Customer reviews

From Tom Samuel in the United States of America:

My unit arrived today (only four days after it was shipped) and I am very impressed. The unit is very well built, with obvious attention to detail. The controls feel solid, and the connections are of excellent quality.

I have the D1 connected via USB to an Intel Atom based music client running Ubuntu Linux 9.10. The D1 was recognized right out of the box in Ubuntu and setup was as easy as selecting the USB sound card. Literally 30 seconds from box to music. Fantastic!

The music client feeds two vintage NAD 705 receivers being used as amplifiers only, one pair KEF 103.2 speakers in our living room and one Jamo satellite/sub combo in the conservatory. Prior to installation of the D1 I was using an “audiophile” sound card to do the D/A conversion. The results were lackluster at best. The improvement in sound quality using the D1 was truly remarkable. The staging, imaging, detail and accuracy that I had been missing in this system since digitizing my music is back. I had forgotten how good those old KEF’s can sound! I am using the tube output so I anticipate that the sound of the system will improve over time, but as it stands today I am very impressed.

I have been in the consumer electronics industry for 30 years, I hold a RESI Master certification from the International Electronics Technicians Association, I have contributed to CEA standards committees, and I have written and taught post-secondary Electronics Engineering Technology programs. I think your product is excellent on an absolute level and at the price point it is unmatched by anything I have seen. I will certainly spread the word, and I would gladly offer my endorsement.

Kudos to you on a first rate product and first class service.

From Daniel in Sweden:

I have used the tube magic now for a couple of weeks almost continuously.  I can first ask the question ‘how can you make such a fantastic little box and sell it for only $210?’  I am using the box between a Apple TV (streaming apple lossless files) and a pair of Mackie MR5 professional studio monitors.  The Apple connected directly to the Mackies sounds flat and lifeless.  Through the tube magic DAC and preamp it has so much more fidelity and life.  But when I connected the DAC to a disc player the sound was really excellent.  Good separation of instruments and tones, good dynamics and delicate high-mids, and highs. I am using the solid state output for more detail.  I was originally considering a DAC1 for this function but your Tube magic DAC/pre gives much of the same performance, more options and a much better price!
Thanks again,
I am really satisfied with the product.

From sp70 at forum:

Let me just say first off that I do not have much experience reviewing audio gear, so take it easy on me and take the review with however much salt you’d like, anyways – here goes…

Just out of the box now and hooked up, and I really think it sounds incredible. So much power! More than one would really need i’d think. First up, I tried the headphone out, and it sounded incredible and generally I was extremely pleased. My only complaint is that for now (seeing as it has yet to burn in) the bottom end seemed a bit ah, whats the word, “busy and somewhat lacking definition” is how I would best describe it. From what I hear this will go away with burn in.

Second, I hooked the tube-out directly to my Hitachi HMA-6500, powering a beautiful pair of JBL 4311b’s. The sound was out of this world for me. Quite different sound entirely, and such power! The D1 drove my speakers to more than loud enough levels at just 12 o’clock. When no music was playing it wasn’t quite silent, but I wouldn’t call that much of an issue, it wasn’t bad. Although strangely, I seem to be getting a small amount of intermittent feedback when no music is playing, almost like a very quiet hiss every now and then – possibly a power issue?

As I sit here listening to Aja, I can’t help but be transfixed by the clarity. Once again forgive me for my lack of audiophile reviewing experience, but a word i’d use to describe it would be agile.

Overall, I feel the unit is unbeatable for the price. A solid headphone amp, and a tube amp that was more than I expected. My only complaint at the moment (which I hope will clear up) is the bass which I described above. Besides that, this has been a tremendous improvement in sound, and i’m quite happy with it thus far. In the future, I think i’ll replace the tube, and experiment with OPAMPs (soon as I figure out where I can get some without ordering 100…)

From Zaluss at forum:

Current Setup:

Yamaha DV-S5860 SACD/DVD-A/DVD Player
Onix SP3 Integrated Tube Amplifier
Maverick Audio Tube Magic D1 DAC/Preamp
AV123 X-Omni Diamond Black Speakers

First thing I want to say about Maverick Audio before I start my review is that the Ryan, the owner, is great to work with and is excellent in responding to emails and maintaining communication. On top of the friendly service, shipping was fast and easy from Shanghai, China to San Francisco, CA via DHL. Shipped out Monday and got here Friday! How is that for speedy international shipping?

Packing and Initial Inspection

This thing is a ton heavier than I expected. Smooth, brushed black aluminum and very nice knobs for the volume and source selection. Still smells like it was recently assembled. Upon further inspection everything looks absolutely gorgeous from the delicate white lettering of the logo right down to the screws used to assemble the casing. I opened her up to take a peak at the internals and everything is as it should be. Here is a quick pic of the internals I’ve stolen from Head-fi.

I had the tube upgraded to NOS GE 5670W from the stock chinese tube for $20 more ontop of the presale price.

The packaging was excellent. Shipped in a very sturdy box with foam protecting the unit from moving and covered in a plastic sleeve. The contents also included a USB cable, auxiliary cord, power cord, 1/8″ to 1/4″ headphone jack converter, and a quick start guide.

Initial Impressions

Setup was a breeze. Plug your sources in, select source, done! You have two options for the analog out. One tube out and solid state out depending on what flavor of sound you wanted for your music. I opted for the tube out to start with since I love the tube sound so much.

Norah Jones – Come Away With Me

WOW! Quite the difference from using my cd players dac with this one. Clarity is a notch or two higher as well as the ’sound stage’, giving me a more entertaining listening experience. It definitely feels warmer but not quite the impact I was expecting however after reading some other user experiences with this there is a burn in period that must be done before ‘optimal audio nirvana is attained’ whatever that means. A very (very) quick A/B vs the Yamaha’s DAC there was obvious greater detail and separation improvement with the Maverick.

Overall I’m very pleased with my purchase. More impressions to come as well as the solid state out impressions. Stay tuned!