Threadbare and grainy treble, a DAC issue?

Hi folks, I would like to know if a somewhat threadbare and grainy treble could be caused by the D/A converter. I have a good albeit old DAC, namely the Goldmund Mimesis 10C+ (from 1995 I think). The transport I'm using is a "SOTA" MBL 1621. With this combination I hear lots of detail and space. The bass is Ok, midrange is quite good, but the treble has (especially with violins) the abovementioned quality. I would like to have a smooth and refined (grainless) treble. Could this be achieved by replacing the DAC with a more contemporary DAC like the Weiss Medea or Accustic Arts Tube DAC? Thank you in advance.

Assuming everything else in your system is up to par, then yes your problem could be your older SS DAC and a new tubed based DAC might just be the ticket. Might. But the ability to experience grainy/overly bright highs could easly be sourced to other components,wiring, etc. Have you listened to a different DAC/Transport combo, or a CDP, in you system and pinned down your 'problem' to your Goldmund/MBL?
The short answer Chris is yes, it's the Goldmund DAC that is giving you the highend shortcomings you are describing. Its been years since I have listened to Goldmund CD gear, but what you are describing is what I remember as digital gear was improving over time.

The Wiess DAC offers what I call a type 1 sound and the Accustic Arts Tube hybrid offers more of what I refer to as a type 2 signature. If you go to my thread, Reference DACS: An oveall Perspective, you can get a ton of details regarding this subject. Also, I have written a review of the AA Tube Hybrid here on the GON, and still believe it's one of the best DACS out there, for alot less money compared to other world class reference level DACS.
I do not agree that the Goldmund is the cause of the grainy treble, as I have owned them personally, and found out that it was one of the softest sounding DAC's ever made.

Probably it is the power amp or the pre-amp
Frankly speaking Dazzdax your Goldmund DAC is one of the softest silky DAC's on the market, even compare with current SOTA
Definitely maybe.

Have you had this combo in your system for a long time & are becoming more aware of the problem? Have you recently swapped in new gear?

If things just seem to be gradually degrading, try a spring cleaning. One time, I 'fixed' an emerging grain, etch and chalk by remembering to clean the interconnects/jacks/spade lugs (visible gunk on the cloth) and 'wiping' the switches (turning them on/off/on/off repeatedly). Oxidation can collect over time, even on the switches which are cleaned by 'wiping'. Very cheap fix and a good idea from time to time in any case.

I have several DACs (Theta Gen II DS Pre (pasive pre), Acurus 5.1 for HT, Oppo 981 & TaCT 2.0 RCS. I tried a few tweaks on all of these to good efect.

First, I inserted an anti-jitter interface that improved things generally (camelot 5.1 - also genesis digital lens, theta linque, etc. are good & available here at A'gon), especially in the treble.

Second, I tried the Musical Fidelity Tube Buffer. Smoother highs, more dimensionality & depth of soundstage. I run passive pre straight into solid state Levinson monblocks and so may benefit from the MFs more than someone with a traditional preamp.

Your mileage may vary.

You may also want to insert the Goldie into another system that doesn't suffer acute treblitis. You may also have a component, e.g., resistor, cap, diode, etc., that is failing and causing the Goldie to sound worse. A trip to the test bench may be in order if the sound really has changed, especailly in light of the comments by Rademaker.

Supprt your local dealer as well as A'gon. Good luck!


Thank you for your recommendations Ken.

hi dazzdax:

my recent auditions of different cable products would lead me to change the cable to see if i could solve the problem.

i have observed that some copper cable sounds grainy , while some silver cable has a "whitish" presentation.

hopefully, you have at least two other interconnects to try and possibly line cords and speaker cable alternatives as well.
The digital interconnect can be a weak link in the chain. It may be less costly to try a few. I prefer BNC-BNC if possible. I recently reviewed the KCI Falcon digital cable which is also made in RCA-RCA termination.

Just a thought before you swap out your DAC.