Dangerous Music: Convert 2

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by Xecuter, Sep 26, 2018.

  1. Xecuter

    Xecuter Brush and floss your amp twice a day

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    Due to some hype from the Associates I decided to give this thing a crack.

    [​IMG]

    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.
     
  2. Cellist88

    Cellist88 Afraid someone will shit on his opinions

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    Time for @cskippy to add impressions once he joins the club. Might move on from the Yggdrasil as I'm more inclined to find something that can be used in a studio setting.
     
  3. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Can't find a lot of information about the hardware, not even the DA chip.
     
  4. famish99

    famish99 Friend

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    Yeah I was trying pretty hard to do the same, but I'm interested nonetheless.

    There's like literally one board shot and it's too low res to make out anything. @Xecuter wanna take one for the team and void the warranty for an internal shot? (mostly kidding)
     
  5. Thenewerguy009

    Thenewerguy009 Friend

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    Did you audition those two at home or listened to them at a dealer? Was the PS Audio the one with the latest firmware?
     
  6. MrTeaRex

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

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    I’ve had the Convert-2 in either my speaker or headphone setup for the past 6 months. In the last year, I’ve also had several other DACs come and go in those systems (Schiit Yggdrasil, PS Audio DirectStream, Holo Spring Level 3, RME ADI-2 DAC, Matrix X-Sabre Pro) and had a chance to demo a few others (Soekris dac1541, Neko D100 mk2). The only other DAC I still use at this time is a Bricasti M1SE.

    I can echo pretty much everything @Xecuter has noted. The highlights of this DAC are the impact and transients. It sounds massive and hits like a cement truck - snares pop, cymbals crash, and strings bite. Layering is also exceptional, with detail being presented naturally as opposed to some DACs that shove everything to the forefront in an attempt to be perceived as extraordinarily detailed.

    The same attributes that make it enjoyable may be a potential risk under certain circumstances. The Convert-2 isn’t relaxed or laid-back, it’s perpetually looking to brawl. The colossal, concrete sound signature means it also lacks the last little bit of air found in a select few of the other DACs I’ve used recently (specifically the Bricasti M1SE and PS Audio DirectStream). In my opinion, the Convert-2 is still above average in each of these areas and any concerns are greatly outweighed by the benefits.

    Of more importance may be the considerations for system integration. Being professional gear, the Convert-2 only has one set of balanced XLR outputs that are configurable from +18dbu to +22dbu (about 6.2V to 9.8V). This makes the output quite hot for most hi-fi gear. Fortunately, the output can be further reduced using the integrated volume pot (which can also be bypassed with a relay).
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
  7. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    From memory, the Convert-2 uses an AD1955 DAC chip.

    The other two major studio DACs that tend to come up in the same conversations are:
    • Burl B2 Bomber - AKM 4399
    • Crane Song Solaris - AKM 4490
    Earlier Crane Song stuff used the CS4398 if I'm not mistaken.
     
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  8. Xecuter

    Xecuter Brush and floss your amp twice a day

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    The PS audio was at home with the latest firmware, yes. The Dcs was at a friends house, I took my studio and sfd and we used his speakers and my headphones.
     
  9. PTS

    PTS Friend

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    I briefly owned the Dangerous Music Convert-2, but ended up sending it back for a full refund via Sweetwater. They have a great return policy.

    I had the Dangerous Music Source (DAC / preamp / headamp all-in-one) at the same time, and couldn't hear much difference between the two either via headphones (HE-6 / Cavalli Liquid Glass) or speakers (Tekton Lore / Odyssey Stratos).

    This is either high praise for the far less expensive Source, or a knock on the Convert-2. Dangerous Music are a great pro audio company though. Solid products with awesome customer support.

    I'm now using the RME ADI-2 Pro, and while not perfect, actually felt like a step up from the Dangerous Source. YMMV, system synergy, etc.
     
  10. Mr.Sneis

    Mr.Sneis Friend

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    Apparently the Convert-2 uses an internal switching power supply, the Source also uses a switcher but since it is external can be made to use an aftermarket linear power supply. Someone had mentioned the LPS was a worthwhile investment for the Source. Siwtching supplies aren't dealbreakers by any means but I'd like to know more about the internals of these DACs myself.

    Huge thread here: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/mas...angerous-convert-2-vs-crane-song-solaris.html
     
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  11. Xecuter

    Xecuter Brush and floss your amp twice a day

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    I'm about to head to work but I took a few quick photos before I got out the door. Anything you want a hi-res photo of I can do tonight.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    Looks like my memory is intact!

    The main converter board there looks like it is shared with the Convert-8 ... as it shows slots for three additional AD1955 DACs, two additional AKM4113 receivers, additional display outputs, and so on.
     
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  13. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Looks like there's an FPGA too

    For this much money and that much empty space there's no real reason not to go with an LPS. Maybe weight is a big concern for pro gear like this.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
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  14. famish99

    famish99 Friend

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    I'm more curious what opamps are used in the I/V stage. I am feeling a lot more of the magic must come from what we can't see more so than what we can. (digital filters, etc.)
     
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  15. PTS

    PTS Friend

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    It is. I picked up a Keces DC-116, which is a great LPS for the Source. I believe the Convert-2 takes a standard power cord, so no alternative power options.

    I've also heard the $1800 Crane Song Solaris DAC, and it's really nice. It's a little mellower / more analog sounding than a lot of DACs I've heard. We did a shootout (using Ether Flow open headphones and EC Aficionado) between the Yggdrasil A2 and Solaris at a friend's house, and most people (from a party of 6) seemed to prefer the Solaris. The Yggdrasil A2 was a little too in-your-face for my tastes.
     
  16. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    Sure there is.

    Despite "forum wisdom" claims/beliefs, LPS are not always superior to switch-mode supplies. It is very much implementation and application dependent. Especially in digital electronics where you're going to have a bunch of other switchers/level-shifters on the board anyway.

    You should be much more concerned about the actual output of the PSU and how much noise escapes/is fed back to the main supply, than whether it is an LPS or an SMPS.

    ...

    A good chunk of the price of "Pro" components has nothing to do with R&D or what's in the box ... it's down to support and consistency. Those requirements are much higher in the pro space than they are in the consumer space.
     
  17. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    The small green PCB near the front please
     
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  18. MrTeaRex

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

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    I had the opposite reaction to the RME ADI-2 DAC vs. the Convert-2. I used the RME for several months in my headphone setup and it's a fine DAC. However, it definitely falls in the category @Xecuter described as "typical pro audio gear: flat, sterile and lifeless" when compared to the Dangerous component.
     
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  19. PTS

    PTS Friend

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    Fair enough.

    My shootout was between the RME and Source, which is a fair fight price-wise. The Convert-2 is double the cost, so you would hope it did some things better. The Convert-2 is a fine DAC, but if I'm spending over $2k it needs to wow me.

    BTW, did you use the RME built-in headphone amp? If so, I would tend to agree with the sterile and lifeless part. I think it becomes much better If you only use it as a DAC and pair with a warm sounding amp. The flat part is accurate, but then I find that with all pro audio gear designed for tracking/mixing/mastering.
     
  20. MrTeaRex

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

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    Totally understandable. I was simply factoring in your prior comment that there wasn't much of a difference between the Source and Convert-2.

    I only found the built-in headphone amp suitable for YouTube videos. It definitely exasperates the problem. Most of my listening during that time was done using a HD800 driven by a First Watt J2 or an Odyssey concoction of Klaus's that involves a mix of Kismet and Stratus parts stuffed in a Khartago case with a fancy face plate. I used that setup to demo a HE-6 for a about a week as well.
     
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