Holo Audio - Spring DAC - Level 3 - "Kitsune Tuned Edition" - Impressions & Reviews

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by Torq, Nov 7, 2016.

  1. Greg121986

    Greg121986 Almost "Made"

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    I'm glad I got rid of my Spring KTE when it was still worth top dollar. I had a feeling it was due for something new that would cause its value to drop.

    I will probably end up getting the new version because I'm a sucker. The I2S input with HDMI is just so good. I am having to modify my second hand Audio-GD NFB7.77 with HDMI I2S input and change the USB input and it's becoming a real hassle.

    *Edit* I also wish that it had a pre-amp for this price.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
  2. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Don’t want to turn this into a Schiit thread, but have you read this?
    https://www.head-fi.org/threads/sch...bable-start-up.701900/page-1715#post-13791607

    Mike also talked about this around the same time.

    Basically running/unannounced changes are typical, you just don’t hear about them in many cases from other companies.

    Also, other forums don’t have the inside scoop on the inner details of what’s changed inside some of their products like SBAF does. We are privaledged here wrt inside knowledge and scrutiny of Schiit products.

    And until Schiit think it’s worthy of announcing an updated version, they won’t.

    The Gungnir Multibit A2 version may have simply made sense for Schiit to do because of parts and production efficiency (and getting in the latest firmware etc) more than the sound quality upgrades, which were likely not significant enough to warrant an announcement. Although I find a fairly clear difference in the sound of the two Gungnir Multibit versions in my system, they mostly just sound ‘different’ rather than the new version sounding that much ‘better’, other than an overall lowering of noisefloor/greyness, but that is still somewhat there with the A2 version. I certainly wouldn’t pay $550 or anywhere near that for an upgrade to the latest version of Gungnir Multibit.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
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  3. Jerry

    Jerry Friend

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    Apple has iphone 6...7...8...9. They don't just keep making iphone 1. The same with cars. BMW also makes running changes every year within the same model. Every 5 years or so, they make a new model.

    I'm ok with Schiit making silent small changes, like Modi Multibit's case. But I also look forward to their announcement if it is a big change, like Yggdrasil A2 and Gungnir Multibit A2. I want that freedom of choice whether to upgrade or not. Let me decide if it is worth it or not.

    Anyway, I'm sure they have their reasons. I can live either way.
     
  4. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Looks like they've made a significant amount of improvements into the same chassis - suspect the USB implementation will be much better than before.

    Also looks like you could try your hand at cap-rolling as well :D
     
  5. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Apple also makes MacBook (2016), MacBook (2017), MacBook (2018) etc. and I suspect at some point the iPhone line will become just “iPhone” with a year appended to the end in parentheses.
     
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  6. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    On running changes: it's less that SBAF gets the inside scoop (well, sometimes I do, but I don't say shit); but more that you guys figure it out using your ears and measurements. Seriously, some impressive shit you guys have done with the running changes on Modi DS, Modi MB, Jot, Mani, Gungnir, etc.

    The only thing I might do is confirm - maybe six months to a year later. And I'm not privy to everything either. Sometimes I am the last to know. What I won't do is delete stuff if you guys figure it out.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
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  7. Maxx134

    Maxx134 no one will touch his boy parts without $$$

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    Agreed. Looks like this issue was addressed with new version.

    That description sounds like a more forward presentation.
    I say so because at this level, all these dacs have a high level of resolve to produce those attributes.

    The issue I find posts is when Speakers are used.
    Speakers usually compensate for a system's lack of ambiance or soundstage holography.

    So a "more immediate" sound will better for speakers, but that doesn't mean the Gungnir is actually better at having more spacial cues and soundstage.
    I haven't heard the Gungnir but from posts we can assume it is very close to the top.

    Just throwing my opinion, but won't disagree with any comments because I only compared the Holo (lvl 1)with the Yggdrasil (first gen), and not the Gungnir multi-bit, which is a less costly alternative at the $1250 mark.

    I found this difference, when using headphones, as being more immersive and more involving.

    Oh, and just for info, I found both the Chord Dave and the Lampizator (lvl7) to also "exaggerate" the sound larger than the Yggdrasil, wich for some reason I feel is the most accurate presentation in a dac I heard so far.
    That doesn't necessarily mean it is preferable, as I ended up keeping the Holo Spring over my Yggdrasil (first gen with Gen5 upgrd).

    I found the Yggdrasil even more further back, yet neither was "better" to me. Just a different presentation.

    I would call the Yggdrasil more referenced neutral presentation.
    Compared to the Holo the Yggdrasil seemed like a
    (slightly) laid back and relaxed presentation, while the Holo was a bit more exciting or palpable.

    The level of resolve of both was the best dacs I heard.
    Personally, I feel Holo is at the level of the Yggdrasil with a larger more involving presentation, yet the Yggdrasil gives a more neutral reference presentation.

    Again, I would be interested to know if this was speaker or headphone, because there are speakers which will give phase shift at certain frequencies.
    I heard it in a "four seasons" violin concerto recording when two violins on each side overlap each other and cause an anomaly.
    So if one dac is adding more spacial cues to the sound then it could trigger a speaker's limitations.

    That's why I prefer headphones, because I can more easily tell if the system has soundstage, or is more forward, or has any weaknesses in complex passages.

    So far I have not noticed any weaknesses in complex passages with the Holo.


    The Gungnir is a dam great deal for the money, unless you want to go DSD.

    I have been advised to try the DSD conversion in "Roon" player to take advantage of Holo native DSD ability.

    Looks like may not need a SU1/Eitr type interface.

    The higher native dac conversion is definitely a huge accomplishment, but remains to be seen how much better sonically can be noticed.

    Better PSU, etc. I expect this new Holo dac should make a noticeable improvement, but whether it is actually an actual improvement, or a prefereable difference to a Yggdrasil remains to be seen.
     
  8. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Hey there,

    As I mentioned near the top of the review, all of my listening was done with speakers:

    So I expect that some of your comments may be correct with respect to headphones vs speakers (I am mainly a two channel guy, just getting into headphones, and didn’t have any real headphones or amp at the time I reviewed the Spring). I am sure there are very legit reasons Torq loved this DAC enough to keep it as an alternative to Yggdrasil.

    That said, I think soundstage, instrument separation, and spatial size, on speakers would likely be more of an issue than with headphones, would it not? Since the context of the room and my seperation from the soundstage would be quite a different thing than “headstage”, wouldn’t it? This is a legit question from a headphone neophyte.

    Also for context, as far as comparing Gungnir Multibit and Yggdrasil, I now own a Yggdrasil A2 (as well as Gungnir Multibit A2 and recently OG Gungnir Multibit as well) and I can confirm that Gungnir Multibit is more forward than Yggdrasil, definitely. And Gungnir Multibit A2 is even more forward I have found, at least through the presence region, than OG Gungnir Multibit, which is what I compared to Spring. With Yggdrasil, everything is more set back, broader, deeper, taller and just more open with far more spatial cues and plankton than either of the Gumbys.

    Considering I found the soundstage of Spring and Gungnir Multibit to be somewhat similar, I can make a guess (only a guess since I don’t have it obviously) that Yggdrasil A2 I think would have a broader stage, because it easily does compared to Gungnir Multibit. But that is conjecture at this point.

    Of course all these things are not only influenced by the choice of speakers, but also the room, so comparing DACs on speakers vs headphones I concede are likely 2 different beasts.

    When I tried the Metrum Onyx, I also did with speakers and preferred Gungnir Multibit. But could absolutely see that I might prefer the reverse with headphones, since I found the narrow staging on speakers to be my major issue. However I loved the dense tonality of the Onyx. On speakers, my priority is for room filling sound separated from the speakers, not something confined between/near the speakers, which is what Onyx did. Might not feel the same with headphones, but not sure (did not hear it on any).
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
  9. Maxx134

    Maxx134 no one will touch his boy parts without $$$

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    Forward nature makes presentation more lively or clear with speakers.
    Issue with speakers is dependent on room, which is adding to abient soundstage.
    Those speakers I see used are excellent though.

    Headphones more telling, as it will be totally reliant on source material, gear, and headphone itself for the soundstage.

    Good info, so we can "assume" soundstage size, from largest to least like this:
    Yggy2
    Yggdrasil 1
    Spring
    OG gungnirMB
    Gungnir MB A2

    Now the GungnirMB A2 is being discussed as at similar level.
    That may be due to a lesser setting for the HoloSpring.


    IMO the new HoloSpring2 with change that.
    It is having a higher native sampling rate conversion so would need more resistors.
    More resistors is like more "taps" of the original signal.
    So I would expect a higher resolve than before.
    This alone should easily elevate the new Holo at the Yggdrasil A2 level or above on DSD.

    I am assuming this, but my reasoning is that only dacs I have read beating the Yggdrasil A2, are the ones using more & real resistors in their "ladders", so costing way more money.
     
  10. bengo

    bengo Friend

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    Wait, what? More resistors would mean resolving more bits. Or in this specific case, more accurate compensation network. Nothing to do with sampling rate. Higher sampling rate means only switching those resistors on/off faster.

    More bits does not necessarily mean better audio quality. Probably your recording has a noise floor less than 16 bits anyway.

    Also, DSD is a 1-bit format, so more resistors doesn't help.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
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  11. Baten

    Baten Almost "Made"

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    I would say no, it doesn't work like that :confused:
     
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  12. Maxx134

    Maxx134 no one will touch his boy parts without $$$

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    Ok, I was assuming that more resistors = more ladder steps = more waveform capture = less interpretation = more resolution (??)
    Of course this is simple logic and not a reality situation involving aa million actual added factors as well..
     
  13. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    This is hilarious; thank you for making my morning.
     
  14. Maxx134

    Maxx134 no one will touch his boy parts without $$$

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    :(:(




    :rolleyes:

    Switching faster?
    It's not overclocked.(?).
    But not oversampled as
    New version is DSD1024 running native on discrete ladder...
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
  15. Maxx134

    Maxx134 no one will touch his boy parts without $$$

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    I'm going blind..

    Ok, so to not sidetrack this thread I will answr/end & generalize my question as it being the accuracy of the ladder.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
  16. Baten

    Baten Almost "Made"

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    From ComputerAudiophile:

    "As you may know, there will be another DSD1024 DAC called "MAY" released by Holo audio after Chinese new year. I will directly go for MAY instead of Spring 2. "

    So they are releasing two new DACs? Chinese New Year, so around February 2019. Perhaps the MAY DAC is DSD only like with the Cyan modules.
     
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  17. Baten

    Baten Almost "Made"

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    Welp, ordered a Spring 2 since upcoming MAY dac is going to be a $4500 DAC+Pre-amp+Headamp based on the Azure. I have no need for a do-it-all device not to mention the cost...

    Supposedly MAY is going to measure better but as long as Spring 2 is going to be at least as good as Spring I think it's going to be great. Sure hope so :) I'm a sucker for NOS. Someone in that thread measured jitter in NOS mode btw (96/24 PCM). Pretty darn clean, lovely.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Abhishek Chowdhary

    Abhishek Chowdhary Friend

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    Auditioned the Holo level 2 fed by a gustard usb to spdif converter box
    Sounded good in parts.
    Mellow bass, does resolve bass lines to fine extent. Midrange was floaty and lacked solidity however still very listenable . Bass to midrange timbre is pretty good.
    Things go downhill treble onwards. Sharp, grainy (very fine grain though) and thin. Lacked volume swing.
    Bass to midrange nuances are good but wish it had moar heft to bass and midrange
    While one would expect resolved decays , holo cuts them a litte short and adds some sharpness/grain to edges. Perhaps the teethy upper treble is to blame for it.
    Staging is good with proportinate width and depth however doesnt sound involving. Notes come out of thin air and disappear. Incosistent origin location.
    All in all a good sounding dac with solid build.
    And yes very very clean background and OS mode sucked beyond anyones imagination esp after listening to nos mode.
    Press the os button and it sounds extremely jumbled. Worse linearity than several chinese dacs
     
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  19. Baten

    Baten Almost "Made"

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    Linearity is honestly around modi MB level which is no slouch. Thanks for the impressions!

    My KTE is on the way to Europe. I'll be sure to give it a long listening/audition/burn-in time.
     
  20. Abhishek Chowdhary

    Abhishek Chowdhary Friend

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    Its the OS mode where linearity falters to abysmal levels
    Sub bass clips at lot and overlaps midbass (didnt know that was even possible), mid bass as loose as a lyr2 and all refinement/nuances/dynamics goes south. Its a garbled mess.

    Its the nos mode actually thats sounds quite a bit like Modi Multibit (thanks for bringing that up). Like a lot more refined and faster sounding Modi Multibit. Very similar microdynamics and hence close in resolving capabilities
     
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