Yet another "DAC upgrade" post

Discussion in 'Advice Threads' started by orbitech1976, Apr 2, 2021.

  1. orbitech1976

    orbitech1976 Rando

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    I posted this on Bifrost 2 thread but I took the initiative of posting it as a separate topic here in advice sub category. After all it wouldn't be wise to flood the BF2 thread with these type of questions I presume. Apologies if I did wrong!
    Anyway for what is worth, here it is..

    Hi everyone new here but Ive been lurking for a while. Of course I'm a Bifrost 2 owner for quite some time. A great DAC no doubt.
    I'd like your help/advice on something.

    My audio chain currently consists of a pair of Focal Solo 6 Be active speakers and an SVS SB2000Pro hooked up to BF2 which in turn is hooked up via balanced to Freya+ and then balanced to speakers and rca to sub. So it's all balanced BF2 -> Freya+ -> balanced Focal Solo 6Be+SB2000Pro. No need for an amp (just yet that is) with active speakers.
    Have also Valhalla 2 + DT1990Pro and Senns HD600 for headphones.

    First of all I can't say that I'm not fond of my Bifrost 2 I would seriously be lying if I did. Especially when my Freya + is in tube mode. Their synergy is lovely I find myself listening less and less to other modes of Freya+..

    Anyway lately I came across a quad pair of Raytheon VT231 6sn7 tubes which to my surprise (since 2 sets of NOS I had were good but not that special) completely opened up the sound to my ears. Suddendly there was more air on top and less congestion in organs, better stage and slightly recessed mids without losing presence though. Micro, macro details and tamper are amazing in Bifrost 2 I never had any issue to begin with, with virtually the vast majority of genres.. It's just that it was so nice to listen to these tubes because they provided better tonality and musicality to my audio chain, it kinda of reminded me what I've missed in some genres.

    So I started thinking of acquiring Gungnir A2 or Denafrips Pontus II. I think their overall signature will provide me with some of the things I admired from this pair of vintage tubes and I miss with Bifrost 2. The latter is an exceptional DAC no doubt but sometimes it can be too dark.. I don't mind warm. I love warm and lush.. The way tube mode in Freya+ is presented in synergy with the BF2 is really good because it strikes a great balance between analytical and rich/full body even with the stock tubes. I'd imagine a tad more of these qualities would be more of what I'm looking for..

    So my question is.. If I'm to look for a DAC with bigger stage and warmer and slightly more "laid back and congested" presentation do you think that one of those two could be a meaningful upgrade? I don't want a sidegrade,I'd probably keep my Bifrost 2 for its assets, it's a lovely DAC, it can be amazing with its presentation for some genres but I wouldn't mind an upgrade with a DAC with the assets I described. And of course this begs the question. Is it feasible in the sub or close to 2k region?

    Thanks in advance for any help and for the long post!
     
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    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
  2. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Please post your question in the general advice thread (https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/the-all-purpose-advice-thread.19/), instead of starting a new one like this. SBAF do not encourage too many one-off threads. Better request admins to remove this thread.

    That said, some general points.
    • If you can't clearly hate your current dac with many specific points, it may not be a good time for big purchases.
    • (If you disagree with the bullet point above) Why don't you just stupidly dump your cash into any random stuff? Better do so with a good return policy or home auditioning options. Your post doesn't read to me that you know what you gonna get. The more you have on your own success/failure list, the easier members here can advise.
    • Very difficult to avoid side grades in the budget range you specified. "Safe" (unclear dispreference --> very high safeness hurdle) upgrades by all means need more money in my experience. This is one reason why I argued like the first BP.
    • Also consider to try more headphones, speakers, and amps. DAC is not only the least impactful component in the chain but also the most inconvenient stuff to roll.
     
  3. orbitech1976

    orbitech1976 Rando

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    I gotta say I was a bit surprised when I opened SBAF and looked at the feedback. What a way to welcome new members and especially with a dislike. But it is there for a reason and again I apologize for the inconvenience caused.
    Ok let's see :

    * I don't hate or love audio equipment . These are emotions I use for people mostly. But to answer further your question I completely agree with the overall meaning behind your words which is mindless upgrade.
    *See here it starts to become a logical fallacy. Why someone who wants an opinion about a DAC has to "stupidly dumb cash into random stuff" and doesn't know what he wants? I specifically mentioned things I would like an alternative take in the long post of mine. Does it need to be bullet pointed? If it had too then I could provide one all you had to do is ask if my points were lost in the (admittedly) long post!
    *Well to be honest having the ability to get a Holo Audio Spring lvl 2 for example for 2k in EU wouldn't exactly classify as a sidegrade in my book but each to his own. But even if it was a sidegrade and someone like you who was kind enough to answer my post and provide some feedback thought it could prove an excellent addition for the things I'm looking for I wouldn't mind either! When I said sidegrade I meant it more or less something that wouldn't exactly excel in anything compared to my Bifrost 2 and then it would have consequently been a "mindless" upgrade. Exactly what you tried to describe in the first point
    *Thanks for the alternative take on this and surely DAC has the least impact compared to those components you mentioned, but I'm at a point (or at least I think) where the equipment I want in these components e.g passive quality speakers coupled with quality amplifiers will take me way way out of my comfort budget zone for the time being. Personally I feel a better DAC will help me acquire the qualities I miss with Bifrost 2 without breaking the bank. I don't have a problem with my speakers or the rest of my equipment I feel I have made good choices for what I'm looking for and for the budget I wanted and was willing to spend.

    Once again if you think I did not provide enough feedback on those qualities all you had to do is ask me to ellaborate further. That is all. Thanks anyway for the long general "educative" post
    And I'll make sure I'll contact moderation to move it if it's that much trouble :)
     
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  4. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I hear "wider soundstage with warm laid back tone" and I'm gonna tell you a Forssell MDAC or MADA all day long.
     
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  5. orbitech1976

    orbitech1976 Rando

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    Interesting! Thanks for the recommendation sir!
     

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