Massdrop x Airist Audio R-2R DAC
Massdrop x Airist Audio R-2R DAC
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Product Description
Featuring discrete resistor ladder technology at an unheard-of price, the Massdrop x Airist Audio R-2R DAC is one of our most requested and anticipated products this year: a DAC with the looks and quality to match our new lineup of amps. An older technology that’s been making a comeback, R-2R is known to produce rich, warm, natural sound and can have benefits in spatial awareness and staging ... Read More
4.3
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20 Reviews
Here's what our community has to say
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MonetsChemist
29
Jul 6, 2019
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First impressions: very good at the price, and maybe just very good period
Digital music in our home stereo starts out in FLAC (lots of ripped CDs that sit gathering dust, plus in the last few years lots of downloads purchased in preference at 96/24 or as near as possible, totalling a bit over 7,000 tracks), living on a 2TB hard drive connected to a Cubox i4pro running headless Armbian 5.05, which is basically Ubuntu 16.04.06. The Cubox is connected by a USB to the new Airist R-2R, whose conversion duties were previously handled by a Schiit Bifrost 4490. The rest of the stereo is mostly Linn stuff, so quite decent quality. First impressions of the R-2R are very positive. It worked with no fuss over USB to the Linux machine, which reports it being able to handle up to 768K in 16 or 32 bit format. There is also a "SPECIAL DSD_U32_BE" format supported but I don't have anything around to try that with at this point in time. No problems playing music, switching bit rates / word lengths, no clicks or pops. The sound quality seems very good. Compared to the Bifrost, my first impressions are that it is a bit less prominent in the bass and makes taller stereo images. Certainly no obvious flaws and lots to enjoy. I'd especially like to compliment Airist and Drop for getting this right on the Linux end of things. Beyond that, I'm very happy with the unit so far. No regrets. Shipping to Canada was reasonably quick; arrived in a shade under 3 weeks including customs tomfoolery. Much better than my previous experience with a set of headphones which actually took months.
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Would recommend to a friend.
Jul 6, 2019
loadexfa
190
Jul 4, 2019
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This was my first R-2R and I'm happy I gave it a try. I find it fun, musical, and on the warm side. Decent amount of air and sound stage but not as good as my Gungnir Multibit in this way. The Gumby is also more detailed but considering the price, these differences are to be expected. Overall I think the Airist compares favorably to the Gumby. It's a slightly laid back DAC and has been great with various genres of music (pop, classic rock, classical, jazz, metal, etc). It replaced the Modi Multibit as my work DAC and pairs very well with the CTH.
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Would recommend to a friend.
Jul 4, 2019
ChaosFtw
10
Jul 4, 2019
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I have a modi multibit, and I have been looking at this for a while, but I am not sure if it's worth it as an upgrade. Since you have both dacs would you recommend this as an upgrade? Or should I just save up for something else (like a Gungnir or another $1k+ mb dac)?
Jul 4, 2019
loadexfa
190
Jul 4, 2019
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That's a tough call. I still like my Modi Multibit and for me the Airist was an experiment to see if I like NOS R-2R. I'm glad I bought it and would recommend it over the Mimby if you didn't already have one. Since you do, personally I would save for something better. As much as I like my Gumby, I wish I had waited and saved for the Yggdrasil. I still need to listen to the higher end Metrum DACs (especially now that I know I like NOS R-2R) but I've listened to the Yggy for a couple hours and it is really good. I would highly encourage you to go to local meetups or something like CanJam if possible. Of course this depends on your location and you don't know what gear will be available to try. But this allows you to try a wide variety without having to hassle with returns and/or selling on eBay.
Jul 4, 2019
Igi1950
7
Jul 2, 2019
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Interesting DAC from a technical point of view which sounds great
My system Mac, Roon player, Airist R-2R Dac, Cavalli Tube Hybrid, HiFiMan HE560. The sound is warm, the stage is wide and well defined, the dynamic range is impressive, female voice crystal clear, plays well classical music (orchestral, vocal and chamber music)
Jul 2, 2019
jtesterman
4
Jul 2, 2019
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Mixed impressions at first. Like many have said it needs a little time to warm up.
Low end is more pronounced than my RME ADI-2 DAC, almost tube-y in its presentation. I just now ran it through my Woo WA2 and then through the pre-outs to my JBL 308 MKII's and just wow. Lots of clean, clear thump. Not nearly as clinical as the ADI-2 but a hell of a lot more fun. I can replicate the sound on the ADI-2 with EQ but this just sounds a little dirty in a good way to my ears. The ADI-2 is a better DAC for sure but I can see me going to the RDAC when I want to rock out. With my cans the Elex's sound great going through the MCTH, better than the 789 I think. In fact I liked most of my cans (H800's with the SDP mod, HD 6XX, RS1e, LCD2C, Argon's, Nightowls, HE-4XX) through the MCTH better than the 789 with the RDAC. With the ADI-2 it was a different story, perhaps it has something to do with the balanced outputs of the ADI-2 going to the 789. I need to spend a lot more time switching back and forth to get a better idea but as of now, I am happy I was able to jump in and grab this when I did. If you are looking for a warm sounding DAC, this is a great deal for the price. It also stacks well with the other MD amps (MCTH and 789 for me).
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Would recommend to a friend.
Jul 2, 2019
Lisasonictower
118
Jun 30, 2019
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Fantastic so far
Day 1 Ok so this is my first standalone DAC and I’m thoroughly impressed. Im only using the optical connection with an Mpow optical Bluetooth receiver right now and I’m writing this after a full days use and there is no distortion/noise that some others have unfortunately reported. It’s really solidly built and feels premium. I have read read many reviews and I agree with them when they say it’s on the warm side of neutral and sounds like analogue which is exactly what I was looking for. With a passion I do not like the digital sound which fatigues me, this DAC is not contributing to fatigue no matter what volume I use and I do play loud. My music preferences is ironically electronic music predominantly and it sounds like vinyl but not popping crackling, it’s not gritty sounding but it has that element of authority that analogue has. Ive only tried my 58X and SE215 with 4XX to go, used on Fiio A5 and an old Technics integrated. I’m awaiting the THX AAA 789 in the next to be delivered and I trust that will be an even larger upgrade. I hope Drop make a tone control to match the aesthetics of their stack so I can have a much better stack than I currently have. It works ok but the potential to replace all my old set up with a Drop stack is too good to turn down. Please please please do it Drop 🙏 Day 2 Today I have set up USB with the driver Cee Tee provided for my windows 7 laptop and working perfectly and sounding as good as the Bluetooth optical set up if not slightly better. On either configuration im only streaming online music that is not in high definition lossless files. everything is scaling up really really well and I feel there is so much room to grow into the system yet with the THX AAA 789 upgrade due, going balanced headphone output, going to lossless files but I may just connect my CD player to Coaxial some day. What Is interesting and something I never expected a headphone system to achieve even with my somewhat basic and a mash up of old and new technology is being able to listen with the volume lower on the amplifier to hear what I consider my usual listening SPL and yet when I take my 58X off to hear they are very noticeably louder yet they aren’t even being pushed. It reminds me of a nightclub I used to visit, the sound system was the best I’ve heard to this day and this was around 2000-2005. It was crystal clear powerful perfection and whilst you knew it was loud being a nightclub it never seemed as loud as it actually was, in that when you tried to speak to someone it was literally impossible even shouting, it wasn’t fatiguing and the only system which never have ringing ears like many PA systems do. Day 7 Apple camera connection kit is plug and play. Everything is working superbly and overall I’m super happy with choosing this DAC.
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Would recommend to a friend.
(Edited)
Jun 30, 2019
s2030081
16
Jun 28, 2019
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meh... Where is the DSD support?
After all the delay, I finally got the unit. It sounds great in vocal and high. Down side will be mid and high not balance with bass and not enough sub bass. Often, when the mid and high comes in, bass will be hard to be hear and the bass extension was lacking. The most frustrating thing to me is the DSD support. This DAC claimed to have DSD support. I have installed the driver on windows properly. No matter how I configure the ASIO driver in foobar 2000 and Tunebrowser, the DSD just won't work under both native mode and DoP mode. For similar price R2R dac, I will choose Soekris dac1101. It has DSD support and great sound, plus a powerful headphone amp that sounds great with my HD600 and HD700.
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Would not recommend to a friend.
(Edited)
Jun 28, 2019
rastus
699
Jun 30, 2019
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I would have gone with the Airist, but stuck to my self-imposed rule of avoiding another un-needed conversion, DOP, so went Ares w/o hearing it... so I could hear R-2R... worth it:)
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Jun 30, 2019
rastus
699
Jun 30, 2019
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I would try Audivarna as a free trial. I also use Korg Audiogate which puts a heavy load on a PC, “closed environment” with Korg dac’s, but a very nice setup. I use Process Lasso, https://www.ghacks.net/2015/03/24/process-lasso-8-review/ , free trial level, seems to help, but Audivarna’s scheme with a temporary buffer works nicely, lasso still runs too.
Jun 30, 2019
Dylanm
1
Jun 26, 2019
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Took an awful long time getting here but well worth it in the end, solid piece of kit, pairs perfect with the CTH.
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Would recommend to a friend.
Jun 26, 2019
vinhtvu
1
Jun 24, 2019
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It took a while but it was definitely worth the wait. At first it sounded a little thick but when i was broken in it opened up nicely. Very high value for the money. I would highly recommend it.
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Would recommend to a friend.
Jun 24, 2019
roarWolfy
113
Jun 24, 2019
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Sounds good .... I think?
From what I can hear in my right channel this sounds like a great dac for the price. Very detailed and artculate. A almost sweetness to the highs that I tend to enjoy. However, the left channel is laced with static. Most noticable during talk and lower frequencies. Working with Support and they sent a second until. The static was x3 worse in the replacement. Sent it back today via a prepaid label. Next step in unknow. Hopefully we can work together to find a unit that works soon so I can update this positively. Update: Support has now said I can not send in for repair nor try another unit since I sent back the replacement even though it sounds much worse. Excellent. $350 Paper Weight. Time to save up for a Schiit. >.>
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Would not recommend to a friend.
(Edited)
Jun 24, 2019
roarWolfy
113
Jul 3, 2019
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Yup that will be my next move if support is not willing to support the product. Otherwise maybe find a way to contact Airist or Collab here on drop to see what they can do. Like I really do enjoy what I can hear over the static.
Jul 3, 2019
Yurio
19
Jul 6, 2019
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How can we know what is shit and what's not?
Jul 6, 2019
Srvx
10
Jun 24, 2019
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A very nice DAC.
I've enjoyed every minute with it - paired with THX 789 and HD 800s.
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Would recommend to a friend.
Jun 24, 2019
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