I really enjoy this DAC...
I've talked about it in another post, I'll quickly summarize by saying, yes, it's clear, it's very liquid and yet crisp. It's neutral and yet it presents all I'd expect to hear across all the frequencies.
However, I have had a few issues...
1) Overheating. Initially I stacked this underneath my Burson HA-160. After about 6 hours, it started to seriously overheat. The burson is cool to the touch by itself (even on the bottom). The Hlly was so hot that even the volume knob was overly warm to the touch. Then the Hlly just quit. Sound stopped completely. I unplugged it and the usb and replugged it all back in. Worked fine for another hour...then all the sudden, loud hissing and distortion.
I immediately turned it off and unstacked it and put it in a cool corner by the window (it's winter in New Zealand) and using my longest usb cable tried again. The good thing is, 2 weeks running after that it's not overheated anymore. I dared to move it back to my desk, settled an inch away from my Burson HA-160, side by side (actually I've now turned my HA-160 on it's side to conserve space. It's been fine. Which only leaves me to issue number two...
2) I use a Mac(mini) and/or sometimes a hackintosh. The main issue with this is there is no system volume control. I mean I can't control the DAC volume through the Volume control on the computer. I wondered if this is normal? It's really annoying. Since I can't adjust it, I'm just left with the Amp volume knob and itune's volume control. my itunes is set like this most of the time:
That's on the 3rd notch of the amp's volume control for comfortable listening. Unfortunately, I feel the HA-160 really starts to sing on the 4th or 5th notch with my current headphones. But that's just too loud for casual listening. Anyway, my point is, it's hard to adjust the volume at the lower end of the volume scale. Towards this end, iTunes suddenly goes quiet or marginally too loud very easily.
I'm left lusting for a new DAC but I wonder if it's normal to not be able to control the volume from the OS volume control for macs with other DAC's? I'm still kind of considering the upcoming Burson stand-alone DAC when it's released.
By the way, as an amp/dac combo, I find the Hlly good for most uses. It won't power the K701's I have to exceptional levels like the Burson but it does act as a fairly good standard combo for a lot of mid-range phones I've tried on it. And of course the volume complaint is moot when used as such since it has a nice volume knob with plenty of steps in between.
Edited by jaeming - 6/13/11 at 6:49am