Border Patrol SE-i DAC Review

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  • tonyb
    tonyb Posts: 32,912
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    LOL, no Phil I haven't but it is on my radar. Gonna have to shuffle my arse over to Brians one day to get ears on it. Though truthfully, Brians ears and yours one some of the ones I trust around here.

    With medical bills just about gone, money has been once again flying out the door. New hardwood floors, new furniture, painting, and all the little expeditures that go with it all. Still grooving on the Grant Fidelity tube dac, has that nice analog sound I dig but obviously the BP is going to be leaps and bounds above.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1420
    lsi 9's
  • pearsall001
    pearsall001 Posts: 5,020
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    tonyb wrote: »
    LOL, no Phil I haven't but it is on my radar. Gonna have to shuffle my arse over to Brians one day to get ears on it. Though truthfully, Brians ears and yours one some of the ones I trust around here.

    With medical bills just about gone, money has been once again flying out the door. New hardwood floors, new furniture, painting, and all the little expeditures that go with it all. Still grooving on the Grant Fidelity tube dac, has that nice analog sound I dig but obviously the BP is going to be leaps and bounds above.

    I feel your pain Tony with home repair/remodeling costs. It sure does cut into the audio funds. You just need to re-prioritize your spending...a new DAC trumps a fresh coat of paint & a sofa! 😅 Now getting the wifey to go with that is a whole different challenge 🤠
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "Two Channel:Magnepan LRSSchiit Audio Freya S - SS preConsonance Ref 50 - Tube preParasound HALO A21+ 2 channel ampBluesound NODE 2i streameriFi NEO iDSD DAC Oppo BDP-93KEF KC62 sub Home Theater:Full blown 11.2 set up.
  • kevhed72
    kevhed72 Posts: 4,978
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    I must have read this thread 3 times now and would like to go a different direction from my current Benchmark DAC2 to fund one of these, which don't seem readily available on the used market. I have pulled all the toobs out of my gear and think they may have been a mistake for certain sources and music types.
    Just thinking out loud.
  • marvda1
    marvda1 Posts: 4,885
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    Amplifiers: Norma IPA 140, MasterSound Compact 845, Ayre v6xe, Consonance Cyber 800
    Preamp: deHavilland Ultraverve 3
    Dac: Sonnet Morpheus 2, Musical Paradise mp-d2 mkIII
    Transport: Jay's Audio CDT2 mk2, Lumin U1 mini
    Speakers: Rosso Fiorentino Volterra II
    Speaker Cables: Crystal Clear Magnum Opus 2, Organic Audio Organic Reference 2
    Interconnects: Crystal Clear Magnum Opus 2, Argento Organic Reference 2, Argento Organic 2
    Power Cables: Argento Organic Reference, Synergistic Research Foundation 10 and 12 ga.
    Digital cables: Crystal Clear Magnum Opus 2 bnc, Tellurium Q aes, Silnote Audio Poseidon Signature 2 bnc
    Puritan PSM156
  • erniejade
    erniejade Posts: 6,321
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    Tony, I still think the Grant is a darn good sounding dac and easy to tube roll without breaking the bank. I actually kept going back to that dac even with the lks and used the tube buffer on it. Sold it recently and already have sellers remorse in case i build second system again.

    @kevhed72 the Benchmark DAC2 is a very good dac. What don't you like about it or what are you trying to accomplish? I don't feel the Boarder Patrol was an upgrade to my sold lks, just a different sound. The BP has a bit more meat on the bones that my older ears like where the lks was very detailed and more on the top end. Because I am who I am and get that stupid upgrade \ change itch, I still want to get my hands on an Musetec (LKS) MH-DA005 DAC.
    Klipsch The Nines, Audioquest Thunderbird Interconnect, Innuos Zen MK3 W4S recovery, Revolution Audio Labs USB & Ethernet, Border Patrol SE-I, Audioquest Niagara 5000 & Thunder, Cullen Crossover II PC's.
  • erniejade
    erniejade Posts: 6,321
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    Klipsch The Nines, Audioquest Thunderbird Interconnect, Innuos Zen MK3 W4S recovery, Revolution Audio Labs USB & Ethernet, Border Patrol SE-I, Audioquest Niagara 5000 & Thunder, Cullen Crossover II PC's.
  • kevhed72
    kevhed72 Posts: 4,978
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    erniejade wrote: »
    Tony, I still think the Grant is a darn good sounding dac and easy to tube roll without breaking the bank. I actually kept going back to that dac even with the lks and used the tube buffer on it. Sold it recently and already have sellers remorse in case i build second system again.

    @kevhed72 the Benchmark DAC2 is a very good dac. What don't you like about it or what are you trying to accomplish? I don't feel the Boarder Patrol was an upgrade to my sold lks, just a different sound. The BP has a bit more meat on the bones that my older ears like where the lks was very detailed and more on the top end. Because I am who I am and get that stupid upgrade \ change itch, I still want to get my hands on an Musetec (LKS) MH-DA005 DAC.

    I think my whole rig may be too sterile and analytical since moving to all SS gear. Some of my CDs have become unlistenable, Talking Heads being a good example. It may be the L200s aren't completely burned in. I dunno. The other option is go back to a tubed pre and pair it with the MF A308cr amp.
  • erniejade
    erniejade Posts: 6,321
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    Thats one of the hard things to get right. Too analytical with uber detail or something with some bones \ boogie to it. Its the in-between thats a hard mix.

    If memory serves me correctly the A308cr is a darn good amp. On the warmer side of neutral.
    Klipsch The Nines, Audioquest Thunderbird Interconnect, Innuos Zen MK3 W4S recovery, Revolution Audio Labs USB & Ethernet, Border Patrol SE-I, Audioquest Niagara 5000 & Thunder, Cullen Crossover II PC's.
  • pearsall001
    pearsall001 Posts: 5,020
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    It sounds to me like your listening conundrum started when you let the tube gear go & went all SS. Your ears were accustomed to the tube sound.
    Maybe go back to the beginning & pick up another tube pre & see where that gets you. The Benchmark DAC you have is a great sounding unit & I would assume it's not the culprit. The BP DAC might smooth things out a bit but I think you're still missing that tube mojo.
    I can attest to how smooth yet detailed (without being too analytical) the BP DAC is in my system... paired with a tube pre & a SS amp. Doesn't this stuff drive you crazy or what ☺️
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "Two Channel:Magnepan LRSSchiit Audio Freya S - SS preConsonance Ref 50 - Tube preParasound HALO A21+ 2 channel ampBluesound NODE 2i streameriFi NEO iDSD DAC Oppo BDP-93KEF KC62 sub Home Theater:Full blown 11.2 set up.
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 1,141
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    @kevhed72 If you can’t find a used BP, you might also keep an eye out for a Jolida TubeDAC III.

    Has two 12ax7s, ceramic sockets, tubes are in the output stage (not mere buffers), has galvanic isolation, and asynchronous USB/coax/optical connections.
    CD Players: Sony CDP-211; Sony DVP-S9000ES; Sony UDP-X800M2 (x2); Cambridge Audio CXC

    DACs: Jolida Glass FX Tube DAC III (x2); Denafrips Ares II (x2)

    Streamers: ROKU (x3); Bluesound Node 2i and Node N130 w/LHY LPS // Receivers: Yamaha RX-V775BT; Yamaha RX-V777

    Preamps: B&K Ref 50; B&K Ref 5 S2; Classe CP-800 MkII; Audio Research SP16L (soon)

    Amps: Niles SI-275; B&K ST125.7; B&K ST125.2; Classe CA-2300; Butler Audio TDB-5150

    Speakers: Boston Acoustics CR55; Focal Chorus 705v; Wharfedale Diamond 10.2; Monitor Audio Silver-1; Def Tech Mythos One (x4)/Mythos Three Center (x2)/Mythos Two pr.; Martin Logan Electromotion ESL; Legacy Audio Victoria/Silverscreen Center; Gallo Acoustics Reference 3.1; SVS SB-1000 Pro; REL HT-1003; B&W ASW610; HifiMan HE400i

    Turntable: Dual 721 Direct-Drive w/Audio Technica AT-VM95e cart

    Cables: Tripp-lite 14ga. PCs, Blue Jeans Cable ICs, Philips PXT1000 ICs; Kimber Kable DV30 coaxial ICs; Canare L-4E6S XLR ICs; Kimber Kable 8PR & 8TC speaker cables.
  • erniejade
    erniejade Posts: 6,321
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    The Jolida is a great choice as well. Didn't they change their name to like black cat or something like that?
    Klipsch The Nines, Audioquest Thunderbird Interconnect, Innuos Zen MK3 W4S recovery, Revolution Audio Labs USB & Ethernet, Border Patrol SE-I, Audioquest Niagara 5000 & Thunder, Cullen Crossover II PC's.
  • kevhed72
    kevhed72 Posts: 4,978
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    jbreezy5 wrote: »
    @kevhed72 If you can’t find a used BP, you might also keep an eye out for a Jolida TubeDAC III.

    Has two 12ax7s, ceramic sockets, tubes are in the output stage (not mere buffers), has galvanic isolation, and asynchronous USB/coax/optical connections.
    Seeing as I still have a stash of nice vintage tubes, this option is very appealing. If course Music Direct is out of them.
  • erniejade
    erniejade Posts: 6,321
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    Talk to wally at underwood. He has the newer jolida name in stock i believe
    Klipsch The Nines, Audioquest Thunderbird Interconnect, Innuos Zen MK3 W4S recovery, Revolution Audio Labs USB & Ethernet, Border Patrol SE-I, Audioquest Niagara 5000 & Thunder, Cullen Crossover II PC's.
  • kevhed72
    kevhed72 Posts: 4,978
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    Cool....wasn't sure if he just did upgrades or carried Jolida also. I will check it out.
  • erniejade
    erniejade Posts: 6,321
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    Think they are calling themselves black ice now. From my understanding its the same product and manufacturer just a different name.
    Klipsch The Nines, Audioquest Thunderbird Interconnect, Innuos Zen MK3 W4S recovery, Revolution Audio Labs USB & Ethernet, Border Patrol SE-I, Audioquest Niagara 5000 & Thunder, Cullen Crossover II PC's.
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 1,141
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    Forgot to mention, no op amps in the TubeDac III. I stopped following Jolida after all the drama, but Black Ice sounds right, as far as the name change.

    But you may find a value on the used market somewhere. I like Underwood Hifi also.
    CD Players: Sony CDP-211; Sony DVP-S9000ES; Sony UDP-X800M2 (x2); Cambridge Audio CXC

    DACs: Jolida Glass FX Tube DAC III (x2); Denafrips Ares II (x2)

    Streamers: ROKU (x3); Bluesound Node 2i and Node N130 w/LHY LPS // Receivers: Yamaha RX-V775BT; Yamaha RX-V777

    Preamps: B&K Ref 50; B&K Ref 5 S2; Classe CP-800 MkII; Audio Research SP16L (soon)

    Amps: Niles SI-275; B&K ST125.7; B&K ST125.2; Classe CA-2300; Butler Audio TDB-5150

    Speakers: Boston Acoustics CR55; Focal Chorus 705v; Wharfedale Diamond 10.2; Monitor Audio Silver-1; Def Tech Mythos One (x4)/Mythos Three Center (x2)/Mythos Two pr.; Martin Logan Electromotion ESL; Legacy Audio Victoria/Silverscreen Center; Gallo Acoustics Reference 3.1; SVS SB-1000 Pro; REL HT-1003; B&W ASW610; HifiMan HE400i

    Turntable: Dual 721 Direct-Drive w/Audio Technica AT-VM95e cart

    Cables: Tripp-lite 14ga. PCs, Blue Jeans Cable ICs, Philips PXT1000 ICs; Kimber Kable DV30 coaxial ICs; Canare L-4E6S XLR ICs; Kimber Kable 8PR & 8TC speaker cables.
  • NotaSuv
    NotaSuv Posts: 3,817
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    Instead of starting another new thread on this DAC I will just add to this review....my old ears are not what they used to be BUT the BP did what all others have posted and was quite engaging, planned to listen for about an hour and ended up listening for almost 5 hours...enough said, this DAC did raise the bar quite a bit...first experience using a DAC and am very pleased...............
  • pearsall001
    pearsall001 Posts: 5,020
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    NotaSuv wrote: »
    Instead of starting another new thread on this DAC I will just add to this review....my old ears are not what they used to be BUT the BP did what all others have posted and was quite engaging, planned to listen for about an hour and ended up listening for almost 5 hours...enough said, this DAC did raise the bar quite a bit...first experience using a DAC and am very pleased...............

    I knew you would like it...simply musical on all accounts! It literally makes you park your area down for a lot longer that you had planned on. I did it many times myself.

    I'm kicking myself already for letting her go. !!

    Enjoy👍
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "Two Channel:Magnepan LRSSchiit Audio Freya S - SS preConsonance Ref 50 - Tube preParasound HALO A21+ 2 channel ampBluesound NODE 2i streameriFi NEO iDSD DAC Oppo BDP-93KEF KC62 sub Home Theater:Full blown 11.2 set up.
  • NotaSuv
    NotaSuv Posts: 3,817
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    A nice improvement right across the board especially in vocals and mid bass and I am sure the cable included helped as well
  • pearsall001
    pearsall001 Posts: 5,020
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    NotaSuv wrote: »
    A nice improvement right across the board especially in vocals and mid bass and I am sure the cable included helped as well

    Glad you're really enjoying the DAC! I'm sure the cable is adding a very nice touch for sure.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "Two Channel:Magnepan LRSSchiit Audio Freya S - SS preConsonance Ref 50 - Tube preParasound HALO A21+ 2 channel ampBluesound NODE 2i streameriFi NEO iDSD DAC Oppo BDP-93KEF KC62 sub Home Theater:Full blown 11.2 set up.
  • kevhed72
    kevhed72 Posts: 4,978
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    I would be interested to hear this DAC vs my Black Ice audio tube DAC. I was looking for the BP on the used market awhile and the Black Ice became available in US Audiomart so I grabbed that.
  • twigfarm
    twigfarm Posts: 5
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    I'm kicking myself already for letting her go. !!

    Sorry for reviving an old thread but sounds like you sold the BP which I found surprising after going thru this thread (twice). I’d be interested why & what you may have replaced it with? And what was the cable you included when you sold it?
    Clipdat wrote: »
    Guts photos:

    Thank you for the great "guts" photos. Greatly lessens the itch to open mine up to take a look. Thank you!

    BTW, purchased a new BP a little over a month ago & am VERY happy I did. It replaced a Schiit Gungnir with original A1 board (the most "analog" sounding of the versions), and even though the Gungnir was no slouch (it was quite good), the BP bettered it in every important (to me) respect.


    Cambridge CXC v2 transport, Border Patrol SE-i DAC, Musical Fidelity M3i amp, Totem Dreamcatcher speakers, Kanto Sub8 subwoofer, Cardas, Dared Blue, Audioquest, Pine Tree, BJ, XLO cables, Furman conditioner