Maverick Audio TubeMagic D2

Got my new USB DAC today. It's replacing my Musical Fidelity V-Link which is only 16bit/44.1 kHz.

Technical specs:

Optical audio in (Toslink)
Coaxial audio in (RCA)
Coaxial audio in (BNC)
USB in
Accepted sample rates: 44.1Khz, 48Khz, 88.2Khz, 96Khz for all digital inputs
Accepted audio format: linear PCM, 16, 20 or 24 bits per sample for all digital inputs

Solid state out (RCA)
Tube stage out (RCA)
Headphone out (Phono)

RCA outputs signal-to-noise ratio: 117dB
Tube pre-out outputs signal-to-noise ration: >100dB
I intend to keep my Audiophile system as cheap as possible, and use the TubeMagic as a DAC for both my computer, Squeezebox and a later CD transport.

The TubeMagic handles 24bit/96kHz on all inputs (including USB), and has 2 simultaneous outputs. One is solid state and one has a Tube (NOS GE JAN 5670W) in it! It has opgraded BurrBrown OPA627 OpAmps.

First look:
Quality seems solid and it certainly looks more expensive than the $320 i paid. I don't like the bright blue LED's, but those can be tweaked. The glowing tube isn't visible, but it seems a easy fix to install a small window on top, or maybe even a dome. Connectors are solid.

First listen:
Bummer. When using Solid State my V-Link sounds way better when playing standard CD Audio (16bit/44.1kHz). The tube out adds a pleasing sound to especially female voices and acoustic guitars. High res audio adds a lot to the sound stage, and for that reason alone it's a winner compared to the V-Link. The interconnect cables aren't worth mentioning and better ones might improve the sound.

I had it burn in all day while i was at work, and that has improved the sound quite a bit. Bass is now tight and much more present. Let's hope it gets even better over time.

Originally my plan was to use one of the outputs for active speakers in the kitchen, but the difference between Solid State and tube suits different music genres. Right now i'm considering feeding both outputs into my amplifier, to be able to choose which one to use depending on the music.

My amplifier (upgraded and tweaked NAD C320BEE) is now too obvious the weak link in the system.

VLC player -> TubeMagic D2 -> NAD C320BEE -> homemade speaker cable -> Tannoy Mercury V4's.
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