Thank You for the review.
Thank You for the review.
Being getting quite a few Emails regarding pricing and availability of the different Audio Note UK DACs here in the US. Well, I'm a reviewer and really can't answer those questions because I'm not in the position of being an importer or retailer.
I would highly recommend you contact Mike Kay (Audio Archon) to seek the answers to these type of questions. As I mentioned in the review, I first heard the baby brother DAC to the 3.1/II Balanced DAC that lead to wanting to professionally reviewing it, at Audio Archon in a full Audio Note UK system.
One of my best friends who is a dedicated audiophile and music lover came over to hear the 3.1/II Balanced DAC in the big downstairs system this morning. He thought it was remarkably beautiful in its tonality but was really amazed at the spatial qualities (size of sound-stage, space between players, holographic imaging) rendered by the Audio Note UK DAC. He believes it’s the best DAC, by far, he has ever heard in my system, and he has listened to numerous ones as I have reviewed them.
I think it's a lesson to those who buy audio through specs. The highest sample rate, upsampling, the newest dac chip, ad nauseum. Nothing wrong with specs, but it always comes down to listening. As far as price, something is only overpriced if you can get something of equal quality for less money. How would you say the AN compares to dacs like the May Audio at half the price? People seem very fond of saying how price has nothing to do with the quality of the sound. Apparently, sometimes it does.
Very well said! You and Peter K would have agreement regarding specs vs sound quality. The May Audio DAC has been in my system for comparison, along with many other DACs at different price points, it's a fine sounding piece, but not in the same league as the 3.1/II balanced DAC performance.
Mike Kay and Audio Archon are a real treasure to our hobby. And Peter Q will answer your emails promptly. Both Mike and Peter are driven by more than a profit motive as evidenced by a long line of satisfied customers.Mike Kay has long since passed. And you apparently haven't heard that his Lyric Hi-Fi has now also faded into history.
@cleeds No worries, I'm glad you did. That's what a community like Audiogon is supposed to be about, friendly dialogue, so I appreciate that you took the time to post. Have a great day and if you haven't met "this" particular Mike Kay, pick up the phone. He is one of the good guys and he is old school enough that he will appreciate the call without the slightest concern that you didn't call to purchase something.
I was witness to some interesting horse trading of Audio Note DACs at Deja Vu about six or seven years ago. A customer came in looking to audition a DAC 5 which he hoped to partially finance by trading in his DAC 4. The owner of the shop, Vu Hoang, recalled that another customer with a DAC 3 was interested in trading up to the DAC 4. He called the customer with the DAC 3 and had him come into the shop with the DAC 3. I got to listen to the three DACs played in a blind comparison. At the end of the audition, the DAC 3 owner traded it in and took the DAC 4 of the other customer who decided to trade up to the DAC 5. I personally thought that the DAC 4 was the sweet spot. The DAC 5 was better by a slight margin, but, it was WAY more expensive.