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Musical Fidelity V-DAC II

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canchi

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The V-DAC II just arrived today. My cousin in the US bought it off ebay for $349 and sent it to Blore through a friend. No customs paid.
A forum member Thad E Ginathom had commented on the flimsy and cheap packaging by Musical Fidelity as a possible reason for being ignored by the customs, in a previous post and this is true, see pic , no bubble wrap, nothing!


By canchi8 at 2012-07-24

The original power supply from the US is 120v, so I had to visit SP Road to buy an Indian power supply , 12v 0.5 amp. 130bucks. Worked like a charm.


By canchi8


By canchi8

The plug at the end of the adapter was too broad to fit into the vdac, but our guy on SP Road had a nifty piece that helped.... see pic...


By canchi8 at 2012-07-24
 

Thad E Ginathom

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A forum member Thad E Ginathom had commented on the flimsy and cheap packaging by Musical Fidelity as a possible reason for being ignored by the customs, in a previous post and this is true, see pic , no bubble wrap, nothing!
You got yours in a box! my V-LPS-II came from UK in an envelope :rolleyes:


The original power supply from the US is 120v, so I had to visit SP Road to buy an Indian power supply , 12v 0.5 amp. 130bucks. Worked like a charm.
Ironic, as it is originally manufactured in UK, where it would be supplied with 240v adapter ... Oh wait! mine's actually 100-240, but with a UK plug.

Looking forward to your review...
 

canchi

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First impressions.....
I connected my Dell laptop to the V-DAC through an usb cable and fed the output to the marantz pm 6004 amp, the speakers - KEF Q300 bookshelves. Upon powering up the V-DAC, windows automatically searched for the relevant driver update and this was installed and the DAC was ready to go.
I played some flac files of AR Rahman, Dil se, Chanda Re and others. I compared this to the output from the earphone socket that I had directly connected to the amp when the dac was not available.
1. Volume - During the connection direct through the earphone socket I had to turn up the vol to 12 o'clock position to hear the vocals. With the DAC , 9 o'clock vol poistion sufficed to hear everything!
2. The bass which was a tad boomy earlier was more precise and punchy
3. The instruments were crisper and more clearly heard.
4, The sound stage was wider and more seperated.
All in all , a good initial experience. Will connect my PS3, that acts as my CD transport, through the spdif (optical) of the DAC and get back to you all later. I used the VLC media player for the songs, but am told that Foobar with some plugins will sound better.....
 

canchi

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Further impressions....
I use the PS3 as CD transport. I connected the opitcal out from the PS3 to the SPDIF ( optical) input in the V-DAC, Output from the dac to the marantz amp was through RCA, same as the previous configuration.
Played 2 CDs - The Mellifluous (Maharajapuram Santhanam) and Swagatham Krishna (Yesudas). High bit-rate MP3s Hindi - Peelon (One upon...mumbai), Jodha Akbar and Souful Sufi - music that was on the hard disc of the PS3. Did not play flac files since the PS3 does not accept these files unless I stream them.
While the difference in sound through the usb of the laptop through the DAC was "mind-boglingly" good, the same cannot be said of the PS3 through the optical cable to the DAC. There was perhaps a 5% improvement in the sound stage :sad: and maybe the bass was tighter; I had to strain my ears to pick the difference.
The reason for this, I am speculating now, is perhaps that the dac in the PS3 is as good as the one in V-DAC II. A search on the net seems to suggest that the co-axial connection may work better.
I welcome inputs from the gurus of the forum on this subject.
Thanks in advance!
 

canchi

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While the sound from the laptop through the DAC is much enhanced, the DAC fails to impress on enhancing the music played through the PS3. There are many V-DAC II owners who have commented on the net on a better power supply which supposedly improves DAC function. The current power supply is 12v, 0.5amp and the reviewers/owners of the V-DAC II have looked at 12v, 3 amps and found that the dac produces better enhancement of music.
I will try the new power supply and see how it helps. Anyone out there want to stop me from doing this? Will increasing the amperage of the power supplied to the dac, burn it? If yes, then there is a whole new meaning attached to the term break-in or burn-in period! :D
 

jaudere

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I would recommend not to use higher amperage than recommended by the manufacturer.
Secondly,I don't want to dissapoint you, but it may be a fact that PS3 DAC is as good as MF VDAC II. I have a Purepiper DAC (using same chip as that of Marantz Cd6003/6004) which improves sound of my netbook, philips DVD player and marantz DVD player. However It does not improve the sound over analogue outs of my 9-10 year old Aiwa DVD player. I have to accept that the unnamed DAC in my ancient DVD player is sonically as good as as a standalone DAC in 10-12K range. So my standalone DAC comes into picture only when I am using netbook (or philips DVD player because of its USB capability). the DAC is off if Aiwa DVD player is being used.
People will say that you need revealing equipments down the chain to really understand the capability of the DAC. Now if the sound improves after using more expensive equipment down the line, why would one say the improvement is due to DAC. the improvement is due to the better equipment.

So , may be you can try better power supply but "better" may not mean higher "amperage".

To share another experience, I was in market to buy standalone CD player. I compared Marantz CD 6003 to a sony BDP (don't remember the model). Amp was Marantz Pm 6003 and speakers were Paradigm studio10.
Well there was adifference but again it was not night and day. I had to strain my ears and brain to find out the subtle differences in highs. If there was no A/B comparison, in all probability I would have rated sony BDP as good as CD6003. Ultimately, I did not buy CD player as I could not justify price difference. But again that is about MY EARS. :)

I feel that optical and coaxial should perform equally well if the cable length is not very long (less than 6-8 feet)
 
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canchi

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Yes, I figured as much, that the dac onboard the PS3 must be good enough. Still, will bump up the power supply to 2 to 3 amps for a short period of time and look for improvements in sound quality.
I suspect that a higher voltage would definitely damage the DAC but perhaps not a higher ampere setting. Need further inputs from electrically (and eclectically :D) knowledgeable people here....
 

jaudere

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I am electrically illiterate :D but one observation may be of help.

I have 3-4 Nokia phones at home. 1 of them has adapter of 350 mA while others have that of 850mA. By mistake, the phone needing 350mA was charged by 850 mA many times but nothing happened. So what you say may be correct.
 

Thad E Ginathom

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I'm not very electrically literate, but, as I understand it, the ampage rating of the power supply refers to power available. Thus:

--- connecting a higher-rated device to a lower-rated power supply will probably damage the power supply, but not the device (unless you loose the whole house in the resultant fire!).

--- connecting a lower-rated device to a higher-rated power supply should be harmless. It simply means that the full capacity of the power supply is unused.

It may be advantageous to certain hifi equipment to have power reserve: I don't know.

MF themselves sell a V-Series power supply. ISTR that it is not cheap, but supports two (or three?) V-Series units. Economically, I doubt that it is worthwhile, unless you have more than one unit to power. Maybe it would work out well if adding, say, a V-series headphone amp.

There is a big outbreak of DAC is always better propaganda. The truth is that DAC is better only when it is better. jaudere's comments and experience make sense. There may be a percentage disappointment that the new DAC is not improving everything for you, but I'd say --- just be happy that it has turned your laptop into a hifi machine, and that the experience proves that your PS3 has a pretty good DAC already :)
 

canchi

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Relentless in my pursuit of getting the most out of the MF V-DAC II, I trooped back to SP Road and bought a new power supply - 12v 3amps output ( cost 230 bucks). Back home, I connected the new power supply to the DAC, eyes wide to detect a burn out spark or smoke, and the nose twitching to smell the burn! No such thing happened!
I connected my laptop to the DAC, played some flac and mp3 files, played a CD on my laptop CD player and found the foll:
More sound at lower volume
More body to the vocals, which also sounded crisper
Better seperation of sound stage
The sound from my laptop CD/DVD player was on par with that of the player on the PS3.
This was in comparison to the same DAC with power supply 12v and 0.5amps.
Will compare the sound out of the PS3 through the spdif (optical) later and let you know......
 

jaudere

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Good. Probably louder sound is as expected after higher current delivery to DAC which in turn is increasing signal strength supplied from DAC to the amp. More improtant is the improvement that you are getting in other departments.
 

nandac

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power is intimately linked to sound quality, when it comes to hifi equipment. the better (which often means 'more' in india) the power supply, the better will the sound quality be.
 

koushik

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Reserve power will never harm. The thing that you have to maintain is the Potential Difference (or Voltage) not current. Current rating is minimum that the equipment needs to operate properly. If fed with higher current it will only draw as much is needed.

More technically, it is controlled by the formula V = I x R (volt = current x resistance)
So, resistance being constant inside circuit, say 15 ohm, current drawn by the circuit will be I = V/R = 12/15 = 0.8 Amp (where, V = 12 volt)
So if you feed this circuit with 0.5 Amp, it will not perform to its potential or as intended.

My 2 annas :)
 

canchi

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Moving on, testing the dac (with the new power supply), connected to PS3 through the spdif (optical),using the music files stored on the hdd of the PS3 as well as the CD drive of the PS3 ( see posts 4 and 5) there was a subtle increase in the sound stage, the bass appeared to be tighter,the instruments crisper, but really, you had to strain yours ears to pick this.
The bottom line is -
As an USB dac, the MF V-DAC II scores in all respects and elevates/enhances the music on your laptop/PC a great deal, of jaw-dropping value.
The same is not true when the dac is used with the PS3, there was perhaps a 5% improvement in sound quality with the higher power supply (not the stock PS) and I presume that this is because the dac on-board the PS3 is good enough!
 

jaudere

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The same DAC does behave differently with different source even thoug source material is same. My DAC when fed through optical out of sound card (wav format on netbook>>creative x fi USB). It plays well but something is missing which I just can't pinpoint. Same song, on CD, when played on DVD player co ax out to DAC, the song becomes much more lively. Both sources play well but why the is 'life' in the songs played on DVDp as transport? I am unable to answer.
 

joyous

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The same DAC does behave differently with different source even thoug source material is same. My DAC when fed through optical out of sound card (wav format on netbook>>creative x fi USB). It plays well but something is missing which I just can't pinpoint. Same song, on CD, when played on DVD player co ax out to DAC, the song becomes much more lively. Both sources play well but why the is 'life' in the songs played on DVDp as transport? I am unable to answer.
I guess sound card digital out adds some colour to source. I can see various EQ preset options in my realtek ALC889 software even to digital out. So might be you are getting colored output from computer, not clear one.

Sent from my GT-I9100G using Tapatalk 2
 

canchi

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Co-incidentally,I bought a co-axial cable last week to connect my 5 yr old Philips dvd player to the co-axial input of the MF V Dac II. Played CDs of carnatic classical, Hindi film music and English pop. The sound was crisper and more lively through the dvdp when compared to the same music played as aflac file on my Dell laptop and connected to the USB of the DAC
 

Oakley

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Enjoy your new dac, it's much improved dac from its first offering.

Use the rated power supply,

Oak
 
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