sparrow vs mx1 anybody have an opinion? I can get the sparrow for 45 more. the mx1 for 150
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- productAudio-gd FUN Basic DAC / Headphone Amptagged by System, 6/2/12
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- Headphone Impedance
Review : AUDINST HUD-MX1 DAC/amp - a promising newcomer (compared to Audio-gd FUN, AMB Gamma2) - Page 20
Gear mentioned in this thread:
I would not give you the exact answer on your question, but I'll tell my story. I hope it might help in a way or another...
I had used Audinst HUD-MX1 for 1.5 years. I was always wandering why are so many expert reviewers happy about this small device.. Based on the fact that most head-fi users tell 'stand alone dac-amps provide better performance against PC-soundcards', I was not satisfied enough by the performance Audinst offered. Personally I found Asus Essence STX performing better, clearer, more engaging.
But the fact was.. Well, Asus Essence ST is just that good as a 200$ sound-card. I consider it a stellar product, one of its' kind I suppose.
But while comparing Audinst HUD-MX1 to other DAC-AMP options , things look different..
Recently I had some A-To-B comparison between Audinst MX1 and Audio GD FUN (OPA Earth). Both me and FUNs owner, were pretty surprised of the results. The difference between these two were vary subtile. It was a shocking result, based on the price gap. Yes, FUN had more body and horse power, but than again, Audinst could drive 250ohm, 300ohm and 50ohm headphones almost as good as FUN did, and the sound was very alike (Audinst had brigher trebles, Fun performed lusher in that region). After this comparison, in less than a month, my friend had sold his FUN.
About 3 weeks ago, I had bought an Audio-GD NFB11 , Non-USB, Sabre32 based unit, as an upgrade over Audinst. It costed me 335$ shipped. NFB11 was supposed to be considerably better in every single region (better DAC, powerful discrete AMP, better power supply). And you know what ? For a week long I had been totally obsessed getting out of NFB11 at least one single serious advantage over Audinst (on HD600). I even went to my friend with both device, to make some blind tests.. The result was quite similar.. We spent about 30 minutes testing them (on HD600 and his Shure 840) , before we could clearly distinguish these two device. Even after adding Audio GD's digital interface in the chain, the results haven't changed. NFB11 sounded a little bit more detailed, treble happy, that's ALL ! But Audinst had wider 3D stage in comparison, and a warmer signature.
I ended selling Audinst because one of them had to go, but it had been hard to decide.. Audinst is much smaller, it's portable and USB based... After selling Audinst, I do realise how good and flexible it actually was. I miss it.
Edited by AlexRoma - 5/31/11 at 4:59pm
^ nice story.
I remember when I ran through the official sparrow topic, I've read that someone owned both the sparrow and the mx-1 and sold the sparrow in the and.
since my device just turned one year old I'm thinking about doing some tweaking to it as a present, inspired by chrisc0's post at the first place.
this would incorporate a new, regulated PSU, an ADuM4160 USB isolator dongle and maybe a dual AD797BRZ opamp combo.
not doing it only to improve my setup, but I also want to get started in DIY. (in the end I'd like to get and assemble a Mapletree EAR+ HD kit*)
as for the regulated PSU, I'd like to go with AMB σ25. if I remember well it's a good replacement to the TREAD regulated PSU (someone please confirm).on the other hand, I'd like to get the USB isolator kit from here: ADuM4160 USB Isolator. it seems quite well documented, I hope it's the right kit for my purposes. (@chrisc0: from where did you get your kits?)
I'd rather not touch the main circuits inside the Audinst, so that'd be all about tweaking.
when I can afford I'd like to get this tube amp for my grados. does anyone have any experience regarding how the mx-1 works as a standalone DAC with a separate tube amp? most people here would agree that the DAC section is great in the mx-1, however, the unit doesn't support the true bypass of the volume knob (~amp section?). This is a subject I've completely missed until now, so I'm intrested in what are your experiences, and how well a setup like this would work.
for example... how much does the attributes of sound (like soundstage, separation, etc.) of a non-bypassed amp affects the same attributes of the final sound you get at the end of the chain? things like that...
I came up with quite a few topics at the same time, but any answer or remark would be appreciated.
I am not that initiated in DIY mods, but I could post my findings...
Personally I think, audinst's amp section isn't lossy compared to it's dac section. It has lots of muscle, and I am sure, it gonna perform even better after the power supply upgrading. At least, I had constantly noticed general quality improvement connecting stock wall wart.
I had made many A-to-B comparison between audinst's amp and LittleDot MKIII amp. The was no night and day difference at all, but there were changes in treble harshness, less bass punch, more relaxed sound reproduction, but I could not hear any changes upon soundstage structure.
When comparing NFB11's amp section to LittleDot MKIII amp, the difference in sound was much bigger. I may sound strange, 'cause NFB11 provide more power, and it's a discrete unit, but that's the result my ears told me.
I think a tube amp is always welcome in any setup, as a lossless equalizer at least. And I think it's much more necesary than an SS amp, because many HQ DAC-s already have decent amp section (Audinst, Yulong , Matrix Mini, Grace, DACmagic etc)... Even a cheap tube amp (like mine) may bring a lot of excitement. Personally I always find myself enjoying tube signature each headphone I try, including HD600's.
Edited by AlexRoma - 5/31/11 at 5:06pm
@alexroma: lately I'm wondering whether a PSU makes any difference for low impedance headphones too. my grados seems to be happy even with the USB power. however, it's not a huge expense to try it, and most likely I will. (I haven't noticed any difference between the USB and the stock wall wart though)
what do you think, is there really any differences between isolators? or we've just witnessed the beginning of the USB isolation poetry?
So I ended up trying the Audinst today was my tread power supply and it really does have a pretty surprisingly powerful amp. I had previously just used earphones with it but I tried it with my HD600 just for the heck of it and it seems to have a pretty capable amp inside it. I also tried it with my PPA v2 and while the PPA v2 is better the Audinst is pretty good esp at the price it goes for. I was thinking about selling it due to lack of use but I think I'll keep it around for a while now.
Edited by amigastar - 6/5/11 at 3:49pm
No doubt.. the mx-1 sounds excellent with all my phones.. especially the DBA & FA-011.. I bought the MX-1 quite a few months ago, and I haven't really looked back since.. in fact I haven't visited the Amp subforum since.. LOL. I'm sure there are better amp/dac combos (well, maybe not for the price) but I'm so very content with the mx-1's performance with my phones that I haven't even thought twice about upgrading.. same goes for the Arrow portable.. no desire whatsoever to upgrade from it either.. both have ended my amp search for desktop & portable use for some time.
Allow me to laugh at the 99%..
On the other hand I applaud you for doing a full scale analysis of the whole dac/amp market section of which you come to the conclusion that one out of a hundred products can beat the average motherboard out. That alone is some very special .
I have had non of the problem with statics you have and the SQ is levels above then the motherboard headphone jack.
Obviously you have a product that isn't working properly or you have some form of software failure.
Edited by Sweden - 7/9/11 at 8:40am
- Review : AUDINST HUD-MX1 DAC/amp - a promising newcomer (compared to Audio-gd FUN, AMB Gamma2)
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