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Kora hermes-dac
7 Reviews
rating  5 of 5
MSRP 
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Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Terry Pate a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: July 6, 2008

Bottom Line:   
I bought the Kora Hermes because of reviews here and elsewhere on the web. I have never been too impressed with tube equipment as it has always seemed too soft and never as extended as good transistor sound. The Hermes dac is an amaizing unit. Mine came with AI gold pin tubes made in Yougoslovia, they were ok but not great. I installed some nos Siemens 6922 tubes and things got a lot better. All the glowing remarks in the other reviews are true. I still don't think it is as extended or as quick as my MSB Gold LInk, but my gosh do the vocals sound real.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2004

Price Paid:    $1050.00

Purchased At:   audiogon



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by pangl a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: June 25, 2006

Bottom Line:   
After being addicted to the Kora Galaxy Reference stereoblock (the reference version of the stereoblock version of the Stereophile Class A rated Cosmos monoblocks), I am basically hooked by products made by this little known company from France.

The Hermes I (original) 24/192 is superbly constructed and way heavier than you'd expect from an typical DAC would be. It has 3 S/PDIF inputs (one of them shared with an AES/EBU) and an pair of RCA out. It also has a toggle to allow higher output (I like the higher output better, more punchy sound).

My unit actually has the Hovland Musicaps upgrade, plus some AudioSource (sp???) silver wires replacing original wires. The sound is so musical, you'd just sit there and listen to music all night long.

I have owned my share of DACs (see list below). This is absolutely the very best I have owned, bar none. Of course, there is always DCS Delius et al, or the Accuphase separates, and I am not sure how much better they would sound compare to this.

And if I have to pick a successor to this DAC, I could tell you: None. If I have to pick a successor to my Pioneer DV-AX10 + Kora Hermes combo, here's one for you to consider: TRL's modded Sony DVP-N900 with battery mod ($1600 mod + $500 for the stock player). Man, talk about DAC nirvana! (I read a post in Audiogon where one member claimed this TRL modded Sony sounds better than his $18000 Meridian reference player).

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2003

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   Audiogon



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Brian Trhlin a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: September 19, 2003

Bottom Line:   
I have gone through a few DACS over the years starting with PS Audio, Theta, VAC and a couple of SF units. The most expensive I have owned was the SF T-3(Iris)/P-3 combo. But the hands-down best of the lot is the Hermes. It may be attributed to the upsampling because most of my recent DACs were tubed. But talk about soundstage width and depth - it goes well beyond the speakers and the walls of the room! Music is absolutely three-dimensional, holographic and palpable. You are pulled into the performance. It so real you are almost embarrassed to talk to someone else in the room during a vocal least you disturb the performance. That's high end! Holly Cole and Jennifer Warren voices finger-walk right up your spine and its tough to stop grinning.

My system consists of a Sony SCD-777ES which I use as a transport for Red Book. I go out via KK KCG Dig to a Monarchy re-clock unit for jitter reduction and conversion to BAL DIG. The balanced digital signal is sent to the Hermes via LAT pure silver dig. Analog is SE via Audio Quest Lapis X3 to the SF Line 3 which is BAL out via Monster 6M M1000i to SF Pwr 3 Monos via Monster 2.2 to Legacy Focus 20/20s. This is a killer combo. It's dead quiet. No hum, no hiss, nothing! You can't tell there is a tube in the circuit until you listen - and then - WOW. My system is on three dedicated circuits and source components are fed by a PS Audio Power Plant so that may cut down on line noise. I have owned systems that cost three-to-four times more than this one and they not have this level of realism and satisfaction.

Friends jaws regularly drop during listening sessions. My Hermes has the Audio Magic upgrade and NOS tubes. I have listened to the ML 31.5/30.5 at length and it seems to lack the "you are there" presence and lifelike presentation the Hermes delivers. It's a matter of taste but I prefer to be closer to the performance and ML DACs are too reticient for me.

Overall the Hermes is an impressive achievement at its going price either used or new.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $1600.00

Purchased At:   Used



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Dean Yamasaki a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: June 12, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I bought my Kora about five months ago hoping it would be an improvement over the Bel Canto DAC 1.1 I was using st the time, and I'm now a very happy listener. The Bel Canto was very good, but my evolving tastes lead me in the direction of a more tubelike sound and the Hermes has come through in powerful fashion.

The Kora takes the soundstaging strengths of the Bel Canto and just expands on it, in width, depth and realism. The Kora leaps far ahead of the Bel Canto when it comes to the natural rendition of acoustic instruments and the delicacy and breadth of the female voice. Just an overall more refined sound and experience.

In the last three months I have experimented with different NOS 6922/6DJ8 tubes in the Hermes. My Kora came with Phillips tubes which were pretty good, then after a month of using them I tried NOS Siemens CCas and Mullards. These two tubes are very opposite in their presentation, with the SIemens being very revealing and lifelike, while the Mullards offer a smoother, fuller, warmer sound. I prefer the Mullards in the Kora, but I believe that has to do with my tastes in reproduction and associated equipment.

I've only used two DACs in my system, so my experience is very limited, but I would still not hesitate to recommend the Kora to anyone looking for one with a natural, dynamic yet refined sound. I think it's a real winner and offers world class sound.i

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $1600.00

Purchased At:   Audiogon auction



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Scubadaddy123 a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: June 5, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I've owned many DACs....Classe DAC1, Audio Research DAC-2 & DAC-3, Bel Canto 1.1, Perpetual Technologies P1-A/P3-A just to name a few. By a good stretch, the Kora Hermes not only extends the width of the soundstage, it increases the depth of the soundstage. Everyone talks about digital CSs sounding 'tinny'. This DAC provides the most musical transformation of CDs that I have ever experienced. It is without question the best DAC I've ever owned. One important note. Upgrading the tubes (2 - 6DJ8s) is the single most important 'tweak' you can do. I use Siemens CCAs from the 60s and the sound is truly outstanding!

No question a must for the true budget minded audiophile! And for the record Joe @ JC Audio is both knowledgeble & easy to work with! And Jerry @ Audio Magic performs quality upgrades for this piece that should be explored!!!!!

Enjoy!

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Purchased At:   JC Audio




Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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