Author Topic: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba  (Read 13029 times)

Offline Davey Willo

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Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2014, 11:40:40 PM »
Davo  :D  ;)

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I'm currently trialing a Bakoon DAC which I'm quite impressed with but the KD has always intrigued me as I know that it has captured the hearts of people with ears I trust.
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Here you will not be comparing apples to apples.  Solid state Vs Valve.  As usual it will be all about system synergy as that's the be all and end all IMV.

If you speak really nicely to Mario he may bring his round, probably easier to take your front end down to his.  The KD is all about conveying the emotion in music IMV as it does not get hung up on FR or artificial detail, it can also sound pretty convincing unlike a lot of artificial sounding whiter than white units.

When you want to be able to loose yourself in the music you can do a whole lot worse for considerably more money.

If you are already pretty happy with the Bakoon but not in love then there is clearly a quest for a fairer maiden.  If you can live with the uglier than Sin looks  :-X and can feed it with a top flight transport / source then you may not just be able to live with anything else.  :)
V



I can live with ugly, you've seen my Bakoons man, they are about as ugly as sound equipment gets, I'm after a great sound, looks do not interest me in the least ;)

Offline bhobba

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Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2014, 03:30:26 PM »
I'm in the market for a good DAC so this is a serious question, how much would one expect to pay for the latest version of a KD??

About $5800  willo hand made with love but a waiting period comes with it.

Mario hit it in one.

But generally speaking this DAC is way above commercial gear you can buy - even stuff that costs a lot more.

When you have a killerdac, you wont care about Hi Res, low Res, Any Res. It's the only component you will never change, never think of changing, One thing comes to mind when I listen to my Killer, glorious midrange splendour, I think HiRes has the potential to be good, but I have the feeling it will only happen, if we make one from the ground up. The people making them now are well .......useless. They just do not seem to understand, the Dacs they are making do not remotely sound like real music.

When I was down at Rawl's checking out my Killer we compared it to what many consider, technically, the state of the art you can get today.  It was DSD through a DAC built from the ground up for DSD, an MPD-3, designed by the guru of DSD, Andreas Koch.  Now Steve has heard this with Harry Belefonte - Sylvie.  And it sounds good - make no mistake - very live real and present.  But when we compared it to bog standard PCM via computer audio into the Killer (this was not the upgraded Wadia uber transport Steve and others have - but my upgraded Off-Ramp - that Wadia is, to my ears, clearly better) it was better than this supposed state of the art uber fantastic DSD everyone raves about.  Its good - but the Killer was clearly and obviously better.

Now, add to this, what I have just been told by Rawl.  The other DAC that has recently impressed me is the Phasure.  Guys go ga ga over it saying its statement level etc etc:
http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/xxhighend/1.html
'In combination with the Phasure NOS1 DAC the sound quality sits lonely at the very top. As our new reference, it will make future reviews both easier and rather more critical.'

It too was able to show DSD via the PD a clean pair of heels - the first DAC in my very long mucking around with DAC's that was able to do this.

So knowing this, two guys out my way - Rob - who has very good ears - better than mine - and Anthony - the owner of the Phasure - took it over to Rawl's to check out.  I wasn't there, but I trust Rawls ears and he thought the Killer was easily better.  I spoke to Anthony, and while he liked the Killer thought it was so different to the Phasure didn't really want to say one way or the other at this stage.  Also Rawl has Mikes ML3 Reference and, like me, feels the ML2 Limited are way ahead.  He went back to Rob's place to verify it - and the Phasure was way ahead on Rob's limited.  So he doesn't really want to pass judgement until he gets both the Killer and Phasure on the Limited.

That undoubtedly will take place a bit later, and I can report then.  We also have the big DAC shootout coming up that will have those and other DAC's.

But I know and trust Rawl's hearing well enough that if he thinks the Killer is better than the Phasure, then it may well be.  I will post more later as some more comparisons happen, but I can assure you, and anyone, that the Killers lack of high res capability is a total non issue.  Its up there with, and likely better, than any DAC out there, Hi res, or not.

Thanks
Bill

    
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 05:53:05 PM by bhobba »

Offline onthebeach

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Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2014, 03:40:40 PM »
"I used to dismiss the KD as it couldn't do high res but to tell the truth I'm no longer convinced by high res anyway due to the fact that most of my favourite, most 'musical' albums that I listen to are all Red Book, and yet some of my highest bit recordings sound sh!te.."
Posted by: Davey Willo


I was dabbling with 24 bit for a while and thought that it must be better than bog standard 16 bit. But then I bought a Kdac and with some handy help from around here got it set up with a decent transport. Now I realise that 16 bit done very very well (both with the original master recording/transfer as well as on my end) is much better than any 24 bit I've listened to. More weight, more realness, more beauty and more emotionally engaging. For me anyway.

I'll catch up with you at mikes in a few weeks Bill  :)

Nathan
« Last Edit: February 03, 2014, 03:43:30 PM by onthebeach »

Offline bhobba

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Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #23 on: February 09, 2014, 08:27:19 PM »
I'll catch up with you at mikes in a few weeks Bill  :)

Hi Nathan

Looking forward to it mate.

You can hear the new Prima Luna Mike got in.

He was waiting for some Duelunds to upgrade it, but couldn't wait and installed some Jupiter capacitors that are still pretty good.  He was really excited when I rang him yesterday about another matter - could be the best amp he has ever heard next to the upgraded Leak Craig bought over and wants to get them side by side to see what the go is.  I have my Leak getting upgraded now but the Duelunds wont be here for another few weeks so we wont know for a while.

Anyway he wants me to come on down and here it Monday or Tuesday and can report more then.

Thanks
Bill 

Offline bhobba

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Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2014, 03:34:27 AM »
Hi Guys

I was over at a friends place today with him and Rawl, hearing the Killer DAC compared to an EMM Labs DAC on his Thiel 3 ways which were fed by an AR Ref 5 pre and some SS monoblocks I cant recall the name of, but they are evidently similar to the Arion 500's which was thought to be just a bit bass shy in comparison.

Anyway here is his view which will be followed by mine.
 
Have to say there's a lot to like about the Killer, except maybe the name which seems to rub people off the wrong way.
 
I was able to use Bill's Offramp to feed I2S to the Killer and AES to the EMM Labs XDS1 simultaneously and was able to A:B easily between the two using the ARC preamp.
 
The EMM does a lot of things right for me. But the Killer sounds more natural in the end. The XDS1 seems to exaggerate differences - higher highs and lower lows but the end result (which on its own doesn't sound bad to me) is less listenable to me than the Killer in the AB. I loved how the Killer reproduced guitars in Fourplay's 101 Eastbound (HD Tracks) which made it "easy" to follow. Where the XDS1 reproduced the music, the Killer sounded like it was an organised quartet led by the lead guitar, with the rest of band accompanying him. I really enjoyed that quality.
 
When we listened to the Phasure a while back, there was a similar disconnect - the Phasure reproduced voices like Pat Barber with a raspy or gravelly quality - was it more detail? I thought I heard that with Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now (DVDA rip) on the XDS1 today. The Killer was smoother but more natural. I've only heard Pat Barber once, in a club in Chicago many years ago and from memory, it seems to be somewhere in between. It wasn't quite buttery smooth, but it wasn't quite as gravelly as what I heard on the Phasure either. If I had to choose, I'd err on the side of the Killer.
 
When I first heard about the Killer, about how well it sounded with vocals, I can't say I was particularly keen to listen to it. I had written it off along with many warm syrupy slow Chinese tube amps I had heard int he past. But it wasn't the case. I even threw in a bit of Depeche Mode for good measure, along with FourPlay. Over the week, I am sure I can put it through the paces a bit more with some of my more familiar material.
 
If there is one downside, and actually it was more of a technicality, it was that we couldn't play hires material with it. But when we were playing HD Tracks material, even with the OffRamp downsampling to 44.1, the characteristics I liked about the Killer were still apparent, even when compared to the material in native hires on the XDS1. Maybe there is something to be said about hold outs like georgehifi Wink who insist 16/44.1 is good enough.

I concur with what was said above..
 
On all material we tried to me the EMM Labs had a 'thick' quality - things were distinct but lacked subtlety and realism.  The Killer was simply much more convincing.
 
I did a comparison a couple of days ago against the current PDX.  Previously I preferred the Killer but the PDX didn't have the best valves, which are the Phillips SQ.  This time it had the SQ valves and it was a lot closer.  However I still preferred the Killer.  The vocals were just so real, layered and harmonically convincing.  The PDX was slightly bland in comparison, but on some material such as Sade - Smooth Operator it was definitely more alive - but was that some kind of false edge - I don't know - I preferred it personally - but there was the Killers vocals - which was for me more entrancing.
 
The GTG between the Killer, Phasure, AMR and new PDX should prove very interesting.
 
Thanks
Bill

Offline ozmillsy

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Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2014, 07:22:56 AM »
I've said it time and time again,    There is more to be gained in our playback hardware,  than there is in the resolution of our digital software formats.

On the fly converters are adequate,  but my point here is even more apparent when using really good software converters.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2014, 01:08:14 PM by ozmillsy »
Q:   If I like the treble turned down,  and you like the treble turned up.....  what does that say about our hearing?   ;-D

Offline Jehuty

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Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2014, 09:22:48 AM »
Shootout = ambush  ;D

Have fun guys!
Not all that matters can be measured, not all that can be measured matters.

Offline bhobba

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Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2014, 03:35:39 PM »
Shootout = ambush  ;D

I have been chatting to Rawl about it.

It means nothing - its all just a bit of interesting fun.

To Judge a Killer, or any DAC really, you need to get it in your system and see what it does.

But dont let the price of the Killer fool you - that EMM DAC we compared it to cost $25K - I am pretty sure no one in their right mine would fork out their dosh for that DAC against the Killer - yea and its $5.5k vs $25k ;D ;D ;D ;D.

Thanks
Bill
« Last Edit: March 07, 2014, 03:38:23 PM by bhobba »

Offline gamve

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Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #28 on: March 07, 2014, 03:54:23 PM »


But dont let the price of the Killer fool you - that EMM DAC we compared it to cost $25K - I am pretty sure no one in their right mine would fork out their dosh for that DAC against the Killer - yea and its $5.5k vs $25k ;D ;D ;D ;D.

Humm Mmmmm In my Best Monty Python Voice

Tell the young blokes that today, an theyll never believe ya.

Offline bhobba

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Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #29 on: March 09, 2014, 01:20:09 PM »
Tell the young blokes that today, an theyll never believe ya.

Mate - the problem with young blokes, and sheilas for that matter (my two nieces I live with are in that category) is they have never heard real Hi Fi.  When they do they are flabbergasted and shocked.

Thanks
Bill

Offline Jehuty

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Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #30 on: March 09, 2014, 01:36:44 PM »
Good job Bill introducing the young generation to high quality gear. Now, you need to go further brainwashing them, tell them that valve sounds like real music and never ever buy solid state craps  ;D
Not all that matters can be measured, not all that can be measured matters.

Offline bhobba

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Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #31 on: March 09, 2014, 03:38:09 PM »
Good job Bill introducing the young generation to high quality gear. Now, you need to go further brainwashing them, tell them that valve sounds like real music and never ever buy solid state craps

Not so sure all SS sounds like crap, and of recent times I way prefer valves, but I think an epiphany like that must happen in the fullness of time Minister.

Thanks
Bill


Offline stevenvalve

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Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #32 on: March 17, 2014, 02:08:18 AM »
Interestingly Bill speaking of DACs, for the last few months I had been listening to my new toy, my Otari MTR10 with valve output stage, and playing master tapes, the sound as you can imagine is amazing, believe me as good as it can get. So last week I decided to play my killerdac again, I started it up cold, transport and all, it had all been switched off for a month because of my new toy. Running through my mind was, will it even be listenable after the brilliant's of the Otari master tape compo. So on it went, cold and all, well as soon as the music started and it hit my ears, I turned to my girl and said, just listen to how natural and real it sounds, Most people will say something digital is not supposed to do, well it was just wonderful even cold, I played the dac for 4 days straight, never feeling short changed is any way. I even played some digital transfers from the Otari, playing the yarlung master tapes in 16 bit. The DAC and my Otari tape machine had a sameness to the sound ,a rightness you can say, Both painted with the same lovely brush, That taught me a lot, and what was that, don't change anything in this KillerDAC/Wadia transport combination

Offline vitavoxdude

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Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #33 on: March 17, 2014, 01:29:21 PM »
Thank F@#$

That's a great outcome that you did not feel short changed going back to your old faithful.  So how is the outboard Vv stage fed from the tape deck?
V
We all like different things so lets all agree to disagree and if any common ground is found then worship it.  Mine is the KD hence being present on this forum.

Offline onthebeach

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Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #34 on: March 17, 2014, 02:40:12 PM »
Interestingly Bill speaking of DACs, for the last few months I had been listening to my new toy, my Otari MTR10 with valve output stage, and playing master tapes, the sound as you can imagine is amazing, believe me as good as it can get. So last week I decided to play my killerdac again, I started it up cold, transport and all, it had all been switched off for a month because of my new toy. Running through my mind was, will it even be listenable after the brilliant's of the Otari master tape compo. So on it went, cold and all, well as soon as the music started and it hit my ears, I turned to my girl and said, just listen to how natural and real it sounds, Most people will say something digital is not supposed to do, well it was just wonderful even cold, I played the dac for 4 days straight, never feeling short changed is any way. I even played some digital transfers from the Otari, playing the yarlung master tapes in 16 bit. The DAC and my Otari tape machine had a sameness to the sound ,a rightness you can say, Both painted with the same lovely brush, That taught me a lot, and what was that, don't change anything in this KillerDAC/Wadia transport combination

When I read last week that the Killer was going to be fed by a computer source for the Brisvegas shootout I thought there is no way Steven or Craig will let the Killer be fed by a computer source in any serious comparison test. I thought it would end up being fed by Craigs Wadia for sure. Being fed by an Offramp flies in the face of everything I've been told and experienced for myself about getting optimal performance from the Killer.

Offline stevenvalve

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Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #35 on: March 17, 2014, 09:53:52 PM »
It was dumb all right, but bill owns it, and he was going to do it anyway. It was Fed via MacDonald's, when it demanded lobster. I think bill as learned an important lesson. 
« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 02:22:24 AM by stevenvalve »

Offline onthebeach

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Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #36 on: March 18, 2014, 04:10:18 PM »
A fellow Coffs friend and Sna member was there. He has heard my system many times. He reckons there is no doubt The Killer at the GC blind test was hampered by grounding problems. He said it sounded very unKiller like. He thought the Phasure was head and shoulders above the others.

Offline bhobba

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Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #37 on: March 21, 2014, 12:54:10 PM »
A fellow Coffs friend and Sna member was there. He has heard my system many times. He reckons there is no doubt The Killer at the GC blind test was hampered by grounding problems. He said it sounded very unKiller like. He thought the Phasure was head and shoulders above the others.

There are further comparisons going on now to address the earthing issue.

I prefer the upgraded Wadia as source for the Killer, but for a blind test there were practicalities to consider.  Rest assured there will be other comparisons down the line where the Killer is not so fed.

That the Phasure was head and shoulders above the rest was not my view - nor the general consensus.

My view of the best sound at the shootout was after when we played Peggy Lee - Fever via the Killer - the Lenard Cohen track in my view was far too contrived a recording to show the Killer off at its best.

Thanks
Bill
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 01:09:42 PM by bhobba »

Offline alcarp

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Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #38 on: March 21, 2014, 05:25:36 PM »
Bill ... How did you find the other DACs with the Cohen track?

Offline bhobba

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Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #39 on: March 21, 2014, 09:36:03 PM »
Bill ... How did you find the other DACs with the Cohen track?

I think on that track I gave the edge to the Phasure - but the other two to the PDX - although it's growing a bit dim.  The order was, worst to best, Killer, AMR, PDX, Phasure.

When I heard it again down at Mikes with the isolation platform and earth issue fixed I thought it much better - it didn't sound like electronic music to me.  But I still didn't like it - it simply sounded funny.  On that track the PDX was EASILY better.  But on all the other stuff I tried - Peggy Lee, Sade, Dean Martin, I liked the Killer.

A few more people have heard it now compared to the new PDX, and I will let them post what they think.

But things are becoming a bit clearer.  It's a bit like the Weston Amps I had.  I really liked what they did to the music I listen to, but others not so much, some were in my camp on it, but not everyone by a long shot.  Like all things in audio personal preference plays a big role.

Thanks
Bill
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 09:39:20 PM by bhobba »