HOLO Audio - Official Thread

The May doesn’t have a preamp offering, so the comparison is Spring 3 KTE at $3100 vs May L1 at $4200

I also desire more information on the generations and differences.

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Is the Spring 3 manual ready? It’s marked as coming soon on the website.

Not from what I see, but I’m assuming it should be pretty similar to spring 2 manual (which is available).


@BoardmanGetsPaid I think between the May and Spring the determining factors are the pre-amp, budget, and chain. If you can afford the May then why not? But if your other gear is not up to snuff, you’ll probably be hard-pressed to notice any valuable differences between the two.

Considering value with these kinds of DACs is kind of pointless, honestly. However, I do understand wanting to get the most out of your money in which case you’ll probably have to wait for more reviews/comparisons of the two.

As for the differences between levels and revisions, I’m definitely no help there. But I think it’s best to consider it for the features it offers, not for the potential added sound benefit. If you think all silver cables are the way to go, then consider it as a feature–for example.

Main thing is buy whichever one you want to buy without sacrificing budget. Chances are you’ll enjoy it either way and if not, resell the thing. At least, that’s how I approached my buying decision between the May and Spring.

Hopefully that was useful in some way, shape or form!

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I di get one via email, likely on the website soon. I never noticed before but there is no oversampling on this dac, nos as nos can get. I do have hqplayer though and have tried upsampling to 768khz successfully so far, dsd256 upsampling with the newest filters and modulators is as high as I can go with my pc…preamp does add gain if needed up to 5.8vrms rca and 11.6vrms xlr, with no preamp 2.9vrms rca and 5.8vrms xlr

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Manual is up now!

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Hot off the presses, thanks!

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@bpcarb Thanks for the correction. Dac wise I should not include the preamp functionality.

@hifiDJ Thanks for the input. My intent was not to find the best value amongst the lineup but to understand the sonic differences between each levels. I disagree with your assessment that silver should be consider a feature if it does not provide any benefits beside being a more expensive material but yes I do agree that feature set such as preamp or a upgraded usb module can be considered when upgrading from L1. Problem is the differences in level goes beyond simply adding features such as preamps and USB. Understandably it is very unlikely to find many people who have experiences with all 3 levels of the dacs especially without audio meets and shows.

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You’re welcome.

There isn’t much information/impressions out there in the public domain. Goldendsound’s May review compares the L2 and KTE. I’ve found the product manuals to lay out improvements from prior generations better than the website.

I agree with you.

Sound quality wise, I believe spending more usually gets you more, never gets you less, but sometimes gets you something different that is not preferred.

I’m sure you know this, but will state that different people may have different criteria for what constitutes a bad purchase decision or a worthwhile upgrade.

A possible approach is to evaluate whether one wants his/her DAC to have certain upgrades/internals without regard to audible sonics, where such upgrades/internals can offer additional/worthwhile value/utility/desirability without regard to audible sonics.

Good luck and looking forward to learning of your eventual/ultimate systems and pairings.

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I’m curious if anyone is still using the Holo Cyan at all. The Cyan was my first foray into Holo Audio DACs almost 2 years ago. I then have owned the Spring1 KTE and the Spring 2 KTE for varying periods of time, both now sold. Most recently, I actually sold the Spring 2 KTE after A/Bing directly with another Holo Cyan on my home setup. I could barely perceive any difference between the two DACs. Both via USB, both into an Eddie Current Studio Jr that has two RCA inputs and a switch to instantly switch inputs.

YMMV of course, but I am very happy with the Cyan. $900 used, has an integrated amp that I can always use as a backup, and much smaller form factor. In @Torq’s review of the Cyan, he commented that the Cyan was like the Spring1 but “dialed its raw technical performance down to an eight, from a ten”. I wonder how the Cyan would stack up to the May or even the Spring3 now. Would the Cyan be like the May “dialed down” to a 6, or the Spring3 down to a 7? I have a feeling that the Cyan is still incredibly competitive despite these frequent updates to the Holo DACs, despite being multiple price brackets lower.

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Nice gear and congrats on the Cyan working well in your system. There’s something to be said for pairings and preferences where enjoyment factor and technical performance are not always directly related.

Indeed.

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FWIW, I love “BoardmanGetsPaid” as a screen name.

We owe a debt to the great & enigmatic Kawhi Leonard for this saying…

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Just to be clear, I don’t think it as a feature either. I meant it as a joking example…lol

You shouldn’t be surprised. A lot of DACs out there that are “old” are still competitive even today. The major differences that I’ve seen are mainly in features and measurements, such as an upgraded USB module or I2S input.

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Your delivery is stupendous!

True. I’m aware of some people recently getting ears on this older Sonic Frontiers tube DAC and being impressed, even alongside an Yggy and TT2/HMS.

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I use the Cyan as my main dac, as well as a quick solid state amp when needed. I love the Cyan sound. I keep mine on nos and find it so engaging. I have no desire to upgrade.

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You got me there for a moment.

Great player and fun guy lol

I hear what you’re saying on features that do not affect sonic performances and do agree with you on that. But it is hard to justify having upgraded caps/transformer/fuse etc without bringing in any sonic performance upgrade. Having no experiences with fuses etc perhaps it’s indication that this may not be the product for me. I am still interested in hearing it someday but having this much variation does make the hurdle of blind buying even more daunting for me.

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So very true. Like the Orchid DAC Philips uses a old 1985 design TDA1541 R-2-R , and the Border Control DAC uses the TDA1543 .

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I should indicate that I distinguish between features versus design aspects/methodologies/implementations.

For audio, I understand that sonic performance is paramount. However, sometimes the value/utility/performance are related to reliability/durability/longevity and sound signature.

Understandable and Holo/Kitsune could do more to inform prospective consumers.

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While innovation and technology do march on, sometimes good is good and does not cease to be good with the passage of time.

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Very true. My old 1971 Marantz 2270 Receiver still sounds good today, could use a tuneup and some speaker terminal changes, but it still works. Plus, I would rather have a good implementation of all the components than a whole bunch of components just thrown into a case and claimed to be the next great thing. Sometimes, simple can be better if you enjoy a certain sound signature and you don’t need all the wiz bang stuff. :grinning:.

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Couldn’t agree more. A recent non-DAC event illustrates this: the last in a series of powered studio monitors, then passive studio monitors I’ve tried in this home office/desktop system is a pair of 35 year old KEF 2-ways (103.2s) that were recapped but otherwise pure vintage. They’re easily the best speakers I’ve heard in this system…I only wish I had a trad 2-channel setup elsewhere in the house so I could really let them loose in space.

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