Full Limited Edition Aries Cerat System Build and World Exclusive LEGEND Series!

Feb 16, 2017
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Hi Stavros I would like to take advantage of the luxury, which is to have the designer here to ask two things about Kassandra:

1. The output voltage in single ended is selectable between 6v and 10v, but if the balanced version is requested this voltage remains that way, or it is doubled to 12v and 20v?

2. Could you tell me which parts of the DAC are duplicated in the balanced version?
 

Aries Cerat

Industry Expert
May 30, 2015
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Hi Stavros I would like to take advantage of the luxury, which is to have the designer here to ask two things about Kassandra:

1. The output voltage in single ended is selectable between 6v and 10v, but if the balanced version is requested this voltage remains that way, or it is doubled to 12v and 20v?

2. Could you tell me which parts of the DAC are duplicated in the balanced version?
Hello

The Kassandra has SE and true balanced outputs as standard,there is no separate balanced version.
The output stage,being transformer coupled,has SE and balanced configuration on it's secondary winding of the output transformer.So it has SE and true balanced outputs,at the same time(though you cannot use both outputs at the same time:)

It has 5V on -6db setting and 10V on 0db setting.Both for SE and Bal outputs.It's -6db is provided not by means of resistor divider(which is somehow the norm noways) but by rearranging it's multiple secondary windings ,with a switch on the back

Cheers
Stavros
 
Feb 16, 2017
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Thanks for your fast answer.
However, there is something I do not understand, because on its website it says verbatim:

- 30Vpp output @ 0db
- Balanced output (optional)
- USB input up to 24 / 384KHz.

Regards
 
May 30, 2010
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Portugal
Hello

The Kassandra has SE and true balanced outputs as standard,there is no separate balanced version.
The output stage,being transformer coupled,has SE and balanced configuration on it's secondary winding of the output transformer.So it has SE and true balanced outputs,at the same time(though you cannot use both outputs at the same time:)

It has 5V on -6db setting and 10V on 0db setting.Both for SE and Bal outputs.It's -6db is provided not by means of resistor divider(which is somehow the norm noways) but by rearranging it's multiple secondary windings ,with a switch on the back

Cheers
Stavros
Thanks for providing this information. Can you tell us what is the output impedance in both configurations?
 

Aries Cerat

Industry Expert
May 30, 2015
124
0
16
Thanks for your fast answer.
However, there is something I do not understand, because on its website it says verbatim:

- 30Vpp output @ 0db
- Balanced output (optional)
- USB input up to 24 / 384KHz.

Regards
Hi
The '' balanced output optional'' should be edited on the website, as it is now standard, and for some time now . Thank you for pointing it out. Kassandra 's web page will be updated next week.

@microstrip
Output impedance is ~50 ohm on 10v setting and ~13 ohm on - 6db (5v) setting
 
Feb 16, 2017
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Great.
Thank you
 
Jul 2, 2015
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I'm pleased this thread is back....with a vengeance :cool:
 
I'm pleased this thread is back....with a vengeance :cool:
Indeed, and how refreshing getting shared information at the start of this project, not many manufacturers offer such insight.:p
 
Feb 16, 2017
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Nonesup, using my Kassandra with the LCD4s and LCD2-C and the Violectric V281, is is sublime. I am not sure which I prefer, my horn speakers or the Planar headphones. Either way the DAC transforms anything on the end of it, in a big way.:p

IMG_3950.JPG IMG_1208.JPG
 
Feb 16, 2017
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Hi Astro.
Before placing the Kassandra on the shelf, did you take a picture of the back that you can show?
 
Feb 16, 2017
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Hi.
I see three switches, one down to the left and two others down to the right.
Can you tell me what your function is?
 
Hi.
I see three switches, one down to the left and two others down to the right.
Can you tell me what your function is?
The outside switched left and right are the output setting off the transformer, so inwards it is 10v (30vPP) and outwards it is 6v.

I run the DAC on the 10v setting through a passive directly to my power amp. If you use an active pre-amp you may be able to use the 10v, or if not, select the 6v.

The inner switch right side is the earth setting. It is currently set to chassis earthed.

I can't tell you how big this DAC is, and built like a tank. The faceplate is 10mm thick smoked glass with the graphics acid engraved, not printed on.

The curved side cheeks are solid metal, not hollow. I thought my Audio Note DAC 5 was big and heavy. He has paid a lot of attention to minimising any chassis interaction or vibrations.

Stavros does things right, not by restriction or compromise, component choices, size restraints or weight. It is all about the final sound you get, everything else is immaterial...
 
Feb 16, 2017
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Although the change of my DAC is not imminent, I follow 4 models very carefully. I really recognize that the one who calls me the most attention is the Kassandra, especially since Stavros said that the Ethernet input is a possibility in the future.
Regards
 
Feb 16, 2017
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A006FA23-EFAF-4D07-B1F3-7F5E2D8CAB9B.jpg

Hi Astro.
Can you tell me what the screen that marks -250 means in your Kassandra?
 
View attachment 43408

Hi Astro.
Can you tell me what the screen that marks -250 means in your Kassandra?
Hello nonesup
It is the tube bias current. The bias on the Siemens E280F can be adjusted from 190 - 290. I find I like it best on 250. It only needs to be set periodically, i find it holds that value for some time accurately.
By setting it lower it sounds a bit thinner, brighter, and setting it higher sounds a bit fuller and more body. It is subtle but a nice facility. it allows some system tuning for the rest of your system. I have just bought 2 pairs of Siemens tubes, same as the ones in the DAC with date codes, they cost me only 110 euros. One pair of tubes should be good for 2 years at least. So I am good for 6+ years!

On the digital board, you can see all the AD1855 chips. Many think they are the best sounding chip ever made, and have no extra processing of the signal, so as intact as possible, straight though bit prefect data. The USB board is at the top of the picture, and the super clock for the SPDIF is in the centre above the bias meter position. The 2 aluminium tubes with the AC logo on are the custom made I/V transformers. They convert the current to voltage coming off the chip array. This technique is also used by Audio Note and Ypsillon. There are 8 separate power supplies to the digital array, the red LEDs.

I don't know the technicalities, but Stavros has no coupling capacitors in the signal path. Normally you have caps after the tubes to negate DC I believe? But I do know coupling caps have a big influence on the sound, and any cap no matter how good will have a loss, a negative effect. Compared to my Audio Note DAC 5 the Kassandra is much more detailed and dynamic, but so smooth and zero fatigue, no digital sound. It also crucially has the mass and body that you hear in a top TT, unlike a lot of digital which doesn't, sounds flat and anaemic. The midrange is wonderful, the best I have ever heard in digital.

Under this huge digital board there is actually 2 large output transformers. The front section of the DAC, under the separate top plate houses a very large power supply, big torroid, large caps array and 2 large chokes. When I power the DAC down, the LEDs on the power supply stay lit for nearly an hour! This indicates the amount of energy storage in the power supply, what Stavros calls his 'Pseudo Battery' supply. So pure clean power. I don't have a photo of this section, but Stavros does.
:)
 
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Feb 16, 2017
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I speak without having heard it, but both your opinions and those of other forum members, as well as professional reviewers indicate that it is a DAC with a detailed sound, but DENSE. This is fundamental for me, since 95% of my time I hear classical music and much of it orchestral. An orchestra can not sound anemic, a singer can do it (although it's not the best) but an orchestra can not, because all the magic is lost.
There is another aspect that you have pointed out and that for me is very important; I HATE the masses of screeching violins, which are common in many recordings. You have indicated that this does not happen with Kassandra and I like that a lot.
On the other side of the scale, is that I had a "complicated" year with a totally unexpected expense and for my important, so I have to wait a bit to recover financially. This suits me to see if Stavros really introduces a UPnP entry. I have my system optimized for this input and if the sound is good, I prefer it to USB.
So when I am in a position to be able to make the DAC change, I will start listening to those I can, although I certainly recognize that the Kassandra leaves as my favorite.
 
Oct 6, 2015
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Although the change of my DAC is not imminent, I follow 4 models very carefully. I really recognize that the one who calls me the most attention is the Kassandra, especially since Stavros said that the Ethernet input is a possibility in the future.
Regards
Hello Francisco, what are the other 3 DAC models you are thinking about?