Holo new Green/Cyan DAC+Headamp

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by VincentS, Nov 14, 2017.

  1. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

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    FWIW, I've really been enjoying OS DSD conversion on the Holo Spring. NOS is obviously the main course but sometimes I want the attack and better extension of OS. It seems that in terms of clarity and a tendency towards brightness the modes go NOS < OS DSD < OS < OS PCM. The latter modes seem to have too much of a sharpening effect that becomes unnatural. But if you do want to do OS with Spring give OS DSD a try.

    Now I should mention that I do most of my music is either streamed from GPM or is 44.1/16. True DSD material sounds better in NOS but I still enjoy OS DSD.
     
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  2. Collusion

    Collusion Friend

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    Thanks for your impressions Torq! Makes me wonder, if I should sell my Hugo 2 and try this instead. No need for a transportable dac/hp amp anymore. Any thoughts on this?
     
  3. Greg121986

    Greg121986 Almost "Made"

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    I have an Audio-GD R-28 being built now and hopefully shipping by the end of the week. I feel like we should compare it to the Holo Cyan.

    @Torq is the Cyan in your possession long term or will you be rid of it soon? I am travelling in September for about 2 weeks so I could be without the R-28 for that period of time.
     
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  4. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    I'm in the camp that won't use a Hugo 2 in a non-mobile/transportable role purely due to the ergonomic issues with trying to use it on the desktop/in a fixed rig. It's not so bad if it's just USB in, headphones out, though the cables will be on opposite ends of the unit still. So from that perspective, something like the CYAN makes a lot more sense to me.

    They're a significantly different size too:

    CYAN Hugo Phonitor ADI-2 (1024).jpg

    Assuming you're just looking at the CYAN as an all-in-one or DAC/amp (which means using it with the PCM module, which is how the following comments were derived), then:

    The Hugo 2 is ahead on raw technicalities and compared to the CYAN in NOS mode, which is my preferred way to listen to it still, Chord's DAC is more neutral and resolving. The CYAN has more guts and drive. Tone is very pleasant with similar sweet overtones to it's bigger brother, the Spring DAC. This is not intrusive, and switching to OS mode results in a more neutral rendering anyway - at the cost of a little of the "magic" the CYAN exhibits (for me, at least).

    I doubt you'd be disappointed IF you like NOS presentation and/or aren't specifically enamored with Chord's general delivery. A more technical choice, but that needs an external amp to shine, would be the RME ADI-2 DAC. Another option, especially if you're in Finland, is the Soekris dac1541/1421. All rather different, however. And to be honest, the RME and Soekris units I feel really warrant an external amp to get the best out of, where as the CYAN does a better job with it's built-in output than either.

    --
    The uneven lighting on the display of the CYAN is due to the display being multiplexed. This is invisible to the naked eye, and the display looks perfectly even, but it does show up in pictures sometimes.
     
  5. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    It would be an interesting comparison, and I appreciate the generous offer.

    Right now the CYAN will be returned to @bimmer100 later this week. While I'm sure I could get hold of it again, I will be gone for a good chunk of the remainder of the year, including all of September. Perhaps when we're both back from our respective travels, and you've had some time with the unit, we can trade off for a week or so on one of the other units that I have that you might be interested in.
     
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  6. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    I wonder if we can ever get a loaner of this. A bit pricey for a buy-n-try but man, do I ever want to try. These all-in-one box solutions are looking and seeming to perform better and better as time marches on.
     
  7. Collusion

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    I do have a sweet tooth and I greatly prefer slightly sweet sounding devices over analytical ones. But I also like when the device has a capability to dig deep into the recording. Hugo 2 is okay resolution wise, but in my books it ultimately lacks something that would draw me into listening a track after track. I've owned both Soekris dac1541 and RME ADI-2 DAC and they left me wanting too, with very different presentations.

    I am currently enjoying my Yggdrasil A2 + Burson Conductor V2 setup immensely. I love bargains and in certain respects Yggdrasil A2 could be classified as one, but the price is still a bit salty for something that I'd be using at work. On the other hand, it may well be nothing else is sufficient anymore... Still, that does not keep me from looking for the next bargain.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
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  8. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    Ahead of the full review, I thought it might be worth mentioning that:

    HQPlayer (DSD512, poly-sinc-xtr, high-order NS) -> CYAN (DSD Module) is a noticeable improvement vs. raw.​

    Normally doing this sort of thing is just "different" and not worth the effort. But in this case, if you have a suitably powerful PC (or solid CUDA GPU compute capacity) and a copy of HQPlayer, then it's definitely worth checking out.
     
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  9. Thenewerguy009

    Thenewerguy009 Friend

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    Do you get any stutters or any lag on your PC when using the poly-sinc-xlr filter?
    I researched the types of CPU recommended for using it & all of them were north of $1,000.
     
  10. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    No.

    But I'm running fairly serious hardware ... anything from a 12C/24T Xeon to a 16C/32T Threadripper (ignoring the multi-socket stuff). This isn't going to work on a typical quad-core "gaming" PC or a laptop - even if it's not doing anything else at the time.

    Which isn't to say less pathological settings won't also yield benefits - but there are too many options/combinations there to try and figure out what the "entry point" is to get a benefit from this.

    I merely cite it as something interesting and, if you have the software and hardware, worth trying. And if you want to see if it there are improvements at lower settings, then HQPlayer has a 30 day free trial.
     
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  11. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    Can the Cyan PCM be used as a DAC-pre, too?
    The website is really confusing (all over the place).
     
  12. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    Yes it can.

    The RCA and XLR line-outs are set to be variable by default with the PCM module.
     
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  13. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    I had planned to post my full CYAN review this evening. After doing it once already, and dealing with the "joys" of your typical forum/blog-post editor, I've had enough for today. If you're anxious to learn more about it, I did get it posted on headphone.com and you can read it there.

    Otherwise I'll post the salient bits (sound, summary, explanation about the DSD/PCM module arrangement) either in this thread, or the "Life after Yggdrasil" one (and put a link here) when I can be arsed to fight with yet another half-baked post-editor.
     
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  14. mscott58

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    Nice review Ian! Cheers
     
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  15. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Great review and I'm very happy to hear that quality amp/dac units exist. Lots of fans of the Jot/MB combo but I didn't really feel the same way - too clinical
     
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  16. Collusion

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    Thanks a lot Torq, now I feel I've to buy an another device I don't really need.
     
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  17. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    First time i've been tempted to sell my Gungnir Multibit/Jot combo. But I won't.
     
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  18. Gaspasser

    Gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    After reading @Torq review, I am very intrigued with this as an all-in-one for my office. I would like to branch out past Schiit offerings having already owned Jot and Lyr 3. I am specifically seeking any opinions on how this synergizes with HD650/58X/800SDR. I saw the previous remarks by @JeremiahS, but I was hoping for more detail if possible.
     
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  19. damaged-goods

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    Another fantastic review @Torq ! These are great to read and very helpful!

    Do you have any comment how transparent the volume control of the cyan is when used as attentuator/preamp into an headphone amp? I noticed with the RME ADI 2 DAC that it sounds better with max volume when used DAC with a seperate amplifier.
    I'm using a Schiit Sys as attentuator between my DAC and AMP so I have a better range with the volume control.

    Also, how does the Cyan compare to the Gungnir Multibit which is in the same pricerange and very popular?

    Many thanks!
     
  20. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    It was a very enjoyable pairing with the HD650. The smooth top-end of the CYAN yields a very satisfying and consistently grain-free delivery. There's still a little mid-bass bloom. Otherwise the tonal presentation quite pure, excepting some early roll-off in NOS mode and the general sense of sweetness that this also imbues to music. They deliver pretty much as hard a punch as you're going to get out of them (outside serious tube stuff). Detail retrieval is excellent and the overall presentation is a lot more open than one might expect with the HD650.

    If you have original HD650 (2003 to about 2015, I think), and hear any "veil" with them, that'll get exacerbated slightly - and that will be noticeable more in NOS mode. Not a concern with newer units, nor for those that have performed the more common modifications and/or are running with the latest pads. And putting it in OS mode will help there too.

    Holo CYAN - HD650 (1024).jpg

    I also found it works really nicely with the HD660S ... where my preference was very definitely to run it in NOS mode. Though that's something of a redundant statement as that was my generally preferred way to run the unit anyway.

    Can't comment on the HD58X - as I've never heard them. And I didn't get to try it with HD800(SDR), only HD800S and HD820, but with both of those it was also an excellent listen. I'd have no issues using it day-in-day-out with those cans and were I in the market for a DAC/amp I'd be very happy to stick one of these on the desk.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
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