Originally Posted by Anaxilus
So does that make the DACPort warm or those other sources bright? My DACPort is the brightest source I have though in absolute terms its more neutral w/ a hint of brightness unless I'm mistaking it's more analytical signature for brightness. All my 8740s and NOS DAC are warmer. Clip+ is closer but warmer still than DACPort I think.
I know you don't need "educating" but I write this to explain my point of view. To me "warmth" covers a wide range of sound signatures, and the others are also warm sounding, just not as much. I try not mix warm/neutral/cold or thin with dark/neutral/bright.
I tend to think of warmth being in the lows and mids, and bright/dark being in the highs. So, to me warm doesn't mean it's dark (DACport is not dark), and lack of warmth does not always mean bright. In addition, bright doesn't mean it can't be warm at the same time (v-shape freq response). "Cold" to me implies a lack of lower and mid register warmth or body, but it doesn't have to mean bright - I'd actually consider cold more as being "thin" in some cases. Dark to me is the opposite of bright, but dark doesn't have to mean it's also warm. (in a similar sense, recessed highs doesn't always mean rolled off highs.)
Now, in direct comparison I think the HDP is slightly brighter than DACport, and also slightly aggressive sounding just like a balanced RSA Protector -- So when the HDP is paired with a slightly aggressive headphone like HD800 the HDP doesn't synergize as well as it does with a more smooth and refined headphone like HE-6 or LCD-2. But, I don't think the HDP is bright or overly aggressive either, although it can contribute to synergy or lack thereof with certain headphones - if it was too bright or aggressive then even using it with the HE-6 wouldn't sound as good as it does. Meanwhile, the DACport is more refined, and balanced enough to work with a wider variety of headphone sound signatures.
The iBasso D4 or Pico DAC is slightly brighter than DACport and less bright than HDP, but also less warm than DACport and similar in warmth to HDP. Note - the nature of the HDP's sound changes noticeably for the better with a Sigma 11 PSU, and then I can't call it aggressive anymore either. And none of these would I describe as bright, I'm talking about relative brightness in relation to each other.
Edited by HeadphoneAddict - 5/12/11 at 9:47pm