Author Topic: Massdrop Airist R2R dac  (Read 912 times)

Offline nieldreyer

Massdrop Airist R2R dac
« on: November 10, 2019, 11:36:53 AM »
images from up

My Airist RDac arrived yesterday!!  Confirmation bias is a fallacy...this is an awesome dac!!!  Initial listening impressions are that it is very neutral - no wizzbang theatrics.  It is a sophisticated sound, distinct, clear mids, shimmering highs and understated but solid bass.  More importantly, its super quiet, with a wide and deep sound stage.  Voices and wind instruments like sax come thru with body and percussion is defined - even the most gentle symbal tap  can be heard.

Even my very modest setup (Adcom amps, Dali Zensors and a tube buffer with Mullard NOS tubes) sings with the Rdac.  At 350 dollars, its a no brainer!!!

Offline Ninja_Theory

Re: Massdrop Airist R2R dac
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2019, 01:12:43 PM »
Nice! Mine arrives on Tuesday.. even more excited for it now.
HD650 / HD800S / SRH1540 (incoming) || Airist R2R DAC (incoming) || Massdrop THX 789 || Little Dot III || Loxjie P20

Offline naughty

Re: Massdrop Airist R2R dac
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2019, 04:32:39 PM »
Nice! Mine arrives on Tuesday.. even more excited for it now.

 :thumbs: just thought of yours as soon as I saw the thread title

@ nieldreyer congrats on your purchase - hope you enjoy it

Offline nieldreyer

Re: Massdrop Airist R2R dac
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2019, 06:00:38 PM »
I can't stop listening to it - my old tired music is suddenly gorgeous all over again....
Afrivox

Offline kamikazi

Re: Massdrop Airist R2R dac
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2019, 07:32:21 PM »
Interesting, from the measurements this DAC looks like a distortion generator of noteworthy proportions, yet this is another exhibit that is substantiated by very positive subjective reviews. I'm not quite sure what to make of it? It leaves me quite perplexed and confused in equal measure that there can be such as large deviation between the two. Anyhow, I hope you enjoy new DAC and may it bring you lots of audio happiness.

Offline Ninja_Theory

Re: Massdrop Airist R2R dac
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2019, 07:40:26 PM »
Many reviews I read mentioned that youíd have to venture north of $1k before noticeable gains can be appreciated. Iím hoping the Airist will represent some sort of benchmark for diminishing returns in the sub-$1k DAC market. Also, itís a perfect stack with my 789, and Iím a sucker for aesthetics.
HD650 / HD800S / SRH1540 (incoming) || Airist R2R DAC (incoming) || Massdrop THX 789 || Little Dot III || Loxjie P20

Offline nieldreyer

Re: Massdrop Airist R2R dac
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2019, 07:53:50 PM »
Please post your views and impressions "Ninja"  The more I listen to different tracks, the more I hear..  This afternoon I heard my speakers "disappear", like I've only ever heard one day at Achim's on a pair of Odeon floor standers, with Unison Research tube amps....
Afrivox

Offline pwatts

Re: Massdrop Airist R2R dac
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2019, 08:11:40 AM »
Please post your views and impressions "Ninja"  The more I listen to different tracks, the more I hear..  This afternoon I heard my speakers "disappear", like I've only ever heard one day at Achim's on a pair of Odeon floor standers, with Unison Research tube amps....
I'm proud to say those Odeons are now in my lounge, sadly without the massive tube amp. Still amazing though.

Offline capetownwatches

Re: Massdrop Airist R2R dac
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2019, 09:05:18 AM »
Interesting, from the measurements this DAC looks like a distortion generator of noteworthy proportions, yet this is another exhibit that is substantiated by very positive subjective reviews. I'm not quite sure what to make of it? It leaves me quite perplexed and confused in equal measure that there can be such as large deviation between the two. Anyhow, I hope you enjoy new DAC and may it bring you lots of audio happiness.

Another example of a gear that measures "less than well" but sounds excellent - interesting indeed.
We know that R2R DACs do tend to measure poorly over certain metrics, this is to be expected.
The Audio-gd R2R11 is another.

If one were to go purely by the measurements one might overlook this DAC completely.
This tells us that what we hear cannot be reduced to only numbers from an analyser.

As somebody who places a fair bit of importance on measurements this puts me in the same position as Martin.
Not quite confused, more curious really.
I believe we still have a bit to learn about why we hear what we hear.

PS Congrats Niel - enjoy!

Offline nieldreyer

Re: Massdrop Airist R2R dac
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2019, 02:04:37 PM »
Here's a recent review of the RDac   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-W7v7tUl1Q

I also tried my boet's Topping D50....  At first it was wow, this is crisp and detailed - but sadly, on my system, by the next day, it suddenly sounded harsh and fatiguing.  The Topping has fantastic measurements, but honestly, nowhere the musicality of the RDac. 

I tend to favour more of a NOS sound (tube and dac-wise) and in my current setup, I have a little FX Tube 1 buffer with Mullard M8100's on an external processor loop that I can switch in and out.  The combination between the detailed, sweet mids of the RDac and the mid emphasis that you get from the Mullards - makes for a very musical experience.  When you can hear the breath of female vocalists and the air passage in wind instruments, it just works for me...

...Still dream of one day coupling this to some Odeon's or even some Troels Graven's diy'rs....
Afrivox

Offline dingeth

Re: Massdrop Airist R2R dac
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2019, 06:04:04 PM »
Interesting impressions. With regard the "poor measurements" I'm assuming that this relates Amir's review on ASR. I'll be honest in saying that the review did in fact make me doubt the "real-life" performance of the unit. But as others have mentioned, numbers only tell half the story and I'm glad that this is the case.

I for one would love some explanation on exactly how much of those measurements are really audible in terms of performance. I'm sure that alot of great gear is overlooked by people that view that forum purely on the basis that it is claimed that the distortion/other characteristics are not great when in fact it may very well be that even though it doesn't measure as well as others, the difference isn't even audible.

At the end of the day I like reading subjective reviews just as much as going through objective measurements but as posters above have mentioned, the two sides seem to at times be polar opposites which is very confusing! A popular example is the largely favorable reviews on R2R DACs such as the airist and audio-gd DAC/ amps from those that have heard them versus the immense ridicule these products recieve on ASR. The same goes for just about ANY tube amp...

Would be great to get a "scientific reason" as to why "poorly measuring" equipment can still sound amazing
Audio Noob

Offline Ninja_Theory

Re: Massdrop Airist R2R dac
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2019, 06:16:19 PM »
Please post your views and impressions "Ninja"  The more I listen to different tracks, the more I hear..  This afternoon I heard my speakers "disappear", like I've only ever heard one day at Achim's on a pair of Odeon floor standers, with Unison Research tube amps....
The customs payment went through this afternoon. So I'm now expecting delivery a bit later this week. Total import was just shy of R1700.
HD650 / HD800S / SRH1540 (incoming) || Airist R2R DAC (incoming) || Massdrop THX 789 || Little Dot III || Loxjie P20

Offline Ninja_Theory

Re: Massdrop Airist R2R dac
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2019, 06:21:16 PM »
Interesting impressions. With regard the "poor measurements" I'm assuming that this relates Amir's review on ASR. I'll be honest in saying that the review did in fact make me doubt the "real-life" performance of the unit. But as others have mentioned, numbers only tell half the story and I'm glad that this is the case.

I for one would love some explanation on exactly how much of those measurements are really audible in terms of performance. I'm sure that alot of great gear is overlooked by people that view that forum purely on the basis that it is claimed that the distortion/other characteristics are not great when in fact it may very well be that even though it doesn't measure as well as others, the difference isn't even audible.

At the end of the day I like reading subjective reviews just as much as going through objective measurements but as posters above have mentioned, the two sides seem to at times be polar opposites which is very confusing! A popular example is the largely favorable reviews on R2R DACs such as the airist and audio-gd DAC/ amps from those that have heard them versus the immense ridicule these products recieve on ASR. The same goes for just about ANY tube amp...

Would be great to get a "scientific reason" as to why "poorly measuring" equipment can still sound amazing
I also enjoy reading both scientific and objective reviews. I find merit in both.. and I also read both with a pinch of salt. The AGD R2R11 was my entry into this rabbit hole, and had I based my purchase decision on ASR's review/opinion on anything AGD, I would have missed out on what was arguably the most beautiful entry into this wonderful world of audio.
HD650 / HD800S / SRH1540 (incoming) || Airist R2R DAC (incoming) || Massdrop THX 789 || Little Dot III || Loxjie P20

Offline fredeb

Re: Massdrop Airist R2R dac
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2019, 06:59:12 PM »
The customs payment went through this afternoon. So I'm now expecting delivery a bit later this week. Total import was just shy of R1700.

So the duties ( VAT + handling ) was R1700 ?
...evolution is the gradual development and stratification of progressive series of wholes, stretching from the inorganic beginnings to the highest level of spiritual creation.
Jan Smuts

Offline MusicMan_ZA

Re: Massdrop Airist R2R dac
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2019, 07:02:47 PM »

I also tried my boet's Topping D50....  At first it was wow, this is crisp and detailed - but sadly, on my system, by the next day, it suddenly sounded harsh and fatiguing.  The Topping has fantastic measurements, but honestly, nowhere the musicality of the RDac. 


Always so very interesting! On day 1 of listening to my D50, I also thought: "crisp and detailed". Now, one year later, and about 300 days of listening, I am still: "Wow, so crisp and detailed"!. Absolutely no fatigue. Of, course that is just to my ears, and in my system. If anything, it sounds - to me - better than its "great measurements".  :thumbs:
I love music - analog and digital. Even listening to the Blues makes me happy. During the day I coach and counsel, after hours I indulge in my second passion - listening to vinyl and restoring turntables. Some I keep, some I sell...