Donald North Audio — Owners Thread

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Huxleigh, Aug 12, 2016.

  1. Claud

    Claud Living the ORFAS dream

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    It might be your cables or setup. I also have Stratus and Yiggy, Ny setup is Source to Yiggy then SE to Stratus. All my wires are Wywires Diamond. My tube set is Ruby Tiger select input tube, rectifier is EML and power tubes are Acme select by Grant Fidelity.
     
  2. Prtuc2

    Prtuc2 Acquaintance

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    Honestly, I am not too familiar with the Allo USBridge. I read about the PiAES is similar to a network streamer if I recall, but now the Allo isn't it the same thing as the PiAES or that is just acts like a usb filter?
     
  3. Prtuc2

    Prtuc2 Acquaintance

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    I try the cable upgrade as last resources, from my experiences there are more placebo effects. As for tube rolling, I might have to do it when fund permits. Thanks for your suggestion though.
     
  4. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    USBbridge and Pi2AES (+RaspPi) are similar in function and cost. They take in Ethernet-based streaming (or local USB digital music storage, depending on configuration and software) and output digital audio. USBridge as USB, Pi2AES as S/PDIF, AES3, or I2S. My point is that a well-designed S/PDIF or AES3 source can beat Unison USB, in my evaluation as well as that of several others on SBAF.
     
  5. loadexfa

    loadexfa MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    I’m inclined to think it’s your source as well. While I do have the same tubes (except input) as Claud I wouldn’t say the Stratus lacked clarity with stock tubes nor cheap cables (my starting point) with an A2 Gungnir MB. The OG Yggdrasil is a bit too much for me so I don’t think I’d like it with the Stratus, but my taste is probably different than yours. I would still recommend this tube set but it’s pretty damn expensive and can wait until the money is available.

    I’m a big fan of the Pi2AES and there is an upcoming loaner for Michael Kelly’s next streamer. Since you’re a contributor, you may be able to join. Also, yes, the Pi2AES is a network streamer and a fantastic value for the performance. I recommend checking out the threads we have in it, lots of details including step by step instructions.
     
  6. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth 2000% biased Planar Hater

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    Are you using the SE out on the Yggdrasil A2?

    Could also be the Unison adding a bit of its flavor.
     
  7. Prtuc2

    Prtuc2 Acquaintance

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    Yes, all my gears only running SE since the Stratus don't have any XLR outputs.
     
  8. loadexfa

    loadexfa MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    An xlr to rca converter is recommended since the OG Yggdrasil is known to have gimped rca outs.
     
  9. Prtuc2

    Prtuc2 Acquaintance

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    After auditioning the Rockna Wavedream Edition SE I picked it up from the dealer, as his setup is a speaker which I am not quite familiar with. I believed the amplifier was the AVM Evolution A5.2 Integrated Amp, I don't know the speaker model. Running everything to Roon through his laptop.

    Update impression with Rockna Wavedream Edition SE

    Setup: Foobar --> USB --> Rockna Wavedream Edition SE --> DNA Stratus --> Sennheiser HD650/800 running 4 pins-XLR

    Sennheiser HD800
    At first I am quite baffle with the sound I can't quite understand it. Until I visited Rockna Wavedream page I mirror 100% with Purr1n's impression on page 1. The soundstage doesn't sound as big as the Yggdrasil at first. But, the sound overall is more cohesive. So, I change to the Sennheiser HD650.

    Solving the missing puzzle
    With the HD650 I finally understand what changes, it sounded like the Wavedream's soundstage expand on the presenter/performer side as the Yggdrasil expand on the listener side. Yggdrasil shift my sit to 30 rows back making everything sounds less energetic on the HD650 losing its distinctive feature. Now, the Wavedream I remain in the 3rd row but the presenter shift into a larger performing stage given them a distinctive deeper soundstage and yet remain cohesive at the same time. I think Purr1n use the word "diffuse" that is what is it on the Yggdrasil to my ear. On some tracks I can actually hear a 3 dimensional sound like the vocal is actually projecting through the stage giving it's wonderfully layering effect. Expanding the stage on the performer side I think give the Wavedream it's wonderful microdetails as you can clearly hear everything upfront not as distant as the Yggdrasil. Clarity issue is not heard with the Wavedream matter of fact, the vocal is exceptional on the Sennheiser HD650. With the Rockna Wavedream + DNA Stratus + Sennheiser HD650 easily best the HD800 as my preference is more forward vocal focus.
    The Sennheiser HD650 sounds so beautiful with the Stratus and Wavedream is almost speaker like. Exceptional vocal + great soundstage + extract microdetails + speed/clarity, the overall presentation itself is enough for me to stop searching for more. I probably added a CD-transporter in the future that is probably the end of the road for me in term of headphone.

    Rockna Wavedream solve my clarity issue with the Schiit Yggdrasil, brought out the best of my HD650 with the Stratus as it power it through it's amazing transparency. Thank you Donald again for the whole audio amazing experience.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2021
  10. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    Has anyone been able to compare the KR Audio 2A3 to the PX4?

    Also, has anyone tried the Shugaung Treasure 2A3 in either the Stratus or Stellaris? Are these similar to the stock tubes?
     
  11. johnnypaddock

    johnnypaddock Facebook Friend

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    EDIT: I had just posted a question about a slight issue I ran into with my Stratus, and Donald got RIGHT back to me. Pretty amazing response, especially on a Sunday! Thanks for lookig, but please disregard my original post.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 14, 2021
  12. ogodei

    ogodei Headphone Heaven Gatekeeper

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    Only sounds have been from bad tubes.

    Cables or another tube device up the chain?
     
  13. johnnypaddock

    johnnypaddock Facebook Friend

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    Thanks... Not much upstream, and the interconnects are all relatively new and in good shape.

    Metrum Ambre > Metrum Adagio > DNA Stratus
     
  14. loadexfa

    loadexfa MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    Donald is fantastic. Like his amps. :D
     
  15. Prtuc2

    Prtuc2 Acquaintance

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    Just a update I did try a few things in the suggestions want to report back with my finding.

    1. Change generic usb to Voodoo Evolution USB cable, I don't hear much differences if I had to put in term of percent probably 1-2%. Not worth the cost honestly, good that I got it second handed.

    2. Change the power tube to Psvane Acme 2A3, very drastic changes especially on the Sennheiser HD650, less on the Sennheiser HD800. On the track Material Girl by MaDonna, the first twenty seconds it seems to be too much dynamic on the stock tube with the Rockna Wavedream when change to the Acme tube much more in control dynamic isn't overwhelming. Acme added some sparkling in the high ends as well, clarity went up I believed it was that the over dynamic from the stock tube masked up some of the details. Well worth the cost, it is the best audio purchase I have made in the past 10 years. Now I am a tube believer, then I am worry I am in a dangerous hobby again.

    3. Waiting for the new Pi2AES Mercury for release to test...

    Back to tube, I saw most people here used the EML 5U4G rectifier kind read mix reviews on those. Those are not cheap neither, looking for something cheaper at least if I don't like it I won't regret it as much. Acme seems to sound thinner than the stock tube I don't know if that because it is more sparkling if a rectifier can have a thicker sound that the sound tube would be a great compliment.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2022
  16. Erroneous

    Erroneous Friend

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    @Prtuc2 The rectifier makes such an impact on Donald's 2a3-based amps that I can't imagine why you'd want to cheap out on one.
    I would skip the EML rectifier and go for a KR. Big pill to swallow cost-wise but very worthwhile. Have not tried Elrog yet but the KR easily whoops all vintage rectifiers I've tried. It was a noticeable step up from the EML it replaced.
     
  17. Polygonhell

    Polygonhell Acquaintance

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    If you want cheaper NOS RCA 5U4G rectifiers are a significant step up over stock and about $70.
    I’ll second the KR 5U4G RK special edition recommendation.

    you will get more value out of a rectifier upgrade than you will upgrading the 2A3’s IME.
     
  18. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    Best "cheap" step up is a black plate 5U4G (disclaimer - I do have a used one for sale right now), 5U4GB (more of a 5AR4 sound but compatible with Stratus / Stellaris), or the 5AS4. I would try a few different individual 5U4G if possible as each one will vary a little bit in sound.

    Otherwise, for modern tubes, I too like the KR rectifier, but I will also say that not everyone may like it. IMO, it sort of fundamentally changes the way the amp sounds just like the EML mesh rectifier did, but in a different way. If you like the sound of the amp as is, I actually would try other rectifiers first. Also, as many know, KR tubes on top of being $$$, are also notoriously unreliable and it isn't unusual for them to die at any time for no reason at all.

    Last current option would be Elrog which I haven't tried personally, but given how much I've liked their other tubes, I do think would be worth a try. They also don't have a history of being notoriously unreliable.

    However, on PURE SPECULATION, I suspect the WE 422a may be coming back in a few years now that "new WE" is doing well with their new 300B tubes and many are saying that they supposedly sound better than vintage WE 300B. I guess a few years b/c it's easier to recoup costs, profit, and sort out all the technical issues first with only 1 product for now - which also happens to be their most expensive + in demand product. That or "new Brimar" may give us a nice surprise.
     
  19. Prtuc2

    Prtuc2 Acquaintance

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    Thanks everyone for the input, I will contact Donald for any compatibility issue prior making the purchase. Will report back on the KR 5U4G.

    Edit: Spoke to the dealer the KR might be out of production tube he will let me know in a few days, so might not even be an option.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2022
  20. Erroneous

    Erroneous Friend

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    I recently ordered a backup KR from best300b.com and it took a couple weeks for them to ship it, but they got it to me. May try e-mailing them if they're not the people you're already talking to.
     

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