Soekris DAC2541 Review And Measurements

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by purr1n, Nov 11, 2020.

  1. Cellist88

    Cellist88 Friend

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    @rhythmdevils I reckon the blackground is better on the soekris as it already was on the 1541. Also the sound was more etched, and lean but very clean lines, with one noteness, while the Yggdrasil has more body/roundness and feels the sound ripples with all the micro goodness. Would say maybe the soekris is sharper and more incisive, but I feel the Yggdrasil still has the edge on slam/macrodynamics simply because of more heft/body in the sound in general. Haven't heard the 2541, but it seems to keep similar characteristics of the 1541. If only the Yggdrasil just had a blacker blackground....would be so perfect.
     
  2. ColdsnapBry

    ColdsnapBry Almost "Made"

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    I'm actually thinking this might be really good for my use case. I was looking for a non ESS or AKM all in one, preferably R2R and there's not a ton of them other than Soekris and Chord?

    Reason is because if I'm listening to music it's on the SW51+. I only really keep a second amp around so I have something on 24/7 for skype calls youtube videos etc. But if a Soekris really is a solid DAC with just a headphone jack implemented, that's almost perfect for me? That would let me sell my Asgard 3 which I only use for that sort of us.
     
  3. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    I used to have a dac2541 in a similar configuration in my office-office, until I sold it to a friend when COVID closed office-office. It had the office PC as a USB source, and a Pi2AES-based streamer as an AES source. The line output went to a nice amp for music (used a Lyr 3 and ZMF Verité closed for a while), and the built-in headphone output went to a video call setup. Good setup. I now have a dac2541 that I got used here sitting in its box waiting for office-office to be a real thing again soon ;)
     
  4. aljordan

    aljordan New

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    I recently purchased a 2541 because I wanted an R2R DAC with a small footprint for a desk headphone system. It's been turned on in my regular system for the past ten days. Yesterday I spent some time comparing it to a number of other DACs that I've had plugged in to keep warm. One is a Prism Orpheus that I've owned for many years, another is an Yggdrasil 1 that a buddy of mine is selling, another is an Yggdrasil Analog 2 / OG that a friend let me listen to in case I want to buy the Yggdrasil 1 and upgrade the boards.

    I didn't like the 2541 when I first turned it on because piano harmonics sounded a little strident and trumpets were making me say "ouch", but after a couple of days that became less of an issue. Now at day 10 I really like the 2541. The USB input sounds soft and blah, but BNC via good quality feeds sound very good. While I bought it as a small DAC for my headphone rig, I am having a hard time removing it from the main system.

    I prefer the 2541 over the Yggdrasil 1. Instruments are nicely separated and realistic sounding, where as the Yggdrasil 1 is a little flatter sounding and with a bit less palpable quality.

    The Yggdrasil Analog 2 / OG sounds wonderful in this particular system. Nice rich bass, very palpable instrument texture, nice separation in width and depth, and a bit more friendly sounding harmonics on the piano. I heard this same DAC once before in a previous rendition of my system and I didn't like it, but I've since built a more forgiving and quite lovely sounding system, and now it fits in very well.
     
  5. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    Soekris 2541 critical listening impressions, the test playlist attached.

    I need to say this before anything else: It is my first serious R-2R DAC.
    The question is: did I waste my life listening to Delta Sigma DACs? Because I am thrilled and surprised how good the DAC and balanced HP out is.

    The setup: Roon core: Surface 6 Pro. i5, no fan.
    Roon endpoint: Xonar Essence STX RCA SPDIF, it should be Pi2AES but I will not get it until Feb
    Soekris linear filter. Roon Audeze LCD-X 2021 preset,
    Amps to compare: Talisman T-35HP for SE, Nuforce HA-200 XLR monoblocks, ideally I would want BHA-1 but do not have it with me.
    80% of the time Audeze LCD-X 2021, ZMF balanced cable. Briefly AKG k240DF 600 Ohm, DT 880 600Ohm, HD560 Ovation.

    Things to get out of the way before getting to the sound:
    1. USB is OK, acceptable for casual listening but, comparing to BNC and RCA SPDIF, it sucks. If you listen to the first item on the the playlist, Holly Cole Train Song, the difference in engagement level, resolution is obvious. That's just the way USB is.
    2. Comparing to XLR HP out the SE out ( HD560 Ovation) sounds flat, thin, and somewhat lifeless. HD 560 with XLR sounds very different.
    3. SPDIF from Digi+ does not work for 176.4 and 192 files. Not Soekris problem, everything works fine with Xonar STX as a source
    Sound impressions, using XLR HP out unless stated otherwise:

    There are better people on SBAF to review Soekris DAC and amp technicalities and provide detailed listening impressions, and they already did.
    The only thing that I can add to it is why I think 2541 is that good, based on the music to which I have listened over and over on any system I have ever used.
    1. For me the absolute benchmark of the instrument separation, bass texture and resolution is Bach Orgelbuchlein, Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesus Christ.
      I do not remember I ever heard it that good. Not with the full Bryston stack, not with RME ADI-2 Pro and BHA-1.
      Now, without the LCD-X Roon preset there is some lack of definition in mid bass in this track.
      From my PMs with @Vtory who had similar setup, it can be improved with external amp like Jot. But that is exactly what the Roon LCD-X preset does. Yes the RME-BHA-1setup is touch more resolving but the voices separation and bass clarity on 2541 is as good as I could remember.
      Instrument separation is a combination of good stereo image and the timbre of the instrument, or voice in the case of organ music, and 4521 performance is just superb. Stereo image is clear but coherent and instruments sound very true. I switched briefly to HD560 Ovation (XLR) to check the strings and I like it a lot. The same with piano. I do not have a good feel for guitar and drums but Hotel California and Stairways to Heaven passed my ear test with flying colors.

    2. Resolution is very good maybe a touch below the Bryston stack but it is more than compensated by how natural and rich it sounds. The 2541 dynamic range is plain impressive: smooth and effortless moving between lows to peaks. The improvement is very obvious using K240 DF with external SE amp. Transient response quality is noticeable, LCD-X sounds fast and well controlled.

    3. Switching from the Soekris XLR HP out to the Nuforce monoblocks:
      I like the Nuforce tonal balance more, but the bass texture, instrument separation and resolution was not as good as XLR HP out on Soekris. Listening again to the Bach chorale with Nuforce was simply disappointing. If someone told me before that I could have AIO that sounds like a combination of a good DAC and my HP monoblocks, I would be delighted. Well. now I have AIO that sounds better.

    4. More about SE HP out:
      To my ears the Talisman T-35HP SE amp paired with K240 DF sounds lovely in almost any setup, even with DacMagic Plus. The improvement of using T-35HP was obvious comparing to the Soekris HP SE out. Bass extension and control, and resolution in particular. I did not really expect SE HP out to compete with Talisman. And to make it even better there is some good synergy in the Soekris DAC, T-35HP, K240 DF setup.
    If there is one thing I do not like much in 2541 is the crossfeed implementation, Only the “green” one is usable but offers no real improvement. Roon's Jan Meier is way better. RME ADI-2 Pro level 2 crossfeed is better.
    The orange and red crossfeed settings do not sound natural to me.

    The conclusion:
    4521 is touch behind the resolution BDA-1 or BDA-2 and I do not have this impression of “hearing things I have not heard before”. But that is more than compensated with how natural and engaging the music sounds to my ears.
    Soekris 2541 with XLR out is, in my view, better AIO than RME ADI-2 pro, and it is very good AIO.

    I did not have a chance to check the DAC with BHA-1 but I will love to to hear 2541 paired with this powerful, clean and transparent amp. That has to wait a couple of months.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 21, 2021
  6. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    Correction, I was wrong. After ABing countless times between Roon Jan Meier and 2541 Medium crossfeed... I settled on Medium at least for HD560 Ovation and most of the music I have been listening to in last few days.
    LCD-X 2021 with Roon preset do not need any crossfeed, maybe it is a part of the preset.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2021
  7. Justin S

    Justin S Friend

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    After rolling a few things, I am back to the 2541. This time it is in my work suite where I am using it with powered Genelecs and a Jot. I have decided to use the pre on the 2541 this time around. Does anyone have a sense of where the digital volume control starts to lose too much information? I am running Rothwell inline -20db pads right now (even with the Gennie trim pots and dip switches set to attenuate almost to the maximum) and would like to ditch them, but am concerned that running the 2541 at -30...-40 will lose too much information.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2022
  8. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    I copied this snippet from one of Soren's posts on the 1541 a while back:

    "the dams and dacs have 35 bits internal, not 16 bits, input bit lengths get expanded immediately to 35 bit and first reduced when outputting to the R-2R resistors networks. Again, you only need to dither when reducing bit lengths, you will not get there with a 16 bit input until the volume is down min 11 bits (66 dB) and then you can't hear anything anyway...."
     
  9. Justin S

    Justin S Friend

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    Thanks for this. I will see how much I can trim things down here and ditch the Rothwells - they're good, but I can hear the difference when they're not in the chain.
     
  10. Justin S

    Justin S Friend

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    Out of the box, I found my new 2541 exciting as it sounded different than what I had in there (a Geshelli J2). As I continued to listen in the first day, however, I found it compressed, soft and a bit meh. I left it another day and am now returning to some listening - 48hrs in, it seems to be changing for the better: more dynamic, better treble, better bass texture.

    I have read in this thread that there is a "sheen" that goes away after 48+ hours (Atomic Bob suggested that there were potential changes that settle after 96+ hours). I think this is what I have been hearing. I experienced it as softness and lack of dynamic contrast rather than the etchyness that others have reported.

    Has anyone else noted this change in the early days of owning the 2541?
     
  11. Rowethren

    Rowethren Acquaintance

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    I know this thread has somewhat died out but I don't suppose anyone has had a chance to compare the 2541 to the new Bifrost 2/64? From what I have read it seems the 2/64 moves closer to the 2541 sound wise but any real life comparisons would be great!
     
  12. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    For a second i thought that this bump on the thread was about the new 3541 @soekris. Old me got all jumpy...
     
  13. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    Did someone just say soekris 3541???:fire:
     
  14. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    Has anyone tried this with the SW51? I briefly borrowed a 2541 before, but it was before I was able to get a SW51.

    I really like the mids of the SW51 already, but I think the "magic sprinkle" in the highs of the 2541 would pair well with the SW51. I also suspect the 2541 would "lighten" or "thin out" the SW51 slightly which could be good on some tracks but not to the point where it would hurt the sound in any situation. Thin out more like having a slightly airy croissant vs a slightly denser one, not like going from an empty inside puff pastry to a super dense meal replacement cookie.
     
  15. ushanka

    ushanka Facebook Friend

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    I have it with SW51 as my main system. It is on the warmer side of lean, with the tubes showing their color mostly in the upper mids. I compared this against DSHA-3F in my system, which came out drier overall. 3F was smoother in the upper mids, but harsher in the highs than SW51 in this arrangement.
     
  16. GunnarA

    GunnarA New

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    After all your positive reviews I got the soekris dac2541 in my system. Amplifier is fezz audio omega lupi, headphones are Grado RS- 2X. For me it seems to work very good with natural instruments and voices, the music I prefer.
     

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