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  1. #1
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    Multiple DACs in One DAP

    I just received my new Astell & Kern yesterday. Very interesting piece. I don't know if it is true or not but they claim this is the first piece ever to have two completely different brands of DAC chips on board and you can choose to listen to whichever you prefer because you may prefer the sound of one over the other depending on the music, etc.

    The unit actually incorporates three chips; The newest top of the line ESS chip, the ES9068AS's (Dual DAC) and the top of the line AKM, the AK4499EQ (Single DAC chip)!

    I have been comparing them back and forth using the same songs. So far I think I like the AKM better, but it is very nice to have the choose .
    Hattor; T+A; Bel Canto; McIntosh; Rega; Technics; SimAudio; Magnepan; Rythmik; Astell & Kern; HeadAmp; Abyss

    "You are entitled to your opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts"

  2. #2

    Re: Multiple DACs in One DAP

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    I just received my new Astell & Kern yesterday. Very interesting piece. I don't know if it is true or not but they claim this is the first piece ever to have two completely different brands of DAC chips on board and you can choose to listen to whichever you prefer because you may prefer the sound of one over the other depending on the music, etc.

    The unit actually incorporates three chips; The newest top of the line ESS chip, the ES9068AS's (Dual DAC) and the top of the line AKM, the AK4499EQ (Single DAC chip)!

    I have been comparing them back and forth using the same songs. So far I think I like the AKM better, but it is very nice to have the choose .
    Very cool but if one of the dacs is “right”, the other must be “wrong”.
    Serge

  3. #3
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    Re: Multiple DACs in One DAP

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    I just received my new Astell & Kern yesterday. Very interesting piece. I don't know if it is true or not but they claim this is the first piece ever to have two completely different brands of DAC chips on board and you can choose to listen to whichever you prefer because you may prefer the sound of one over the other depending on the music, etc.

    The unit actually incorporates three chips; The newest top of the line ESS chip, the ES9068AS's (Dual DAC) and the top of the line AKM, the AK4499EQ (Single DAC chip)!

    I have been comparing them back and forth using the same songs. So far I think I like the AKM better, but it is very nice to have the choose .
    Cool, this gives the users a choice on different sonic qualities. Almost like having different filters to change, does this DAP allow the user to change filters per dac chip

  4. #4
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    Re: Multiple DACs in One DAP

    Quote Originally Posted by CPP View Post
    Cool, this gives the users a choice on different sonic qualities. Almost like having different filters to change, does this DAP allow the user to change filters per dac chip
    It does on PCM files. On DSD (up to DSD256) and MQA (yes it also has MQA with either DAC) it does not. It's functions are very similar to my other A&K so not too hard getting used to it. So far seems like a really great DAP!
    Hattor; T+A; Bel Canto; McIntosh; Rega; Technics; SimAudio; Magnepan; Rythmik; Astell & Kern; HeadAmp; Abyss

    "You are entitled to your opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts"

  5. #5
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    Re: Multiple DACs in One DAP

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOctopus View Post
    Very cool but if one of the dacs is “right”, the other must be “wrong”.
    I don't really think it is a matter of being right or wrong, more so to give a different flavor that you may prefer with different types of music. I like that it is using both manufactures current top of the line DAC chips. I have not seen the ES9068 listed for any other DAC out there (it looks like Gustard might be offering a unit with the 9068 chip in it). And, yes you can actually use it as a DAC for your system although I have never thought of doing that

    Doing a bit more comparing; it seems like the ESS DAC has a bit more high end emphasis, nice open vocals but is a bit lacking in the bottom end. The AKM definitely has more bottom and a very nice open vocal range but the highest frequencies are a bit more subdued. By the way, I am switching back and forth using my Abyss Diana Phi headphones using a Black Dragon Balanced cable. It is very easy to switch back and forth because the are four separate outputs on the DAP. Both 3.5" SE and 2.5" Balanced for each DAC.

    Again all of this is without any break in what so ever so of course with time these differences could change.
    Hattor; T+A; Bel Canto; McIntosh; Rega; Technics; SimAudio; Magnepan; Rythmik; Astell & Kern; HeadAmp; Abyss

    "You are entitled to your opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts"

  6. #6

    Re: Multiple DACs in One DAP

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    I don't really think it is a matter of being right or wrong, more so to give a different flavor that you may prefer with different types of music. I like that it is using both manufactures current top of the line DAC chips. I have not seen the ES9068 listed for any other DAC out there (it looks like Gustard might be offering a unit with the 9068 chip in it). And, yes you can actually use it as a DAC for your system although I have never thought of doing that

    Doing a bit more comparing; it seems like the ESS DAC has a bit more high end emphasis, nice open vocals but is a bit lacking in the bottom end. The AKM definitely has more bottom and a very nice open vocal range but the highest frequencies are a bit more subdued. By the way, I am switching back and forth using my Abyss Diana Phi headphones using a Black Dragon Balanced cable. It is very easy to switch back and forth because the are four separate outputs on the DAP. Both 3.5" SE and 2.5" Balanced for each DAC.

    Again all of this is without any break in what so ever so of course with time these differences could change.
    I was being sarcastic. To me there is no wrong or right. It is whatever gets you closer to music. There is no reference point to go by. No orchestra sounds the same in different acoustic halls, no system sounds the same in different rooms either. Arguing that one is a "connoisseur" of the faithful reproduction of sound is a great joke for the recording engineer to laugh at. You know, the guy who tweaked the knobs on the mixing console a few hundred times to coax a better "flavor" of sound out for the album to be released. Never mind the music that is completely assembled from different tracks and dubbed over as is the case with so much music these days. If one dac, filter, eq knob, etc, gets your head bopping and toes tapping, then it is all good and the way to enjoy your music.
    Serge

  7. #7
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    Re: Multiple DACs in One DAP

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOctopus View Post
    I was being sarcastic. To me there is no wrong or right. It is whatever gets you closer to music. There is no reference point to go by. No orchestra sounds the same in different acoustic halls, no system sounds the same in different rooms either. Arguing that one is a "connoisseur" of the faithful reproduction of sound is a great joke for the recording engineer to laugh at. You know, the guy who tweaked the knobs on the mixing console a few hundred times to coax a better "flavor" of sound out for the album to be released. Never mind the music that is completely assembled from different tracks and dubbed over as is the case with so much music these days. If one dac, filter, eq knob, etc, gets your head bopping and toes tapping, then it is all good and the way to enjoy your music.
    I actually was assuming that .
    Hattor; T+A; Bel Canto; McIntosh; Rega; Technics; SimAudio; Magnepan; Rythmik; Astell & Kern; HeadAmp; Abyss

    "You are entitled to your opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts"

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