Help me choose a new AMP (Arya and LCD X)

Hmmm for something more easily attainable, I mean the zmf pendant is a naturally good pairing, it’s spacious, warmer and thick sounding, controlled and capable, overall very nice. If you wanted something more neutral and a great middle ground between tube and ss, something like a linear tube audio mz2 with the lps+ psu is very nice (also would drive the arya better). If you wanted to go for something smoother and more relaxed, the feliks elise mkII is a pretty solid choice. A note on these amps, the spring 2 wouldn’t be the most ideal pick, since because they are single ended, you would only be using half of the dac on the spring 2, the xlr out is higher preforming imo. I would go for something like a lampizator amber 3 with this (as I would say it’s a better match sonically anyways, but size might be a concern).

If you look around you might be available to find a cayin ha-6a which would go very well with what you have (including the hifiman) and would work well with the spring imo, also potentially a used modwright tryst might be within reach and that also goes well with the spring imo

Getting into the range of very hard to find most of the time, a dna stratus or a used eddie current balancing act or studio jr (you might be able to find a zds potentially but this isn’t balanced) would be excellent but that’s probably really pushing it

Wow, you weren’t kidding - I’ve got a lot of options. The Pendant does seem like an obvious choice. Are balanced tube amps not really a thing at that price range?

Solid state wise, would the Phonitor X be much of an upgrade on the Mini?

What about the mighty Yggdrasil vs the Spring 2?

And that’s just a few lol

It’s harder lol, that cayin I mentioned is probably your best bet in the 2k ish range for balanced, otherwise for the most part it’s going to be pretty dependent on the used market for a balanced tube

That would be a downgrade imo, can’t say I’m a fan of the phonitor, the mini ends up being a hair behind in resolution but way better dynamics, better timbre, and also doesn’t sound as sterile overall

Hmmm so the yggy is going to be more meaty and impactful, might sound more tonally organic, but it’s not going to be as detailed as the spring and the spring has more impressive spatial recreation and separation as well. Kinda think of how your bf2 compares to the cyan, it’s kinda like that on a higher preforming scale. Also the yggy rca kinda sucks as well lol. I think it comes down to preference, both are pretty great


I’m very drawn the the idea that the Spring 2 is going to be more detailed and spacious. That’s very appealing to me and is more in line with my tastes, although I’ve now emailed with Zach about it (he’s very good with queries from customers) and he’s said that he personally uses the Yggy with the Pendant and loves it:

“I use the Yggy and Sonnet Morpheus in my system with the pendant and love them both, my friends who have the Holo Dacs really love them, I think youll be happy either way, personally I’d probably go for the Holo just because I’ve never owned one and always liked what I heard!”

The Lampizator is coming in at €3000 and looks like it might be quite hard to get hold of, and the Cayin HA-6A is super expensive in Europe (€3500 vs roughly $2500 in the US from what I could find, although I did think it looked great).

So the Spring 2 in NOS or OS mode is not going to be at its full potential if used with the Pendant? Is that because of it being SE?

It’s because it only uses half the ladders in the system, so you are litterly only using half the dac from what I know. Now don’t get me wrong, se still sounds good (same with the yggy), but that being said there is more preformance to be had if you run them balanced. The sonnet tho that is pretty good single ended tbh, if you wanted to go pendant, perhaps see if you can get him to give you a bundle deal with the pendant and sonnet lol

The used market seems pretty dry atm as well

Hmmm very strange, also bizarre since it’s a chinese company, I would have assumed you would get similar pricing over there

Ok, the Pendant is on the way, as is an ex-demo Holo Audio Spring 2 KTE. I actually ordered an Yggdrasil as well but got cold feet and cancelled the order - one two-grand purchase at a time, Phil. I already know I like the way the Cyan sounds, and the Spring 2 with my GS-X will be great. I’ll then see how the Spring 2 sounds on the Pendant vs. my Bifrost 2. If the Bifrost 2 sounds better to me then I’ll have grounds to investigate the Yggy. Phew.


I’m excited to hear your findings! I bet waiting on shipping has to be a killer right now.

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Should be pretty damn sweet, really curious to see what you think about it :+1:


Luckily, ZMF had a 230v Pendant in stock, so that shouldn’t be too bad a wait. The Spring 2 is going to be sent out on Monday. Should have them both by the end of next week. Will report back!


Remember to post the DAC impressions in this thread 🔷 Holo Spring 2

Will do. It was a difficult decision - lots of people seem to place the new Yggy narrowly above the original Spring, but I could find little or no comparison between the Yggy and the Spring 2. I’ve based it mainly on preferring the sound of the Cyan to the BF2 (albeit only slightly).z

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I feel like it depends on how you ran it, the og spring needed a good ddc to bring it to it’s potential (also depends on the level for the spring, the kte is a significant improvement), where the new spring doesn’t, also some other tweaks to improve the 2. Realistically neither are bad dacs at all and I highly doubt that anyone making their first foray into high end dacs would really be disappointed with an a2 yggy or a spring 2 kte. Also synergy is a massive component for sure, some amps just sound not as good with certain dacs. Like with the soekris dacs they sound crazy good with violectric, but kinda don’t sound great with some other amps. Does this make it a bad dac? No, it just means you need to match to your system better. Really most of the higher end dacs will be great, it really comes down to finding what most suits your preferences and sonic goals, and what has good synergy with your system

If I may, what’s a DDC?

Digital to Digital converter, so something like a matrix x-spdif 2. The original spring had a subpar usb implementation so it would be better to bypass

I see. Not so with the Spring 2? Worth looking into a DDC? I’d ordinarily use USB, but I could also use optical. I suppose what I’m saying is, what’s the BEST option?

Nope usb on the spring 2 is pretty solid

It depends

I would just use usb for this one

Prob ddc but you might end up spending more than you would want to for one to get a substantial improvement from one, I would just use usb for now

Ok, that’s a relief to hear.

Another thing I’ve been thinking about is the fact that I primarily just use Tidal. I don’t use HQPlayer or DSD or any hi-res formats - almost everything I listen to is 16/44.1. Am I doing it wrong? Are there benefits to be had by getting into the more complex side of things, or am I fine just running Tidal in exclusive mode and running my DAC in NOS mode?

The massive majority of music is in 16/44.1, you aren’t missing out imo. As long as it’s lossless you should be just fine, most higher end dacs don’t need high res material to sound their best. I would say sometimes the high res releases are worthwhile if they end up being remasters or better tape transfers, generally I just tend to get things in as high as format possible, but I’m not going to really care if something is only in cd quality format

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A good DAC will reveal just how much information can be in a good 16/44 recording.