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Review of the Audio-GD FUN - A modular Dac / Headphone amp / Preamp - Page 4

post #46 of 1242
Quote:
Originally Posted by sinner6 View Post
Thank You for your thoughts.

I see that Pacific Valve is now selling an upgraded FUN, that includes the SUN HDAM in the DAC output and the FET output for the amp. Any thoughts on this specific setup? Would this be an appropriate configuration to drive Denon D2000 and D5000 headphones, possibly 2 sets at once when my wife joins me?
I have the D5000 as well. It drives them well. For "Me", the SUN sizzles too much on the mids and up top. This gets fatiguing quick. IMHO. The Earth is a good all around match.
post #47 of 1242
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sinner6 View Post
Thank You for your thoughts.

I see that Pacific Valve is now selling an upgraded FUN, that includes the SUN HDAM in the DAC output and the FET output for the amp. Any thoughts on this specific setup? Would this be an appropriate configuration to drive Denon D2000 and D5000 headphones, possibly 2 sets at once when my wife joins me?
Hi,

I just wanted to point out that there is nothing special nor upgraded about the unit Pacific Valve is selling. They are just using the FET output buffer instead of the stock diamond one. In my opinion, the asking price for the "FUN Pacific Valve Version" is not justified. The FET module costs only $15 more than the Diamond module. So does it really justify a $90 increase in price between their stock and "upgraded" model? In my opinion, it does not.
post #48 of 1242
Ok, I just ordered a "version A" model from Pacific Valve. I see this uses a Burr Brown OPA2134 in the DAC output rather than an HDAM. Hopefully, it's not a major step down from a discrete opamp.
post #49 of 1242
Quote:
Originally Posted by sinner6 View Post
Ok, I just ordered a "version A" model from Pacific Valve. I see this uses a Burr Brown OPA2134 in the DAC output rather than an HDAM. Hopefully, it's not a major step down from a discrete opamp.
I've got some Opamps to roll on it, just haven't got around to it yet.
post #50 of 1242
Quote:
Originally Posted by les_garten View Post
I can't compare to a D10, but it's a significantly more detailed device than the Compass was. I've spent some time A-Bing all the mods and all the HDAMs with it and the Compass. This is the NextGen Compass and made advancements in all areas.
Quote:
Originally Posted by johangrb View Post
I own both the D10 & the FUN - no contest IMO. The D10 is a good portable setup (it makes a huge difference from my Macbook), but the FUN is waaaayyy better. Esp. w HD650's - the D10 (even in high gain mode) doesn't wake up the Hd650's. (the D10 works fine w my UE TF10's though).
I need to get my Compass back to be sure, so for now I'm talking on memory, so don't take my comments for granted, but I do feel the Fun A-mode is a significant improvement. I was comparing the DAC section (using an Earth HDAM) with my Ref 1 using the Phoenix and a Stax rig and was surprised at how good it sounded A/B'ing. I always believe the Compass was a better DAC than headphone amp, and I still feel this way about the Fun. After switching around the digital input chips, I felt this is because of the DIR9001 primarily, but possibly also because of other changes Kingwa might have made to the design. Previously I though the DAC-200, which was a Compass DAC with a better power supply would have possibly made a good standalone DAC, but now I feel the Fun would make a good DAC by itself, without being compromised by being a combined DAC/amp. There's also the benefit of being able to use the pre-amp out as a DAC output, which might better match with some amps. Some of my good feeling probably comes from the amps I'm using, as the Audio-gd DACs seem to match well with Stax amps.
post #51 of 1242
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
I need to get my Compass back to be sure, so for now I'm talking on memory, so don't take my comments for granted, but I do feel the Fun A-mode is a significant improvement. I was comparing the DAC section (using an Earth HDAM) with my Ref 1 using the Phoenix and a Stax rig and was surprised at how good it sounded A/B'ing. I always believe the Compass was a better DAC than headphone amp, and I still feel this way about the Fun. After switching around the digital input chips, I felt this is because of the DIR9001 primarily, but possibly also because of other changes Kingwa might have made to the design. Previously I though the DAC-200, which was a Compass DAC with a better power supply would have possibly made a good standalone DAC, but now I feel the Fun would make a good DAC by itself, without being compromised by being a combined DAC/amp. There's also the benefit of being able to use the pre-amp out as a DAC output, which might better match with some amps. Some of my good feeling probably comes from the amps I'm using, as the Audio-gd DACs seem to match well with Stax amps.
I was also very surprised by the sound quality of the FUN as DAC when run from its preamp output and when using the ACSS gain module. Compared with the DAC-100 (compass DAC section), it is a much better DAC.

If I were to give numbers, I would say that if the dac-19mk3 would get 100, the dac-100 would get 50 and the FUN would get 75. Of course, numbers do not mean much, but it is just to say, that the FUN is halfway between the DAC-100/Compass and the DAC-19mk3 which makes an excellent value for the dac alone. Given that the headphone amp is very good, it is truly an excellent value product (with the ACSS gain module/version A).

Also, the fact that it doesn't loose resolution when used as a DAC/preamp makes it a very good choice for connecting it directly to a power amp or powered speakers. For example, to get a similar (or better) result with the dac19mk3, I would need to buy a high quality preamp and a additional set of high quality interconnects and power cable. Anyway, I would be very intersted in Pricklely Peete findings about the FUN in his speaker system.
post #52 of 1242
I currently own a maverick d1 which cost me around $200. Its the same dac/preamp as the Grant Fidelity Tube DAC-09 and XiangSheng DAC-01A. Now Im wondering if getting the fun would be an improvement? Kingwa seems to really care about his products and seems very enthusiastic. Leads me to believe this is probably the best sound I can get at this price point.

Another question, if I predominantly us this for the line out to my powered a5 speakers would the acss unit provide any benefit? Or is the acss for the headphone out?

thanks
post #53 of 1242
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by muad View Post
I currently own a maverick d1 which cost me around $200. Its the same dac/preamp as the Grant Fidelity Tube DAC-09 and XiangSheng DAC-01A. Now Im wondering if getting the fun would be an improvement? Kingwa seems to really care about his products and seems very enthusiastic. Leads me to believe this is probably the best sound I can get at this price point.

Another question, if I predominantly us this for the line out to my powered a5 speakers would the acss unit provide any benefit? Or is the acss for the headphone out?

thanks
I haven't listen to the maverick d1 nor to the Grant Fidelity Tube DAC-09 so I cannot comment on them.

All I can say, is that the ACSS version (or version A) is a lot better than the regular voltage modules (version B). In my opinion, Version B is roughly on the same level as the DAC-100/Compass, emu 0404 usb, ... while the the version A (ACSS) is a significant step-up.

The ACSS circuits are used for the headphone as well as the preamp/Lineout output so you should fully benefit from it when using your powered speakers.
By the way, the way the volume control is handled in dac/line output of the version A of the FUN is technically the best in my opinion. Digital volume control (even if it is done at 24 or 32 bits) causes a loss in resolution. Analog volume control trhough a potentiometer or stepped attenuator in the voltage domain also causes losses of information. On the other hand, volume control in the current domain (on the gain stage) is technically way better : only a few high-end companies such as Krell, Ayre or Accuphase use that for their top of the line preamps.
post #54 of 1242
K thanks for the input, which volume control does the fun use? Also the volume control only work with the line out? So that means no hdam for me.
post #55 of 1242
The HDAM is in the DAC section. If you're using the DAC at all, then you're using whatever OPAMP or HDAM is in the socket there. The line out (pre-amp out) is the same as the headphone output in practical terms, the difference being the output goes to two RCA jacks.
post #56 of 1242
Well supposedly because the hdam has a built in buffer, it sounds better from the dac out because there is not buffer on that output. The lineout has a buffer and therefore sounds better with normal ic opamps that need the buffer. My question is, does the volume control work with both dac and line out?
post #57 of 1242
Quote:
Originally Posted by muad View Post
Well supposedly because the hdam has a built in buffer, it sounds better from the dac out because there is not buffer on that output. The lineout has a buffer and therefore sounds better with normal ic opamps that need the buffer. My question is, does the volume control work with both dac and line out?
DAC out is fixed level.
post #58 of 1242
Great thank you for the reply, I think Im gonna go ahead and order the version a. Hopefully it's an upgrade from my Maverick D1. I think it will be... The components definitely appear more purpose based and quality. I really don't want to upgrade after this (yeah right)

One last question. Im trying to decide on which opa to get. I also have a LME49710 on the way. Im just wondering, what does neutral sounding mean exactly? If the LME49710 is considered a transparent opamp would the opa earth be redundant? or does neutral mean it sounds natural? The other opa im considering is the moon.
post #59 of 1242
You need 2x LME49710 on a Browndog adaptor if you want to use it in the DAC. If you put a single one in there you'll likely destroy the OPAMP.
post #60 of 1242
Yeah i've got the opamp being made for me.

I order my unit along with the opa moon,

the waiting is the hardest part....
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