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Posts by project86

Sorry I haven't heard the Hilo in a long time. The Matrix X-Sabre is about to be superseded with an upgaded model coming very soon, so I'm not sure I'd buy the original new at this point. But a used one makes sense, it's still a great DAC. Matrix is a little more exciting, rich midrange and some emphasis down low. The NuPrime is neutral to a fault so the rest of your system better be ready for that. 
  It's very different than the iHA-6. I've got one here to mess with and just last night was rolling tubes. It uses 12AU7's on the input stage and EL84's for driver tubes, plus a single 12DT5 for rectification. Stock sound is somewhat lush, euphonic, forgiving and fun if somewhat laid back and lacking ultimate resolution. Midrange is particularly nice, more engaging than the matter-of-fact iHA-6 with its neutral presentation.  Stock tubes are "Cayin" branded 12AU7 which...
  Personally I'd much rather listen to the Cayin combo. Hugo is brilliant in terms of detail retrieval but not so musically engaging imho. And the HD800 in the mix only exasperates it. The Cayin in Solid State mode with the Linear filter is fairly neutral, vaguely similar to Hugo but less resolving and also less obnoxious.  Adding just the Cayin amp will drive the HD800 better than your Hugo but the flavor will be largely the same.
There is definitely a lot of very good gear in China, but also some not so good stuff. Probably true of any region I suppose. The tough part is the good stuff is easy to miss if you don't know where to look. That's why it's nice to see companies like Cayin do well, along with some of the other more visible brands like Opera Consonance, Yulong, Matrix, Shanling, and probably some others who I am forgetting. 
LINK to my review of the Cayin stack at InnerFidelity. Feel free to comment there as well - any thoughts pertaining to Cayin at all. I know we've discussed a lot here but it seems more accessible for "outsiders" if posted there, as some people aren't familiar with HeadFi and won't ever get to this thread. So if anyone wants to throw in their opinions, questions, comments, please do!
Ha! Thanks, I deliberately stayed away from your review until today. We do indeed hear them fairly similarly. As I mention in mine, if you prefer a NOS sound then you won't find the Cayin particularly warm. I didn't mention it but I suppose the other end is true as well - if you wanted a super-brilliant reference type sound, the Cayin in SS mode still isn't as bright as say my Esoteric D-07x or Calyx Femto. So it's all relative.   Your review is very well done too...
Yes, but despite all the extra stages involved, using RCA input with balanced output still sounds quite enjoyable. For me, using balanced out for the amp is the more important factor, while the DAC output choice is secondary by a huge margin. 
  Interesting, thanks. Looks like the Brooklyn is a bit more of a "Jack of all Trades" type device, while the Veritas is more focused. It's good to have both types out there I suppose. 
In very simplified terms, think of the Cayin amp as being like two single-ended amps packed into the same chassis. When you listen via balanced out, each side is driving one channel of your headphones independently. When you listen via the 1/4" jack, you are really only making use of "half" the amp, in a manner of speaking.   So far so good. However the amp has the ability to convert single ended signals to balanced or vice versa, so you can feed it via XLR or RCA and...
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