HOLO Audio - Official Thread

Holo Audio is a manufacturer of DACs and Headphone Amplifiers, designed by Jeff Zhu. They are probably best known for their well-received Spring DAC, but have since introduced models above and below that unit’s performance (including the current “hot-buz” MAY DAC) as well as expanding their offerings into other audio products.

They are officially represented in the US as Holo Audio USA (also known as Kitsune HiFi) and that operation is based in WA.

This is the spot to discuss the Holo Audio brand …

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Does anyone here have experience with Holo Audio? I know @Torq has compared it with the Ygg and there are reviews of the Cyan and Azure but not much about the DACs in this forum. I’m just looking to see if any of the members here have heard them and could share their experiences.

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This was my original Spring DAC L3/KTE review. I still think it’s an excellent piece, though today you’d have to find one on the used market.

It’s little brother, the CYAN I reviewed here. This can be a DAC or DAC/Amp depending on whether you go with PCM or DSD DAC modules (both can play either format; on-board conversion is employed).

And then the AZURE amplifier, reviewed here, which is an physical and aesthetic match to the CYAN, an ideal pairing with the CYAN DSD (which has no internal amplifier) and an upgrade over the internal amplifier on the PCM version of the CYAN.

I’ll share some thoughts on the Spring 2 DAC and the new MAY DAC when I get a chance.

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I sold my benchmark dac2 as well as a few records last week to buy a holo audio spring L3 KTE. Look forward in comparing it to my Lampizator Atlantic when it arrives. Lampizator is for my 2channel but I have it in my headphone setup right now and musicality and dynamic wise the lampi demolished the benchmark dac2 that I had to look into trading it for another R2R and found a good price on the Spring. I raced against time to sell the benchmark and few records to pay for it after purchasing and it was a doozy. Ended up taking about 15% the used value and sold the stuff to a local hifi shop for cash.

Will post my comparisons once it’s in hand!

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Have you ever listened to the benchmark dacs? For sure a detail king in my book. Just a little too cold and sterile for my taste.

Also, is it worth it to get a SU 1 d2d connected to the holo? I see a lot of people do it to use the I2s. I have a schiit eitr but that only does coax. I’m interested in seeing if the I2s is better

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Yes.

It depends on what version of the USB board the Spring KTE/L3 has in it. If it’s the original, then the SU-1 via I2S is something I found preferable. With the later USB board versions I’d pass on it and just run it via USB.

Though if you’re not going to be using HQPlayer with it, nor feeding it DSD, then S/PDIF is fine.

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Thanks, I don’t know what usb board it is yet as it’s used. Hopefully I can figure it out looking inside.

How do you compare the benchmark with the spring?

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You should be able to tell simply by looking at the detailed USB properties when connected to a computer. But if not, it’s not hard to tell internally.

I’m not really up for doing comparisons of this nature anymore. So, I’ll leave it as saying that …

The Spring DAC KTE/L3 remains one of my favorite DACs, especially NOS DACs, and I was happy to spend my own money on it (my reviews describe the sound as best I can).

The Benchmarks, while thoroughly competent, were not something I would buy, nor keep if given, as technically and audibly indistinguishable alternatives exist for much less money and while a “reference” type presentation are not what I want when listening to music for pleasure.

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you couldn’t describe it better. Thanks

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Love my Holo setup will be looking to add their new pre at some point and upgrade to a May KTE.

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Got my Spring KTE in today. Looking forward to seeing how it compliments my other Dac (Lampizator Atlantic SE+) or if they are more similar than not.

Which one to keep in the 2channel setup and which one for the headphone setup🧐.

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Looking forward to hearing what you discover!

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Initial thoughts on the holo spring. The widest staging i’ve had in this room. The sound goes feet pass the speakers like the side walls are no longer hindering the soundstage.

Played Tool- chocolate chip trip and the bass that pans back and forth was tracking so far right and left.

Alive in chains unplugged- song ‘Brother’
The guitar strumming out of the right speaker is bigger and wider. Sense of scale is bigger.
I love this Dac! Tons of detail but in such an organic way.

Definitely a keeper! Can’t wait to hook it up to my Mogwai/zmfs. However I think this is definitely going to be spending a lot of time in my 2 channel setup.

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I was very interested in this DAC, though the price (depending on options) goes higher than I’m willing to pay. But I have the same problem w/this one as I do the “May” DAC: they’re huge, way bigger than I can accomodate on my desktop.

So no matter how good they are, I have to look elsewhere…which kinda sucks.

Let the Dac comparison begin!!

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I bought a singxer su-1 kte about a year ago and it greatly improved the Spring KTE performance. I can’t say if it help with the May or not.

Any update on how the spring sounds? :slight_smile:

Not yet but will do a write up when I have time to take it in.

This Dac is amazing and is an easy blind buy in my opinion. If you have questions direct message me and we can talk.

Will be interesting to hear about @Wenbinbin2010‘s new spring purchase too!

Did you get a Spring 2 or a Spring 1?

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