HOLO Audio Spring DAC, Level 3 Upgrade

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by mds, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. mds

    mds Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Does anyone have any info on this DAC? I can't find any reviews just sales pitch and spec info. From the specs it appears that it might out shine the Schiit Audio Yggdrasil Multibit DAC and for about the same price.

    From what I have read, which is little because the unit/company is so new, is that it uses dual R2R’s Multibit ladder circuits and supports DSD natively. The chip set is a AK 4137, which from my understanding is an excellant chip set. The level 3 unit is also upgraded with Jensen capacitors in the power supply and a silver wired 100VA transformer (green label). This is said to be a significant sound upgrade. With this manufacturer and their DAC being so new I am a little gun shy of just jumping in, which is why I am asking if anyone has had any experience or knowledge on this unit, the company and or the distributor; Spring DAC level 3 Upgrade, HOLO Audio, and Kitsune HiFi?

    The full discrete R2R type of audio decoder, ability to play DSD and priced around $2500 (which includes tax and shipping) has me interested. I probably will pull the trigger on the Schiit Yggdrasil, however I am just trying to find out more info on this unit prior to committing to one DAC over another.

    HOLO Audio – Spring DAC – LEVEL 3 “Kitsune Tuned Edition” (Green Label “99.99% Silver” O-Type transformer) | Kitsune HiFi - HoloAudio USA »

    Due to the designer and manufacturing company being in China and so new makes me very wary of jumping in. I know a lot of people's backs go up immediately when hearing the company originates from China, however there are a number of really good high end audio companies that are Chinese, such as Opera-Consonance, Jolida, Cayin and Jungson so please do not turn this into a Chinese manufacturer/equipment bashing post, thanks.
     
  2. PixelPlay

    PixelPlay New Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Hi MDS, I was in the same situation and was also considering the YGGY however the Holo has now come to light. I think that I may have reached the end of the internet googling for information. What I have found so far is that there are some hands on experiences and as always any comments/comparisons are always subjective. On a Chinese site a user has compared it (without the Jensen capacitor upgrade) directly with the Metrum Pavane and felt that it was close enough to choose the Holo and save the $ of a Pavane. Another comparison was made to a Duel Soekris and YGGY again the Holo was preferred. Your milage may vary and I am continuing to search for more information.

    I ended up ordering the Holo Spring version 3 from Tim at Kitsune, big leap I know but someone has to take the lead :)
    Three factors that helped sway me were that there is a 3 year warrantee, the very positive comparison to the Metrum Pavane and the Awesome service from Tim of which I have No affiliation with.

    I am a big fan of some of the Chinese products and currently listening to the Line Magnetic 503pa mono blocks with the Line magnetic 502ca Heavily upgraded Dac.
     
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  3. mds

    mds Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Please keep me informed once you have the new DAC and let me know what your thoughts and experiences are with it. I also have had great experiences with Chinese equipment and have Opera-Consonance mono-blocks and CD player. Both have treated me well, are both incredibly built, and both sound wonderful, so buying this is not too great of a leap, however I am not familiar with the company nor Tim who seems to be the US rep. I anxiously await a full report on the unit. Have only read one owner review in which he was using headphones, so I am not sold on his review.
     
  4. PixelPlay

    PixelPlay New Member

    Location:
    Australia
    It should be delivered in a couple of weeks. Here is a quote from a user in Hong Kong:
    "I am a end user in hong kong , mine is a level 3 version (but my jensen cap is still on the way), and i have option to upgrade the audionote silver isolate transformer which in front of the digital in, which make huge improve over the cheap one inside, before that i am a metrum pavane owner, i am very happy with pavane , it provide a very smooth and organic sound , strong and defination bass, sell it because to save some money, and for the holo spring performance, it really close to pavane but not better, but consider the price , it almost outclass similar competitor, and i am waiting for my jensen to make a final judgement"
     
  5. crooner

    crooner Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    This DAC looks fantastic and the fact that it uses discrete ladder resistors for DSD as well as PCM is groundbreaking, specially at the price.
    I am heavily invested in DSD so I need this functionality on my next DAC.
    I really like the ESS Sabre based Resonessence Labs Concero HD, I've owned it since 2014 and the sound quality is beyond reproach. I was willing to stay in the Resonessence Labs family and upgrade to the Veritas. But it has been delayed for quite a bit.

    Now, this new Holo DAC looks mighty tempting. If it delivers, it may give Schiit and other multibit DACs a run for the money!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  6. mds

    mds Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    The unit does look beautiful as do the specs read highend for a great price. I also like the DSD ability. I still am nervous about ordering due to no real reviews yet. Reviews don't neccesarily sell me on the products worth only that it really does exist and is what it is described to be. You can't be nervous about ordering the Yggy, so many people own and there are lots and lots of reviews by reputable publications, not so yet with this unit. Gives me more time to save up for my DAC purchase and if I go for this DAC it will be the Level 3.
     
  7. crooner

    crooner Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    I hope the reviews start coming in soon. I had a Chinese made Lite Audio DAC-60 a decade ago and it was very nice. Burr Brown 1704 DACs and tubed output stage.
    Schiitt stuff has always been well reviewed. Based on those glowing reviews I purchased one of the first Bifrost DACs back in late 2011. Unfortunately it produced some clicks when switching sample rates and this was pretty much ignored by them. Ended up selling it. We'll see...

    I also don't agree with their current position on DSD.
     
  8. crooner

    crooner Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    By the way, I see some chassis layout resemblance with the highly regarded Enlightened Audio Designs DSP-7000 series of DACs, that also had a toroidal power transformer:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Tim Connor

    Tim Connor New Member

    Location:
    USA
    Just to add.. I had to chime in as I run KitsuneHifi.com and want to comment about the silver transfomer. it's indeed the power transformer. and we do NOT recommend changing the spdif or aes transformer with the audionote silver isolate (for digital input, NOT for power iec input). this was not designed for the rest of the circuit. Our desginer at Holoaudio has carefully designed the circuit and says to mod at your own risk as it will potentially compromise the dac's integrity. We won't offer this mod as Jeff does not recommend it. The linearity is near perfect due to the time and effort put into the careful impedance matching done. Our silver transformer is unique to our company and very expensive. We also have more mods that will be disclosed once we fully announce them our website. We have spent a lot of time working with this dac to tune it further and get every last bit of performance out of it. We are happy with the results. Final revision has no copper wire, better connectors, and of course hand picked Jensen caps. We are now offering the AudioHorizon Platinum fuse in the current batch of our modded dac's.
    I just don't want any confusion that our dac does NOT have the audionote digital inpute transfomer, and it will never have that. and our Silver transformer is pure silver, NOT plated. It's hand wound with lots of attention to detail. Our wire upgrades are nearly double the copper wire, yet pure silver as well. So those who are waiting for their dac to be delivered will have these mods on their dac, except for the fuse. This will be standard going forward in october when we no long offer discounted prices. We are charging barely over cost on some of these parts. We are passionate about delivering the very best sound quality for your money. IMHO. Anyhow, the best inputs on this dac are the i2S without question. USB is good. but otherwise all the digital inputs are excellent alternative to i2s if you don't have a ddc to feed it like the Sonore Signature rendu, or Singxer SU1. But I use both USB and hdmi i2s. Otherwise I find all the digital inputs to be very good and often use bnc if I do. Also the output stage is excellent class A but the best option is the XLR output if you can manage to get a preamp with XLR. They will be slgiht advantage over SE/RCA especially when listening to DSD256 or DSD512. Jeff, the designer highly recommends the XLR out's as ideal analog output on this dac. Personally It's hard to tell the difference, but I trust his opinion. they both sound excellent!

    another common misunderstanding is that the AK4137 is used in the circuit for DSD....ONLY with in OS mode! NOS is the ideal mode for this dac as it has NOTHING in the signal path. The SRC is NOT used when in NOS. so irellevant. I have to be clear on that. The DSD native data is NOT converted to PCM, its discretely handled by the linear compensated resistor networks. This is processed with nothing in the signal path. The outcome is extremely revealing sound and definitely the best sounding NOS dac i've ever heard by a long shot. >126db SNR, perfect linearity, THD+N@5k 0.00050% DSD and THD+N@5k 0.00068% PCM... not bad :righton:

    Other companies may try to copy, and that dac above has a cheap sealed toroid. Not near the performance of a quality Otype pure silver transformer, let alone the fact our dac is the first Linear Compensated discrete r2r dac ever! The dual resistor network for PCM and dual resistor network for DSD is a really effective approach to get resistor values trimmed with ultimate precision. the second network is compensating to get the exact value. No other discrete r2r dac has ever done this as far as i'm aware. And Jeff has this technology patent pending.

    :targettiphat:@crooner - if you like teh 1704uk then you will fall in love with our KitsuneTuned Edition dac. I also love the pcm1704uk and have a heavily modded dac with 1704uk's in it. LOVE the sound, but it's collecting dust now for obvious reasons. Up for sale.

    We are excited to have some very good reviews to be up soon. JUST WAIT! :D tremendous value here. :goodie:

    Sorry, this post was meant to address the misunderstanding about the audionote silver transformer. I've had a lot of questions about it,and we will not offer the service, yet we will have a russian hand made silver AES transformers for sale in our store for other modding projects. These are even nicer imho. :D


    And we officially finished our first australian customer's Tuned edition Spring with 240V transformer. Custom made. none of our transformers are cheapo machine wound. they are all carefully built by hand. take many many hours to build just one! :yikes:

    Last update is Jensen is still behind on fufilling their orders. Once we have their caps back in stock we will be able to deliver in about 2week wait before it ships. But currently Jensen is telling us it will be the end of the month til we restock. We are working with them to increase production and see if we can make larger orders. There is a massive demand for this dac now. We still take preorders at the discounted price up until the end of this month. But october forward we will no longer. :blah:


    anyhow, Hope this clears up some things.

    -Tim @KitsuneHifi / HoloAudio USA
     
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  10. crooner

    crooner Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Thanks Tim, for filling in some very useful information on the Holo DAC.

    The Enlightened Audio Design DAC shown above was produced in the early to mid 1990's and it wasn't a copy of anything as far as I know. It used the Burr Brown PCM63 DAC chips and the series III had the Pacific Microsonics PMD 100 HDCD decoder/Digital Filter. For the time it was a high-end DAC and retailed for $2500 in 1995. I just wanted to point out the resemblance in chassis layout. Later versions did away with the toroid and used an "R" core power transformer.
     
  11. PixelPlay

    PixelPlay New Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Thanks Tim for the update and if I'm not mistaken that exact 240v Dac is soon going to find its place in my system here in Australia :)

    Review to follow...

    Cheers
    Greg
     
  12. crooner

    crooner Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Looking forward to reading your review. This DAC could be a game changer....
     
  13. I'm certain I'll get to hear this DAC at a headphone meet up in Seattle in the near future. I'm looking forward to that.
     
  14. ResponsSpeakers

    ResponsSpeakers New Member

    Location:
    Norway
    Any news about this dac? I am still waiting for your review PixelPlay...

    Cheers
     
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