Author Topic: Aqua La Voce DAC  (Read 3161 times)

Offline seanjammy

Re: Aqua La Voce DAC
« Reply #30 on: June 24, 2018, 12:08:28 PM »
For what it's worth, I bought a S2 from Stefan a month or so ago. My first impressions were positive, it was more dimensional then my previous DACs, sweet sounding, lovely bass, maybe a tad less detail.

Over the past month, I have not bothered to evaluate how the DAC sounds. I have just listened to music. Lots of it. Been listening for the past few hours to everything from eclectic Jazz to rap, and am entranced by my system.

How much is due to the DAC? A large portion. It's a very special thing this.

I've never met Stefan, couldn't care if he sells more or less of these things. Couldn't care what the second hand market is (because I don't see myself selling any time soon), either. This is probably one of the biggest bargains in audio right now.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A5010 using Tapatalk


Offline chrisc

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Re: Aqua La Voce DAC
« Reply #31 on: June 24, 2018, 01:34:58 PM »
Stefan, are you selling both the S2 and S3?  Is the PCM 1704 version an iteration of the S2?
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Online Air

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Re: Aqua La Voce DAC
« Reply #32 on: June 24, 2018, 01:52:46 PM »
Chris, I checked with Italy a few weeks ago, they still have some PCM1704s in stock. So while it last I still can order S2s. I don't know about how many or for how long it would be available though. They also still have AD1865 and TDA1541 boards for the S2 available.

Offline chrisc

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Re: Aqua La Voce DAC
« Reply #33 on: June 25, 2018, 02:06:35 PM »
What is the difference between the PCM1704, the AD1865 and TDA1541?   Is there somewhere I can read about it?  I see the User Manual for the S2 mentions the PCM1704-K DAC as a modular board
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Offline Nidri

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Re: Aqua La Voce DAC
« Reply #34 on: June 25, 2018, 07:53:31 PM »
I believe these are the differences between the output modules as described by the manufacturer (as quoted in a 6moons review*):

Module code D165: The Analog Devices AD1865 provides a precise sound with a fresh sense of rhythm.

Module code D101: The Philips TDA1541A** offers a relaxed sound with a terrific midrange full of nuances.

Module code D104K: The Burr Brown PCM1704-K (to replace the previous D704 with the PCM1704) has a new PCB layout and top-level surrounding parts to sum the qualities of the Analog Devices and Philips boards. The result is an extraordinary bass articulation, a smooth midrange and a huge holographic soundstage.

As I have the PCM1704-K model, I can't speak to the sound of the Philips or AD modules.
(Though I'm contemplating getting the Philips one, before they're discontinued.)
It is worth noting however that the BB chip seems to be fitted as standard by the manufacturer.
Stefan please correct me if I'm mistaken.

Imho the S2 is a great DAC, period.
I enjoy listening to the music it makes.
I've also much enjoyed other DACs based on the same chipset, e.g. the Ayon CD-5.
Afaik Naim still uses it in their top digital products, including the imaginatively titled 'DAC'.
However,
(Insert standard but-it's-all-about-the-overall-design-especially-the-output-stage disclaimer here.)

The PCM1704 was the last in a long, distinguished line including the PCM1702 (used by Theta in some models) and PCM63.
Some diehard multibit BB fans actually believe that the PCM63 is the pick of the bunch - I have a EAD DAC that uses this chipset and it does sound fantastic.

I believe the global PCM1704 stocks will be depleted soon.
Fewer and fewer brands are able to offer them.
(I think Naim, Audio-gd, MHDT, and Aqua of course, still sell them, but it won't last forever.)
For me it's a piece of history.
Also I just love the family sound of these BB multibit DAC (though less so in the Thetas I've heard), objectivist implementation & measurement Internet opinions aside.

* http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/aqua/1.html

(I know some here consider 6moons to be audiophoolery of the highest (lowest?) order and, yes, the writing is a bit over the top, but it's just an opinion. I wouldn't expect anyone to take this author, or any author's opinion for that matter, as anything other than subjective opinion. But if you value the opinions of those on the forum who enjoy this DAC, then perhaps it's worth having a listen, if possible.)

P.S. The same reviewer is also busy writing a review on the S3.
It's only 3 pages in so far, hence no conclusion yet, but it's available here:

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews2/aqua4/1.html

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Re: Aqua La Voce DAC
« Reply #35 on: June 26, 2018, 09:39:28 AM »
Thanks for the in-depth response Nidri. Very little I can add to what you highlighted.

As for the BB PCM 1704-K version as being the standard version, Aqua has never explicitly said it to me or with formal communications to the market. However, they only supplied the La Scala with this chipset before launching the discreet resistor upgraded version. I also have a soft place for the 1704 from my experience with the Wadia's, Mark Levison 36/360 and the Primare Cd31 units amongst others. Based on that as a point of departure, I typically suggest this version(D104K) for the La Voce and view the AD or TDA versions as options if the customer specifically asks for either of them.

Looking towards the future I am very happy to promote the S3 as the prefered option in the market. It provides a sustainable solution and  I also believe creates an architecture for upgradeability. Although I have not done a direct comparison(hopefully soon)but my own impressions after listening to the S2 a few weeks ago and now to the S3 for a few days, as well as having heard both the La Scala 1704 version and La Scala MkII Optologic version I think  the discreet versions are a step forward in terms of SQ.

The S2 is, however, a bit more affordable options while it is available and this could swing a decision for some. In the end, Aqua DACs performances are more than only the digital engines the various models use. In some way, they sound more alike than different. It is the sum of the parts that counts.

Offline juventino

Re: Aqua La Voce DAC
« Reply #36 on: June 26, 2018, 12:12:34 PM »
I had the pleasure of listening to the La Voce S3 and i was extremely impressed.
Vocals and instruments are natural and detailed. Listening to the dac with the Rosso Fiorentino Fiesole that has the super tweeter at no stage did i feel that there was to much detail or brightness.
When we compared it to the ayre QB9 even the background was dead quiet dont know if that is explaining it correctly.
the S3 is extremely musical and one that I could sit and listen to hours on end.

I was hoping that I could do a direct comparison to the T+A Dac 8 and the Eximus DP1 but for some reason neither dac wanted to play nicely with the mac software. Its a pity as would have definitely been an interesting comparison.
Time to get back to when I enjoyed listening......no more upgrading, more of a headache than a pleasure

Offline chrisc

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Re: Aqua La Voce DAC
« Reply #37 on: June 26, 2018, 12:58:52 PM »
Most interesting posts, thank you guys.  I also read both "6moons" articles and didn't find them over the top.  I also only use a (Macbook) computer running JRiver as the source as I don't have any CDs any more.  At the moment I am happy with the Viviere DAC but am always willing to listen to something different.
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Offline Stanp

Re: Aqua La Voce DAC
« Reply #38 on: June 27, 2018, 06:26:11 AM »
Stan, what will the upgrade supply to your unit?
Chris , it will be able to play DSD. This is my primary reason for the upgrade. Once my DAC arrives, I will tell you how it sounds

Offline chrisc

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Re: Aqua La Voce DAC
« Reply #39 on: June 27, 2018, 08:46:46 AM »
Actually, I think DSD is somewhat over-rated.  It does not necessarily improve the playback experience.  A good 44.1KHz 16bit recording is as pleasant to the ear.  The actual fidelity of the recording is but a small part of the overall experience

One dealer I know who sells an expensive Polish DAC which costs more than a Mercedes Benz uses Micheal Jackson music to illustrate the DAC's capabilities.  I have heard "Billie Jean" so often now I almost know the words
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Offline Hi-Phibian

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Aqua La Voce DAC
« Reply #40 on: June 27, 2018, 08:51:29 AM »
« Last Edit: June 27, 2018, 08:53:59 AM by Hi-Phibian »
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Offline Stanp

Re: Aqua La Voce DAC
« Reply #41 on: June 27, 2018, 07:04:25 PM »
Chris, I have only 12 DSD CDs. Two of which don't sound very good, however, the other ten are superb. I can hear that they are far superior to red book.They have wonderful clarity and detail. But yes, red book can sound excellent too. It is logical that the more the sampling rate been done to the wave, the more true you can represent that wave. But it is very often not because of relatively low  sampling rate of red book that makes them not sound good. It is often, bad mixing, audio engineer, equipment ect. DSD can suffer the same. Sampling rate is definitely not the only factor involved to make a cd to sound good. Very few of my about 300 CDs come close to sound as good as my good DSD CDs.

Offline chrisc

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Re: Aqua La Voce DAC
« Reply #42 on: June 28, 2018, 03:51:43 PM »
Are there any Aqua La Voce DAC owners in Cape Town?

Stan, I agree that SACDs from DSD are most often really good.  Of the many albums on my computer, I have about 60 DSDs, in DSD256 and DSD512.

This week-end 5 of us from the Hi-Fi Club are visiting Ramsey Raad (Audiotweak/Lampizator) and he has some new DSD material he wants us to listen to.
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Offline Nidri

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Re: Aqua La Voce DAC
« Reply #43 on: June 30, 2018, 07:40:36 PM »
I have listened to the S3 today connected to Stefan's Pathos TT with Rosso Fiorentino-Fiesole speakers.
I found the Aqua S3 very musical and engaging. Only USB and single-ended output was used and it does pair well in the above setup.

Had the pleasure of listening to Stefan's system today.
There's some special synergy at work in this all-Italian setup.

Offline scrarfussi

Re: Aqua La Voce DAC
« Reply #44 on: June 30, 2018, 08:36:24 PM »
I was there this morning
All i can say is wow i was totally impressed . Got so immersed in the music forgot about the equipment .
Bye Bye dreams of a Yggdrasil
That Dac Is a thing of Beauty
suum cuique pulchrum est


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