Magic In the House – Maverick Tubemagic D1 DAC

I just got a 6 month old Maverick Tubemagic D1 DAC from a member on Audio-karma. The DAC is in nice shape, showing no signs of abuse. It came with only the power cord and a USB cable for accessories, but that’s OK. For a close to 40% discount over new, I can use my own 1/4″ to 1/8″ adapter if I need to for the headphone amp out.

I was intrigued by the Tubemagic because of it’s versatility. It has USB/Coax/Optical/Analogue inputs, and out puts with and without a tube in the circuit. The Solid State output uses a socketted opamp, so the possibilities of opamp and tube rolling exist for future fun. Mine currently has the stock tube and opamp.

I hooked things up with the Squeezebox Touch running a coax connection to the D1, which then fed it’s signal via RCA analogue connection to the Pioneer SX-1250 driving both Snell CIII and Pioneer HPM-100 speakers.

I was greeted by a very large POP sound when the first song, a hi-res recording by Norah Jones, started playing. From then on, things sounded fine until I switched albums. There it was again, a loud noise that I feared would hurt the speakers. Perplexed by this, I switched to a coax connection from the SBT to the DAC. Same thing happened when switching albums. Some web research led me to find this a common issue with the Squeezebox Touch and it’s digital output to some DACs, including the Tubemagic. The quick fix was to use the Squeezebox’s RCA out. No more loud pops. I’ll have to do more research to see if there’s a better fix to allow the optical output in this situation.

After a few hours of listening to various genres of music, I have to say the Tubemagic D1 has taken my sound system up at least a notch or two. Bass is tighter and deeper. There’s more sparkle to the highs. The soundstage is both wider and deeper. A bit of an “edge” to the music that I’d not really noticed before is now smoothed out. I find myself sometimes running the volume up higher than usual, just because she’s sounding so danged good!

I like it!

(NOTE – This article was originally published awhile back on my now defuncted blog, Older Ears. )

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