customer review of
” I want my digital files to sound engaging and musical”. I am a music lover and vinyl-fundamentalist and have been collecting records for almost 40 years. I am very happy with my vinyl setup.” The old fruit box”, Linn LP12, is in a good moment capable of producing the drugs, the goose bumps. I have really had some dacs and streamers during the years, but they have all failed to engage me in the long run. Often they have sounded too bright and have been too focused on presenting the details – dissecting the sound instead of focusing on the music. This has often ended in listening fatigue…
I read some interesting articles about NOS dacs. Based on reviews I decided to check this out. Sound was described to be closer to ”vinyl” and more ”analogue”…Yep this is clichés, read it before… been disappointed before…but it had to be investigated. Being an audiophile is much hard work, blood-sweat- and tears…. Then I read about the Veridian Utopia which seemed to be an interesting product at a reasonable price. I contacted Ondrej and the snowball started rolling.
Being a tech-geek, I was concerned about the specs. NOS chips is from the previous century. You will find most technology that old, and especially computer based , in museums. How will this ” antique” 18-bit chip handle my highrez 24/192 and DSD files?
Ondrej had to make me calm down. He served me the same logical arguments I use when I have to defend ”why vinyl is best” to non-fundamentalists: ”Forget the numbers. Drop measurements and specs. Listen to the music. Follow the tune. Choose the component which it is easier to follow the tune”.
Some googling made it clear that the NOS dacs might be a great combination hooked up with a computer and streamer. Since the AD1865 chip has limited ability to process data, it seems logical to let the computer do the math, and give chip an easy job, a finished processed signal.
My digital chain – Storage: NAS (Diy ” audiophile” 7000 records ripped to flac)
Server: Intel NUC (win10), Streamer: Sotm sms-200 (Battery PSU).Cat 6 cables, some Netgear switches. Intona USB Isolator ( Some woodoo happens when this is in use. It dramatically reduces the noise floor)
On the software side I use Roon to control playback (Mac or Iphone).
Roon core is installed on a small NUC server. The same is HQplayer which is used for sound processing and digital filtering. Output is set fixed and sounds great with 24/192 . This means 16 bit red book is up-sampled and 24 bit or DSD is down-sampled by HQplayer. The Dac always receives the same constant load independent of source is 16,24 or 32 bit.
Enough tech. What about the sound?… I often listen to Piano and voices when testing new tech stuff. I used to play the piano and that is my ”reference” sound. ”Jazz på Svenska” is a very nice record with only piano and acoustic double bass. Listening to the Veridian Utopia gave me a feeling of having the ensemble in my house, not unlike a live experience. Piano sounded very natural. The music just flows. Exactly as I hoped it to be. Next was another classic, Nick Drake ”Pink moon”. The Veridian dac was capable of reproducing the nuances and drama in Nicks nevrotic voice. Engaging… My room was filled with great sound, soundstage is wide and I am in the middle of the music. It is easy to hear all the layers in the music. On duets it is easy to separate and recognize each distinct voice. You get drawn into the music and want to listen more. I can listen to a full record and do not swap from track to track.
Cons? It is a fact the box is big. Don’t try to smuggle it in without telling your wife, she will notice. I chose the silver model, it looks nice in my rack. I love to watch the glow from the tubes when listening at night…
This is a unique product, you may have it customized to your needs.
It is a real pleasure to communicate with Ondrej. He answered all my questions, also the stupid ones. I really reccommend this dac. It has totally fulfilled my expectations.
Your happiness is my happiness, thank you Stig 🙂
Another one review:
When I started looking for a new DAC, pricerange and quality was imperative for my choice. As for the quality I wanted a tube DAC and so I started browsing, and man there a lot of them out there! After reading I don’t know how many reviews and specs I still wasn’t sure what to choose. Until someone recommended Veridian Utopia. After some dialogs with Ondrej I knew that this was what I’d been looking for.
Not only can this DAC be custom made, but Ondrej also has a high level of service. Every little stupid question I’ve had with this DAC has been answered, and it doesen’t take long before he answers either. This and the fact that Ondrej shows pride in his work was part of the reason why Veridian Utopia was chosen. After my order he answered “Your DAC will be made with love and care”. (How cool is that?!) And this is exactly what he has done. Every detail of the DAC and components chosen are of high quality all the way through.
The sound can only be described as very good. Detalied, open and clarity are key-words. First thing I noticed was the punchy and controlled bass. I tested with the song Royals from Lorde and The Rhythm Divine form Yello, as these has deep bass. Before this DAC the bassline was floating and too much of it. Veridian Utopia plays it with control, punch and digs even deeper in the baseline than I’d hoped for. In the mid and top it plays with openness and clarity. That, combined with punchy and controlled baseline, gives me great joy when listening. Especially when I clearly can hear details in my music that’s not been there before.
Thank you Regina 🙂
I always find it hard to describe sound. But in my system it sound very detailed. Air around every instrument, and it’s easy to hear the micro dynamic to an instrument. When listening to acoustic music with a lot of instruments, it separates all the instruments. In the meaning that you hear all of them. Every instrument has its’s place on a plate, like when you eat beef. Not like eating norwegian «lapskaus» (vegetables and meat cooked togehter in a big pan). Even if they are a kind of «hidden». The bass reproduction is very good and solid. Thanks to the analog stage I guess. The soundstage is big, but also closer and a bit upfront. But you don’t sit on the front row in the concert hall. The dac plays with authority, the dac is the conductor in my system. As I wrote, its hard to describe sound. But when I’m listening to music here, I’m into the music. I’m involved in what I’m listning to. And that’s what its all about, isn’t it?
Thank you Haavard 🙂