Aries Cerat Kassandra Ref 2 vs. Lampizator Pacific DAC

Audiophile Bill

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Doesn’t Lukasz make a thing called “silk” with each outlet having a phase switch anyway?
 
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Alrainbow

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Yes it also filters the power passively as well. A great product but most don't know to even try this type of product. If it don't weigh 200 pounds it must be shiiiitttt lol.
 
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christoph

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Doesn’t Lukasz make a thing called “silk” with each outlet having a phase switch anyway?
Yes, that is a nice feature but for me using Schuko plugs, turning the plug also only takes 2 seconds...

If I were on a 3-prong power system, I would probably try it :cool:
 

bonzo75

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Doesn’t Lukasz make a thing called “silk” with each outlet having a phase switch anyway?

Yes, I tried it when I first bought the Lampi and with my Logan system. But later my purepower was schuko so I could easily turn the plugs around.
 
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GMKF

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Thanks Christoph for the nice thread.

Some day I need to hear a Pacific in a good setup...
 
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bonzo75

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Thanks Christoph for the nice thread.

Can we get a comparison between the analog setup and the Pacific DAC ?

Before I get screamed at, I just want to know. Do not turn this into an analog vs digital debate....

At audioquattr I prefer his Pacific to his analog set up. In fact, changing tubes shows how it goes below the level of analog and then exceeds that level. The analog then as AF3 premium and kronos with master signature strad and MSL platinum and the top 12k Grado into the top pass phono

However, this does not conclude anything as his system is developing and changing set up can change the balance.

Dctom has GG1 with 242 and kuzma XL4 with the Lyra atlas and Ypsilon phono. He didn't even have a good streamer when I last heard it, time to revisit. But even then the 242 were much more exciting. Though at that time I did not understand analog pressings as well as I do now since that was pre-General education era. so I will revisit with better pressings.

The pre is also Ypsilon
 

Al M.

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Which one would you say has the worse conditions in this constellation?

I see your point, but what if ventilation of the Kassandra is impaired, or its feet are not designed to carry the extra weight? Rather than allowing for unknown variables, why not equalizing conditions?
 

christoph

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I see your point, but what if ventilation of the Kassandra is impaired, or its feet are not designed to carry the extra weight? Rather than allowing for unknown variables, why not equalizing conditions?

The feet of the Pacific are rather high so no ventilation problems for the Kassandra (that does not really get hot).
The Kassandra owner was part of the compare and he did not object.
M had the Kasandra for two weeks without the Pacific piggybacking it and the sound was the same.
 

bonzo75

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The feet of the Pacific are rather high so no ventilation problems for the Kassandra (that does not really get hot).
The Kassandra owner was part of the compare and he did not object.
M had the Kasandra for two weeks without the Pacific piggybacking it and the sound was the same.

The sound improves if you have proper supports is probably his point I think, that with it just on top of another component the sound would be less
 

morricab

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Hello fellow audiophiles

After I learned quite a lot on this forum from quite a lot of people, I think it is time to give something back to the forum.
I realized, that it is very hard to almost impossible to compare the top offerings from different brands because dealers rarely have competing brands in their portfolios and if they do, it is never the higher up models in the same price bracket.
Some people commented that they would love to hear the Aries Cerat Kassandra, but that it is hard to find dealers for demos, let alone for comparisons.

My dear friend M owns a wonderful system consisting of Aries Cerat Impera 2 preamp and Concero 65 Mono amps and a Lampizator SuperKomputer feeding a Golden Atlantic DAC.
M at the time was a die-hard Vinyl man at heart and felt it was time to improve his digital chain to close the gap to his Vinyl rig consisting of Brinkmann Bardo TT and DS Audio DS-W2 pickup and phono preamp system.

In his system, the two obvious contenders only could be the Aries Cerat Kassandra Reference 2 for the same aesthetics as his preamp and mono amps, as well as possible system synergy as an All-Aries Cerat chain and the Lampizator Pacific DAC as the new top model way above his trusty and beloved Golden Atlantic DAC.

M's Aries Cerat dealer and good friend was kind enough to provide M with a Kassandra for about two weeks to get accustomed with the DAC and to be able to squeeze out the best sound from it.

I was able to borrow a Pacific DAC from a very good friend of mine for this compare.

So we were in the probably unique position to compare those two top DACs even in a home situation with a (for me as well) very familiar system. How privileged we are!

I want to stress that we were very curious ourselves about this compare and that we are free from any bias.
We optimized both DACs individually for the best performance and even took notes. For example they needed opposite polarity, both in power and in speaker phase to sound their best. We also did meticulous volume level matching to ensure fair conditions for both contenders.
We chose 4 reference tracks we are all very familiar with that offer a wide variety of demands to a system.

The "we" I'm talking here are 4 very experienced listeners with very different backgrounds but sharing the same level of curiosity and love for audio and music:

M, the owner of this wonderful system and so to say the initiator and host of this event, one is the owner of the Kassandra, one is a mutual audio friend and I am the last to complete this quartet.


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We switched back and forth several times and the more we familarized us with the charcteristics of the DACs we came to the following strengths:

Kassandra:
Very robust foundation with a lot of ooomph and visceral bass, well-balanced

Pacific:
Building upon the high achievements of the Kassandra with a slightly different bass presentation, being more taut than visceral

3 of the 4 of us clearly preferred the Pacific because of the for us considerably higher transparency and resolution without any hint of being too clinical or sterile. The stage was huge, reaching far wider and deeper and higher than the room boundaries with the Pacific.
Only the Kassandra owner preferred the Kassandra over the Pacific.

This very extensive and meticulous compare resulted in M ordering a Pacific DAC with matte silver top to blend in with his existing Aries Cerat gear in his outstanding system.

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Like Al,
I think it is a stretch to say there was no bias going into this trial. I readily admit a fondness for Kassandra as one with a lot of long time experience with it. Your bias towards Lampizator is also well known, that you are a disinterested party is disingenuous, IMO. Furthermore, the third listener has an admitted bias against non-over/up sampling dacs...he claims strangely that they give him a migraine. So, please don’t paint it as a truly neutral shootout.

Now to the sound; I think I can say with confidence that Kassandra had a more substantial foundation with more impact and “real” feel, particularly on live recordings. I also disagree that Pacific didn’t sound somewhat more analytical and lighter tonality, which did contribute to more “air” and somewhat more refined highs. To say that Pacific built on Kassandra’s strengths is, IMO, not correct...I think they each had considerably different strengths , to the point where M told me he kind of wished he could have best of each. This I could sort of understand. Ultimately he chose the Pacific so he preferred to live with its set of attributes instead of Kassandra’s but I want to make clear Kassandra did things Pacific did not and vice versa. I preferred what I consider the more analog sound of Kassandra.

Another mutual friend of ours heard Kassandra with Genus on my Odeons and said it was the most analog digital he has heard...I hear a lot of that in his TRP.
 

marslo

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Yes, that is a nice feature but for me using Schuko plugs, turning the plug also only takes 2 seconds...

If I were on a 3-prong power system, I would probably try it :cool:
I asked Lukasz during his visit and presentation of Pacific at my place which pin should be hot at the DAC inlet and the answer was „ doesn’t matter”.
Well , I select the polarity I like more using AR RTP 4EU power distributor and Siltech Ruby Mountain II PC with Oyaide P/C 004 plugs.
 
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MJG

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Gentlemen, may I introduce myself — I happen to be the host of the comparison in question between Kassandra and Pacific, referred to as M. To cut a long story short: I decided in favour of Pacific because of its advantages especially in transparency, but also in resolution, precision, airiness, space and stage. What I agree upon with morricab is Kassandra‘s slight plus in weight which I liked.
At the End of the day, the Pacific is clearly the better DAC for my system and taste.
And with all due respect: The Pacific IS definitely another step above the excellent TRP.
 

christoph

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I asked Lukasz during his visit and presentation of Pacific at my place which pin should be hot at the DAC inlet and the answer was „ doesn’t matter”.
Well , I select the polarity I like more using AR RTP 4EU power distributor and Siltech Ruby Mountain II PC with Oyaide P/C 004 plugs.
As long as it is so easy to hear which polarity sounds better, I just turn the plug and in the worst case twice ;)
 

Stacore

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I see your point, but what if ventilation of the Kassandra is impaired, or its feet are not designed to carry the extra weight? Rather than allowing for unknown variables, why not equalizing conditions?

We make those feet and they can carry A LOT :)

Cheers,
 

astrostar59

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My view is this meet up was a nice idea. But I may point out that the Pacific could have optimum tube rolling already set for those speakers. They are after all the Pac owners own speakers before they moved location.

Ref with my own Kassandra, I know I can tweak the sound a lot with tube bias, and the grade of E280Fs in it. I also balanced the FR to my taste with the USB cable to suit my speaker and headphone system.

I can hear incredible transparency in my setup, if I got any more it would begin IMO to sound unnatural for my taste.

Lastly, in my own DAC demos over the years, a super level of transparency is both intoxicating and addictive. For example I was hooked a while back on the CH Precisions level of transparency. However after 4 hours of testing that DAC, the wheels began to come off. It was never going to be my end game DAC.

Quite possibly system synergy comes into a lot of this, but to my ears, the Kassandra has the right level of transparency that is bang on to my ears.
 

Al M.

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My view is this meet up was a nice idea. But I may point out that the Pacific could have optimum tube rolling already set for those speakers. They are after all the Pac owners own speakers before they moved location.

Ref with my own Kassandra, I know I can tweak the sound a lot with tube bias, and the grade of E280Fs in it. I also balanced the FR to my taste with the USB cable to suit my speaker and headphone system.

I can hear incredible transparency in my setup, if I got any more it would begin IMO to sound unnatural for my taste.

Lastly, in my own DAC demos over the years, a super level of transparency is both intoxicating and addictive. For example I was hooked a while back on the CH Precisions level of transparency. However after 4 hours of testing that DAC, the wheels began to come off. It was never going to be my end game DAC.

Quite possibly system synergy comes into a lot of this, but to my ears, the Kassandra has the right level of transparency that is bang on to my ears.

Yes, transparency is a funny thing.

When I had the Denafrips Terminator DAC for auditioning, at first I thought it sounded much more transparent than the Yggdrasil Analog 2 DAC. Yet it had a subtly brighter tonal balance, and that contributed to the impression. It also had a more synthetic sound, which was readily audible on solo violin, for example. The Yggdrasil sounds far more natural, with a woodenness of tone on violin that sounds much more real. But it also sounds 'darker' than the Terminator DAC.

Is the Yggdrasil transparent despite the 'darker' sound? If you go by timbral micro-detail (again stunning on violin), clarity of separation of instruments on complex orchestral music, and tonal shading, then it *is* transparent, and very much so. Does it obviously *sound* transparent? Less so, but neither does unamplified live music in most venues. Yet live music generally *is* transparent, even though its sound may not call out "look how transparent I am!".
 
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wisnon

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My view is this meet up was a nice idea. But I may point out that the Pacific could have optimum tube rolling already set for those speakers. They are after all the Pac owners own speakers before they moved location.

Ref with my own Kassandra, I know I can tweak the sound a lot with tube bias, and the grade of E280Fs in it. I also balanced the FR to my taste with the USB cable to suit my speaker and headphone system.

I can hear incredible transparency in my setup, if I got any more it would begin IMO to sound unnatural for my taste.

Lastly, in my own DAC demos over the years, a super level of transparency is both intoxicating and addictive. For example I was hooked a while back on the CH Precisions level of transparency. However after 4 hours of testing that DAC, the wheels began to come off. It was never going to be my end game DAC.

Quite possibly system synergy comes into a lot of this, but to my ears, the Kassandra has the right level of transparency that is bang on to my ears.
The Pac was a loaner (of a loaner) and only came in for the day to MGS. In no way was it "optimised" for those speakers. The Kass was the one there on a 2 week loan and I imagine bias setting was adjusted to suit tastes over that period of time by the owner who lent the Dac.
 
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