StereoMojo: A Clutch of Lavrys: DA10 and DA11

May 30, 2012

Everyone is aware of the old saying, “The whole is more than the sum of its parts.”  Audiophiles make use of this wise old saying whenever they compare different components in their systems, as we all know that system synergy is what transforms a stereo system from merely ok to good to great.  This idea also rings true for the folks who design and build the gear we enjoy.  We hear stories of guys who spend months, if not years, painstakingly striving for the most efficient circuit designs using the best sounding parts.  They then pot them up so no one can tell what’s inside and offer the resulting components to the public with little fanfare or advertising.  Hey, if you like it, great; if not, move on.  Stan Klyne, who built my reference preamplifier, is one of these types of folks.  So is Dan Lavry, who builds the subject of this review: the Lavry Engineering DA11 digital to analog converter.

Mr. Lavry is a very well known and respected engineer and designer in professional audio circles.  It’s common knowledge that his converters, designed and made in the state of Washington, USA,  and other studio gear are used by some of the most famous recording operations out there, including Sony Entertainment and Abbey Road Studios.  Unlike a lot of the better-known audiophile designers (and marketers), Lavry likes to remain relatively quiet about his designs.  While this seems a bit against the grain of modern marketing, where companies are constantly hyping the technical specifics of their newest and best designs, I can understand why Mr. Lavry likes to keep his cards close to his chest.  First, he considers his designs to be proprietary, and second, he doesn’t like the idea of audiophiles acting as “back seat designers.”...


"...In general, over extended listening sessions, I found myself being seduced away from the Benchmark camp and over into the Lavry camp. In a word, the DA11 just sounded more “real” to me..."

 

"...While some folks might find the Lavry DA11 a bit stylishly challenged, it reminds me of the girl next door you would want to marry.  This dac was eminently reliable, musical, and satisfying.  I can say that in the time I spent with the DA11, I never came close to tiring of it.  And the majority of its beauty lies underneath the exterior, as this is one well-implemented piece of kit.  For a more than reasonable price tag, the buyer gets tons of features, sound engineering, and phenomenal sonics.  Remember, the whole is more than the sum of its parts…"

 

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