Keces DA-131 (modded)

heiney9
heiney9 Posts: 24,146
So, even though I have spent less time here on CP, although I do lurk at times, I have been keeping up with some tube buying for the awesome Eastern Electric Mini Max pre-amp. Office rig(s) have seen little use lately as the computer crashed and I have been on a netbook recently. That's all going to be remedied soon.

I wasn't even looking for a new piece (that's usually when the best stuff shows up) and I still have a great love for my office Keces DA-151 (USB only) DAC. I found a DA-131 which is the non-USB version to try in the main rig. This particular unit has the upgraded op-amps and 12 - Black Gate caps throughout.

Going to put it up against my modded Adcom GDA-600 of the early 90's and see which I prefer.

The Keces DA-131 is enroute

STAY TUNED

H9
"Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

Pass Aleph 30 | EE Avant Pre | EE Mini Max Plus DAC | MIT Shotgun S3 | MIT Z P/C's | updated SDA 1C| SQ Box Touch/Welbourne Labs P/S- Tubes add soul!

Comments

  • vcwatkins
    vcwatkins Posts: 1,989
    Looking forward to your thoughts, H. I sold my 131 (unmodded) when it was bested by Arcam rDac (bottom end response, wider soundstage) and W4S dac1 upped to dac2 spec plus femto (fuller richer sound, wider deeper ss). This was on the Aleph30, revel m22/maggie rig.

    Dunno why the Keces never grabbed me by my uh elbow like it did most others.
    Study: Roon * ProJect Stream Box Ultra & Pre Box S2 * Pass ACA * DH Labs SS Q10 * Brines Folded ML-TQWT RS 40-1354
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  • heiney9
    heiney9 Posts: 24,146
    It'll be interesting because the DA-151 is in the office rig and in general I use a different standard when evaluating that rig vs. the main rig. If the DA-131 doesn't dethrone the modded Adcom, I'll still use it a secondary rig that's not computer based.

    It was too good a deal to pass up and the office rig with the DA-151 in the mix sounds most excellent.

    I am just as curious to see how it all goes too.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30 | EE Avant Pre | EE Mini Max Plus DAC | MIT Shotgun S3 | MIT Z P/C's | updated SDA 1C| SQ Box Touch/Welbourne Labs P/S- Tubes add soul!
  • 11tsteve
    11tsteve Posts: 1,166
    do you have the means, or plans to compare the 151 to the 131?
    Polk Lsi9
    N.E.W. A-20 class A 20W
    NAD 1020 completely refurbished
    Keces DA-131 mk.II
    Analysis Plus Copper Oval, Douglass, Morrow SUB3, Huffman Digital
    Paradigm DSP-3100 v.2
  • EndersShadow
    EndersShadow Posts: 17,233
    Brock.... you've put the Keces stuff on my list a couple times and I've almost pulled the trigger a time or two... maybe one day I will snag one.
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • tonyb
    tonyb Posts: 32,313
    Congrats on the new dac Brock. I'm sure it's found a home.
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  • pearsall001
    pearsall001 Posts: 4,559
    Congrats & definitely keep us posted on your thoughts. I'll bet it's gonna leave you smiling!
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "
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  • heiney9
    heiney9 Posts: 24,146
    11tsteve wrote: »
    do you have the means, or plans to compare the 151 to the 131?

    It would be very hard to compare them head to head since they are different designs and use a different decoding chipset. Plus the DA-131 is modded with Black Gate caps.

    The DA-151 is USB only (needs proper set-up to sound it's best) the chip is only capable of 24-bit/48kHz resolution. It also uses coupling caps at the output.

    The DA-131 is coax/toslink only and is capable of 24-bit/192kHz. Uses no coupling caps. Both units use the upgraded op-amp LME49710.

    H9

    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30 | EE Avant Pre | EE Mini Max Plus DAC | MIT Shotgun S3 | MIT Z P/C's | updated SDA 1C| SQ Box Touch/Welbourne Labs P/S- Tubes add soul!
  • heiney9
    heiney9 Posts: 24,146
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30 | EE Avant Pre | EE Mini Max Plus DAC | MIT Shotgun S3 | MIT Z P/C's | updated SDA 1C| SQ Box Touch/Welbourne Labs P/S- Tubes add soul!
  • 11tsteve
    11tsteve Posts: 1,166
    thanks Brock. I was curious if I might want to explore the USB or if it would be more of a lateral move.
    Polk Lsi9
    N.E.W. A-20 class A 20W
    NAD 1020 completely refurbished
    Keces DA-131 mk.II
    Analysis Plus Copper Oval, Douglass, Morrow SUB3, Huffman Digital
    Paradigm DSP-3100 v.2
  • agfrost
    agfrost Posts: 2,351
    Cool, Brock.

    Interested in hearing your thoughts; I picked up a 131 locally a couple months ago and have been enjoying it. Look at the two of us, each with a tweaked Adcom and a Keces DA-131.
    Jay
    SDA 2BTL * Musical Fidelity A5cr amp * Marantz DV-9500 * Modded Adcom GDA-600 DAC * Rythmik F8 (x2)
    Micro Seiki DQ-50 * A hodgepodge of cabling * Belkin PF60
    Preamp rotation: Krell KSL (SCompRacer recapped) * Manley Shrimp * PS Audio 5.0
  • SCompRacer
    SCompRacer Posts: 7,207
    heiney9 wrote: »
    This particular unit has the upgraded op-amps....

    Hey Brock, which op amps?

    I just picked up some tubes! 6922's, Amperex PQ 7308. Also got a couple of Telefunken EF86. All for a project yet to be built.

    tubes.jpg

    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's * Audio Research Reference 3 * Bottlehead Eros Phono * Park's Audio Budgie SUT * Krell KSA-250 * Harmonic Technology Pro 9+ & Pro 11+ * Signature Series Sonore Music Server w/Deux PS* Twisted Pear Buffalo IIISE Pro ES9038 DAC * Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive * AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm * AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R * Richard Gray 600S * NHT B-12d subs * GIK Acoustic Treatments * Sennheiser HD650 *

  • tonyb
    tonyb Posts: 32,313
    Now you've gone and done it Rich. Posting up tube pics to Broch is like waving a crack pipe in front of a dope addict. :)

    Post up some thoughts Broch, inquiring minds and all that.
    HT SYSTEM-
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    Sony 4k BRP
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    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

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    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1420
    lsi 9's
  • heiney9
    heiney9 Posts: 24,146
    heiney9 wrote: »
    11tsteve wrote: »
    do you have the means, or plans to compare the 151 to the 131?

    It would be very hard to compare them head to head since they are different designs and use a different decoding chipset. Plus the DA-131 is modded with Black Gate caps.

    The DA-151 is USB only (needs proper set-up to sound it's best) the chip is only capable of 24-bit/48kHz resolution. It also uses coupling caps at the output.

    The DA-131 is coax/toslink only and is capable of 24-bit/192kHz. Uses no coupling caps. Both units use the upgraded op-amp LME49710.

    H9

    To Rich's question (see above)

    Is it ok to quote myself?

    Lol

    Nice tubes Rich, looking forward to seeing pics of the project.

    The only way I stop acquiring tubes, is to go cold turkey, not quite there yet as I'm still looking for a couple stragglers.

    Of course all this sleuthing and hunting has uncovered another rare gem masquerading as something else for a song. Now the hunt for a mate....lol.

    I have the Keces in da' house. It's like new and was shipped very quickly. A great seller off Audio Asylum hooked me up. Now, I just have to find time to audition it.

    H9

    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30 | EE Avant Pre | EE Mini Max Plus DAC | MIT Shotgun S3 | MIT Z P/C's | updated SDA 1C| SQ Box Touch/Welbourne Labs P/S- Tubes add soul!
  • heiney9
    heiney9 Posts: 24,146
    agfrost wrote: »
    Cool, Brock.

    Interested in hearing your thoughts; I picked up a 131 locally a couple months ago and have been enjoying it. Look at the two of us, each with a tweaked Adcom and a Keces DA-131.

    Interested in your thoughts comparing the two units. I have only hooked up the DA-131 to see if it works properly, no critical listening yet.

    I really, really like the modded Adcom, but it's always good to try some different (newer gear) in the mix to make sure one isn't stagnating. Plus, I'm curious.

    H9

    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30 | EE Avant Pre | EE Mini Max Plus DAC | MIT Shotgun S3 | MIT Z P/C's | updated SDA 1C| SQ Box Touch/Welbourne Labs P/S- Tubes add soul!
  • SCompRacer
    SCompRacer Posts: 7,207
    edited June 2015
    tonyb wrote: »
    Now you've gone and done it Rich. Posting up tube pics to Broch is like waving a crack pipe in front of a dope addict. :)

    LMAO! Here's another to get him buying...lol Telefunken EF86. Some folks say the EF86 is perhaps the finest sounding low noise pentode made, being used in some exceptional microphones. Bottlehead Eros phono stage uses a pair of these as first gain stage. 6DJ8/6922/7308 is second gain stage. There are some even more desirable EF806S but very pricey. It was mostly used in commercial applications, better components for a minimum of 10K hours.

    20150619_112224%20620x1024.jpg


    My bad Brock. I've been alone at work since Sept 2014. Trying to kill me with OT. Getting even older, fatigued.

    LME49710 is the single version of the LME49720, which I have in my DAC's I/V board SE and headphone out (balanced out is discrete). It is a nice sounding op amp!
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's * Audio Research Reference 3 * Bottlehead Eros Phono * Park's Audio Budgie SUT * Krell KSA-250 * Harmonic Technology Pro 9+ & Pro 11+ * Signature Series Sonore Music Server w/Deux PS* Twisted Pear Buffalo IIISE Pro ES9038 DAC * Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive * AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm * AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R * Richard Gray 600S * NHT B-12d subs * GIK Acoustic Treatments * Sennheiser HD650 *

  • heiney9
    heiney9 Posts: 24,146
    I have been working OT as well; a special 5 week project that can only be done outside of the 9-5 work week. So I've been staying late, working through lunches and one 8 hour weekend day. Between 15 and 18 hours OT a week.

    I am promised a substantial bonus when it's all done around the end of July, early August.......so I know what you're going through.

    I concur on the LME49710's there is one for each channel at the output of the DAC. These replaced OPA604's and the difference was substantial. I'm speaking of my older Keces DA-151 (usb only dac). The new (to me) Keces 131 uses the same op-amps.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30 | EE Avant Pre | EE Mini Max Plus DAC | MIT Shotgun S3 | MIT Z P/C's | updated SDA 1C| SQ Box Touch/Welbourne Labs P/S- Tubes add soul!
  • agfrost
    agfrost Posts: 2,351
    Brock, I'm in California for the foreseeable future, away from my rig. We'll fight over who can post impressions slower.
    Jay
    SDA 2BTL * Musical Fidelity A5cr amp * Marantz DV-9500 * Modded Adcom GDA-600 DAC * Rythmik F8 (x2)
    Micro Seiki DQ-50 * A hodgepodge of cabling * Belkin PF60
    Preamp rotation: Krell KSL (SCompRacer recapped) * Manley Shrimp * PS Audio 5.0
  • heiney9
    heiney9 Posts: 24,146
    So, I have moved this piece along. I might regret it later. I did have a short opportunity to compare this to my modded Adcom. I didn't give it the usual 2-3 week comparison I should have, but then this was never intended to replace the Adcom. It was more or less a measuring stick. I really, really like the modded Adcom so there in lies a bias I hope didn't influence my choice too much.

    First impression in the big rig, clean and very low noise.

    Vocals are a bit upfront and just a tad 2 dimensional. Bass was a bit shy and didn't seem to extend as well as the Adcom.

    The entire soundstage was smaller and more closed in. Not as much of the 3d, "in the crowd" type of presentation. Vocals were a bit less fleshed out.

    Complex pieces were definitely more jumbled and overall the entire presentation was a little bit "drier" than the Adcom.

    My expectation (especially since it was modded with Black Gate caps) was it would be a little closer in it's presentation to the Adcom, but in the end it wasn't. Not necessarily bad, but just different.

    My intention was to use it in a 3rd upstairs rig with a tube integrated and a pair of Polk RT25i's

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30 | EE Avant Pre | EE Mini Max Plus DAC | MIT Shotgun S3 | MIT Z P/C's | updated SDA 1C| SQ Box Touch/Welbourne Labs P/S- Tubes add soul!
  • heiney9
    heiney9 Posts: 24,146
    I'll be clear, I didn't move this piece along because it didn't sound similar to the modded Adcom. Different and still sounded excellent for it's price. I moved it along because a) a third rig might not happen (and really not necessary) b) looking at moving up to newer technology and replacing the Adcom. Then the Adcom can be used in a proposed 3rd rig.

    I would have kept this if not for the above scenario. Starkiller had been looking for one and I figured, move it while you can.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30 | EE Avant Pre | EE Mini Max Plus DAC | MIT Shotgun S3 | MIT Z P/C's | updated SDA 1C| SQ Box Touch/Welbourne Labs P/S- Tubes add soul!