Dear all, I will start today listening properly to the new kid on the block. First I will be testing my own hearing with a tone generator to make sure my hearing is good enough (for the record, I had my hearing tested by an occupational nurse last month and I was told I am have a category 1 hearing, the maximun -company policy to go for a fitness check every 2yrs, nothing wrong with me!
Just for the record, it is going to take time to assess this one properly due to the wealth of options and also the limitations of the rest of the hardware.
My methodology will be as follow:
1. My SACD will be connected to the DAC through Coaxial RCA (Van Den Hull D-102 III Hybrid) and by optical (Fisual Cable) in the preliminary tests. If I notice no difference, I will use the optical connection to further limit possible noise. All mains cables will be shielded and connected to the mains though a Tacima filter.
2. The DAC will be connected to the Graham Slee Solo through Crystal Cable Pyccolo using the fixed RCA output of the STAGEDAC.
3. The mode in the DAC will have the crossfeed deactivated in the first round so I can assess just the DAC section. Once I have determined which combination for oversampling and pulse response does agree better with my taste, I will proceed to test the crossfeed section. I will use for comparison the 8 fold oversampling with the first filter because in that position the frequency response is a flat line up to 10 kHz and almost an straight line to 20kHz (very linear with almost no roll off).
4. As I said, it is my feeling that this DAC is so good that the only limitation is the rest of the chain. I will keep the Graham Slee SRG with the PSU1 because I think is one of the very bests headamps and I do not have anything better at the moment (I would like to have a Lehman Black Cube handy but it is not the case at the moment).
Regarding the headphones I will use three different ones for clear reasons:
- Grado GS1000i because it accentuates the high frequency and will show clearly the shortcomings between 8 kHz and 12kHz.
- Denon AH-D7000 because there is probably nothing on Earth that you can put around your ears that gives you deeper and nicer bass. So that one for the low frequencies.
- AKG K601 because it is one of the most neutral and lineal headphones in the market.
I have posted here the comparative graph for the three of them an a couple of pictures of the "testing bench".