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Beresford Caiman SEG Review (Stereo DAC)

sarumbear

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Lots of excuses for a crap dac, all the apologists are out hand wringing. 12,-15v won't make a damn bit of difference, the critical circuits are all under 12v.
Not to mention that the manufacturers own specifications say power supply voltage is 12-15 VDC. People arguing haven't even read the specifications.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Per owner's request, I unpacked the unit again trying to measure with its own power supply and Dorado MKIII DC "enhancer." Took a while to figure out how the latter works. You would think that like your phone or myriad of other chargeable devices that leaving it off allows faster charging. Not so. The device needs to be turned on to charge. Even then, it didn't work as documentation stated. When discharged, turning it on seemingly does not. Manual says it lights up red LED. It doesn't. If you leave it on for a while the LED does light up red gradually. Eventually it turns green. When using it though, it discharges in a minute or two and lights up red. Can't figure out if it is because of its loose DC terminal or what.

I powered the unit using its own power supply and was shocked that SINAD had sunk down by some 10 dB to 73 or so! At first I thought this was due to its own power supply being worse than my lab one. So I went back to my Lab supply and it showed 76 dB which was still shy of 82 dB I measured before. Couldn't figure out what was going on until I realized that leaving it on allowed distortion to reduce and SINAD increase regardless of what supply I used! After about 20 or so minutes, it stabilized and produced this performance using its own power supply (similar to lab one):

Beresford Caiman SEG Measurements own Power Supply audio dac preamp.png


This is 1 to 2 dB better than the review measurements but again, this is due to letting it warm up more. And at any rate, it is not material.

I next routed the power through Dorado. I had to power cycle the DAC based on instruction provided and that caused performance to droop some. So I let it warm up again and got this:

Beresford Caiman SEG Measurements Dorado MKIII own Power Supply audio dac preamp.png


I wanted to let it warm up more but I noticed that the LED on Dorado had turned red indicating that it was not getting charged at the same rate it was outputting power. So no opportunity to let it run any longer.

Conclusion
Using different power sources has no impact on performance of this DAC. Re-testing did show thermal instability though with much worse performance when dead cold. FYI I do let audio products warm up a bit before testing and hence the reason I did not see this issue in the original review. As far as I am concerned, this second round of testing shows more problems with this DAC than original review indicated.

We have proven once again that fieldling with power sources, conditioners, etc. is of no value, just as fundamentals of electrical engineering indicates. That is, to the extent the device has its own internal regulators and post filters, messing with the input DC quality is of no value. This assumes Dorado has done something to clean up the DC which is not a given. Likely it has its own switching power supplies and such that could actually add noise, not reduce it.
 

Seeker-Smith

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Per owner's request, I unpacked the unit again trying to measure with its own power supply and Dorado MKIII DC "enhancer." Took a while to figure out how the latter works. You would think that like your phone or myriad of other chargeable devices that leaving it off allows faster charging. Not so. The device needs to be turned on to charge. Even then, it didn't work as documentation stated. When discharged, turning it on seemingly does not. Manual says it lights up red LED. It doesn't. If you leave it on for a while the LED does light up red gradually. Eventually it turns green. When using it though, it discharges in a minute or two and lights up red. Can't figure out if it is because of its loose DC terminal or what.

I powered the unit using its own power supply and was shocked that SINAD had sunk down by some 10 dB to 73 or so! At first I thought this was due to its own power supply being worse than my lab one. So I went back to my Lab supply and it showed 76 dB which was still shy of 82 dB I measured before. Couldn't figure out what was going on until I realized that leaving it on allowed distortion to reduce and SINAD increase regardless of what supply I used! After about 20 or so minutes, it stabilized and produced this performance using its own power supply (similar to lab one):

View attachment 157745

This is 1 to 2 dB better than the review measurements but again, this is due to letting it warm up more. And at any rate, it is not material.

I next routed the power through Dorado. I had to power cycle the DAC based on instruction provided and that caused performance to droop some. So I let it warm up again and got this:

View attachment 157746

I wanted to let it warm up more but I noticed that the LED on Dorado had turned red indicating that it was not getting charged at the same rate it was outputting power. So no opportunity to let it run any longer.

Conclusion
Using different power sources has no impact on performance of this DAC. Re-testing did show thermal instability though with much worse performance when dead cold. FYI I do let audio products warm up a bit before testing and hence the reason I did not see this issue in the original review. As far as I am concerned, this second round of testing shows more problems with this DAC than original review indicated.

We have proven once again that fieldling with power sources, conditioners, etc. is of no value, just as fundamentals of electrical engineering indicates. That is, to the extent the device has its own internal regulators and post filters, messing with the input DC quality is of no value. This assumes Dorado has done something to clean up the DC which is not a given. Likely it has its own switching power supplies and such that could actually add noise, not reduce it.
Awesome I am finally done with "Beautiful Sounding Products". Now to sell it.

Amir thanks for go going the extra mile!
 

Seeker-Smith

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Lets close this thread with this may be the worst DAC available. I have one for sale... takers?
 

musicforcities

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So feeding it with 12V as Amir did is fine.
The 12V is lowered by internal regulators anyway.

You are the Man! Thanks for digging into this?

Three questions:
1) is this snake oil or is there something to it?
2) is there a potential fire hazard? And does it have safety certifications I know it’s only 12v or so but…
3) does the Dorrodo come in cool ranch?
 

solderdude

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Kuddos for Amir in following up on this *the 'battery' power supply.
Three questions:
1) is this snake oil or is there something to it?
2) is there a potential fire hazard? And does it have safety certifications I know it’s only 12v or so but…
3) does the Dorrodo come in cool ranch?

1: yes, but there could be some merit to it. I have no idea what's actually inside just guessing it is Supercaps.
These are kind of rechargeable batteries that do not go defective when completely discharged.
In that sense they are capacitors.
Capacitors can hold charge for quite some time but not when loaded (which it is by the DAC)

When one uses batteries the voltage can be quite low noise. Some super regulators are even lower noise though.
The idea is that supercaps (or batteries) can deliver higher peak currents.
Nice for amps but DACs don't do that. There is a headphone out but this wasn't tested.
The manufacturer only states:

High Current Class A-B headphone circuit

The Caiman SEG headphone amplifier circuit is designed to drive even the latest high-end headphones and reproduce musical detail that these headphones are capable of. A generous signal headroom overhead, low noise circuitry, and high output current ability are key factors that make the headphone output on the Caiman SEG a major talking point with existing owners.
(my emphasis)


For that reason the extra power supply may be 'needed'. Alas we do not know it has never been measured (@amirm ?) and there are no specs other than '12 to 400 ohm'.

If it were me that designed the darn power supply (I am not and have had nothing to do with it) and I would want benefits in the form of some kind of ground loop breakage, what battery fed devices usually is about, then I would use a normal power supply. Have that (slowly) feed batteries through resistors that lower the leakage current. That would slow down charging too much so would make charging quicker (smaller resistors) and once charging is complete would slow charge.

That could, in theory, help with some ground loop situations. No idea if that's what this is though.

2: These are not Lithium cells but capacitors. I see no fire hazard.

3: I have no idea.
 

musicforcities

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Kuddos for Amir in following up on this *the 'battery' power supply.

Thanks. Useful to know. I have heard of supercaps used in car stereos for amps (though I think it’s a dubiously useful idea

1: yes, but there could be some merit to it. I have no idea what's actually inside just guessing it is Supercaps.
These are kind of rechargeable batteries that do not go defective when completely discharged.
In that sense they are capacitors.
Capacitors can hold charge for quite some time but not when loaded (which it is by the DAC)

When one uses batteries the voltage can be quite low noise. Some super regulators are even lower noise though.
The idea is that supercaps (or batteries) can deliver higher peak currents.
Nice for amps but DACs don't do that. There is a headphone out but this wasn't tested.
The manufacturer only states:

High Current Class A-B headphone circuit

The Caiman SEG headphone amplifier circuit is designed to drive even the latest high-end headphones and reproduce musical detail that these headphones are capable of. A generous signal headroom overhead, low noise circuitry, and high output current ability are key factors that make the headphone output on the Caiman SEG a major talking point with existing owners.
(my emphasis)


For that reason the extra power supply may be 'needed'. Alas we do not know it has never been measured (@amirm ?) and there are no specs other than '12 to 400 ohm'.

If it were me that designed the darn power supply (I am not and have had nothing to do with it) and I would want benefits in the form of some kind of ground loop breakage, what battery fed devices usually is about, then I would use a normal power supply. Have that (slowly) feed batteries through resistors that lower the leakage current. That would slow down charging too much so would make charging quicker (smaller resistors) and once charging is complete would slow charge.

That could, in theory, help with some ground loop situations. No idea if that's what this is though.

2: These are not Lithium cells but capacitors. I see no fire hazard.

3: I have no idea.
 

Seeker-Smith

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Kuddos for Amir in following up on this *the 'battery' power supply.


1: yes, but there could be some merit to it. I have no idea what's actually inside just guessing it is Supercaps.
These are kind of rechargeable batteries that do not go defective when completely discharged.
In that sense they are capacitors.
Capacitors can hold charge for quite some time but not when loaded (which it is by the DAC)

When one uses batteries the voltage can be quite low noise. Some super regulators are even lower noise though.
The idea is that supercaps (or batteries) can deliver higher peak currents.
Nice for amps but DACs don't do that. There is a headphone out but this wasn't tested.
The manufacturer only states:

High Current Class A-B headphone circuit

The Caiman SEG headphone amplifier circuit is designed to drive even the latest high-end headphones and reproduce musical detail that these headphones are capable of. A generous signal headroom overhead, low noise circuitry, and high output current ability are key factors that make the headphone output on the Caiman SEG a major talking point with existing owners.
(my emphasis)


For that reason the extra power supply may be 'needed'. Alas we do not know it has never been measured (@amirm ?) and there are no specs other than '12 to 400 ohm'.

If it were me that designed the darn power supply (I am not and have had nothing to do with it) and I would want benefits in the form of some kind of ground loop breakage, what battery fed devices usually is about, then I would use a normal power supply. Have that (slowly) feed batteries through resistors that lower the leakage current. That would slow down charging too much so would make charging quicker (smaller resistors) and once charging is complete would slow charge.

That could, in theory, help with some ground loop situations. No idea if that's what this is though.

2: These are not Lithium cells but capacitors. I see no fire hazard.

3: I have no idea.
This is why I bought it, now of course I wish I hadn't but it seemed real at the time.

The revolutionary and ground breaking Dorado and DoradoII power supply audio enhancer demonstrated how it was possible to improve the performance of audio devices with a simple aftermarket upgrade. The DoradoIII is a logical improvement to the technology behind the design. The DoradoIII is designed to operate with a regulated switch mode or linear mains adapter.

Super capacitor architecture delivers the fastest and most accurate power output for our Digital to Analogue Converters The core design of the Dorado is built on a super capacitor architecture, which uses cutting-edge technology to deliver next generation performance and adds innovative capabilities previously unavailable in audio power supply designs. The Dorado is designed for audio applications where conventional power supplies run out of steam when the music puts higher demands on it.
 
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SIY

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This is why I bought it, now of course I wish I hadn't but it seemed real at the time.

The revolutionary and ground breaking Dorado and DoradoII power supply audio enhancer demonstrated how it was possible to improve the performance of audio devices with a simple aftermarket upgrade. The DoradoIII is a logical improvement to the technology behind the design. The DoradoIII is designed to operate with a regulated switch mode or linear mains adapter.

Super capacitor architecture delivers the fastest and most accurate power output for our Digital to Analogue Converters The core design of the Dorado is built on a super capacitor architecture, which uses cutting-edge technology to deliver next generation performance and adds innovative capabilities previously unavailable in audio power supply designs. The Dorado is designed for audio applications where conventional power supplies run out of steam when the music puts higher demands on it.
Music puts demands on a DAC power supply? Huh.
 

Seeker-Smith

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Music puts demands on a DAC power supply? Huh.
There has been other companies making similar statements like Allo

"For even more value, we are including an aluminium case with every Boss2 Player along with Oled screen and IR remote (no PSU included). We recommend Nirvana (with earthed switch on) for best sound quality (measurements) but even a cheap PSU will degrade the THD by 1 to 2db."
 

pseudoid

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Lets close this thread with this may be the worst DAC available. I have one for sale... takers?
Note to Self: Do NOT even ask @amirm to test/spank my new desktop BRZHiFi PA-10 powerAmp.
This is truly an "orphan" amp, yet more than satisfies its intended reasons for purchase ($260).
I don't think I could handle receiving a dubitable "worst" award, like you!:rolleyes:
 

JRS

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I wondered what the hell is a Caiman anyway? Turns out it is a small crocodile and popular as a pet, which can be had for twenty bucks and are likely far more entertaining. One thing is sure: the marketing was a croc.

And the lettering on the front panel is an eyesore--whatever became of British understated elegance?
 

pseudoid

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I wondered what the hell is a Caiman anyway? ...
"We all know [less @JRS] that the Cayman is a Boxster with a metal roof, but do you know what its named after? We follow the money trail and find out. You might think that everyone who owns a Cayman, [including @Seeker-Smith], is rich enough to have an offshore bank account in the Cayman Islands. And, hence, the name of the company’s of smallest, and most affordable, coupe." hmmmmm...
 

JRS

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"We all know [less @JRS] that the Cayman is a Boxster with a metal roof, but do you know what its named after? We follow the money trail and find out. You might think that everyone who owns a Cayman, [including @Seeker-Smith], is rich enough to have an offshore bank account in the Cayman Islands. And, hence, the name of the company’s of smallest, and most affordable, coupe." hmmmmm...
I considered whether Cayman has a variant spelling as I am acquainted with the islands, their banking practices, and of course the car--nice if you got 100k for a second car with lackluster acceleration. I still stand by the crock of poop statement.
 

restorer-john

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Fun fact: LED's are sometimes used in current sources exactly because they are so low noise.

Yes, I have plenty of power amplifiers that use red 5mm LEDs in the power stages. They also look cool when you peer inside through the top grille. :)

1633740848192.png


Here being used as a voltage reference and a FET constant current.
 

musicforcities

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This is why I bought it, now of course I wish I hadn't but it seemed real at the time.

The revolutionary and ground breaking Dorado and DoradoII power supply audio enhancer demonstrated how it was possible to improve the performance of audio devices with a simple aftermarket upgrade. The DoradoIII is a logical improvement to the technology behind the design. The DoradoIII is designed to operate with a regulated switch mode or linear mains adapter.

Super capacitor architecture delivers the fastest and most accurate power output for our Digital to Analogue Converters The core design of the Dorado is built on a super capacitor architecture, which uses cutting-edge technology to deliver next generation performance and adds innovative capabilities previously unavailable in audio power supply designs. The Dorado is designed for audio applications where conventional power supplies run out of steam when the music puts higher demands on it.

How can a DAC run out of steam? it’s not an amp. It is not hard to create or find a ps and filter for a dac that produces plenty of clean power. Ask Topping, smsl, etc. who make Dacs with 110 plus SNAID fDACS fir under $200.
Come on….

The rest of above text, which I gather is taken from the manufactures literature, is a bs snake oil pitch.

At best the Dorito is a Poor solution to a problem that does not exist. And if it was no good, why not build it into the device? Because they make more money up selling customers to one of these dingle berries, and once more to “upgrade” them down the road. The customer as sucker.

It reminds me of Audioquest putting a battery on speaker cables…

Anytime a company starts espousing some magic doohickey with effusive language like that, it’s a clear warning sign to run away from them while your wallet is still full.
 
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