HOLO Audio - Official Thread



Thanks. Helping or enabling!?



Oh for sure, … :wink:

1 Like

Just an FYI for those interested in the Spring 3 w/ preamp…

There is no bypass option, but I was told that setting it to 94 will do the same thing.


The TDA 1543 is a really poor place to start when building a DAC (wasn’t great when it launched, even). It was a budget part when it was introduced, and it performs like one. Barely manages 14 bits of dynamic range, roll-off starting at 6 kHz, significant aliasing issues, harmonic/distortion issues at audible levels, lousy jitter performance, and poor noise performance.

I’ve heard more DACs that use the 1543 than I care to think about. Most of them seem to be low-volume boutique stuff. All of them were clearly colored and lacked transparency (objectively and subjectively). Even the ones that took heroic, and expensive, measures to try and work around the chips limitations.

Now the TDA 1541, in double-crown form, is a somewhat different matter.


The 41 is whats in the Orchid I have in the den. Never heard the 1543.


I love that Orchid sound–which only got better when I rolled better tubes in the output buffer circuit.

I’m not worried about an antique DAC chip. Hell, I’m an antique myself…


I enjoyed the MHDT DACs, including the Orchid.

Owned a couple … really enjoyed the Stockholm V2 feeding a WA6.

Like I said, the TDA 1541 is a different proposition to its budget stablemate (1543).


I skimmed through most of what you said and I can agree that the different levels can be very confusing to the customer. I personally have emailed Tim to get some better clarification on what each component does sonically but never got a clear answer. Also it seems like the KTE versions have handpicked dac modules that can be up to 3% better than the L1/L2. I have no idea how that relates to sonic quality but if you are seriously considering a holo audio product, I would suggest going L2.

My reasoning is this, the KTE capacitors are not manufactured by KTE. They’re basically a rebrand of another capacitor that he should be naming but he does not. I would rather go with a capacitor that are known by the community like vishay or mundorf. Wiring within a system should rarely ever make a difference. The L2 already provides certain benefits like upgraded USB and remote (for the May). Lastly, I think the levels are just to play with the customer’s emotions. People don’t really know what the difference is so they just go for the highest model so they don’t miss out on something they don’t know about. Sure, the lower models help some of those who might not have the budget get their foot in the door but it’s not as transparent as say upgrading trims on a car purchase. If you pay a few grand for leather seats, you can feel the difference. If you pay a grand to upgrade to KTE capacitors, I’m not convinced you will be able to really tell the difference.

At the end of the day though, if you can afford this product, I’m sure you will enjoy it. All of the May owners that I know enjoy it and I don’t doubt that it’s a good product. I personally just went for something else cause I couldn’t deal with the lack of customer service and information regarding the different levels.


I missed out on the hand selected module thing. If anything that just sound like marketing gimmick. Noted on the CS experience. I did emailed Tim a couple of months back for some inquiries and have yet to receive a response. He might be swarmed with messages regarding the products but still not a good sign especially considering the cost of the product I’m about to purchase. Despite the number of positive feedback and information listed on their official site there’s still a sense of ambiguity surrounding the level system in place for their dacs that just doesn’t bode well for me.


Curious as to what you pair your Cyan with? I am looking into getting a NOS r2-r DAC at some point and the Cyan has caught my attention.

I think they’re all out of stock last time I checked…

I use my Cyan as a dac only NOS mode out to a Phonitor E via xlr and an Ovation via rca. Headphones are mainly my ZMFs (VC, Auteur, Aeolus, Atticus, Eikon). I love how natural the Cyan sounds, especially with the Ovation. This is the closest I’ve gotten to my system sounding like live music.


Jos at Magna HiFi says a new Cyan should be released by the end of the year - in Q4 “if everything goes well.”


If it contains trickle down from the May and Spring that may be a helluva all in one unit - amp portion will be the big question mark.


Jos is a good guy.

I bought 2 Audio GD DACs from him @MHF and it went smooth as silk.

Re the Cyan, I was very interested in it a couple years ago, but the borderline too-big case knocked it out of contention (desktop is pretty crowded). I very much would like to have a well-designed volume pot on my DAC, though…this system has gain issues.


Hard to find acceptable volume levels? Was it digital or analog?

Nice to know! That’s about the same time the Holo headphone amp will come out named, ‘Bliss.’


When I had DACs at or near the nominal output rating of 2.0 volts, all was well IMS.

Then I got 2 Audio GD DACs (NOS 19, since sold; DAC-19, currently in side system) that output 2.5 volts, and my gain issues began. Replaced the DAC-19 with the MHDT Labs Orchid (3.0 volts) and the gain issues got worse.

Because this complicated desktop system has 2 HP amps on at all times (courtesy of dual RCA outputs on the DAC), with one of them also acting as a preamp; and because it includes speakers + sub–there’s a lot going on and a lot to go wrong when gain is too high.

I deal with it fairly well thanks to the extreme I/O & gain flexibility of the Violectric V281, which I use as my main HP amp & system preamp. Gain is set at -12dB for both the HP & line out.

But if I had a geniuinely transparent volume pot on the DAC, I could take the choke collar off the V281 and always be in the midrange of its stepped pot for more up/down volume play.

1 Like