Van Alstine OmegaStar DAC DACs

OmegaStar DAC

Factory-wired in the SF chassis, 12” wide, 11” deep, 3.5” high, 10 pounds. Mute circuit standard.

User Reviews (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3  
PMartinez   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 01, 2005]
Strength:

+ Retains dimensionality of the music + Precise reproduction of individual instruments + Provides sweetness and air not usually found in SS equipment + Widens the soundstage

Weakness:

- A little pricey. The price has been lowered from previous years, however.

I have been trying to reduce the sibilance in my main system which has been a source of annoyance to me. A large majority of SS electronics sound harsh when attempting to reproduce sibilants (s’s, t’s, and f’s), the attacks of trumpets, and the brightness of violins. After calling Frank Van Alstine to see if his OmegaStar DAC could reduce this problem (he was somewhat noncommital), I decided on giving it a try. My first impression was the Omegstar DAC's ability to put the 'air' around individual voices and instruments. As trite as this may sound, the soundstage also became much wider and the position of individual instruments could be easily identified. What's more the sonic signature of even the most difficult instruments (solo jazz sax and violin sections) was astonishingly accurate. Frank Van Alstine claims that the current design retains much of the dimensionality of the recording and I couldn't agree more. Conclusion: The AVA Omegastar DAC reproduces all of the problematic sounds naturally and sweetly while providing unsurpassed resolution of high frequency information.

Similar Products Used: * Monarchy 33 DAC/Pre with Monarchy SM-70s in balanced mode
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
j jackson   AudioPhile [Oct 29, 2003]
Strength:

Honestly...EVERYTHING. I did'nt mention the bass improvement which is rounder, way more defined, tighter, more controlled and deeper. It just sounds more like real instruments...top to bottom

Weakness:

Even with the stock el cheapo digital cable included (what I used) its WAY above reproach.

This will be a brief review since I don't believe its fully broken-in. Although my current transport is a humble rotel player the affect so far is bringing the sound much closer to live music. EVERYTHING is improved. On "kinda blue" J coltrane is present in the room as his sax emerges from absolute grainless silence. Considering my transport would be considered laughable to some and yet the presentation really is astonishing: Silky, huge soundstage, and fast with mesmerizing, endless decay. Its palpable and textural as the sense of instruments in my airspace is spooky real. I did not expected to get to this sonic level so soon. What I mean is there are so many weak links in my system. I've got great cabling from a reference system I once had but my amp is actually a Marantz 2238B 25yr old reciever. So as you can imagine I'm excited. The sound of my system will improve GREATLY when I get the AVA fet-valve 550 EXR next month and then a MUCH better transport soon after. Although, if this was as good as it would get I would be thrilled. I've not auditioned any other dacs, but this unit brings on much more emotion and musical joy usually reservered for a night out at a small club. So far so good! At $900.00 I think I "done good".

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
William Eustis   Audio Enthusiast [May 14, 2003]
Strength:

Dynamics, black noise floor, ability to extract everything on a CD while removing "grunge," timbral accuracy, imaging, soundstage,accurate tight bass.

Weakness:

Cheesy looking power cord (but it seems to work fine), really cheesy looking digital cord (deserves at least a DH Labs D-75, I'm using an Acoustis Zen Silver Byte)

Tired of waiting for a new CD format and having more than 350 Red Book CDs, I decided to look into buying an upgrade for my Cambridge Audio D500. Accordingly, I spent five months of researching and auditioning new equipment. I found that much of this area is liberally lubricated by snake oil. Then I read an article in an audio E-zine on the AYRE CD7. The author blathered on about upsampling and oversampling, mentioned that the player in question upsampled 24 bit audio to 196K Hz, and oversampled 16 bit audio to 176.4K Hz. He wondered in print why 176.4K. I did to until I had a jolt - 176.4 is 4 X 44.1! I then looked up the Mark Levinson web page and sure enough, that's what the Audio by Van Alstine was doing in it's OmegaStar DAC. During my research, I had discovered That "The Absolute Sound" had given a "Golden Ear" award to the OmegaStar and the price had dropped by $400. So, having already bought a Transcendence 7 pre. from Frank, I decided to get the OmegaStar. I had already got some Analysis Plus Solocrystal Oval ICs which really improved the sound of my D500, they were fully broken in when the OmegaStar arrived. So, how does it sound? Great. After my initial couple of days of listening I can say that I finally had a device that cleaned the grunge off "The Best of John Hiatt," opened up the congestion on ELO's "Zoom," made Warren Zevon's "Excitable Boy" rock hard. I A/B'ed the latter with the vinyl and found that the CD had better dynamics, less noise and a tighter beat. I did the same with Taj Mahal's "Giant Step" and the results were the same. My TT is a MMF 5 w/stock Goldring cartridge and the dynamic capabilities of the phono section in my Transcendence 7 are remarkable. The best thing about Van Alstine equipment is their total dedication to what you hear, the imaging of the OmegaStar is holographic (the Transcendence 7 helps), the dynamics are sometimes startling. If you can't afford Krell, Jeff Rowland or Manley equipment, I heartily recommend looking in to Frank's products. I discovered reading sites like this one that the percentage of Van Alstine in customer's systems increases over the years both because of their fantastic sound and their upgradability.

Similar Products Used: I've never used an outboard DAC before. I auditioned a number of players in the $1500 to $3000 range. Most of them didn't have the fullness of the OmegaStar.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-3 of 3  

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