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Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC Junior and MiniMax DAC Supreme

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Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC Supreme – interior

Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC Junior – interior

The Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC Supreme is the easy choice for performance

With its more robust build and optional tube output, the DAC Supreme is head and shoulders above the Junior in terms of performance. I did encounter an anomaly in that the Supreme emitted a hum through the speakers continuously whether a signal was sent to the unit or not, which also was present regardless of amp or speakers used. I was able to remedy this hum by removing the tube! I hasten to add that I did not contact Morningstar Audio about the hum, and that it may have been due to the tube itself. The Junior, which has no tube, had no hum. The reader should not assume that this is a universal problem with the Supreme. The hum was also, as expected, more evident with higher efficiency speakers like the Daedalus Audio Ulysses or the Legacy Audio Whisper.

The irony of this adjustment to the performance of this “tube DAC” is evident, as it was with the DAC Plus, since removal of the tube results in an easily heard betterment. Let me be clear, this doggone DAC is better when used in solid-state output, but with the tube removed. This is one of the oddities of audio components I heard about and confirm; Alex has designed a circuit in which the unit sounds better subjectively when the tube is removed. I’m sure he doesn’t like that I say so, but it is the truth as this reviewer hears it. If he sells a boatload of these DACs – and based on the performance, he should – he will likely forgive me. By the time I was done discrete opamp rolling the unit was miles away from the stock sound, with or without the tube. Besides, you can contour the sound to be more or less tube-like through selection of the discrete opamps.

The PHASE button is not such a big deal to me. What do you wish for, fuzzy and more atmospheric sound, or tighter and more solid? With some recordings made out-of-phase the function is beneficial, but in the preponderance of my recordings in phase listening is the norm.

Don’t forget to work with the power cords and interconnects, as these also confer a decidedly helpful alternative to the sound of EE DACs. Between having the power of multiple brands of discrete opamps and the benefit conferred by cable rotation you are nearly guaranteed to find glory in either the Junior or Supreme version of these new Eastern Electric MiniMax DACs! When the “proper” discrete opamps are rolled in to suit my taste, the performance is so good I consider it appropriate for reference listening and component reviewing.


DSD revelation

DSD does not guarantee superior sound.

When I started this review I played some DSD files through the stock Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC Junior using the new Amarra 3.0 software and was impressed at the result. However, having spent time upgrading the DAC Supreme and rolling discrete opamps in it I have been able to capture a similar level of sound quality through PCM played back at 384kHz. I say “similar” as I was not able to conduct a proper A/B comparison, but to my ear the sound quality was quite close. Perhaps it will get the attention of more than a few readers when they calculate that with proper implementation of discrete opamps in a better DAC they can simulate DSD sound!

For those ready to argue my findings, I am not interested in engaging in a debate and in arguing this observation. My experience in this comparison suggests that there is a range of sound quality attainable through DSD files, which varies according to the design and quality of the DSD-capable DAC. Similarly, there is a range of sound quality possible through PCM files for the same reasons. I informally demonstrated that a higher end DAC could mimic DSD through such things as rolling discrete opamps. The comparison altered my conception of how much fluidity there is in actual sound quality between digital PCM and DSD files!


The Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC Supreme and DSD playback

The seeming equivalency between the PCM playback on a more capable DAC, such as the DAC Supreme, and DSD file playback is not absolute. This became clear when toward the end of the review period I had a visit from Bill O’Connell and a computer whiz friend named Steve. Bill encouraged me to host Steve in order to hear his dual PC file playback source. After spending a year maximizing the results from a stock Mac Mini used with high end USB cable and letting DACs like the DAC Supreme do the heavy lifting sonically, I was eager to see where my method stood against an optimized file playback source.

Steve’s methodology was to have one tower PC running JPLAY as the repository for the files, and the other, running “stripped down” to only functions necessary for the files to play through the aspiring HQPlayer software, as source. Working through a short playlist of PCM selections such as Marc Cohn’s remake of “After Midnight,” and Eva Cassidy’s version of “Fields of Gold,” playing at double DSD, or 5.6MHz, through the DAC Supreme we switched back to my Mini pushing the same PCM tracks at 384kHz. The dual tower PC source soundly won, having a more refined and fleshed out sound, presenting a solid but smoother and more sophisticated experience.

Steve was enthusing about how powerful the sleeper HQPlayer software is, when he offhand mentioned that there is a version for Macintosh computers. Going further, he shared that the iPad app “Splashtop” would integrate with the HQPlayer software, and though the user interface was not nearly as elegant as the iTunes interface, the sound quality was deemed among the best of all HiFi playback software. He offered to put this all on my computer that afternoon, and the deal was cinched when he said the price of the HQPlayer software was about $137. Though he could not assure the sound quality would be of the level of his twin tower server, he thought it could be quite good.

First, we tried the demo of HQPlayer for about, oh, five seconds, before I blurted out something to the effect, “That’s much better than the 384kHz!” My next words were, “I’m buying it!” One hour spent from start to finish and Steve had completely overhauled my file playback source, with an additional cost of $5 for the Splashtop app, completing my upgrade at $142! As to the sound, all three of us could not tell a significant difference between my paltry stock Mac Mini running HQPlayer and Steve’s big digital server. In one sense I feel badly for Steve; he came to my home to demonstrate the superiority of the dual computer and superior playback software method, but in the end he succeeded in making me an HQPlayer fanatic! Indeed, at least for the time being I have no desire to chase an expensive server, not after the comparison I experienced. While this is a review of the Eastern Electric MiniMax DACs, I cannot emphasize enough how impressed I am by the HQPlayer software, and urge those seeking conversion of PCM files for superior playback at DSD sound quality to become familiarized with it.

As for my impression of the benefits of the move from 384kHz to 5.6MHz playback, there will be no going back for me. Just as 16 bit and 44.1kHz sound was left behind for 32 bit and 384kHz, so also my future lies with 32 bit dual DSD. The combination of the HQPlayer software and discrete opamp enhanced DAC Supreme at double DSD is so good that even DSD files played back through the same setup present not quite, but close to marginal improvement. Yes, that is correct; PCM can sound about as good as DSD. I did say that earlier, but once again had the opportunity to hear it in a different configuration of the system.


Show Stopper Sound

The Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC Supreme has been a part of the best audio systems I have built, and those systems have become vastly better in a moment of time now that HQPlayer is doing double DSD through the discrete opamp enhanced DAC Supreme. I would be remiss if I did not add that the TEO Audio Liquid Pre has been a necessity in achieving these results. The longer I own the Liquid Pre following my review, the more I am convinced that it is not only one of the best passive preamps, but also one of the best bar none. That’s quite an endorsement for a preamp that costs $4,200! So, it might be expected that the DAC Supreme would sound supremely good in my system, and it does.

Recently one of my audiophile friends heard the Supreme on two occasions, once with the Legacy Audio Whisper DSW Clarity Edition, and the other with the Vapor Audio Nimbus White. On both occasions he asserted the speakers to be represented at their best, and in the case of the Nimbus White he offered that it was some of the best sounds he’s heard – and that was before the aforementioned DSD upgrade. While it is impossible to assess objectively such a comment, it does support the fact that the Supreme is yielding quality evocative of top end show systems.

Another example of how powerfully the discrete opamps propel the Supreme toward top-level sound happened when an industry member on two separate occasions brought DACs representing price points at $8,000 and $2,500. In both instances following his departure I was able to replicate the sonic qualities of the competitor DACs through discrete opamp rolling at no additional cost and under one evening of my time. It took four switches of mixed pairs of opamps in the first case to mimic the $8K DAC, but only two swaps of opamps to equal the $2.5K DAC. Now, if I can tune the EE MiniMax DSD DAC Supreme in such a fashion, why should I spend more on a DAC, especially one having no flexibility to contour its sound to match any system?

That, in a dramatic fashion, is why the Supreme once again has become my “go to” DAC, as its flexibility allows its chameleon-like adaptation to be correct in any setting. I’m not terribly tempted to adore any other DAC, as it would mean only one chance to get it perfect for my ears when I establish a system. Sure, it’s a lot more futzing around to roll in umpteen sets of opamps, but for most owners this would have to be done only once, or when a new component was purchased. The effect has been the opposite of the dreaded Audiophilia Nervosa; rather than be itchy, the extremely precise tuning of the system has brought longer term satisfaction, such that I am loathe to break down a rig, even when I must move on to another review.

Why not let this review also be an endorsement of the Burson, DEXA and Sparkos Labs discrete opamps as well? The Eastern Electric MiniMax DACs would not be nearly as recommendable if Alex had anchored the IC opamps into the units. Because he has left some flexibility, the DACs are suitable for discrete opamps, and thus are highly recommendable. They exude economical and ergonomic excellence, which precious few components attain. Sonically, the Supreme is capable of upper echelon sound equivalent to at least one premium $8K DAC, and I suspect many more under $4-5K.

I caution readers not to select a cheaper DAC than the Supreme simply because it upsamples PCM to DXD. Case in point, even though the iFi Micro iDSD USB DAC, which upsamples PCM to DXD, is impressive, it did not outperform the discrete opamp enhanced DAC Supreme. It was in some respects, especially cleanness and definition, better than the stock MiniMax units, but it lost the lead the moment discrete opamps were utilized. With such enhancement the DAC Supreme was clearly smoother, more revealing, non-fatiguing, and had better pace, timbre and dynamics. The nearly exponential benefit performance-wise of being able to include discrete opamps for practical system building far outstrips the DSD or DXD function itself. I obtained a more desirable result from PCM at 32 bit and 384kHz from the DAC Supreme with discrete opamps than the iDSD Micro upsampling PCM to DXD, again, prior to the double DSD transition via HQPlayer. Make sure you do not hand away superior performance in regard to your ripped Redbook collection simply for the label “DXD”.

This is precisely what an outstanding product is supposed to do, perform at a level that makes us think it would be absurd to spend more. It should make us so satisfied that we can’t imagine being without it. That is why I wasn’t without the previous Minimax DAC with the flexibility of discrete opamps, and it is why I won’t be without the DAC Supreme. It is my updated digital reference game plan, HQPlayer, the DAC Supreme and the full complement of discrete opamps. As much as I have ever assured anyone in terms of sound, I assure you that if you go with this setup you will have extreme digital performance that can be tuned perfectly to your system! Think about that “for a bit”.


Associated Components:
Source: Macintosh Mac Mini; Sonos Digital Music System; Musical Fidelity M1CDT Transport
Playback Software: Amarra 2
NAS: Buffalo Linkstation 500G
DAC:  BMC PureDAC; Eastern Electric Minimax DSD DAC Jr, Eastern Electric Minimax DSD DAC Supreme with Burson, Dexa NewClassD and Sparkos Labs Discrete Opamp Upgrade; ifi Micro USBPower and Micro DAC
Preamp: TEO Audio Liquid Preamplifier; VAC Renaissance Signature Preamplifier Mk II; Pass Labs XP-20; Cambridge Audio 840E
Amps: VAC Phi 200; Pass Labs X600.5 Monos; Wells Audio Innamorata
Integrated Musical Fidelity M6i
Speakers: Kingsound King III; Legacy Audio DSW Clarity Edition; Kingsound King Tower omnidirectional; Vapor Audio Nimbus White
Subwoofers: Legacy Audio XTREME HD (2)
IC’s: Clarity Cable Organic RCA/XLR; Snake River Audio Signature Series Interconnects; Silent Source “The Music Reference”
Speaker Cables: Clarity Cable Organic Speaker; Snake River Audio Signature Series Speaker Cables; Silent Source “The Music Reference”
Digital Cables: Clarity Cable Organic Digital; Snake River Audio Boomslang; Silent Source “The Music Reference”
Power Cables: Clarity Cable Vortex; MIT Oracle ZIII; Xindak PF-Gold; Snake River Audio Signature Series; Silent Source “The Music Reference”
Power Conditioning: Wireworld Matrix Power Cord Extender; Tice Audio Solo

18 Responses to Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC Junior and MiniMax DAC Supreme

  1. Jeremy Tan says:

    Hi Doug.

    I’ve been reading your adventures in discrete op amp rolling with the EE Minimax Dacs with great interest.

    Please just share with me. I have an older EE Minimax Dac Plus. Before I try the new EE Minimax DAC Supreme, I’d like to try and do some discrete opamp rolling with my present DAC. Please recommend exactly which discrete opamps I should buy from Burson, Dexa and Sparkos Lab & which combination of these yielded the OPTIMUM results for you?

    I enjoy a wide variety of music. Though the possibility of trying out 18 different combinations sounds great but I know I won’t have the time 🙂 Would simply appreciate your sharing. Thank you so much!

  2. Rich Oriti says:

    Morning Doug,

    Hope all is going well for you. This missive comes from a longtime reader and fan of your columns.

    I wrote you some three (3) years ago about op amp rolling in the original Minimax DAC and you kindly responded to my inquiry. Been rocking the dual OPA2604 and single AD727 ever since and boy are they sweet in this rig. Just for fun also acquired dual/single LME 439990(?) op amps which I swap in on occasion for beta testing.

    May I ask your opinion on acquiring the DEXA 79504 duals at this time. Like you, I prefer listening to my MiniMax with tube engaged. I am intrigued about running SS without the tube to see what everyone is talking about.

    Any advise or direction on install of the DEXA dual in the U1/U2 socket would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for any attention you can afford me.

    Regards, Rich Oriti

  3. Jeremy,
    God’s Joy to you,

    Sorry, my friend, I can’t do as you wish! I tried to make it clear in the article that the optimum combo of opamps is a function of the particular components, cables and speakers in one’s system. As such, the optimum set of opamps will be different for you than for me. Please take my recommendation at face value, and secure all the brands of opamps. You will find, I believe, my assessment to be true, that you can have many different flavors of sound according to your whim. If you get tired of a particular “flavor”, simply roll in other ones! And, if you ever change gear, you return to experimentation and find a new combination, either of an entire set or of mixed pairs, and you will again reach a new wonderful experience much to your satisfaction.

    Regarding not having the time, once you have done it a couple times it takes only a couple minutes to carefully replace the opamps, and you should be able to hear/assess the sound instantly and more generally in an evening. So, it does not take a great amount of time to work through the opamps. Once I have a handle on the sound and what I am trying to accomplish in the desired result, I can roll in four sets in an evening and make my determination of which I prefer. This certainly is not a terrific amount of time, so perhaps this puts some perspective on how easy and effective rolling the opamps can be. i.e. Completely ignore “break in” and long periods of assessment; your ear will tell you fairly quickly which combo is your favorite! You may end up with two or three appealing options, and you can switch them occasionally. It’s really not all that time consuming, as you can leave the component in place and the lid loose/off the unit when rolling the opamps. The fairly limited amount of time spent will reward hugely, as the final combination of discrete opamps you choose will be immensely appealing to you long term! So, I encourage you to push a bit and do the ultimate upgrade, if at all possible. While my enthusiasm may sound a bit like an advertisement, it comes from authentic pleasure at the efficacy of the method of rolling in various discrete opamps.

    Now, if you do not wish to buy them all, frankly, buy any of them, because no one can tell you how it will precisely sound, nor whether you will like it more than you would the other brands. But, I am quite sure it will be superior to the stock sound, no matter which brand you pursue.

    Douglas Schroeder

  4. Michal says:

    ReClock+Kmplayer sounds better than HQPlayer on windows…

  5. Robert Fontanetta says:

    Hi Doug,

    A very enjoyable review. I agree that the EE DACs are both excellent and a great value. I currently own a DAC Plus and previously owned a MiniMax DAC. I will now consider the DAC Supreme for a future upgrade.

    There are two things I would like to mention that produced much better sound for me in both the EE DACs I’ve owned. One is the removal of the voltage selector block, running just the US voltage directly. This resulted in an immediately audible reduction of grain. I’m surprised Alex Cheung has not just done separate production runs for the different voltage types as it can’t cost anymore (same labor, less parts).

    The second thing is something of a modification and that is changing the two coupling caps (same values). This resulted in a large improvement in both DACs, specifically in refinement (particularly in the treble) and tonal accuracy. I’m currently using VH Audio OIMP caps.


    • User24 says:

      The oimp capacitors are larger, and interferes with the opamp airspace used for the solid state output. It is less of an issue with the stock opamps. But with anything discrete, the only aftermarket discrete opamp that can be used is the Sparkos. DEXA is impossible. And even then, there is a mm or so of clearance between the capacitor leads to the Sparkos opamp on one side, and the capacitor leads to the tube socket solder points on the other side.

      As the exterior of the oimp is conductive, the leads need to be bent creatively, and the result is not pretty. But it works. The sound is unlike the stock unit at all. I’m at hour 50 so far, and will wait until 200 to decide. The sound of the stock Multicaps is lean, with high detail extraction and textures. The oimp is cloudy sounding so far.

  6. Michal,
    God’s Peace to you,

    From my cursory exploration it seems that neither ReClock or Employer has a Mac version, and as this article was emphasizing HQPlayer with Mac, while your information may be accurate, it has little relevance to this article. That is especially so, since I pointed out that my humble stock Mac Mini equalled a $3K twin tower PC source; it would take quite a leap for ReClock or Kmplayer to merit spending $3K versus $600 for my Mac Mini.

    Douglas Schroeder

  7. Robert,
    God’s Joy to you,

    Thanks for the confirmation of my efforts regarding the EE DACs as great values and terrific components!

    I have no doubt that your additional mods suggested result in significant improvements. I have to remain sidelined recommending such things, as I am compelled as a reviewer to work with a unit as close to stock as possible. Rolling opamps takes the unit away from factory condition, but only half a step; the mod is reversible. One moves more permanently away with the removal of parts or replacement of parts, and I would not be representing the sound of a universally attainable unit if I were to do so. However, I sure would like to try!

    I think the proposal to Alex at EE is excellent in regards to preparing discrete units for the voltage appropriate to the region. This may cost a bit extra, but I believe it would be quite well received.

    Thanks for the insightful comments!
    Douglas Schroeder

  8. Dave says:

    As a newbie to this DAC , I read that you started rolling the op amps and I’m confused on your observations on the unit right off the shelf. Can I get your observations on how the Supreme sounds right off the shelf without rolling these op amps. Thanks enjoyed your article.

  9. Greetings,
    God’s Peace to you,

    Usually I do spend considerable time discussing the stock unit’s sound. To get a general description of the sound of the EE DACs and background for this DAC’s sound I encourage you to read my previous article on the Minimax DAC Plus. The DAC Supreme is cut from the same cloth in terms of sound, but with upgraded definition, dynamics and sound staging.

    The EE DACs tend to sound warm and not brittle, especially with the tube use. It would err on the side of less analytical rather than overly analytical. You can find more detail retrieval, but the EE would be a good choice especially if you feel there is a lot of brightness in your system. If you must have a syrupy, overly ripe sound, then perhaps it is not for you, as it leans to ward lighter and what I would consider neutral rather than bright.

    In this case, with the availability of the discrete opamps, it would be a mistake to buy the unit and not enhance it with at least one brand of opamps. I believe you can have the Sparko’s Labs discrete opamps installed by Morningstar Audio if you do not wish to yourself.

    I strongly suggest you take my advice in regards to securing the sets of discrete opamps, and forget the stock sound, as it is not worth comparing to the enhanced unit. To buy it and not juice the performance with the opamps would be to fundamentally miss out on what it is capable of doing. If you got all the sets of opamps you would have your own “digital audio store” to select your best sound. There is no comparison between the value unlocked in the system I suggested for the DAC and the stock sound.

    Douglas Schroeder

  10. Charlie Mathews says:

    I am so struck by your kindness and respect with your reponses to the crowd? It’s so cool to see that quality of humility in a reviewer or (lets say just a human being today) that I want to thank you for all the information you have shared with all of us these last thee years.
    Best wishes


  11. Jung Chung says:

    Hi Doug,
    I’ve enjoyed reading your reviews for many years…Thank you!
    Your reviews have been very helpful especially for me because I have a few similar equipments that you’ve used in the past such as pathos, mine is mk II in stereo, legacy focus se, and so on.
    I’m now very much interested in trying out EE supreme with HQ.
    For today, however, I need your advice in comparing Ayon cd-5s vs. PS direct stream dac with its own PWT memory player. It’s for my brother-in-law who can’t and doesn’t want to keep changing gears. He neither rips nor streams. And he doesn’t use a computer with stereo system either. For the past 20 years he has been using Pass oleph 0 driving ML monolith, with ML pre and cdp. He recently decided to change his gears and purchased Pass xa60.8 and Sonus Elipsa se and debating between Ayon and PS, as I mentioned above, driving Pass directly with no pre. He will hook up his tuner though.
    I know you have reviewed Ayon 5s and PS perfectwave dac in the past and liked the both. I’m not sure if you have a chance to listen to PS DSD dac though.
    He is 60 years old and just a music lover. This system will be his system for the next 20 years. Your help will be greatly, greatly and greatly appreciated!

    Thank you very much…..Jung
    Ps. Btw for myself I will keep reading your reviews and whenever you come across with interesting equipments that tickle my itches, I will try them out. I’m only 49 and upgrading. Thanks again and keep up with your great work!

  12. Charlie,
    God’s Joy to you,

    Thank you for the cordial and encouraging words! Good friendships developed online and in person keep me motivated beyond love of the gear. Your comments have been like a sweet wine, which I will sip and enjoy!

    Douglas Schroeder

  13. Jung,
    The Joy of God to you,

    Thank you for the lovely complements; I’m glad you are finding enjoyment in the gear I recommend.

    I was able to have a shorter one week demo of the Perfect Wave system (the older transport and DAC), but decided not to review it. I cannot judge the newer DSD capable unit as I have not heard it in my room. One significant advantage of the Ayon CD-5 is the variable gain, which makes it flexible for a variety of speakers.

    As to your brother’s selection of the player, he may wish to consider keeping his current player to be used as a transport if it has digital outputs, and connect a new DAC. This would not prohibit seeking an Ayon or PS product, as they both have DACs. Now that I am solidly into multiple DSD playback I recommend that you seek a very robust level of file playback, i.e. at least double DSD. The sound quality is far beyond typical 24/384 or even 32/384 playback.

    Try to convince your brother to go to file playback; it is inherently superior, and once the ripping is done, the convenience is so worth it! I don’t believe I will ever return to use of CD, and I was a hard-core Redbook fan even two years ago!

    Another option is a DAC like the Exogal Comet, which I recently heard in my room and will be reviewing. It made a good first impression; you would want the optional power supply definitely to obtain the best result.

    Douglas Schroeder

  14. Yves says:

    Hi Doug,

    Do you know by any chance if the Dexa “Special Edition” discrete opamps are also compatible with the DAC Supreme? The NewClassD website states that they draw more current than the regular editions, so that’s why I would love to know.

    Thank you!

  15. Víctor says:


    I have an Eastern Junior with sparkos ss3601 opamps.

    I only use USB connection from my pc (HQPlayer 3.8.2), with IFI Iusb power and Gemini cable, so my question is, would I have better sound with a Supreme instead of Junior in my system???

    The Junior is connected to Onkyo A9000R integrated and a pair of Monitor Audio GX300…

  16. Steve says:

    I know Morning star Audio approves of the Dexa’s or Sparko Labs mod, and even states they will install them for the buyer, but Bill O’Connell says “Trust me on this one guys, it is a very special DAC and Alex Yeung worked on this for almost a year getting it to sound its best. He succeeded.” It makes no sense to me, that after the designer spending almost a year getting the sound just as he wanted it to be, people would start changing parts to alter the sound. It’s like ordering a Chefs special for dinner, and then throwing all kinds of flavorings on it to make it taste better. I believe the Chef would be insulted by this. To me, this is an insult to Alex and all the time he put into the DAC, getting it to sound just as he wanted it to. Maybe I’m wrong and just don’t get it.

  17. God’s Joy to all,

    Catching up here… Yves, your question is best directed to Alex at Eastern Electric. I hoped to work with the newer generation of Opamps but have been very busy with speaker reviews. Watch for some articles about wonderful transducers soon.

    Victor, Yes, the Supreme would give you holistically superior sound. It is well worth the upgrade.

    Steve, I understand your complaint, and I get it. What you need to realize is that no one component is perfectly suitable for all combinations of gear; that is true of all audio equipment regardless of the incessant promotion of products as “the best”. Almost all components have to be tuned to a new system, which means, for instance changing cables or one other component, in order to achieve the highest performance. Even when a designer makes his best, it is not universally perfect in every system. Owners need to be instructed as to what type of system is more agreeable, a discussion which often does not take place. However, when a product is more flexible it inherently is superior in that regard.

    All designers make their best product, but very few offer flexibility to accommodate the rest of the system. With the EE you can have flexibility unavailable with most others. If Alex felt so strongly about his work that it was perfected and did not wish for anyone to have freedom to season it to taste he could have soldered in the opamps. Alex chose what some would consider a quick and dirty way to manufacture the DAC, with socketed opamps. Purists would suggest it lessens the sound quality, but I am in no position to comment as I have no unit with soldered opamps to compare. My presumption is that the benefit of alternative opamps is far more important than the socketed/soldered connection. Many components and speakers have ways to be enhanced, and no design is perfect. Some are the result of not one year, but many years, and I can still find means of improving them. Designers are well aware of that potentiality. It should be seen as a complement to Alex that his product is so adaptable that many will find it superb. If it existed in only one form, fixed, it would not be nearly as well received in such a broad variety of systems. IOW, sales will probably assuage any disappointment. 🙂

    Behind your comment I suspect there is suspicion that all the hype over opamps is overblown, that they do not confer as much difference as discussed. The change is cheap in terms of trying it. I believe you will be surprised.

    Douglas Schroeder

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