DOGE 7 Clarity – Tube DAC

    DOGE 7 Clarity – Tube DAC

    (10 customer reviews)

    $1,399

    The Doge 7 is our most innovative product, but it sounds like old-style analog turntables!

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    Description

    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”

     

    Due to an unusual number of orders after the two awards, we are on backorder status until around January 20th.

    We will receive soon parts to assemble 50 new units, many of them are already booked. Please note, as we don’t have yet the units in stock, that we accept only preorders which means you neither have to pay now, nor to pay any deposit. At checkout just choose “bank transfer” as it allows you to complete the order while not making instant payment.

    Once your unit will be ready for delivery we’ll inform you and ask you to process to payment. Then you will be able to choose between Credit Card payment or bank transfer with 6% discount.

    By making a preorder you will be sure to get a unit this month whereas the next production will be at the end of March.

     

    ============

    • 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 & DSD
    • 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

     

    Worth $6,000???

    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.

     

    THE CONNECTORS

    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.

     

    PRICE POLICY

    Factory-direct price: once you will have checked-out (without the need to register) you will fill your country and see our total price with includes delivery to your front door, Paypal or CC 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 us any fees (use coupon code “bank” at checkout). If you pay by transferwise.com you will get 6% discount and you can use any Credit Card.

    Possible taxes in your country are at your charge.

     

    VACUUM TUBES UPGRADE OPTIONS

    Doge 7 is supplied with first grade Shuguang tubes with Doge additional QC.

    However, as many customers asked us for some upgrade choices, we offer factory upgrades. Factory upgrade means you don’t pay twice the tubes, the stock ones, and the higher grade ones. Stock tube price is removed and you get only the upgrades tubes (Stock tubes are not supplied).

    NOTE: There is only one version of the Doge 7 which comes with 8 tubes. Tube 7 & 8 is for balanced and won’t be in use when using RCA though you might need them in the future if you change of amp or preamp. For XLR output the signal pass through all tubes.

    • Optional Psvane S/TII series:  you get 8 upgraded tubes, 6 x 12AX7-S (new model of Psvane, 2 x 12AT7-TII (the 12AT7-S is not released yet
    • Optional Shuguang T series: you get 8 upgraded tubes, 6 x 12AX7-T and 2x 12AT7-T
    • Even Psvane tubes are more marketed, we like a lot the Shuguang T series. Most advertised is not always the best.

    What about NOS?

    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, at a time when non-qualified tubes were destroyed on contrary as now, sold under same printing, and at a time some now-forbidden alloys were permitted.

    Of course, if you already own tubes in particular NOS, you can choose the option “NO TUBES”.

    If want to buy NOS tubes you can do it by yourself and choose “NO TUBES”.

    NOS are the cream of the cream but they are rare so more expensive. We can recommend you some NOS tubes, please mail us. The budget will be around $350/$500 + shipping, on tubeampdoctors.com or thetubestore.com for example. We can recommend the same tubes used in the STEREO benchmark which made Doge 8 get the 100% mark.

     

    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.

    Music files formatsAll existing formats
    USB bitrates accepted16-32Bit / 44.1KHz, 48KHz, 88.2KHz, 96KHz, 176.4KHz, 192KHz, 352.8KHz, 384KHz, DSD 64 (DoP), DSD128 (DoP)
    Coax, Opt, AES, bitrates16-24Bit / 44.1KHz, 48KHz, 88.2KHz, 96KHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz
    Tubes components12AX7 x 6, 12AT7 x 2
    RCA output2
    XLR output1
    USB input1
    Coaxial inputs2
    Optical inputs2
    AES-EBU1
    Remote controlleryes
    Stand-by functionyes
    Remote controller materialLuxury black aluminum
    Headphone outputyes
    Variable output functionyes. From the front panel and the remote controller
    Coax, Opt, AES, Bitrates16-24Bit / 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz
    Bandwidth20Hz to 20KHz
    S/N ratio103dB
    THD0.04%
    Max output voltage2.6V
    Output impedance600 ohms
    Size in inchesW:17″ x D:14.5″ x H:5.1/4″
    Weight in mmW:44cm x D:36cm x H:11cm
    Weight in KG14kg + packing
    VoltageDepending on your country 120V, 220V, 230V, 240V (100V on special order)
    Warranty1 year for electronics, 3 months for vacuum tubes

    10 reviews for DOGE 7 Clarity – Tube DAC

    1. frank Giuliani

      I was looking for a tube dac to impart an organic sound into a second system. Owning a lot of NOS tubes I decided on the dac 7. What a fantastic dac! I brought it into my main system just to play with it and I don’t think it’s leaving. Fantastic sound, build quality is top notch, and this dac plays every resolution in my playlist without any problems. I have been lucky enough to have a Lampi Big 7, the Zanden dac, and several others, and this new Doge dac ( with the right tubes) can play with the best of them. I’m VERY impressed.

    2. Gary

      —– Original Message —–
      From: Gary G.
      To: Marc / DOGE AUDIO overseas sales manager
      Sent: Friday, November 17, 2017 6:43 PM
      Subject: Re: Doge 7

      Hi Marc,

      I received the Doge 7 earlier this week, and so far I am really enjoying the sound – I have compared it briefly to my excellent “analog sounding” Border Patrol Non-Oversampling (NOS) DAC, and I hear that the Doge DAC provides a touch more detail plus a deeper sound stage – And this is even before the Doge has had a chance to fully break in. I believe this DAC is a keeper! After some more time with the Doge, I will be happy to write a review for you.

      Best Regards,
      Gary

    3. GaryG

      After purchasing and then spending some time listening to my new Doge 8 Clarity preamp, I was enamored enough with the sound and build quality of this single-ended class-A design that my interest turned to the Doge 7 DAC as a potential successor to my then current DAC. I’ve owned several DACs over the years of varying designs, but never an all-tube unit (and single-ended class-A, at that) with an ESS Sabre processor. So, after a few email exchanges with Marc who answered each of my questions quickly and completely, I decided to order a Doge 7 based on its promising specs.

      I received the Doge 7 directly from the factory in a few business days (triple-boxed surrounded by a wooden crate!), and upon first listen, I knew something special had just arrived – I then allowed full break-in to occur over the following weeks, and all I can say is that wow, this DAC really conveys music with heart – Abundant detail and spacious sound stage, along with a nice dose of holographic presentation, without treble glare or other frequency spectrum artifacts (the bass region also being tuneful and deep) – All of this producing a convincing “musicians in the room” effect, which other listeners have also noted – This DAC is a keeper!

      Build quality matches that of the Doge 8 in every way, meaning a lot of excellent hardware especially for the price paid (for example it as well utilizes Clarity coupling caps), and is simply a great match for the preamp. I also own all-tube amplification driving electrostatic speakers, and the system as a whole is wonderfully involving and satisfying – Thank you again, Doge, for another excellent product.

    4. malbreil patrice

      Translated by Doge team from french customer review.
      I am the owner of a DOGE 7 since one month. I received it in a very robust packing (foam, 3 carton layers wood frame). So very serious packaging. On my opinion the assembling quality is just one little step below the made in Europe or made in USA products, but no really serious matters. The components quality is perfect.
      I tried a tube rolling and felt that the DOGE 7 has still a margin of improvements with higher range tubes.
      The sound is dynamic, rich, natural and warm. This device offers a killer price/quality budget. I recommand it without any hesitation.

    5. Luca Anzalone

      I bought the Doge 7 because of the suggestion of a friend, without the opportunity of auditioning it, and with some reservation about the worries that in Italy may not be a good place for repair it (inside or not the warranty) in case of problems.
      My system is an analytical one, and despite i really like to have lot of details, something was missing in the overall emotional impact.
      I wanted some more “meat” at dinner, the flavour of it, the smoke departing from its body and its taste under my teeth. But i didn’t want to lose the accuracy, the elegant presentation and the science of a real gourmet dish.
      My first choice was to match my Musical Fidelity A5 Integrated Amp with is “brother” MF A5 Cd Player, of which i was interested in the valve output stage, but unfortunately the ex demo i found was damaged and didn’t work.
      This was sad to me, because on the paper it could be an ideal match, sonically and esthetically. The next step was to find another valve cd player, but my friend suggested to go further and take a Valve Dac, because the future is not on cds, and because it could read my cd collection (5000/6000 discs) very well, bypassing the cd player Dac. So i arrived at Doge, and what i’ve seen and read about the Doge 7 was exactly what i was hoping to find, expecially the union of high definition (via the Sabre chip) and the 100% tube analog output…on paper “the best of both worlds” (by now a new audiophile cliché).
      Now it’s only two days i have it in my home, and the first thing i can say is: outstanding! It’s not a cliché, it’s real. I lost nothing about details and acoustic scene (on the contrary, it’s even better than before), and what i get is exactly that involving, natural, real feel of the instruments and the ambiance in which the music is played. The tones of the instruments are just so right, pleasing and with the correct balance between them, that the concrete feeling of “being there” is naturally avverted. I also noted a big improvement in the low frequencies…good, deep bass with body, punch and control.
      The best thing is that the tubes are nothing near the raccomended break-in period, the sound is already excellent and it can only improve!
      By now i’m only listening to my cds collection, and they are revealed in the best way i’ve ever listened; i can’t wait to test some seriosi hi-res file (which by now i don’t have) via USB from a dedicate PC.
      No problems with expedition and installation.
      Excellent!

    6. prisoner

      This is a fantastic DAC and amazing value. The DAC really shines. It bested my other Stereophile Class A DAC. It has gotten my digital sounding so close to my vinyl front end and, in some cases, it’s better.

      Customer service and shipping were superb. Doge got the product to me so quickly without hickup.

      I think the stock tubes are fine but you can do much better by rolling the tubes.

      The build quality is great and the pictures do not reflect the super fit and finish of the unit. The sound quality can be near spellbinding. I’m very pleased! Buy with confidence.

    7. Wayne

      This is a great product. Wow want a difference between DAC in my CD player and the DAC 7. Build quality is great. Marc at Doge is very easy to work. Highly recommend.

    8. Richard Charlton

      Incredible DAC. It sounded great straight off but no better than the modded mdac I already had. Then I started playing with tubes. Got some Sylvania 5751 in now instead of the ax7s. I’ve enjoyed improving my sound over last few years but had no idea music could sound like this. It’s literally like a band is in right in front of me with all the different instruments and singers in my living room. I know it’s cliche but that really is what it’s like. The DAC feeds a Roksan Blak and Elac AS61 speakers and I don’t see how a 20k setup could beat this. If you can get Mark to speak to you and you buy one then pay the extra for the better tubes. Unless your going to splash out for some nos Sylvania 5751s like I did. Green label, black plate, triple mica. But they’re not cheap. When I rolled the tubes the inside of this DAC looks very high quality. All clarity caps and the like. Anyway it’s the sound, just Incredible sound, but do play with the tubes, you’ll be glad you did.

    9. Elton J. Crim Jr.

      I bought the Doge 7 new but the pre dsd model. All I can say is that I love it. It has a ground switch which I needed to use but it went from having a hum to silent. It has every type of input except I2S I run two transports, a vecteur research and a Jay’s audio transport. I also run a Bluesound Vault 2i using coax. The jay’s audio is connected with a DH Labs AES-EBU and the vecteur research transport with a signal cable reference coax. All sound great. I replaced the stock tubes with mullards new stock and then with NOS Mullards which were on sale at the time. Tubes upgrade make significant improvement. My system is really transparent meaning you can hear lots of microdetail (inner detail). My preamp is a Tortuga Audio LDR with Tortuga Tube Buffer and Tortuga Battery supply. My rcs’s are all Nordost Frey II or Heimdall 2 My amp a Pass Labs x250. It is the most analogue, non fatiguing dac I have ever heard and I have had tube based dacs before. But the detail is all there.
      Build quality is top notch, I have had no issues with it. I dd replace the tube covers with Herbies tube dampers but I did not do an AB to see if they are better or the same as the tube cases that come with the unit. I also put it on Herbies footers. The sound is warm analogue but with excellent inner detail The remote is well built and metal rather than plastic. The packing was outstanding considering the distance it had to travel to the US.

    10. David Leung (verified owner)

      This DAC is the best audio component I’ve ever owned. It can easily beat DACs I’ve heard costing 3-4 times it’s price. As far as audiophile values, it’s got it all, detail, imaging, great bass, dynamics, transparency, but that’s not why it’s great. It’s strength is it just makes everything sound real and alive. It’s the most life like DAC I’ve ever heard by far. No hint of any digital sound just pure unbridled realism. Don’t consider, this DAC, just buy it. Any hype you hear about this DAC is real and then some!

    11. bh9907160 (verified owner)

      Initially I was not amazed. Then the power DAC evolved from an orange and green caterpillar, to a black, indigo, and fuchsia butterfly. I gained an ever-expanding appreciation for the heights that this power DAC took me, especially going directly into a set of mono blocks via XLRs. I am not saying that this power DAC is picture perfect, but you will not be let down by the Rembrandt of sound that it cast. With the various hues and shades being forever true to life. I am now waiting patiently to determine what this butterfly will evolve into next. Anything higher would be angelic. With the right tubes, I can assure you that this will be one of the last DACs you will ever want to buy.

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