Katana Dac by allo

Diy? Low-budget? Esoterics? Let's discuss about DACS!

Ads helps Volumio remain Free and Open Source. Please consider donating to help us continue to serve you.

Katana Dac by allo

Postby michelangelo » Thu Nov 15 2018 08:47

Yes, I recevied the new Katana and I am starting my listening sessions. I will update my review
User avatar
michelangelo
Founder
 
Posts: 4205
Joined: Sun Dec 15 2013 23:18

Ads helps Volumio remain Free and Open Source. Please consider donating to help us continue to serve you.


Katana Dac by allo

Postby User_98 » Sun Nov 18 2018 15:33

:?: I wonder if both outputs of the Katana can be used at the same time.

XLR -> Amps
Cinch -> Subwoofer
Random avatar
User_98
Fresh off the boat
Fresh off the boat
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Nov 11 2018 17:46


Re: Katana Dac by allo

Postby Atca » Sun Nov 18 2018 15:46

Looks like available for sale now - please can someone explain difference between B and B+ option? I don't know which to buy - I have RPi B.
Random avatar
Atca
Sunday DIYer
Sunday DIYer
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Jun 20 2015 18:05


Katana Dac by allo

Postby SanjeevM » Tue Nov 20 2018 16:41

Hi Michaelangelo,

We are so dependent on your reviews before making a buy decision. Your reviews have helped me to buy, to great satisfaction, the Allo Boss DAC. I am counting on you to provide an answer to my query on the previous page.

Sanjeev.
RPi3B / Katana THD on Linear PSU / 7in Waveshare Screen / TPA3255 Class-D on MW LRS-350 / Paradigm Monitor 11;
Random avatar
SanjeevM
Serious Listener
Serious Listener
 
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Apr 27 2017 18:11


Katana Dac by allo

Postby dominique-tanguy » Tue Nov 20 2018 19:09

It takes a lot of time, so the difference is probably subtle and difficult to describe ! :D

Dominique
Last edited by dominique-tanguy on Fri Nov 23 2018 19:44, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
dominique-tanguy
Serious Listener
Serious Listener
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Fri Jun 30 2017 17:28


Katana Dac by allo

Postby User_98 » Wed Nov 21 2018 00:00

Very subtle indeed. It takes about two seconds to hear it's clearly superior for example to the Boss. :D
I'd be interested in comparisons to same class DACs.
Random avatar
User_98
Fresh off the boat
Fresh off the boat
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Nov 11 2018 17:46


Katana Dac by allo

Postby michelangelo » Fri Nov 23 2018 00:14

I've updated my listening impressions on the original post. I am posting here as well:

KATANA LISTENING IMPRESSIONS PART 3

Welcome to this new episode of the "Katana Saga". For those of you who lost previous episodes:
Allo, probably the most disruptive manufacturer of I2S DACs and accessories for Raspberry PI, set themselves with a bold goal: develop the best sounding implementation of ES9038Q2M DAC (one of the most praised DAC chips on the market).
They have been taking quite a long time to design it and released in late July of 2018 under lots of expectations by the DIY Audiophile community.

Katana has generally been praised of being an extremely well sounding DAC, and I wrote my review concluding that:
- It was not for everyone, as it's inherently more complicated to operate than any other I2S DAC for Raspberry PI.
- It sounded very very good, but its hyper-analytical sound signature was somehow fatiguing

After just 2 weeks after its initial launch, Allo stopped sales of the DAC explaining they needed to tweak it further. Reactions ranged from sympathizing with Allo's decision to extreme disappointment.

Now, the moment has arrived and Allo has resumed sales of their Katana 1.2. And expectations did not fade. End of previous episodes.

I received the new Katana about a week ago. Unfortunately, due to personal reasons I could not spend all the time I would have liked with it, but I totaled some 10 hours of listening sessions anyway.

I still need and want to spend more time with it, but I want to share my initial impressions.


As some of you might already know, Katana is in fact made up by 3 components: the actual DAC board, a Microcontroller board, and an output stage.

Allo decided for their second revision to offer 2 different choices of output stage: THD (which from what I understood is tuned to achieve maximum fidelity) and Sound Quality (which instead is somehow tweaked to a more euphonic signature). I won't judge this choice, all that I did was listen to Katana with both output stages.

First, let's clarify one thing: Katana 1.2 has a slightly different sound signature to me than the previous version. My only (but big) complaint with the previous version was that it's hyper-detailed presentation resulted easily very fatiguing. This new version, luckily, is less fatiguing when compared to the original Katana. This effect was particularly evident in my studio setup (a monitor-like nearfield setup) where the previous version was very very hard on my ears, while with the new one I easily listened for many hours. Katana still offers the most detailed presentation I was ever to witness from a DAC. Praat is still fantastic. The lower end still is great (maybe even better in this revision).

It seems then from my initial impressions that Allo managed to solve the fatiguing issue without compromising on other aspects like detail and Praat. Still, the level of detail (personal opinion here) might sometime feel still too much. I still have some sort of mixed feeling about that. Before Katana, I thought to be the kind of Audiophile which likes a high level of details. Now I am not so sure.

Regarding the two output stages: I noticed a slight difference among them, and my favorite is the Sound Quality one. I am not sure for which reason as I could not identify a clear distinction among the two.

All in all I think that the tweaks that Allo made to Katana were positive and worth the wait. I appreciate them taking responsibility of their mistakes (they offered outstanding support to every single Katana customer, and I know many reactions were far from friendly). Still Katana is not a DAC for anyone: besides the complicacy of operating it (which however can be overcome with as much as 20 minutes of careful manual reading) I have the strong feeling that this will mainly suit the tastes Audiophiles with a strong preference for hyper-detail, while it might disappoint those who do not.

I will share further impressions in a future update.
User avatar
michelangelo
Founder
 
Posts: 4205
Joined: Sun Dec 15 2013 23:18


Katana Dac by allo

Postby dominique-tanguy » Fri Nov 23 2018 19:46

User_98 wrote:Very subtle indeed. It takes about two seconds to hear it's clearly superior for example to the Boss. :D
I'd be interested in comparisons to same class DACs.


The report is not A comparison between the Boss and the Katana, but between the Katana and tha Katana.

Knowing that we have two versions of the Katana, if I understand well. One with more distorsion, and better subjective impression, or something like that.
User avatar
dominique-tanguy
Serious Listener
Serious Listener
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Fri Jun 30 2017 17:28


Katana Dac by allo

Postby Chris14 » Sat Nov 24 2018 17:04

Michelangelo,
What power supplies did you use with the Katana? Dual power seems to be the approved method, but now we have the option of the isolator board to add to complexity. I would suspect that dirty power side would be OK with the 5.1V Allo smps (may still need 5.25V to avoid low power warnings on the Pi 3B+ ???), but the DAC stack(clean side) would benefit from a high quality supply - iFi 5V with grounding mod, or a good lps. Do you intend to try these variations to determine if they have significant effects on sound quality?
Random avatar
Chris14
Sunday DIYer
Sunday DIYer
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Nov 03 2017 01:22


Katana Dac by allo

Postby michelangelo » Sat Nov 24 2018 18:29

I tried with 2 psus. Yes it's in my intention to try also the isolator as well. Agree that it adds another layer of complications.
User avatar
michelangelo
Founder
 
Posts: 4205
Joined: Sun Dec 15 2013 23:18

PreviousNext

Return to DACs

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests