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Dutch & Dutch 8c Review

Soniclife

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Last weekend I had the chance to listen to the Dutch & Dutch 8c at a local dealer (I am thinking about selling all my loudspeaker, amplifier, cables, SACD player and other stuff to buy the 8c because of the interesting package, DSP and the positive reviews). We listened to the loudspeaker in three different settings and one setting was far better than everything else:

Test track: Wagner from Qobuz in 24 Bit / 48 kHz and as normal CD in 16 Bit / 44.1 kHz

  1. Qobuz stream from iPhone 12 (5G connection) connected with Lightning to USB adaptor into the dealers ridiculous expensive esoteric mono DACs. Then to the 8c using XLR connection --> was good.
  2. From dealers ridiculous expensive esoteric CD player using analog XLR outs to the dealers ridiculous expensive esoteric mono DACs. Then to the 8c using XLR connection --> was better than Qobuz stream.
  3. Purely digital” (according to the dealer): From dealers ridiculous expensive esoteric CD player using digital AES outs directly into the 8c. So the 8c was using its own DAC’s. The result was one of the best performance I ever heard.

Compared to the other two setups the dynamic range was much higher and the flow of music was far better with more details and better sound stage. It is hard to describe but also the two other guys who where present besides the dealer and me clearly stated that this performance was by far the best.


To me it is an very interesting point because if I will decide for the 8c I want the best possible performance. Can anyone explain the technical background of why the result was (subjectively) so different? Especially why was the stream from Qobuz APP (in 24 Bit / 48 kHz) not better? The only thing that comes to my mind is the double conversion of the first two settings (digital from Qobuz / CD player to DAC and then analogue into the 8c with another round of converting in their internal DACs). But can this make such a big difference?

What I am thinking now is to purchase a network-bridge / streaming transport so that I feed the 8C with digital AES connection out to keep the “purely digital” path. It is hard to find some appropriate device that has AES output. What I read here in the forum (in terms of recommendation) is:
  • Metrum Ambre
  • Sonnet Hermes
  • Lumin U1 Mini
  • MiniDSP SHD Studio

So I have three questions:
  1. Has anybody experienced something similar and can explain the background?
  2. In order to get the best performance out of the 8c am I on the right track to play it as “digital” as possible? Can you recommend one of the above mentioned bridges or something else?
  3. Is it best to wait till the 8c's are ROON ready and let ROON and the 8c do the streaming?

Thanks for your support!
There are a few things that might have been happening.
Qobuz and the CD may be different masters, so they could sound different.
Ridiculous expensive electronics are sometimes the least actuate hi-fi ever made, letting them do the analogue conversion might have messed up the sound.
But much more likely was that this was a sighted uncontrolled test, and you all imagined the difference.

However if I bought a pair of these I would be keeping things digital until it was inside the speakers, it's technically the best solution, and will ensure the lowest noise.
 

dasdoing

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There are a few things that might have been happening.
Qobuz and the CD may be different masters, so they could sound different.
Ridiculous expensive electronics are sometimes the least actuate hi-fi ever made, letting them do the analogue conversion might have messed up the sound.
But much more likely was that this was a sighted uncontrolled test, and you all imagined the difference.

However if I bought a pair of these I would be keeping things digital until it was inside the speakers, it's technically the best solution, and will ensure the lowest noise.

"dynamic range was much higher" sugests it was simply louder
 

Schönramer

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What track is that?
Wagner: Die Wallküre, WWV 86B live. Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks. Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle.
Track: Act 1 - Vorspiel

but we listened to more than this track.

What I mean with the "dynamic range" is not that it might was maybe louder in the digitally session. At the very beginning of the song the orchestra changes frequently between louder and quieter parts. There was the more obvious differnce in the way the music flooded the room. The accuracy, the details, the precision in the quiet parts and the punch in the loud parts. It was much more a flow compared to the other sessions. There it sounded like with a little bottleneck that makes it somehow a bit unsharp and limited.
I am sorry but it is hard for me to describe as a non native English speaker. It is even hard for me describe in German but I had the (very subjective) feeling that fully digital it was much better. Maybe the dealer fooled me (and at least the other guest as well) but then he did a really good job :)
 

Pearljam5000

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I wonder if there's a difference in sound between 8C studio and 8C hifi
It's supposed to sound the same but solid oak vs MDF must have some implications on SQ
 

Kal Rubinson

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The only thing that comes to my mind is the double conversion of the first two settings (digital from Qobuz / CD player to DAC and then analogue into the 8c with another round of converting in their internal DACs). But can this make such a big difference?
When I used the 8Cs, I preferred to stream digital sources directly to it from my server. Sending it analog was less satisfying.
In order to get the best performance out of the 8c am I on the right track to play it as “digital” as possible?
This seems likely.
Is it best to wait till the 8c's are ROON ready and let ROON and the 8c do the streaming?
Perhaps. I used Roon or JRiver. https://www.stereophile.com/content/dutch-dutch-8c-active-loudspeaker-system
 

pozz

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I wonder if there's a difference in sound between 8C studio and 8C hifi
It's supposed to sound the same but solid oak vs MDF must have some implications on SQ
I really doubt it there's any difference in sound.

Personally I'd take the MDF cabinet. Hardwood tends to warp over time.
 

Kal Rubinson

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What are those ?
If I had remembered, I would have said. I looked it up for you:
"To clearly distinguish between the two products the 8c studio will besides the different cabinet material have to do without streaming audio over ethernet capabilities. "
 

Kravi4ka

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I used to have a pair and the source was an RME Adi 2 Fs pro through the AES EBU. It sounded fantastic but a friend of mine brought a Weiss MAN301 and the difference was shocking, I was expecting the RME to be just as good but the Weiss simply made the setup stunning…Just a subjective opinion.
 

Purité Audio

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I used to have a pair and the source was an RME Adi 2 Fs pro through the AES EBU. It sounded fantastic but a friend of mine brought a Weiss MAN301 and the difference was shocking, I was expecting the RME to be just as good but the Weiss simply made the setup stunning…Just a subjective opinion.
Done that and with the latest 502.
No difference
Keith
 
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