Pontus II + Node 2i - VS - Gold Note DS-10 Plus

Hello fellow audiophiles,

I want to add a preamp between my Pontus + Node2i and my Atma Sphere Class-D mono blocks. 

Then the thought recently occurred to me that I could consolidate and purchase a Preamp/DAC/Streamer combo. I've heard some favorable reviews of the Gold Note DS-10 Plus but I'd like to hear impressions from those of you that have heard it in your rig. 

My gear is arrayed atop a 1.5" slab of blue granite on the floor (on anti-vibration feet) and I love the clean simple minimalist look of it. So does my wife. I'm usually a separates guy but I'm running out of room. I'm loathe to vertical with a rack. So the idea of consolidating where I can is now a high priority, without taking a backseat to sonics. 

Thanks in advance for your helpful advice (hopefully based on your actual experience with the Gold Note).   


I recently purchased the Gold Note DS-10 for a second system. had similar thoughts about combining the streamer and DAC. I am waiting on new speakers to arrive which I believe should be here in a couple of days. Once I’ve gotten things running, I’ll report back on my observations. 

Btw - I was also impressed by the favorable reviews. I’ve received the unit - along with the optional extra power supply - and it’s really nicely done. The design, visual appeal, and appealing tactile qualities impressed me right out of the box. I hope it sounds as good as it looks! 


Do you have the Gold Note gear in your system yet? 

I've been listening to the DS-10 EVO and PSU-10 EVO in my system for a couple days and compared to my Pontus there's a noticeable difference. Just wondering what you think of the Gold Note sound?


I just received speakers for my second system yesterday. I purchased Buchardt S400 MKii speakers driven by a Luxman 590axii integrated amp. As mentioned earlier, I've got the Gold Note DS-10 and Evo power supply too. 

I'm planning on getting things running over the next day or so. I'm looking forward to hearing what things sound like... 

What are your thoughts about Gold Note DS-10 and Evo power supply so far? 

I'd love to hear your perspective. 

Nice setup you got there! I bet that sounds fantastic.

To be completely honest the Gold Note (DS-10 EVO and EVO power supply) don't suit my tastes as much as my Bluesound Node2i and Pontus II (dac). I'm not saying one is clearly superior to the other, just a matter of personal preference.  

I tend to favor resolution/detail over "musical" or lush presentations. I get goose bumps listening through the Pontus, not so with the GN. Maybe that's because of the way the Pontus permeates the air with it's "live energy". The GN seems to soften the transients ever so slightly and the dynamics are slight compressed relative to the Pontus. 

Some argue that certain gear presents hyper-real information, which is not "real" vis-a-vie "musical".  I really get off on resolution, texture, and peering deep into the sonic minutia, and if that means the presentation is slightly tilted towards what those in the "musical" camp call hyperreal that's fine by me. 

The soundstage is the similar with perhaps the GN being slightly more expansive (width and depth). The tonal colors are the same, neither one darker or brighter in comparison to the other. The imaging, what I define as space or layering between instruments and/or notes, is a little better with the Pontus. These are not a huge differences but are clearly audible to my ear. By this I mean I think I'd easily pass blind A/B test.

I haven't played with any of the GN dac settings. I've just played through the stock setup. 

Well, that's my two cents.


@69zoso69 - Thanks for your perspective! 

I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum, desiring a relaxing, warmer and less detailed presentation. I like my music to be like a good bourbon and intimate conversation - warm and relaxing. The Luxman is pretty neutral in it's presentation, so I'm hoping the Buchardt speakers, known for being a bit warm, along with the Gold Note DS-10 DAC can give me the tall glass of music I seek. 

I'll let you know once I get the music up and running this weekend! 


I can appreciate your preference my friend, my wife shares the same desire for a more warm relaxing presentation. I've heard good things about the Merason Dac1, which may be to your liking. 




@m669326 - So I got the Gold Note DS-10 running last night along with the new Buchardt s400 MKii speakers and Luxman 590axii with Revelation Labs Interconnect and LessLoss speaker cables. 

As with anything, one has to consider system synergy, but I'm blown away by the sound the above system is producing. The Gold Note DS-10 DAC is a stone cold winner - lush and musical. 

I actually have the Merason DAC1 in my living room system, which I've enjoyed for a year! However, I'm finding, at least at first blush, that I might prefer the Gold Note DS-10. It's less detailed than the Merason, but feels equally musical, but with more warmth. Maybe it's these Buchardt speakers that have such a warm presentation? 

Do you still have the Buchardt speakers? 

I see why the s400 mkii speakers have gotten such great reviews. They just make anything they play sound good. They are just incredibly warm and expansive on the bass frequencies.  

I am considering consolidating my DAC and streamer to create some needed space.  Currently using Bricasti M3 and M5 which are nice, but frankly not as nice as my Lector CD player.  

Does the Gold Note DAC have tonal density?  I read a review which described it as airy and a bit thin or light.  Wonder if that might not be system dependent.


When I demoed the GN gear with my Atma Sphere Class D moon blocks I found the Gold Note combo (DAC, streamer, pre + external power supply) to sound similar to my Pontus. I hair warmer which was not to my taste. I would not say the GN gear was dry sounding at all. Plenty of body and weight. But less open and layered than my Pontus. These differences were subtle and took some time to tease apart. I didn’t tweak any of the filter settings though.