Review: Lake People DAC RS-06 – Stripped

Disclaimer: The US Violectric/Lake People dealer sent us the SR-06 for this review. The unit well be returned to them as soon as the review is posted.

 

Lake People SR-06

So, you remember the Violectric V850, right?  Lieven reviewed it a few months ago, and he… kind of liked it.  “Sounds pretty good,” he said.  Not his new reference or anything.  Obviously, I kid.  He loved it to death.  Violectric then made plans to release a V820, which was to be the same DAC as the V850, just more basic and stripped down in terms of the bells and whistles.  This would allow people who wanted the great sounding DAC, but didn’t need or want the different re-sampling modes or the ability to adjust the volume in the DAC, to snag it at a reduced price.  Well, the V820 never came into being.    Instead, Fried decided to offer up to us the DAC RS (reference series) 06 under the Lake People brand.  For a refresher, the company that makes the Violectric products is Lake People.  The products released under the Violectric label are intended for consumers, whereas electronics released under the Lake People banner are intended for professionals.  Just so there is no confusion, my Violectric guy asked me to hammer this point, the V820 never happened, and was replaced by the RS 06.

I actually want to start out with sound here, as, if you have read L’s review of (or listened to) the V850, it should be pretty familiar to you.  To put it mildly, this is the best sounding DAC I have heard.  Despite that, I found myself having a time figuring out how to describe it.  What one word sums up the many pleasures of this DAC?  I thought “laid-back”, maybe.  It has a very nice spacious soundstage, and isn’t as in-your-face as, say, the Concero HD (but what is, really?), but people often think of laid-back as lacking energy, and I remember the first time I pumped the Dies Irae from Verdi’s Requiem through the RS-06.  Those goosebumps lasted longer than the music.  The word “soft” also came to mind, as it does have that sharply etched sound of the HD, but that doesn’t cut it either, because soft makes me think of something being fuzzy or unclear, and the clarity and detail on the RS-06 is stunning.  “Warm”, perhaps?  No, not that either.  The treble maybe a smoother, and less upfront that some, but it still extends far, and is as detailed and natural as the rest…  That’s it!  Natural.  That is exactly the perfect word to describe how the DAC sounds.  Everything from the smooth treble, to the clear, layered mids to the tight bass, it all flows naturally, and never sets a foot wrong.  It acts in stark contrast to the insane energy of the Concero HD, which can be amazingly fun, but overall, for the first time, I can say the HD has been beaten.

RS 06 4

After writing that last paragraph, I went back and read L’s review of the V850, and we are clearly seeing eye-to-eye when it comes to the sound.  So, feel free to read his review for a more in-depth look at the sound.

Let’s look at the unit itself.  The first thing you will notice when looking at the unit is that it looks really plain, with none of that pizzazz or styling that the Violectric models are known for.  That has been true of all the Lake People models, and it remains true here.  It looks like something you might find in an equipment rack, and would never catch your eye.  BUT, it is still a solidly made piece of gear, aluminum, and fit together well.  Plus, the use of the less flashy enclosure does have its advantages.

Looking at the front of the unit, it looks identical to the rear of the V850.  For inputs, there is a USB, coaxial, optical and AES (balanced).  For outputs, there is a coaxial digital out (if, for whatever reason, you wanted to use this as a USB to coaxial converter) and both balanced and unbalanced analogue outputs.  I will add my voice to the choir that doesn’t hear any difference between the two, but usually use the balanced because it looks cooler.

The front console has a string of lights, one for each of the inputs (bal {AES}, Coax, Opto, USB), a “lock” light and an “error” light.  On the far left is a button labeled input select that you use to… select the input.  When you switch to an input that isn’t connected to anything, or that is an issue, the red “error” light will come on.  When you select an input that is connected, the blue “lock” light will light up.  It’s pretty straight forward here.

RS 06 3

On the right, there is a switch for turning on the re-sampling feature and a light labeled on next to it.  If the re-sampler is on, so is the light.  I have to admit I am a “give it to me straight” kind of guy, so I don’t mess around with the re-samplers too much.  Sometimes I thought I might have heard a small difference, but I am thinking it was more my imagination.  L felt there was a difference. And who am I to doubt him.  Still, these aren’t the kind of extras that get me excited.  If you recall, the V850 had 4 different re-sampling, while the RS-06 only has one.  The one re-sampling mode on the RS 06 is the same as the “best” on the V850 for what that is worth, and how much that is worth depends on how much interest you have in different re-sampling modes.  Plus, the RS-06 only having one re-sampling mode does have its advantages.

Features and Specifications on Page Two, right after the Click HERE or below

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9 Comments

  • Reply July 26, 2016

    Snazzy Labs

    Great review! Sounds awesome, I’m sure, but BLEH is it ugly! The weird font/logo etching in weird areas is so hideous. The LEDs look tacky and could easily be higher quality without adding hardly anything to the cost. I certainly wouldn’t want this eyesore in my rack. I’m sick of “value-based” equipment looking like crap.

    • Reply July 26, 2016

      Lieven

      It has the typical LakePeople look. Don’t forget this is the PRO line and not the consumer’s line. A lot of people like this kind of design but personally I don’t either. That’s why I pay more for the Violectric 🙂

      • Reply July 26, 2016

        qwak

        …PRO customers usually don’t care about “reference series” written 3 times on a front plate :)…it is really ugly…I would pay extra 50 just to get rid of all those lines and blah blah signs…I like Violectric products -they are ugly too but in a way one can like, but this is too much 🙂 (If someone from LP/Violectric is reading this)

  • Reply July 26, 2016

    Jordan

    Awesome review! Always enjoy reading them even if I can’t afford them. 🙂

    Although I just so happened to be looking at picking up a DAC and was highly considering the Violectric V800 to pair with my V200 and HE-500 headphones. I see rs-06 is only $90 more than the V800, so how would they compare sound-wise? Is this worth the extra $90? Thanks, Jordan.

    • Reply July 27, 2016

      Dave

      I haven’t had the pleasure of hearing the V800. I know L definitely prefers the V850. So, with the difference that small, I would go with the RS 06

  • Reply July 27, 2016

    Dave

    I think you are all crazy. As long as it is functional and well built, who cares how it looks?

  • Reply July 27, 2016

    Tobias Bigger

    Quoting from the “Technical Data” section:

    “Digital outputs:
    – XLR, transformer balanced, according to AES 3/11;
    impedance 110 ohms, output voltage > 4 Vss
    – Cinch, coaxial, according to IEC 958/AES-3id,
    impedance 75 ohms, output voltage > 1 Vss
    – TosLink, optical according to EIAJ RC RC-5720
    – optional 96 kHz USB output”

    “Analog inputs: 2 x XLR, electronically balanced, impedance 10 kohms”

    Did you notice that this doesn’t fit to a DAC?
    Seems you used a data sheet from an ADC piece of gear…

  • Reply July 28, 2016

    John

    I am considering some amps/DACs to pair with the Beyerdynamic T90 but I cannot make my mind since I am trying to keep the cost of amp + DAC under 1000$. The question is which one has more impact on sound stage and imaging? amp or DAC? With regard to amps, I am thinking of Bakoon HPA-01M, RSA Raptor, La Figaro 339, G109S and Beyerdynamic A20. Based on your review on Bakoon HPA-01M and 6moons’ review on RSA Raptor, I think both have great sound stage and quality but if I go for one of these two, I have to choose a cheap DAC. The other 3 amps that I am considering are cheaper and allow me to go for better DACs. Do you have any suggestion?

    • Reply September 3, 2017

      Danni Veng

      John, what did you end up with if I may ask?

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