Upgrade to AMR DP-777 SE or look elsewhere

 My AMR DP-777 is broken, and I have the opportunity to fix it with an upgrade to DP-777 SE.  The cost would be about $1400 (upgrade+usb->spdiff converter+coax cable).

 However, DP-777 SE version is old: 2015. It might be a better idea trashing the AMR, and  spend $2000-$3500 and get something modern, like Shitt  Yggdrasil,  some used DS Direcstream Jr+BridgeII, Metrum Onyx, etc, 

What's your opinion?. Go the cheapest option (upgrade the AMR DP-777 to SE  version and add a decent usb->spdif converter), or burning $2k-$3.5k to get a modern DAC?. 

DAC's usage: 50% vocal jazz, 15% pop, 15% rock,  10% electronic, 10% all the rest. DSD is irrelevant for me, my library is 80% redbook and some high-res files 24/96, 24/192. The source is a laptop with files in a NAS, amp goes with valves, and I want nothing sounding digital or fatiguing after many hours of music in the background. 



If you were happy with the DAC before it broke, I'd fix it.
For 1400.00 upgrade and repair I’d fix it.
I  was in the exactly same thing as you (amr dp-777) and I did the upgrade...
Do it, it worth all the trouble...
I have no regret at all...
But you will need at least near 500 hours of burn-in before fully enjoying it...  Don't judge before that time...

I have an AMR DP777 and if it were me, I would have it repaired and upgraded. I agree that for you, the answer should depend on whether you liked the DP777 before it failed. My understanding is that the SE primarily adds more bass slam/authority. If you don't mind my asking, please explain the " usb->spdiff converter+coax cable" part. I use USB only and I wonder if I could get the upgrade done only on the power supply and any other circuitry that only pertain to USB for a lesser charge. Probably not. I have not heard the Schitt Yggy or the Metrum Onyx but you should be aware that the AMR is designed to sound very analogue and I can't help but suspect that the other options are going to sound more characteristically digital (more clarity, detail, and definition at the expense of some sharp edges to notes that some. like me, find irritating over time). Look at is this way; the better a DAC measures on JA's workbench, the more likely it is to sound "digital" rather than analogue. This is just my humble opinion which many here will ballyhoo. 
@fsonicsmith ,

 the usb module of the DP-777 SE is seriously outdated. Now, we can buy a usb gen 5 -> coax converter relatively cheap, as the schit Eitr, or x-matrix spdif-2 more expensive with more features.  The BNC  input of the DP-777  is  pretty good, so the best is probably to buy a converter.

The issue with the DP-777 SE is that is not very popular, and no possible to find reliable comparisons with more modern DACS. 

Well spend the money to get it fixed then what ? what could be next to go wrong ?
 My opinion the Schitt Yggdrasil analog 2 dac is a screaming good deal and a better dac in my opinion of the following three that I have owned. I moved on from PS Audio Direct stream dac senior purchased new in November 2017,  Denafrips Terminator purchased new in February of 2018 and a tried out used Metrum Level one Pavane that I borrowed.
i am quite happy now using a CEC TL2N transport and the Yggdrasil analog 2 .

@in_shore ,

I'd love to listen to these DACs in my system, however that's not possible for me, as to  most of the people in this hobby. 

However, just based in my readings,  no real auditioning,  I find difficult to believe that Yggy is better than PS Directstream, the latter is top-notch technology, costing much more. Now, one has a full forum in love with Schit products (warning for me), and another forum reporting real measures of the Yggy showing quite a poor performance of this DAC. 

BTW did you listen to the PS Direcstream with the  Red Cloud frimware?. 

The Pavane, at least the new version, looks as well  really good, although expensive without top-notch usb implementation. 

I don't like that all in this hobby is so subjective. 

  • Cortes Im not one to flip through audio components like this however I became disappointed with the PS Audio dac and it’s parter Direct stream player which I purchased new in 2017.

Ps Audio are still dealing with screen glitches in both these components and after listening to the Denafrips a friend brought over it was clear the Denafrips was the better performer at a couple grand less then PS Audio and yes current Redcloud was installed. On top of that the second hand value of a four month old $6000.00 dac in perfect cosmetic condition is surprising low , equally for the player,,...The Denafrips Terminator was sold over a minor technical issues I had with it and the fact Denafrips did not have any North American representation ,.

Regarding the Yggdrasil, i never paid attention to anything Schitt ever produced , the name was enough to turn me off however learning who the principles heading up this company were did spark some interest.
After the experience with PS Audio I wanted better value , glitch free along with performance that fit my listening biases . I took home a dealer trade in of a Metrum Pavane to try and liked it and almost kept it however I wanted to look around more .
 The Yggdrasil mk 2 I had no idea about only that it was a revision of the original Yggdrasil dac and the dac wasn’t on my radar at all .
it just so happen during a online purchase I made with pick up at the sellers home we chatted and listened to some music , he had a top of the line CEC transport and the Yggdrasil mk2 dac my search was over for now ,.
Well i don’t know what to think about what you read about Schitt components, I like their dac ,.

Before sending your AMR in, I'd try to get some loaners in home to get a 'feel' for their performance. I realize it isn't easy, but it can be done. Some DAC manufacturers have return policies. Some dealers can be persuaded if you are a serious buyer. 

Once you hear what other DACs sound like within your system, I believe the decision to upgrade or not will fall into place and be the right one.

All the best.
For the record, Denafrips recently announced that Mike Powell, owner of Verastarr and located just outside of Atlanta, is now their official US service center.


thanks for your amazing  comments, sharing a lot of valuable first hand experience. 

Yes, the second hand value of Directstream is very low, but  official prices are always ridiculous in this business and I thought it was something normal. 

@dlcockrum ,

after reading @in_shore comments I took a look at the Denafrips page. Needless to say, the Terminator looks terrific:  isolation, thick metal, very nice modular board, linear power supply, full of pictures showing what's inside.  All the basic checks passed.  It  does not look like the typical garage audiophile product.   

However,.... sorry, I don't trust any Chinese thing without western support and warranty.  The info they provide about themselves in the site is vaporware, not address or names to send the police if the thing burns the house.  

Last time I checked, Atlanta was considered to be located in the west. :)

I am not aware of any manufacturer (US made or otherwise) that offers fire protection, but several do offer DACs with comparable or even better performance vs the Terminator for $10k and up that you can choose from.

Cortes I’m certainly no authority on dacs, I find the influence of dacs like speaker choices , just personal taste . 

The Denafrips Terminator paired with the PS Audio Direct stream memory player really surprised me , I wasn’t expecting the Terminator to better the PS Audio dac . My buddy was just curious if the pin layout of the l2s connections were compatible with each other and secondly just to hear the Denafrips in a system with speakers .
I immediately liked the terminator , it easily compared well with the PS Audio and surpassed it with far better instrument separation laying out the sound stage much differently and to my liking .

There was an annoyance with the PS Audio components with screen freeze ups not often but on occasion along with the fact the Denafrips was less money .

$6000.00 US for the PS Audio , Denafrips $4500.00 USD delivered to your doorstep including top rated support and a pretty good warranty, 

I did get cold feet over Denafrips not having any North American representation also using it with the PS Audio player for unknown reasons the Terminator would reverse channels upon first start up , I would have to go through the modes to reset it each time I wanted to listen to music .
As for this Chinese design and built component , I give them high marks and finally try your best for in home trials from dealers or manufacturers dacs are a personal taste.


You wrote:
“the usb module of the DP-777 SE is seriously outdated.”

Respectfully, that is bunk. The AMR DP-777se is much more advanced than most dacs out there even today, I bought my 777 in 2011 and I still have it because it sounds flat out awesome, I used to own the best stand alone usb->spdif converter extant (the Sonicweld Diverter, latest version) and it was only the AMR with its custom USB solution that matched the Sonicweld, at least to the point that I decided to sell the Diverter.

I often compare my digital to my extremely high resolution analog systems (tape and two turntable systems)and yes, the analog is better but the AMR is never embarrassed and my AMR CD-77.1 with a double crown 1541 dac chip installed is flat out the finest digital I’ve ever heard regardless of sampling rate and this includes listening to the best DCS has to offer and the MSB diamond dac, I’ve not yet heard the MSB Select dac,
primarily becuase I know their house sound and while it can be very good, I’ve been there done that.