FS: Counterpoint DA-10 - AD1862 20-bit R-2R Vintage DAC

Discussion in 'Closed (Archived) Sales' started by winterfog, Jun 14, 2020.

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  1. winterfog

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    MORE IMAGES: https://postimg.cc/gallery/Q9mq0m3

    I bought this on eBay in 2018 as a gamble. It was being sold by one of those "iSoldIt" walk-in eBay stores, probably from an estate sale, and the sellers didn't know what they had. I mean they REALLY didn't know what they had: They had no idea how to test a DAC for functionality and sold it untested "for parts only." I decided that there was a decent chance it would work, and if it didn't, I'd probably just have to replace some old capacitors. Plus there was a small chance that it would have a super-valuable unobtanium Ultra-Analog DAC chip in it. I paid $404 plus shipping.

    Well, it didn't have the Ultra-Analog chip. But it worked just fine, the capacitors looked fine, and once I looked inside I found it had the AD1862 chip, which Stereophile apparently liked the best out of the available chip options. https://www.stereophile.com/content/counterpoint-da-10-digital-processor.

    So what is the Counterpoint DA-10? It's a really solid, rack-size vintage 20 bit R-2R DAC from around 1995 or so. List price back then was an absurd $1,950 with the AD1862 chip. This one has a silkscreened circuitboard dated 1992, so I think it's either an early model or a prototype. It's not a detail monster, especially compared to modern DACs. What it does really well, and what makes it special, is macrodynamics. This thing has swing.

    Anyway since 2018 I added a baby to the family and now I'm moving across an ocean, so this has to go.

    I'm asking $350, Paypal fees and CONUS-only shipping included. Crazy people have asked $1,000+ for these things on eBay. But I'm not crazy, and you're not crazy, and I want this to go to someone who'll have some fun with it. Because it's vintage, and it's already ~25 years old, I can't promise it will last forever. I'll guarantee that it won't arrive dead, or die within the first week. If it does, I'll make it right.

    But do be aware, this is a temperamental machine. Here's a short list of its quirks:
    • No RCA Coax S/PDIF input. Instead you get three BNC inputs and one obsolete "ST" fiber-optic input for the main input panel. Then there are two "tape" inputs, each with a BNC and a Toslink option. I'll include several BNC-to-RCA adapters.
    • It does not play well with my Windows 10 desktop. If it's set to an input connected to my PC, during PC bootup the DAC generates a horrible buzzing noise for a split-second.
    • It does not accept high-resolution audio. Or rather, sometimes it does, but sometimes it doesn't. Let's just say that 16/44.1 and 16/48 PCM are the only "supported" formats. 24/44.1 and 24/48 are technically unsupported but work fine for me. 96khz absolutely will not work under any circumstances.
    • I bought the kit sold by ASE-Audiotuning on eBay to upgrade the original digital receiver and filter chips to the CS8414 and DF1704. This is included and will come installed; the original chips and the instructions are also included. I didn't really notice much difference in the sound or the signal lock, but maybe you'll find you have a preference. NOTE: ASE-Audiotuning falsely claims that the new chips will make the DA-10 accept 24/96 PCM. Nope, 96khz is still absolutely a no-go.
    • It has a higher noise floor in one stereo channel than the other. I'm not knowledgeable enough to diagnose and fix whatever is causing one channel to have a higher noise floor. It would probably drive an objectivist crazy, but then again an objectivist isn't going to buy an R-2R DAC from the 90s. I will say that in practice, the noise floor of both channels is well below my ability to hear at normal listening volume levels--I only notice the difference when I crank an amp's volume knob all the way up to 11 as a test.
    Still reading? PM me and let's make a deal.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2020
  2. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    "tape dubbing" settings on a DAC. Gotta love it! GLWS ;)
     
  3. fastfwd

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  4. spwath

    spwath Collegiate hijinks master

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    Not smaller than my Theta, but the front will stay on without Velcro
     
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  5. winterfog

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    SOLD to @spwath
    This thread can be closed/archived.
     
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