Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › REVIEW (more to come) - CEntrance DACport 24/96 USB DAC Amp
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

REVIEW (more to come) - CEntrance DACport 24/96 USB DAC Amp - Page 8

post #106 of 493

Larry, this is an incredibly informative review - once again - thank you!

 

I've been looking for a dac to run my JH13s out of a macbook pro, and had been considering the Apogee Duet and the HRT Streamer II+ (or Pro) among others.  You've pretty much warned me off the Duet, but I was wondering A) if you had any sense of the II+ or Pro, even if you haven't tried them yourself, and B) whether you've tried running a balanced source to your balanced Protector, and how much of a difference you felt that made overall.  

 

I don't have a protector, but I picked up a Pelican, and am liking it very much with the JH13s and thinking about a balanced source, portable or not...

post #107 of 493

 

First, AVU this isn't really directed at you.  You just mentioned "balanced" which started me thinking about something that's been on my mind on Head-fi, so nothing personal.  I've not heard any of the gear you reference and this is not directed at your inquiry...

 

Since this is a DACPort thread, I write the following only to share my engineering/user persepctive on balanced vs. class A because I really think the whole "balanced" thing is over-hyped on Head-Fi and it feels to me like a lot of people assume balanced is somehow "better" than other topologies and class A seems to be perceived as less desirable.   There are many fine balanced amps out there, and balanced interconnects serve a very useful purpose in electrically noisy environments like studios or for live music.  But balanced is a means to an end, and there are other ways to get equal (or better) sound quality.  

 

IMHO, the great advantage of balanced amps is that out of phase AB amps produce *mostly* out of phase crossover distortion, allowing the two circuits to null most of the inherent distortion in the amp's crossover zone (and that is a big deal to me as an engineer, as crossover distortion is quite objectionable to me). So it has an inherent ability to create cleaner output without (as much) global feedback.

 

A class A amp has no crossover distortion, as the transistors are always on.  It also has half as many components in the circuit, generally has half the output impedance, because it's always at "full power" there's no question of saggy power rails, or phony "peak power" specs, and a few other lesser advantages.  A good class A circuit will usually have less distortion than a class AB before feedback is applied.

 

Then you have the question of parts quality, circuit design, etc.  At a given price point, a balanced amp will require twice the parts, which may mean (not always, to be sure) cheaper parts are used, or the price will be higher.  

 

I'm no fanboy of one approach, I think they both have merits.  My home theatre is powered by the awesome Theta Dreadnaught amp, which is 2KW+ of incredibly articulate 5 channel fully symmetric, fully discrete balanced power.  On the other hand my primary 'phone amps are both class A.  

 

In the end, there's no hard rule-of-thumb, because there's a huge variable in circuit topology and quality.  Here are my general considerations when I look at amp topologies:  

 

1) If you need a lot of power, like home theatre, forget class A unless you have your own power grid. Balanced is a great way to go compared to typical class AB or D home theatre gear, but it can be pricier because you have twice the circuitry.  It also tends to use 2x the idle power.

 

2) For lower power applications like headphones (or horn speakers) be sure to check out class A and keep an open mind.  It can often give a sweeter and cleaner sound, and many of the circuits have less reliance on feedback.  

 

3)  Balanced amps often sound better than class AB, but a good AB will outperform a mediocre balanced.

 

As always, YMMV, others will have totally different perspectives, and there's no substitute for actually listening to the amps when possible.  

 

 


Edited by mrspeakers - 4/18/11 at 11:21pm
post #108 of 493
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrspeakers View Post

First, AVU this isn't really directed at you.  You just mentioned "balanced" which started me thinking about something that's been on my mind on Head-fi, so nothing personal.  I've not heard any of the gear you reference and this is not directed at your inquiry...

 

Actually, I'm glad you said this, because I'm on the fence myself.  I haven't yet gotten a balanced to see how much I like the Pelican, and I think the balanced issue is a big problem for reviewing and comparing, because you either get your cables balanced, and then you _better_ like the balanced setup you've gotten, because esp with portable, it's this crazy non-standard connection (miniXLR, Hirose XLR, RSA's XLR) that ONLY works with that unit, so you either need to sell the cables, or buy an expensive adapter to further complicate the chain, or rewire the cable yourself.  So I think there's a lot of "I've gone this far, I can't go back now" coloring people's impressions of what they hear.  This is also the reason you almost never read comparisons of iBasso vs RSA's balanced portables - you have to decide on the recabling, and damn if you're going to get a whole new recable just to try something else!
 

 

post #109 of 493

Well said.  That's a whole other, and very valid, set of considerations.  SE is certainly easier from a compatibility and alternatives perspective.

post #110 of 493
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVU View Post

Larry, this is an incredibly informative review - once again - thank you!

 

I've been looking for a dac to run my JH13s out of a macbook pro, and had been considering the Apogee Duet and the HRT Streamer II+ (or Pro) among others.  You've pretty much warned me off the Duet, but I was wondering A) if you had any sense of the II+ or Pro, even if you haven't tried them yourself, and B) whether you've tried running a balanced source to your balanced Protector, and how much of a difference you felt that made overall.  

 

I don't have a protector, but I picked up a Pelican, and am liking it very much with the JH13s and thinking about a balanced source, portable or not...

 

I havent heard the others you mentioned, sorry.
 

 

post #111 of 493

Ok, ran into a problem and I'm hoping one of you helpful forum members can help me out.  

 

Bought a DacPort new last week and couldn't be happier - EXCEPT - it keeps crashing/glitching with my favorite OS X audioplayer: Audirvana.  

 

Works beautifully and without a hitch with Amarra 2.1, with Fidelia, with itunes, etc.

 

So why not just use it with those?  Well, because honestly, A) I think Audirvana currently has the best SQ of any software available at any price, and I'd like to use it, but B) and more importantly, I want to make absolutely certain that there's nothing wrong with the dacport, since as I said, I just bought it new and can easily return it within the return window if it is defective in some way.

 

So can someone running OS X with a dacport please help out by simply installing this amazing, free program and report if you have any problems?  

 

http://www.audirvana.com/Site_2/Audirvana.html

 

What I hear, right as any track begins, is a fairly regularly blip, almost like a metronome.  Occasionally, depending on the settings, I get even more noise and the "CPU overload" flag lights up, and occasionally the program even shuts down.  This has never happened using Audirvana with my Audio-GD Sparrow, and it doesn't seem to be a reported problem with Audirvana for anyone else, so I'm worried it's just my DacPort.  For someone who's always been a bit skeptical about the problems of usb-streaming audio, it made an instant believer out of me. 

 

Thanks so much!  

 

avu


Edited by AVU - 4/24/11 at 12:43pm
post #112 of 493

Wish I could help but I'm a Windows user.  No idea.

post #113 of 493
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVU View Post

Ok, ran into a problem and I'm hoping one of you helpful forum members can help me out.  

 

Bought a DacPort new last week and couldn't be happier - EXCEPT - it keeps crashing/glitching with my favorite OS X audioplayer: Audirvana.  

 

Works beautifully and without a hitch with Amarra 2.1, with Fidelia, with itunes, etc.

 

So why not just use it with those?  Well, because honestly, A) I think Audirvana currently has the best SQ of any software available at any price, and I'd like to use it, but B) and more importantly, I want to make absolutely certain that there's nothing wrong with the dacport, since as I said, I just bought it new and can easily return it within the return window if it is defective in some way.

 

So can someone running OS X with a dacport please help out by simply installing this amazing, free program and report if you have any problems?  

 

http://www.audirvana.com/Site_2/Audirvana.html

 

What I hear, right as any track begins, is a fairly regularly blip, almost like a metronome.  Occasionally, depending on the settings, I get even more noise and the "CPU overload" flag lights up, and occasionally the program even shuts down.  This has never happened using Audirvana with my Audio-GD Sparrow, and it doesn't seem to be a reported problem with Audirvana for anyone else, so I'm worried it's just my DacPort.  For someone who's always been a bit skeptical about the problems of usb-streaming audio, it made an instant believer out of me. 

 

Thanks so much!  

 

avu


Worked fine in my OS 10.6.7 installation with a DACPort.  However, Audirvana totally pegged out the CPUs when upsampling, so I stopped using it.  If you're using upsampling, try turning that off and see if the pops go away (and check CPU Monitor for load).  Anything approaching 100% CPU load is going to ensure problems when other processes need CPU cycles...  It was for this that I switched to Pure Music, upsampling uses only about 5% CPU.

 

post #114 of 493

Works beautifully with Pure. Will give it a go with Audirvana sometime soon!

post #115 of 493

that helped - there's a new update that seems to have eliminated the issue. but even before, just switching to "only 2x upsampling" fixed things.

post #116 of 493

Any ideas on how this would pair with a Pro 900? On paper it sounds good, and seems to possibly be a better match for the Ultrasones than an HDP. Thoughts?

 

-Daniel

post #117 of 493

Anyone?

 

-Daniel

post #118 of 493
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BournePerfect View Post

Any ideas on how this would pair with a Pro 900? On paper it sounds good, and seems to possibly be a better match for the Ultrasones than an HDP. Thoughts?

 

-Daniel

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BournePerfect View Post

Anyone?

 

-Daniel


I have not heard the Pro 900, only the Pro 2500.  I think the DACport would have been a good match for the Pro 2500 if I still had them, more so than the HDP.  The Pro 2500 actually had the best synergy with a Millett hybrid amp, which filled out their mids and smoothed out the treble.  The DACport is warm and turbey sounding and should work well too.  

 

I recall recall that Kees had to mod his Pro 900 to fix a harsh or bright treble, and if that description is true, then the HDP might not be any better match for Pro 900 than the HDP is for HD800 - not a great pairing. 

post #119 of 493

Thanks Larry I think that helps me a bit. I currently am using the HRT Streamer II and E9 with the Pro 900s and wondering if the DacPort would be an improvement or not.

 

-Daniel

post #120 of 493

Daniel, can't tell if DACPort would be an upgrade from the HRT Streamer II.

What I can tell is the synergy DACPort with Ultrasone Pro750 is quite sweet.

 

I am surprised by Larry's remark above finding the DACPort warm. I find it quite neutral, forward positioning, with great presence of the mediums.

Given the dark profile of the Pro750 (I understand this is even more pronounced on the Pro900), this is a nice combination. It definitely works well with the Pro750, I'm expecting the same with the Pro900.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › REVIEW (more to come) - CEntrance DACport 24/96 USB DAC Amp