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Battle of the balanced DACs - Page 2

post #16 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iron_Dreamer
I have the Aqvox USB DAC on the way, and will provide a comparsion to the DAC1 (using Dynahi as the headphone amp), in a couple weeks, once it arrives and burns-in.

I read about the AQVOX. It's suspicious that it does not need a driver. For PC, I have found that a custom driver is essential for good sound, as well as ASIO to get around KMIXER, although this has a smaller effect. Resident Mac drivers are much better. I would predict that it will sound great on Mac and mediocre on PC's, assuming a good implementation of the DAC.
post #17 of 75
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioengr
The Benchmark DAC-1 has undergone a LOT of changes in the last year, maybe 10. Not the same DAC maybe that you auditioned. The stock DAC-1 is now the best stock DAC that I have heard, with the exception of the very costly Dodsons. It still has a bit of hardness, but not bad enough to cause fatigue. The heaphone outs are not the best though, probably better to use the XLR outs.
Well then... I suppose I should track down a new DAC1 and give it another shot.
post #18 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioengr
The Benchmark DAC-1 has undergone a LOT of changes in the last year, maybe 10. Not the same DAC maybe that you auditioned. The stock DAC-1 is now the best stock DAC that I have heard, with the exception of the very costly Dodsons. It still has a bit of hardness, but not bad enough to cause fatigue. The heaphone outs are not the best though, probably better to use the XLR outs.
Have you heard the older and newer revisions?

How would you characterise the sound differences?
post #19 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by halcyon
Have you heard the older and newer revisions?

How would you characterise the sound differences?

I have heard probably 6 different versions. I mod a lot of them. Here is what they changed:
1) Improved coupling caps, but still SMT
2) added a buffer to the SE outputs, isolating from XLR outs
3) Changed all of the op-amps from Philips to TI
4) reduced the output impedance from the SE outputs to 30 ohms
5) reduced the brightness of the LED's
6) added a pot to balance the L/R gain
7) changed the regulators to REALLY REALLY cheap ones to save the cost of a few plastic bushings

Heres what they didn't change:
-same cheapo digital transformers
-all caps still SMT
-BNC still 50 ohms rather than 75 ohms
-cheapo bridge rectifiers
-not the best op-amp choice

The sound of the old versus new is like night and day. The older ones had a major suckout in the midrange/midbass that lost the "weight" of the music. The highs were quite nice though.

The new version does not have the "weight" problem. It just has a little "hardness". The difference between the stock and the best modded DAC-1 is probably 15% improvement, and the modded one is awesome. Read this:
http://www.audiocircle.com/circles/v...ic.php?t=23698
post #20 of 75
I've chosen the aqvox for similar reasons than halcyon, though I'm still saving . Mattigol made a very good comparative between aqvox, Berendsen cdp1 and Rega planet Mk1 that helped me a lot.
post #21 of 75
Team AQVOX needs a vote, here I am - I use mine unbalanced though, nevertheless I am happy I have the option if I want to.

My only gripe with it is that - my ears - the changes occuring with the different options are really subtle. Switching from 32x to 128x oversampling etc. is just not like flicking on bass-boost, I have to listen in carefully and for longer time in order to make out what it does to a track. This seems to be consistant with the general impression I have of it - it is not a device for flashy effects. (I just noticed I can't be my ears since I heard the darn ion-emitter from upstairs and had to go turn the thing off... )

Sideway question - does anyone have a thread at hand that details on what one "should expect" to change / what to pay attention to when changing digital filters and such?
post #22 of 75
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post #23 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioengr
The Benchmark DAC-1 has undergone a LOT of changes in the last year, maybe 10. Not the same DAC maybe that you auditioned. The stock DAC-1 is now the best stock DAC that I have heard, with the exception of the very costly Dodsons. It still has a bit of hardness, but not bad enough to cause fatigue. The heaphone outs are not the best though, probably better to use the XLR outs.
Steve, there's another thread here: http://www4.head-fi.org/forums/showp...&postcount=102 where Benchmark recommends against using the XLRs for headphones directly:

Quote:
Using the XLR outs is not recommended. The XLR out is designed to drive a high impedance (10kohm on up), while the headphone amp is designed for headphones which run from 30-600 ohms. The XLR will have higher distortion and lower maximum output than the hph outs. In addition, you will lose damping factor using the XLR outputs. A high damping factor keeps the headphone under better control, meaning lower distortion. Hope this helps.
I've just had my rig for a week and think it's great. Is there some truth to what Benchmark is saying here, i.e., higher distortion on the XLRs, and lack of damping?

It sounds pretty good to me, but to be honest I haven't heard anything to compare it with. I moved from a Xitel USB DAC and Gilmore Lite to DAC-1+ balanced Zu Mobius, so I'd expect to hear a big difference anyway.
post #24 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver :)
Team AQVOX needs a vote, here I am - I use mine unbalanced though, nevertheless I am happy I have the option if I want to.

My only gripe with it is that - my ears - the changes occuring with the different options are really subtle. Switching from 32x to 128x oversampling etc. is just not like flicking on bass-boost, I have to listen in carefully and for longer time in order to make out what it does to a track. This seems to be consistant with the general impression I have of it - it is not a device for flashy effects. (I just noticed I can't be my ears since I heard the darn ion-emitter from upstairs and had to go turn the thing off... )

Sideway question - does anyone have a thread at hand that details on what one "should expect" to change / what to pay attention to when changing digital filters and such?
How detailed and warm is the AQVOX? Surprisingly this DAC has just come to my attention (I was focusing on getting a DAC1 the whole time), but since it has USB that will come in really handy with computer as source. I read Mattigol's review it was very well done.
post #25 of 75
You have to bear in mind that the USB subsystem of the AQVOX is an "extra" feature. It's meant to function as an external soundcard for a computer (the headphone out and microphone out only works with the USB subsystem). The USB subsystem is not audiophile/highend quality, unlike the rest of the DAC.
post #26 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioengr
I read about the AQVOX. It's suspicious that it does not need a driver. For PC, I have found that a custom driver is essential for good sound, as well as ASIO to get around KMIXER, although this has a smaller effect. Resident Mac drivers are much better. I would predict that it will sound great on Mac and mediocre on PC's, assuming a good implementation of the DAC.
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkless
You have to bear in mind that the USB subsystem of the AQVOX is an "extra" feature. It's meant to function as an external soundcard for a computer (the headphone out and microphone out only works with the USB subsystem). The USB subsystem is not audiophile/highend quality, unlike the rest of the DAC.
Aqvox recommends a third party USB driver which bypasses Kmixer, and this way the USB connection is audiophile/highend quality (the built-in headphone amp and the mic in/ADC are still crap).
There are several other ways to bypass Kmixer.I prefer utilizing a RME soundcard since it's driver bypasses Kmixer by default in any mode.

BTW, I didn't vote since I detest fanboyism and I haven't listened to the other DACs.All I know is that the Aqvox sounds nice and stopped the urge to look for something better.
post #27 of 75
I think the poll is about which one would you choose in grandenigma place, hoping to help him with his buying. Like grandenigma, I haven't listened to any of these dacs. I have been evaluating options the past months and I have made my mind (or I hope so! ). I have chosen an aqvox among a lot of dacs and cdps because the reasons exposed by halcyon, the commentaries of mattigol, cosmopragma (thanks!) plus the good price in europe.

Of course it would be better if all of us listened to the dacs, but I think grandenigma asked us to vote which one would we choose if we were in his place. Am I wrong? I'm in his place, have chosen the aqvox and voted accordingly. In doing so, we make our opinion clear to grandenigma. And I don't like fanboyism neither, so I explained my situation in order to avoid a wrong impresion
post #28 of 75
Bump!

Can someone explain to me why in the world I'm not getting notifications anymore?!
post #29 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver :)
Bump!

Can someone explain to me why in the world I'm not getting notifications anymore?!
Just in case you are reading my post :
Jude has switched the email functionality off 'cause lots of members got bombed by notification mails (about 2000 in my case ).
This happened due to a screwed hardware and software upgrade.There are lots of flaws at the moment, and the mods are trying to fix it.
post #30 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmopragma
Just in case you are reading my post :
Jude has switched the email functionality off 'cause lots of members got bombed by notification mails (about 2000 in my case ).
I came across it on my manual inspection
Shame about the email flaw, I had some of that too - never 2000 notifications though, I guess my maximum was twenty. Could be highly annoying in certain circumstances...

Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmopragma
This happened due to a screwed hardware and software upgrade.There are lots of flaws at the moment, and the mods are trying to fix it.
Yes, noticed we can edit "in thread" now, which is neat. Let's hope it gets sorted out soon - too many threads to keep in mind
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