Review: Vincent DAC-1MK converter- It is common knowledge that D / A converters are less important for the quality of a playback chain than, for example, loudspeakers and room acoustics. Nevertheless: Anyone who wants to bring their listening situation further forward in terms of sound will at some point also want to upgrade the step of converting from the digital to the analog domain. That doesn’t have to cost God knows what, the nice thing is that in recent years very decent converter chips have also been used in the affordable hi-fi area. But the price is not the only thing that counts: Connectivity, usability, appearance and brand identity also play important roles in the decision for one or the other device. The new Vincent DAC-1MK is doing very well in all disciplines – and changes hands for 849 euros.
Sound impressions & comparisons
In addition to my usual provisions for assessing audio components, this time it is Heron who should serve as an example (and, as so often, also represent a listening recommendation). The self-titled debut album (listen on Amazon) was released by Dawn in 1970 and was recorded at Manor Farm in Berkshire, England. “At”, not “in”, that’s right: The wonderful folk album was recorded with the “Pye Mobile Recording Unit” – in the great outdoors. What is not so unusual today was once a technological and organizational masterpiece that gave the record its very own, extremely suitable character. In its overall tonal tuning, the Vincent DAC-1MK is fairly neutral. However, in the upper mids it not only shows more contour and grip, but also a little more level than Merging and Lavry. This increases the presence of what is being played. The typically noisy, struck acoustic guitars on the opener “Yellow Roses” stand out a little further, but Vincent is far from turning the sound into an annoying “Dylan-Dengel”. Really surprising and at the same time probably the greatest sonic strength of the Vincent converter: In the so important range of around 1 – 10 kHz, it resolves breathtakingly well, yes, maybe even slightly better than the often so expensive merging HAPI. The sounds of nature, which inevitably found their way onto the recording of the first Heron record, can be made out particularly well in the thicket of instruments and voices.
The Lavry, on the other hand, plays a little less light-footed than the Vincent and has a more robust effect due to the slightly fuller deep mids. With it, the chest tone emerges somewhat in voices, while the test device from Vincent, like the Waversa, is neutral. “Car Crash”, the second song on the Heron record, even sounds a little better with a little support in the keynote. However, the fact that the mix and mastering of a music production are a bit too thin in places cannot be blamed on the playback device. And it is actually not their job to compensate for that.
In order to assess the highs more precisely, other musical material is required than that which has been stored several times on magnetic tape. The second movement in allegro molto of Alfred Schnittke’s only viola concerto, played by Nobuko Imai and the Malmö Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Lev Markiz (listen on Amazon), is more suitable: the recording on BIS AB is splendidly beautiful and characterized by only minor ones Interventions in the microphone signals. Unlike the Merging HAPI and the Lavry, the Vincent DAC-1MK not only plays very clearly, but with a somewhat crystalline note – for example in the thunderstorm of brass, snare drum and cymbals at the end of the movement, but also before with the fine ones Overtones of the viola. Those who like something bold transparency will of course be happy. Incidentally, the Waversa WminiHPA MK2 does this in a very similar way to the Vincent.
Because contrasts are a good thing, the Sleaford Mods are now allowed to play, whose new album Spare Ribs has been praised by all major German press products as an expression of the urban English “EU Remainer”. In my opinion Divide & Exit, the “most real” album by the Nottingham duo (listen on Amazon), is even better. Quasi The Streets in drunk and dangerous, but also intelligent, also cosmopolitan and eloquent.
If you listen to the album (or more appropriately: let him beat you up), for example “Smithy”, then the bass shows that the Vincent has a crisp and dry tuned bass that hardly differs from the merging. The beefy bass of the song lets older and simpler converters in particular swim quickly, the signal then sounds indifferent in the frequency basement.
As expected from a modern digital-to-analog converter, the fine dynamics are excellent. Whether it’s the rough drum samples from Sleaford Mods or the string slides and the natural noises on the Heron mentioned above: The Vincent passes on short dynamic changes without change and without smearing. In terms of coarse dynamics, it is also absolutely state-of-the-art: The converter delivers the non-dynamically processed Schnittke recording from CD cleanly, and the Vincent DAC-1MK also plays very dynamically and with enormous fine representation with recordings made by itself at 384 kHz and 24-bit resolution .
The vivid and accurate stage representation is also positive, for which the fine dynamics in particular pave the way. The arrangement of the instruments of the Malmö Symphony Orchestra on the BIS production is easy to understand in the angle, and the spatial depth is, as expected, very good. Because the transducer has a slightly present center, many of the centrally positioned signals appear as if they were coming a little further towards you than is the case with the comparison devices.
The USB input is clearly superior to the other two inputs – but only in terms of the transferable bandwidth and thus the time and value resolution of the digital audio signal. In terms of sound, no resilient differences can be recognized with the same values, although the stage appears slightly wider via the USB input.
Test conclusion: Vincent DAC-1MK converter
With the Vincent DAC-1MK you get a simple and very high-quality performing D / A converter. Technologically, the device is based on one of the most modern converter chips, which is particularly evident in high dynamics and very good detail resolution. The fact that there is no extensive feature set with filters and other options can also be seen as an advantage, because not everyone wants to pay for such “jokes” but then not use them.
The DAC-1MK plays with tight and precise bass. The mids are slightly stronger / more present, which underlines the enormous resolution in this frequency range. The heights follow this, here the high resolution and the precision paint an extremely clear picture with all corners and edges of the source material. If you are looking for a “romantic soundscape”, you will not find it here, Vincent is more of a reporter than a poet. The stereo image bulges slightly towards the listener in most productions, the depth representation is very good. The angular accuracy between left and right is in no way inferior to this.
Product: Vincent DAC-1MK
Category: D / A converter
Price: 849 euros
Inputs: 1 x S / PDIF coaxial, 1 x Toslink, 1 x USB-b
Outputs: 1 x XLR / balanced, 1 x RCA / unbalanced
Data rates: maximum 32 bit and 384 kHz PCM, DSD256, no MQA
Dimensions & weight: 430 x 79 x 343 mm (WxHxD), 5.5 kg
Colors: black or silver
Guarantee: 2 years