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Dared MP-5 Headphone & Integrated Amp with USB DAC - Page 2

post #16 of 410
Thanks Elephas. There's a lot of useful information in this thread. There's a high probability that I'll be getting one in the near future.

Best regards,

post #17 of 410
Thread Starter 
I found out the hard way why the brush is included. The mirror finish is a fingerprint-magnet and I used one of my lint-free cleaning cloths to wipe it. There are now slight scratches on the finish.

Using a brush or compressed air to clear dust from the case before wiping it seems to be a good idea.
post #18 of 410
Originally Posted by Elephas
The hum/buzz with the W5000, L3000, AD2000 and ES7 bothers me and I'm not using the AT headphones with this amp. The buzz is slighter with the Grado HF-1, SA5000, DT880 and HD650. The K701 exhibits the slightest buzz. There's no buzz with the K1000 connected to the speaker terminals. I tried changing power cords and plugging the MP5 directly to a wall socket, but the buzz was still present.

The headphone port is a 3.5mm socket, so I'm using the Grado 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter. The volume control has steps.

Using the CEC DA53, which has a fixed output, the headphone port's gain is very high. With most of my headphones, it is already loud before the volume control reaches 4 or 5 clicks up from minimum. With the K701, the first volume step above zero volume only produces sound in the left channel. At the next step up, both the left and right channel are balanced but the volume level is already high for me. It's the same with the HF-1 except the left channel kicks in at two steps above zero volume and it is already loud at the third step.

Using the LavryBlack DA10 in combination with the MP5 results in a much greater range of volume control. I reduced the Lavry's output volume, and the MP5's volume control range is useable now. I'm listening to the HF-1 at the 12 o'clock position with the DA10 at 20.

Note that I don't have much experience with tube headphone amplifiers, and this is my first one. Other than this Dared, I've only heard the Meier Corda EarTube, Cayin HA-1A, and a few other Chinese tube amps.

How do you compare the Cayin HA-1A and this with the K1000?

post #19 of 410
Ok, I sent an email to the distributor - if he'll still do the $350 shipped pricing I'm buying one this week. Hopefully it won't be too noisy with my Grados though, I can't stand noise in my audio. Too impatient to wait for the Zhaolu D2 unless the pricing on this went up... me likey Magic Eyes
post #20 of 410
Thread Starter 
jamesp, I didn't use a K1000 with the Cayin HA-1A demo unit's speaker outputs, only an AD2000 through the headphone port. I haven't brought the K1000 to audio shops to try it with demo amps, maybe I should.

I have a 6.3mm to XLR adapter for the K1000, and used it with my Lehmann BCL and AT-HA5000. They don't sound as good as the Dared MP-5's speaker outputs, and seem underpowered. The K1000 actually sounds OK from the MP-5's headphone port, too. This requires using the Grado 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter and the 6.3mm to XLR adapter with the K1000, a less than optimal configuration.

Using the RS-1, the buzz at zero volume and no music playing is slight and not that bad. At max volume setting the buzz becomes louder.

The speaker outputs are inactive if something is plugged into the headphone port.

Icehawk, hope you'll like the MP-5. I don't consider it in the same category as a Zhaolu D2.0. The Zhaolu is more a DAC plus headamp, like the Lavry DA10, and the Dared MP-5 is a combination small speaker amp and headamp plus USB DAC.
post #21 of 410
omg I saw the price of this headphone DAC from a local shop website and it amazed me(<$600 AUD). Considering it's a valve amp + DAC I was enticed.
Do you guys reckon it's a good DAC or a headphone amp? I'm considering in upgrading my av710 -> pa2v2 setup for my computer.
post #22 of 410
Well I'm about to bite - but is there anything else in the sub $350 range that might be a better choice? The Dared seems like a nice toy but I do want good sonics out of it.

I definitely want a DAC since I'll be hooking this up to my main PC and the vast majority of my music is in digital format. The speaker outputs aren't a big deal, I already have some lo-fi Labtec 5.1 setup that I probably won't replace in the near term.

The only similar device I've heard is the Aria which really didn't impress me in my brief audition. Didn't seem like it had much juice.
post #23 of 410
Here's another (very favorable) write-up on this amp.


I'm curious about one thing after reading that article, does the unit really come with Senn's or did they just send this guy some since he is reviewing?

post #24 of 410
Yes, that is one of the two online reviews linked to from the tubeamp page - but like the other it focuses almost exclusively on it as a speaker amp, which for me is the feature I'm least interested in.

Headphones are not included.
post #25 of 410
Has anyone actually received the unit yet and tested it? I am interested in how it would sound. I've read the 2 reviews but I'd like to hear how head-fiers react to the sound of this unit. The features look great and the USB DAC is a definite plus.
post #26 of 410
Wow. That thing looks pretty cool. I do like it has a built in DAC and how it would compare to the DACs in some of my players.

The one thing that sticks out for me is the speaker outputs. I run Klipsch speakers in my HT setup, so the price is a bit tempting to upgrade my HT's 2 channel performance.
post #27 of 410
Originally Posted by ak622
Has anyone actually received the unit yet and tested it? I am interested in how it would sound. I've read the 2 reviews but I'd like to hear how head-fiers react to the sound of this unit. The features look great and the USB DAC is a definite plus.

Yes. I have one and I love it. I use my Senn HD580s (Nano source) and the sound is amazing to my ears. Plenty of volume and detail.
post #28 of 410
Thread Starter 
After spending the last few days listening to the Dared MP-5, my initial impression of this amp is exceedingly positive.

It has a warmer sound than the Lehmann BCL or AT-HA5000. Bass notes are heavier and thumpier, but not as tight or detailed. Soundstage size seems to be extended, although I'll need to do direct AB comparisons to be sure for each headphone and amp combination. It loses to the other two amps in many ways, such as detail, separation and sense of air, blackness of background and neutral tonality. However, I'm enjoying my first tube amp and the warmth and coloration of the tubes very much.

The SA5000, K701, HF-1 and RS-1 sound very good with the MP-5. The W5000, AD2000 and L3000 also do well, but their buzz is loudest and most bothersome. The K1000 does well out of the speaker outputs with its stock tail-end cable. I haven't tried the W2002, DT880 or HD650 yet.

I feel the MP-5 is an incredible value at around US$200, and also a great value at around US$300. Due to the headphone port's high gain, a volume-adjustable source would be preferable. In my limited experience, I have not heard a better-sounding amp in this price range.

All listening so far has been using the CEC DA53 and Lavry DA10's XLR outputs using XLR to RCA cables.
post #29 of 410
Would swapping the tubes to better ones or 5751s help? My only plan is to drive Grados so high gain is useless for me - and anything to drop the noise floor would be a postitive.

And the price is US $350... so not worth it to you Elephas? Any other recommendations or thoughts?

Grr. So many options and such a wide range of prices. Damn you Head-fi!
post #30 of 410
Thread Starter 
At US$350, we're getting into Xin SuperMacro3v6 and RSA Hornet territory. It would be tough for me to decide between them.

Your call.
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