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Official Audio-gd Sparrow thread - Page 40

post #586 of 725
Quote:
Originally Posted by kr0gg View Post




what low-budget power filter would you advice?

 

PS: for some reason audio-gd's site doesn't say anything about their filter's cost.


It's on the price list page for $105.  I have a Silver Circle Audio Juice Box Jr here too, which is much the same thing, but with only 2 outlets.  Between a power cord with debatable benefits (they are very controversial, if you didn't already know, though personally I've found them to have some benefit) and a box with noise filtering circuits in it, it's an easy choice IMO.

post #587 of 725
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic Trola View Post




Ah, um, not sure what you mean.  Our prices should be identical to your door (unless you are in CAN, AK, PR, HI etc).  Please email me if the prices do not agree with the AGD website - I could use the help.

 

AGD REF 8, non USB is $1610 + $119 shipping  = $1729.   I believe our price shipped to your door is, as you correctly pointed out, $1725.

My apologies. I didn't realize shipping was free. I saw the $1725 price and assumed shipping would be added. I may be using you instead.
 

post #588 of 725
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim3320070 View Post



My apologies. I didn't realize shipping was free. I saw the $1725 price and assumed shipping would be added. I may be using you instead.
 


Why, Thank you, Tim!

post #589 of 725

Hey guys, just wanted to drop by for some initial impressions of my W1000x's with the Sparrow Version A I received today.

 

Disclaimer: These are initial impressions. I don't know how great my ability to discern minute differences in sound quality is, but I can detect the improvement in sound quality when using the 24/96 DAC output of the Sparrow. The first couple of hours I listened, I had a migraine. The most recent hours have been headache-free thanks to tynenol, so I will base my impressions from the latter hours.

 

Initial Impressions: I can already tell that this matchup has no synergy whatsoever. The shortcomings of the W1000x are mostly from the sibilance of it's bright presentation and the Sparrow does not fix that - it actually amplifies it. The crash of cymbals will make you cringe and synthesized xylophones will overpower the rest of the presentation. If before the W1000x was not suitable for modern pop, then it definitely will ruin it for you after coupling it with the Sparrow. The highs are extended in a phone that had too much extension on them already. Higher frequencies will be piercing.

 

The mids are the next to be targeted: audio-technica headphones are famous for their forward presentation of their mids and this is no exception for the W1000x, although it is more balanced than the ESW9 it seems. The mids seem to have been pulled back from the presentation a bit; they are not recessed at any means, but at this point they are less "natural" sounding than I remembered them being straight from my ASUS laptop's headphone out. Close listening shows that the detail of the presentation has actually improved, but the decay of piano notes that previously hung in the air seems muted.

 

The bass has actually improved. It has become punchier and tighter - the problem with this is that before the Sparrow it was punchy enough to begin with. If songs have poorly recorded bass or overpowering amounts of it, you might feel like the Sparrow is trying to punch out your eardrums at times. On other recordings, the bass is right on the dot and engaging. Your head may begin to shake up and down uncontrollably. It is one of the better qualities of these phones, and the Sparrow does the right job with them - somtimes.

 

Conclusion: From what I've heard so far, the Sparrow seems to transform the W1000x's natural presentation into something more "analytical." I must say that I'm a bit disappointed so far into this affair, but it isn't something completely disastrous. The pairing will make your W1000x's great with Jazz and Classical, but probably ruin all other genres. The W1000xs were already good in those areas, but they are now elevated to another level. The Sparrow will turn the W1000x into a "neutral and analytical" presenter - if that is not your cup of tea, then this is not the right combo for you.

 

I want to remind you again that this is only an initial impression. With time I might find the presentation to present itself differently - or my W1000x's might begin to "burn-in" and change their sonic qualities. All things in this review should be taken with a bucket of salt rather than a grain. The best way of finding out whether your musical tastes match is to take a chance in Russian roulette - I strongly advise you to try it out for yourself, as Head-fi has an excellent trade section and it is almost guaranteed with audio-gd products that you will suffer only minimal losses.

 

 


--An update has arrived! Check page 42 for the final impressions.--



Edited by Nanago - 10/8/10 at 4:14pm
post #590 of 725

I see that you decided to get both components at once.  I hope that you find that you like the sound more after giving it a bit of time.

Out of curiosity, are you using USB or SPDIF on the Sparrow, and did you get the 24/94 or 24/192KHz version?

A little more detail on music used would also be good, I am just interested in what exactly you are testing and what you are testing it with.

post #591 of 725

Nanago, the sparrow will mellow out somewhat after 1-2 weeks of being left on which I highly recommend doing. I would also suggest burning in your new headphones at low volume because people who believe in headphone burn-in usually say it is the highs that mellow out over time. I said it a few times before, but I forgot to mention to you, but the sparrow does not pair well with certain genres of music. The good thing about laptop out or mp3 players is that they are very often forgiving of, say, loud rock music, and synergize to produce an euphonic sound. Play loud rock music on the sparrow and it might seem like a smorgasbord of aggression, especially first few hours of having the sparrow. Let it burn in and it will loosen its iron grip on the highs

post #592 of 725
Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post

Play loud rock music on the sparrow and it might seem like a smorgasbord of aggression, especially first few hours of having the sparrow. Let it burn in and it will loosen its iron grip on the highs



I'm waiting on mine now, and that sort of comment is not the sort of thing I'm looking for. It's also got me thinkinhg the Sparrow may not synergize well with my MS2's.

post #593 of 725

Well the problem isn't really the sparrow, except the sparrow doesn't have massive soundstage or very fleshed out decay, but that once you go up to a certain level in neutral gear, you start hearing a pretty truthful portrayal of recording quality and intent of the musicians. Music that is originally fatiguing and aggressive with excessive use of dynamics, like heavy metal, will likely sound just like that on the sparrow. Don't get me started on the recording quality of many modern genres -_-, but the sparrow is revealing enough to make some albums unlistenable just because of this. I think this is less so on the discontinued compass which wasn't quite as technically capable as the sparrow.


Edited by haloxt - 9/25/10 at 7:12am
post #594 of 725
Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post

Well the problem isn't really the sparrow, except the sparrow doesn't have massive soundstage or very fleshed out decay, but that once you go up to a certain level in neutral gear, you start hearing a pretty truthful portrayal of recording quality and intent of the musicians. Music that is originally fatiguing and aggressive with excessive use of dynamics, like heavy metal, will likely sound just like that on the sparrow. Don't get me started on the recording quality of many modern genres -_-, but the sparrow is revealing enough to make some albums unlistenable just because of this. I think this is less so on the discontinued compass which wasn't quite as technically capable as the sparrow.


Well I dont really listen to a lot of modern genres, mostly bluesy classic rock sort of stuff. If I understand your perceptions correctly though you seem to be saying the Sparrow is more analytical than musical. My real goal in getting a new Dac / Amp combo to replace my uDAC was to get something that sounded a warmer with a little more oomph from the amp than what the uDAC has. It seems I may have miscalculated a bit. Perhaps what I should have done is feed a tube amp with my uDAC. I dont really want to fiddle with tubes though. Maybe I should have listened to the Pacific Valve guy from the get go and given the Musiland monitor more serious consideration. Ultimately I'm not really looking for hifi sound. All I really want is a decent mid fi sound that gets my toes tapping.

post #595 of 725
Quote:
Originally Posted by KneelJung View Post




Well I dont really listen to a lot of modern genres, mostly bluesy classic rock sort of stuff. If I understand your perceptions correctly though you seem to be saying the Sparrow is more analytical than musical. My real goal in getting a new Dac / Amp combo to replace my uDAC was to get something that sounded a warmer with a little more oomph from the amp than what the uDAC has. It seems I may have miscalculated a bit. Perhaps what I should have done is feed a tube amp with my uDAC. I dont really want to fiddle with tubes though. Maybe I should have listened to the Pacific Valve guy from the get go and given the Musiland monitor more serious consideration. Ultimately I'm not really looking for hifi sound. All I really want is a decent mid fi sound that gets my toes tapping.


I own the uDac and upgraded to the Sparrow with AD1852. I doubt you will be getting the AD1852 model so my comments are not all too helpful. 

 

On immediate impressions the Sparrow seems to have more oomph in the lower frequencies (When used as headphone out which I assume the more powerful amp is the key. I couldn't really tell when used a preamp/dac...) and an emphasis on the highs (an effect of the AD1852 FWIR) when compared to uDac. I ordered a new headphone that is supposedly pretty neutral - FA003. If I find the highs too much when combined with the Sparrow like I did with my Stax Lamda, then I am going to exchange the DAC module for one of the newer ones (wm8740/1). By the way I preferred the uDac vs Sparrow when it came to the Stax because of the Stax's already slightly tilted natured towards highs, but I prefer the Sparrow with my PK1 and PX100 which both have upper frequency/highs roll off. The Senn HD580/600/650 are supposed to have rolled off highs like PX100 kin, so I have a feeling they will pair nicely with my Sparrow. I guess I may make one last effort with an HD600 before ditching the AD1852 Sparrow.

 

I will let you know how I feel with the FA003. If I do decide on a different DAC module is necessary, then I will likely sell the Sparrow all together and get a new one spec'd exactly like AVU's. 

 

I would like to make note that my impressions were mostly from a only quick A/B comparison. I haven't been using my uDac at all since getting the Sparrow, so I will likely reaffirm my initial impressions by listening to the uDac one more time before selling the Sparrow.

 

KneelJung have you noticed your uDac to have an imbalance issue? Mind does, and that is why I have not used it since getting the Sparrow. I didn't notice an imbalance with my lower-end heapdhones, but with the more revealing Stax it was obvious. I can't sell my uDac knowing its defective, so now it just collects dust.

post #596 of 725

Haha, I guess I did get both at the same time... I didn't plan on it, but sometimes things were just meant to be, I guess. I originally ordered just the Sparrow, but a quick peek at the FS forums revealed a mint W1000x for sale at a killer price, and now we know how that turned out, eh?

 

Currently I'm using the USB output on my Sparrow -  I'm not sure if the Version A USB goes to 192/24, but right now I'm using a 96/24 rate that seems to pull out sounds from the background and recording I haven't noticed before. It's not a night and day difference - I still have to pay close attention to the music or else they go right on by unnoticed - but it's a marked improvement from where it was before. The songs I've used for review on the Sparrow were:

 

Classical:

Marie Tsuda, Je te veux

Ewa Poblocka, Moments musicaux

Air on the G String (Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D)

Vladmir Horowitz, Waldstein (I - Allegro con brio)

Alternative Rock/Underground:

Linkin Park, Papercut

Bike for Three, More Heart than Brains

Flying Lotus, Do the Astral Plane

Pop:

Barenaked Ladies, One Week

Kozue Takada, Himitsu Kichi

Nino, Groovin' Magic

Vocals/Jazz:

Norah Jones, Cold Cold Heart

Diana Krall, The Boy From Ipanema

Beyonce, If I were a Boy

Rihanna, Umbrella

 

Of these I liked the whole classical section and Beyonce the best, surprisingly - Diana Krall's Ipanema actually smoothed out over the course of the song while Norah Jones' voice got huskier. All of these files were FLAC encoded and above 700kbps, so I'm certain this isn't a "garbage in- garbage out" problem. I'll try the burn-in and see what changes, but I'm not a firm believer of drivers or opamps changing compositions over time. The only time I've actually had the effects of "burn-in" happen was when my old laptop's graphics card tanked and I had to wrap it in towels to get the solder to reaffirm itself :p.

post #597 of 725

USB doesn't go up to 24/192, only SPDIF does if you have the 24/192 receiver.

 

I would give it more time as long as it isn't painful or you just hate it.  I have found at times its possible to dislike something because it sounds different, but you get used to it and find that you prefer it overall.  If you spend some time with it and don't like it no matter what, that is a different story.

Also, some music is harsh if your gear is neutral and can represent it as it was recorded.  I am not saying that any of your music choices are bad, its just that some music doesn't sound as great when you can actually hear what they recorded, as opposed to some coloration that helps to gloss over a poor aspect of a recording.

post #598 of 725

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post

Music that is originally fatiguing and aggressive with excessive use of dynamics, like heavy metal, will likely sound just like that on the sparrow.

 

That's interesting, because I've actually come to really, really like my hardest rock and metal with the new sparrow, despite the fact that I don't listen to those genres that much anymore (I'm more into Mozart at the moment.)  After 250 hours, the initial harshness seems to have tamed and the whole thing feels much tighter.  I remember when I first got the 8741 from the 1852, I felt like I had stepped down, or at best stayed even.  Now I finally feel like it's gotten to an improvement.  Still like this much better than the tricked out ibasso D4 dac/amp it replaced.  But the exact audio signature isn't going to be the same, since I probably have a very different chain from most people.  Off a macbook pro, I'm running Pure Music in upsampling mode with the Redline Monitor crossfeed plugin and a small amount of apple's reverb through toslink to the Sparrow 8471 A to JH13 Pros.  

post #599 of 725

When we were first playing with the Audio-gd OPAMPs, I found that, purely from the heat generated by leaving whatever they were in switched on, they would change over the first 350 hours. I was dubious until had 3 in a Zero DAC, all at the same time gain a rolled-off treble for around 50 hours, only to return to normal.  When I first got the Fun, the highs were quite harsh and mellowed out after having been left on for a couple of weeks.  I'm pretty sure it's the effect of heat on the transistors.

post #600 of 725
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philimon View Post




I own the uDac and upgraded to the Sparrow with AD1852. I doubt you will be getting the AD1852 model so my comments are not all too helpful. 

 

<SNIP>

 

KneelJung have you noticed your uDac to have an imbalance issue? Mind does, and that is why I have not used it since getting the Sparrow. I didn't notice an imbalance with my lower-end heapdhones, but with the more revealing Stax it was obvious. I can't sell my uDac knowing its defective, so now it just collects dust.


Actually Philimon I got the 1852. I had originally ordered the A version with the 8741 but then I sort of came to the conclusion that the sound signatures of both versions were too similar based on comments in other posts and threads to justify the difference in cost. Something that AVU seems to confirm in his post just above. I will be forming my own impressions soon enough, My biggest concern after reading some of the more recent comments is that the Sparrow is likely to make my MS2's even brighter than they already are and that's not the direction I want to go in. Although it sounds like the Sparrow may have great synergy with the HF2 and that's a headphone option that I'm contemplating.

 

As far as any imbalance issues with the uDAC I dont think so, it seems to be working properly. What is it your hearing with your uDAC?

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