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magiccarpetride
13-05-2010, 16:44
I've finally hit the first milestone with burning my Caiman in -- I believe yesterday was the 200th hour of the burn-in. And that's the 'common wisdom of the crowds' suggestion with this DAC. So, I couldn't wait to give it a comparative listen (by comparative I mean to compare how it sounds now with the way how I remember it sounding a couple of days ago; I know, shady and iffy, but that's all I can go by).

I must say I got startled this morning when I began listening to it. I hear that the resolution has definitely increased -- it is now super easy to hear minute and minor details in the way cymbals shimmer and the triangles spin and the bells vibrate. Also, the layers upon layers of sound are now more discernible -- I can hear how the instruments and voices overlap each other, stepping on each others' toes, and yet they stay put, and you can lock into any of those and keep following them and you'll never lose them in the melange (which is invariably quite a challenge with less sophisticated audio components).

But the thing that made me really scratch my head is the sudden absence of euphonics! By euphonics I mean certain satin-like colorations that make certain tracks or passages so seductive and pleasurable to listen to. The lush seductiveness that I knew so well seems to have all of a sudden vanished now, to be replaced by this very controlled, very clinical precision and clarity. So where did the euphonics go?

Am I imagining things, or is that how this DAC is supposed and expected to evolve and grow on you? My suspicion is that I've reached the point where the Caiman is revealing some previously unnoticeable graininess of my power amp (DPA 200s). This wasn't prominent before, while I was using lower resolution DACs, and also while the Caiman was still going through its growing pains. Now that it's coming of age, it began its merciless crusade against any and all of the shitty components and settings and configurations in my audio chain.

Who knows, maybe the Caiman is now also revealing the sub par cabling and connectors in my system? I need some help and your prudent advice in these matters, please!

(Oh, btw, if you were wondering what's the second milestone with the Caiman, I think it's the 40 days burn-in that some experts advocate; god knows what will be revealed to me at that junction...)

Themis
13-05-2010, 18:42
My opinion is that the Caiman reveals the recording and mixing.

Try and see whether you have some "systematic" behavior (on all records) of the absence of "euphonics". If it's the case, perhaps there's something else to look at. ;)

Peter Galbavy
14-05-2010, 08:01
Also, can you go back to BC (Before Caiman) with minimal other changes and see if the specific effect - regardless of other differences - returns ? i.e. plug your phono cables back into the CD players analogue outs.

magiccarpetride
14-05-2010, 16:15
My opinion is that the Caiman reveals the recording and mixing.

Try and see whether you have some "systematic" behavior (on all records) of the absence of "euphonics". If it's the case, perhaps there's something else to look at. ;)

Oddly enough, everything got back to normal last night. Even more than that -- it's now back to normal PLUS much better resolution/soundstage! But the silky, velvety, satin-like lush quality of the sound which temporarily vanished yesterday morning is now back in the saddle in all its glory.

This little DAC keeps surprising me. It's constantly evolving and settling in. Is it truly the case that it will need its sweet 1,000 hours of burn-in before it stabilizes?

magiccarpetride
14-05-2010, 16:16
Also, can you go back to BC (Before Caiman) with minimal other changes and see if the specific effect - regardless of other differences - returns ? i.e. plug your phono cables back into the CD players analogue outs.

Gawd, tried it and I don't wanna ever do it again! It's unbearably bad and flat and shallow compared to the Caiman.

Stratmangler
14-05-2010, 16:17
Is it truly the case that it will need its sweet 1,000 hours of burn-in before it stabilizes?

Yup !
I reckon it was 2 months before mine became consistent in performance.

Themis
14-05-2010, 18:13
Oddly enough, everything got back to normal last night. Even more than that -- it's now back to normal PLUS much better resolution/soundstage! But the silky, velvety, satin-like lush quality of the sound which temporarily vanished yesterday morning is now back in the saddle in all its glory.

This little DAC keeps surprising me. It's constantly evolving and settling in. Is it truly the case that it will need its sweet 1,000 hours of burn-in before it stabilizes?
Tell me, Alex : I hope you never power off the Caiman ? :scratch:
The unit needs more than half an hour, imho, to get stabilized.

Anyway, perhaps it is worth investigating in the mains issue. ;)

magiccarpetride
14-05-2010, 18:41
Tell me, Alex : I hope you never power off the Caiman ? :scratch:
The unit needs more than half an hour, imho, to get stabilized.

Anyway, perhaps it is worth investigating in the mains issue. ;)

No, I never power it off, just keep pumping music through it 24/7. It seems to get better and better with each passing day (save for the glitch I've heard yesterday morning; luckily, it corrected itself).

DSJR
14-05-2010, 18:57
Lush and seductive is NOT a characteristic of the master grade files I've heard in my time. In fact, dry and precise is a bit more like it..

PLEASE, don't listen so hard, 'cos you'll start to imagine all sorts of non existant "faults" in your system and this is what feeds the "upgrade" syndrome which gets you nowhere.

Enjoy the MUSIC coming out of the system and as for interconnects, there are many good ones out there on fleabay for under 20, many of which actually perform very well. If you want something really special, try the Mark Grant HD cables.

Perhaps the next generation of Caiman will come on song straight away. I have deep suspicions of products that take "weeks" to stabilise......

StanleyB
14-05-2010, 19:59
Perhaps the next generation of Caiman will come on song straight away. I have deep suspicions of products that take "weeks" to stabilise......
I know that you are suspicious of my products, so what's new?
I mention in the instructions that the DAC requires burn in time. The caps manufacturer specifies it and there is nothing I can do about it. Hemp based audio caps are difficult beasts that take ages to form properly. Silmic caps are based on the same hemp material, and are also notorious for their burn in time.

dave2010
14-05-2010, 21:22
Stan

I really can't believe the bass sounds I'm getting out of my system now. My loudspeakers NEVER produced sounds like this before this year. Partly it's the amp, but since it's been improving over the last month I figure it has to be your DAC. I may try to upgrade the amp, but right now this is doing really well.

I know that hardly anyone has heard of my speakers (Sanyo Hi-Fi Ones ... can't be any good can they ....!!!!). They came out best [not kidding ... the only ones which could run at full power] in a review of a large number of speakers over 20 years ago - was it the Hi-Fi Choice speaker review? They never sounded like they do now before I put the Caiman in the system. I didn't believe they could do bass, but now they can.

Comsat
30-05-2010, 11:50
Please allow a newcomer to this forum to react quickly before properly introducing himself first.

I had a BF 7510, and sold it on when I acquired a AV-amp with decent stereo DAC. Now on my route back to somewhat higher level stereo-only delights. Part of that move was a search for a new, reasonably priced DAC. So, fond memories of my 7510 led to the purchase of the Caiman.

I was happy at first, because it obviously sounded better than the 7510 had ever done (but then again I had also already invested in other parts of my set so what was I expecting?). I sent Stanley a note saying "wow!".

After little more than a week, in which I had heard the Caiman mature quite a bit, suddenly its character struck me as cold, lifeless, indifferent, harsh. I panicked - how many days were left for a refund? I contacted Stanley...

Stan's reaction immediately made me realize one of the important reasons why I had been happy with the 7510 - Stan's down to earth approach. He reacted slightly grumpily, saying that I should allow for more burn-in time and - if I were after a certain characteristic - should try alternative opamps. To support his arguments he pointed me to this very forum. Also, he told me not to worry about the refund period (and was not afraid to put that in writing!)

Ironically, when I followed Stan's advice and subscribed to this forum, the most recent post was the first one in this thread, in which Magiccarpettride described exactly what I had been experiencing: a lack of euphonics.

What I did next may seem somewhat ill-advised, but then again, I was still in a slight panic. I bought a used DACMagic and let it burn in for a couple of days, alongside the Caiman.

To cut a long story short: the DM gave me the euphonics I was after, and was not noticeably better or worse than the Caiman in any other aspect. However, in the meantime the Caiman had also improved and to may amazement I could hear it "overtake" the DM over a few subsequent listening sessions.

At the moment, the Caiman is - for me - the better DAC, giving a more "analogue" overall sound. It is smoother than de DM, with excellent detail in all frequency ranges and not only the trebles.

So what I've experienced is the Caiman going from good to worse to excellent. The only questions that remain are: when will it stop, and will that really be at the optimal point? And how on earth can one design an instrument taking these fluctuations into account?

Anyone interested in a DACmagic?

Marco
30-05-2010, 12:05
Nice one, and thanks for that :)

Now perhaps you would pop into the welcome area and do the necessary?

Cheers! :cool:

Marco.

Comsat
30-05-2010, 15:05
Will do!

Nice one, and thanks for that :)

Now perhaps you would pop into the welcome area and do the necessary?

Cheers! :cool:

Marco.

Marco
30-05-2010, 16:55
Thanks for that, Jelte - enjoy the forum! :)

Marco.

CanDAC
30-05-2010, 16:56
So what I've experienced is the Caiman going from good to worse to excellent. The only questions that remain are: when will it stop, and will that really be at the optimal point? And how on earth can one design an instrument taking these fluctuations into account?

Anyone interested in a DACmagic?

Actually, my experience with the Caiman (and other gear I've owned) is that the burn in process never really stops as I continue to hear subtle improvements months and even years after purchase. It one of the aspects of this hobby that makes it so endearing. Don't worry about it, just enjoy!

Comsat
31-05-2010, 06:29
Don't worry about it, just enjoy!

That is the most challenging aspect of our "hobby" by far.

magiccarpetride
31-05-2010, 16:33
Please allow a newcomer to this forum to react quickly before properly introducing himself first.

I had a BF 7510, and sold it on when I acquired a AV-amp with decent stereo DAC. Now on my route back to somewhat higher level stereo-only delights. Part of that move was a search for a new, reasonably priced DAC. So, fond memories of my 7510 led to the purchase of the Caiman.

I was happy at first, because it obviously sounded better than the 7510 had ever done (but then again I had also already invested in other parts of my set so what was I expecting?). I sent Stanley a note saying "wow!".

After little more than a week, in which I had heard the Caiman mature quite a bit, suddenly its character struck me as cold, lifeless, indifferent, harsh. I panicked - how many days were left for a refund? I contacted Stanley...

Stan's reaction immediately made me realize one of the important reasons why I had been happy with the 7510 - Stan's down to earth approach. He reacted slightly grumpily, saying that I should allow for more burn-in time and - if I were after a certain characteristic - should try alternative opamps. To support his arguments he pointed me to this very forum. Also, he told me not to worry about the refund period (and was not afraid to put that in writing!)

Ironically, when I followed Stan's advice and subscribed to this forum, the most recent post was the first one in this thread, in which Magiccarpettride described exactly what I had been experiencing: a lack of euphonics.

What I did next may seem somewhat ill-advised, but then again, I was still in a slight panic. I bought a used DACMagic and let it burn in for a couple of days, alongside the Caiman.

To cut a long story short: the DM gave me the euphonics I was after, and was not noticeably better or worse than the Caiman in any other aspect. However, in the meantime the Caiman had also improved and to may amazement I could hear it "overtake" the DM over a few subsequent listening sessions.

At the moment, the Caiman is - for me - the better DAC, giving a more "analogue" overall sound. It is smoother than de DM, with excellent detail in all frequency ranges and not only the trebles.

So what I've experienced is the Caiman going from good to worse to excellent. The only questions that remain are: when will it stop, and will that really be at the optimal point? And how on earth can one design an instrument taking these fluctuations into account?

Anyone interested in a DACmagic?

Welcome to the asylum, mate;)

So you and I seem to be going through similar growing pains, eh?

I agree with your observations. Today marks the milestone: the four week burn-in for my Caiman. You'd think that by now the component should've settled already. Not by a long shot! Yesterday I was listening to some songs that I've listened to only a few days ago, and lo and behold, all of a sudden I keep hearing all these little details that I've never detected before! What's extremely interesting now (and extremely exciting, I must say) is that I've started clearly hearing those barely audible details. Like a very, very faint buzzing of the idle snare drum feeding off the congas. Where was that sound before? Also, some super quiet chimes and bells, that all of a sudden appear before me, even though they are barely audible. They look extremely tiny on the soundstage (barely a few millimeters in size, next to a five feet drum kit), and yet no one can deny their presence (my wife enthusiastically confirms this:)

And get this -- we watched "Bourne Supremacy" blu ray the other day, and the soundscape is soooo different now, the movie feels totally visceral. The depth of the menacing strings, and the sheer physicality of the sounds when the cars are slamming against each other, it was, quite frankly, a bit too much!

Watching movies by feeding the sound signal through the Caiman feels like one extra dimension has been added to the experience.

I think my friend was right -- these components just keep getting better with use, so I'll continue keeping the Caiman on the constant 24/7 burn in. And guess what -- I'll continue reporting my findings (much to the chagrin of some inmates here;(