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Review : AUDINST HUD-MX1 DAC/amp - a promising newcomer (compared to Audio-gd FUN, AMB Gamma2) - Page 8

post #106 of 410

Can someone post RMAA results of this?

post #107 of 410
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTrotsky View Post

OKAY. So after reading about audiofil's experience with switching opamps with the MX1, I wanted to try it for myself. I did some research and decided to go with the AD797. I looked at the datasheets on AD's website and noticed that there was an 8-pin PDIP package of it, which was great because that is the form factor of the stock opamp and I wanted to avoid using an adapter if possible. I know audiofil used got two of the AD797BRZs and used an adapter. I sprung for the AD797ANZ (the PDIP AD797).

 

Today I got it in the mail and installed it easy as pie, and yes, it is definitely installed in the right direction, the notches are in the same place. Unfortunately, there seems to be something very wrong. The volume is now very low and muffled and there is a lot of distortion in the (very quiet) sound. In short, music comes out, but clearly there is a problem.

 

Please help! Is there really something so different between the AD797BRZ and the AD797ANZ or did I just install it wrong? Thanks so much in advance!


You're using two 797s and one of these right? If not buy another 797 and buy one of those adapters with the DIP socket installed. You won't have to solder anything.


Edited by knubbe - 6/22/10 at 9:59am
post #108 of 410

I can't believe 8 pages, and comparing all these dacs, doesn't result in any RMAA posts.

post #109 of 410

I saw that this was posted a few pages back but it was never answered:

 

How does this compare to the Maverick D1?

 

I currently use D2000's and am torn between the two.

post #110 of 410

@DDVX

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/464376/head-fi/mav_condensed/legis_rmaa/Mave_taulukko.jpg

 

If intentional low-fi distortion is your thing, then you probably won't like Audinst. But that's not guaranteed until someone posts RMAA.

Need some engineers up in this place to debunk all the snake oil dood.

post #111 of 410

Sorry I've never read an RMAA. Is that good or bad for the maverick? So are you speaking against the Audinst?

post #112 of 410

I'm speaking against Maverick's tube voodoo.

post #113 of 410
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalamar View Post

I can't believe 8 pages, and comparing all these dacs, doesn't result in any RMAA posts.


Well ... RMAA tests are pretty much pointless if you want to asses the sound quality of a DAC/amp.

THD, DR, FR, Noise floor, Crosstalk cannot really tell you what you actually need to know.

Trying to quantify these into sound signature attributes is an exercise for the imagination, rather than a scientific approach.

 

 

I remember measuring once the RMAA "performance" of my cellphone ( Sony Ericsson W series) against my soundcard and my NOS DAC (Monica3). Although it didn't fare that well against the soundcard the phone did actually show better THD, flatter FR and lower noise floor and crosstalk than my NOS DAC.

Having said that, I bet that no audiophile in his right mind would prefer the cellphone to the Monica3 when listening to music.

 

Vinyl is another strong counter example for this RMAA thing.

 

 

 

 


Edited by audiofil - 6/24/10 at 12:08pm
post #114 of 410
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTrotsky View Post

OKAY. So after reading about audiofil's experience with switching opamps with the MX1, I wanted to try it for myself. I did some research and decided to go with the AD797. I looked at the datasheets on AD's website and noticed that there was an 8-pin PDIP package of it, which was great because that is the form factor of the stock opamp and I wanted to avoid using an adapter if possible. I know audiofil used got two of the AD797BRZs and used an adapter. I sprung for the AD797ANZ (the PDIP AD797).

 

Today I got it in the mail and installed it easy as pie, and yes, it is definitely installed in the right direction, the notches are in the same place. Unfortunately, there seems to be something very wrong. The volume is now very low and muffled and there is a lot of distortion in the (very quiet) sound. In short, music comes out, but clearly there is a problem.

 

Please help! Is there really something so different between the AD797BRZ and the AD797ANZ or did I just install it wrong? Thanks so much in advance!

 

AD797 AN and BRZ are basically the same chip with a different package and tighter tolerances for the BRZ type.

There shouldn't be any electronic differences whatsoever.

 

Your post however does raise quite a few questions that I'd like to know the answers to.

Here are my opinions:

 

Things safe to assume are:

- you are using a faulty adapter

- either one of us is using non-genuine opamps

- differences in the electronic configuration of the DACs (different values for the caps or resistors, or missing parts). As far as I know there aren't any, since I've ordered a second Audinst and both look identical in layout and component choice.

 

Having a closer look at AD797 does reveal some interesting facts.

 

AD797 is known to oscillate if improperly matched with the circuit.

Analog Devices recommends adding a small capacitor over the feedback resistor or a resistor in series with the feedback capacitor.

All this happens in circuits with low gain values as AD797 is not unity gain stable.

 

If the Audinst's opamp gain would be a known factor then it would be easier to find an answer.

post #115 of 410
Thread Starter 

Since I've mentioned having a second Audinst with me there are a few interesting conclusions I've reached with this DAC/amp.

Before writing them down I must mention that I've allowed the second Audinst to burn in over a period of 2 weeks playing nothing but the XLO/Reference Burn in CD with almost no brake.

I began critical listening and making comparisons to my original unit in various configurations (re: opamps and PSU) in three different burn in stages: out of the box, at about 100-150 hours and well after the full two weeks (~350 hrs).

 

Also, a seemingly unimportant component of my PC has been changed since my original review - I've bought a new Enermax Pro82+ power supply.

Although it never really crossed my mind my former PSU (a rather old but still very decent Chieftec) has had an influence in my original assessments.

In short - a better computer PSU does make a noticeable improvement in sound quality, especially if you use USB power.

 

 

 

Here are my updated thoughts on the Audinst after 2 months of ownership:

 

1. It does improve with burn in, so much so that it has made a few of my original findings a bit obsolete.

 

2. It does improve with a better power supply but not as much as I thought. Part of the improvements must have been attributed to the burn in process and some influenced by my old computer PSU. Going from USB power to stock wallwart power does very little to the sound, if anything.

My original findings were not so favorable for USB power as I found the sound a bit fuzzy.

With my new Enermax PSU that fuzziness was never present.

 

The TREAD PSU does clear up the sound a bit, notably so in the upper half of the spectrum. The sound signature becomes slightly cooler and more open than USB powered.

 

3. Opamps do make a difference, however it is a subtle one and my top choice has changed - it's the original LME49860.

 

 

4. The sound signature of the DAC/amp fully burned in and in stock configuration is pretty much in line with my original description when using AD797BRZ.

There is definitely a relaxed and smooth character to the sound, but no coolness. I'd actually call it politeness as the Audinst does round off the edges, both in terms of dynamics and tonality.

 

5. What I didn't pay much attention to initially was the bass response. Out of the box up till' about 100 hours it's very well behaved, flat and unobtrusive. After some 2-300 hours on it, however, Audinst's bass is a bit more present than absolute neutrality and the sound is more rounded and "bassy". It is a pleasing coloration but it can loose that ultimate drop of control and detail at times.

 

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------

 

I'll update my original review in a few days.

I need some time to synthesize all my findings into one complete revision that will be my final take on Audinst HUD-MX1.


Edited by audiofil - 6/24/10 at 1:49pm
post #116 of 410


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiofil View Post




Well ... RMAA tests are pretty much pointless if you want to asses the sound quality of a DAC/amp.

THD, DR, FR, Noise floor, Crosstalk cannot really tell you what you actually need to know.

Trying to quantify these into sound signature attributes is an exercise for the imagination, rather than a scientific approach.

 

 

I remember measuring once the RMAA "performance" of my cellphone ( Sony Ericsson W series) against my soundcard and my NOS DAC (Monica3). Although it didn't fare that well against the soundcard the phone did actually show better THD, flatter FR and lower noise floor and crosstalk than my NOS DAC.

Having said that, I bet that no audiophile in his right mind would prefer the cellphone to the Monica3 when listening to music.

 

Vinyl is another strong counter example for this RMAA thing.

 

 

 

 


Do you have any idea how silly that sounds?

 

You can buy into the marketing hype, then.

"Hey, I can't prove my product reproduces what's RECORDED accurately, but none of you care about that as long as it sounds vintage or "good to your ears" right? We're rich, you're rich, let's just brag about how great our product and buyers' ears are while a/b tests continue to fail and everyone ignores it."

 

Also, vinyl is a joke. http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Myths_%28Vinyl%29

Yes, vinyl can sound better than CDs that weren't mastered properly... but vinyl isn't inherently better. It's a major PITA and tends to add noise. Unless you can afford an optical turntable that costs as much as a decent house (well, if it's located in a 3rd world country like Mexico, maybe).

post #117 of 410
Thread Starter 

Let's not blow this argument out of proportions and stick to facts,

 

My point:

1. Vinyl measures badly in absolute terms but can sound extraordinary and without obvious coloration in a proper system.

If you feel differently I encourage you to experience it first and judge with your own mind after.

 

2. I'm an engineer by profession and I'm very much into DIY and figuring things out on my own scientifically. If you want a true scientific approach I suggest you look into what people like John Atkinson of Stereophile are doing . You'll take RMAA with a grain of salt after that, I assure you.

 

3. And lastly I regard RMAA tests as an oversimplified method of measuring real life sound quality. It can provide an insight into what's going on in there, but it's rather a glimpse than full disclosure.

 

PS: If you're trying to be sarcastic you've picked the wrong guy.

 

PS2: I'll politely remind you the subject of the topic is Audinst HUD-MX1 and I'll appreciate if we keep things on-topic.


Edited by audiofil - 6/24/10 at 5:08pm
post #118 of 410

I thought a lot of high end DACS that were PCM1704UK based measure terribly

 

Anyways, if I actually knew how to use RMAA I'd post some measurements for people =P

post #119 of 410
Quote:
Originally Posted by knubbe View Post

I thought a lot of high end DACS that were PCM1704UK based measure terribly

 

Anyways, if I actually knew how to use RMAA I'd post some measurements for people =P


That's like comparing apples to oranges, though, since it's not sigma delta unlike 99% of the dacs here, including the Maverick and the Audinst.

The difference between sigma deltas will be minor at best, be it $100 or $800.

 

And even sigma delta vs a ladder dac, I still wouldn't expect a huge difference.

Head-fi needs to cut the snake oil; and promote skepticism and clearly measurable reasons to buy a dac. RMAA isn't the only way to test the output of a dac vs the digital source. But I guess they won't have all these "great sponsors" if they did that!

The advertising jargon and overhyped opinions here are misleading a lot of people into buying DACs and amps when it's not needed.

 

@audiofil:

I'm sure the inaccuracy of current adc/dac's does color sound, but vinyl is still a load of crap. Degrades with use and all that "fun stuff". Not to mention the vinyl could be cut poorly or whatnot.

 

Let's not forget that head-fi is a place where the same headphone can sound different, a coat hanger wire can sound better than a copper wire, etc.

post #120 of 410

Dalamar told me he will donate $10,000 to head-fi so we can buy equipment to measure things objectively. Who wants a slice of the pie?

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