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AMB Gamma2 DAC sound impressions? - Page 3

post #31 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by K3cT View Post
Wow, you guys make me want to finish my Gamma2 as soon as possible...

Sigma11 for Gamma2 sounds like a good plan though I'm leaning more to either TREAD or Sigma25 to match with Gamma2's small footprint.
Yea Ti/Marshall told me the Sigma 11 would be overkill. The Sigma25 looks more appealing and I've already inquired about commissioning it through Marshall (MisterX).
post #32 of 185
Hello Aaron: allow me to expand on the gamma 2.
I ended up purchasing John's DAC. It arrived today and I was not disappointed. Warning: I have limited experience with DACs but I have listened enough to understand the wow factor does not apply. Better? absolutely. Worth it? yes, IMHO.
I did compare it with the Compass using the Earth HDAM on neutral settings and my Stax Sigma Pro's.
I compared it with my favorite music, including Vivaldi's Stabat Mater, his cello concertos performed by Yo-Yo MA, and several of Bach's Cantatas. Also listened to Beethoven's Kreutzer violin sonata with Gidon Kremer and Martha Argerich.
I did not adjust for equal volume and that adds another dent to my credibility.
To me, there is no question the gamma 2 is superior. The 3 different filters sound similar. The differences however are there, but subtle. I don't know much about electronics; I am an amateur musician, not an audiophile, and to my ears this is how they sound:
Filter A has a bigger soundstage and sounds almost tubey. very pleasant.
Filter C has less of a soundstage, sounds more forward, has brighter treble and is a little more detailed.
Filter B sounds somewhere in between.
The Compass sounded a little sharper and not as musical in comparison, using neutral settings, but I do want to emphasize the difference is not huge.
Piano and strings sounded beautiful with the Gamma 2; choir and individual voices did too. Soundstage was large with the Sigma Pros, and sounded even larger when connected to the Gamma 2. The details between different instruments were easily distinguished. The Stax Sigma Pros are known for their soundstage and non fatiguing sound, which makes listening to acoustic and classical a real pleasure, although they roll of at the extremes. The gamma 2 DAC combines well with them.

Late edit:
Although they don't have a built in amp, the G2's can power low impedance headphones. It even powered my DT880 250's although not at very high volumes, but louder than I usually listen. The level of detail with this phones was indeed impressive, far more than the Sigma Pro's but not as sweet and enjoyable. The Sigmas have this beautiful non fatiguing and addictive sound that grows in you. If used this way (I am sure IEM's would be very easy to drive but have not tried my ES3X), you have to control the volume from your computer since the G2 does not have a volume pot.

I would be happy with the Compass, but I am much happier with the Gamma 2. Is it a whole lot better? Again,the difference is enough to be noticeable and to allow me to enjoy my music even more. I think I will keep it for a long time.
As far as quality, it feels solid and well built. MisterX and AMB did an excellent job and IMHO, they sure have a winner.
This DAC should be considered by anybody on a budget looking for great quality and sound for much less than commercial brands.

Another late entry;
man, my speakers sound better too! I am surprised on how much more detail and soundstage the G2 has when compared with the Compass. Since my living room is large and has quite high ceilings, it sounds better when I use Filter C settings. I have been skeptical of DAC's price/performace ratio; less skeptical now.
When I had the Compass connected I was always fiddling with the treble because it sounded too bright and a little harsh. My speakers are not fancy (B&W 602's with a Velodyne subwoofer) because I usually can't listen at high volumes when my wife is around the house.
post #33 of 185
Thread Starter 
gilency, you make me wish I'd bought John's gamma2! I think it went to the right new owner though. I'm stoked you are happy with it. I suspect I'll have one eventually. I hope I get my work area set up and can build it myself! If not, I am a fan of Mister x's work. I am 4th owner of a Dynalo he built a couple of years ago. It is still in awesome condition, and sounds great!
post #34 of 185
Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. This is a great DAC, especially at this price.
post #35 of 185
I'm glad you're happy with yours, gilency. I wish the parts would arrive sooner, I can't wait to convert my Gamma1 to Gamma2.
post #36 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by K3cT View Post
...I can't wait to convert my Gamma1 to Gamma2.
You are in for a treat.
post #37 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by gilency View Post
Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. This is a great DAC, especially at this price.
What are you connecting the DAC to and how? I found prominent differences (improvements) switching from USB to Coaxial. I don't think the y2 sounds nearly as well as it can with USB.
post #38 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post
What are you connecting the DAC to and how? I found prominent differences (improvements) switching from USB to Coaxial. I don't think the y2 sounds nearly as well as it can with USB.
I'll have to get a coax cable and test this when mine is built, I have a pretty sh!thouse cd player so it might even out. :P Better yet, I'll go into my local Hi-fi shop... yeah that's a good idea.

But I'll be using the Gamma2 primarily with USB, I'll investigate how I can get a coax feed out of my laptop if it's really that much better.
post #39 of 185
I currently have an older Mac (to change soon) so I can't use the optical out.
For the time being is: Mac USB-> Trends Audio USB lite -> optical input of Gamma 2 -> analog to DEQ 2496 -> (finally) into amp -> SRD7 MK2 -> Stax Sigma Pro.
I know, is a long route but it works for me and I really like playing with the DEQ2496 settings.
When I change again to MacBook, it will be optical to optical input of Gamma 2.
post #40 of 185
Thanks gilency for the excellent review, especially for comparing it to the Compass. I'm in exactly the same boat right now: have been using the Compass for the last few months but the y2 has recently caught my eye. Your review has helped a lot (but has made my wallet gulp in the process!)
post #41 of 185
Thanks for the review gilency. I've been wondering where the Gamma 2 sits in the scheme of things, as well as pondering one as part of a transportable rig.
post #42 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
Thanks for the review gilency. I've been wondering where the Gamma 2 sits in the scheme of things, as well as pondering one as part of a transportable rig.
Hmm. I have a hard time believing the Compass is anywhere close to the y2. I think it may be because the USB input was used for the comparison. Anecdotal evidence suggested the STX was noticeably better than the Compass and the y2 is easily better than the STX from my own experience.

From the y2 thread over at the DIY section: "...I use a PS Audio DL-III (a Cullen Stage IV mod) and when we switched between it and the Gamma 2, they were very similar in performance."
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/6166747-post993.html
post #43 of 185
The Gamma2 is better than the Compass. To my ears is not a huge difference, but it is there, and significant enough for me to be satisfied with its sound. I can't test coax ATM. Of course, YMMV.
post #44 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by gilency View Post
The Gamma2 is better than the Compass. To my ears is not a huge difference, but it is there, and significant enough for me to be satisfied with its sound. I can't test coax ATM. Of course, YMMV.
Keep us posted of any new developments, especially if you get a chance to hear it through coax. I'd certainly be interested in having someone confirm or dispel my findings.
post #45 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post
Hmm. I have a hard time believing the Compass is anywhere close to the y2. I think it may be because the USB input was used for the comparison. Anecdotal evidence suggested the STX was noticeably better than the Compass and the y2 is easily better than the STX from my own experience.
I've heard both and no, the STX is not quite at the same level with the Compass. Try feeding both with high-impedance cans like the HD650 and you will know what I mean.

The Compass is actually closer to the Pico performance-wise.
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