Aries Cerat Kassandra II Ref DAC: Wow!

This is just an initial report on the Aries Cerat Kassandra II ref DAC and it contains only one word. WOW! And this is only the "baby" dac from AC.

kassandra.jpg
 

Comments

awsmone

Well-Known Member
Apr 7, 2014
1,385
239
285
Canberra Australia
#42
I don't know what your passive pre is but a lot are not known for for timbral density or meaty bass

Perhaps it's why the audionote which is so fleshy suits your system....?
 

gareneau

Active Member
Jul 19, 2015
18
0
31
Morristown, NJ
#43
Thanks man. You gotta hear it soon.

Yes, I think so and with the Jplay and Aries Cerat drivers.
Brad,

This is a little off-topic but do I understand this correctly - you are a user of JPlay software? If so, have you ever done a critical review of its capabilities? (I don't think so, but thought I'd ask.)
 

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
4,382
994
358
Switzerland
#44
Brad,

This is a little off-topic but do I understand this correctly - you are a user of JPlay software? If so, have you ever done a critical review of its capabilities? (I don't think so, but thought I'd ask.)
Hi ,
No my partner is using it. I am a silver disc or black vinyl user...no computer audio at all
 
#47
I don't know what your passive pre is but a lot are not known for for timbral density or meaty bass

Perhaps it's why the audionote which is so fleshy suits your system....?
?? Confused. `he doesn't seem to own an Audio Note?
 

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
4,382
994
358
Switzerland
#49
Got it. I'm curious what your partner thinks of it - obviously enough to purchase it but if he has additional thoughts on its merits, I'd be interested to hear them.

Gary
I will ask him when I see him next. He seems to like it a lot though from what I could tell.
 

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
4,382
994
358
Switzerland
#52
Hi Morricab,
Hows life with your Kassandra treating you?

I ordered one myself just recently, cant wait :)

Congratulations! Where did you get to demo it? My life with Kassandra is interesting because lately I have been listening at only low volume levels. I mean nighttime, don't wake up the 5 year old levels. It does a far better job at sustaining the dynamics and weight of the sound than I have heard with other DACs. Normally, we are doing demos at near realistic levels and of course it performs wonderfully; however, I think a true representation of how much true resolution and realism the DAC delivers is how well it all holds together at these near whisper levels. Of course the rest of my system (currently Ayon Crossfire III amp and Odeon "La Boheme" horn speakers) does the low level thing quite well too...this probably wouldn't work with 85db Dynaudio monitors.

I still marvel at the bass weight, control and resolution, this is of course also a factor of how well the upper frequencies in the bass harmonics are handled and it is all very seamless and coherent. Horn blats are potentially startling, even with familiar music.

It is the first digital that I have heard that is really competitive with top notch analog.
 

flyer

VIP/Donor
Dec 16, 2012
374
56
325
Belgium
www.ultisone.com
#53
Hi Morricab,
Hows life with your Kassandra treating you?

I ordered one myself just recently, cant wait :)
Excellent choice Bobbi, you will not be disappointed.

I read somewhere else that a highly talked about brand is about to release a new model with DHT, high/low gain switch, tubed and beefed up power supply, a grounding post, ... I wondered if they were not talking about the Aries Cerat DAC because it already has all these features...:D
 

wisnon

Well-Known Member
Dec 12, 2011
3,217
361
455
#54
Hahah

Lampi has had DHTs for years...from Lite 7 to B7 to GG. Not at all new. Since 2014 at least.
Aries Cerat did not...last I checked they uses E280F or something like that. Stavros said these small signal dual triodes were his favourite tubes. However, they are not DHT afaik. Still a very nice octal tube with gold pins from Philips and Telefunken...but not like a DHT, for better or worse.

Many of tbe other features already exist and the new big innovation will be active triode loading...that no one claimed before...afaik. Proof of the pudding is in the eating...so WAIT!

Picture of E280F ...


Picture of typical DHT ...


As for power supply, that is a Lukasz speciality as an engineer specializing in high voltage physics. Both he and Stavros have serious engineering chops.

Grounding post already existed on earlier and lower models...same for low/high gain switch for setups needing it with the much belived DHT KR242.
 
Last edited:

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
4,382
994
358
Switzerland
#55
Hahah

Lampi has had DHTs for years...from Lite 7 to B7 to GG. Not at all new. Since 2014 at least.
Aries Cerat did not...last I checked they uses E280F or something like that. Stavros said these small signal dual triodes were his favourite tubes. However, they are not DHT afaik. Still a very nice octal tube with gold pins from Philips and Telefunken...but not like a DHT, for better or worse.

Many of tbe other features already exist and the new big innovation will be active triode loading...that no one claimed before...afaik. Proof of the pudding is in the eating...so WAIT!

Picture of E280F ...


Picture of typical DHT ...


As for power supply, that is a Lukasz speciality as an engineer specializing in high voltage physics. Both he and Stavros have serious engineering chops.

Grounding post already existed on earlier and lower models...same for low/high gain switch for setups needing it with the much belived DHT KR242.

Yes, the E280F is not a DHT. Flyer misspoke. Stavros likes this triode for its linearity and usefulness in small signal applications. However, for his big amps he is using all DHT. One big difference in the DACs is transformer loading.
 

853guy

Active Member
Aug 14, 2013
1,161
3
38
#56
Hello gents,

My understanding is the E280F is a pentode (actually, a beam tetrode) similar to the D3a, which in the Kassandra is wired as a triode and loaded with a step-down transformer resulting in a very low output impedance.

There are many views as to whether a DHT versus an IDHT confers an absolute and definitive advantage in favour of the DHT, as there are in regards to the claimed superiority of low transconductance tubes versus high transconductance tubes and vice versa (Aldo D’Urso and Thomas Mayer are two such individuals whose views diverge in this debate). My view is that circuit topology and implementation matters far more than the tube itself, or as you say, wisnon, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. At the very least, it’s certainly not in the images (even if they were resized to scale).

Be well!

853guy
 
May 30, 2010
16,748
1,591
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Portugal
#57
(...) There are many views as to whether a DHT versus an IDHT confers an absolute and definitive advantage in favour of the DHT, as there are in regards to the claimed superiority of low transconductance tubes versus high transconductance tubes and vice versa (Aldo D’Urso and Thomas Mayer are two such individuals whose views diverge in this debate). (...)
From a technical point of view an IDHT is superior to DHT. Cathode plates can be more robust and stable than filaments, better electron emitting materials can be used and emitting surface is more uniform. Probably some people prefer their characteristic sound just because of their intrinsic problems, as as all of you said the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
 

wisnon

Well-Known Member
Dec 12, 2011
3,217
361
455
#58
Yes, the E280F is not a DHT. Flyer misspoke. Stavros likes this triode for its linearity and usefulness in small signal applications. However, for his big amps he is using all DHT. One big difference in the DACs is transformer loading.
Yes Brad,

I know as Stavros told me on another thread here.

I also know he is in the transformer output camp as opposed to capacitor camp like Lukasz. I am sure the Kass will be great sounding due to Stavros being AR about his design.

I am excited to hear the all new approach of the Pac. It is not a copycat of anything.
 

wisnon

Well-Known Member
Dec 12, 2011
3,217
361
455
#59
Hello gents,

My understanding is the E280F is a pentode (actually, a beam tetrode) similar to the D3a, which in the Kassandra is wired as a triode and loaded with a step-down transformer resulting in a very low output impedance.

There are many views as to whether a DHT versus an IDHT confers an absolute and definitive advantage in favour of the DHT, as there are in regards to the claimed superiority of low transconductance tubes versus high transconductance tubes and vice versa (Aldo D’Urso and Thomas Mayer are two such individuals whose views diverge in this debate). My view is that circuit topology and implementation matters far more than the tube itself, or as you say, wisnon, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. At the very least, it’s certainly not in the images (even if they were resized to scale).

Be well!

853guy
I spoke of proof of the Pac. The GG and B7 has been out for years. As to what is better is a matter if implementation and taste.
 

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
4,382
994
358
Switzerland
#60
Hello gents,

My understanding is the E280F is a pentode (actually, a beam tetrode) similar to the D3a, which in the Kassandra is wired as a triode and loaded with a step-down transformer resulting in a very low output impedance.

There are many views as to whether a DHT versus an IDHT confers an absolute and definitive advantage in favour of the DHT, as there are in regards to the claimed superiority of low transconductance tubes versus high transconductance tubes and vice versa (Aldo D’Urso and Thomas Mayer are two such individuals whose views diverge in this debate). My view is that circuit topology and implementation matters far more than the tube itself, or as you say, wisnon, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. At the very least, it’s certainly not in the images (even if they were resized to scale).

Be well!

853guy
One reason that Stavros uses tetrodes/pentodes wired in triode is that he has found that for these specific models (it does not necessarily apply to pentodes in general) they exhibit greater linearity than the true triodes themselves. I don't know why that is and I am not sure Stavros knows either except that he found out by testing them and finding it was so.

For sure one big difference between IDHT and DHT or pentode/tetrode IDHT and/or DHT is the manner of the distortion generated by these tubes. It will not only vary in level but in harmonic content, which can be adjusted significantly by playing with bias points and plate voltages. I would suspect though, that due to the construction of the devices that each has a pattern more similar to its kind than across platforms. So, all IDHTs, to some extent have a similar pattern and DHTs have a more similar to each other than to IDHTs pattern. Likewise, triode wired pentode IDHTs will have something somewhat different again as will triode wired pentode DHTs. I think this will be mitigated strongly by the circuit and operational points to a large degree but not entirely and why there is a kind of "flavor" attributed to DHTs. I sample size of small signal IDHT circuits is so small that I am not sure its "flavor" can be readily picked out at this time. Having heard some DHT preamps and DACs I think there is a smoothness there that seems inherent but again it could be that they were simply "tuned" this way and it is not inherent. For sure Stavros amps are not "tuned" for anything other than max transparency (they are triode wired pentode DHTs though...again another animal).

Tube rolling between types is normally not possible with most gear, although there are some equivalents and near equivalents that show us that different tube types will have different character but there is another thing again going from IDHT to DHT. Is DHT better? Maybe the ultimate potential is there but if not utilized ideal it will likely fall short of a well implemented IDHT. Maybe Stavros should make a Kassandra with an 814 output tube to find out...maybe he has and prefers this implementation.

That low output impedance of Kassandra makes matching with gear easy. I know the output impedance of the GG is fairly high and needs a preamp with a high input impedance to not sound rolled off. Probably why attempts at amp direct drive have not been super successful with that DAC...

I have seen some studies in the past where a 6SN7 was compared to like a 12AU7 and some other tubes and the 6SN7 was found to be more linear and with primarily low order harmonics...it is a popular tube because it is a very linear and smooth sounding tube...for example...
 

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