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Maverick Audio DAC/Amp - Page 7

post #91 of 2656
BTW, a Maverick owner who I have been in contact with got the following information from the Xiangsheng factory on how to defeat the volume control of the line out by soldering two spots. Not as simple as a jumper switch, but still possible for anyone handy with a soldering iron.

It will involve 4 steps (see attached picture):

1) You need to remove the front panel PCB ( not the main PCB, just the small PCB attached to the front panel).
2) You need to remove the volume control switch.
3) Below the volume control switch, when the 2 points are connected in the place A and B, you can bypass the volume control.
When the 2 points are connected in the place C and D, you will enable volume control.
4) After you disabled the volume control on PCB, solder the volume control switch back on, put the front panel panel PCB back to the case.

So now, the only real differences out there are price and aethestics (and upgraded tube).
post #92 of 2656
Just Arrived DHL. (On Day Express). Well packed. minimal IC's but most of us upgrade or DIY IC's anyway. I had mentioned to Ryan that I was hopng to burn in before a Seattle meet this weekend so I think he upgraded my shipping hoping I'll get it done in time to show it around . Although I recall references from others as to fast shipping . I'll start burn-in after dinner during my graveyard shift at work. I'll post some preliminary thoughts tonight.

First impressions: Now to be specific I'm only running headphone out from Ipod 5th gen but even right out of the box the Solid State headphone section is quite transparent and extremely powerful. I would put it at about 2-3 times the volume of the EF2. As the headphone out is not part the tube preamp section, I cannot comment on the tube flavor until I have a chance to run it as a preamp into something else and maybe roll a couple of different tubes. I found some Tung Sol on eBay, I may order, but for now I only have the Stock. One thing I find extremely nice is the variable input knob. Very few dedicated headphone amps have switchable variable inputs. Especially in this price range. You usually have to manually change the cables to suit the source. This amp can as many as five different sources hooked up at once. A great advantage if you want to A/B several sources without manually switching wires. I could hook up my DVD multichanger with the optical, run my netbook into the USB, Run the Marantz SACD into one of the Analog RCA's and the Ipod docking station into the other and still have a coaxial input left over, all at a turn of a knob.
post #93 of 2656
New to DAC stuff but does the sound really improve when using DAC with the computer
post #94 of 2656
Many Head-Fi'ers swear that most stock computer audio cards are junk and that it's best to bypass the computers onboard sound card with an external DAC. Like most things here, it's a matter of preference. Using my EF2 in USB DAC mode does not give me enough volume so I use the Headphone out of my Netbook ( RealTech Audio card)into the RCA's of the EF2. I have not had the chance to hook up the MAV. via usb or Optical yet so I can't tell the volume other than the minimal time I've used it on Analog RCA imputs. Quite powerful on RCA but all of my cans ar low impedence.
post #95 of 2656
If you are using just your onboard sound, just about any outboard dac will be an improvement. There are a lot of options for a simple USB dac between $50-100 that will give you a noticeable improvement from your built in sound. I am using a Total Bithead, which is a more entry level DAC/amp, but it has given me an noticeable, obvious improvement. I got one used for under $100, and couldn't be more pleased with the value I got.

As with everything in this hobby, the law of diminishing returns is in effect. You can keep spending more money to squeeze out a little more improvement, but you will hit a point where the cost isn't worth it. For some, it comes after their first purchase. For some, it hasn't come yet after thousands of dollars spent.

This DAC/amp is interesting because it has the POTENTIAL to be a tremendous value, giving people a solid dac, powerful headphone amp, plus a tube buffer all in one pretty great looking package for a really good price. Not enough people who have a lot of experience with other DAC's have bought it yet to get a full impression of it, but what impressions can be found are favorable.
post #96 of 2656
I've had several dacs in 200-500 price range. I would like to say I'll be comparing mine(xs not mav) to the ones I had in the 200.00 price range. But since the gf one retails for almost 400.00, I'll be comparing it to the ones I've owned in that price range. I'll also compare it to my motu 828 which retailed for 800.00 when it was new. I've had it several years, so it is an older dac/amp(well actually a firewire interface I use in my studio), but still sounds quite good compared to some of the newer stuff. I know comparing it to dacs I use to have may not be a fair comparison since I can't do a side by side comparison, but I do remember how most sounded and I also remember how each compared to the dac in my pioneer elite receiver. Some where not as good, and others was a sidegrade at best. There were a couple that sounded slightly better but not enough to justify the cost. So it would be interesting to see how the xs compares to my receiver once I get it.
post #97 of 2656
Just an update... I received a question as to how this unit sounded with my HD600s, so I thought i would share my response here...

"I've used it (the headphone portion) only by playing flac files with my Squeezebox, switching between both the DAC in the Squeezebox and the one in the Maverick, and I am pleased with the way it sounds. I couldn't really tell a difference between DACs, only that one had slightly more volume, but I don't remember which one that was.

It has a laid-back quality, which I like, that enables you to listen for hours without fatigue. Some people prefer a more stark, clinical sound (i.e. Grado, as opposed to Senn) and they may be disappointed with it. I was surprised at how good it sounds, and I don't really use headphones much anymore. I prefer listening through speakers when I am at home and only use headphones at work or when traveling, as a rule. (My usual at-work headphone rig is a CD player running directly through an RS XP-7.)

Overall, this unit is a steal for it's sound quality, as long as you aren't picky about it being enclosed in a modest case and perhaps having to deal with some small manufacturing issues as I mentioned in the post."
post #98 of 2656
I had a chance to hook up the Maverick with the Marantz DV6001 DVD/SACD at the recent Seattle meet. Many tried it and thought it was pretty good, especially for the price but there were so many superior amps there, it kinda got lost in the shuffle. I find the solid state headphone out be quite powerful and clear. I still prefer tube flavor so as the Headphone out is not part of the tube section I have listed the Maverick for sale. I just don't have enough use for a pre-amp which is basically what the Tube section is all about. I will miss the multiple inputs but I think I'll stick with my EF2 until I can afford something balanced..
post #99 of 2656
Boomy, did you try it using the usb input with the RCA out to another amp? I am wondering how this does as a pure USB DAC. From what I understand, the quality of the SS headphone amp (should that be what someone needs) and switchable inputs would be worth the $200 alone? I wonder how good the DAC is as just a DAC? Worth $200? A mini3/gamma full in a single case from Mister X would have cost over $200, and that would be without a fancy switch or nearly as many inputs and outputs. Would people say that this is at least as good as that combo?

My budding DIY cable hobby (and my bravo amp) just ate up all my play money so I have to live with my Total Bithead as my DAC for the foreseeable future. I would totally sell the bithead and anything else I could to get this, but I need it for when I am using my laptop on the go as my source. Sigh. I hate gadget lust.
post #100 of 2656
As a DAC/Pre-amp it's absolutely worth the price. It's got a standard SS out as well as the Tube Pre-out. Plus all of the imputs makes it a pretty versatile audio switcher as well. You can hook up as many as 5 different input sources at one time. If the headphone out was connected to the tube section it would be a no brainer. I did try running RCA from both the standard and tube outputs to the RCA in of the EF2 but did not feel any difference from the EF2 alone. I would suggest that the DACs between the Mav and the EF2 are pretty equal.
post #101 of 2656
I just received my xs dac-01 monday, but before I get into impressions I would like to clear up something grant fidelity has on their site. It has been discussed the possibility of changing the output from fix to preamp. On grant fidelity site you can download instructions on how to do this by changing a plug around. Let me confirm that this is wrong. I chose to purchase the xs over the mav because it has been confirmed that changing the plug doesn't defeat the preamp on the mav. Well it doesn't change the preamp function on the xs either. What it does is change the output mute function when you plug in headphones which refered to as mode 1a on xs's website. After inspecting things further,I noticed there are some jumpers in the same place where FraGGleR describes the connecting points to bypass the preamp on the mav. I oredered mine with the preamp bypassed, so moving each jumper forward enabled the preamp function. So I guess in everyone else case, moving each jumper backward(if you have jumpers) would bypass the preamp. I can post pics if someone's interested. So changing the preamp function is simple. It's just not the way grant fidelity describes on their website. I'm still in the burning in process so I'll post impressions later. I will say that out of the box, I was a little disappointed. The sound was harsh and very sibilant. But after about 70 hours of burn in, things have really settled, and this is turning into a pretty nice sounding dac. Also, the headphone amp is way more powerful than I expected.
post #102 of 2656
Look forward to hearing more as it burns in compared to your other dacs and amps.
post #103 of 2656
I'd be interested, too. Especially how well the headphone amp drives low impedance cans, like your AD1000.

best regards,
post #104 of 2656
This thing is more powerful than the compass I use to have(which is a very powerful amp). It drives all of my cans without any hint of distortion. My only complaint is, the gain needs to be a lot lower. 10:00 with my 600ohm sextetts is very loud. It hurts to go anywhere near 12:00 with them. My hd580 rarely sees anything past 9:00. My 44ohm shures and 40ohm ad1000s sounds great. As a result of the gain being so high, there is a little hiss with my lower ohm cans. It's not loud, but with no music playing, it's noticable. This is one area that the compass beats it. The compass was completely quiet with all of my cans. But I'm starting to enjoy this more than I enjoyed my compass. It just sounds more neutral, airy, and detailed in comparison. I did really enjoy the compass laid back sound, but it was lacking in detail. It doesn't sound as organic and 3 dimensional as my ming da, but It's every bit as powerful. My ming da also have a much wider soundstage as well. But, I'm really surprised by how good the headphone amp is. I remember reading on another forum of people saying the the headphone amp was on par with a 300.00 amp. I have to agree. In my opinion, just the amp alone is well worth the asking price. The dac is pretty good as well. Compared to dacs I've owned in the 200-400.00 price range, I would rank it better than the compass, valab, zero and zhaoulu. The valab was slightly more musical, but it lacking in details and soundstage compared to this. The compass just sounds more digital in comparison, and zero and zhaolu isn't even worth mentioning. I'm very happy with this so far. The comparisons to the dacs I used to own is from memory, but I do have a pretty good memory about how they sounded and how they compared to the dac in my pioneer elite receiver. Neither on was significantly better. Some were not as good, but I can clearly hear an improvement with this dac.
post #105 of 2656
Thanks moodyrn for your opinion. I got an email from Ryan where he mentioned that he will release a revised version of the Maverick DAC soon. With swappable opamps and tube.
I think I'll get one of those...

best regards,
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