Other impressions: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/sbaf-dac-talk-ii.6964/page-27#post-245633 Please refer to this thread for some background information: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...c-convert-2-dac-stream-of-consciousness.7000/ This is the second DAC in the series of DACs that will be compared against each other. Other links: Speaker setup: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...ream-of-consciousness.7000/page-2#post-230216 https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...ream-of-consciousness.7000/page-5#post-230902 I'm going to start with headphones and computer audio first. Going to rotate among Elex, HD800, and Verite headphones. Will use the ECAF. I haven't grabbed the Verite yet, but I think it will be a good match for this DAC. The microdynamic and microdetail presentation of the Crane Song Solaris DAC is very similar to that of the Schiit DACs. Microdetail or retrieval of low-level information appears to match that of the Gungnir Multibit A2. I recall in the DM Convert-2 thread that "someone" said the CS Solaris had sweet mids. I'm not exactly sure what that means because I felt the Convert-2 had sweet mids! Namely because of the Convert-2's purity of timbre - sounds rendered so clearly and in such a zippy fashion. If anything, maybe the CS Solaris has sweet upper mids? Heh. So the Holo DAC has sweet lower treble, the DM Convert-2 has sweet mids, and the CS Solaris has sweet upper mids. Or maybe the Yggdrasil A2 has sweet mids too? The tonal balance of the CS Solaris is on the brighter side. It's not lean in the bass. It's mostly flat, but with an upward tip in the highs. Yggdrasil A2 and Convert-2 are very similar, flat down from the highs, but with a shelf up in the lows. Gungnir Multibit A2 to me sounds the most flat from the lows to the highs. I think there's an AKM 4490 chip in the CS Solaris? It would explain the resolution. Perhaps the funky upsampling to 211kHz (supposedly to max out the AKM chip) and the custom filter help it resolve and stage so well. The headstage seems fantastic so far. Pinpoint imaging, deep stage placement in front of my eyeballs (wow, on headphones!), stable images. This AKM4490 implementation actually reminds me more of the AKM4393 implementations I've heard. Sweet upper mids, but dry in the lows. THe AKM4396 and 99 were the ones that grew balls but lost some of that sweet magic. The Yggdrasil A2 / DM Convert-2, Gungnir A2 are all richer in the lows to the mids, in that order from most rich to least. I'm going to give this a few days to burn-in or warm-up or whatever, or I might try different headphones. The upward tilt in the highs is not a good match with the Elex. I'm already starting to get fatigue. Not that with the prior three DACs, I didn't get this effect with the Elex. One concerning issue is the sort of "lazy" transients and macrodynamics. I can agree that perhaps the Convert-2 is enhanced (which is not a bad thing in my book), but the Solaris while doing fine with smaller volume swings and transients, sort of gives up when asked to do more (reminds me of my kids when I challenge them on uphill sprints). I think the ultimate test will be on the speakers with the use of the CD transport. BTW, the Eitr does a better job than USB. USB is just slightly hazier with more smothered micro and macrodynamics. The Solaris is the least veiled and clearest sounding of all the DACs mentioned here, although there is shade of gray to the sound canvas, if that makes any sense.