February 7-10 2020
BorderPatrol/Volti/Triode Wire Labs
Scot Hull: This single component defies many conventions and audiophile assumptions. Itís not FPGA-based, itís not a streamer-enabled endpoint, it does not support high-resolution audio files. Like, at all. Thereís no filtering, no over-sampling and no up-sampling. All of that means, to the computer-savvy audiophile, that this DAC really shouldnít promise much. And yet it does. It offers one of the most open-sounding, transparent and full-range presentations Iíve ever heard.
John Richardson: A month or two after hearing Scotís unit, I purchased my own.
'I cheerfully confess that this DAC has been the most entertaining thing to hit my rack in years. The performance easily earns the BorderPatrol DAC SE an Editorís Choice award, but also puts it firmly into Best of the Year territory. An absolute must-listen.' Scot Hull, Part Time Audiophile
AV Showrooms Certificate of Achievement
'OK, so this isnít really a new product introduction, but I was so blown away by the BorderPatrol S20ís performance with Volti Audioís Vittora speaker system that I just had to include it here. Two 300B power triodes are paralleled per channel to deliver 18Wpc. The overall layout is dual mono. Massive dual external power supplies are used. Designer Gary Dews offers several power supply options with the EXC+EXS representing the ultimate configurationóweighing in at 90 pounds each in copper casework and extensive cryogenic treatments. The rest of the setup in the Volti Audio room included: BorderPatrolís DAC1, CEC TL3N belt drive CD transport, and Triode Wire Labs cabling. A gem of a system'.
'All in all, a fantastic sounding room from some of my favorite audio conspirators, and easily one of the very best sounds at AXPONA this year. Again.' Scot Hull Part Time Audiophile
I have to admit that initially I was so wrapped up in the instrumental and vocal timbre that I failed to notice how well the soundstage developed with both acoustic and studio recordings. The fact that this relatively inexpensive digital-to-analog converter can produce such musical nuances is pretty amazing.
In many respects, the DAC SE is a digital cousin to my Denon DL-103R and Ortofon SPU phono cartridges. Iím a proud owner of both, and now of the DAC SE. I encourage you to seek out an audition because you may become an owner of this bargain-priced DAC too.
Volti Audio/BorderPatrol/Triode Wire Labs voted Runner Up for Best System Performance at the California Audio Show 2017.
In my report from the 2016 AXPONA, I wrote a whole blurb about how I thought the Border Patrol room had the best sound of show, but I couldn't turn it in because I had forgotten to take photos. (Sorry Gary Dews.) This time, however, Gary had two rooms and maybe they both will win that honour. The loudspeakers were different in each room, but the sound quality and music quality were equally wonderful in both.........
'What the Border Patrol EXD/EXS combination does superbly well is to establish what may be an industry benchmark in reproducing the correct and fully developed tonal envelope for every instrument and voice played through it. It just gives music a sense of rightness in this critical aspect of realism that places it firmly in the playing field with the finest 300B SET amps of the day.' Steve Marsh 6-Moons
'The SE300B is packed up for shipment back to BorderPatrol, and I'll miss it a lot. I was impressed with its great bass coupled with soundstage definition that is so hard to achieve. During my review the amp worked perfectly and gave the impression that it will last for many, many years. The output tubes are expensive, but the rest of the tubes are moderately priced and that counts for something when you're looking for a long-term amplifier relationship.'
This little BorderPatrol DAC is a stunning success when it comes to achieving the design goals of sounding natural, sweet, open and organic. If you quit listening critically and just enjoy the performance, I think like me, you will discover that this DAC allows for a degree of emotional involvement that you just donít get from even some of the most expensive digital devices.
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