Review: Theta Digital DSPro Gen Va DA converter

Category: Digital

I'm sure you can find a DAC these days that works as well...but I have to say that the Gen Va has served me very well over the years. I bought it back in 96 or 97....can't remember excactly when. But I do remember the marked improvement in my system when I installed it. A fine piece of work. Never had a stitch of trouble out of it.

I ran it with the MIT Terminator digital cable and balanced audioquest Lapis for the output to a BAT VK-5i Pre amp. Sound was always open, full, and robust. It could also be a little TOO revealing sometimes; especially with a bad or worn out recording. That's good though....isn't it!?!

An excellent piece for any system....even today. I'll leave a little room for improvement..only because nothing is absolutley perfect....and times have moved on afterall since its' inception.

Rating 9/10

Associated gear
Tri amped system with Magnepan MG-20s. BAT VK-5i pre amp, Krell KSA 300s
running woofers and mid-bass. BAT vk-120 Monos running midrange and
tweeters. Bryston 10-B Xovers, Theta Data III and Gen Va for sourcing. Audioquest Lapis and Diamond throughout

Similar products
Theta Gen III, and Gen V
I recently compared my Gen Va vs. the EVS Millennium II, a 24/96 upsampling DAC, for two weeks in my home big rig system. The EVS sounds more neutral than the Theta, with better overall resolution. But the Theta has much more slam in the bass, an attractive high frequency 'glaze' that adds air and zing to plucked strings, and slightly superior front-to-back depth. At one-fifth the retail of the Theta, the EVS is sonically competitive and I now use it in my bedroom system. But I'm keeping the Theta in the big rig because of better overall synergy.

I used no line stage in these comparisons. The DACs were compared at near-identical voltage output levels using custom fixed value in-line series-shunt Vishay attenuators (single ended for the EVS, balanced for the Theta).
Both were auditioned with MIT Digital Ref cable (SPDIF) from a Data III transport, with PS Audio power cords, and PS Audio P300 power plant set to multiwave SS1.
I owned a Theta Gen Va and a David I for many years, which I enjoyed very much. However, the DCS Delius/Purcell blows it away hands down. Admittedly it is quite a bit pricier, but available used. Its relatively affordable, when you consider you don't need a preamp with this. I've been going direct balanced into a Krell 300cx amp and wound up selling my ARC REF 1

CEC TL-1x Transport
Theil CS 7 speakers
MIT oracle v3 spkr cables
MIT 350 proline referance CVT intcon.