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UPDATED 2/22 REVIEW 13 USB DAC amp - Predator, Pico, 2/3MOVE, D10 D3 D2 Viper/Boa D1, Lyrix,... - Page 3

post #31 of 1096
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
awfully quiet here.
Good work
Pretty nice reviews and i'm interested in your further plans. More headphones involve would be great.
post #32 of 1096
Hey Larry, if you have the time post up some reviews of your HF-1 connected to the D2, predator and pico. Thanks in advance
post #33 of 1096
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kamal007 View Post
Hey Larry, if you have the time post up some reviews of your HF-1 connected to the D2, predator and pico. Thanks in advance
I hope to get to those in the next couple of days.
post #34 of 1096
Exactly what I was looking for! Thank you very much HeadphoneAddict
post #35 of 1096
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
It looks like after mrarroyo is done reviewing Skylab's 2MOVE that I will be doing so too. Should be interesting.
What are you talking about? I refuse to admit having received anything form anyone!

Just kidding, I received the D2 from Skylab today. I will only be using it as an amp since my D2 only has about 100 hours and I already sold the D1, my HeadRoom Micro Dac, the Headphonia, and the Leckerton UHA3. Plus I only listened to the Predator and Pico for a short period and as we all know going by memory is a sure way to mess up.
post #36 of 1096
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrarroyo View Post
What are you talking about? I refuse to admit having received anything form anyone!

Just kidding, I received the [2MOVE] from Skylab today. I will only be using it as an amp since my D2 only has about 100 hours and I already sold the D1, my HeadRoom Micro Dac, the Headphonia, and the Leckerton UHA3. Plus I only listened to the Predator and Pico for a short period and as we all know going by memory is a sure way to mess up.
Well, I will be testing only with DAC as the source. I have the D1 back from Blutarsky, but it may be gone again before I do my review.
post #37 of 1096
Well I can say that the D2 I have is starting to open up very nice. It is extending beyond right and left and I am getting very decent depth. The IC iBasso sells also does a very credible job.
post #38 of 1096
Thread Starter 
My findings of the 4 amps rankings is un-chaged with the HF-1, HD600 or Edition 9.

I find the Pico does add some more soundstage to the RS-2, but at the expense of the bass they need from the Predator. I can get the bass back switching the RS-2 from bowls to flats, but then I lose some of the soundstage I gained.
post #39 of 1096
Thread Starter 
I should note, that the HD600 and HF-1 and Edition 9 ALL have the APS V3 cable on them.
post #40 of 1096
Great review Headphoneaddict.
My Pico arrived earlier this month and I have been listening to it strictly as my usb dac/amp out of a Dell Vostro playing apple lossless and 320mp3's. I've put on about 900 hrs on the Predator and have been enjoying the heck out of it the past few months, so it was time for the pico. I half expected it to blow the predator away as it seemed that the pico was often described as Lush, Musical, Rich and Smooth and there was no question that the pico's dac was its best asset...but, no, I was pleased to hear that these portable units are BOTH Lush, Musical, Rich and Smooth. It really just depends on the music that you are listening to and the Headphone (pl2500 for this study)

So today I set up both dac/amps to the laptop and played a variety of songs that I wanted to hear today....

Devil's Haircut/Hotwax - Beck Odelay : The Pico really displays it's Airy soundstage with the hammer sounds in the beginning of the song more prominent and having an overall more "headphone " effects sounding. But the bass seemed a little Fat. The predator presented a warmer overall sound, but rather than that hammer it was the cymbals that really presented itself. The low end was more controlled. The ending Distortion so much more Fun and Coherant on the predator.

Concrete Sky - Beth Orton Daybreak : Pico had the bass down on this song, while the predator did the drums/cymbals right for my ears. Beth's vocals were nice and up front on both but the male vocals doing harmony were placed by her side and behind her on the pico and seemed behind my head and a few feet away on the predator...go figure.

Mushaboom/ 1234 - Feist : Pico just nails Feist! Both had the vocals right up front but the pico placed the clapping hands up front too. the overall sound/bass was more visceral. You are there with Feist. That banjo clearer , more detailed ( you can hear the fingers sliding along on the strings) I like that...some do not. The predator had vocals up front and the clapping more back of the stage. Fun in that you are in the room watching the band from across the room.

Handshake Drugs - Wilco : Both amps were very enjoyable with the pico have a deep controlled bass but the guitar was a little biting. The predator had the vocals way up front and almost sibilant. The Distortion at the end was sooooo good on the predator.

Tu Sei / Vittorio Grigolo : Switching to some pop opera now and I expected that the pico's detail and mids would carry this song, but both were Very good in getting Vittorios rich voice in those power mid/highs that tenors can do. I switched to a Sarah Brightman /Andrea Bocelli song Time To Say Goodbye and was pleased again with both the pico and predator. Ms. Brightman seemed a touch more intimate tho on the predator.

I enjoyed both of these dac/amp's very much and find them both musical and fun across a wide range of musical styles. The Predator has a slight warmer presentation, but detailed highs while the Pico does sound at times more Full and expansive. It's treble were more controlled, while the predator could get aggressive. Both have an excellent midrange...The bottom end on both can be fat and sassy or tight and... just depends on the song. To me neither is better...now to try some Juno Reactor/Congo Fury!

The comments I have are straight from a notepad that I jotted down my immediate thoughts as the songs played. No going back and forth to dissect a tonal passage. Next will connect each to the speakers in my exercise room
post #41 of 1096
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tako_tsubo View Post
Great review Headphoneaddict.
My Pico arrived earlier this month and I have been listening to it strictly as my usb dac/amp out of a Dell Vostro playing apple lossless and 320mp3's. I've put on about 900 hrs on the Predator and have been enjoying the heck out of it the past few months, so it was time for the pico. I half expected it to blow the predator away as it seemed that the pico was often described as Lush, Musical, Rich and Smooth and there was no question that the pico's dac was its best asset...but, no, I was pleased to hear that these portable units are BOTH Lush, Musical, Rich and Smooth. It really just depends on the music that you are listening to and the Headphone (pl2500 for this study)

[snipped for length]

I enjoyed both of these dac/amp's very much and find them both musical and fun across a wide range of musical styles. The Predator has a slight warmer presentation, but detailed highs while the Pico does sound at times more Full and expansive. It's treble were more controlled, whil ethe predator could get aggressive. Both have an excellent midrange...The bottom end on both can be fat and sassy or tight and... just depends on the song. To me neither is better...now to try some Juno Reactor/Congo Fury!

The comments I have are straight from a notepad that I jotted down my immediate thoughts as the songs played. No going back and forth to dissect a tonal passage. Next will connect each to the speakers in my exercise room
Great observations!
post #42 of 1096
interesting... looks like the DAC really changes how the Pico performs... I'm still torn. =\
post #43 of 1096
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlychild View Post

How does the Predator sound with the ESW9s? I have heard the ESW9s are warm sounding and so is the Predator. Is it too much warmth.

Thanks
Listening to the ESW9 on the predator right now and they sound very good. It is not overly warm...listening to Tegan and Sara right now. The predators tendency toward more aggressive highs fills out the ESW9's in many folk/alt/rock songs.
post #44 of 1096
Thread Starter 
I have 311 hours on the D2, and I am now using my Woodied HF-1 with APS V3 cable at the moment, and all amps were driven by the USB DAC as before. So, I am revisiting it as promised with an extra 125 hours or so on it. I listened a lot on Monday and Tuesday with my Grados and Edition 9, and then took a 48 hour break while it burned in the final bit to reach 310 hours.

While the D2 initially had a very similar sound signature to the Pico, my 183 hour impression of the D2 was that the bass was a bit boomy and uncontrolled, and it seemed a little brighter than the Pico. Now the bass has indeed tightened up since the last time I listened on the 18th when I compared the amps with more headphones. Not only is the D2 bass now less boomy and more controlled, but the high's are a little smoother too (but maybe still a tad brighter).

With the extra hours on it, the D2 is clearly closer to the Pico than it is the Lyrix now, as the Lyrix DAC is seeming to hold it back now. But, there is that final bit of transparency and smoothness that the Pico holds over D2 still. I would say the top three amps are within a few percentage points of each other, when listening with the HF-1 APS re-cabled woodies. There is just something about warm full bodied sound of the Predator that keeps me coming back for more.

So, I give the Predator a 10/10. I'll give the Pico a 9.7/10 for opening the soundstage a bit and crisp detail, but with a cooler more analytical sound. The D2 has moved up from a 9.0 to a 9.4/10 for the D2 now, while still missing some of the warmth of the Predator and the final bit of transparency of the Pico. I have to give the Lyrix a 8.8/10 now. To me anything above an 8/10 is great but might not be a keeper if I have more than one amp sitting above 9/10.

I would put the D1 (with the newest round of opamps) right up there with the D2 now (sound is quite close), except that I got it back after 2 weeks with a channel imbalance, so I have to open it up and swap opamps and determine if the problem is my fault, or I have t contact iBasso. The right channel is louder using the DAC by a good 3db or more, but with the analog input the L/R channels are balanced. It currently has the AD743x2 in it for main, LMH6643 buffers, and LTC6241HV in the DAC.
post #45 of 1096
Thanks a lot Larry for all the informations

I have finally decided to order the Predator or the Pico in the next days. From what I read on the forums, the Predator will be slightly better that the Pico for my ALO-780Vs and my RS-1 ?

Now I'll probably need to sell my Headsix and my AKG 271s to finance this new purchase.

Oh my poor wallet once again
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphone Amps › UPDATED 2/22 REVIEW 13 USB DAC amp - Predator, Pico, 2/3MOVE, D10 D3 D2 Viper/Boa D1, Lyrix, MicroAmp, Vivid V1, Nuforce, XM5