Some auditions have been done comparing the JKDAC firstly with other DACs: The DAC*iT/Audiophilleo concedes some musical insight to the single box rival - the JKDAC digs much deeper for details - but the DAC*iT/Audiophilleo reveals an instrumental body with a greater meat-to-bone ratio. Here, the DAC*iT is pudgier, the JKDAC a bone-lean athlete. The JKDAC's soundstage is a shade wider and deeper; those musical layers working in an illusory three dimensional space that's more easily 'seen'.
Just for the heck of it it tried connecting it directly to my Patek amp and used the volume control in Pure Music or Itunes. Holey crap - everything improved - detail, sound-stage, life - everything. Once you hear this no going back - direct connection is the way to go. Anyway decided the comparison with the other DAC's needed to be done again so contacted my acquaintance who had arrived back and headed on over for another comparison.
The JK is not a total giant killer - but it took a DAC three times the price to do it - and you also need a pre-amp. This SE was also the DAC that along with the Overdrive wowed them at the last RMAF - so that it took a DAC like that to best the JK Saber is again a fine showing. Next was a base level PDX - and yes it was better again - more life like and a real joy to listen to - but it was $2.7k - again much more expensive.
My new DAC ordering is Tranquility, JK Saber, Tranquility SE, PDX, Killer.
At $650-700 depending on the exchange rate this DAC is simply stupid good value for what you get. And direct connecting it to your amp will save money as well.
Ivor, has a Lector CDP7, Air Tight amplifier & Quad Electrostatic loudspeakers - I'm sure he will fill in the models & details. What I brought was a laptop & modified Hiface + ESS Sabre DAC integrated into an aluminium box that I posted a shot of before. I can fill in some technical info - the Lector is based on a PCM1704 (the last manufactured multi-bit DAC) & the ESS Sabre chip is a ES9022 sigma-delta DAC. The Lector has a Tube based output stage - the ES9022 is voltage out & no need for an output stage.
............. In conclusion, I think we all agreed that these two systems sounded very similar in all areas - sound stage, dynamics, etc. Any differences were very minor & we could live with either system, long term - a great result, as far as I'm concerned. Next, I will be comparing this Hiface DAC to the Young DAC that Claus is getting on home trial but I'm also interested in a Wadia & dCs source comparison.
Fran & myself met up in Brian's for an audition of the JKDAC Vs Brian's Wadia 850 (Highly modified).
Well John it just goes to prove one thing,when three so called Hifi nerds are at odds to tell the difference between A"Wadia"&B"Hiface".
Ok let me explain,the exercise involved playing the same tracks from a cd at the exact "and I mean to a millisecond"matched time,and volume,thus making it totally dependent on how each of us interpreted what we were listening too.CD on the Wadia,and downloaded version on the Laptop feeding the Hiface Dac to the Airtight ATM2 amp.I personally found, at first, quite easy to tell the difference between them, favoring the Wadia,finding it presented a fuller,richer,a slightly larger sound stage.So much for first impressions.
As the night wore on, I had to admit that I was finding it increasingly harder to tell the difference.Switching from one to the other,served only to highlight the very small difference between how both devices presented the same piece of music.Overall I would have to say,if I hadn't purchased the Wadia "of which I'm still very fond "I doubt for the money I would find anything that comes even close to the Hiface.John I can only wish you luck with it,and I strongly advise anyone thinking about upgrading, to at least give it an audition.Tis sick I am.