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GIESELER Kompakt DAC owners thread


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1 hour ago, ray4410 said:

yeah simon,listening as we speak,bloody hell i am starting to hate hifi,well that's not quite true i have hated it for 50 f====== years,so to answer your question i can't say as i love them both,if anything i think the kompakt is a bit more laid back than the aries,i can listen to either one of them and really like what i am hearing,keep in mind both have not had a lot of hours on them so weather that will change things who knows,one thing i will mention is that spotify premium has never sounded better through either of the dacs,most of the time i use a rega apollo 35 anniversary cd as a transport or a opppo 95 both sound pretty darn good,
ray.

 

What a wonderful problem to have :D 

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Okey dokey... this review has been on the slow-burn due to work and other commitments (including assembling nearly half a ton of IKEA flat-pack wardrobe fixtures) but I'm not complaining as it has giv

I have received my Kompakt DAC this afternoon as part of the first batch. Clay has been very helpful to establish whether or not it would be the right product for me. I decided that it was on the basi

Oooh, got home tonight to find a Kompakt sn0003 on the doorstep!   After owning a number of Clays Dacs over the last 8 yrs or so, incl PDX L2 with full Duelunds, Klein SE, USB only Gross wit

The love affair with my Kompakt in my system continues...

 

image.png.25a6afdfa3f5d09c9679a0a0fc71013e.png

 

listening to this, selected from one of my Tidal playlists.

 

There is such transparency, yet appropriate mellowness. I can hear all of the actuation of the piano keys, and pedals too I think. I like classical music but not often piano, however I can listen to this as a different style to my normal enjoyment of baroque or early medieval classical.

 

A couple of days ago, listening to completely different music, I was triggered to share the track with Clay in an email. That time it was a track called Eireann (Ireland), from the  Afro Celt Sound System’s second album.

C7B1A741-ADBE-47E4-BB80-EC733173BFCF.jpeg

Edited by lenticularis
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2 hours ago, lenticularis said:

The love affair with my Kompakt in my system continues...

 

image.png.25a6afdfa3f5d09c9679a0a0fc71013e.png

 

listening to this, selected from one of my Tidal playlists.

 

There is such transparency, yet appropriate mellowness. I can hear all of the actuation of the piano keys, and pedals too I think. I like classical music but not often piano, however I can listen to this as a different style to my normal enjoyment of baroque or early medieval classical.

 

A couple of days ago, listening to completely different music, I was triggered to share the track with Clay in an email. That time it was a track called Eireann (Ireland), from the  Afro Celt Sound System’s second album.

C7B1A741-ADBE-47E4-BB80-EC733173BFCF.jpeg

Hi @lenticularis...care to elaborate on that sense of appropriate mellowness in regards to the Compakt!?

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44 minutes ago, BLAH BLAH said:

Hi @lenticularis...care to elaborate on that sense of appropriate mellowness in regards to the Compakt!?

Hi Blah Blah,

 

I was referring to the quality of the piano playing, not to a general character of the Kompakt, although that certainly doesn’t mean that I find it harsh or digital in any way.

 

Like the Klein III I had before, and still keep for use through computer desktop playback with a Cavalli Tube Hybrid headphone amp, my experience with Gieseler DACs is that they are very resolving, but not harsh.  
 

Compared with the Klein, noting that a direct back to back test between the two isn’t something I’ve done, the Kompakt adds a wider stereo image, and even more separation between the instruments and voices. That to me is the Kompakt’s hallmark, the easy ability to resolve individual voices and instruments, even at fairly low playback levels. I also rate my Stereo Coffee LDR as a major component in my system’s resolvability.
 

A friend who plays violin and viola in an active pseudo-professional capacity in a quartet, recently again heard the violinist Hilary Hahn through the Kompakt. Similarly to when I was tweaking various things with my Klein, he says both give a completely realistic playback of her Bach violin pieces.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This Kompakt just gets ‘better n better’!

 

Listening to Tidal hi-res streaming on Lightning DS ( Auralic Aries Femto streamer) to ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’ on RLJ’s album ‘The Devil You Know’. She is right in front of me, as if I were listening in some bar with great acoustics!
image.png.454a8017206cbbfb93167e0323b88539.png


Yesterday I was streaming Bonnie Raitt’s ‘Road Tested’ album and once again the atmosphere of a live recording came across very well.

 

@Gieseler Audio Clay, how many more Kompakt’s have you in stock, given the AKM fire problem? I’m really pleased that I bought when I did.

 

 

 

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no not at all,besides if you decide you like what it does use any cd, dvd or transport with the kompakt and enjoy the upgrade in sound quality from digital playback,don't procrastinate for too long as i am sure that what remaining stock that clay has left won't be around for long,and with the unavailability of the akm dac chips it's all over red rover.

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Hi all, looking at an upgrade for my blue sound 2i. Will the KOMPACT give me the changes you are all describing?

Denon 1500ae and B&W 706s2. Upgraded power cords to both.

 

Regards, DH.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I would imagine it would. I got the Kompact dac about a week ago and enjoying the less fatiguing listening on headphones. Like yourself I have a blusound node 2i and am using coax S/PDIF cable to feed the gieseler. I plugged in an optical cable to test as well and I think the coax gives a ever so slightly warmer sound.

 

hope that helps, my downstream amp and speakers are audio lab and Dali. ....

B

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi I'm also considering an upgrade to a bluesound node 2i Internal DAC. 

If I currently had no DAC the kompakt would be an easier choice but I'm worried to spend the bucks on this external for what might be unnoticeable improvement.  

What are your thoughts?

 

Rest of system is primaluna evo400 valve amp, IMF Reference Standard Professional Monitors IV. Or sometimes magnepan .7.

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, JeffN said:

Hi I'm also considering an upgrade to a bluesound node 2i Internal DAC. 

If I currently had no DAC the kompakt would be an easier choice but I'm worried to spend the bucks on this external for what might be unnoticeable improvement.  

What are your thoughts?

 

Rest of system is primaluna evo400 valve amp, IMF Reference Standard Professional Monitors IV. Or sometimes magnepan .7.

Have a look at other owners of Gieseler DACs and you will understand why so many people like them

 

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Option 1 = do nothing

Option 2 = buy gieseler kompakt and see for yourself. 

option 3 = research other external dac options in your budget price range.. if they are at an audio store nearby take along your blusound node 2i and ask to hear them in the sound chain of components and connections.

 

is $1200 a significant investment in comparison to the rest of your kit? 
 

value is in the ear of the listener :)

 

best of luck in your decisioning.

 

cheers

Blair

 

 

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Hi Broad,

Between amp and speakers maybe $10,000

I'd probably need to audition anything in my own home, I'm crap at in-store listening.

Yeah I'll Google a bit more. The investment isn't going to keep me out of craft beer but I certainly want to make sure it's a decent upgrade. I assumed in advance my question won't receive a definitive response but all answers help. Thanks. 

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1 hour ago, JeffN said:

Hi Broad,

Between amp and speakers maybe $10,000

I'd probably need to audition anything in my own home, I'm crap at in-store listening.

Yeah I'll Google a bit more. The investment isn't going to keep me out of craft beer but I certainly want to make sure it's a decent upgrade. I assumed in advance my question won't receive a definitive response but all answers help. Thanks. 


if your question is, will the Kompakt sound better than the internal dac on the node 2i, then I can pretty definitively say yes. I have the Auralic Aries mini which is generally considered to be equal to or better than the node in sq and even the Klein III made an immediate and obvious improvement. The person I purchased the Klein from upgraded to the Kompakt and said it was a significant improvement over the Klein.
 

Given the calibre of your system I’d be pretty shocked if you didn’t hear a significant improvement. If you don’t like it, you can always resell it and try another dac but I doubt you’d ever go back to the node’s internal dac

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I think Rankstranger has nailed it for you JeffN.

 

nothing ventures nothing gained as they say.

 

also, from what I read in the threads previously , clay G (cousin of Ali G :) except he doesn’t rap and builds DACs ) is apparently approachable. Give him a call and chat. Cant imagine you can do that easily on any other store bought DAC components .

 

B...

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1 minute ago, Bross said:

I think Rankstranger has nailed it for you JeffN.

 

nothing ventures nothing gained as they say.

 

also, from what I read in the threads previously , clay G (cousin of Ali G :) except he doesn’t rap and builds DACs ) is apparently approachable. Give him a call and chat. Cant imagine you can do that easily on any other store bought DAC components .

 

B...

 I bought a Klein III from Clay about 18 months ago and also bought his Kompakt s/n 0001 as soon as it was released. Both DACs are fantastic value and I also use them with an Auralic Aries streamer (the Klein now in a separate desktop system).

 

You can't go wrong... re-sale through SNA classifieds is going to be rapid, should you ever wish to sell, especially since the AKM factory fire late last year has dried up chip supply.

 

Give Clay G a call. He is indeed very approachable, although he may be in E. Europe, ferretting around one of 'the -stans' researching cottage-industry chip output, after cousin Ali's film success in the region.

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On 29/01/2021 at 8:20 AM, JeffN said:

Thanks guys, I think you've told me all I need to know. 

yes-come-to-the-dark-side-makeameme-org-yes-come-to-54230020.png.c9a4f2434a516c382ea1f06b2a5338bb.png

 

 

 

* Disclaimer - Clay may or may not be affiliated with the "Dark Side" of the force. 

** Has anyone seen Clay and Palpatine in the same room at the same time? Hrmmm...

 

 

 

 

Edited by pete_mac
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I had a Bluesound node 2 and a Gross dac. The Bluesound internal dac is really listenable but Clays dac was a big step up in authority and soundstage. I sold both and have since owned a Fein2 and now a Kompakt. Each step an improvement over the gross. The Kompakt is his best dac so far for my ears. 
 

You can’t go wrong. Fantastic service and instant resale on this forum. 

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23 minutes ago, Herbs said:

Has anyone used a kraftwerk 2 with a kompakt?

Clay mentioned there is a sight improvement here

https://www.stereo.net.au/forums/topic/323610-kompakt-dac-official-release/?do=findComment&comment=4620575

Whether it is worth it depends on an individual's value proposition...

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  • 2 months later...

Listening a lot today as I laboriously add every artist on Tidal to my Qobuz account (none of my Soundiiz premium account attempted transfers are showing up on Qobuz, hence the slow approach).
 

I decided also to bypass my SHD Studio for a while and exercise the USB input on my Kompakt (using the SHD Studio requires the SPDIF input).

 

Everything is sounding magnificent, whether 44.1/16 or true Qobuz Hi-Res.

 

My chain is: Auralic Aries Femto, Curious USB, Kompakt USB input, @Bill125812’s Western Electric ICs (WEICs) to Stereo Coffee pre, WEICs to Gamut D200 Mk 3 power, Morrow SP4 cables to Sonus Faber Concerto Home spkrs on Isoacoustic MiniPucks on cheap stands. Shunyata Hydra 4 power  conditioner and Shunyata Venom power cables for Aries LPSU, Stereo Coffee and Gamut amp.

 

Once I get Bill’s W.E. speaker cables, those will replace the Morrow SP4s.

Edited by lenticularis
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Guest dr_carl

I have today taken delivery of a new Kompakt DAC with the Wolfson chip set.

 

So far it sounds excellent. After I've lived with it for a while I will describe my impressions.

 

All I  can say now is those who recommend not obsessing over the chip are correct, I've had AKM based DACs and this is just as good. How it matures time will tell. 

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On 29/04/2021 at 3:21 PM, dr_carl said:

I have today taken delivery of a new Kompakt DAC with the Wolfson chip set.

 

So far it sounds excellent. After I've lived with it for a while I will describe my impressions.

 

All I  can say now is those who recommend not obsessing over the chip are correct, I've had AKM based DACs and this is just as good. How it matures time will tell. 

Any more early thoughts? 

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Guest dr_carl
2 minutes ago, Gambit 1870 said:

Any more early thoughts? 

It's a bit early yet...to be honest It's not so different in sound from my previous SMSL SANKSKRIT,  and I could easily go back if not for the XLR out which means my headphone rig is now fully balanced which is a improvement. There are also confounding variables such as new preamp tubes...

 

So I'll wait a bit more before I say any more. 

 

I will say I will not change anything else for a good while, I'm really enjoying it. I'm also becoming more hesitant to use a lot of subjective language...so when (a) I have an opinion and (b) I  can express it....I will  write more. 

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Guest dr_carl

I'd like to offer some thoughts on the new DAC.

 

I can make some qualitative observations on things I think are changed since swapping out the SMSL.

 

It feels like "no more changes needed now, thanks". I think the synergy of the various components is working nicely.

 

The size of the illusion of the soundstage is taller, deeper and wider. At the same time the image is more focused. 

 

Music that is really shining is The Raconteurs "Help Us Stranger". I heard them live in Sydney. All that raucous energy is there,  the music jumps out at me...as it should.

 

Also impressive is Midnight Oil's version of "The Real Thing", and also Redneck Wonderland". Also seen many times live and yes now at home I'm getting my proper dose of Oils.

 

Zappa's "Apostrophe " in 24/192 hilarious and beautiful. 

 

Freddy King is revealed as a true guitar God, as are Clapton, Beck and Page.

 

Obviously this lot is totally subjective and my opinion.

 

I'm happy,  that's what matters. 

 

If I think of anything else I will let you know. 

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Hi Guys am an owner of a Kompakt DAC...one of the early models....I am after some feedback on the use of the filters and how they are best used...

It's not clear to me from looking at the online manual as to how to best utilize the filters A + B in my system...feedback would be appreciated...

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 15/05/2021 at 2:05 PM, BLAH BLAH said:

Hi Guys am an owner of a Kompakt DAC...one of the early models....I am after some feedback on the use of the filters and how they are best used...

It's not clear to me from looking at the online manual as to how to best utilize the filters A + B in my system...feedback would be appreciated...

I like A up and B down. Seems to have slightly more bass.

 

Theres not a great deal of difference between them all tho.

 

You can flick the switches on the fly while playing a song.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 13/06/2021 at 9:23 AM, Herbs said:

I like A up and B down. Seems to have slightly more bass.

 

Theres not a great deal of difference between them all tho.

 

You can flick the switches on the fly while playing a song.

Hi @Herbs thank you for the reply...interestingly after a little play with the switches with music playing I have a preference for A up and B up...which on my system seems to give a more noticeable Bass response...go figure! :) I'll go back to a listening session with the switches you have recommended A up and B down... cheers!

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Before buying the Kompakt I had a Klein II. Before that an Arcam irDAC ii. The noticeable difference going from the Arcam to the Klein was immediate. The Arcam was good but the Klein was on a different level.   I can’t really use audiophile terms with any conviction and the totality of my setup probably costs less than some peoples speaker cables but there was just a new depth and warmth. Sound was a warm blanket.

 

The Kompakt has taken it up a level. It’s just as warm as the Klein but has so much more life. It’s taken a bit of getting used to as the Klein was just so good and also different. Lovely subsonics and clarity like the Klein but also much more life. The Klein was a relaxing, comforting listen. The Kompakt has this but also keeps the energy going at the same time. Think really strong coffee and a good spliff. Both are great but put them together. Magic.

 

I’m hopeless at hanging onto gear. I did try to sell the Kompakt recently. I saw it as an easily replaceable part of my system and thought about a sideways move (Tidal subscriber so got MQA on my radar). I  just couldn’t do it. Now I think I’m more  likely to build my system around the Kompakt. It’s really that good.

Edited by luapnodyl
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12 hours ago, luapnodyl said:

Think really strong coffee and a good spliff. Both are great but put them together. Magic

Haha 😎

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Does anyone know what Clayton is coming up with next? Been a while since I have heard anything. Probably just COVID restrictions and such.

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Posted (edited)

Hi everyone,

 

sorry for the delay.

I have a huge amount happening in terms of new products & all the info will be in my "Mid year news" which I will post shortly.

 

Cheers  Clay 

 

Mid year news

 

Edited by Gieseler Audio
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About the balanced XLR outputs, should I assume the output voltage is 4v or is it the same as the RCA outputs?

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Posted (edited)

On the AKM & Wolfson Kompakt it is the same as the RCA outputs, 2v due to the Jensen transformer output.

However on the AD1862 R2R variant the XLR output is double (4v)  as it is using an active output stage.

Also the RCA & XLR outputs can be used simultaneously 

Edited by Gieseler Audio
Grammar
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