Life after Yggdrasil: Watering the Ash (aka: “Here we go again …”) Almost a year ago now I started a thread on Head-Fi called “Life after Yggdrasil?”, which some of you may have seen before. While that specific exploration has run its course (you can read the thread itself, and a little about the history of it, if you’re interested), and this year will have more of a vinyl focus for me, I wanted to resurrect that thread/process, in spirit at least, here. This post is the introduction and “management” post, read on below for more details, but this is the jumping off point for: Auditioned DACs and Links to Impressions Requested/Suggested DAC list Audition Material and Playlists A Brief History of "Life After Yggdrasil?" Why ressurect this? I do still audition DACs, and there are some potentially interesting things afoot in that realm that will be worth staying abreast of. I spend the vast majority of my audio-centric online-time here now, and often find it useful to refer to that old thread, so doing the new one here makes more sense. I want to update/refresh some of the original content. It’ll be a lot more fun doing it here - for me at least. Why update the content? For one thing, since my last “impressions-post” there I’ve gotten to spend more time with some of the DACs I originally evaluated, including having bought some of them (and even kept them for a while) and want to update my impressions – some have changed and in a few cases quite markedly. Even for those units that I’ve not spent more time with, I intend to update my commentary to be more in line with what I really wanted to say, but had to be more, shall we say, “diplomatic” about. Without the same kind of vendor-sensitivities here, I can be a bit more direct with my thoughts, analogies and descriptions. And that updated style of commentary will be maintained for any new impressions I post. Newer impressions, and those for which I care to go back through my detailed notes, may get graphed, plotted, illustrated and otherwise embellished. To the extent it is possible, I may put up a summary chart, along the lines of “Marvey’s DAC Chart of Awesomeness” … we’ll see. Also, where possible, and relevant (since some were more complete than others) I will add more specific listening notes for updated content. New auditions will be more along the lines of some of the "reviews" and "comparisons" I've posted recently so should have that sort of thing from the get-go. What’s else is different this time? The major difference for this cycle is that I’m not in need of another DAC and I’m not trying to find something to “beat” Yggdrasil. Now, Yggdrasil will still be the main point of comparison both for continuity and as a well-known reference; however, I will include direct comparisons against other DACs for any units I audition going forward. Another big difference is that I’m going to be much less restrictive about what I audition. I had some very specific desires, preferences and biases in the original thread – since I was looking at buying something purely for me. For better or worse, with no personal-purchase-intent here that opens things up for making essentially any DAC a candidate for inclusion and any impressions or evaluations will be broader and hopefully more useful to others. How’s this going to work? This first post will act as the introduction and primary index for everything else that’s relevant to what I’m doing here. It’ll link to a post that indexes all completed auditions/impressions and provides links to them, another that catalogs currently requested DACs, one that maintains my audition playlist (for reference), and probably one for the “historical” stuff. Things will probably shuffle about a bit as I see how things work, so expect to see edits here as things get going. What’s going to be auditioned? This is where you come in ... anyone can suggest a DAC for inclusion, though some voices will carry more weight in this (and it should go without saying that “Friends” and “Contributors” will trump Randos). This does not mean anything requested will automatically a) make it on to the list or b) make it to being auditioned if it does, but it does mean I'll be less instantly-dismissive of stuff I don't personally have an interest in. Well, maybe. Some units I’ll be able to audition easily enough (friends, family, dealers) that including them won’t be a problem – it’ll just be time and logistics in getting those done. Others may be facilitated through the various loaner programs SBAF runs. However, I will not personally be advocating for any specific DACs to go on the loaner programs (I would only do that for something I’ve already heard that I think other’s might enjoy). Anything over-enthusiastically and/or repeatedly requested by apparent shills may well be ridiculed heavily and then left off the list in perpetuity ("I Don't Care" - "We hurt the ones we love the most"). The only sure-fire ways to get something on the list and auditioned will be for you to arrange getting hold of one and putting it in my hands OR contributing the unit to the SBAF "gear lending library". For historical reasons, people continually requesting stuff that’s either already been requested and is on the list or has been rejected for some reason, will be called out for being twats. And they’ll learn to read, use the search function or my “dislike” button will get a workout. What next? Over the next couple of weeks* I’ll be updating various impressions and publishing those here, updating the necessary index posts as I go. Then the new auditions will begin. If there are things you think are worth auditioning you can start requesting them in the thread as of now. Ideally, you’re suggesting something you’ve heard yourself, and will include a brief comment or two as to why it’s worth auditioning, but that’s not a requirement and it can be simply that there’s something you’re aware of that’s interesting and hasn’t been brought up elsewhere yet. The 2nd and 3rd posts in this thread will be the ones you want to watch most closely if you’re participating actively in this process. And once things are settled down a bit I may restructure things to make the first post a more direct index to actual DACs. Updates to come as needed … So, as the Ramones so eloquently put it … “Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!” … -- *I’m going to try and get a couple or three done tonight, along with the history and basic content for the main index posts, and then a few more tomorrow, just to set the stage.