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uDac disappointment - Page 2

post #16 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by BadMonkeyFinger View Post
It's a 100 dollar cheap dac that does not sound as good as my 115 dollar entire motherboard with onboard sound card. THAT is the issue. I did not expect miracles from it, especially given the sound quality that i'm accustomed to having at home and i most certainly expected it to at least somewhat outperform my onboard sound card.
Funny because I found it beat a $50 dedicated sound card pretty handily. And that card by extension beats any onboard sound pretty handily, too.

No, they're not neutral. But I wouldn't say they have a frown frequency response. They don't emphasize highs, but they do plenty for the bass. I actually found the bass to be the strongest part of their response, and the most noticeable improvement.

I think it works great with Grados. Question: Are you running your headphones from the headphone jack? HeadphoneAddict once posted that it was the headphone out that's the colored part. You may like it more with RCA-out to the LD I+.

Unless I end up getting some Senns that need more power than the LD I+, then my uDAC will be the first component I upgrade. But I found it to be worth the extra $99 especially considering the dimishing returns of audio equipment. Not as big a difference as my headphone upgrade, but my headphone upgrade was three times as much.

Also: If you don't like the uDAC you may not like the LD I+. It's got a very tubey sound, which thickens up the mids. I found my SR60i almost unlistenable on it during a short test, probably because comfies thicken the sound already. Oh, and the SR325is is far from neutral. Fast, transparent, clear, but colored. If that's what you like and you don't want to sacrifice your bright treble, stay away from tubey tube amps.
post #17 of 38
The other thing is that not all on board sound cards suck. Go back 10 years ago and everyone needed a dedicated sound card but things have progressed.
post #18 of 38
The SR325is is amazing. I'm not trying to knock it too much. I do like it (love it actually) with the right music. Just wanted to point out that it is quirky and its quirky nature may be what you're hearing.

As for the DAC. I'd be more concerned with pairing the SR325is with a suitable amp than worrying about the DAC. You don't need to find the optimal amp for it. Just find one that's not going to accentuate the SR325is's problem areas. So look for an amp first. If you're looking at DACs that have an integrated headphone amp then focus on the amp section rather than the DAC section.
post #19 of 38
I do not share your opinion on neither uDAC nor SR325i, but if you do not like the sound of it that's fine.
Sell it and move on!
Plenty of fish in the sea...

PS: Burn in changes very little in performance and nothing in sound signature.
post #20 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post
Funny because I found it beat a $50 dedicated sound card pretty handily. And that card by extension beats any onboard sound pretty handily, too.

No, they're not neutral. But I wouldn't say they have a frown frequency response. They don't emphasize highs, but they do plenty for the bass. I actually found the bass to be the strongest part of their response, and the most noticeable improvement.

I think it works great with Grados. Question: Are you running your headphones from the headphone jack? HeadphoneAddict once posted that it was the headphone out that's the colored part. You may like it more with RCA-out to the LD I+.

Unless I end up getting some Senns that need more power than the LD I+, then my uDAC will be the first component I upgrade. But I found it to be worth the extra $99 especially considering the dimishing returns of audio equipment. Not as big a difference as my headphone upgrade, but my headphone upgrade was three times as much.

Also: If you don't like the uDAC you may not like the LD I+. It's got a very tubey sound, which thickens up the mids. I found my SR60i almost unlistenable on it during a short test, probably because comfies thicken the sound already. Oh, and the SR325is is far from neutral. Fast, transparent, clear, but colored. If that's what you like and you don't want to sacrifice your bright treble, stay away from tubey tube amps.
To answer your question, i'm running the phones out of the uDac's headphone output, since I do not yet have a headphone amp.

Regarding 'tubey' sound, my most recent home amp (Unison Research Unico) was a hybrid, using tubes in the preamp stage. This, coupled with the solid state output, made for a very, very nice musical presentation; the smoothness of tubes, but with the authority of solid state output, along with quite a transparent midrange and very good width and depth. I feel that most of today's tube gear does not share that slow, muddy sound from tubes of days gone by; it can be quite resolving and open.

Having said that, i know the LD 1+ can be used with a variety of tubes, some of which will lend themselves to better (ie. clearer) performance with the 325is than others. If the LD 1+ performs in a similar manner to how my Unico worked with my home system, i'd be very happy.

Question back at ya: What tubes / op-amp are you using in your LD 1+?

btw - i'm a little bit perplexed... You mention the grado is far from neutral, but that it is fast, clear and transparent. Perhaps there's a bit of a communication breakdown going on (we're both describing different things, perhaps), but those characteristics are how i define neutral, for the most part (with transparency being key). To me, the nearest thing that comes to mind when i think of 'coloured sound' means a 'veil' over the sound and/ or a strange, unnatural bump or dip in the midrange somewhere, accentuating certain frequencies unnaturally. The very virtues of the characteristics that these grados possess in my view equal neutrality (save for the slightly hot top end at times). Perhaps it's the fact that these phones are very dynamic in combination with what i describe as neutral that makes many people describe them as coloured.

As a general rule, i often think of 'cool' sound as neutral and 'warm' sound as coloured' (this is generally speaking - every circumstance, setup and situation is unique).

Do you use your LD 1+ with 325is?

hey - thanks for the back and forth with me - it helps me to iron things out in my mind here and keeps me from thinking irrationally/ making decisions too quickly.
post #21 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ham Sandwich View Post
The SR325is is amazing. I'm not trying to knock it too much. I do like it (love it actually) with the right music. Just wanted to point out that it is quirky and its quirky nature may be what you're hearing.

As for the DAC. I'd be more concerned with pairing the SR325is with a suitable amp than worrying about the DAC. You don't need to find the optimal amp for it. Just find one that's not going to accentuate the SR325is's problem areas. So look for an amp first. If you're looking at DACs that have an integrated headphone amp then focus on the amp section rather than the DAC section.
I hear ya, i hear ya... The phones are definitely 'unique'. It's odd, though...all me knowledge and experience has led me to believe 'source first', without question, but your suggestion of looking into a well-matching/ synergistic amp is interesting (albeit in reverse order of how i would normally do things).

What are your thoughts on the LD 1+ with those particular Grados? Any other amplifier suggestions that won't break the bank? (damned ex gf took all my money! therefore, i'm definitely on a 'budget' of sorts. lol!).
post #22 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiofil View Post
I do not share your opinion on neither uDAC nor SR325i, but if you do not like the sound of it that's fine.
Sell it and move on!
Plenty of fish in the sea...

PS: Burn in changes very little in performance and nothing in sound signature.
lol! given your statement of not sharing either opinion, I suspect your headphone choice is polar opposite of mine and that the uDac works well with them.

amirightoramiright?

by the way, thanks for the info regarding the break-in, or lack thereof.
post #23 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by BadMonkeyFinger View Post
I hear ya, i hear ya... The phones are definitely 'unique'. It's odd, though...all me knowledge and experience has led me to believe 'source first', without question, but your suggestion of looking into a well-matching/ synergistic amp is interesting (albeit in reverse order of how i would normally do things).

What are your thoughts on the LD 1+ with those particular Grados? Any other amplifier suggestions that won't break the bank? (damned ex gf took all my money! therefore, i'm definitely on a 'budget' of sorts. lol!).
I don't know what amps or amp/DAC combos to suggest for the SR325is. My experience with amping the SR325is extends to me taking my little solid state amp to the local headphone shop and trying the SR325is with it. The combination worked. The amp is able to mellow the potentially harsh treble of the SR325is to an extent, at least compared to straight out of an iPod or other cheap headphone out. I haven't tried it with other head-fi quality amps.

I did try a Hifiman EF2 amp/DAC combo at a meet. Tried it with my Denon D2000 and Senn HD600. I didn't have the Grado at the time. I didn't like the amp. Too much tube sound. Too tubey for me. And it didn't drive the headphones with the gusto or energy that I like. I'm more of a solid sate amp person till you get into the bigger tube amps like the Woo Audio amps. That's when tubes get interesting for me. That also happens to be the level where the good tube amps lose the overdone tube sound of the cheaper tube amps. Just my preferences though.

Some people have had success with the Audio GD amps and amp/DAC combos with Grados. They're solid state. I heard an Audio GD Compass with a Grado HF2 at a meet. Audio GD just came out with the Sparrow. A $225 little amp/DAC combo. Worth a looksee.
post #24 of 38

I use a LD1+ with my 325is,After much op amp and tube rolling,i prefer an LM4562 op with Mullard CV4010 tubes.

From a laptop,throu an MF V-Dac.Sounds better than my £2,000 Naim CDP.,which has been relegated to the garage system.

post #25 of 38

I got back into this hobby a few months ago with a uDac an a LD I+ for my Grado 225i's. The uDac was decent sounding and did improve after 100hrs of use. That said... I never liked how the headphone out sounded and when using the RCA's I have to keep the volume control at 3 o'clock to prevent distortion.

 

The LDI+ is AWESOME once you find the sound you're looking for. I settled with the 2107 opamp and a pair of CV4014 tubes (EF91's) for my 225i's and have to change to CV4010's when I use my RS-2i's.

 

I recently upgraded to a new Headroom MicroDac and there is a significant improvement compared to the uDac (its also 3.5x the price)


Edited by markkr - 5/15/10 at 8:45pm
post #26 of 38

     Quote:

Originally Posted by leeperry View Post

first rule: don't believe everything you read.
 


x2

 

second rule: be skeptical about hypes
 

post #27 of 38

And just to throw it out there, lesser phones are not usually a V, they typically are a downhill slope, rolling off severely on the high end.

post #28 of 38

I have a uDAC. Some pretty low end headphones. Since I'm not all that picky, I'm rather content with what I have. I don't have any music over 16-bit CD quality anyhow. That said, I don't see a reason to purchase a $300 DAC & $200 AMP (DAC_I & LD MKIII for example). I may look at some ATH-M50s in the future, but in no big rush. 

post #29 of 38

uDAC works well as a DAC

 

if you're gonna use it as an amp, well, you can't really expect a great DAC+AMP combo for $100

 

it's called the u-D-A-C not u-A-M-P. Go get an actual amp for your headphones then see.

post #30 of 38

 I have a uDAC and I have to agree with those that point out its weaknesses as an amp. I never intended to use that portion of the uDAC anyways, but I used it as an amp for 4-5 days while my amp was being shipped. I fiddled with Foobar and its EQ for most of that time trying to find an acceptable sound, but I was never really satisfied with it as an amp. Now as a DAC paired with a SS amp, I find it perfectly acceptable for my 1st quality system. Do know that I'm just getting started in this hobby, but for now, with the little amount of change I spent to get started, I am happy with the sound I am hearing.

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