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Majestic DAC impressions

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morris_minor View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote morris_minor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Mar 2014 at 5:50pm
Back on the Majestic, I echo Phil's observations. It's putting further distance between itself and my other DACs (in streamers and AV processors) by becoming more natural sounding and retreating into the background. My other DACs are sounding more digital, with a fatiguing edge to the sound that I'd never previously noticed. So much so that I've replaced my Denon 7000s as the go-to 'phones in the living room system with softer sounding HD650s - though their open back makes then less suitable for blanking out TV soaps ...

The Majestic/Solo/LCD2 combo I have in the study has to be my own pinnacle of audio excellence with a transparency and musical communication to be wondered at. If there's further improvement to come then the cake's icing will just get thicker....
Bob

Majestic DAC/pre-amp
Accession MC/Enigma, Accession MM, Reflex M, Elevator EXP, Era Gold V
Solo ULDE, Novo, Lautus USB and digital, Libran balanced, CuSat50
2 x Proprius + Spatia/Spatia Links
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote msphil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Mar 2014 at 6:44pm
Listen and learn Bob! The sound gains a new authority that comes from even more detail and refinement. I have been impressed from the start but every now and again something brings to your attention just how much things have moved on. Like a ripening fruit it gets better and better!
'You are, through your soul not your body, a human being.'
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Ash View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Mar 2014 at 8:42pm
Originally posted by morris_minor morris_minor wrote:

The Majestic/Solo/LCD2 combo I have in the study has to be my own pinnacle of audio excellence with a transparency


I bet it is! Smile That must surely perform at a level of excellence that very few people are able to actually understand. This is the realm where headphones begin to lose a lot of their headphone character. I really cannot praise Graham's DAC and amp equipment enough; nothing that he manufactures is a half-assed job. A lot of thought has gone into the creation and he's setting records when it comes to sound immersion, pace, rhythm and sonic purity.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote morris_minor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2014 at 6:48pm
The voyage of musical (re)discovery continues with the Majestic throwing new light on albums I thought I knew well.

Last up was Fleet Foxes eponymous first album. The Seattle folk band's album had always struck me as an attractive and musically clever collection spoilt by a swimming bath acoustic which, while initially appealing got rather annoying as it went on. But the Majestic took this by the scruff of its neck and showed what was lurking under all that reverberation: close harmony vocals were now identifiable as being the product of many human voices and not some synth pad preset and the many guitars now sounded properly located across the soundstage and they had more defined characters of their own. At one point I turned round wondering who'd spoken to me, but it was an off-mic comment by a couple of band members previously unnoticed.

That this new found clarity was rendered without destroying the atmosphere of the album is a pretty neat trick. (Though maybe I should have found another word - Ash will no doubt jump on me again . . . Wink).
Bob

Majestic DAC/pre-amp
Accession MC/Enigma, Accession MM, Reflex M, Elevator EXP, Era Gold V
Solo ULDE, Novo, Lautus USB and digital, Libran balanced, CuSat50
2 x Proprius + Spatia/Spatia Links
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2014 at 8:35pm
LOL No, you can have this one. Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BackinBlack Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2014 at 10:02pm
As Bob says, so much music to re-discover with the Majestic. Fleet Foxes, now that’s another CD I shall now have to re-discover.

So, with just over 2 weeks of listening to the Majestic it’s now time to share my impressions.

I’ve noticed quite an improvement in sound over the 2 weeks, possibly due to further burn in of the Majestic but, I thought, most probably more from the burn in of the balanced input of my amp, powered up for a few years but not regularly used. Reading Phil’s comments perhaps it’s both that are steadily improving.

I can only agree with Phil, Bob and Ivan in their observations.

Overall I would describe the sound as smooth, valve like perhaps, but with considerable extension in the lower registers.

It is not over bright in the upper registers, manages to tame the harsh sounds experienced from some poorer digital sources, but maintains clarity particularly with female voices and the leading edge of cymbal and snare drum strikes are really sharp.

The bass extension gives good definition to each note, good articulation and no smearing of bass notes one into another.

Detail retrieval is exceptional, as others have similarly observed with the Reflex. Previously unheard details such as noises in the audience or background become apparent.

Soundstage is quite wide and realistic sometimes appearing to extend beyond the physical limits of the speakers and with well defined, stable imaging.

I think that for me to keep throwing well deserved superlatives into a review does little to help other prospective users/purchasers; it really does have to be heard to appreciate its qualities.

A few words are all that are needed to sum up its qualities; Transparent, detailed, involving, non-fatiguing.

I have only found one downside; for use as a pre-amp I really would have liked 2 analogue inputs one for my Genera (soon to be Reflex) phono stage and one for my FM tuner, neither of which (obviously) have digital outputs.

Sound wise I really can’t detect any difference between the optical and co-ax inputs. My laptop seems to output some digital hash via USB so I will reserve the USB input for occasional use with a portable player, when I get round to replacing my ageing iPod and Blackberry phone with something like the Samsung S3, which Ash has had good results with.

 

Some of the music used so far:

Elbow; Build a rocket boys – vinyl (45rpm) LP and accompanying MP3 download.

Elvis Costello; Armed Forces original vinyl LP, The return of the spectacular spinning songbook FLAC

Steve Earle; Exit D and Copperhead Road on original Vinyl

Florence & The Machine; Lungs on CD & Vinyl

Ian Anderson & Friends, Back Against the Wall – A tribute to Pink Floyd CD

Just listen, if it sounds good to you, enjoy it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ICL1P Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2014 at 10:15pm
Ian, you'll have to get one of these REK-O-KUT® LOW NOISE STEREO PHONO / AUX SWITCH
Ifor
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Reflex M, CuSat50, Majestic DAC, a Proprius pair.
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