Okay, since Audio-GD is "working on their backlog" as reported on the NFB-11 thread, please tell me what you think:
- Borrowed a first generation Benchmark DAC and really liked the "crisp", "linear" quality and resolution of the DAC as the HF-2 are not the highest resolving or the brightest phones. Think it is a good pairing. (I would like resolution in my DAC and Amp first, then to introduce amps later that "soften"...)
- Borrowed a fellow member's Sparrow "B" USB version with AD1852 purchased through the Pacific Valve and Electric Company.
- I listened with optical input from Apple G5 and was really impressed by the fairly "dry" sound (with some warmth in the the mids compared to the Benchmark) and found it amazing for the price. (Listening side-by-side with the Benchmark, over 3 weeks.)
- The owner of the Benchmark (and a mastering engineer) also liked the Sparrow "B" enough to want an "A" version Sparrow for it's 24/192 support and USB input (which his Benchmark does not have).
- I told him I'd go to Audio-GD, buy the "A" version, and he could pay me back (if I liked it I would get one too).
- Kingwa said that "Now we have the WM8805 module can replace the DIR8416 to support up to 192KHz and jitter only 50PS (DIR8416 is 200PS)."
- I said I'd take it.
- It arrived on Dec 19th and I gave it to my friend to check out first. He said he couldn't use it at all, that there "must be an issue with the slew rate or something."
- I took it home and then did an A/B between the "A" and the "B" versions. What I found was that the "B" sounded great with the optical input and that the "A" was "slurred" or sounded like it had additional "reverb" especially with the USB in (the optical is better but still not as clean as the optical-in on the B). My friend said the A version is "muddy".
- Bottom line, I would like a "B" with the AD1852 and I will only use the optical in- the USB is not as "dry" and not what I am looking for.
Audio-GD has not yet responded to a couple of emails over the past two weeks to either return or exchange the "A" with WM8741 so I have time to see what you think:
Do you find a BIG difference between the optical and USB inputs with your units?
Does anyone else find the same thing with the "B" optical vs. USB and like the optical in much better?
Has anyone else done A/B with the "A" and the "B" with USB and Optical on each?
I had hopes for the "A" because even though on the site the WM chips are regarded as "more forgiving" and "warm", there was a note that the newer Sparrow "A" had a revised and more "neutral" implementation that was a "step above the AD1852".
Edited by CEE TEE - 1/8/11 at 7:32pm