The LAIV Harmony DAC Review. My New Reference.

The LAIV Harmony DAC Review. My New Reference.

By Steve Huff

My Video Review has all of my feelings and thoughts on the LAIV DAC as well as showing you guys what it looks like in the system. 

It has been a while since I have been excited about an external DAC.

It seems that over the last 2-3 years DAC tech has gotten so good and there are many out there that sound glorious for not so much money. I am a big believer in what a DAC can do for your digital music as I have heard well over 50 DAC’s over the last 5 years and sone have stood out above the rest, but only a few. Of those DAC’s, my favorites have been the Chord Dave ($13k), Weiss DAC 501 ($9500), DCS Lina (13k), T+A DAC 200 ($7k) and the Denafrips Terminator PLUS 12th ($9k). Even the Weiss 204 was a huge bang for the buck and I also highly recommend it as well (though the Harmony is a nicer option).

These are some pretty high end DAC’s at some pretty high end prices but they all bring something different, exciting and all out refinement to the sound of your digital music.

Yes, I have even heard the popular Holo May as well as quite a few models from Denafrips, even having the lovely under $1000 Ares 12th-1 here now, which I really enjoy.

Recently I was asked if I would like to review the first product from an all new company named LAIV, which is pronounced “LIVE”. This new product was their very first, and it was c called the HARMONY DAC. The retail cost of this DAC comes in at $2700, so not chump change but quite a bit less than my five figure favorites. I agreed to check it out and when the Laiv Harmony arrived I knew absolutely nothing at all about it and I mean nothing. I just knew it was a new DAC and had a pretty snazzy design.

When I started to unbox this DAC I was shocked to see some of the finest HiFi packaging I have ever experienced. It was an experience indeed just opening this thing up. In my video review above I show you the unboxing but this small sized but very hefty and solid DAC is drop dead gorgeous. In the box you will find goodies like a credit card style metal card with your serial # and brand info. There is a remote control and OMG, I have never seen a remote so finely crafted. It’s solid metal, and beautiful indeed. This is how you do a remote (see it in the video review).

The DAC also has three spiked feet in brass/gold, not sure which. Some may prefer silver for these highlight but the brass color kind of gives it a classy appearance. Different from the rest. There is a dial up top to change inputs and to maneuver through the simple setup menu. To setup, just move to your preferred input and away you go. You can also set the DAC to over sample the music, or you can tell it to NOT do this. I use both settings and will talk about when and why I use both later on in this review.


The LAIV Harmony comes from Singapore, the same place as Denafrips DAC’s. In fact, Weng Fai Hoh is the guy at LAIV that sent me the DAC and he is good friends with Alvin from Denafrips. With that said, the Harmony has a different sound character from Denafrips. I will state for now that the Denafrips line has a warm leaning, full and fluid spatial vibe going on. It’s very nice indeed. As you go up the line in Denafrips we just get more refinement, a larger soundstage and more details emerging from a deep black space.

The Harmony digs deep for details yet does so with a heft to the sound, a textured sort of thing where small hidden details emerge, things that may have been missed with other DACs. The sound is rich, meaty, detailed, liquid and just flows with a deep black inky background. This in turn allows the music to flow freely with all details heard. The bass is solidified and goes deep as long as your speakers and amp can handle it. This DAC reminds me of a Chord Dave with more meat, richness and bass punch. The Harmony is also very refined, meaning zero digital hash or scrappiness. The LAIV is over $10k less expensive than the Chord Dave but that Dave is aging gracefully. It’s pretty old by tech standards and it seems tech is catching up to the mega dacs of just a few years ago.

From what I am hearing this DAC is of the very special variety and my guess is I will not be the only one to say these kind of things about the LAIV. Id say it competes and hangs with other DAC’s in the $9k-$11k range, and this is saying something indeed. The Harmony, again, is $2700.

Top Tier Build Quality. As good as the best there is. 

Nothing dodgy or subpar here as the build is supremely well done and just as well made as the $10k + DACs I have experienced. The parts quality is also top class and the way this DAC was designed tells me the designer knew what they wanted to achieve and they did just that. if I can be honest here, and I always like to be, the build quality actually feels better than many $10k dacs. It’s remarkable.

The Harmony is beautiful and I have the silver and black models here to compare. I love the black but also adore the silver. Both are nice but the black may be my choice, by a hair.

My Final Word

So with supreme parts and build quality, the most gorgeous remote I have ever seen with any HIFi piece, a small beautiful size and fine attention to detail and mind blowing beautiful sound, this DAC will become my reference for 2024 and possibly beyond. I have been looking for a DAC that sounds sublime but doesn’t cost $5k and up. The LAIV DAC is one that has brought all I have wished for and for much less than I had imagined. Ive never heard a DAC for this price or less that is made as well, looks as good and sounds as nice. The sound of this DAC is sublime and high end.

If you are looking to spend up to $10k for a DAC it would be a shame to NOT hear the Harmony. One could spend the savings on a better set of speakers, or possibly a new streamer. Heck, for around $8500 or less one could purchase the LAIV Harmony along with a HiFi Rose RS130 streamer and have a true reference digital streaming rig. It’s what I use in my main system today and I love it.

The meat of this review is in the video at the top of the page. It has the visuals, the feelings and my full thoughts on this DAC and why it is so special for the cost. It’s not cheap but it is well worth the asking price, and then some. I can not imagine anyone being disappointed in the HARMONY DAC! 

The LAIV Harmony comes in Silver or Black and can be bought at the LAIV Website HERE.


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