This is (was) a Limited Edition of only 3 units of Doge 7 (it remains only one unit) with a totally different PCB designed in fully balanced mode from the output of the ESS chip to the XLR outputs. Of course, it has interest only if you use a fully balanced preamp or integrated amp. You can use it also in RCA mode but it won’t have sound improvement compared to the standard version.
It will be delivered without tubes to let you use NOS tubes if you have some or follow some recommendations of NOS tubes that will send you on Tube Amp Doctor or the best new productions or with our upgrade TAD tubes.
It has all the qualities of the standard version and will bring you one step further with the fully balanced mode and its NOS tubes.
Why only 3 units? Because it will enter in mass production only in 2022. This is a pre-series and the first beta tester was so happy that we sell the remaining pre-series units in total confidence you will get one of the best fully balanced DAC on the market and probably the only fully balanced Tube DAC on the market.
Note: our pro photograph was not available before a few weeks, so we let the internal view of Doge 7 Clarity standard version.
We are proud to announce that DOGE 7 got the award of :
THE BEST PRODUCT OF THE YEAR 2020
(category “no price object”)
From the Youtube Channel “The Next Best Thing Studio”
- An exclusive Tube-DAC with a 100% tube analog stage
- Extremely close to the “vinyl sound”
- 32 bits DAC – Compliant with all Hi-Res formats up to 192Khz
- Exclusive tube differential stage
- Separate power transformers for digital and analog stages.
- 6 digital inputs with premium-grade connectors.
- Comprehensive choice of outputs with 2 RCA & 1 XLR output
- A choice between fix and volume control mode
- Deluxe remote controller for input selection and volume
Co-engineered with Matrix
Doge 7 is our most innovative product to date. It combines the best of digital and analog worlds and offers a sound texture that is very close to vinyl. Because we use tubes only and no solid state components for the analog stage it will offer something very different from other DACs. We did blind A/B tests with some DACs using the same chip. The results were astonishing in favor of Doge 7. And this makes a lot of sense because it’s not the chip that makes the sound of a DAC but an overall design, where the analog stage is the core of the DAC unit.
To make the remaining description in a friendly frame we did it under an “interview” format done by a fellow audio blogger, James Grant.
You say you hate DACs??
Yes, we are an analog company and we absolutely hate the digital sound. Edgy, bright, unrefined… you named it. By the way, we could say the same with CD players. And that’s one reason we built-in a high-class tube phono stage in our Doge 8 preamp.
Uhh don’t you guys sell the Doge 7 DAC?
Yeap. We do and it is the only DAC we are proud to sell. We refused to make the 10th other versions of what you have already on the market, like many other Chinese manufactures do.
What’s so special about the Doge 7 DAC?
Well it sounds analog rather than digital.
OH OF COURSE. Where did I hear that before? (rolls eyes)
No seriously. We have a formula that no company has.
How do you get the most analog sounding dac? Simple yet, impossible in a business sense but we made it happen. Combine 35+ years of experience building only analog components for high end brands in Germany and USA with plenty of talented Chinese entrepreneurs in the Digital world.
The key was just humility. It was to accept you can’t be the best in everything. To complete our Doge 7 design in a clever way it just required to chose one of the best digital specialists in China and let him do what is his talent, the digital, and use our analog talent to do the analog. That is the Doge 7.
Doing so, we found it crucial to split the Doge7 into two boards one done by us for analog and one done by this digital expert, and this, to avoid any interference between digital high frequencies and analog.
It is more transparent, silkier, more analog than most of the DACs. And this is not our own statement, but our customer’s feedback as we already sold many since 2018. It is the Doge product with the highest satisfaction rate.
Satisfaction rate?? Hey, you are not Apple. How can you know your satisfaction rate?
Not so difficult. Most of our customers write to us after they receive their unit. But also twice per month, we track the sales of Doge second-hand units on many websites like Ebay, Canuck Mart or Audiogon. The best evidence of this high satisfaction rate is that you will barely find second-hand units. Doge 7 has 97% satisfaction rate and even we are not Apple, it is higher than their iPhone satisfaction rate which is 96%!! (laughs).
You talk a lot of analog. But aren’t DACs digital?
Yes, the digital to analog conversion is done on the DAC or it wouldn’t be called a “Digital to Analog Converter.” However, all DACs require an output stage because the output level of the DAC chip is very low and this output stage is analog. In the case of the Doge 7 DAC, the two sections are completely separate from one another; 2 different boards. And not only for humility as said above, but also technically to avoid interference from high frequencies digital chips on the analog stage.
And of course, that would be meaningless to split the boards if we wouldn’t split the power transformers as well, with an oversized one for tubes who works in class A and a standard size one for the digital board which requires just small current.
Don’t DACs get outdated too quickly like smarphones?
Absolutely. Digital devices advance so fast that they get outdated. But most of what gets outdated is just the chip ratings themselves and not its sound performance like most manufacturers want you to believe. There are still lovers of the 1991’s Philips TDA1541 DAC chip. Our Doge7 is more analog device than digital device in that sense.
Once you have a stable design, it is pointless to update the chip every year. A DAC is not about the chip only, but the implementation of the chip and its connection with the analog stage. ES9018 is an awesome chip. we find using a 768Khz/32b chip pointless when 99% of files used are 44.1/16. But that is not without testing. We are not stuck up. We did various testings between newer DAC chips and we continue to do so. So far, this ES9018 is the clear winner for our DAC implementation. Not surprisingly it outperforms many DACs using the newer ES9038.
So with DACs newer is not better ?
Look at the very trendy and very awarded R2R DACs, it is a technique of the late 70’s.
Where to get improvements if not the chip?
If you want to improve your DACs’ sound, you have the option to do tube rolling, either by yourself through the many online shops, or with our factory upgrades. It would be a far more obvious improvement than a new DAC with a newer chip.
But do not feel like you need to upgrade tubes right away to get great sound. Unlike many companies shipping out crappy stock tubes, Doge 7 is supplied with first grade Shuguang tubes with Doge additional QC.
True Tube DAC? what does it mean? There are many tube DACs.
Many other DACs on the market have tubes in their analog stage. BUT most of the “tube DACs” on the market just offer a tube buffer stage. In simple words, they just put a tube at the end of the analog stage after the signal has passed through many solid-state chips. On the contrary, on Doge 7, once the ESS Sabre chip converts the signal from digital to analog, the analog signal moves through connectors to the analog PCB, and then the signal is handled by vacuum tubes only without solid-state components.
OK, but some brands use full tube analog stage as well, don’t they?
Yes, but just a few ones. So far we know only two, and we have most respect for those brands. But they are 3 to 15 times our price, depending on the model. We respectfully believe we compete at a similar level for a much lower price tag.
What is a tube differential stage? Something marketing?
That’s a very important stage. The DAC chip outputs are unbalanced. To carry the signal to RCA, you have to unbalance it. It is called a “differential stage”. We keep using tubes to do this, whereas others use solid-state components. That’s also the reason we have 8 tubes; because of this tube differential stage. Please note that you will use tube #7 and tube #8 only if you use the XLR output. On the contrary, if you use the RCA output, you will use 6 tubes only among the 8. It is to take into consideration if you upgrade the tubes. With the RCA output, you need to upgrade 6 tubes only.
I didn’t see you offer MQA. isn’t it a bit weird for a high end DAC not to offer MQA?
Come on James, don’t tell me you believe to this buzz around this bullshit marketing codec?? We won’t put anything in Doge products that is wrong for the music. We respect our customer’s opinions who might believe in it, but we really don’t like this fake Hi-Res format and we prefer to lose sales that to include it. Within 10 years everybody will have forgotten about it and wouldn’t even remember what is was.
We won’t say more about it, just read UK brand Linn explanations about it. Why MQA is bad for Music.
Read also the respectful company Schiit opinion: Why we won’t be supporting MQA
Yup, even Doge 7 never came to market under our German OEM customer’s brand “LUA”, according to our calculations, that would have been the price tag under this German brand name. Our ex-CD player Doge 6 using similar architecture was sold $5000 under LUA Appassionata model name. But parts in a DAC are much more expensive, in particular the ESS chip and the Xmos chip. That’s the $6K calculation.
How do you go from 6k to under 2k? Lesser quality parts?
Quite the contrary. Doing saving on distribution channel, we upgraded and moved the UK high-end audiophile-grade coupling capacitor Claritycaps that we use in our famous Doge 8. As a reference among many, the Italian speakers brand Sonus Farber uses them for their crossover in their $25,000 speakers.
A Claritycap ESA cost 10 time the price of the Wima used in the $5000 CD player LUA Appassionata we manufactured for our German OEM customer.
For electrolytic caps, we use Japanese Nippon-Chemicon and Nichicon; even our PCB from Taiwan is gold plated. Which are heaps better than what the high-end manufactures were asking us to use to reduce their cost for more money in their pockets. Even our signal cable is a very expensive silver-PTFE with shielding, if you knew its price, you would be very surprised.
$2k for a 6k DAC? That sounds like a good deal !
We are glad you feel that way! In our testing, our DACs compete directly with DACs in the $10,000 region with improved parts.
This is possible because we are now doing factory direct sales. As much as we would like to pride ourselves of giving customer’s a good deal; we truly believe that this should be a standard in our industry.
End of the interview.
VOLUME FUNCTION & HEADPHONE
A potentiometer controls the headphone output volume. Through the same potentiometer or through the remote controller, Doge 7 offers also a main volume control, called ‘preamp mode’. This volume function is controlled by the ES9018 chip, not by an additional preamp stage. So the maximum output voltage is the same in DAC mode or preamp mode. Therefore preamp mode is not mainly intended to drive a power amp directly, but it can if your amp is very sensitive (below 1V) and has high power (above 100W). If you have doubt, please mail us and precise the brand name and the model name of your power amp.
Both analog and digital connectors are first-grade gold plated sourced from Taiwan. You will be pleasantly surprised how our digital connectors differ from those in mass-market DACs as they are of the same quality as those you would find on some $10,000 DACs.
THE DISPLAY. It shows:
> the bitrate > the input selected > the digital mode: PCM or DSD
> the output mode: standard DAC mode or preamp mode.
Factory-direct price: once you will have add the product to cart (without the need to register) you will fill your country and see the total price including delivery to your front door, Paypal or Credit card fees, and one year warranty served in your country.
If you pay by bank transfer, you will get 5% discount as our bank doesn’t charge fees so we refund Paypal financial gateway fees doing so, and you can also pay by credit cart and get 5% discount using Wise.com which is an alternative financial gateway ultra secured.
Possible taxes in your country are at your charge.
This version is delivered with premium NOS tubes worth $50 each.
NOS means New Old Stock. It is brand new tubes, but manufactured a long time ago by prestigious brands, in a time QC was at much higher standards than now, a time when non-qualified tubes were destroyed on the contrary of now, where non-qualified tubes are very often sold under the same printing as premium measured.
Please note that for safety reasons according to international air freight regulations, remote controllers are supplied without batteries. They use the traditional AAA type.
Once you will have purchased your DOGE 7, you will find all instructions to install the DOGE 7 on your PC or MAC in the following link.