not available. Best bet is to contact Jtinn and get the current information.

Rgd- Thanks for the comments!

As for the follow up I told you I was going to post up yesterday, well it didn't happen! I had time allocated in my schedule to do it, however I spent that time listening instead. Things changed for the better over the last week, I want to listen to every disc I have over and over and hear all of the subtle details(in some cases not so subtle) I was missing. SACD is inspiring to say the least, it reproduces some of the finest sound I have ever heard period. And SACD disc's that are mastered very good will leave you speachless, there's just so much information coming at you its hard to believe its digital.

Now Redbook has become MUCH better, I didn't think Redbook CD was capable of this much resolution and detail. Images have become more focused, the stage is more detailed. As good as SACD is, Redbook is still VERY enjoyable. My 2000 cd collection has had a new light shed upon it!

Discs such as Counting Crows "Hard Candy", Patty Griffin "Flaming Red" and La Rondinella "Songs of the Sephardim" have all became HUGE, they sound so much bigger then ever before. They have a relaxed/in your face sound which I have never experience before- it seems almost offensive and edgy but then you realize that THIS IS WHAT REAL MUSIC SOUNDS LIKE! Real music is not sugar coated and tuned on an RTA, it can be in your face and rough- this dac captures that feeling, but at the same time is not fatigueing at all to listen to. On some smaller and lighter arrangements detail and refinement has become paramount. This was VERY aparent with Buddy Guy "Blues Singer" and Jennifer Warnes "The Hunter". "The Hunter" has long been one of my favorite female vocals to demo with, it has a warm euphonic sound with almost a glow surrounding her singing- of course there was no exception here. The most improved area on these discs would be the extreme detail on the vocals and the texture/body of the instruments that brought new life to these recordings.

So I had a friend visiting the other day and we were just listening to music at random and a disc I had just purchased ended up being played, this disc was Jason Mraz "Waiting for my Rocket to Come", the first track is called "you and i both", this song has seen a fair amount of radio air play. Well we were listening and he asked me when the live recording of this came out, he had never heard it before- I double checked and we were listening to the studio recording! He could not believe how different it sounded and how BIG the sound was. He is a mildly enthusiastic audiophile, but he had never heard detail like this before from a regular "pop" recording.

I have yet to find any real flaws from the sonics of this, there is nothing wrong! Trust me I would love to find something to complain about, but I can't. I find myself paying less and less attention to the audiophile goodies and paying more and more attention to the music- does this mean I am happy with my system now???????? Lets see if it can keep my interest for months to come.
i have been waiting for your review. Interesting.
Tireguy: Thanks so much for your wondeful comments. I agree completely with most of what you stated. I would say that a good cd transport or cd player going into the DCC2 will still be a HUGE improvement for most people as you do benefit from the conversion to DSD. Although you do not have the ability to play SACD's or the benefits of the DAC handling the clocking, the sound is phenominal.

Mejames: You are correct in what you said regarding the policy of "no more Philips conversions". However, that was based on the hope of an early release of the EMM Labs CDSD (transport). When we realized the transport was still quite a bit further away than we hoped, we continued offering the conversions, and still do. Our current projected release time of the CDSD is April/May. As we get closer and are more certain of the date, we will discontinue the conversions of the Philips SACD 1000.

To those of you still waiting for delivery, thank you for your patience.

Best Regards,

Jonathan Tinn
EMM Labs Distributor
Tim: Please find something quickly that you dislike. That way I can feel better about my "low-fi" Capitole MKII and still sleep at night w/o visions of "EMM's" dancing in my head. All kidding aside, congratulations on the purchase and happy listening.

By the way, my financial advisor hates my hobby too and has told me to switch to something less costly, like....knitting or woodworking.
I purchased me Audio Aero Cap II here on audiogon at an 'average' resale price.

Perhaps I can be talked into a change, but can anything actually be more than twice as good since it costs twice the price?

Still, I do envy you for being able to have such fun with the newest!
Does the DCC2 DA have an input for an external word clock like the DAC6?
James1969: Yes it does.
Tireguy - could you comment on the ways in which the DCC2 bettered the Accuphase DP-75V?
Ral- Having had the DCC2 now for over a month I am even more impressed then I was initially. I had a DP-75v 2-3 years ago when it was the "hot" player to have, having heard/owned quite a few players since then I became aware of how flawed the 75v really is. First of all the 75v is DIGITAL there is no getting around it and you can tell as soon as you listen to it, this player suffers from what a lot of us call "digititus". It just has an unnatural way of presenting the music, the soundstage sounds artificial and if you use the digital volume control you end up losing bits of information. Don't get me wrong the 75v was a great player for its time, however technology has changed and the flaws that it has are more noticeable. At the time I thought Accuphase was amazing, but there is simply no comparing the Emm labs with it today. Every single day I listen to my system I am amazed at what I am hearing- there is so much resolution paired no distortion makes for a listening experience that is unlike ANYTHING out there today. Where ever you live try and find someone who has this unit and listen for yourself it has to be heard to be believed.

I had a friend up visiting a few weeks ago and he had heard my system prior and was not really that impressed, when he heard it this time he was literally blown away- he could not believe what he was hearing. It took him a few hours of listening to realize what was going on, at first it is almost overbearing and confusing but that is how music sounds! I also find myself posting here very little if at all these days, I used to contribute a lot but now I would rather be selfish and enjoy the music- which is what I am going to do right now :o)

If you have any specefic questions Ral let me know and I will do my best to help you out.
Tim: Like you did on the Accuphase for Ral, I'd appreciate your comments (when you have the time vs. listening to your system) regarding a direct comparison to the AA Cap MKII and how much better the EMM is on SACD vs. the Capitole's redbook capabilities.


Gerry- I hate to do this to you, but your system will thank you :o) As much as I liked the Cap. II and as good as I still think it is- there is a new king of the hill and it bears the name Emm Labs. Don't get me wrong in its respected price range I still think the Cap. II is hard to best, however, when you spend a bit more you get a lot more. The Cap. II was/is very easy to listen to its not fatigueing in the least and as I am sure you know, you can listen all day and night long and lose track of the time in a hurry listening to every CD in your collection over and over again. This is where the differences start(in particular with SACD) with the Emm labs gear your not so much listening as experiencing music- its an all out assault on your aural senses! There is so much more resolution and detail then the Cap. II its hard to believe understand with out hearing it. The soundstage is so huge its almost sureal, instruments have a real sense of size to them, an upright bass sounds like its 6 feet tall- percussion is so accurate, fast and detailed. Voices are so uncolored and natural it can be a little unsettling. I had a friend up a few weeks ago who had heard the system before and after and I was telling him what I was experiencing and he didn't believe me- not a single word! He was shocked to say the least, I told him you can hear imageing from behind and along side you very vividly, the first time he heard it, he was at a loss for words- he simply could not believe that a 2 channel system could image behind and along side the listener.

As I type this I am listening to Alison Krauss' Live SACD and it sounds like they are playing in the room next to me its amazing! In particular because I don't consider myself a blue-grass fan, it just sounds SOOOOOO good. If you have the money to invest in your system find a way to audition this gear, but be prepared to have a new digital front end in your system ASAP- it is probably better then I am saying. For once I am at a loss trying to describe something so that it makes sense to others- I hear things that I have heard NO other system do in my life(and I've been around the block a time or two).

I wish I had better news for you Gerry, I real do :^)
tireguy, jtinn...

i know very little about the techology, but do appreciate good sound, & trust my ears.

running the DCC2 to a power amp....does the power amp's impedance matter? my amp, which r linns, r only 7.5K.
Tim: As always, thanks for your time and comparison to the Cap MKII. Looks like I need to start a dedicated savings fund and then call Mr. J Tinn.

I am somewhat confused at your statement that it is unlike ANYTHING out there today. I mean you obviosly haven't heard every possible combo and you make it seem like amps and speaker, (which actually play the music),don't make a difference. I use a Levinson 37 transport into a Lavry DAC (pro dac) you know they use it in studios to actually make the music. Anyway it is an excellent piece Clean, clear, wonderful! Into a Levinson #32 pre-amp out to 33h and into the Salons. Now I can sit here and give all the adjectives, but I won't. I highly doubt it is BETTER than the #32 as a pre-amp. If it is close to equal than it is doing something. As everyone knows the #32 is at the pinnacle of pre-amps along with the Boulder.

In closing, a statement like it is better than anything I have heard is more appropriate. It certainly shouldn't be held as the holy grail until a/b against the top stuff out there.

Joey- Instead of trying to troll, take a listen yourself. I am so happy with the sound I am hearing I have no desire to argue with you. other words, it really is THAT good.

Actually I also have a very good turntable and phono section but I don't find the need to come up with various adjectives to describe it. Yeah it sounds good, smoother than digital.

If its that good then I guess we will never see any on Audiogon....not... I have already seen (2) Dac 6 for sale.

I am glad you love it, otherwise I would be disapointed that you spent the money on it. I also love my stuff, hence my money was spent. Trolling...I doubt it I have been a member for several years and this might be my second post in the review area.
I just happened to click on digital to try to find a review for a piece and this was staring me in the face.I don't have the time or need to troll! I will stand behind my statement that I doubt that the pre-amp section is better than the #32. The physics behind the power regenerator is extremely ingenious. I was told by a friend who is a physicist so don't ask me why.

I think you also missed my point, you want adjectives look at cable ads. One piece does not make a system complete IMO.

I guess I am just past that, "better than anything I have ever heard", mentality. I'll leave all the adjectives to guys like you. You really seem to get off on your fan club.

I know Tim well. I believe he's too shy to tell you that English is his second language. Given that, his review is rather good.

I own one also and currently own a AA Capitole II.

The EMMLABS DCC2 is really, really good. I haven't heard them all and probably never will. But I've heard Linn CD12? at Mike Lavigne's and it was a tweek more detailed than the AA and given that's two of the best, the AA with the EMM DCC2 is at least a level more detailed, clear and contains more sense of live music.

As to your preference for modesty, I salute you. It's probably a learned response. I'm still practicing.
Bye the way, Tim is 22 or 23.

Bill E
Why is it that people post reviews on what they spent there hard earned money for? I mean who would spend $15k on something and say it sucks? But making statements like its the best out there does a disservice to people. Because I know you haven't reviewed everything out there. It's like a democrat saying John Kerry is the best person for the job or like a republican saying George Bush is the best person for the job - Duh, it gets redundant. That's why I take the review section with a grain of salt. It's mostly purchase justification.

IM(not so humble)O

I would.

So, If I am to understand you correctly, we should have only those who don't own an item and who have heard it for some relatively short period of time doing reviews. Then the only bias not present will be the I paid a ton of money and have an emotional investment in my lunacy bias.

Now we have prejudice without malice.

Under the revised rules we will have anarchy.

Pick your poison.

Bill E.
Robm321- I have read plenty of your posts to know that there is NO way I am going to change your mind. So I am going to waste no effort trying, that being said... If I didn't feel this unit was in fact as good as I am saying I would simply sell it and get something I felt was better. Pride of ownership? Justifying my purchase? Couldn't be further from the truth but believe what you will.

Its interesting you say
That's why I take the review section with a grain of salt.
yet you spent time out of your life to reply. That's kind of ironic, wouldn't you say?
Tim and Bill, I enjoyed your response. I would not waste my time responding to Robmf321. I find it easy to see his intentions. Poor guy.
Hey Panorama! How you been? I thought you weren't reading my posts anymore? I knew you couldn't resist. Did you miss me?

I've reduced you to using junior high name calling. You have buttons all over you -- push, push.

I like to have a little fun.

Tireguy, I do in fact like the EMM Labs setup. I finally had a chance to hear it. I enjoy reading reviews. I just don't like when people get the impression that there isn't any other setup out there that can match it, when we all know that is impossible given all the combinations and options. You and others enjoy what you have and for good reason, but it is not the Holy Grail, end all. By implying that, you are saying I have the best and whatever the readers front end may be, Its not as good as mine.

As far as the review section goes. Just read through the archives. One review of something will be bad; another review of the same product will be good. All subjective -- that's why I don't use that in my purchase decisions. Like I said, it's fun to read however.

Rob- I agree completely, if anyone bought this piece solely on my recommendation I would be flattered though dissapointed. I have been saying this for years, but please listen for yourself, make your decision based on your experience/prefference.

I may be young, however, I have been around the block more then a time or two with this hobby and can tell what I like and what I don't. I have been surounded with music my entire life and can vividly remember being in an orchestra for the first time and the power the music had when I heard it in its entirety the first time- its an evanescent experience that's impossible to bring to words. But me being young and foolish I try :) and well this particular unit has brought me closer to that experience then anything else I have ever heard, there is something to be said about that.

Enjoy the music!
Good for you! It's difficult to get to the point of satisfaction in this hobby.

Joeycalda, i do have a comment on the Levinson #32. i was a Levinson guy for quite a few years (1995-2001) and loved every minute of it. i owned the #37, #36S, #38S, #335, #33H.....and my final Levinson system was the #32 and #33 monoblocks.....which i had for 2 years with the Wilson WP6's.

i had decieded to switch to a different approach for amplification so i purchased a Tenor OTL amp, the 75Wi, which included a passive volume attenuator. at that point i felt as you currently do; that the #32 was a clearly superior preamp. at that point i was using the Linn CD-12 and Marantz SA-1 as my digital sources. i tried these sources directly into the Tenors (bypassing the #32)....WOW!! i was not prepared for the improvement. this modest passive volume attenuator in the Tenors exposed the #32 as congested, lacking dynmamic snap, and lacking least that was what my ears told me. i was conflicted by my love of the Levinson gear and specifically the #32 but clearly i was onto something.

since the Tenors didn't have a remote volume control i looked around and settled on the Placette RVC as a passive solution....which i also compared to the #32.....same result.

my preamps less CAN be more. i remain a fan of the #32.....among active solid state preamps it is one of the best. it is certainly my favorite for functionality, build quality and beauty. but it is not the last word in performance. i have had maybe 15 preamps in my system since; one of which was the emmlabs Switchman. while i still prefer the Placette to the Switchman by a small margin (in my particular system), the Switchman (to my ears in my system) performs better than the #32.

i have not heard the DCC2.....but feedback i have received from listeners i respect is that the DCC2 is a little better than the combo of the DAC6 and Switchman.

my impressions only pertain to my system and personal sonic priorities. but based on my experience of owning the #32 and time with the emmlabs gear my conclusion would be that the DCC2 will outperform the #32 with any digital source you can name.....inluding the emmlabs DAC6.

the Levinson is an awesome piece of gear and you should feel great about owning it. but there are other excellent performing choices that may make sense too. i would also add that system synergy and context can be very well as personal taste. what may work for me in my system.....or appeal to me....could very well be different for you.

you really ought to keep your opinions to yourself. In all honesty, I can't imagine that you 'enjoy the music' with that setup anyway. Just stick to tires, would you?
Your pal,
Tim, pay no attention to Camboinc. First, this bozo is so stupid he THINKS he is RAMBOinc but he couldn't even spell his moniker correctly! Next, what else would you expect from a guy whose hearing acuity is slightly less than Helen Keller's, whose I.Q. is less than a mango and whose system takes a back seat to a transistor radio with a short.

I heard Ramboinc's (I mean Camboinc's) system once - ONCE!

Can you spell DREADFUL?

Brian- Yes sir :^)

Frank- I hate to bring this up, really I do, but I have to say he is YOUR friend- 'nuff said :o)
Gee, thanks for reminding me. Couldn't you just let me wallow in my delusion for a little while?