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Thread: Valve DAC recommendation for Croft 25/7 and Harbeth

  1. #1
    Join Date: Aug 2017

    Location: Northern Sweden

    Posts: 5
    I'm Andreas.

    Default Valve DAC recommendation for Croft 25/7 and Harbeth

    I recently bought a pair of 30.1 together with the Croft 25/7 combo equipped with NOS Tesla e83cc valves. I play only digital and using a Rega DAC. I'm very pleased with the sound coming out of these boxes. Feels more alive, with more separation, 3D than I ever had the chance to hear before.

    However I'm getting very tempted to get more of that feeling by upgrading the Rega-DAC to a good valve DAC. I rather spend it on a used so I can get the most for my money. My budget is about 1000. What do you recommend?

  2. #2
    Join Date: Mar 2015

    Location: Berlin

    Posts: 50
    I'm George.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philson81 View Post
    I recently bought a pair of 30.1 together with the Croft 25/7 combo equipped with NOS Tesla e83cc valves. I play only digital and using a Rega DAC. I'm very pleased with the sound coming out of these boxes. Feels more alive, with more separation, 3D than I ever had the chance to hear before.

    However I'm getting very tempted to get more of that feeling by upgrading the Rega-DAC to a good valve DAC. I rather spend it on a used so I can get the most for my money. My budget is about 1000. What do you recommend?
    Hi there, in my experience a valve DAC in an entirely valve based system does NOT necessarily make things better -the resulting sound may drift towards "lush & soft" with leading edges blurred. For my taste at least. It all depends on individual taste though... An upgrade on Rega DAC within your budget I can think of would be: Leema Elements DAC (solid state but good), if you are definitely into valves at digital front end: Audio Note DAC (in AN kit form you get more sound for bucks), very promising and sort of a bargain seems to be Gary Dews' Border Patrol valve DAC (like AN also no over-sampling technology)

  3. #3
    Join Date: Jan 2017

    Location: Guernsey

    Posts: 36
    I'm Richard.

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    I can heartily recommend the Border Patrol SE DAC though it has only one valve, in the power supply. It transformed the digital sound into my valve pre (Puresound L10) and solid state power amp (Modwright)
    Gary at Border Patrol is a delight to deal with.
    A new one would be slightly above budget but only just.

    Richard
    Last edited by Dickchy; 24-11-2017 at 16:16. Reason: Punctuation

  4. #4
    Join Date: Mar 2016

    Location: Barnet, london UK

    Posts: 566
    I'm Adam.

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    Andreas, i have one of Dr. Slawa's DACS with tube output stage
    I Couldn't recommend them highly enough, certainly worth a chat with Slawa. He certainly knows his stuff
    http://sw1xad.co.uk/product/dac-1/
    "lack of passion is fatal"
    LP12, Kore, Lingo2, Aro, SKale / DV XX2Mk2 / Garrard 401 / SME 3012 Ortofon Vintage SPU GE /Shure M3D / AD Audio KT120 'Cannonball' mono blocks / WAD 300b Power modded, TJ Mesh Plate Valves / David Coe AD Audio 'Satchmo' Pre & Phono / Hashimoto HM-7 SUT / Tannoy 12" MGs in Chatsworth size cabs with RFC Custom Crossovers / Speaker Cables: Duelund DCA16GA / Rpi3 & Digi + pro / SW1X Audio Design USB-SPdif / SW1X Audio Design DAC 1 Signature / Interconnects: Duelund DCA20GA home brew / SW1X Audio Phono SPDIF AERO 6 / David Coe AD Audio Silver USB / Synology NAS Drive / Roon / Tidal HiFi

  5. #5
    Join Date: Apr 2016

    Location: Bishops Stortford

    Posts: 515
    I'm Chris.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WESTLOWER View Post
    Andreas, i have one of Dr. Slawa's DACS with tube output stage
    I Couldn't recommend them highly enough, certainly worth a chat with Slawa. He certainly knows his stuff
    http://sw1xad.co.uk/product/dac-1/
    I would certainly second this. He has some pre owned equipment on his Site which are certainly good value for money. I cant speak highly enough about the sound quality.

    My fantastic DAC1 Signature may appearing there soon I think, as I am upgrading to the DAC II Special.

    http://sw1xad.co.uk/pre-owned-equipment-for-sale/

  6. #6
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 2,416
    I'm Tom.

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    See Private Exhibitions http://theartofsound.net/forum/showt...Devices-AD1865

    No connection to the seller and appreciate it is a bit over budget, but this is a superb DAC and should be broadly around the level of to the factory 2.1x DAC which is over 4k retail.

    This DAC is similar to mine (mine, though an earlier kit version, has multiple mods such as AN's top of the range I/V transformers, Super Hi-B output transformers with upgraded core material, fancy caps, switched multiple inputs including AES/EBU, as well as 2 coax inputs, two with upgraded AN impedance matching transformers and one with a jfet input buffer). Shows the potential of the design though.

    I'm a huge fan of Audio Note DACs (similar non-OS principle to the Slawa DAC Adam mentioned). I've had mine for five years now, albeit with a couple of rounds of upgrading (I would estimate it's something a bit above a factory 4.1x by now) which is a record for me. Honestly don't think I will ever need to upgrade from this, though I'm talking to SpeedySteve about moving it to to a copper chassis, or perhaps even two copper chassis, one for power and the other for signal.

    Anyway highly recommended with a substantial future upgrade path - the total opposite of a dead end.
    Main: Speakers 'RFC' Tannoy Canterburys / custom crossovers; Amp - Radford STA100; Pre EAR 912; Vinyl: Thorens TD124 MkII + Ikeda IT345-CR1 / Ortofon 309 Limited tonearms; Cartridges Stereo - Miyajima Madake, Ortofon SPU Royal N + Shure M3D Jico stylus; Mono - Miyajimas - Zero 0.7, Premium 1.0 retipped by Ana Mighty Sound bamboo cantilever, Spirit '78' 3.0 conical from Ana, also vintage GE VRII, Shure M44 strapped for mono with several Expert Stylus conicals for different eras of 78s; Phono stage and SUT from EAR 912; Esoteric Sound Re-Equalizer for equalisation of early mono and 78, switchable in from tape loop; Digital: Audio Note CDT2/II transport, heavily modded AN Kit DAC + Mutec MC3+USB.

    Study: Speakers - Tannoy DC6; Amp: Duncan 'Tuberhunter' 200w class D; preamp - Pass DCB1; Vinyl: Garrard 401 with AT1503 tonearm and vintage SPU-GE; SUTs - Ortofon 2-15k & Bob's Devices; Phono Stage: Schiit Mani; Digital - Trichord Genesis III CDP + Arcam rBlink; Schiit Multibit DAC.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Feb 2017

    Location: Essex-Herts border

    Posts: 45
    I'm Matt.

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    I love my Jolida valve dac. Its been modded a bit with different valves & upgraded caps etc, but even in standard form its blooming good. No way is it lush/soft or blurred leading edges.
    No remote control, but hard to find fault with, other than that.

  8. #8
    Join Date: Dec 2008

    Location: penzance,cornwall uk

    Posts: 308
    I'm paul.

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    not heard it...but would soooo love to,looks well made with plenty of options...
    https://www.innerfidelity.com/conten...mic-duo-page-2

  9. #9
    Join Date: Dec 2008

    Location: penzance,cornwall uk

    Posts: 308
    I'm paul.

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    just realised the tube section is just being used as a buffer option..so its pants...ill get my coat
    still it does look nice

  10. #10
    Join Date: Aug 2017

    Location: Northern Sweden

    Posts: 5
    I'm Andreas.

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    Thanks for all great advice!! ��
    I'm going to research on the brand/models you recommend. The only brand I recognize from before is AN, and I know they make superb products.


    I just read some reviews on the Border Patrol DAC, it seems as a really impressive piece of gear, strong candidate for sure. Do you know if it's availible in Europe?
    Last edited by Philson81; 26-11-2017 at 15:04.

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