Originally Posted by gigi
any news on your comparision?
Got the Ross Martin units a couple of days ago, but I'm still on vacation so I've only had brief encounters with them so far (when my family gone to sleep).
Opening the package and feeling the smell of varnished wood doesn't happen too often and was a really nice surprise, much nicer than the usual smell of acrylic plastic.
The hand-painted wooden sides certainly doesn't live up to the standard of HIFI hardware, and HIFI-enthusiasts will probably frown at the "cheap look". I think it looks charming.
I have a habit of opening up all new hardware and have a look at the inside and inside the DAC there was a loose screw that needed fixing. No biggie, can happen to large scale production units too.
I started by hooking up the DAC - PCM1794 Dual “Bare Beast” "gearslutz unit" (with op-amps specified by Mr Jim Williams) and compared it to my Mytek DSD DAC Mastering unit.
To be honest I really didn't think that the much cheaper Ross Martin DAC would stand a chance, but boy was I wrong. In short the mid-range of the Mytek is more vivid and euphoric if you like, whereas the mid-range of the PCM1794 is more detailed and analytic (but without sounding boring). I'm splitting hair because both units sound great.
Then I opened up a mix I'm working on and switched back and fourth listening to the recorded analogue mix and the differences became more clear to me. When I listened through the PCM1794 I instantly felt the urge to tweak the mix even more, fix some low-end problems and even out the mid-range intensity. The low-end response of the PCM1794 is fantastic, very fast, very accurate, thick and firm. The low-end response of the Mytek DSD DAC is also very good, but a tad rounder in comparison and a little more forgiving.
But what I like the most about the PCM1794 is the mid-range and upper mid-range clarity, very detailed and not a single trance of digital harshness.
Only days after getting the Ross DAC I've already set it up as my main monitor DAC, simply because it seems to tell me some more about my mixes than any DAC I've used before.
Money-wise it's a no-brainer, go buy!
I will still enjoy listening to DSD sound through the Mytek DSD DAC and I will use it when I do analogue mastering because it sounds really vivid and uncolored, and for sending vocals into my analogue summing box.
When I have more time on my hands I will compare the Ross DAC to my Lavry DA10 and Mytek 8x192.
The Ross Martin PCM4222 ADC is quite large for being just a two channel ADC, but luckily it fitted into the rack space of my (now faulty) Mytek Stereo192 ADC. The front panel has a couple of switches with cryptic or absent description next to them. Reading the "manual" (one side paper) it has two different filter responses and a bypass switch for the high-pass filter. The ADC can only run as digital masterclock or be slaved by another PCM4222 unit, the sync input is NOT a wordclock input, and will only accept a special sync signal from another PCM4222 unit. So I had to set it up as master in my digital setup when I'd much prefer having the Mytek 8x192 as master.
Everything synced up to the PCM4222 my RME RayDat soundcard reported 44099Hz instead of 44100Hz.
None the less, I played the analogue summed mix I'm working on through the PCM4222 and it sounded really good. The input pots for left and right channel felt pretty sturdy I had no problems aligning them. I never thought I needed input volume pots until I got the Mytek Stereo192 ADC which has a stereo input volume pot. But it's quite nice to be able to run a rather hot signal through some analogue gear and then be able to back off the level when hitting the ADC.
I'd say the sound of the PCM4222 is very open, wide and detailed. Love the mid-range depth which seems to keep much of the impact of the lead vocals. Fooling around with the filter settings I think I like the "Low Group Delay" setting the best with the high-pass filter bypassed - it seems to portray the analogue mix the best.
I'm going to email Ross and ask if he can design a Wordclock -> PCM4222 sync box so that the PCM4222 can accept incoming Wordclock. I hope he understands the importance of such a unit.
I've actually planned to get an extra digital sound card just to be able to record my analogue mixes at higher sample rate. When I do the PCM4222 will fit the glove perfectly.
Again, money-wise it's a no-brainer, go buy!
Both Ross Martin units seems to work perfectly and I can dearly recommend them to anyone wishing to upgrade their sound. Well worth the money and month waiting for the units to arrive.
Sound On Sound contributor