Holo new Green/Cyan DAC+Headamp

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by VincentS, Nov 14, 2017.

  1. VincentS

    VincentS Rando

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    Holo Green / Cyan - DAC+Headamp

    Intro

    With the new Holo combined DAC/headamp now formally announced and pre-orders being taken, first deliveries are expected in a few weeks. So time to start a separate impressions thread just for this product.

    This is essentially a new version of the Holo Spring designed for headphone users - something I have been waiting for. I don't own a Holo or have any association with them but have been aware of them through very positive user reviews.

    The Spring contains 2 ladder DACS - one for PCM input and one for DSD. With the Green/Cyan, the first model being released contains 1 ladder DAC and 1 headphone amp instead.

    Essentials

    This first model contains only the PCM R2R ladder DAC - this will play your normal redbook and much higher resolution files and it will convert DSD files (up to DSD 256) to PCM files for playback - as many (most?) DACS claiming to be DSD capable do.

    The Spring and a minority of other DACs do native DSD (better for the purists and I do have one of those other non-holo ones) and there is a later version of the Green/Cyan coming out for this.


    Inputs are :
    -USB (isolated from ground)
    -Coaxial (RCA)
    -Coaxial (BNC)
    -AES
    -Optical
    -I2S - HDMI interface (DSD256)
    -USB and IS2 support DSD DOP mode DSD256 and all other digital inputs support DSD DOP mode to DSD64

    Outputs are:
    - Fully balanced/bridged XLR and RCA output
    - Balanced headphone output using 4 pin xlr


    Other points of note:
    • The clock is a still a femto one but not quite the same as in the Spring, whilst the USB input has apparently been upgraded compared to the USB input on the Spring.
    • Offers oversampling and non oversampling modes
    • The case is smaller than the Spring being 281 * 260 * 55mm or 11* 10 * 2
    • The new fully balanced headphone circuit
    • Ability to select either low impedance or high impedance for the headphones and to change this easlily
    • The remote control functions include volume as well as switching between low & high gain to satisfy users of IEM's through to tougher to drive full size audiophile headphones.
    • Jeff the lead designer has commented that unlike other integrated units where the headamp has been poorly regarded he wanted to build a decent headamp inside.
    • Price - ~20% cheaper than the Spring
    • All info above from vendor's preliminary info


    Impressions
    I have pre-ordered one and might add some impressions in a few weeks - but I look forward to impressions from more respected 'trusted ears'

    Now I am certain some readers could criticise my summary as not being accurate enough - but please don't rush in to do so - we all can hopefully contribute as more information and knowledge from use comes to hand.

    Hopefully this will add a new quality product to choose from along with those from the many other vendors releasing quality hear. Please add your impressions from actual use of the Spring or the Green/Cyan.

    Photos below - will post better ones when received.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
    Lyer25, slankoe, msommers and 3 others like this.
  2. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Red eyes from too much anime

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  3. eternaldrake

    eternaldrake Rando

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  4. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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  5. brencho

    brencho Loves pumping iron (Moderator)

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    Looks interesting! Some competition for soekris rme amethyst and co
     
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  6. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    I love the looks of the holo stuff.

    There is only 100 difference for the amp section. Wondering how good the amp section is.
     
  7. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    Based on what I have seen of your arsenal of amps, not good enough to get much head-time i'd wager
     
  8. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    well I want one for the looks :p (won't do it though, you are right)

    All companies should copy the looks of holo audio right now... no, yesterday. Since they didn't load in the initial post. Allow me:
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Arun Kumar

    Arun Kumar Friend

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    Sent out an email to Holo and got a response saying their tentative price for DSD version is $1099 and for PCM version is $1199. Final prices will be announced later this week. I was quite excited with their former tentative price of $900 & $1000.
     
  10. VincentS

    VincentS Rando

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    Hi @gbeast - yes the amp quality is interesting - I only went ahead with a pre-order when I read the designers comments about how he did not want to release an integrated unit with a mediocre head amp. It is not going to be as good as a Nelson Pass that’s for sure but I get the feeling it will be better than most other combo units. We will have to wait to really see once units start getting to trusted ears. All I can say is that to date Holo products have been good performers so I can’t see them risking that hard earned reputation with anything sub-standard.

    Vincent
     
  11. Arun Kumar

    Arun Kumar Friend

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  12. Arun Kumar

    Arun Kumar Friend

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    I have never preordered before. Are these (typically) preorder only prices or final prices? Do the prices change once a product hits production? Essentially, if I order this after 6 months will the prices be different?
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  13. Metro

    Metro Almost "Made"

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    Actually the webpage says in stock when you select either the PCM/headamp or DSD versions, so these products are ready to ship and no longer on preorder.

    To answer your question about preorder prices, it depends. A preorder discount is sometimes offered as a way to promote sales, and it would be advertised as a special preorder price. If no discount is stated, preordering is just a way to get in the queue to get the product as soon as it's available.
     
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  14. VincentS

    VincentS Rando

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    Cyan has arrived

    Ok mine arrived in the office on Friday - unfortunately I am out of town till Wed so can add some info after then.
     
  15. Metro

    Metro Almost "Made"

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    Additional specs have been added to the webpage:

    Headphone output
    THD+N 0.0015% @1K
    SNR -120dB
    Low resistance output (single-ended): [email protected] load
    Low resistance output (balanced): [email protected] load
    High-impedance output (single-ended): [email protected] load
    High-impedance output (balanced): [email protected] load​

    It would be very interesting to compare Holo Cyan with Soekris dac1541.
     
    Arun Kumar likes this.
  16. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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    Let's keep the SNR down by making a post after it actually arrives on your doorstep. This isn't Head-Fi.
     
  17. Greg121986

    Greg121986 Facebook Friend

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    I'm interested in this, but isn't this getting pretty close to the Holo Spring Level 1 in price? I thought the Cyan was going to be single ended DAC only, so if it is actually a fully balanced DAC section then it may be a pretty good buy.

    OP says the clock is a femto but different from the Holo Spring. Can anyone corroborate these two points? I have a Spring Level 3 and I do not recall any mention of there being femto clocks in it. As a matter of fact, the USB input on the Spring really sucks. I do not see anything on the Cyan being femto clocked either.

    At any rate, I'm looking to ditch my Bifrost Multibit in my office rig next year so hopefully the Holo stuff turns out to be a good option. Otherwise I'm inclined to checkout Denafrips.
     
  18. Metro

    Metro Almost "Made"

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    No, the prices are not comparable. $1,079 for Cyan (PCM/headamp version) vs $1499 for Spring Level 1, and the product description says " It’s a true balanced discrete resistor ladder dac with balanced headphone amp".
     
  19. Greg121986

    Greg121986 Facebook Friend

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    According to kitsunehifi, there is a $1,349 Enthusiast Edition that comes as the PCM version with headphone amp, and an additional board for DSD. The description indicates that the headphone amp is DISABLED when you insert the DSD module so then it's just a DAC. Why on earth would I want this? Why wouldn't I just spend a small amount extra and get the Spring L1? I see plenty of "rabble rabble I don't need DSD rabble rabble" mentioned here but there are people who have DSD recordings. I have many of them and they're some of the best recordings I have. The price is close enough to the Spring DAC Level 1 that this Cyan looks like a very poor value proposition. I really hope that it sounds great. On paper this product looks more like an engineer who was forced to make a ton of compromises so that he could appease the bean counters and get more sales. :( I hope we get some listening impressions soon because the more I look into this thing the more confused I get about why it exists.
     
  20. PacoTaco

    PacoTaco Friend

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    I...kind of agree honestly. Maybe it's my age or hanging around computer shit for so long, but I'm getting a bit cynical about the Spring Dacs and this one also. I was considering the Spring DAC until I realized that each tier was a HUGE difference in price, plus haivng to spend more money because some of the inputs (well, most) are not exactly great and the DAC needs some "fixing" via using some kind of AES, Eitr, I2S interface in the chain. That even put the L1 at close to $1,800 if I got the SU-1, which is way ahead of the Gungnir Multibit in price for something that, at L1, is about on par with the Gungnir Multibit.
     

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