Dangerous Music Convert-2 DAC Review - Stream of Consciousness

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by purr1n, Oct 26, 2018.

  1. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    Tea and I read a review of the Bricasti Class AB monoblocks used at that show which led us to believe they might suck. Tone and timbre were fine, but the overly smooth sound lacked bite. Probably the amps' fault. Off topic, but DSD offered an improvement in stage depth with M12SE vs PCM. Anyways, try to PM Tea about Convert-2 vs M1... He's very familiar with both.
     
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  2. direstraitsfan98

    direstraitsfan98 D2Girls v2.0

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    I use gungnir instead of yggdrasil now. I guess I prefer it. Haven't really thought about dacs in my system, or how its contributing to the sound. I've been focusing on upgrading my speakers first. But now that's all said and done I'm thinking the dac is less important than the power amp. I have been enjoying music far too much to really give a damn about obsessing over a new and better dac. For a while I was thinking of getting something new like Rockna Wavedream or even MSB but since I got my new speakers I've just stopped caring. I was thinking of moving away from a dedicated dac and looking at getting a dac that can be used as a digital preamp, but a digital preamp done right, like the totaldac line of dacs. Don't think I've ever seen anyone here talk about totaldac.
     
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  3. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Speakers > Amp > Source. In that order of priority, and in that order of having an audible effect, unless you already know what you are doing or where you are headed. I established source first because I had already established constraints for amps (SET with solid-state low end / active xover) and speakers (horn loaded and big woofers), and also because I could control the amp and speaker designs.
     
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  4. roscoeiii

    roscoeiii Facebook Friend

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    You mention that SE is a weakness of Yggdrasil A2 output. Any chance you've compared balanced to SE converters from both Convert and Yggdrasil A2? Or is there a DAC with SE outputs you'd recommend over both Convert and Yggdrasil A2 due to compromises of converting Balanced to SE?
     
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  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I only opted to use the CMLI-15B transformers for balanced to unbalanced conversion. For Yggdrasil, which offers both unbalanced and balanced outputs, I felt the the isolation transformer provided the better results, as if a veil had been lifted. This approach skips an additional active summing stage inside the Yggdrasil for the unbalanced outputs. The Convert-2 does not give us a choice as it only offers balanced outputs.

    Other conversion solutions are the Radial J-Iso and Jensen Isomax. Both of these boxes use 4:1 step-down Jensen transformers. They are readily available for purchase on the Internet. Another advantage is that they step down the hot outputs of pro-audio gear.

    Based on memory (and over time, I feel confident that my memory is good), I preferred the 1:1 CMLI-15B to the Jensen step-downs. They impart less warmth and commit less sins of omission. The downside to the Cinemags is that they do not step down voltage sufficiently for most consumer gear, and you have to DIY your own.

    There are other choices with XLR to RCA adapter cables. Most of these cables short the negative pin to the ground pin. Without knowing the design of the output stages, these kinds of cables scare me. I would make double sure that the DAC outputs can withstand a hot pin shorted to ground. And if it works, there is likely to be higher distortion. Perhaps @atomicbob might be able to shed some light on this.

    Then there are the XLR to RCA cables that only use one hot pin, either the (+) or (-), and ground. I don't like this approach either as it only uses half of the DA chips' output. Modern D to A chips have balanced outputs and may require these outputs to be summed somewhere along the way for optimal unbalanced operation.

    I'd still pick Yggdrasil A2 or Gungnir A2 using their "inferior SE" outputs over inferior DACs with balanced outputs.

    Finally, the extent that one can hear the differences among these approaches is going to be dependent on how good your downstream gear is. I don't mind using the SE outputs on the Schiit DACs when I need to as I don't have multiple iso transformer boxes lying around.

    I'm sure the next question is why doesn't Schiit offer a transformer coupled solution for unbalanced if it sounds better than an extra summing stage. The answer is that good transformers are expensive. This is why you don't even see them on $$$$$ audiophile gear.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
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  6. MrTeaRex

    MrTeaRex His head's not fat, he's my brother!

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    I think it is more likely the speakers than anything else. The Bricasti guys like to demo with Tidal speakers. At the recent RMAF, there were Tidal speakers in 3 different rooms, each with different sets of upstream gear (Bel Canto, Bricasti, and Tidal's own electronics). All those rooms sounded smoothed over and dull, too refined and "Hi-Fi". Also, the M1 has several linear and minimum phase filters and Bricasti likes to demo with one of the minimum phase filters.

    At home using Voxativ drivers and one of the linear filters, the M1 doesn't sound dull or smoothed over. It isn't as slammy and massive sounding as the Convert-2, but it shares the superb transients while improving the treble quality and spatial queues. It comes down to a choice of what you prefer. However, @purr1n is pragmatic in pointing out that choice is ridiculously priced and nowhere near the value of the Convert-2.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
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  7. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    It will be interesting to see if the likes of Crane Song and Dangerous Music create consumer offerings like RME did with the ADI-2 line.
     
  8. frenchbat

    frenchbat Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    Does anyone know what's the convert2's output impedance? Couldn't find it in the specs (website or user manual)
     
  9. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    The markets are separate and the RME Adi-2 DAC and Prism Callia are mostly unappreciated by arbitrary "hi-fi" ears despite deserved praise in reviews. Audiophiles buy crappy color boxes like tube and NOS DACs...

    Crane Song can't keep up with demand for their current products while old farts and tweakers have tons of crap in their signal paths and would fry Dangerous products in a week. Macbook producers already kill them. The convert-2 is basically that already, being a cut down convert-8, sharing the same board with less parts and having a convenient pot.

    All of this stuff is meant for feeding an active pre (in a monitor controller or console) into real deal monitors (not guitar center stuff) and balanced pro audio power amps in treated rooms. Most audiophile "hi-fi" rigs have tons of random arbitrary crap in the signal path (both digital and analog) and are worse than cheap guitar center monitors in a bedroom. Dudes on SBAF have NOS DACs, transformer pres, and roll usb reclockers for warmth to make muzak more inoffensive...
     
  10. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    Hopefully useful post here .
     
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  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The magic smoke part was best.
     
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  12. batriq

    batriq Probably has made you smarter

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    Marv do you have any experience with the WE 111C transformers? I happen to have a pair and was wondering if it's worth trying these out.
     
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    No idea. It's a vintage item? Probably collected by Japanese audiophile weirdos who install electrical poles with special silver wound transformers in their backyard. It's likely awesome since everything from WE back in the day was awesome.

    Might have to load the secondaries with 620 ohm resistor for best FR like the Jensen repeating coils. I wouldn't be surprised if the Jensen or Cinemag designs came from WE.
     
  14. batriq

    batriq Probably has made you smarter

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    That's about right :) e.g. http://jomako.my.coocan.jp/craft/we111/we111.htm
     
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    LOL, that is so strange.

    I hope someone makes a game like Stardew Valley where all the residents are weirdo audiophiles, and the goal is to farm or mine parts to manufacture tubes, transformers, DACs, etc. And the mayor of the town is named Jude.
     
  16. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    I want that game....
     
  17. kn19h7

    kn19h7 Rando

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    The output stage is actually a THAT 1646 opamp for each channel, which has around 50ohm output impedance according to specsheet.

    Regarding hot output of this DAC, with HD800S plugged into a Moon 430HA set close to full volume, I could actually hear the noise floor on both units I had (had replaced once under warranty for an issue with power-on).
     
  18. roscoeiii

    roscoeiii Facebook Friend

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    With that high an output I'm not surprised the noise floor is audible with the amp turned almost all the way up. But I assume that is far far from listening levels. At what point on the dial did the noise floor become inaudible?
     
  19. kn19h7

    kn19h7 Rando

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    IIRC it only becomes audible at around 75 (80 max), as a reference I usually listen to my crap music collection at below 10.
     
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  20. westermac

    westermac Friend

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    I'm always glad to see pro gear gain recognition in audiophile/enthusiast circles, because so much audiophile gear represents a comparably awful value proposition. You can peddle shitty gear to audiophiles all day long with the right marketing, exposure, and industrial design. Peddling shitty gear to the professional market, though, isn't quite so easy because gear is (typically) less a showpiece and more a tool of the trade. Make a bad tool in any industry and see how long it takes the tradespeople to catch on and put you out of business.

    Audiophiledom might be the only hobby where the consumer is convinced he's better equipped than the professional.
     
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