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Ladder Schumann R2R DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 42 19.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 111 51.2%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 48 22.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 16 7.4%

  • Total voters
    217
What was Shenzhenaudio thinking? Why did the distributor ask a popular measurement site to measure a DAC that is obviously not designed to please the measurement crowd?
I don't think this is really very different from, say, Topping's strategy of making DACs with ever better measurements. Their improvements are completely inaudible since their previous products were already perfect. We are entertaining ourselves with sophisticated engineering, the lab measurements that reveal it, and audio gear for its own sake as a hobby. It's fun.

Perhaps Shenzhenaudio set out to engineer the best R2R DAC on the market for people who like that kind of thing. And maybe they are proud at having done a good job. And a review from Amir is pretty good evidence. More sophisticated engineering, lab measurements, and audio gear for its own sake = more Fun.

Shenzhenaudio also distributes Geshelli gear, doesn't it? Same kind of thing, isn't it. Some people want vacuum tubes (valves). Some people want R2R. And others want 30 dB more SNR than they could have heard in an iso booth on a good day when they were young.
 
it's actually quite good, I for one am using the holoaudio spring 2, which is not far from this in objective perfromance, but although it's not SOTA, it clears the mark of 16 bit which in practical won't have any difference to better performing ones, so yea, if one just like the idea of R2R, and it didn't bring down end results as a side effect, why not? just make sure you are aware you are paying the bucks for the R2R name is fine
 
It seems a waste of money as you can buy a flawless and transparent DAC for half the price. It would also be interesting to see how many W gobbles every hour: a huge toroidal transformer that needs to be fed many electrons in the unit of time. The question becomes: cui prodest? To whom it benefits? I am so glad the impeccable review of Amir helps me to steer clear from these sirens’ songs.
 
R2R crowd won't care for measurements anyway.
This abstraction of the "R2R crowd" is interesting. Makes me think of Marxian class abstractions, which, of course, don't really exist and are poor predictors of the behavior of individuals (because life is way more complex than these categorical simplifications can describe). Also makes me think of Bateson's ideas of schismogenesis, an abstract labeling of "the other" that serves above all to better define "us" as different from "them", in which categorical oversimplification serves to intensify peer-group relations -- name calling, basically.

For example, let's imagine someone semi-technical who has been exposed to some marketing about R2R and is curious and attracted to it. And this person somehow finds Shenzhenaudio Ladder Schumann and thinks it's cool. It boasts about its sophisticated engineering and superior performance to other R2R designs and presents Amir's review. Is that person in the "R2R crowd"? And how does that person react to this kind of statement about the "R2R crowd"?
 
I kind of understand the company's approach here. Why not profit from people that really believe that R2R architecture is superior to delta-sigma chips. Overall, it's a good product in my opinion. Most people (including me) listen to CD quality content (16bit 44.1kHz) and from the measurements it seems it does a fine job of reproducing such content. I personally see no reason for R2R dacs to exist, apart maybe for didactical purposes, but I know some people that swear that R2R is the only type of DAC to listen to. I'll stick with my ES9038PRO dac for now :)
I kinda agree. I think it's too expensive for a home audio DAC. And I think R2R is silly. But assuming some people want expensive DACs and some people want R2R and these groups intersect, this is the niche product for them. And I agree that it's performance is fine for home audio use.
 
Look, they've taken an audiophile fetish and implemented it with some technical competency. Good on them; it will find buyers. It's not for me, but it's not as though it's broken like some of the high dollar stuff we've seen here.

Will a 95+ SINAD tube amp be next?! Wouldn't that be something....
 
Look, they've taken an audiophile fetish and implemented it with some technical competency. Good on them; it will find buyers. It's not for me, but it's not as though it's broken like some of the high dollar stuff we've seen here.

Will a 95+ SINAD tube amp be next?! Wouldn't that be something....
I wouldn't hold my breath. But if we see even 75dB that would be nice.
 
This abstraction of the "R2R crowd" is interesting.
It's not. You're clearly over-interpreting it.
;)

It was a gimmick answer to the "measurements crowd" mentioned above, nothing more...
And how does that person react to this kind of statement about the "R2R crowd"?
Why would it be that crucial anyway? It is only about audio. If people react in somewhat emotional way about such irrelevant statements, there's nothing I can do about it.
 
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Interesting that they even machined a branded lid for the transformer!
I think it's rather some generic part they silk-screened onto, but it's hard to tell from the low resolution image.
 
You could appreciate the fine engineering of a well performing R2R Dac in the way that one can appreciate a fine mechanical watch. Cheaper and obviously better performing technologies exist but somehow that is sometimes not the point.
I get less romantic about obsolete electronics, but maybe because I'm a soulless EE :)
 
If this DAC offers no sonic benefit over SOTA Topping / SMSL offerings that are at a fraction of the price then it's a bad showing. It's input / output options aren't even anything to write home about. Looks are a matter of taste as well (YMMV on that last comment of course)
 
I see no benefit to R2R DACs so I can't recommend the Ladder Schumann DAC.
There's the important part. I don't 'get' the fetish audio-neurotics have for R2R. But, okay, go ahead and pretend you can hear that minuscule part of the music and spend the money. And be smug about it... Extoll its "clarity" or something.
Meanwhile, I'll be listening for the tuning of that Steinway and Sons or the inflection of the player or the orchestra's conductor.
I can hear that. It's not my imagination. ;)
 
real world distortion is 18+ bits and SINAD shows 16 bits. I've heard this is one the best R2R dac's on the market along with musician pegasus. from what i can tell the soundstage on R2R DAC's is much wider and edges are smooth and rolled off without compromising details. Dynamics and punchiness aren't as good as NFCA or THX or a standard solid stage DAC so its a different experience. I recently purchased a LCD-X and i am looking into making it sound wider in my head with an R2R like Hiby RS2 or anything that comes out next year,
 
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