Due to some hype from the Associates I decided to give this thing a crack. Holy shit. I sort of lost faith in modern dacs after hearing a series of coloured dacs that would only play nice in very specific applications and just came with too many compromises. Hence, I kept a modded sfd-1mkii SE+ and a forsell air reference dac as they seemed to compliment my gear well and did some stuff that the modern gear just wasn’t giving me. I do have issues with both my current dacs, the sfd-1 having some smearing and muddiness in the midrange and the forsell can be a tad soft and lack impact but both are special in there own right. I have sampled a few other dacs before landing on the convert 2.. The DAVE comes to mind, clean, resolving but stage is flat and shitty with speakers, not obvious on most headphone systems. I also tried the ps audio direct stream and found the leading edge to lack immediacy, attack and slam were also lacking. I also tried the dcs vivaldi stack and found that I couldn't find a normal enough filter and the stage was really 3d and round and unnatural. Set up: sft-1 cd transport > convert 2 (master clock to bypass sft-1 clock (16bit 44.1khz)) > EC studio (fivre, erriccson and telefunken recs for the curious) > hd800sdr, OG abyss, Code x, hd650 stock Mostly speakers which are some weirdo vintage monitors which I've been using for a few years. I've spent 2 months with this DAC as my daily. When I was not being critical I would run the usb direct from my pc (it has a decent usb implementation). Set up of the convert 2 is simple, plug and play basically, I run -14dbfs as the -16 and -18 are a bit too hot sounding with some albums. I did have some issues with firmware and needed to restart a few times to get the convert 2 to talk to my pc. Sound: It sounds good, it’s not the typical pro audio gear: flat, sterile and lifeless, this thing has big dynamics, amazing stage, impact, speed and natural timbre. Resolution is very good, macro detail is clear but not brought forward or accentuated and the plankton surrounding those sounds is natural and honestly engrossing. The midrange is one of the least fucked I’ve heard from a digital source in years, the bass extends nicely with great punch. I feel there is slight bass accentuation and extension which doesn’t eat into the mids at all. Treble is again clean and normal sounding, this might not seem amazing to most but I really feel this is a phenomenal achievement. Upper mids and highs have nice extension, there is possibly some slight boosting here as cymbals seemed to shimmer and have an air that you just don’t hear on most dacs. I really like how tastefully this dac has been tuned there is a reason Chris Muth is as revered as he is in the mastering world. Stage: I really like the stage of the convert 2, too many dacs are trying to make things sound holographic and 3d and they end up turning the stage into a sphere and it sounds wrong to me, especially with speakers. Convert 2 is wide but doesn’t feel exaggerated, the stage is believable. Imaging is fantastic, it’s easy to isolate sounds and their respective position without drawing away from the blend. The bad, driver stability is not great, I have had to restart it when I change the sample rate, it flips out and I need to restart the pc and sometimes the dac to get it to lock again (only with usb) Finally, Conclusion: I bought this dac on condition of an audition, I paid half upfront and the seller graciously said I could return it the next week if it wasn't what I was after. I paid the other half that evening. It's just that good.