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  1. #1

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    Default Going "Old School" with a CAL Alpha DAC...

    I just had to do it, snagged it for a great price so I figured why not. This will be a fun comparison to my current CA DacMagic, which I like alot! The Alpha DAC is coming with Amperex 12aX7 (2) tubes (hint, hint...any tube rolling recommendations). From what I've read this DAC is no slouch even though it's dated, buy mated with the right tubes it can rival a lot that's out there today. Truth or fiction? We'll find out shortly.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "
    Panny 65" 3D Plasma
    Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A3010 AVR
    D>SONIC M2-600M mono's / mains
    Rotel RMB-1095 / 5 channel amp
    Rotel RMB-1075 / 5 channel amp
    TEAC UD - 501 DAC
    Oppo BDP-93
    SONOS System
    KEF Q900 / mains
    KEF Q600 / center
    KEF Q800 / surrounds
    KEF Q100 / rear surr.
    Def Tech ProMonitor 1000 / front & rear presence
    Velodyne SPL-1200R subs / dual pair
    DSPeaker Anti-Mode 8033 sub EQ
    Equitech Balanced Power Son of Q 1.5R
    Extensive room treatments

  2. #2

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    I don't have experience with that particular DAC, but, as with any DAC, the quality of the analog section is critical to good sound. Point being, an older DAC with an excellent analog section will sound better than a new DAC with the latest chip but a crappy analog section. I have a 15 year old Parasound DAC-2000 Ultra that will dominate almost any new DAC. The only DAC's that sound better than that old Parasound are newer ones with newer chips whose analog sections are on par with it.

    Congrats, looking forward to your impressions! I think you're in for a treat...
    Last edited by falconcry72; 01-18-2013 at 11:08 AM.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  3. #3

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    You can find comments like smooth and rich, best DAC ever; or the tube output stage is sub par compared to the SS gain stages before it making it sound veiled. Do you know which version/year it was made?
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
    Krell KRC-HR Class A Pre w/ Reference Phono
    Krell Class A KSA-250
    Harmonic Technology Pro 9+
    Squeezebox Touch / Welborne Labs PS / I2S Out Mod
    Denon 3910 w/I2S/DSD Out
    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
    Sennheiser HD650
    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
    AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm
    AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R
    Shunyata Hydra (Original)
    NHT B-12d subs
    GIK Acoustic Treatments


    CP Showcase

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCompRacer View Post
    You can find comments like smooth and rich, best DAC ever; or the tube output stage is sub par compared to the SS gain stages before it making it sound veiled. Do you know which version/year it was made?
    It's the original 18 bit version not the 24/96. If I find it necessary it can still be upgraded to the 24/96 version. But from what I''ve read the original 18 bit version is where it's at. Time will tell.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "
    Panny 65" 3D Plasma
    Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A3010 AVR
    D>SONIC M2-600M mono's / mains
    Rotel RMB-1095 / 5 channel amp
    Rotel RMB-1075 / 5 channel amp
    TEAC UD - 501 DAC
    Oppo BDP-93
    SONOS System
    KEF Q900 / mains
    KEF Q600 / center
    KEF Q800 / surrounds
    KEF Q100 / rear surr.
    Def Tech ProMonitor 1000 / front & rear presence
    Velodyne SPL-1200R subs / dual pair
    DSPeaker Anti-Mode 8033 sub EQ
    Equitech Balanced Power Son of Q 1.5R
    Extensive room treatments

  5. #5

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    Sweet Dac.....Congrats!
    Linn AV5140 fronts
    Linn AV5120 Center
    Linn AV5140 Rears
    M&K MX-70 Sub for Music
    Odyssey Mono-Blocs
    SVS Ultra-13 Gloss Black:D

  6. #6

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    Ahhh yes the Crystal CS4328,one of the first good sounding Delta-Sigma dac chips.I still have one in my parts bin from my first DIY atempt at a stand alone dac.

  7. #7

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    double post

  8. #8

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    Cool Phil, I would imagine a pretty good analog sound from that dac. Let us know your thoughts.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    Cool Phil, I would imagine a pretty good analog sound from that dac. Let us know your thoughts.
    Tony, let's hope so. The CAL Alpha DAC I believe is the polar opposite of the DacMagic (which I really like). This will definitely be a nice comparison. I'm surprised no one has chimed in yet with some 12ax7 tube recommendations. It's coming loaded with Amperex tubes which I believe are pretty darn good to start off with.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "
    Panny 65" 3D Plasma
    Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A3010 AVR
    D>SONIC M2-600M mono's / mains
    Rotel RMB-1095 / 5 channel amp
    Rotel RMB-1075 / 5 channel amp
    TEAC UD - 501 DAC
    Oppo BDP-93
    SONOS System
    KEF Q900 / mains
    KEF Q600 / center
    KEF Q800 / surrounds
    KEF Q100 / rear surr.
    Def Tech ProMonitor 1000 / front & rear presence
    Velodyne SPL-1200R subs / dual pair
    DSPeaker Anti-Mode 8033 sub EQ
    Equitech Balanced Power Son of Q 1.5R
    Extensive room treatments

  10. #10

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    Depends on which Amperex they are, and by that I mean year and plate type, getter etc. Search some of my old tube threads, lots of 12AX7, 5751 info.

    Sylvania 3 mica black plate GB 5751 are among my favorites, not cheap however.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by FTGV View Post
    ....Delta-Sigma......
    I was in that fraternity; they had us under double secret probation.

    CS4328, SOTA in the mid '90's, eh?
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
    Krell KRC-HR Class A Pre w/ Reference Phono
    Krell Class A KSA-250
    Harmonic Technology Pro 9+
    Squeezebox Touch / Welborne Labs PS / I2S Out Mod
    Denon 3910 w/I2S/DSD Out
    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
    Sennheiser HD650
    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
    AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm
    AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R
    Shunyata Hydra (Original)
    NHT B-12d subs
    GIK Acoustic Treatments


    CP Showcase

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCompRacer View Post
    CS4328, SOTA in the mid '90's, eh?
    Not quite,the multi bit chips like the PCM63 and AD1862 could piss further but the 4328 got high marks for musicality and was very easy to work with making it nice for DIYing.It was a highly integrated with on board output buffers so could be used without any additional out stage if one chose the simplest route.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Depends on which Amperex they are, and by that I mean year and plate type, getter etc. Search some of my old tube threads, lots of 12AX7, 5751 info.

    Sylvania 3 mica black plate GB 5751 are among my favorites, not cheap however.

    H9
    When the unit arrives I'll get the info from the tubes & try to track down their origin. I read up on those Sylvania's you mentioned...very sought after. Hmmmm.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "
    Panny 65" 3D Plasma
    Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A3010 AVR
    D>SONIC M2-600M mono's / mains
    Rotel RMB-1095 / 5 channel amp
    Rotel RMB-1075 / 5 channel amp
    TEAC UD - 501 DAC
    Oppo BDP-93
    SONOS System
    KEF Q900 / mains
    KEF Q600 / center
    KEF Q800 / surrounds
    KEF Q100 / rear surr.
    Def Tech ProMonitor 1000 / front & rear presence
    Velodyne SPL-1200R subs / dual pair
    DSPeaker Anti-Mode 8033 sub EQ
    Equitech Balanced Power Son of Q 1.5R
    Extensive room treatments

  14. #14

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    The DAC should be hear on Friday...looks like it'll be a fun weekend.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "
    Panny 65" 3D Plasma
    Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A3010 AVR
    D>SONIC M2-600M mono's / mains
    Rotel RMB-1095 / 5 channel amp
    Rotel RMB-1075 / 5 channel amp
    TEAC UD - 501 DAC
    Oppo BDP-93
    SONOS System
    KEF Q900 / mains
    KEF Q600 / center
    KEF Q800 / surrounds
    KEF Q100 / rear surr.
    Def Tech ProMonitor 1000 / front & rear presence
    Velodyne SPL-1200R subs / dual pair
    DSPeaker Anti-Mode 8033 sub EQ
    Equitech Balanced Power Son of Q 1.5R
    Extensive room treatments

  15. #15

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    How is the Alpha treating you?

    I have a Sigma II on the way.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  16. #16

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    What is tube rolling?

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jhayman View Post
    What is tube rolling?
    audio term for trying different tubes in your system
    Home Theater:Samsung8000-55LED,Pioneer SC35, Pioneer DV-79AVi, Sunfire TGA7201, LSi25, LCi RTSc, LC80i
    2chnl system:Melody 101 tube pre, Pass XA30.5 amp, Usher MD2 speakers, W4S Dac, MG Audio Planus2 speaker cables
    Office rig: Modwright KWI-200 Integrated, Dynaudio C1-II Signatures

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by thsmith View Post
    How is the Alpha treating you?

    I have a Sigma II on the way.
    I couldn't be more pleased. It conveys a very smooth, natural sound that literally draws you in. I'm sure the Bugle Boy tubes have a lot to do with it. You have to let us know how you like the Sigma II. CAL made great stuff back in the day. It's a shame when they got bought out all that seemed to stop.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "
    Panny 65" 3D Plasma
    Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A3010 AVR
    D>SONIC M2-600M mono's / mains
    Rotel RMB-1095 / 5 channel amp
    Rotel RMB-1075 / 5 channel amp
    TEAC UD - 501 DAC
    Oppo BDP-93
    SONOS System
    KEF Q900 / mains
    KEF Q600 / center
    KEF Q800 / surrounds
    KEF Q100 / rear surr.
    Def Tech ProMonitor 1000 / front & rear presence
    Velodyne SPL-1200R subs / dual pair
    DSPeaker Anti-Mode 8033 sub EQ
    Equitech Balanced Power Son of Q 1.5R
    Extensive room treatments

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