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REVIEW (more to come) - CEntrance DACport 24/96 USB DAC Amp - Page 5

post #61 of 493
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMiddleSky View Post


I'm still curious with this, maybe anyone can help? 

 


Not sure we understand the question, or if there was a question there in the original statement.  Sorry.

post #62 of 493

I think the question was which one he should choose among the CEntrance DACport, Matrix Mini-i, gamma2, or DacMagic as a DAC feeding an amplifier.

 

If you're not moving around much, I'd go with the DacMagic since I've read some good things about it.

post #63 of 493
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kite7 View Post

I think the question was which one he should choose among the CEntrance DACport, Matrix Mini-i, gamma2, or DacMagic as a DAC feeding an amplifier.

 

If you're not moving around much, I'd go with the DacMagic since I've read some good things about it.


Well, I've not compared them so I can't help there.

post #64 of 493

Apologies for thread-digging...

 

I know this was kinda stated early in this thread. But do you mind reiterating your stand again about the DACport vs the Nuforce HDP as "one-box" solutions for a HD600?

 

I'm aiming for either of these for my HD600 (stock cables for now) to use with music that requires a very expansive soundstage (esp. for the separation), textured sound, micro-detail and fast transients.

 

Cheers!

 

ADD: Or are there any other "one-box" solutions out there I should consider (or at least shortlist to consider)? I want to keep the budget at around this range but, as I'm only working towards earning one of these for this year, I can afford to stretch a bit (just not too much).


Edited by 9VARZ - 1/2/11 at 1:50pm
post #65 of 493
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9VARZ View Post


Apologies for thread-digging...



 



I know this was kinda stated early in this thread. But do you mind reiterating your stand again about the DACport vs the Nuforce HDP as "one-box" solutions for a HD600?



 



I'm aiming for either of these for my HD600 (stock cables for now) to use with music that requires a very expansive soundstage (esp. for the separation), textured sound, micro-detail and fast transients.



 



Cheers!



 



ADD: Or are there any other "one-box" solutions out there I should consider (or at least shortlist to consider)? I want to keep the budget at around this range but, as I'm only working towards earning one of these for this year, I can afford to stretch a bit (just not too much).




 



I don't think I have anything to add to my review using HD600. A lot depends on how loud you like it, with HDP driving the HD600 a bit more authoritatively and louder. The DACmini is another one-box solution to consider, and I think in sound quality it's a step above the others mentioned in the review. It's clearly more powerful than the DACport, although with something like the HE-6 headphones only the HDP has enough power.
post #66 of 493

Can anyone tell me if there is some reason why I couldn't plug the USB out on a USB turntable into the DACport? I realize it's taking the signal from A to D and back again, but that's what it's doing if you plug the turntable into a computer as well, right? Thanks.

post #67 of 493


Larry, I was one of the initial buyers of the initial DACminis & I'd complained on the DACmini forum that it was not a good match for either my HE5LEs or my 600 ohm Beyer 880s. I'd also pointed out that both were able to be driven by my HDP just fine. CEntrance sent me a new DACmini with the gain turned up & it now it will play both of those headphones easily & even louder than my HDP can on the same songs. Also, all of my IEMs, still have a totally black background on this new mini. I am impressed  I also agree with you that the mini is a good step up in sound quality over the HDP. I'd liken it to sounding like a high quality hybrid tube amp in tone & texture.

 

Now I don't know if Micheal will make that raised gain the standard on all future units of the mini, but it is nice to know that if you ask them, they will & can do it for you. I don't own the HE6s, but my HE5LEs now has plenty more headroom than it needs, so my guess is that the HE6 would work fine with it - at least "tuned" as my new unit is.  I do have the LCD-2 & it is an outstanding match for the DACmini. But for that matter, it sounds almost as good on my DACport when hooked to my iPad.  Anyway, I'd highly recommend the DACmini over the HDP as the preferred "one box" solution for a PC/Apple desktop setup. Turned on it's side It is almost as small as my HDP & stacked on an Apple mini, it looks & sounds REALLY great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post





 

I don't think I have anything to add to my review using HD600. A lot depends on how loud you like it, with HDP driving the HD600 a bit more authoritatively and louder. The DACmini is another one-box solution to consider, and I think in sound quality it's a step above the others mentioned in the review. It's clearly more powerful than the DACport, although with something like the HE-6 headphones only the HDP has enough power.
post #68 of 493
Quote:
Originally Posted by priest View Post

Can anyone tell me if there is some reason why I couldn't plug the USB out on a USB turntable into the DACport? I realize it's taking the signal from A to D and back again, but that's what it's doing if you plug the turntable into a computer as well, right? Thanks.

 

With a USB connection, there is usually a host controller and multiple slaved devices, your computer is the host and the peripheral devices are slaved to it.

Both the USb turntable and the DacPort are slave devices, which is why you can't plug one into the other.
 

post #69 of 493
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinHorn View Post


Larry, I was one of the initial buyers of the initial DACminis & I'd complained on the DACmini forum that it was not a good match for either my HE5LEs or my 600 ohm Beyer 880s. I'd also pointed out that both were able to be driven by my HDP just fine. CEntrance sent me a new DACmini with the gain turned up & it now it will play both of those headphones easily & even louder than my HDP can on the same songs. Also, all of my IEMs, still have a totally black background on this new mini. I am impressed  I also agree with you that the mini is a good step up in sound quality over the HDP. I'd liken it to sounding like a high quality hybrid tube amp in tone & texture.

 

Now I don't know if Micheal will make that raised gain the standard on all future units of the mini, but it is nice to know that if you ask them, they will & can do it for you. I don't own the HE6s, but my HE5LEs now has plenty more headroom than it needs, so my guess is that the HE6 would work fine with it - at least "tuned" as my new unit is.  I do have the LCD-2 & it is an outstanding match for the DACmini. But for that matter, it sounds almost as good on my DACport when hooked to my iPad.  Anyway, I'd highly recommend the DACmini over the HDP as the preferred "one box" solution for a PC/Apple desktop setup. Turned on it's side It is almost as small as my HDP & stacked on an Apple mini, it looks & sounds REALLY great.





 



Thanks for the feedback. I'd like a DACmini someday and will be sure to ask for the higher gain setup. Right now I have too much gear to listen to, but I love trying new things. The DACmini at RMAF sounded great - warm, smooth, detailed, and refined, without sounding rolled off anywhere.
post #70 of 493

Thanks alot, that makes perfect sense in retrospect.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by khaos974 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by priest View Post

Can anyone tell me if there is some reason why I couldn't plug the USB out on a USB turntable into the DACport? I realize it's taking the signal from A to D and back again, but that's what it's doing if you plug the turntable into a computer as well, right? Thanks.

 

With a USB connection, there is usually a host controller and multiple slaved devices, your computer is the host and the peripheral devices are slaved to it.

Both the USb turntable and the DacPort are slave devices, which is why you can't plug one into the other.
 

post #71 of 493

I continue to be really impressed by this device.  I've been playing it and comparing to the iBasso D12, cheaper but more flexible inputs and self-powered, and even to the Burson 160D.  I've been driving JH16 and Shure 540 IEM's, HD650s and a modified Fostex T50rp.  Even with the IEM's, low level tracking was excellent, no problems at any level I would normally listen at, and no hint of noise or hiss.  Even the less efficient low impedance T50's just sung, never a sense of strain at any rational volume, and a strong sense of clarity and control.  Integration into the Mac was transparent and simple, and interaction with Pure Music has been flawless.  

 

The T50's are really clean and have almost no grain, anywhere, so the first thing I can hear with an amp is how much grain is in it.  I usually hear it most readily in voices, where how 'gritty' the voice sounds is affected by the amp.  My benchmark is the Burson.  The DACPort holds up very well.  There is a very minormidrange coloration, but I mean minor.  I'm only hearing it on some tracks, and I have to cross check with the Burson to be sure.  That's really good for a device barely bigger than the 1/4 inch jack (btw, just the choice of jack-size should hint that this little fella was not meant to drive Apple buds...).  

 

In fact, looking at the specs, this actually pushes more class A output than the Burson.  Whoa.  Class A no less.  That's obviously why the amp sounds so effortless, even driving the more power-hungry T50s.  With Class A, the amp is always on full power, and will actually run COOLER the louder you play the music and the less efficient the phones are.

 

For acoustic materials, space was well defined, but not etched.  It felt very at home reproducing large and small venues, without a sense of "pin point" imaging that is artificially point-ish (when did you even here a "point" sized piano?).  Acoustic and electric guitar really conveyed the percussive nature of the strumming and picking, voices and harmonies were clean, clear and lush, and bass was solid, with a pleasing tightness.  Listening to "Mighty Trucks of Midnight" by Bruce Cockburn, the drums sound fantastic; the bass drum in particular really sounds very naturally percussive, in a way that really creates a well balanced, tightly integrated floor.  Bruce's vocals come through clearly and cleanly, with a tiny bit of grain not present in the Burson.  The top end is clean and extended, but not sizzly and sharp.  Like the Burson, there's a bit of "tube" clarity, but no sense of coloration or being too-warm and plush.

 

This is a wonderful little amp.  It really just resolves more detail, more cleanly and with less grain than the D12.  With the D12 I feel like I'm listening to a great portable rig, but with the DACPort I simply feel like I'm listening to great music, especially when paired with the orthos.  It's definitely not as detailed and lively as the Burson, but it's not $1000 and 15 lbs, either.  If I had to have only one portable I would pick the D12, not because it sounds better, but because it's self-powered and has more inputs, including line-level.  But there's no question which I'd pick for listening if I wanted best quality or could afford two portables, which fortunately I can.

 

This is a ridiculously good product for the money, it's made in the USA, they have been very prompt and helpful (no problems, just technical questions).  It's not a Burson, but for a tiny, sub-$400 portable device, it's huge power, super clean and detailed, and a real joy to listen to.  Rock on CEntrance, this is a great product.  More inputs, and you'd have a totally awesome premium entry in the porta-sphere.

 

post #72 of 493
Thread Starter 

Nice impressions mrspeakers.  I'm still enjoying mine, and agree it's a step up from my upgraded D4 or D10 (haven't heard the D12).

post #73 of 493

It's curious to me that the device isn't getting as much of a following as iBasso.  Maybe it's the quality vs. features tradeoff, but I really think it's just a great piece of gear, especially for portable.

post #74 of 493
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrspeakers View Post

It's curious to me that the device isn't getting as much of a following as iBasso.  Maybe it's the quality vs. features tradeoff, but I really think it's just a great piece of gear, especially for portable.


Agreed on all points.  I would like a bit more juice from the T50rp though.  Though I believe it is rated at higher output than the Arrow I think the Arrow drives the T50rp better.  Despite that minor quibble the DAC is superb and amp section is fantastic considering how portable it is.  It would be quite easy to live with a laptop and the DACPort and call it a day. 

post #75 of 493
Thread Starter 

Well, we can't assume that the lack of posts here means the DACport isn't popular or highly regarded.  If it really is lagging behind the competition in sales, I think what may have held it back from taking off like crazy was the fewer features vs other products, and maybe some people can't get over that despite its superior sound.

 

I once made suggestions to CEntrance about adding features like line-out or analog input, or even S/PDIF inputs, and we got the DACmini.  And believe it or not, despite how good the DACport really is, the DACmini surpasses it in power, clarity, transparency, openness, air, ambience and soundstage.  The DACmini sounds like a cousin to the DACport and there is a family resemblance in the sound, but as my DACmini burns in it opens up more every day.  

 

Now I think the next product for them to make is a battery powered portable DAC/amp based on the DACport - with USB and analog input, line-out and headphone out, with an internal 9v battery for when not using it via USB.  You'd think I was describing my iBasso D4, but I want it to sound like the DACport. 

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