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Official Audio-gd Sparrow thread - Page 48

post #706 of 724
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislangley4253 View Post





it is actually an A version.. an older one that came with the dir9001 and the ad1852. I'll also be getting a wm8740 with it. That is what you preferred version was right? the older Dir9001 and the older ad1852? I can upgrade to a wm8741, but That would require a small solder job. nothing that wouldn't be reversible though. I'm not sure if I will ever mess with it. Maybe if I hear some praise. I should check out the fun thread. Anyone have a direct link?'

 

-edit-  I realize your preferred version was you friends older B. But this will be the same chips. Should be similar. I would think.. Unless some of the "upgrades" affect it. I wouldn't think so. Then again, I bet you never expected to prefer the B version at all.



Chris that's awesome, I think you actually got the B with upgrades, better USB, better plug etc. It's been a while since I actually looked at the differences other than the chip. I went with the B because of something the Pacific Valve rep said. His perception was the A with the woolfson chip sounded smeared and that the B was actually the best sounding Audio GD DAC he had heard since such and such a model. Anyway good deal congratulations.

 

post #707 of 724

 

Originally Posted by KneelJung View Post


Chris that's awesome, I think you actually got the B with upgrades, better USB, better plug etc. It's been a while since I actually looked at the differences other than the chip. I went with the B because of something the Pacific Valve rep said. His perception was the A with the woolfson chip sounded smeared and that the B was actually the best sounding Audio GD DAC he had heard since such and such a model. Anyway good deal congratulations.

 



It was my Sparrow that he purchased, and it is actually a 1st generation A version. It was before the WM8741 was introduced and the default chip was the AD1852 with the DIR9001 (similar to how they still offer the AD1852 with the FUN). It is an A version because the components are higher end than the ones used in the B version. It uses the EVOX caps, DALE-Vishay resistors, and NOVER caps, as stated on the website. It's basically the A version you can purchase today, but with the AD1852 that is swappable with an WM8740 that I purchased on my own shortly after.

 

Anyways, it's a great little device and I may purchase one down the road as a bed-side rig. It packs quite a punch and I never find myself turning the dial past 12 o'clock with my HD650, despite the fact that my friends say I like to listen at abnormally high levels.


Edited by EraserXIV - 6/2/11 at 7:23am
post #708 of 724

huzzah! I win :D. Thanks so much Eraser.

post #709 of 724

agreed.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KneelJung View Post

 I went with the B because of something the Pacific Valve rep said. His perception was the A with the woolfson chip sounded smeared and that the B was actually the best sounding Audio GD DAC he had heard since such and such a model.

 

Reply
post #710 of 724

Man, you guys have me torn.  I'm about to receive the HD650 (replacing the HD595) and have been trying to figure out what budget-conscious way I wanted to drive 'em (it's the ART HeadAmp4 in the meantime).  I've pretty much settled in on the Sparrow (or FUN or NFB-12), but am still debating between A or B.  I'll mostly be using them via USB on my laptop.

 

I'm seeing CEE TEE and KneelJung giving the B lots of love, but I'm also noting that you guys are HF2-slinging Gradoheads.  I've got an SR60 (and my pick up an SR225i in the not-too-distant future), so I'm familiar with the Grado sound.  For argument's sake, do you guys think it may be the case that the B is a better complement to Grados, but that the A may groove better in other cases?  From

 

http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/Sparrow/SparrowEN.htm

 

it's suggested that the AD1852 sounds more dynamic and the WM8741 more neutral.  I'd love to hear peoples' opinions of both the A and the B with the HD650... especially with the DACs du jour.

 

Are the components on the A that much nicer than on the B?  Would it be worth getting the A and ordering the DA1852 module?  How much work is it to switch the DAC modules?  Thanks!

 

 

post #711 of 724
Quote:
Originally Posted by uzi View Post

Man, you guys have me torn.  I'm about to receive the HD650 (replacing the HD595) and have been trying to figure out what budget-conscious way I wanted to drive 'em (it's the ART HeadAmp4 in the meantime).  I've pretty much settled in on the Sparrow (or FUN or NFB-12), but am still debating between A or B.  I'll mostly be using them via USB on my laptop.

 

I'm seeing CEE TEE and KneelJung giving the B lots of love, but I'm also noting that you guys are HF2-slinging Gradoheads.  I've got an SR60 (and my pick up an SR225i in the not-too-distant future), so I'm familiar with the Grado sound.  For argument's sake, do you guys think it may be the case that the B is a better complement to Grados, but that the A may groove better in other cases?  From

 

http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/Sparrow/SparrowEN.htm

 

it's suggested that the AD1852 sounds more dynamic and the WM8741 more neutral.  I'd love to hear peoples' opinions of both the A and the B with the HD650... especially with the DACs du jour.

 

Are the components on the A that much nicer than on the B?  Would it be worth getting the A and ordering the DA1852 module?  How much work is it to switch the DAC modules?  Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

alright, You have it mixed up a bit. Let me break it down for you, and then I'll tell you what I have. 

 

Firstly, there is no difference in DAC portion of the A's and B's that are currently being produced. The dac in the current ones is known to be more dynamic/warm than the older one. But, the man that designs them obviously feels like it is an upgrade from the older. We just have some people that think otherwise, and I have the older DAC myself, and I really like it. Haven't heard the newer one and I'm not sure if my relatively noobish ears would even hear a difference. 

 

Secondly, you have the DA chips mixed up.. The ad1852 is more neutral, with some people claiming that it brings out the highs a bit. I just think it presents a lot of detail on the upper end. I've never had my grados feel shrill coming out of any source ever, including this chip. However, I do find the highs shrill on my fostex's.. I think that is just a personal thing though. I've yet to try the 8740 with the fostex's. Which brings me to the WM8740 (older chip that is no longer offered to my knowledge, although it might be with the B version still. I'm not positive in all honesty. This chip is supposed to be warmer and more musical, I haven't given it much of a shot because I feel a source should be as transparent and neutral as possible. The WM8741 is supposed to follow in it's footsteps in being warmer and more musical from what I've read, however i'm sure its still rather neutral. Everything audio-gd makes is relatively neutral, it should all be minor differences. However, the most neutral setup as far as sparrows go would be the older chip and the ad1852 w/ it maybe bringing out the highs a notch. The most dynamic and musical pairing would be the current A version, but I'm sure it still stays very close to neutrality. There are some people on here that really didn't care for the sound and much preferred the older models, but its hardly a fact.. some people could very well prefer the current A version. 

 

The differences between the current A and B versions could only be noticed on a very revealing system with some very revealing headphones, and even then it would be kind of difficult. The main upgrade is a nicer volume pot and some nicer caps. Once again, audio-gd only puts out fine products... So, take it how you will. 

 

Personally I'm running an older A version with the older dac and the ad1852 with my woodied grados and other headphones as well. I have literally no complaints about the sound.. The only gripes I have would be that the gain is a bit high, I never turn the nob very much and I wish I could get it quieter than what I can sometimes. Also, there is no way to use the dac separately and upgrade the amp. I don't really ever plan on doing this myself, so its not a big deal. 

 

Hope I answered your questions

 

Chris

 

 


Edited by chrislangley4253 - 6/26/11 at 12:06am
post #712 of 724

Just FYI, the "sound" of the Wolfson DACs is in the way Kingwa implements them. He could make them sharper-sounding if he wanted.  I think part of it is that, with the PCM1704 becoming un-available, the closest way he could duplicate the performance of them was with the WM8741 using particular filter settings. It is more relevant in the higher-end Audio-gd gear though where the differences in DACs, filters and overall design are more apparent.

post #713 of 724
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

Just FYI, the "sound" of the Wolfson DACs is in the way Kingwa implements them. He could make them sharper-sounding if he wanted.  I think part of it is that, with the PCM1704 becoming un-available, the closest way he could duplicate the performance of them was with the WM8741 using particular filter settings. It is more relevant in the higher-end Audio-gd gear though where the differences in DACs, filters and overall design are more apparent.



Thank you for that info. I didn't know that :)

 

Also, to the guy that was trying to decide between the sparrow, fun or nfb12.. I think the nfb is probably a step up, but it is certainly smoother from what I read. Only commenting on what I've gathered so far. I'd maybe try to get my hands on an nfb 11 myself, seeing as I don't think a smooth sound signature is my cup of tea, maybe late at night, but generally I want my music to be the opposite of smooth. I don't really think you can go wrong with any of his products. the fun is better than the sparrow if you need the additional features, the nfb's are a bit more fancy on the inside and from what I've read nicer.

 

TL:DR I'd get an older A version sparrow with a ad1852 or a nfb-11 personally. I'd love to hear a 12, but I really feel it wouldn't satisfy me overall.  "The NFB-11 has quite high fidelity, its sound signature is absolutely revealing, neutral and faithful and very detailed. It can show how good or how bad a recording is. If you are afraid of flaws being revealed in the music files, other gears like those applying WM8741 will be better." I think the nfb 11 will make better recordings sound better and worse recordings sound worse, which is what a good source should do in my opinion. I'm kinda wishing I had one to listen to now.

post #714 of 724
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislangley4253 View Post 

alright, You have it mixed up a bit. Let me break it down for you, and then I'll tell you what I have. 

 

Always happy to get an education... unfortunately, all I've got to go on is what's in these forums and the Audio-gd website... and the information I was quoting was from their website.  If I'm mixed up, it's because of their website. :)

 

The problem with the NFB-11 for me is the lack of USB, which I'd really like to have.  According to

 

http://www.audio-gd.com/Agents.htm

 

the NFB-12 would have the advantage over the Sparrow of having some of the higher-grade components for cheaper, DAC outputs and a gain switch... the Sparrow has a slightly smaller size and replaceable DIR and DA modules.

 

Anyways, thanks for the info... I've got some thinking to do...


Edited by uzi - 6/26/11 at 2:02am
post #715 of 724
Quote:
Originally Posted by uzi View Post

 

Always happy to get an education... unfortunately, all I've got to go on is what's in these forums and the Audio-gd website... and the information I was quoting was from their website.  If I'm mixed up, it's because of their website. :)

 

The problem with the NFB-11 for me is the lack of USB, which I'd really like to have.  According to

 

http://www.audio-gd.com/Agents.htm

 

the NFB-12 would have the advantage over the Sparrow of having some of the higher-grade components for cheaper, DAC outputs and a gain switch... the Sparrow has a slightly smaller size and replaceable DIR and DA modules.

 

Anyways, thanks for the info... I've got some thinking to do...

oh crap, you are right... the 11 is non usb... :-/ I wonder if this is only currently or if their are older ones that are Usb... I think there were some complaints on the sound of the usb on the nfb11. USB is currently what I'm using, but I'm planning to build a computer with an optical out soon. Perhaps I'll get to hear one then.

 

*also, the modules aren't replaceable on the newer models without a bit of minimal soldering, I'm pretty sure. At least, I know its the case with the wm8741.. I'm not sure about the newer B model with the ad1852, you might still be able to throw in the wm8740 w/o soldering.. I know that if you go from one of the older ones and wish to add a wm8741 you have to solder a lead wire from the power supply over to the da chip.

 

I think the nfb 12 is likely to be very high quality, and probably sound better than the sparrow, however the sound description turns me off a bit. I'd have to hear one before I bought it for sure.
 

 


Edited by chrislangley4253 - 6/26/11 at 8:53am
post #716 of 724
Quote:
Originally Posted by uzi View Post

Man, you guys have me torn.  I'm about to receive the HD650 (replacing the HD595) and have been trying to figure out what budget-conscious way I wanted to drive 'em (it's the ART HeadAmp4 in the meantime).  I've pretty much settled in on the Sparrow (or FUN or NFB-12), but am still debating between A or B.  I'll mostly be using them via USB on my laptop.

 

I'm seeing CEE TEE and KneelJung giving the B lots of love, but I'm also noting that you guys are HF2-slinging Gradoheads.  I've got an SR60 (and my pick up an SR225i in the not-too-distant future), so I'm familiar with the Grado sound.  For argument's sake, do you guys think it may be the case that the B is a better complement to Grados, but that the A may groove better in other cases?  From

 

http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/Sparrow/SparrowEN.htm

 

it's suggested that the AD1852 sounds more dynamic and the WM8741 more neutral.  I'd love to hear peoples' opinions of both the A and the B with the HD650... especially with the DACs du jour.

 

Are the components on the A that much nicer than on the B?  Would it be worth getting the A and ordering the DA1852 module?  How much work is it to switch the DAC modules?  Thanks!

 

 

 

 


Uzi I dont know that I can help you much, it was sort of a lark how I ended up with the B rather than the A. Audio GD sort of adds to the confusion by constantly adding so many new products. That Kingwa guy is some sort of mad scientist of sorts it seems. I dont think you can really go wrong with any of their products. I went with an Audio GD product because of their reputation with products that had preceeded the Sparrow like the Zero, the Compass, the Fun, etc. If your looking for something with a small footprint the Sparrow fits the bill. I like mine a lot. I have no way of knowing though how my rig compares to any number of perfectly good and potentially better set ups in the same price range. If you sort have it narrowed down you can email Kingwa who will more than likely respond to your questions. At least he was doing that when I bought mine back in October, and I ultimately got mine at Pacific Valve.

post #717 of 724

Yeah, Kingwa might go ahead and push you one way or the other. No one should know the amps better than him and he seems like a very nice guy.

post #718 of 724

My thoughts on the ad1852 sparrow is that the high frequency performance stands out. Clean neutral macrodetail, but decay, soundstage, and timbre are average, on the lean side. Wm8741 sparrow has quite good sound quality in almost all aspects and altogether sounds neutral yet almost "alive" with the richness of microdetail, but doesn't have exceptional high frequencies extension or faithful harmonics. I believe the sparrow probably doesn't utilize wm8741's full potential, so take my observation as on the wm8741 sparrow, not the wm8741 alone.

 

Kingwa has said there's not a significant difference between A and B when the same dac chip is used. Heh heh if you want the wm8741 for a lower price you can try to ask them to put it in the sparrow B.

post #719 of 724

Tonight I got brave enough to apply my cheap, horrible soldering iron and shaky hands to my Sparrow. Swapped the DIR9001 receiver for the WM8805 one. So this is now a standard current-model version A with BNC.

 

Where previously I was finding the Sparrow disappointingly warm with a lack of detail and completely unconvincing soundstage - this even with my Grado SR325 cans - the 8805 receiver has transformed it. The whole thing sounds faster, detail is improved and the soundstage is way more believable. An interesting side benefit is that with support for 176.4 and 192kHz input via BNC I can take advantage of software upsampling and kick the WM8741 DAC chip into a slightly brighter and cleaner filter mode (at least that's how I understand it works in this implementation... corrections welcome).

 

I am using a very good async USB/SPDIF converter, so it's possible that the DIR9001 might be a better match for more regular sources, but for me the verdict is clear. These Wolfson chips are working brilliantly together.

post #720 of 724

Nuts: the WM8805 as implemented in the Sparrow seems to NOT support 176.4kHz sample rate. I thought I had it playing last night, but now it's just giving me digital noise and all my web searching leads me to the conclusion that 176.4kHz requires software mode control of the 8805. I think AudioGD has gone with just hardware control in the Sparrow module.

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