Theta Digital DS Pro Basic III DACs

4.4/5 (5 Reviews) MSRP : $2800.00


Product Description

Balanced std. 8 X oversampling, dual 20 bit digital signal processor and D/A converter.


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Reviews 1 - 5 (5 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

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

Date Reviewed: February 20, 2003

Bottom Line:   
I bought my unit from The Sound Lab in Paltine,Il. I traded in an Cal Labs Icon unit towards the Alfa Dacs. Delta trans-
port unit. A great trade-in policy aloud me to afford this.
With this purchase I add a Cardas $80.00 rca cable. I was
extremely happy with this purchase. Two yers later I bought
a Bright Star Audio Big Rock 3 sandbox underneath. This add
ed transparency to the sound and tightened the base. This is a must upgrade for this player.
I had a opportunity to visit a Linn Store in Chicago 2
years ago and they had a Linn Sondek cd12. I was blown away
by the sound of this unit. I have heard Krells and Mark
Levinson cd and Wadia cd played in the $5-$12k range that
could not touch this Linn. This cd player sounds as good a analog. At $20k. This is way above my means. Now I wanted to upgrade again so surfing on-line I came across Synergistic
Research Designer's reference Digital (rca)cable for $500
. This cable new cost $1,000. Crazy me bought this and WHAT
A SHOCK. I problably got 80% of the performance of Linn cd12
!!!! at $3400+ Bright Star $130. I have never changed the
tubes and use power cords that came with the unit. By the
way I bought the new digital cable from Audio-Video Logic
on-line. To upgrade in the future maybe 24/96???? Not enough
dvd discs yet. Drilling holes through the top!!! Don't have
machine shop tools or space for them. Tube upgrade plus tube
soxs sounds more logical if I can figure out which screws
hold down the top. Perhaps next year. I want a new power amp
anyway.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2001



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by joebone a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 26, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I've used a Pro Basic III for over five years, and got it upgraded to IIIa status three years ago. I have not driven myself nuts comparing digital rigs over these years, but do hear good systems from time to time, and have yet to hear anything that makes me feel like I made a mistake with this unit, although I agree with the folks who think one-piece units are less susceptible to jitter and time distortions. I expect to hang in with it (and with a trusty CAL Delta transport) until there is a paradigm shift to 24/96, DAC, Sony Superaudio disc, or whatever...and with any luck, Theta will provide the appropriate upgrade path!

To the extent I feel I can speak to its comparative values, I find this -- and virtually all other digital stuff I've heard -- still outmatched by good analog. That said, the Theta always seems to do a good job with time and timbre values, and the bass is just plain fun: strong as an ox, but never overblown or overripe. And on better digital recordings, you really do get convincing presence and timbre. I'm also pleased by the flexibility of the unit, in that I listent to a very wide range of music, and don't feel that this unit favors (or is deficient in) any particular style or genre.

On balance, a very solid performer......I'd give it 4.5 stars, but will round up accordingly......

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1995



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by JD3 Dooley a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: August 27, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I am part of this unoffical Martin Logan speaker club in southern CA where we visit each other houses & test out audio equipment. My normal hook up for stereo is as follows:

Sony XA7ES CD transport (analog balance out)
Harmonic Technology Silway MK II balance interconnect
Audio Research LS-16 tubed pre-amp
Harmonic Technology Silway MK II balance interconnect
Aragon 8008BB dual mono amp
Monster Cable 2.4 bi-wire
Martin Logan SL3 speakers

Another club memeber brought over his Theta Pro-Basic III DAC to my house where we experimented the following with a total of 5 listeners:

Sony XA7ES CD transport (digital coaxial out)
Cardias Golden Cross &-or Synergistic Research Reference
Theta Pro-Basic III DAC
Harmonic Technology Silway MK II balance interconnect
Audio Research LS-16 tubed pre-amp
Harmonic Technology Silway MK II balance interconnect
Aragon 8008BB dual mono amp
Monster Cable 2.4 bi-wire
Martin Logan SL3 speakers

Notice that the main chain is the same from balance interconnect to Martin Logan speakers but we were testing out the Sony XA7ES DAC versus the Theta DAC with both Cardias Golden Cross & Synergistic Research Reference digital cables. Right away the sound increased by several DB with a clear & more defined sound. I was at first surprised thinking that my audio system was good (not great) & that I did not think that much improvement could be done. After further experiments with interconnects & changing the audio chain to run through my Theta Casa Nova processer via audio by-pass on the Audio Research LS-16 pre-amp, to check out the Casa Nova's DAC against the Pro-Basic III, & increasing my normal listening level with my normal set-up (analog balance); we all agreed that the Theta Pro-Basic III has a DB increase that mostly fakes a better sound. In other words; I can make my normal set-up (analog balance) come close to the sound of the Theta Pro-Basic III DAC by increasing my volume control on the Audio Research LS-16 pre-amp. Yes, there is an improvement but not a few $1000 improvement. When testing out this DAC ask yourself, am I hearing increase DB therefore more detail or am I really hearing more detail? This is a product for the person that wants the best at no cost, no matter how small an increase. I just turn up my volume & save a few $1000 :) JD3

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by BEN MCcOMBS a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 18, 2000

Bottom Line:   
NICE DYNAMIC DAC. BUT I NEVER GOT RID THAT HARDNUS NO MATER WHAT I DID.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   AUDEO DISIGN



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by William Jacke a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: September 3, 2000

Bottom Line:   
This review is for the Pro Basic IIIA. The A version signifies significant upgrades to the
entire Theta Digital product line which occurred four years ago. I already owned a
Theta Progeny A, Cobalt A and a Theta TLC before I purchased the Pro Basic IIIA.
When I first installed the Basic I thought the sound was very smooth, grain free and
had even more "Theta bass slam" than the other Theta products. However, I thought
the sound was darker and more subdued. It was clear, but lifeless and sometimes
boring. In the past year I have made extensive changes to my system and now it
sounds exactly opposite. It is sparkling, clear, vibrant... None of the upgrades I made
revealed any faults with the Basic. This alone is an extreme compliment. My first
addition was the Theta TLC which is required to convert Toslink (my only choice) to
electrical. I modified all of my digital electrical connections to true 75 ohm with DH
Labs D-75 cable and 75 ohm BNC connectors (highly recommended). I then installed
a Monarchy DIP MKII to convert to the AES/EBU format. This was required v because
the Theta defaults to the AES/EBU input when powered up. I then upgraded all of my
speaker wires to Kimber 4TC. These upgrades improved the sound considerably.
More natural, clearer. I then added another TLC in between the first TLC and DIP. I
then started to replace my Kimber PBJ interconnects with Cardas cables. IMHO the
Cardas Crosslink is a much better sounding than the similar priced PBJ (much richer).
I am also using the Cardas Quadlink 5C, Cross and Neutral Reference. The Quadlink
is rich, but dark, so I installed it on my bass amp. The Cross is much clearer, but the
Neutral Reference is outstanding! Some people say that cables are nothing more
than tone controls. However, I have never heard a tone control reveal harmonics like
the Cardas cables do. The Cardas cables don't roll off the high end, but they control
it. The highs are still there, but they are not sprayed everywhere. Imaging is superb. I
recently upgraded again. This time I added a fourth "jitter box" an Assemblage UJB-1.
I connected it between my DIP and Basic using D-110 cables from DH Labs. The
UJB-1 features the Ultra Analog AES-21 input receiver. This has a jitter spec of 40
picoseconds starting at kHz. This put the system over the top. Natural, relaxing and
loud when called for. The sound is completely transformed from the year before. It is
so clear I feel like I am listening to the original master tapes.
I have not heard newer design DACs; such as Bel Canto and others. I have no
complaints with the Theta. I know of no weaknesses. However, I urge all audiophiles to
upgrade their digital connections to true 75 ohm BNC. This is a big improvement. Jitter
boxes such as the UJB-1 offer a big improvement also. These recently closed out at
Audiogon for $150.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1997

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   Used from Audiogon




Reviews 1 - 5 (5 Reviews Total)

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