DAC Choices - Denafrips vs. Schitt

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Spike

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Normally the volume on the ARC REF 6SE with the Moon or NAIM to listen at 80db the volume is around 34. To reach 80db with the May it varied between 24 and 28 on the 6SE.
Peeking at the specs, the Holo May DAC outputs 2.9V for RCA and 5.8V for XLR, while the Moon 280D outputs 2V for both XLR/RCA. That may explain the lower volume level on the ARC Ref6SE. I did not see any options to trim down the output at the Holo May DAC. Given the ARC Ref6SE accommodates for 18V at XLR or 9V at RCA inputs, I don't think there's anything to worry about.
 

Northy

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Thanks for the kind words. Yah its funny I actually went from Home Theater to 2 Channel + HT. And yah you are right I've tested listening to Tidal on the Marantz and on the 6SE and the Audio Research does sound a lot better but for movie watching it doesn't matter to me so much. And I'm thankful the 6SE has the ability to do Home Theater bypass. But during a movie my center is doing most of the work anyways, so it still sounds good to me for movies but blows me away for music listening all in one room. Although the Marantz is about to be replaced with the Trinnov Altitude16 which from what everyone is saying will be a huge step up in processing. We will see how good it really is compared to the 6SE.

As for the HoloAudio I listened from 6 o'clock last night till about 10:30 before the wife shut me down. LOL. All different genres of music but mostly my test songs I have in a playlist. And right off the bat I can say a few good things about the May, and a few bad things about the May. First, the detail retrieval is amazing. Separation of vocals and instruments is wonderful. Definitely heard some items in songs I haven't heard since the Bartok left my room. In Billie Eilish's "I Love You" right after the plane takes off in the song there is some sort of music or instrument playing in the bottom left hand corner of that soundstage. This does not get picked up on my Moon 280D or my NAIM Uniti Atom DAC. That whole portion of the song from 1:55 till about 2:45 is very detailed and has tons of hidden layers that most DAC's don't pick up. In the Song "The Ballad of Bill Hubbard" by Roger Waters the Holo does exactly what it's supposed to do and makes sure that the dog is way off in the distance to your right and I mean it sounded like surround sound. Then the whole TV and talking over my left shoulder was amazing! Haven't heard it that good in some time. And when Razz is giving his account of seeing and trying to help Bill Hubbard the whole time that interview is going on it is right to the left of me say at 10 o'clock. Way outside the left speaker. That is a Job Well Done by the May KTE!

But you can also tell there is a major loss in the low end bass. It's just not there anymore. And nothing changed in the room except for the DAC. In songs like "Fever" by Malia/Boris Blank, "Slide Away" by Miley Cyrus and "A Milli" by Lil Wayne; those songs on any other DAC I've had in this house have rattled my windows with the low end bass. In fact I have a video on YouTube where "Fever" is visually rattling the camera while filming. This DAC does not do that. Maybe it needs break-in or maybe I have a setting to change so testing and researching on that front.

Next thing I noticed is when panning back and forth in some songs like say "Stranglehold" by Ted Nugent or "In the Distance" by Yosi Horikawa something is off. At around the 2:20 mark in "Stranglehold" there is a sound that goes left to right and right to left and continues throughout the song in intervals. Now you should be able to visualize that in the soundstage going across the stage. But for some reason the May KTE drops about 2 or 4 feet right in the center. Like it jumps instead of being a fluid cross along the front stage. Also in Yosi Horikawa's "In the Distance" when Yosi starts to record the running back and forth, the May again just jumps over that 2-4 feet of sound stage right in the center. Did not get that with the NAIM or the Moon 280D. Very weird and not sure how or what to change to get it back.

But all in all I can say, the May is great and the detail it brings out in tracks is just amazing for the price. In Yosi's whole album "Wandering" and compared to the other DAC's I have here, it is by far a much better DAC and they can't touch the May in that area of detail retrieval. The only other DAC I have had in this room and in this system that sounded this good in detail retrieval was the Bartok at $13k more than the May KTE. One of the tracks I always use to demonstrate the detail retrieval is the song "Bubbles" in the same album which is amazing to listen to for details in your system. Most DAC's and/or systems can't pick up the detail of each ball Yosi uses to drop on a certain surface, may it be a drum, table, or the floor. With the Holo May you could hear and count every single different type of ball dropped along with visualizing an image in your mind of what each ball was whether or not it was a marble, ping pong ball, or the cheap ball in the basket of a Walmart isles that costs like $.99.(I got that visual of that ball.) The Holo does an outstanding job of creating that sound stage and image in my room. That soundstage was 180 degrees of imaging in front of me that just draws me into the music. So far I'm very happy with the purchase.

Thanks very much Jason for the detailed first impressions. I am hoping the drawbacks will go away after >250 hours of burn-in. Keep us informed.
 

JLasher22443

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I

I have a late 2014 cylindrical shape Mac Pro. I have 7 hard drives for only storage music files. I don’t use roon. I use Audirvana Plus instead. Also I have two cd players by Bel Canto a CD2 and a CD3t.
My Holo May Kte is doing only good things. Pure sound quality from Red Book Audio.

Happy listening!
Hey Robert what USB Cable are you using? I'm planning to swap out my USB tonight with two others I have lying around. Currently I'm using the Nordost Tyr 2 but I'm going to test the Curious and AudioQuest I have as well. Thinking of picking up a WireWorld and a Cardas to compare also. So was curious as to what you were using to get such good results. Thanks in advance.
 

roberto

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I’m using the Lush ^V3.
 
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