New Emm Labs TSD-1/Dac-2 vs DCS Puccini

Has any body compared these 2 players. I am thinking of adding 1 of them to my setup. They both have usb outs also so I can hook my computer up. Any help would be appreciated.
Both companies have a very different sound, to my ears the EMM Labs is more natural and smooth, sound just flows from it effortlessly, the DCS gear always seemed forced and is not to my taste. FWIW I own the TSD1/DAC2 and the combo is the best player I have ever heard.
On the other hand; I had Emmlabs cdsa and switched to dCS Puccini and the sound was more powerfull, organic and with bigger soundstage; after latest firmware update and adding u-clock the sound improved more IMHO.
I like emm Labs TSD1/DAC2 combo but the quality control is less than satisfactory, communication between the transport & DAC is always have problem.

I am curious what kind of problems you've had, mine works perfectly, except for when I accidentally put a DVD-A disc into the transport, which seems to play them fine but doesn't output any signal as it's not built for these.....

I've only done this twice, and unfortunately both times it has been right after coming home from vacation, so I assume something happened, rechecked all wiring, preamp, you name it only to realize it's a non supported format. Sometimes we do dumb things.....

The DAC2 can't lock the incoming signal from the TSD1 neither through Opti nor AES when playing SACD. After a firmware update, it can play SACD now but not CD! So it fixed one problem and create another.

Moreover, last night the DAC2 can't power up no matter how I tried. Confirmed the fuse is still intact though.

I totally lost the confident of this brand no matter how good it sounds when it is working:(


You need to call them, sound like you drive is bad, but just a guess. I have had the DAC2 require a reboot once when it weouldn't lock onto a signal, but that has been my only glitch other than my idiocracy of trying to play DVD-A discs in it.....

Spent several hours listening to mine last night... I know of no other source that would keep me as happy!
I compared them and got Emmlabs.
But also have quality and support problems.
Sometime left channel played at right and right at left.
After power off and on it is restored.
I've contacted with them directly but they can't or don't want to help.
May be because I'm in Russia but bought it in US.
Now I have Berkeley, wich is really better than Puccini or Emmlabs, but you'll need transport or computer.
I'm same with Murataltuev. I am in Hong Kong and bought it in Singapore.

My TSD1 definitely without problem, only the DAC2 can't power up.

Before the firmware update, my DAC2 already such problem but several unplug/plug the powercord may restore it. But this time even I unplug the powercord for a day cannot save the DAC2. If I can power it up again, I may try to do the firmware update one more time, but I guess the problem this time is related to hardware in the power supply.

I have to send it back!

I borrow from my friend an old Dodson 217 MarkIID DAC as a temporary replacement for the DAC2. It can still accept the AES output from the TSD1 but only for the redbook CD layer even though I play the SACD.

I found I lost the connection to the music, I won't blame the Dodson as it was almost 10 years old. Just think about the development of the DAC in this recent years, there is no turning back.

Just hope my DAC2 can return soon.

Just a follow up, my DAC2 has returned for a month, the main circuit board has been changed. So far so good.

Unfortunately, my TSD1 starts to act up and can't play the redbook CD, only SACD. Of course I have called my source, so far no result yet.

Seems the quality control of emm Labs is a big question mark!

You make me worry. I have a CDSASE bought brand new and from
the beginning it had problems reading the sacds. After the try didn't open anymore. I had to send it back to my dealer.
It seems it is a circuit board problem. I will get it back
in the next weeks. The sound is very good but I think for the
money we pay the reliability should be much better.
I have CDSA se before and sold it to my friend when I upgraded to TSD1+DAC2. Recently my friend told me the CDSA se has something wrong with the tray, every disc he played will have a circular mark about 1.5cm from the rim. This is exactly where the tray has a recess for the smaller disc. I guess the mechanism is skewed, when the disc is played the mechanism should raise the disk to spin. Somehow it didn't raise high enough so that when the disc is spinning it touches the tray. Of course it is only my assumption.

yes, XDS1 uses the Esoteric drive which supposed to be the best disk mechanism money can buy.

I understand the new one is very good but it costs 25000 $.
Don't you think that a cd player like the cdsase that cost 10000 $ should be perfect and very reliable?
Its a shame that it having these problems. For 10000 I would expect a little better quality control. Unfortunately I will probably cross this one off my list. Its like buying an expensive sports car and having the transmission slip all the time. It makes it pretty much useless.
One thing to say is that maybe only mine cd player and few
others had problems. The player is a big seller and like
others things (like cars) someone could be very unlucky
and get problems.When it will come back from the service I
hope it will work perfect.
my source never gets back to me.

yesterday a friend of mine who is an audiophile and technically very knowledgeable came over to the CDSAse owner's house and help to check out what is the problem of the drive or tray scratching the disk.

He found out that the problem is due to the installation of the front part of the disk mechanism is 1-2mm lower than it should be. once he added a thin washer in the front stand up column supporting the drive, the problem is solved. I tested several new disc after this adjustment and the disc leaves no any mark on the surface.

This proves how negligence the emm Labs assembly worker is or their quality control.


The EMM Labs XDS-1 doesn't use the top of the line Esoteric transport.....
Hi Kenny,

Yes, it is not the top of the line, but it already much better than the average.