In the past, buying high quality, 2-channel separates, especially tube gear was easily attainable by those audiophiles with significantly higher disposable incomes. Fortunately, due largely to the Chinese invasion of lower cost audio gear onto the American shores, most of us are now able to sip from the fine wine of high end separates.
- Sovtek 6922 tube output
- Pair of 24-bit PCM1704U-K converters (offers true 24 bit) Sampling to 96kHz.
- VCO for low jitter
- Optical and coaxial input selectable with input frequency display.
- Input sampling rate from 16KHz to 192KHz and from 16 bit to 24 bit.
- Dynamic range 144dB.
- The volume control is digital domain full balance using discrete transistor components (four LPF)Two R-core power transformers
- 16 7/8 x 10 3/8 x 4 with a 3/8” thick face plate
- Approx. 16 lbs.
If you’re ready to make the plunge, you’ll likely begin by exploring the virtues of a separate digital analog converter (DAC). In most CD players, the components used in converting the digital signal to analog contain cheap parts. The main purpose of buying a separate DAC is to improve the sound of your source by taking advantage of higher quality parts which, in turn, are more likely to produce better sound.
Lite Audio DAC-62 review
After surveying the marketplace, I decided to demo a Lite Audio DAC 62 from Pacific Valve. The DAC 62 retails at $750 and is a highly modified version of the DAC 60, which Pacific Valve sells for $499. The folks at Pacific Valve wanted to push its DAC 60 to the limit to see if they could provide a high end sound at a decent price range. They started with the original modified version of the DAC 60 and added to it by completely over hauling and changing the voltage stabilization characteristics for more dynamics and unconstrained high end, including adding high quality capacitors in all the right places.
The DAC 62 has excellent build quality and nice touches such as the use of high quality capacitors and Sovtek 6922’s already installed. This DAC also has digital coax and optical inputs; you can connect two digital sources. A switch on the front panel switches between the two. Choose a black or silver faceplate. The gold buttons are a nice touch, as well. The DAC is supported by high quality feet, much better than those found on other components in its price range.
The DAC 62 sports a bright blue display that can be turned off, but not dimmed. It displays the input (1 or 2) and the sampling rate (usually 44.1 KHz). There’s little value in displaying frequency unless your CDP has user adjustable upsampling capabilities, although since there is no on/off light, the display lets you know when the unit is powered on. Interestingly, the DAC 62 requires a 2 minute warm up period before it is ready to play; during this time it mutes the output. The DAC’s instruction manual is decent and straight-forward. My only quibble is a 90-day warranty. A longer warranty would be appreciated.
How it Sounds
As with most components, one must reserve judgment until the unit has broken in. Upon initial power up, the unit sounded cold and bright, so I let it burn in overnight. The next morning, the unit showed significant improvement in virtually every area.
The DAC 62 produced great bass, coupled with good dynamics and articulation. On the Niki Haris and Friends CD, the bass on the track “Smile” was outstanding – the best I’ve heard on this particular selection. You could hear the echo and reverberation around every bass note. Other noteworthy standouts included selections from the Jazz at the Pawnshop and A Tribute to Duke Ellington CDs.
On these CDs and others, the sound is generally laid back, warm and inviting. Music is rarely harsh or fatiguing, yet the DAC manages to display nearly all of the detail in the recording. The music is not hyped or artificial sounding; instead it is reproduced in a natural manner. Many people prefer the sound of other systems because their details are overly magnified. With the DAC 62, all of the details are there, but they are enmeshed in the music. In comparing this DAC to a stereo reproduction of a live performance, the sound emanating from the speakers dissipates into the room and fills every crevice with warm sound. Everything but the most extreme of high frequencies appears boundless and beautifully structured. The expansive soundstage is threedimensional. Needless to say the DAC 62 is astonishingly transparent. The soundstage’s fluidity has to be personally experienced. Likewise, the emotionality was all there – just what you have come to expect from tubebased equipment.
In sum, the DAC 62 has a very balanced sound. Midrange warmth is what you would expect from tube gear. The upper highs are pristine, clear and are absent of grain. They have the ability to sparkle without any hint of unnaturalness.
I didn’t perform any tube rolling because since the Sovtek tubes are part of the modification upgrade package for the DAC 62. However, I believe better tubes would improve the performance of the DAC.
If you don’t have tubes in your system, one way to introduce them is with a tube DAC. No need to wonder which one to buy – put the Lite Audio DAC 62 on your short list.
external link: www.pacificvalve.us
from aﬀordableaudio, by Brad Mitchell