Way out of my league but I appreciate reading the review. Thanks and enjoy!
Hey Bill thanks for the writeup I've been curious about Tron from afar for many years and have never had a chance to hear their gear. A few comments on the Dac first interesting that, as far as I can tell it's SS as I know Graham Tricker is a tube guy. Secondly the three levels thing is interesting like Sw1x it seems some good manufacturers are going the AN route so to speak. Looks nice a nice piece of gear and good understated industrial design as well.
That’s a great point. Yes, you are correct as it is a solid state dac with no tubes. Tron does indeed make some very fine tube amplifiers and preamplifiers. I heard their 300B integrated amp and was smitten. It was driving Horning speakers. Beautiful.
Hi Bill ,
Thanks for posting your listening impressions. I wasn’t aware that they offered a DAC. I was introduced to Tron Audio amplification about 10 years ago via High Water Sound rooms at audio shows. Proprietor Jeffrey "always" has superb sounding system set ups and often used Tron amplifiers .
I’ve heard their 211 and 300b SETs and both are divine sounding. If the Tron DAC is cut from similar cloth (And I’m sure this is the case) then you and your wife’s emotional response and engagement comes as no surprise. Some audio components have that very special ability to simply sound natural and provide a powerful sense of realism and emotion.
@grannyring - Bill thanks for sharing. Without derailing the thread , as a Mojo owner can I ask what the other DAC you also auditioned that you felt was a sideways move? If you prefer me to pm you just let me know
I will message you. I must share that our Mojo dac is just marvelous. I have put many a dac in my system and the Mojo has always proved to be superb. It is in rarified air in terms of natural tone and musicality.
For more context around my experience with the Tron Atlantic I think knowing my system helps. System synergy is always an important factor. I have the Network Acoustics Muon ethernet filter and cables and well as the English Electric switch feeding my Innuos Zenith 3 Server. The switch and my modem are powered by an LPS. I use the Tchernov Ultimate USB cable. My amplifier is the Circle Labs A200 integrated amp. Finally, my speakers are the Fyne F704 with upgraded crossover parts and internal wiring. Top flight parts and wire.
The Tron’s remarkable extraction of inner detail and dynamic speed are a big plus for my system. My system is in a large 26x34 room with 10 foot ceilings and the speakers 13 feet apart. I do have some diffusion panels on the front and side walls. Before the Tron my system threw a very large stage with what I would describe as natural ease and flow. The sound was always beautiful and full of texture and weight. No problem playing loudly with no fatigue.
With the Tron inserted the experience changed from hearing a beautiful sounding system playing recorded music to more of a live event in my room. Piano key stokes had an energetic vibrancy and tone that I hear when listening to the real thing. This sort of experience was true for all instruments and voice now. This was a real shift upward in realism in my particular system. Some may find this difference small, while others would just crave it intensely. The audiophile community is diverse and not all crave this sort of experience equally. It seems my wife and I do appreciate it.
Not sure what tubes have to do with this particular thread? My amp does have tubes for what it is worth. Tron builds nothing but top flight tube gear, however here they determined the best dac they could make was this SS unit. Love to hear more from the builder on this decision and story behind the design.
I don't see what a tube amplifier would have to do with this scenario. Bill is describing attributes that are specifically due to the quality level of this DAC. Even a high quality tube amplifier will be limited by the DAC 's performance upstream in the signal path.
Bill's detailed listening impressions tell me it is the very high sound quality of the Tron Atlantic itself that's so musically unique and impactful. The best tube amplifiers can't do this with a mediocre DAC thrown in front of it.
This is why those who focus heavily on the particular chips used or believe that "bits are simply bits" are quite far off base. So much more involved in making a truly good sounding DAC.
Bill do you know what are the power supply and analogue output stage upgrades that distinguish between the 3 different levels of the Tron Atlantic?
Charles, the only information I have is from the website. It gives some good information, but not quite complete enough for me. Top models use pure silver internal wire, better quality parts and more robust power supplies. The power supply is particularly important and upgraded with the top models. Here is the info from the website;
Atlantic Deluxe DAC
Atlantic Reference DAC
Atlantic Signature DAC
I am only familiar with Tron's tube linestage and phono stage. I like what I heard with these components. That someone making tube gear would make a pure solid state DAC is not that surprising given that the only part of a DAC that can be done with tubes is an analogue gain stage. If their DAC fits the type of sound and sensibilities of their tube gear, I bet it is a winner.
Yes I ventured to the Tron Audio website after reading your listening impression comments yesterday. But the information was vague. Having heard their amplifiers and line stage I have no doubt that the DAC sounds as you attest to. I was hoping to learn more about what parts/design changes that seperate the Deluxe-Reference-Signature models.
Power supply and analog output stage make much more of a difference in sound quality than is often appreciated. So I’m not at all surprised that is where Graham T. wisely focused his attention for improvement and upgrading. I wonder what I/V conversation approach he chose. It requires an excellent ear to do what he is able to accomplish.
nice info Bill. We have older Tron preamp and phono stage in our listening room. Nice sounding stuff. Have not heard their DAC products though. The DACs we manufacturer offer all point to point wiring, 101D Direct Heated Triode tube design and we also offer a 6SN7 tube design in one DAC model, R2R, copper plates, V-Caps, Audio Note, custom chokes and transformers, etc.
@charles1dad Give Graham Tricker of Tron an email, he is certainly a very approachable guy, I am sure he would answer your questions barring maybe some things he might not want to disclose due to design etc.
I think Tron products are certainly worth taking a listen to if you can.
In countless audio forum threads where DACs are discussed,the overwhelming emphasis is focused on the "chips" employed. I genuinely believe that the analog output stage and the power supply are more influential in determining the DAC sound quality.
So it doesn't surprise me that Graham Tricker improvement gradients of his Atlantic DAC involve additional attention to his power supplies. It seems no matter what the audio component may be, to make it sound better, improve the quality of the power supply.
I want to update all reading this thread. I ordered Signature model today! I listened to the unit in my system and was once again spellbound at the realism and purity of this dac. The Signature level sells for $13,750.
I expect it in 6 or so weeks. I will be sure to report back once I get the new dac.
So true! 😊
Congratulations to you Bill.
Thanks all for the kind comments!
You may need to contact the designer directly for a better answer, but here is what I know. He does not advertise the GT option on the site. The topology is the same as the Signature, but select parts are upgraded as I understand it.
Nice looking DAC, at this price point, two omissions come to mind.
XLR outputs missing
No mention of a level attenuator
Defacto standard is 2V for CD players for quite some time, some tube/valve, even solid state amps are at 0.775V, so an attenuator would help. Either analog or digital, the digital ones have worked out the 'missing bits' problem now.
Another quirk, and applies to UK origin products, is the AC inlet is on the RH side when viewed from the front. In a rack, the AC cables can be separated from the signal lines by some distance in one bundle on the LH side, crossing to the other side invites AC coupling, unless the AC cables are shielded and doesn't matter so much.