I’ve done tests with the following DACS and configurations, matching levels. These are the configurations.
Reproduction equipment: Active loudspeakers Neumann KH120A subwoofer Neumann KH805.
All of them fed with my low noise Diy linear source. A linear source for maximum playback is essential, as is playing the music from a MicroSD or SSD hard drive.
The most important thing is that all are extraordinary combinations and most users will be happy with the cheapest of combinations, but if you are a sick audio, like me, know what I’m talking about, we seek excellence.
Keep in mind that this is just my experience, with my compoents, it is not a shopping guide, I have heard these components with other speakers and amplifiers, and synergy with each one, and personal tastes, is very important. At the end always the conclusion is the same, for balance, versatility and price everyone prefers Kali and piano 2.1. I personally could not do without any of them, maybe boss, but only if he forces me with a gun to get rid of one hahaha. And if he also forces me to stay with one, I would choose terraberry dac 2, but I am sure that the new surprises that Allo prepares us can change this.
1. Rapsberry Pi 3/Allo isolator (LiFePO4 batteries)/Allo Boss/Relay Attenuator
If you only use Allo Boss you possibly have the best DAC quality/price of the market and 90% of the fans will be happy with it. Isolator and Relay Attenuattor up their level, but in my opinion does not reach the level of Kali + Piano 2.1
I really like Boss, although I put it in the last place of the ranking, but there is a very tough competition.
Treble. In the weakness of this system and at the same time the advantage. There are high frequencies that the Boss does not play, you lose some things, some nuances of instruments. The acoustic guitar For example does not sound realistic. But the treble do hearing fatigue, so you can be hearing happily all day Boss without thinking of anything else to enjoy the music. Probably the most similar solution to a turntable, the sound is very analogue, although this is applicable to any of the other solutions less audiophonics that will sound more digitally because of its high frequencies.
Bass. The Bass is very present, but a little fuzzy compared to the rest.
Timber. It is the least realistic of the systems, but that doesn’t matter, because Boss does magic, it is so nice that you will give equal everything that you do not have.
Voices. Boss is great with voices, like Piano 2.1, if you like vocal music you will love these dacs, but it is not consistent with the rest of the frequencies, so you lose a lot of things, for example reverberations.
Scene. The scene is very wide and enveloping, but it is not as accurate as in the other DACs, you do not center so well the different points of sound, it is sound is more diffuse.
Details. It is the least detailed DAC, normal, if we think that high frequencies are missing, and the bass blots a little other frequencies and the scene is not accurate, if the detail is there hide it those elements.
Dynamic. It’s the weakest point of this DAC, it’s not fast, so it wouldn’t be the best choice for rock. But because rock recordings are usually very bad it’s a good DAC for rock, but don’t wait fast.
Quality of the recordings. If you have been attentive to reading you will have come to the conclusion that it has to be a good DAC for bad recordings. Well it’s true, any recording with this DAC is nice
Transparency. It is the least transparent DAC, if you have no other reference you may not notice it, but if you compare it with the rest, the voices and instruments are not clean.