DACs

Theta Generation VIII Series 2 Digital-to-Analog Converter/Preamp

ARTICLE INDEX

Conclusions

Theta's Series 2 upgrade to the Gen. VIII DAC/preamp elevates it to world-class status. Audiophiles hoping to achieve near-analog quality playback from redbook CDs and 24/96 files owe it to themselves to either upgrade an existing Gen. VIII, or audition a new Gen. VIII Series 2 at home. Just be sure to run the unit for 72 hours straight, or 100 hours if it is not fully broken-in, before engaging in critical listening. Mated with an excellent front end, quality cabling and power treatment, and amplification powerful enough to fully communicate the unit's wide dynamic range, the Theta Gen. VIII Series 2 is about as good as it gets.

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Jason Victor Serinus System Information:

Main Reference System:
Digital Front End
Theta Carmen II CD/DVD transport
Theta Gen 8 Series 2 DAC/Preamp
(Benchmark DAC-1 USB when Apple G4 Titanium Powerbook is in use on the main system, plus a Bel Canto 24/96 USB link)

Amplification
VTL 450W tube monoblock prototypes with KT-88 tubes
Jadis DA-7 Luxe with GE 5751 Jan and Jan Philips 5814A tubes and cable from Pierre Gabriel

Loudspeakers
Talon Khorus X speakers MK. IV (with latest upgrade and Bybee Quantum Noise Purifiers)
Four Bybee Golden Goddess Super Effect Speaker Bullets, two on each speaker

Cabling
Nordost Odin single-ended and balanced interconnects
Nordost Valhalla AES/EBU digital interconnect
Nordost Odin bi-wired speaker cable
Nordost Odin power cable on the Thor Power Distribution System
Nordost Valhalla Power Cables on other components
Belkin USB 2.0 and Nirvana and Stereovox BNC cables for the Bel Canto 24/96 USB link

Power
Nordost Thor Power Distribution System
IsoClean or other audiophile grade fuses in most components
Dedicated line for system

Analog
Clearaudio Emotion turntable with Satisfy arm
Soundsmith "The Voice" phono cartridge
Benz MC-Gold phono cartridge
Classe 6 phono preamp with better umbilical cord
Symposium Platform under turntable

Accessories
Finite Elemente Cerapuc supports
Marigo Mystery Feet
Ganymede ball bearing supports
Michael Green brass Audiopoints
Audiophile grade fuses in all equipment.
Acoustic Resonators
Michael Green Deluxe Ultrarack, Basic Racks and Corner Tunes
Shakti stones on transport, DAC, amps, etc.
Four Shakti Hallographs
Echo Buster and Corner Busters
Bedini Quadra Beam and Dual Beam Ultraclarifiers
Marigo Signature 3-D Mat v2;
Ayre demagnetizing CD
Various CD sprays

Main System Room Dimensions
Living room is 24.5' deep, 21.4' wide in the listening area. It's big enough to accommodate 16 members of the Bay Area Audiophile Society, positioned in four rows of four seats each. The distance from the front door to the end of the dining room is 37'. Sound extends far to the left and right of the speakers thanks to an 8.33' wide archway into the dining room opposite the right channel speaker. Ceilings are 9' high with heavy wooden crossbeams, each 17" in height. Heavy curtains cover windows behind the sound system. Floors are hardwood and carpet in front of the system, and hardwood elsewhere. Walls in the living room are a combination of plaster and wood, with a large granite fireplace in the rear. The dining room is all plaster. There is RoomTune and Echo buster treatment in corners, and either an Echo Buster or heavy tapestry at the two side wall first order reflection points.

Upstairs Second System:
Genesis I-60 Integrated amp
Von Schweikert VR-4jr. speakers bi-wired with Nordost Valhalla
Proton 26" non-HD anything but flat decidedly undigital TV
Basic Pioneer DVD player
ExactPower EP15A equipped with outlets from Sound Applications and other mods
Nordost Valhalla bi-wired speaker cable
Assortment of WireWorld Gold Eclipse 5, Harmonic Tech Magic One, and Nordost Valhalla interconnects
Elrod EPS-2 Signature and AudioPrism SuperNatural S2 power cables
Ganymede ball bearing supports

Desktop Computer System
Apple iMac G5
Benchmark DAC-1 USB
Audio Engine 5 self-powered speakers
Nordost Valhalla and/or Elrod EPS-2 Signature power cabling
Harmonic Tech Magic One interconnect
WireWorld Gold Eclipse speaker cable
Ganymede Ball Bearing supports
Shakti stone