Hey…could’ve been worse: a lottery!
My own reaction to getting my Vivaldi APEX back into my system (a few posts I posted on another forum):
Received my Vivaldi APEX DAC upgrade on Tuesday. All I can say is this is quite a leap. There‘s a wider and more pinpoint soundstage with better timing and dynamics. This thing really swings. Have been playing Roon in radio mode to “burn in” the new analog board.
Every track brings a big smile to my face. It‘s as if I’m hearing every song anew. There’s more depth and detail, with a nearly holographic space for many songs. More air around instruments with greater realism and immersion. Initially, I was struck by the expansive and more delineated bass from the system. Just as a check, I played sources with substantial low-level bass while the amps were off to see if the subs were providing anything. Nada! It’s all in the Wilson Alexia 2’s that now bring forth all of this “new” level of sonics.
Interestingly, there’s simply more there, there. That leads to the sense that the DAC is delivering more sonic output if the source has it to offer. Consequently, I find I’m fiddling with the volume slider on my preamp more than ever. Some albums are far higher or lower than I’d experienced in the past.
And as an additional bonus, the upgrade delivers a lower noise floor. And I’ve only about 50 hours in.
I figured it would be about 100 hours to get thermal and electrical stability, with an additional period of what I would call “system level” settling in, which I’ve found particularly true of cabling. With this latter stage, I’ve usually experienced even more low-level detail and dynamics.
One thing I’ve had trouble describing with the APEX is an underlying “layering” of sound that goes towards the far more realistic sense of instruments and voices. That along with clearer separation - think spaces between musical elements, much like how the spaces between the notes can stand out. Listening to solo piano or guitar seems to be a dead giveaway to this.