Soekris "dac1541": DAC/Amp - Stream of Consciousness Impressions

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Torq, Jul 27, 2017.

  1. elmoe

    elmoe Friend

    Friend Executed
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2019
    Likes Received:
    1,050
    Dislikes Received:
    115
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Gotcha, thank you, that is good to know. I like betterer clockings and internals powerings and tallerer ladders.
     
  2. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,203
    Dislikes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Cape Town, South Africa
    And double everything for balanced.
     
    Kernel Kurtz and elmoe like this.
  3. brencho

    brencho Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2015
    Likes Received:
    7,138
    Dislikes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    LA
    Introductions on that thread were never mandatory as per @purr1n
     
  4. mscott58

    mscott58 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,118
    Dislikes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Philly - Yo
    True, but we do say "please". ;)
     
    GoodEnoughGear likes this.
  5. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio (Thread Judge Code-6 District)

    Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    Likes Received:
    3,172
    Dislikes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    Home Page:
    Just thought I'd chime in with some brief impressions since it's passed through my mind -

    A couple weeks ago I hung out at @brencho 's place with an offline friend. I brought a Mytek Manhattan II from work, the offline friend brought a Crane Song Solaris, and Brencho had his 1541. We did the comparison with Brencho's speaker system (I forget his exact preamp, power amp, and speakers) and did our best to level-match by ear.

    Long story short - of the three I preferred the 1541 (regardless of the filter setting). It had a smoother, more 'meat on the bones' timbre about it, whereas the Mytek had a bit of lower treble glare. Solaris felt a bit too lean and granular for me (though the microdetail noticeably exceeded the others), and I wasn't a fan of the upswing in the response way up in the stratospheric treble.

    1541 had the narrowest stage, but depth felt comparable to the Solaris. Staging on the Mytek was extremely wide and forward - kind of 'in your face' but not terribly nuanced in terms of depth or height. Imaging was as clean on the 1541 as it was on the Solaris (though the placement of everything felt closer together), whereas Mytek felt quite diffusive in comparison.

    1541 had the least amount of grain in the midbass thru the upper mids - nice grip and crunch without being overly bitey. I felt the 1541 had the 'blackest' background (whatever TF that means, one of those things you know when you hear it). Surprisingly zippy and resolute through the treble, which never felt like it exceeded the balance of the rest of the spectrum.

    Attacks felt possibly a bit rounded on the 1541 compared to the Mytek and Solaris (particularly in the mids on up), but the difference here was less than the difference in tonality and timbre, which suited my preference better compared to the others (more of a sense of 'body' and foundation in the lower half of the spectrum). I have a feeling I could play the 1541 with more volume than the others without fatigue.

    Mytek sounded like some of the other 9038 implementations I've heard combined with the Convert-2, but with the weaknesses of both (Sabre glare + weird wrap-around in-your-face oversaturated presentation) without the strengths of either. Not a fan.

    Solaris reminded me of a Stax headphone in DAC form - great resolve and detail, wonderful spatial cues. But also vaguely reminded me of the reason I'm not a fan of 'stats - a bit dynamically lean in decay, sustain, release / too ethereal without being firmly grounded in the lower end of the spectrum / not thicccc enough for my tastes.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
  6. Syzygy

    Syzygy Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2018
    Likes Received:
    1,988
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    Heh, I never meant to instigate any controversy, that's why I said

    Maybe y'all have a lot more free time than me! :D

    If there's a big community of filter rollers, great! I haven't seen that really discussed much here, though. Maybe a bullet point about the fact that they're available (I think even I mentioned that from the DAC1421 loaner).

    I'd expect maybe a separate Soekris filter-rolling thread to discuss that, vs. the impressions thread, since if I'm investigating whether or not I'd like to obtain a Soekris DAC (via impressions), using nonstandard filters would just confuse me. But I suppose in the end it's not much different than the pad-rolling experiments that Vtory has recently reported back on with the ZMFs.

    Cheers!
     
    sheldaze, Baten, earnmyturns and 3 others like this.
  7. Newk Yuler

    Newk Yuler Rando

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2019
    Likes Received:
    14
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    mid state Florida
    I apologize for crossing a line. I didn't intend to insult. As far as discussing the use of time I have little for opinions that contribute little to being constructive or productive. I place value on subjective opinions when they're plainly valuable. People willing to call filter rolling (for lack of a better quick label) in the Soekris DAMs and DACs "filter nervosa" aren't contributing value. And people who take the time to comment when their contribution suggests something obvious or already well established in the minds of audio enthusiasts is wasting time. It would be productive to generate an interest in community developed filters in SBAF, seems a good place for it even if the best place is the original thread in the DIY Audio forum. (Google "diyaudio filter brewing Soekris") Taking note Soren has said nothing about it here so far as far as recent discussion goes. :( He's a busy guy but would say something if he felt there was something he should say. So we must assume the obvious.

    Syzygy... I'm sorry for acting like a dick. If we ever cross paths please let me buy you a beer and offer friendship on a more honest personal level. Nick Sax (my avatar) isn't a good icon to represent my character. I usually use variations of Sheldon Cooper. (Which really doesn't fit me either but I have friends who tend to compare me to him.)

    FWIW I've been listening to the 1541 after allowing it to warm up for several days with the latest stock filters. Through Hifiman Arya headphones connected by single ended Amplifier Surgery cables (premium cable with silver plated conductors... Speaking of 'nervosas') to be certain there are no weak links. My hearing is measured good relative to normal middle aged men. My thoughts reflect that which others have said about everything sounding dry. Perhaps a bit far leaning to the sterile side of sound color which I consider a little odd for an R2R DAC. It impresses me as being a good base for running in a chain as a DAC source for a preamp and/or amp that will color the sound to personal taste. All of which makes me want to bust out the TTY cable and load the community filter pack.

    I have a balanced cable coming from Amplifier Surgery. I expect it will add weight to the sound quality but otherwise sound very similar to the single ended path. I've been using an Emotiva A-100 amp as a headphone amp supplying something like 15 watts per channel into 32 Ohms, so I'm use to hearing more weight behind the music in my Hifiman Arya.

    Cheers, 1541 gentlemen. :D
     
  8. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    May 28, 2017
    Likes Received:
    3,384
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Vancouver BC
    Don't over-think it. The discussion that followed your earlier post only confirms both that the locals are grumpy and also value useful content. Pretty sure that all involved and observing will read your future contributions on their merits, and now that we've seen a bit of your particular style, will take that into account when trying to interpret your intentions.
     
    Newk Yuler likes this.
  9. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,203
    Dislikes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Cape Town, South Africa
    Don't sweat it. This place is open to us calling out and figuring out our own shit without police. Key for me is just to participate and be authentic, like you just did.

    My experience , too, but it takes very well to a little EQ to warm it up.

    Cheers!
     
    BlitzkriegBob and Newk Yuler like this.
  10. Newk Yuler

    Newk Yuler Rando

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2019
    Likes Received:
    14
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    mid state Florida
    Thank you. I understand.

    I need to add regarding my impression of the sound of the DAC being dry or sterile I believe suggests that Soren designed the stock filters for precision and accuracy in their types which is why the community filters have coloration and are probably much less precise in design. The contributors in the DIY Audio brewing thread were amateurs with varying levels of understanding of the types and how to adjust on them, then when presented to the community got feedback on subjective qualities. At least one of them (the thread starter) was particularly good at it. The possibilities have been only barely explored. Mostly for only a short period of time in 2015.

    If you find me repeating myself more than you feel is necessary it's because I'm not reviewing what I've previously written, because in my work I spent a lot of time training underlings which over time grew into a habit of repeating myself a lot and eventually in normal thinking, (an admittedly bad characteristic) and because I think I'm a little bit retarded or brain damaged. Which, at least I admit. I have a tendency to talk down to people which I imagine can be offensive or irritating to smarter, better aware people. I welcome and appreciate when you smarter guys slap me down like you did a little earlier, especially when it's truly bad behavior, but please keep in mind that I'm also trying to impress something possibly important on the less aware.

    If I've made an ass of myself I hope it's a small price paid to generate an interest in the topic.
     
  11. Baten

    Baten Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2018
    Likes Received:
    490
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Belgium
    Is this filter "pack" available somewhere for download? Or is it just the individual filters scattered throughout the diyaudio thread? :)
     
  12. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    May 19, 2018
    Likes Received:
    648
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Winnipeg, Canada
    One of the main reasons I got in on the 1421 loaner (besides the good reviews here), was that I wanted to hear for myself the difference that varied approaches to software made on the same hardware. In my system at least, changing among the stock filters made very audible differences - I was actually surprised how different the same hardware can sound based on that and it gave me an appreciation that there is much more to building a good DAC than just choosing good parts and soldering them to a board.

    Ultimately I still prefer my Gungnir, but now I know that it is not just the chips, but also Mike's whatever-burrito filter software that gives it its magic, which just impresses me all the more.

    If I were to buy a Soekris, and it would certainly be high on my list if I was looking for an all-in-one, I would absolutely be getting into the DIY filter scene, not just to add another facet to my nervosa list, but also because it seems like a proper geeky thing to do (plus I maybe have too much time on my hands).

    I understand the loaner 1421 has gone back to Soren, but if he ever sees fit to send one on a tour where testers are allowed to play with aftermarket filters (have not looked to see what is involved in flashing them, so appreciate that might totally be too risky to allow), I'd certainly be in again for that.
     
    Syzygy, Baten, rlow and 2 others like this.
  13. Newk Yuler

    Newk Yuler Rando

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2019
    Likes Received:
    14
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    mid state Florida
    Google "diyaudio filter brewing soekris". Page 170, post 1698.

    During the loading process I found my 1541 came with the R1..21 firmware to which the pack would not load. Went to the Soekris download page which still contains R1.20, loaded it and then this filter pack. Others claim the pack loads to R1.21, although it apparently wasn't into a 1541. Still don't know why it didn't work.

    This pack contains Soren's Linear Phase filter in F4 (red), two of Paul's best works in F5 and F6 (orange and green), and a quasi NOS filter considered the better designed of the attempts at NOS. I've been listening to Paul's "C128" filter in F6 since I loaded the pack, with lossless electronic music. It was discussed like it was legendary (my label) while the brewing was getting more attention in 2015. It's significantly more organic than Soren's filters. Super nice in just about any way someone can describe the sound of a filter.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
    Baten likes this.
  14. boxerfan88

    boxerfan88 Rando

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2017
    Likes Received:
    3
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Singapore
    hi Soren, what are the differences between r1.20 firmware & r1.21 firmware?

    i wanted to know what improvements are there, to decide if i should take the trouble to update my dac1541 or not...thanks in advance

    @soekris
     
  15. Cellist88

    Cellist88 Afraid someone will shit on his opinions

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,019
    Dislikes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    NJ
    I've tried various filters, and I feel while some of them have cool effects, they aren't really balanced for normal use. Like one sounds like a spherical trash can, one sounds spacious but then you test it out on a movie, the dialogue is really recessed and sounds wonky. After a lot of back and forth, i ended up just staying with the normal red filter.
     
    Ash1412 and cskippy like this.
  16. soekris

    soekris MOT - Soekris Engineering

    Friend
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2016
    Likes Received:
    638
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Denmark
    Just some technical changes in clocking, a few users was reporting small clicks that rev 1.21 should fix.
     
    jexby, Kolohe, Syzygy and 3 others like this.
  17. boxerfan88

    boxerfan88 Rando

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2017
    Likes Received:
    3
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Singapore
    thanks Soren.
     
  18. TheIceman93

    TheIceman93 El pato-zorro

    Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2016
    Likes Received:
    851
    Dislikes Received:
    27
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    SoCal
    Hey @soekris , just a few quick questions. A few months back, I posted about a signal dropout problem I was having with my 1541 when I was using the coax input from my CD player. You mentioned that this was a potential problem with early models and that we could ship the unit back to you for a hardware upgrade to fix the problem.

    I have since been able to prevent this issue from happening. If I turn on the DAC first, let it warm up for a few minutes and then turn on the CD player, it locks into the signal without any trouble and I don't get dropouts. My question is this. Are there any additional sound quality benefits from this hardware upgrade that would make it worthwhile for me to ship the unit back to you?

    Lastly, where can I find the download for the v1.21 firmware that you mentioned on the thread? I only see v1.20 on your site.

    Thank you.
     
  19. TheIceman93

    TheIceman93 El pato-zorro

    Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2016
    Likes Received:
    851
    Dislikes Received:
    27
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    SoCal
    I'm shitting my pants right now. I can't get Tera Term to update my firmware. After I hit #update after loading the new firmware, nothing happens. I've attempted to update it 3 times with no luck, I'm following the instructions perfectly. What is going on? Has anyone else successfully done the update?

    Update: Crisis averted. After 5 attempts, it finally worked. No idea what that was about. Sorta sketchy.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  20. randytsuch

    randytsuch Almost "Made"

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2017
    Likes Received:
    167
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca
    I've read if your 232 wires are too long, you might have intermittent issues especially loading new firmware.
    Keep the wires from the dac to the 232 adapter pretty short, I think mine are around one foot long.



    Anyone who cares,
    I'm making some edits to my dac instruction page for loading new firmware, to try to make it clearer.
    Please let me know if you have suggestions.
     

Share This Page