Author Topic: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba  (Read 13722 times)

Offline Jehuty

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1385
  • Liked: 110
Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #40 on: March 21, 2014, 10:10:22 PM »
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.

Hi Bill,

I don't know anyone else on this forum who likes the Weston amp. We even had his supposedly top of the line preamp with super low output impedance compared to Steve's volume pot and the volume pot was simply better in all areas. He builds very nice looking gear but I have to say the sound quality is poor to average at best. I hope someone on here would play around with his gear and hot it up, see how far they can go. In theory, his output transformers are superb (spec and build wise).

I do want to support Australian products but they have to be great sounding too. I just hate those blind supports on SNA. It costs people a lot of money to swap things around and not all of us have the money to throw around buying hifi gear.

Cheers,
William
Not all that matters can be measured, not all that can be measured matters.

Offline stevenvalve

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1489
  • Liked: 259
Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #41 on: March 21, 2014, 10:29:26 PM »
The Weston amps are very nicely built, you must realize he has to make them with a price point in mind. Weston has to compete in the world of cheap. He cannot just throw in Duelunds and GEC U52s etc.  I believe it would be extremely hard to imposable to make a elite sounding component at the prices he and others have sell them for. If we had one of this amps then filled it full of toys, it will sound real good, Weston uses his own very good output transformers and his circuitry is excellent. We will spend ultimately and wisely whatever it takes, Weston and others do not have that luxury. I would buy one of the Weston amps anyday over the Chinese amps.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 10:46:30 PM by stevenvalve »

Offline Jehuty

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1385
  • Liked: 110
Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #42 on: March 21, 2014, 11:29:12 PM »
Yeah maybe if you compare the Weston to Chinese amps. But then again not all Chinese amps are bad. The Ming Da is a good example, and now there's Prima Luna that Bill likes more than any amps he has ever had (Weston, Arion, MacIntosh, Patek and the list goes on).

Forget all the reasoning behind why he let go the other amps. To me, the most important thing is what amps/DACs/speakers (or any other gear really) that people keep for themselves. After spending some money on hifi, I never believe people when they say it sounds good but eventually they sell them, for whatever reason.

If I have to choose between Weston and Ming Da at the same category of price, I would go for the Ming Da because they simply sound better....until you buy one of the Weston amps, tweak it and have me convinced that it does sound better than the Ming Da.

Look, Supratek sells MANY expensive hifi gear because they do sound pretty good. If the Weston products are very good sounding, I have no doubt people will buy regardless of the price. So, why the price should be the problem? Market segmentation perhaps? Make cheap products to sell more and profit more. But, would you sacrifice the quality of the gear you manufacture because you want more money? I am sure you will not.
Not all that matters can be measured, not all that can be measured matters.

Offline Jehuty

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1385
  • Liked: 110
Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #43 on: March 21, 2014, 11:41:17 PM »
Also, let's not forget our very own Paul Baker (fallsaudio) here who builds magnificent sounding gear. For almost the same price you can get a magnificently build amp like Mario's (in stock form). I know exactly where I would spend my money on.
Not all that matters can be measured, not all that can be measured matters.

Offline bhobba

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 330
  • Liked: 9
Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #44 on: March 22, 2014, 01:03:16 AM »
and now there's  that Bill likes more than any amps he has ever had (Weston, Arion, MacIntosh, Patek and the list goes on).

Well I never owned a Macintosh - Mike did.

And I don't think I ever said I like the Prima Luna more than any other because there is the matter of a certain upgraded Leak I heard and am now getting one upgraded myself.

I have not completed the upgrades yet, but as per a post I have recently made I think it may have the edge over the Prima Luna - but only time will tell.

But yes it is true I have owned a number of bits of gear and upgraded when I heard something better.  Personally I consider that's all part of the learning inherent in this hobby - but maybe that's just me.

Thanks
Bill

Offline hedalfa

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1540
  • Liked: 326
Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #45 on: March 22, 2014, 07:56:02 AM »
The Weston amps are very nicely built, you must realize he has to make them with a price point in mind. Weston has to compete in the world of cheap. He cannot just throw in Duelunds and GEC U52s etc.  I believe it would be extremely hard to imposable to make a elite sounding component at the prices he and others have sell them for. If we had one of this amps then filled it full of toys, it will sound real good, Weston uses his own very good output transformers and his circuitry is excellent. We will spend ultimately and wisely whatever it takes, Weston and others do not have that luxury. I would buy one of the Weston amps anyday over the Chinese amps.

Other builders have similar problems. I have known Pat Turner many years and visited his workshop many times. He is a perfectionist, and ends up putting in many more hours than he could charge for. Some customers have supplied there own upgraded parts, though Pat hates to see people waste money, and is very sceptical about a lot of high price bits.  There is a lot of hype and not all costly bits are worth the money, though if a customer want to spend the money, well buyer be aware.

While I am not a fan of Weston gear, the basics are right, they are well made, look good and don't have glaring faults like lots of hum, and eat tubes. Theres potential there for sure......


Offline hedalfa

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1540
  • Liked: 326
Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #46 on: March 22, 2014, 08:06:32 AM »
Also, let's not forget our very own Paul Baker (fallsaudio) here who builds magnificent sounding gear. For almost the same price you can get a magnificently build amp like Mario's (in stock form). I know exactly where I would spend my money on.

Paul Baker is a bit under the radar for most people. A bit like a dark horse that seems to come from nowhere and surprises big time. He has done several projects for me and undersells his work, has achieved far more than he would say of him self. A great combination of deep experience, willingness try new things and love of music. For all of those working in jobs we don't particularly enjoy I also like the idea of funding some one to do what they love.  Call it spreading karma if you like, but for me its more than just another financial transaction. 

Offline ozmillsy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2164
  • Liked: 245
Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #47 on: March 22, 2014, 11:02:34 AM »
Mike is thinking of holding some more blind tests of amps and DAC's.

Good luck to him I say if he feels like doing the hard yards bringing it about.
Sure, as long as he is open to discussing the approach, and he is willing to consider changes - then absolutely good luck to him.

There is nothing worse than going to all that trouble, to then have all the holes identified after the fact.   Discuss them beforehand, and at least agree with any interested parties if it could be done better.   There are always pros/cons.
It's all about the music,, not the equipment.

Offline bhobba

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 330
  • Liked: 9
Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #48 on: March 22, 2014, 11:08:14 AM »
Sure, as long as he is open to discussing the approach, and he is willing to consider changes - then absolutely good luck to him. There is nothing worse than going to all that trouble, to then have all the holes identified after the fact.   Discuss them beforehand, and at least agree with any interested parties if it could be done better.   There are always pros/cons.

My gut tells me he hasn't considered exactly the amount of work in doing it.

We will see what eventuates.

Thanks
Bill

Offline zenelectro

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 781
  • Liked: 145
Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #49 on: March 22, 2014, 02:07:42 PM »
Hi Bill,

I don't know anyone else on this forum who likes the Weston amp. We even had his supposedly top of the line preamp with super low output impedance compared to Steve's volume pot and the volume pot was simply better in all areas. He builds very nice looking gear but I have to say the sound quality is poor to average at best. I hope someone on here would play around with his gear and hot it up, see how far they can go. In theory, his output transformers are superb (spec and build wise).

I do want to support Australian products but they have to be great sounding too. I just hate those blind supports on SNA. It costs people a lot of money to swap things around and not all of us have the money to throw around buying hifi gear.

Cheers,
William

WRT volume pot versus the Weston top of line pre amp, this is a tough comparison for a pre amp.

If your system sounds very good without a pre amp and uses just a volume pot or stepped attenuator,
IME almost no pre amp is going to make it better. They can only minimize damage they are doing to the sound.

To get the very low OP impedance will require extra circuitry probably feedback and just makes things worse. 

If your system is just about right with a passive volume pot / atten and you really need lower OP impedance / more drive
there is a very good unity gain tube buffer stage that I build which is direct coupled (no capacitor) that is probably the best option.
 
This will give almost the same sound as the volume pot but with more drive, the OP impedance is around 200 ohms which
is a good compromise and will drive just about anything. But to get this purity of audio path with no capacitors requires
some tricky circuitry and it's not a cheap solution.

Z

Offline ozmillsy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2164
  • Liked: 245
Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #50 on: March 22, 2014, 02:45:56 PM »
Cap comparison discussion has been split out,  and moved to the Capacitor sub forum.     It's a valuable discussion to have in it's own merit.

http://killerdac.com/forum/index.php/topic,2635.msg18172.html#new
It's all about the music,, not the equipment.

Offline Jehuty

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1385
  • Liked: 110
Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #51 on: March 22, 2014, 09:15:41 PM »
To get the very low OP impedance will require extra circuitry probably feedback and just makes things worse.
Hi Zen, what bugs me is that this super low output impedance preamp has been promoted as one of the main requirements for any good preamps (on SNA), so it's a BIG no for any high impedance preamps. As we all know, this can be VERY misleading.


If your system is just about right with a passive volume pot / atten and you really need lower OP impedance / more drive
there is a very good unity gain tube buffer stage that I build which is direct coupled (no capacitor) that is probably the best option.
 
This will give almost the same sound as the volume pot but with more drive, the OP impedance is around 200 ohms which
is a good compromise and will drive just about anything. But to get this purity of audio path with no capacitors requires
some tricky circuitry and it's not a cheap solution.

Z
I got one at home made in the US: http://dagogo.com/dodd-audio-battery-powered-tube-buffer-preamplifier-review
I really like it, it's got good drive, clarity and very musical. I gotta bring this to your place someday to compare to your buffer. It's not working now. I broke the power switch and I haven't got time to get it fixed.

Cheers,
William
Not all that matters can be measured, not all that can be measured matters.

Offline zenelectro

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 781
  • Liked: 145
Re: Killer DAC For Bill Hobba
« Reply #52 on: March 22, 2014, 09:47:49 PM »
Hi Zen, what bugs me is that this super low output impedance preamp has been promoted as one of the main requirements for any good preamps (on SNA), so it's a BIG no for any high impedance preamps. As we all know, this can be VERY misleading.

Cheers,
William

It's all a matter of compromise and common sense.

Around 200 ohms output impedance will drive just about anything out there today easily. However you can certainly make a
pre amp that has 10 ohm OP impedance but you will have to use either some sort of feedback or an extra stage.

2 steps forward, 3 steps backward.  ;)