Electronic Visionary Systems Millennium DAC II DACs

Millennium DAC II

High-End 24/96K DAC, upsamples to 24/96, low jitter oscillator, discrete FET output stage, 2 power transformers, 12 regulators, damping and shielding.

User Reviews (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6  
krelldog   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 03, 2002]
Strength:

Dynamic,creates a huge soundstage,very tight bottom end,and accurate.

Weakness:

None

I bought a DAC 2 from Ric that had a small blem on the chassis.It was real small because I still haven''t found it.I had Ric install an extra set of outputs with a volume control attenuator.I waited a couple weeks and it arrived.Before I did any serious listening.I hooked it up to my trusty CD 880(Phillips)and went directly into my Classe ca-100.I put a CD in and put it into repeat mode and let it play for a couple of days.When I finally sat down to listen I was stunned.I have made several changes over the years with different amps,speakers,interconnect etc,but I had never heard any one component make such a difference.The DAC 2 literally gave my amp a whole different personality.The DAC 2 widened up the whole soundstage,and put more space between instruments and voices.Suddenly I had a much tighter bottom end.Everything got so dynamic.I played some good acoustic guitar recordings(Brook Williams Little Lion)Bill Frisell Good Dog Happy Man)and I heard guitar plucks I have never heard before.I played Rickie Lee Jones Naked Songs and If I closed my eyes I swear I felt her breathing on me(okay maybe it was the merlot)The DAC 2 gave my whole system a completely different sound.I can listen for hours again.Ric Shultz was very informative,helpful and easy to work with.The DAC comes with a 30 day return policy.So you can''t lose,butI don''t think I will be returning mine.This was a cool experience to deal one on one with the owner himself.He custom builds them to your needs and you end up getting a wonderful product for an extemely fair price.What a concept.

Similar Products Used: I have never had a DAC processor.My system Consists of PSB Stratus Silvers,Classe ca-100,Pioneer Elite DV-37,my old CD-880,Discovery cable and interconnect.Monster Cable HTS 5000
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Paul   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 09, 2001]
Strength:

Upgradable upsampling 24/96 DAC, minimalist and purist design,total lack of fatigue, soundstage and bass champ.
Unconditional 30 day money back. Forces me to buy more 16/44 CD's.

Weakness:

The wait could be a bit long

It came as the most recent component upgrade to my music system. The entire CD collection now is more valuable than ever; I can enjoy the CD's that I couldn't stand prior to adding this DAC.

This DAC, with the built-in attenuator, beats the Meridian 518 and CAL Alpha in purity, naturalness, soundstage, and bass. I found myself listening at higher volume without any fatigue. Orchestral music suddenly became more spacious, dynamic, fast, and authoritative without the usual digital glare. An "ordinary" CD I bought back in 1989 (Telarc - #80196 Audio CD May 22, 1989) played with flying colors in my room last night. Sounds didn't come directly from speakers but all over me from a deep and broad soundstage; there were layers of chorus members and instrumentalists singing and playing wonderful Disney music in realistic voices and tones. And mind you, the music presentation was not forward at all; it seemed to expand well beyond the wall behind speakers.

Untightening the transformers' screws really makes music flow more easily; the sound opens up and becomes more extended; bass seems to acquire one octave lower. Midrange details seem to be reaching out to the listener in a palpable manner, not the "in-your-face" glare that I used to get when turning the volume to a "macho man" level.

This observation is just after 2 weeks living with this honey sweatheart, and 2 days after its atenuator was added.
To be fair, this DAC is playing in a good team of components, in my humble opinion. I am so excited about it and don't want to even try to A/B with any other configuration, because it makes the system sound oh soooooo good: RIGHT but not BLAND, VIVID and PALPABLE and DETAILED but not GLARING, DYNAMIC and AUTHORITATIVE but not BASS HEAVY.

Before becoming long winded, I'd like to list the associated components that help create such a tremendous joy in my room:

CAL Delta transport --> Kimber Illuminati coax
digital link --> EVS Millennium DAC II w/built-in attenuator --> Homegrown Silver Lace IC -->
3.6w Decware ZEN monoblocks SV83M --> Kimber Monocle XL
--> 93 db "The Horns" (from TheHornShoppe.com)

Every component is plugged into PowerSnakes Hydra. 2 PSA P300's should do well too. Dedicated power cords costing less than $150 being used on all components. A REL Storm III is also there to complete the spectrum. Common sense isolation applied to most components, starting from the sources. Casual room treatment applied to the 24 x 16 x 9 room.

Oh, this DAC made in 2001.

Similar Products Used: CAL Alpha DAC, 24/96 DAC in Denon AVR-5700, Meridian 518
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Eric   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 19, 2001]
Strength:

Holographic, and yet very natural sounding; detail; presence; excellent bass; palpability; emotionally satisfying.

Weakness:

Ric is a *perfectionist* and he will ship no Millennium II before it's time. Is that a weakness? depends...

I've been listening to the Millennium II DAC in my system for two months. I have to say that out of the packing carton it sounded very special and my opinion hasn't changed that much. This DAC has a holographic quality to it, and yet it is also natural sounding and emotionally involving. It beats my older Monarchy 22B & Camelot combination hands down. I tried the Birdland Odeon DAC in every combination I could think of (I preferred using the Birdland while running it directly into my amplifier) but always ended up by putting the Millennium II DAC back into the system and experiencing an immediate improvement. No contest, and I mean that.

Both the Birdland and the Millenium II are 24-bit DACs and they seemingly shift the soundstage forward. It's not that the soundstage shrinks or lacks height or depth, but rather that the performance becomes much more immediate and 'present'. Let me give one example: On Andreas Vollenweider's "The Book of Roses," a hand draws across a chalkboard at the beginning of track 5. I've always heard this passage but I've never experienced the illusion of the invisible hand drawing across an eerie plane stretched between my speakers in the same way as when I heard this CD with the Millennium II. But that experience probably speaks more to 'palpability' than it does to musicality.

The Millennium II never seemed harsh. You might think that a substantial increase in detail would go hand-in-hand with a certain digital coldness, but not so in the Millennium II's case. Mileage varies according to the CD played. A bad CD (such as Glenn Gould's R. Strauss - Sonata, Op. 5 from CBS -- great music, but a sad digital transfer) becomes tolerable. A good CD is just wonderful. Listen to Andrew Lawrence King's "Spanish Dances" [The Harp Consort] especially track 4 (turn up the volume a bit). The music comes through with detail that other systems obscure and the music is emotionally moving as opposed to sterile, brittle, or cold. Your best CD's should sound much better across the board with the Millennium II DAC. That was my experience. You will hear plenty of detail, "air", recording ambience, and what have you. The music will also satisfy you.

Two interesting cautions: the Millennium II really does benefit from isolation and you might want to place it on your best isolation device. While switching from a passive preamp to a tube preamp in A/B fashion, I foolishly placed the tube preamp on cones on top of the DAC at one point. I heard sporadic digital nastiness until I changed this setup.

Also, I'm using the Millennium II with a Pioneer DVD player and an SAS Audio Labs 10-A tube preamp and they are all plugged into a PS Audio PP300. The "PS2" setting really brings out the best in this combination but it only becomes magical at night when my apartment electricity improves. During the day, other settings such as the "SS1" sound slightly better. While the PP300 helps my components enormously, it cannot entirely overcome the wiring in a 70 year old apartment building.

Setup: read the two pages of instructions. Take out your screwdriver and remove six screws from the Millennium II's case. Then loosen the screws under the transformers. As Ric mentions, the sound will improve if you do this. The improvement is slight but it is discernible. Also, I would purchase the unit with Ric's digital cable. You can't beat it for $80. I sold my Marigo Apparition Reference digital cable and will probably do the same with my XLO Reference cable.

At a recent Chicago Audio Society meeting I was fortunate enough to hear the P1A & P3 combination do their thing, although in a very different setup. I didn't feel that the sound was better than what I had at home with the Millennium II and the Pioneer DVD player. Also, I should mention that while my Monarchy SuperDip made a noticeable difference for the better with the Birdland Odeon DAC, the Millennium II doesn't really need or benefit from the SuperDip as far as I can tell.

I haven't been able to compare the Bel Canto DAC or the MSB Gold DAC. But if you are in the market for a new 24-bit DAC, audition the Millennium II. It comes with a 30-day, money back guarantee. Want more information? Visit http://www.tweakaudio.com

Similar Products Used: Sony XA20ES player, Monarch 22B DAC & Camelot Dragon DIP, Birdland Odeon DAC & Monarchy SuperDip, *** P1A & P3 DAC
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jeff Tischer   Audiophile [Sep 21, 2001]
Strength:

Music sounds real. Instruments have timbre and definition. The soundstage and imaging are phenomenal.

Weakness:

None

I bought this with no audition after doing quite a bit of research on the net and auditioning a few units in the store. I've listened to it over a month and I'm quite pleased with my purchase.

The first thing I notice when I plugged it in was it added instant life and soundstage to my music. I put on Diana Krall and she sounded totally real; then I put on various accoustic guitar music (Alex Degrassi, Michael Hedges) and they were right there playing in my living room. All then nuances of the guitar including finger noise on the strings came out of the recording. On "Friday Night In San Francisco", it was like being there with the guitar trio in the auditorium.

With this DAC every instrument has a place in the soundstage between my speakers and the depth of the soundstage and each instrument in it increased a lot. I can discern exactly what instruments are playing and things that used to sound like a big mix of instruments now have individual voices. The most marked improvement is in the upper registers on my system. Drums and cymbals sound much more defined and real. On tracks with well recorded percussion like Stanley Jordan's "Return Expedition" or tracks off Al Dimeola's "World Sinfonia" CD the tempo and realism are awesome. It doesn't matter what I played from my CD collection including heavy metal, it all sounds better. Best of all this DAC doesn't sound harsh. I can listen for hours.

I found after opening it the quality of parts in this unit is very high. It has some of the best on the market; far better than probably any $1000 unit has.

If you like to hear ALL of the music you should consider buying this DAC.

As a reference my system includes:
Rogue 88 Magnum, ARC LS-16, CAL Icon (transport), Paridigm Studio 100 v.2, Transparent Music Wave 100 speaker cable, DH Labs BL-1 IC (pre to power), Decware DSC-1 IC (DAC to pre) and DH Labs D-75 Digital cable.

Similar Products Used: CAL Icon
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Dan   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 06, 2001]
Strength:

Incredible Soundstage, Easy to tweak w/ cones/cables,etc.

Weakness:

easy to tweak w/ cones/cables,etc.

This is an incredible piece of gear! The build quality is fantastic! Layout, design, simplicity, all are beyond reproach and not available anywhere else at any where NEAR this price point! The only thing about this DAC is its legendary word of mouth reputation and expectations. Everyone heard so much about the first EVS DAC that they expect the M2 to walk on water! I fell into that too at first. However, once you stop expecting it to to totally change the way your whole system sounds -- NO piece of gear should do that & would you really want one to after years of building a great set up? -- and just listen to it do what it was meant to do you will begin to appreciate what a wonder it is. I had a very good DAC running in the Bel Canto DAC 1 and was really pretty happy w/ my system when Ric called to say my M2 was ready. Actually, I had forgot all about ordering the darn thing it had been so long in R&D!
So I unplug the Bel Canto & in goes the M2. I was thinking this thing is gonna do something I have never heard of b/4!?? Well, it sounded very good. It did not make my system sound like something I had never heard before though so I started wondering what all the fuss was about and went about doing all sorts of A/B testing to find out what was up.
First thing I find is that this thing is VERY sensitive to isolation, power cords, and digiatal cables! Great news! A fine piece of really tweaked gear like this SHOULD be sensitive to my various combinations of cables/feet. However, I did not find it so very sensitive to IC cables? Well, being a cable junkie this trew me at first, but in the end it saved me a LOT of money. I find it likes silver digital cables & fast power cords. I did not have good success w/ any kind of soft feet, like Vibrapods or Sorbathane but it REALLY likes the ceramic stuff! I use DH Cones under it and set it on top an inner tube w/ oak block on top of tube.
Once I found the right combo of feet, digital cable, and power cord this DAC was fantastic. Some of this may have been w/ it getting more hours on it too though? Anyway, I run Theta DB II Transport->>Acoustic Zen MC2 digital->>Advantage IC->>Anthem Pre w/ NOS Amperex tubes-->>NBS Monitor IV IC->>Golden Audio Tube SE-40 Amp->>Nordost Red Dawn to top posts & double run Kimber 4TC to bottom posts of Silverline Audio Sonatina speakers.
After a month of listening I brought the Bel Canto out of the basement set up to compare. The M2 is WAY more DYNAMIC! Soundstage is much better and more well defined! My center image is so strong and clear w/ this DAC it sounds as if Van Morrison or Cat Stevens is setting right b/w my speakers about 7 feet in the air! Live and on stage every night now! Bass is incredibly DYNAMIC, PUNCHY, & ARTICULATE! Fast? Yes, I love how fast the low end is now! I never feel anything is bloated or boomy! Hey, I have a Vandersteen 2W Subwoofer for my set up...I DON'T EVEN USE IT NOW!!!!! My bass is so strong and natural that I feel I can go w/o a sub for the first time in years! Vocals are natural and more powerful than the Bel Canto. This is a personal preference though. My wife agrees the M2 is much better musically, but she likes the more laid back vocals on the Bel? Women? Go Figure! Hey, with the M2 vocals jump out at you so well it really does sound LIVE! The dynamic range of just the VOACALS ARE MIND BLOWING W/ THIS DAC!!! They can go from soft to BAM popping out at you so fast it is scary! Just when you feel they have given all they got this thing can allow another dB or two of Zing to the presentation! Cymbals shimmer like never before! Very natural and never tizzy! Even though I usually use all silver ICs I find I can get the same shimmer and sparkle up top using the copper I mentioned previously when using this DAC!
It can drive you crazy getting everything set up right w/ cables, feet, & power cords but when you do you will get some serious rewards from this KILLER DAC. It makes your system sound just like before...only ON STEROIDS! The things you used to like you will now LOVE!

Similar Products Used: Bel Canto DAC 1, Highly modified DAn Wright MSB Link DAC, DACs in Denon 4800, Newcastle CD-980 w/ dual Burr Brown Top notch DAC Chips
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
MR.T   [Jul 13, 2001]
Strength:

CONTROLLED Bass, Transparency, Air, NEUTRALITY

Weakness:

Long wait, but good things come to those who. . .

A preliminary review of the Millenium II DAC by Electronic Visionary Systems.

I found out about EVS on this website’s reviews of the Millenium DAC I and decided to take a chance on it. I talked to Ric Shultz and he seemed like a nice enough of a person, so I placed an order. That was in September. I’m glad I waited.
Please understand this is a very preliminary review, but I was so excited with this product that I had to write something. My initial impressions: I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E. The most noticeable trait of the M2 is the deep well defined bass. Width and depth are nice and the ‘air’ is there as well. I’ll definitely give more details in the follow up, but so far I like what I hear. If you have questions, you can e-mail me and I’ll try to cover them in the follow up.
If you haven’t done so already, place an order now! You can always cancel.

Similar Products Used: NONE
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-6 of 6  

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