I just asked myself the same question, and ended up getting the Trivista 21. Part of my thinking is that it seems more likely to hold its value IMO. MF has a good rep over a long period of time, and Benchmark seems to be more of a "flavor of the year". The Benchmarks are getting dumped in large numbers here, probably because some want it with the USB output.
First impressions of the Trivista 21. Built like a tank with exceptional fit and finish. Sounds much better than modded Sony NS500DVD Universal player w/o the dac(as you'd expect!). On my rig 192k sampling sounds much better than 96k, and this contradicts other comments that I've read here. For my ears(& some friends), 96k sounds a bit hotter than should be in the treble, while 192k sounds more naturally balanced while giving up a tad of high freq energy. The tubes don't give it a very tubey sound, like you might associate w/older tube power amps,etc, so it's hard to say if that will tone down the Krells, but overall the sound is pretty smooth, so I think it'd be fine. Probably so would the Benchmark or the BelCanto.
FWIW, Using a Sterevox XV2 dig cable here, based on widespread recommendations, couple w/my lack of dig cable experience.
Sorry to sound inconclusive, but I haven't compared side-to-side, and don't want to give you any definitive proclamation. Cheers,
No , I don't think they will. My 21 sounds a little brighter than my all transistor Audio Synthesis DAX. Not unpleasant, just more detailed. The 21 is still a top decoder and very well built. It has the potential to be modified into an even higher performing component ; there are companies here and in England doing this. I will probably get it done someday but it is great as it is. I would always go for used as you are getting a better product for the same money.
Thanks for the feedback - I'm a sucker for the heavy, substantial seeming pieces, so I may go with the TriVista. So many choices...
There exists an Audiogon review of the Tri Vista, with comparisons to the Benchmark Dac1. Sometimes the A'gon search engine can't find it, so just Google "Tri Vista 21".
Incidently, I just purchased a dac21 modded by Parts Connexion in Quebec(Canada).
It's astounding. Far superior to the A308 I was using previously.
In particular, a very wide soundstage, increased space/air between instruments and singers, deeper bass and very natural highs.
Strangly, I hear more detail even though it's more laid back overall than the A308.
In short, it's taken my system to a level I didn't think it was capable of.
Sorry, I meant TriVista 21(not dac21).
I owned the TriVista with the full Parts Connexion mods - it was a fabulous piece. Heirloom quality - hard to imagine anything ever wearing out.
Even the tubes - urban legend has it (backed in this case by fact) that MF actually has enough tubes in reserve to replace any that might fail for years to come.
Please understand that these are not tubes like 6SN7s or 300Bs. You don't see em and you can't change them. They do not create, and the TriVista does not have a tubey sound in the usual sense of the phrase.
The big variable will be the quality of the signal and the cable you connect to it.
I ultimately sold mine, with considerable regrets I might add, because I wanted to get SPDIF out of the chain and go direct with USB.
Can any of you explain the lights in the footers of the Trivista21? I've seen them red at startup, then amber or blue when playing music. What's the amber vs blue indicate?
Trivista is less digital sounding than Benchmark but Bel Canto Dac3 is nice step further of Trivista.
Blue is fully warmed up. The other colors indicate how close it is to full warm up. I was recently auditioning it in a friends system and he insisted on listening right away. He began by telling me how bad it was and as it warmed up he liked it better and better and almost bought himself. There are tubes available from other sources than MF, I believe, there are for my NuVista M3.
"Can any of you explain the lights in the footers of the Trivista21? I've seen them red at startup, then amber or blue when playing music. What's the amber vs blue indicate? "
The red is for start up, amber for o.k. listen to, and blue for best sounding. I had the Trivista 21 awhile back and thought that it was very nice sounding DAC and nicer sounding than the Benchmark DAC USB. Maybe a bit tubey to some listener but it is smoother and more enjoyable than the Benchmark. The Benchmark to my ears was a bit bright and analytical but might have better details than the Trivista DAC. However, my Exemplar 2900 walked all over the Trivisa 21 DAC + Sony SCD-777ES as a transport in redbook playback.
Has anybody here compared the MF trivista 21 the to the PS Audio Digital Link III?
Is a stock unit of the MF Trivista 21 acceptable on its own? How long can the tubes last before they need to be replaced? How many tubes are there inside the Trivista 21 and are these special tubes? Lastly, will a stock unit of the Trivista 21 add a bit of refinement with more open silky highs and lush midrange to a Krell KPS-30i CDP? Thanks.
Trivista 21 is a dac, so you need a transport; other than that, yes it's far more than acceptable as stock. It has 4 nuvistor tubes which reportedly last 100,000 hours! IOW, no you'll never need to replace them. They are pretty cheap anyway. I'd guess that it would improve your Krell, as your seek. I wouldn't say it strikes me as "lush", though. Cheers,
I did a direct comparison between the stock TriVista 21 and the Benchmark DAC-1. Now, I'm not the kind of person who believes A is clearly better than B. I'm a synergy guy. So for my system I enjoyed the TriVista more than the DAC-1. I didn't need the detail that the Benchmark offered. I was in need or timbral and tonal balance/wholeness that the TriVista served up. With other components I would have definitely preffered the Benchmark. I heard that the TriVista tubes last 100,000 hours (that's not a misprint). The only thing that bugs me about the TriVista id all the lights. Geez, I wish I could turn-off all of them except the 24/96 or 24/192 lights.
With your system, if your looking to "soften" the sound, I doubt the Benchmark is the right choice.
The MF or Bel Canto would be better choices I think.
I went through some similar gyrations lately and landed on an mhdt Paradisea and have been very pleased. In your price range, you might consider the mhdt Havana as well.