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REVIEW (more to come) - CEntrance DACport 24/96 USB DAC Amp - Page 2

post #16 of 488
This seems like a very nice little unit, no power cords and no nonsense just plug it in to your pc or laptop and stop worrying about monster tube amps or all kinds of interconnects on your desk but just sit back relax and listen to the music.
post #17 of 488
Thread Starter 

UPDATE using DACport as DAC-only (preamp):

It's taking me longer than I wanted in my comparison of the DACport, HDP and mini-DAC used as DAC/preamps feeding a nicer amp like WA6. I still plan to post more in the coming days on how well it compares to the others in that job description; but just taken on it's own the DACport does a very good job with this - it's very transparent and detailed as a DAC feeding my Woo WA6.

Typically my mini-DAC has been my best DAC in the house for feeding another amp, whether via balanced XLR or single ended. The Apogee with firewire was about $900-$1000 last time I checked on one with the firewire option (USB like mine was discontinued). I didn't expect the DACport to pass this up, but the differences are not huge so far, even with using a Sigma 11 PSU upgrade for my Apogee. I'm still trying to qualify the differences I hear, but both have a nice refined and "analog" sounding presentation when used as a DAC only with 24/96 files. Although the mini-DAC is only doing 24/48 via USB vs 24/96 optical, you really can't hear much of a difference between USB and Optical. These are both good choices as sources to pair with my WA6 > HD800, HE-5 and HF-2 headphones.

The HDP RCA out > WA6 seems to fall in between these two so far, but I suspect that the HDP's tiny bit of extra treble presence will work even better with my Woo WES > O2 Mk1, to add a little more sparkle to the O2 which can often sound slightly dark. This is the area where my PS Audio Digital Link III helps more with the WES > O2 vs my mini-DAC.
post #18 of 488
Since it's got no line out, does using the headphone jack as a line level source work without issue? Is full volume near what a line level output level should be?

Most headphone jacks I've seen make terrible line level sources. I wonder how the Dacport gets around this issue.
post #19 of 488
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcwang View Post
Since it's got no line out, does using the headphone jack as a line level source work without issue? Is full volume near what a line level output level should be?

Most headphone jacks I've seen make terrible line level sources. I wonder how the Dacport gets around this issue.
Yes, it works well and I set it for near max output. It seems to stay very linear feeding into a high impedance amp input, and Michael at CEntrance told me at RMAF that it would work well that way when I asked about it. I actually used the Pico amp w/ DAC this way for almost a year, as it had great synergy with my Woo GES and Stax O2 Mk1 when feeding the GES out of the Pico headphone out.
post #20 of 488
I got mine yesterday and I'm not sure I can add too much that HPA hasn't already said about it's sound qualities. (I don't have that level of experience.) So, I'll just say it has a very pure and natural sound to it. It's more open sounding than my uDAC. I like it a lot! Enough so, that I don't think I'll be looking at another source for quite awhile now.
post #21 of 488
Has anyone found a place in Europe to buy this?
post #22 of 488
It will be a couple more months before a world-wide dealer netowrk is in place. Meantime, we ship all over the world at reasonable rates.

Michael Goodman
CEntrance, Inc.
post #23 of 488
Thread Starter 
I'm still very pleased with the DACport, and right now iI use it most as my Macbook's DAC-amp for IEM listening. The low volume control with very sensitive IEM is simply amazing, with no channel imbalance no matter how quietly I want to listen. And, with it velcro'd to the lid of my Macbook I can take my Macbook from room to room around the house and not have to unplug anything from the wall that needs to be carried around with the Macbook.

I use the DACport a lot in my bedroom rig because it's so small with no wallwart, and I don't have to wait for my WA6 tube amp to warm up (very good with my IEM). It's also nice that DACport has no hiss, unlike the ALO Amphora that I was using for that job previously. I am moving my Nuforce HDP to my main rig in the basement, to use when I am down there waiting for my big tube amps to warm up. I can have that plugged into the wall there all the time, and feed it the loop out from my WES amp paired with Perfectwave DAC.

Meanwhile, I got rid of the Pico and Predator portable DAC/amps because this is better, and my iBasso D4 and D10 are getting dusty even though they are very good... If one doesn't need battery power for using with an iPod this is the portable DAC/amp to get, and I'm very pleased with how well it works as a preamp feeding a desktop amp. I would even take this over the $500 Apogee Duet which has dedicated line out (but has hiss with IEM).
post #24 of 488
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgoodman View Post
It will be a couple more months before a world-wide dealer netowrk is in place. Meantime, we ship all over the world at reasonable rates.

Michael Goodman
CEntrance, Inc.
Thx a lot for the offer, the problem is that here in Denmark, I will have to pay 25% VAT and customs plus a fee of 25 dollars to the danish postal service, so it's usually cheaper to get it from a europen/danish dealer.
post #25 of 488
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
Yes, it works well and I set it for near max output. It seems to stay very linear feeding into a high impedance amp input, and Michael at CEntrance told me at RMAF that it would work well that way when I asked about it. I actually used the Pico amp w/ DAC this way for almost a year, as it had great synergy with my Woo GES and Stax O2 Mk1 when feeding the GES out of the Pico headphone out.
Following HPA's advice I've been using my DACport to drive my Burson HA-160 desktop amp. To my amazement it sounds really good. I also have an April Aura Note, which has a built-in USB DAC, driving Omega speakers. When I drive it with the DACport through the Note's AUX inputs, the DACport is at least as good and maybe a little better than the built-in DAC - very musical, quick, and detailed. So using the DACport this way definitely works.
post #26 of 488
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by barbes View Post
Following HPA's advice I've been using my DACport to drive my Burson HA-160 desktop amp. To my amazement it sounds really good. I also have an April Aura Note, which has a built-in USB DAC, driving Omega speakers. When I drive it with the DACport through the Note's AUX inputs, the DACport is at least as good and maybe a little better than the built-in DAC - very musical, quick, and detailed. So using the DACport this way definitely works.
Yep, now I'm using the DACport to feed my RSA Protector, which is driving my balanced HD600 very well for a portable amp. This combo beats using the iBasso D4 line-out into the Protector. Single ended the DACport might be better with HD600, because when it reaches max power the clipping is softer than single ended via Protector. But when the HD600 are driven balanced out of the Protector there is no comparison in terms of power and control, and separation/soundstage. The DACport as a headphone amp seems to be a little better driving my Westone ES3X since the Westone seem to work better with a smoother more laid back sounding amp; but the Protector driving balanced JH13Pro and UE11Pro is a little bit of an upgrade over the DACport (although DACport drives all the IEM very well, and better than most other portables).
post #27 of 488
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
but the Protector driving balanced JH13Pro and UE11Pro is a little bit of an upgrade over the DACport (although DACport drives all the IEM very well, and better than most other portables).
How bout the Woo Audio 6 or the HDP vs balanced Protector for JH13? Thanks! (Your insights are really helpful in allowing me to make the right decisions for my future UE18 rig )
post #28 of 488
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CountChoculaBot View Post
How bout the Woo Audio 6 or the HDP vs balanced Protector for JH13? Thanks! (Your insights are really helpful in allowing me to make the right decisions for my future UE18 rig )
I still find the WA6 to be sweet like honey with the JH13Pro (or UE11Pro and ES3X), and if I have time to warm up the WA6 I will do that as my preferred amp. I have had limited listening time on the WA6 with JH13Pro + TWag IEM cable which brightens up the JH13Pro a little, so I want to try that more in the next few days but I suspect the WA6 will still handle the TWag cabled JH13Pro just fine.

I have some other thoughts to post here too. In previous reports I thought the JH13Pro was slightly better with HDP/stock PSU than with the DACPort, which is still quite good with them. I now find that the HDP seems slightly brighter when using the new 45 watt PSU or the TWag IEM cable, and then it's not as balanced sounding as the DACport with the JH13Pro/TWag. So, I think I prefer the DACport unless the HDP is paired with the stock PSU that I used in my previous comparisons (although upgraded PSU should be good with dark sounding phones).

The JH13pro/TWag cable with the Protector balanced amp seems to be very similar in terms of tone to listening them with the HDP/stock PSU - but when using the TWag cable both are little more aggressive sounding than DACport, which is more laid back and tube-like. So, some people might prefer the DACport or WA6 for the JH13Pro/TWag because the frequency response is more balanced.

However, the Protector/JH13Pro/TWag cable has a somewhat more spacious soundstage than DACport or HDP, so the Protector can pass up the DACport and HDP with JH13pro if using the right DAC. I find I prefer the DACport as the source to feed the Protector, because either the TWag cable and/or HDP brightens up the IEM noticeably (regardless of PSU). The uDAC also gives the JH13Pro/TWag cable a nice frequency balance when feeding the Protector amp, but it's not as detailed and spacious vs using the DACport as source.

I just can't say that "DACport > Protector > JH13pro/TWag" beats the "Apogee or DACport > WA6 > JH13Pro" yet, because there is just something about the WA6 with these IEM that is beautiful, musical and refined sounding. One thing I can say about both of these rigs is that neither of these rigs ever becomes irritating or fatiguing to listen to, unlike the combination of HDP + upgraded PSU + Protector + JH13pro + TWag cable all combined together. The synergy is very important here.
post #29 of 488

Guys - Hi - could I ask for some guidance for someone who is not so familiar with the head amp bits...

 

I have just purchased some new AKG702 (still burning in !) which many say need a good amp source. These will run nicely on my new iDecco but I also wanted something more portable for the holiday unit.  My listening is mainly female vocals, instrumental, etc and definitely not heavy rock.

 

The reviews of the Pico say it has plenty of grunt and works well with the AKG702.  Given what you know of the Pico versus DACport and the impedence etc of the AKG701/702 will the DACPort drive these fine and any other differences you expect to be noticeable ?

 

many thanks 

post #30 of 488
Thread Starter 
I'm sure someone will chime in, but I'd hate to guess about driving the K701/702 which I don't have.
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