Continuing my ongoing evaluation, this is day 3 with the HiFace 192. For the past two days I’ve evaluated it with a North Star DAC and GS-1 amp, and today I evaluated it with a lower-Fi rig: A Constantine DAC and M^3/sigma amp. Unfortunately even a NOS DAC couldn't control the clicking/hesitation/popping that occurs when windows are opened or closed. I was a little disappointed in this because using a NOS DAC eliminated the same sort electrical popping sound that occurred when I changed channels on my cable box (when it was connected to the North Star). I had high hopes that the Constantine might be able to do the same thingfor the HiFace as it did for the cable box, but, unfortunately, that was not the case.
(Not withstanding that all amps sound the same), The M^3 is a warmer amp than a GS-1 so there was the possibility that the combination of a NOS DAC and a warmer amp might compensate for the frequency imbalance of the HiFace. This also proved not to be the case either.
(Not withstanding that all DACs sound the same), When I switched to the North Star / M^3 combination, I found the sound to improve in overall clarity but not balance. No matter what I tried, the HiFace was still quite annoying with the drum, guitar or piano pounding away incessantly over the rest of the mix, kinda reminiscent of the way early CDs used to sound.
I was going to say I can’t be certain if the treble is accentuated or the bass is attenuated, but after listening to the HiFace with this lower-Fi rig, I am in agreement with Shahrose that the treble is accentuated. What I’m hearing is that the treble, vocals, piano and drums dominate the mix instead of blending in with them.
My conclusion is that the HiFace has a lot of detail, and it’s certainly a step in the right direction but it doesn’t present the audio mix in an non-fatiguing, balanced way, so I agree with Shahrose that our latest FOTM transport “has room for improvement”.
The next phase will be with K701s followed by HD650s. Perhaps the the darker 650s will be more synergistic with the sound signature of the HiFace.