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Tour of Supercapacitor powered Ciunas devices

Discussion in 'audio' started by Ciunas Audio, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. Enfield boy

    Enfield boy pfm Member

    Worked it out, doh!

    supercap ISO-DAC tour
    Timola
    Paul Burke - ISO-DAC
    SamS- ISO-DAC & ISO-SPDIF (not necessarily at the same time)
    00fiete - ISO-DAC
    easton
    Robby - ISO-DAC
    Beammeup - ISO-DAC & ISO-SPDIF (again not at the same time)
    davidjt - ISO-DAC[/QUOTE]
    Steve Taylor - ISO-SPDIF
     
  2. Ciunas Audio

    Ciunas Audio Trade: Ciunas Audio

    Haha, it's good to learn new stuff :)
    I just added a note to davidjt's entry so I'm repeating the list here & splitting it into a list for ISO-DAC & list for ISO-SPDIF

    supercap ISO-DAC tour
    Timola
    Paul Burke - ISO-DAC
    SamS- ISO-DAC & ISO-SPDIF (not necessarily at the same time)
    00fiete - ISO-DAC
    easton
    Robby - ISO-DAC
    Beammeup - ISO-DAC & ISO-SPDIF (again not at the same time)
    davidjt - ISO-DAC (not until end of April)
    Steve Taylor - ISO-SPDIF

    supercap ISO-SPDIF tour
    SamS- ISO-DAC & ISO-SPDIF (not necessarily at the same time)
    Beammeup - ISO-DAC & ISO-SPDIF (again not at the same time)
    Steve Taylor - ISO-SPDIF
     
  3. Ciunas Audio

    Ciunas Audio Trade: Ciunas Audio

    OK, Timola, ISO-DAC (supercap) is shipping tomorrow - are you ready to audition it?
    I will have ISO_SPDIF ready this week
     
  4. eastone

    eastone pfm Member

    Amended...
     
  5. Ciunas Audio

    Ciunas Audio Trade: Ciunas Audio

    Looks like Timola hasn't been on here since end of Jan - shipping to next in line, Paul Burke - is this a good time for you to audition it?
     
  6. eastone

    eastone pfm Member

    Looks like I am the first recipient of the Suercapacitor powered ISO-DAC. I first got a Ciunas DAC about 3 years ago, and added the ISO-HUB 18 months later. I've never had any urge to try another DAC but was naturally curious about John's new Supercapacitor versions.

    I run Audirvana+ from Mac Mini, with files played from an ISO-HUB powered SSD, (normally) into a Concordant valve preamp and First Watt M2, into 12" Tannoy Monitor Golds in Chatsworth cabs. These have RFC custom crossovers. As my regular amps are away being serviced I've been using a Leak Stereo 70 which was refurbished by Mike P. I meant to use it in a second system but it's never made it there, it's much cleaner than you might expect of an amp of that vintage and just works brilliantly with the Tannoys. Headphones are Senn HD650 with a Schiit Vali 2 and occasionally the onboard headphone amp of the Leak.

    This is what I just sent to John:

    'Had an evening listening on headphones, and a good chunk of today on the main system. It's been used for background listening for a week.

    It's immediately clear that the Supercap version is 'better' in hi-fi terms. It comes across as more resolving (presumably due to lower background noise?) There is a better sense of instruments in their own spaces and individual reverbs are clearly discernible when listening on headphones. Vocals are more pronounced - plosives really feel like they're pushing out towards me - but are also very smooth and sweet. It's more 3D, with a better sense of back-to-front space, and the treble extension is wonderful - not just in the sense of being brighter but with lots more information up there. On solo piano the increase of higher frequency harmonics really took me by surprise. Piano just sounds more correct. The bass is clearly more detailed, and tighter. My HD650s sounded much more clear and open.

    When I switched back to the battery version it sounded rolled-off in comparison, and there was clearly some bloom to the bass that was obscuring detail. However, the more I listened, I found myself wanting to go back to the battery version. The bass bloom gives a lovely organic quality to the lower frequencies on my Tannoys, which I missed with the newer unit. It was easier to appreciate details in the upper registers without being distracted by them.

    This preference is all to do with my room and the current state of the rest of the system. In my previous flat I had to work hard to mitigate bass, here I've had to work to stop the system sounding bright. Also, while my First Watt amp is away being serviced, I'm using a revamped Leak stereo 70, which has a leaner bass and less refined treble than the First Watt. In the current situation the battery version just feels more 'musical', in the sense that I just get lost in listening, even though I know i'm missing out on the improved resolution. With the Supercap version I keep being wowed by the things it does better, but ultimately feel less involved.

    My hunch is that when the First Watt amp is back in place the Supercap version might come into into its own, or maybe with the Tannoys six inches closer to the floor everything would come together? But I can't start meddling with that till my serviced amps are back and I know what's what. So I'll be holding off for now, but may well buy one in a few months time to get a more extended trial. Thank-you very much for the opportunity to try it out.'

    All in all I do feel the new version is a worthwhile improvement, offering a definite step up in clarity and insight. It doesn't quite fit into my system right now but I can foresee it finding its way in there pretty soon.

    Looking forward to hearing others' impressions and thanks again to John for arranging the tour.
     
  7. Ciunas Audio

    Ciunas Audio Trade: Ciunas Audio

    Thanks Ian (eastone)
    Nicely balanced & detailed impressions of the battery powered ISO-DAC Vs the supercap ISO-DAC.

    It will be interesting to see others impressions. There's no doubt that the battery ISO-DAC has an anlogue-like quality to its presentation & it's only by comparing to the exact same device but powered by supercaps that the influence of power on the final sound can be ascertained. I've always said that we often can't recognise the characteristics of the audio they are hearing & only when another presentation is heard that the differences are noticed (for good or bad). I've said this in relation to USB isolation & reclocking but we often hear people claiming that they can't hear any problem that needs sorting by USB isolation/reclocking.

    Here we have another example where the only difference between devices is the power delivery system. It will be interesting to hear people's impressions of the audible differences (or not).

    Robby, who I thought was next in line, is not in a position to audition the DAC next week so next up should be Sams (sorry I messed up the list order) - I will contact him to see if he is ready.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2019
  8. beammeup

    beammeup pfm Member

    I see that I am on the list so that's good news. If you recall I would like a 15V version that would supply an Auralic Aries.

    Incidentally - two of my favourite amps do not have remote control volume - do you ever intend to make a DAC which can be attenuated digitally?

    Thanks.
     
  9. Ciunas Audio

    Ciunas Audio Trade: Ciunas Audio

  10. beammeup

    beammeup pfm Member

    I've put myself on there now thanks (wanted it for an Auralic Aries Mini)
     
  11. tonymc12

    tonymc12 Member

    I bought Johns new ISO Supercapacitor Dac and 7 volt power supply for my SOtM. They sound fantastic , it is like they have taken a better grip of the music. There is a weight to the Dac which is very impressive. The music sounds so real , even tracks that sometimes you might skip you end up listening to all the way through. Its dynamic and powerful but at the same time relaxed and engaging , there is no digital edge . The Miles Davis mono box set is very well recorded . there's warmth , there's air and it really shines through on the Ciunas . The bass lines on the Lou Reed album Transformer are addictive , the Dac draws you in. With vocals its as good as I've heard on digital , listening to Nina Simone has her in the room with you. I'm very pleased , since I got into digital I've always had a nagging itch to have a high end turntable alongside. That itch has now been scratched. The SOtM feeds Sugden Amps and Eist Dubh speakers , and suffice to say they have never sounded better.
     
  12. Ciunas Audio

    Ciunas Audio Trade: Ciunas Audio

    Thanks Tony
    I appreciate your post
    It's interesting to hear different people's impression of the supercap ISO-DAC
     
  13. eastone

    eastone pfm Member

    What did you have before the supercap iso-dac?
     
  14. tonymc12

    tonymc12 Member

    I had the battery version and a LPS-1 for the SOtM . I've moved that to a squeezebox touch for my F80 . I also have a LanRover which I got a 5v Supercapacitor for . There isn't a night and day difference between the two Dacs but I feel there's more punch with the new one.
     
  15. eastone

    eastone pfm Member

    I'd agree with that, definitely a punchier sound.
     
  16. Ciunas Audio

    Ciunas Audio Trade: Ciunas Audio

    Yea, some people feel battery power sounds not punchy enough - I think the LIFEPO4 batteries are punchy but the supercap has an extra oomph, speed, resolution, grip - not sure exactly what it is but it's different
     
  17. olpplo

    olpplo pfm Member

    I bought John super capacitor dac few weeks ago and me too was delighted with a smooth, detailed, glare free sound.

    It was only cause I was comparing with the previous Iso dac, supplied by LifePO4 batteries, perceiving a not so powerful performance in the low tones with the new version.
    Something was missing and macro dynamics was suffering a little bit.

    For this reason I tried, as first step, to change the external power supply.
    I was more satisfied with a couple of Lithium Titanate batteries supplying the 5 volts to the hub, via the usb cable connection.
    It was better than before but still not enough.
    Than I took the courage and opened the top lid ( sorry John), connecting an LifePO4 battery just between the power switch and the relay.
    This battery is working as a power supplier of the super capacitor bank.

    What I can say is that now I have both performances, the detailed and analytical one as well as the powerful and full bodied sound I had before with batteries.
    An Iso dac on steroids!
    I doesn't seems to me to have lost something from the sound presentation, with only the super capacitors.

    Thanks again John for such superlative device and I hope you'll forgive my modification ;-)

    Frank
     
    eastone likes this.
  18. Ciunas Audio

    Ciunas Audio Trade: Ciunas Audio

    No need to apologise, Frank - I appreciate all feedback & it's your DAC to do with it what you want
    I haven't done this test myself but it was something at the back of my mind
    When you say "not so powerful performance in the low tones" - is this perceived because the highs are more detailed with the supercaps?
    If I understand what you say, the 3.3V power is being delivered from supercaps into the LifePO4 & then to the DAC pcb boards?
     
  19. olpplo

    olpplo pfm Member

    Sound is still detailed in mid and high tones but lower notes are no more recessed as with Super Cap only.
    Macro dynamics and speed has increased a lot.

    The sequence is Relay > LifePO4 battery > Super Capacitors > Dac.
    That way you have still the sound signature of Super Cap but with the aid of Battery.
    Now there's a square black plastic box, on top of the dac, with the battery inside and two cables arriving from the green pcb based front of the dac itself.

    Fyi I've removed the Lithium Titanate 5V pack, just before the the Iso hub connection, cause there's no need anymore.

    I would appreciate your feedback, in this regard.

    Frank
     
  20. Ciunas Audio

    Ciunas Audio Trade: Ciunas Audio

    Can you email me to discuss this - there are some potential issues with your setup
     

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