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Beresford Caiman SEG Review (Stereo DAC)

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Beresford Caiman SEG TC-7535 stereo DAC and headphone amp. It was kindly sent to me by a member and costs £199.99 or about US $272.

The front panel and enclosure is neither exciting, nor bad:

Beresford Caiman SEG Review TC-7535 Dorado audio dac preamp.jpg


The owner also sent me the "Dorado 3" DC to DC regulator which you are supposed to put between the power supply and the DAC:

Beresford Caiman SEG Review TC-7535 Dorado back panel stereo USB audio dac preamp.jpg


Well, I tried that but could not get it to work. The AC adapter did output 15 volt as it indicates. The Dorado MKIII however, put out a variable 4.5 to 5 volt which barely lit its own red LED. The barrel connector going to it and coming out were both quite loose but I don't think that was the problem. I wanted to test the unit with just the AC adapter but the back says 12 volt and manual seems to imply maximum input of 13 volts. So I did not and instead used my lab power supply for all the testing.

Beresford Caiman SEG Measurements
I tried to test using USB as I always do but here I also ran into problems. Windows complained with a very odd USB controller error and the DAC kept going in and out of USB mode. And it never output anything using that input. So I switched to coax for all the tests:

Beresford Caiman SEG Measurements audio dac preamp.png


Well, this ain't good. We have quite high distortion that loses even to my PC motherboard:

Best stereo dac review.png


Best stereo dac tested.png


Beresford Caiman SEG Measurements DNR audio dac preamp.png


The news stays depressing to the end:

Beresford Caiman SEG Measurements IMD audio dac preamp.png


Beresford Caiman SEG Measurements Jitter audio dac preamp.png


Beresford Caiman SEG Measurements Linearity audio dac preamp.png


Beresford Caiman SEG Measurements THD+N vs frequency audio dac preamp.png


Conclusions
This DAC seems to have been designed in a different era where performance didn't matter. Today it does and it can't remotely compete. Instead of screwy ideas like a post regulator that sits in its own box rather than inside the DAC, company should retool and build a proper, performant DAC. Just about any device you own has as good or better onboard DAC than this thing.

Needless to say, I can't recommend the Beresford Caiman SEG.

EDIT: further testing using its own power supply here: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...aiman-seg-review-stereo-dac.27135/post-934109

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
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nyxnyxnyx

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Seems like an old model, it reminds me of the older (albeit cheaper) behringer models I used to own or whatever.

Thanks for the review Amir!
 

voodooless

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E34C22A2-2A4E-42C9-9AB9-D4E53FA98606.jpeg
@amirm, obviously you forgot to select the proper sound signature mode :facepalm:;) would have been fun to see if it would make any difference.

Or the LED dimming feature was not enabled:
40A0BF8B-C74D-4668-B0FB-DAEE66B5DA44.jpeg
 
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bidn

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@amirm, obviously you forgot to select the proper sound signature mode :facepalm:;) would have been fun to see if it would make any difference.

Or the LED dimming feature was not enabled:
View attachment 157453

"... no LED noise can bleed into the sound"

Thank you for posting this, this craze made my day!! Ha Ha Ha! Laughing is healthy, that is a thing I like a lot about ASR, exposing all this craze... there are so many crazy things giving me good laughs...

Still, each time I find it again incredible how something so technical like audio technology could have gone down, fallen, to such lows of charlatanism, through the perversion of the concept of "audiophile".
 
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respice finem

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"... no LED noise can bleed into the sound"

Thank you for posting this, this craze made my day!! Ha Ha Ha! Laughing is healthy, that is a thing I like a lot about ASR, exposing all this craze... there are so many crazy things giving me good laughs...

Still, each time I find it again incredible how something so technical like audio technology could have gone down, fallen, to such lows of charlatanism, through the perversion of the concept of "audiophile".
No LED noise can bleed into the sound, no matter how hard you try :D
I sometimes wonder how far some could get, if they invested their invention in proper design instead of "marketing poetry".
The more of such in a product description, the more I think "caveat emptor"...
 
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respice finem

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@voodooless Seen that (through a grille) in a Denon amp many years ago, at first I thought these are miniature valves :p
I guess they even experimented with partly optical (analog) signal path (early 90s?)
 

respice finem

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That's unfortunate. I was hoping I could invent harmonic LED's to replace tubes in the next generation of "audiophile" amplifiers.
This (getting a similar distortion spectrum as valves) is actually possible with some MOS-FET transistors.
It's just about an order of magnitude lower. ;)
 
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holbob

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Heavily promoted through some of the U.K. forums with a loyal band of ‘followers’ it is the usual story, marketing over measurements.
Unfortunately just one of many.
Keith
Just need a Proac speaker, Sugden amplifier and anything with a bloody Wolfson dac to be measured and then we have the full set. Must be measured together.... That "legendary" synergy.
 

peniku8

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@amirm could you possibly include a device's release date in the reviews? It's a big difference if this thing is 10 years old or if it just came out last year. This one came out in mid 2016, at which point it was not great either, but it surely would've looked better back then compared to now.
The release date gives some context to the reader, which I like.
Either way, it's so outdated it should not be sold anymore imo. Or at the very least not be bought anymore :)
 

SIY

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Fun fact: LED's are sometimes used in current sources exactly because they are so low noise. Some colours seem to be better than others though.
I use them for cathode bias in phono stages specifically because they have such low noise. 0.4nV/rt Hz is typical.
 
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