Electronic Visionary Systems Millennium DAC 1 DACs

Millennium DAC 1

High-end D to A converter; 24/96 capable.

User Reviews (23)

Showing 1-10 of 23  
nurxhunter   AudioPhile [Jul 18, 2006]
Strength:

Detailed, wide stage, pretty good depth, great mids, great glare fee highs. Six-star value, 5-star perfromance.

Weakness:

Transformers can hum--but one can eliminate by getting the screws that hod the two transformers down just right--not too tight and not too loose. Placing some dampening material underneath also helps. Only single coax dig. in--but that keeps price down. In any case, hum does not feed through analogs to speakers--only box hum.

Make sure to tighten screws when you ship and loosen when you receive.

Long and short. Compared to the Cal ALpha 18 and even 24/96--when these have Russian or Chinese tubes--the M1b wins in every regard. With the right NOS tubes (see my review of Cal Alpha), the Cals edge this out slightly in my opinion--but only slightly. In fact, the EVS M1b has better bass. I am so impressed that a SS piece at this price can have such fine mids and glare free highs. The high cut-off switch is great to tame bright speakers or with headphones.

Long and short--kudos to RS. Amazing for the money.

Customer Service

Rick still responds to questions. A real mentch!

Similar Products Used: MAny
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Erwin   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 15, 2000]
Strength:

Superior Sonic Performance all across the board.

Weakness:

Sonically None. It already sings. What do you want it to dance too?

I have had the EVS Millenium DAC for over three months along with the EVS Digital Interconnect. Upgrading from the same platform (MF X-ACT) as the very first post all the way down here by 'witchdoctor' (why can't people use regular names like 'Yoda', or 'Han-Solo'?), and to save space for other
aspects he didn't touch I reiterate that EVERYTHING he says is accurrate regarding the EVS Millenium DAC. (Go read that now before you go on.) Except on the how he came into knowing about RIC, that is my very own story; I found out about RIC reading about the MBS Link DAC in these reviews. But I do also reiterate all the nice things 'witchdoctor' and others say about RIC are true and more. I bet RIC must know all of the Millenium DAC owners and they him. A very rare situation in these days.

I didn't break-in my Millenium DAC and then listened; I was marveled at how well it sounded right out of the box and took joy in hearing how it unfolded its musical butterfly wings during a period of about two weeks.

At first I tried RIC's digital interconnect alone just to see what impact that would have in my existing system. It was a great improvement even with the MF X-ACT; the sound closer more intimate, more detailed, and in my system
it sounded with a touch of forwardness on the high-mids that resembled better the natural tonal balance of live un-miked sound. When I get my second Monarchy Super Dip, RIC I will ask you for another piece of the EVS digital Interconnect.

Lets just say that the current pic of the Millenim DAC at the EVS site does no justice to the beauty of its chassis. It has a sober but high quality finish.

Its sound is unlike anything I have ever heard before anywhere. So it's really hard to compare it or point to a likeness in another product.

It plays with huge authority, (which I love!)it doesn't shy on any material, it appearing to posses a more than fair amount of output power (I percieve as: Awesome Dynamics. I got mine w/the attenuator just in case but use it fully open 'no problemo'.)

Its bass is rich, tout, deep, textured, in one word: Awesome. This DAC seems to go to the "nitty-gritty" of the pits on the CDs and recover space deep amounts of digital information! Nothing escapes its scrutiny, but in return you get gorgeous microdynamics (decays), background and
ambient information which translates in an awesome soundstage and texturings. The rich texturing is present all accross the board but it's more noticeable in the mids. The highs are full bodied, natural and razor sharp accurate in an elegant way w/out been strident. It is also very articulated all over the board with a lot of presence
and superior imaging. CDs sound as if they were been upsampled. Which reminds me, btw HDCD's sound even greater.

In addition, this DAC (mine anyways) comes with a couple of switches that allow you to further tailor it to your tastes (under the purist mind of RIC's of course; meaning: either way it doesn't demerit the sound.); I am not going to give away what these switches do; let it be a pleasent surprise for you as it was for me.

I've thought about this for a while, and it's the best analogy I can find: Listening to this DAC perform music is like watching one of those icesky champions, they make it all look and seem so graceful and easy. When you contemplate this you step back and can't help to realize RIC's genious. Folks it's damn hard to make great things simple.

In true respects gawd the wait was long, but it was worth it.

Happy Listenings!

My system: Sansui CD-X317 CD as transport, Kimber Optilink,
Monarchy Super DIP, EVS Digital Interconnect,
EVS Millenium DAC, Monster m1000i Interconnect,
MF-X-10D tubed buffer (because I like it, not that is needed!), Kimber Silver Streak Interconnect,
TDS Passive Audiophile component, Tara Quantum Ref. MKII
interconnect, Carver TFM-55 power amp,
Tara Prism Bi-Wire Speaker Cable, (modified)dbx
labs soundfield V speakers in bi-wired configuration.

Similar Products Used: Although a great product for its price range but no where near it: MF X-ACT <-(I'm still keeping it!)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
WTC   Audiophile [Apr 27, 2000]
Strength:

the sound

Weakness:

the waiting list

having lived with the Adcom for over 2 years, i had become used to and comfortable with its warm and forward, if sometimes uninspired presentation. that experience left me entirely unprepared for the Millenium DAC.
out of the box, several of the Millenium DAC's strengths became immediately apparent. the treble was very extended and detailed, giving my jazz and classical tons of air and a presence that i had never experienced before. the bass was authoritative: what i had heard previously only as thumps now became notes with attacks, decays, and tonalities. the soundstaging was awesome, with far more depth and absolutely definitive placement. the strong dynamics and vanishing noise floor were also welcome improvements.
the midrange, however, was pretty thin and recessed until the unit burned in for over 100 hours. now, after over 400 hours of use, it is still less forward than with the Adcom, but much warmer and fleshed out. and as with the rest of the soundstage, voices are placed definitively within the deep sound field. overall, the midrange is a definite improvement over the Adcom's.
the engineering is also very impressive. the dual transformers are placed perpendicularly to each other to minimize interference. the small board is literally packed, top and bottom, with premium parts. and as you would expect from Ric, the chassis, board, and parts are damped to all hell. it would take a grenade to make one of those parts jiggle.
i also second everyone else's observations about Ric the man. he's very committed to his work, and very interested in talking with his customers. he needs to reorganize his website, though....
the DAC and everything else improved another ton with the PS Audio P300, but that's another story.

overall, this product falls into the no-brainer category for me. it is absolutely one of the best upgrades that i've ever made, and worth every penny. it gets a 5/5 from me!

good luck!
won.

system: gallo nucleus solo, silver audio symphony 32, BAT VK200, silver audio bullet 6.0, SF line 1 with Kevin Deal tungsram 6922's, silver audio bullet 6.0, EVS millenium DAC with balanced outs, silver audio bullet 6.0 as aes/ebu, monarchy DIP mkII, kimber AGDL, panasonic A310 DVD, sunfire true sub mkII, kimber hero, audioquest AC15's with hubbell plugs, ps audio P300 @ 81Hz, brickwall aud15

Similar Products Used: Adcom GDA700
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Matthew G.   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 16, 2000]
Strength:

Detail, soundstage, unbelievable value for the $$

Weakness:

none

After my wife forced me to part with my CAL cd-player, I purchased a Sony CDP-88ES cd jukebox to hold all 200 discs. Brrrrrr... The sound was cold and harsh. The Sony only had optical/toslink outputs, so I added a Monarchy DIP mk.II, and DH Labs aes/ebu cable from the DIP to the EVS DAC-1b balanced input. Out of the box, I was enthralled with the EVS/Monarchy combo. The sound, while adding great detail to the entire frequency range, still got warmer and less "grainy". Cymbals sounded like cymbals, not hiss, and bass lost its "boom" without losing impact. I especially liked the delivery of female voices (try Kendra Shank's "Afterglow" from Mapleshade) and acoustic guitar. My speakers receded and the soundstage grew. All this after just 4-6 hours of listening. Ric from EVS told me that mine was the last DAC-1b produced, now being replaced by his new upsampling DAC. If he can keep this level of performance/price, he should be enshrined. A truly unbelievable product. Now if I can get a real cd transport...

Associated equipment:

Lexicon DC-1 v.4 pre/pro (synergistic research interconn.)
ADA PTM-6150 amplifier (Kimber Kable hero interconn.)
Analysis Plus Oval-9 speaker cables (another great value)
M&K S-125 l/c/r speakers and M&K MX-125 mk.II sub
Synergistic power cords, vibrapods, blu-tak, etc..

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Matthew G.   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 16, 2000]
Strength:

Detail, soundstage, unbelievable value for the $$

Weakness:

none

After my wife forced me to part with my CAL cd-player, I purchased a Sony CDP-88ES cd jukebox to hold all 200 discs. Brrrrrr... The sound was cold and harsh. The Sony only had optical/toslink outputs, so I added a Monarchy DIP mk.II, and DH Labs aes/ebu cable from the DIP to the EVS DAC-1b balanced input. Out of the box, I was enthralled with the EVS/Monarchy combo. The sound, while adding great detail to the entire frequency range, still got warmer and less "grainy". Cymbals sounded like cymbals, not hiss, and bass lost its "boom" without losing impact. I especially liked the delivery of female voices (try Kendra Shank's "Afterglow" from Mapleshade) and acoustic guitar. My speakers receded and the soundstage grew. All this after just 4-6 hours of listening. Ric from EVS told me that mine was the last DAC-1b produced, now being replaced by his new upsampling DAC. If he can keep this level of performance/price, he should be enshrined. A truly unbelievable product. Now if I can get a real cd transport...

Associated equipment:

Lexicon DC-1 v.4 pre/pro (synergistic research interconn.)
ADA PTM-6150 amplifier (Kimber Kable hero interconn.)
Analysis Plus Oval-9 speaker cables (another great value)
M&K S-125 l/c/r speakers and M&K MX-125 mk.II sub
Synergistic power cords, vibrapods, blu-tak, etc..

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Kyle Takenaga   Audiophile [Jul 07, 2000]
Strength:

Everything

Weakness:

none

This obliterates everything else I have tried. My sytem is heavily modified and I felt I was very close to audio nirvana. Not even close! It is the fastest, most transparent, detailed, PALPABLE, balanced,lucid, etc.... Dac I have ever encountered PERIOD. Will it compete with the Elgar, ML 30.6, Burmeister,Dodson,or Ensemble? Honestly, I do not know. My gut instinct tells me that it will probably be close but his next Dac with upsampling,discrete output stage,no filters will be
the best in the world. It is all TRUE! This is truly world class sound for 650.00!

System:Sugden SDD-1 transport modified
Meridian 518 modified
Millenium DAC
Perreaux 350 P modified
Von Schweikert VR5-modified
Ensemble megaflux speaker and AC
Ensemble gigaflux digital
Ensemble Masterflux interconnect
Ensemble Mega power point for AC Conditioning
Shakti on-lines on Ground legs ONLY
Quantum Symphony

Similar Products Used: Meridian 566.24(tweaked, Classe Dac1, Sonic Frontiers
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Pat   Audiophile [May 11, 2000]
Strength:

clarity, richness of detail, musicality, naturalness

Weakness:

none observed yet

With the Millenium DAC online, I have rediscovered (and, in most cases, even discovered for the first time) the MUSIC in my cd collection. After break-in, the dac created the most deep, detailed and harmonically rich soundstage I had ever heard before.

If you haven't already, GET ONE.

Equipment List:
.EVS-modified Pioneer DV-414 transport
.Perpetual Technologies P1-A
.EVS Millenium DAC-1
.Kora Titan monoblock amplifiers
.Aliante Zeta monitor loudspeakers
.Sunfire True Subwoofer, Mk.II
.Millersound interconnects and speaker cable
.Virtual Mode power cords, Clear Power ac blocks, w/asstd anti-RF/EMI tweaks

Similar Products Used: Theta Pro Basic, MSB Link DAC, Audio Research Dac-1-20
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Arthur Adams   Audiophile [Apr 25, 2000]
Strength:

Balance, Clarity, Extension, Musicality and Truth

Weakness:

None that I can discern

I had given up on digital fairly early on and had focused my energies on building a high-end analog system. Yet, I was also involved in a fair amount of sound reinforcement for live bands and was also doing some studio work. Clearly these endeavors required me to deal with the digital paradigm and forced me to recognize that once we have survived its infancy (sort of like the 8 track era of analog) it was going to represent our musical future. Given that, I decided that it was time to give it another chance in my home system, and as with the prior reviewer I came across Ric's name and his business, EVS, by way of favorable messages and reviews on the net. I too called Ric and found him to be very engaging. Not only have we had several lengthy conversations about his projects, but he has been very forthcoming about the merits of other digital products. Clearly his concern for the sound and music seemed to be paramount, and again as the last reviewer stated his integrity has always shown through brightly.
But on to the DAC itself. I fully agree with the prior reviewer as to all the aspects of the sound he mentioned,(it will blow you away) but if I had to describe the single overiding impression that I am left with each time I listen to it, I would say, fittingly enough, its the fact that the musical integrity of the source is in no way impaired or augmented. It will not euphonically improve a bad CD. It adds nothing at all; no jitter, no edge and no fatigue. In that way it is much like a very good turntable in that it simply serves up the music as it is. Sure, compared to everything else I have heard it seems at first that it adds all these magnificent traits to the sound, but after much listening (and comparing to the same source material played on my TT) I have concluded that the Millenium DAC is only playing what's there, and all the other DACs I have heard were simply deficient or added a sonic charateristic that was not part of the original recording. I can think of no greater compliment than to say I think this component comes closest to playing the music that lives on the disc than any I have heard. Besides the fact that I am now giving at least equal time to digital in my front end, Ric, and the Millenium have restored my faith that digital really is our future, and the future bodes well. Give him a call, you won't regret it. And as to price, it is ridiculously inexpensive when compared to all of the competing products it bests. There simply aren't enough stars to do it justice.

Similar Products Used: Wadia (owned by housmate) and mid 90s Meridian
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Rob Thomas   Audiophile [Apr 25, 2000]
Strength:

Dynamics, resolution, accuracy.

Weakness:

Availability.

Save time, don't read this, order one now: www.tweakaudio.com

The Electronic Visionary Systems, (EVS), Millennium DAC has graced my system for 10 weeks as of this writing. According to Ric at EVS I was first on the waiting list. From the onset this unit has impressed me as an impossible value at $650.

Ric Schultz, the designer of the unit, had been upgrading MSB Link DAC's with multiple power supplies, circuit mods, and upgraded parts. He decided to build his own unit from scratch employing the new 24/192 generation of chips available.

The Millennium DAC employs the Analog Devices 24/192 DAC. This chip provides current output which allows EVS to employ outboard current to voltage converters (running at plus and minus 15 volts), this is important to the sound quality of this unit. The Millennium employs world class parts the likes of Caddocks, Vishays, and Elna Cerafines, as well as dual power supplies. The inputs are hardwired and further, extensive damping, and mechanical isolation are employed throughout.

The Millennium is comprised of over $300 in parts, and it avoids unnecessary and potentially noisy components such as diplays and switching. The only control is a tiny toggle on the back to flip between 16/44.1 and 24/192. The unit is designed without output filtering stages, heresy to some, but you've gotta hear the results.

EVS is a very small operation, the first lot was of 24 Millenniums, so each unit is custom finished with the customer's specification of input and output formats.

The unit outputs up to 4 volts for compatibility with passive attenutaors, such as EVS's Ultimate Nude Attenuators, (these can be integrated into the DAC for direct to amp connection). Customers may specify a lower output for matching with active preamps. In my system I'm currently using a Creek OBH-10 Passive Attenuator.

Listening to the EVS in comparison to a Counterpoint DAC-10A w/ HDCD, a Krell co-designed Soundstream DAC and an RCA DVD w/ internal 24/96 DAC reveals the EVS to be a in a whole different league. While this was by no means a scientific DBT there was some assisted quick cable swap a/b'ing that seemed to provide reasonably objective results. All listening was with the EVS fed AC from a PS Audio P300 Power Plant, which no doubt enhnces the performance of this (and almost any?) DAC.

The Millennium's most apparent strengths are in overall resolution and in the lowest octave of bass which is handled with aplomb but is by no means plummy. I was surprised such bass was possible from my PSB Stratus Gold i's. They are 3 feet from the back wall in a loft with some 40,000 cubic feet, great for deep bass. The EVS DAC delivers subterranean bass, seemingly subsonic bass, at times it frightens me. Yet it is well controlled, defined, real, potent, and complete.

I found my Music Reference RM-9 100 WPC tube amp sounded exceptionally good with the Millennium except for the lowest octaves. The amp couldn't provide the power and control for the bottom end the DAC was delivering and it showed, the bass got muddy when the going got good. Almost any solid state amp of significant power allowed the full bass response to be reproduced with authority (150-200 wpc in my case).

I found the Millennium revealed how grainy most amps sounded. I have nothing worthy between my tubes, Adcoms, Rotel. The Millennium may cause you an upgrade chain of events, it is unfailingly accurate. I like this, but for many it will motivate new preamp (passive I hope), new amp, new speakers. Other DAC's will soften things up a bit and let you go on believing you're already there.

The Millennium gives the straight dope, it appears to add nothing, just delivers what's on the disc, and how much is there may surprise you. The subtlest nuances are revealed against a clean, quiet background. This means you get all the intangibles of air, pace and "je ne sais pas". All this without a trace of brightness. It is especially seductive in microdynamics. The tiny inflections of a voice softly singing or a pianissimo violin solo give chills.

Harmonics and phase seem to be more accurately handled, the Millennium's analog output stage is so good that micro and macro dynamics are so accurately reproduced the music attains much of the "live" sense (with good recordings). Most of the phase distortions that give-away that a voice is reproduced are gone. The uncanny realism replaces it.

The Millennium is one of those components so good it will reveal the weaknesses of all downstream gear ruthlessly. This is the real deal, engineered through the roof, sold direct to the consumer at ridiculously low wholesale pricing. It doesn't get any better than this.

Then there's the waiting list...

(Ric just emailed me that the 2nd generation unit with upsampling is due around July, and he's talking "much better" if that's possible. I have been using a Perpetual Technologies P-1A feeding the EVS a 24/96 signal. Sounds great but the Millennium gets you most of the way there...)

Similar Products Used: Counterpoint DAC-10A HDCD, Krell/Soundstream DAC, 24/96 RCA DVD Player, Yamaha DSP-A1 internal DAC
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
witchdoctor   Audiophile [Apr 23, 2000]
Strength:

Low Price,24/96 capable,build quality,and of course sound

Weakness:

Long waiting list for delivery

I found out about Ric Shulz from a person I met by e-mail through this website.Ric's company is Electronic Visionary Systems at
www.tweakaudio.com.I never heard this dac
before buying it.It came with a 30 day
return policy so I figured I could return it if I didn't like it.When I called to order I had a nice conversation with Ric.It was obvious he is passionate about all things audio.I definetly felt Ric was all about integrity when he told me he would prefer a check by mail instead of banging my credit card while I was on the phone.After waiting around 4 weeks my DAC arrived.I was impressed by the sold build quality and setup was very simple.The sound from this DAC is extremely rich.It pulls deeper into the music than anything I have experienced before.You will notice a deep round fullness on bass and kettle drums.I don't want to use the word extension because it makes it sound as if there is still sound it can't reach.Believe me,this DAC reaches all the way down and serves up nice deep MUSICAL bass.Not boomy or muddy at all.Next you will find a very musical airiness in both acoustic and electric guitar.It is such a delicous treat to hear the spaces between each strumming string,not all mushed together.It tickles your ears in the most satisfying manner.If you get into heavy electronic synthesizer like Pet Shop Boys the in your faceness of the sound will really make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.Drums are delivered with a crispness when they
are struck.You really hear that initial strike of stick on skin followed by that full bass describe above.And the soundstage of each tom tom being hit as the drummer goes from drum to drum on his kit attacks you from different parts of the room,as if the kit was in front of you.Cymbals shimmer,but not in a bright or forward manner.They really have a lot of air around them,not just a smash and bash affair.When you put all this musical refinement around a nice singer it all adds up to a deeply satisfying listening experience.Voices are incredibly lifelike on good recordings.This DAC draws you into the music with textures,air,richness and balance.Each time I turn on my system I get the hugest smiles from songs I have heard a million times before,but not with this depth of realism.I certainly hope anyone shopping for a DAC would consider auditioning this one.It also sounded great with a 24/96 recording of Chuck Mangione on Chesky Records.Like what I wrote above x 3.It is also upgradable so I know it will stay current with future formats.I feel funny giving out something so mundane as stars for makng my listening so enjoyable but for lack of a better alternative it's 5 x 5.

Similar Products Used: Musical Fidelity X-act
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 23  

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