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Review : AUDINST HUD-MX1 DAC/amp - a promising newcomer (compared to Audio-gd FUN, AMB Gamma2) - Page 3

post #31 of 408
Not to derail this thread, but I'm in the dark about aftermarket power supplies - do you build them yourselves? Also, even though there's quite a price difference, I'm curious to see how the MX1 stacks up against the HeadAmp Pico DAC.
post #32 of 408
I found the Pico DAC about on par with the Fun using the stock OPA2134 OPAMP.
post #33 of 408
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icewyng View Post
I will make sure to check them out. Any others that you might want to try in the future?
AD797brz feels like a nice match and improvement and I have no serious intent of exploring other options.
LT1028acn8 is highly regarded as well, and reputed for it's warm signature. That may be an option. I won't go into it as it's rather pricey (2 x 14$ + BD adapter + shipping) and have no other use for it.

Next week my Audio-gd Roc is supposed to arrive and I'll probably sell the Matrix M-stage (which is the only other device I have with interchangeable opamps).
So no more opamp rolling for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icewyng View Post
So, I have decided to go ahead and buy the HUD-MX1. I see you mentioned using a linear regulated PSU. Which one did you buy?
I'm using a TREAD PSU, which I've built myself -->> Tangent Regulator, Adjustable, plus Diode bridge
Warren (aka Tangent) sells it as a kit for a mere 17$ - Tangent's Parts Shop
You can buy also Browndog adapters from him as well (which I recommend).

You'll need to add a few things:
- heatsink for the LM317 regulator (not included in the kit). You can buy one from any electronics shop.
- 1Kohm carbon film resistor for R2 (the kit comes with a 2.2 Kohm resistor). The original kit is designed to output between ~ 22 and 30V. Using a 1Kohm R2 instead of the original 2.2Kohm, you can adjust between 12V and 22V.
- a transformer. I use a wallwart transformer, which feeds the TREAD with 18V DC. Even a cheap one will do.

Tangent's page is very well thought out and provides all necessary info for putting together the TREAD.

Other DIY PSUs :
- AMB Labs Sigma11 -excellent, but more complex & pricey, bit of an overkill for Audinst: The σ11 Regulated Power Supply
- AMB Labs Sigma25 - simple, cost effective design: The σ25 Regulated Power Supply
- Velleman K1823 , a more inferior design but still pretty good - K18231A Power Supply : Miscellaneous Kits : Maplin

I don't know any commercial linear regulated PSUs with good performance & low cost.
post #34 of 408
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12345142 View Post
Not to derail this thread, but I'm in the dark about aftermarket power supplies - do you build them yourselves? Also, even though there's quite a price difference, I'm curious to see how the MX1 stacks up against the HeadAmp Pico DAC.
I haven't listened to the Pico DAC, so can't help you with a comparison.

Currawong says PICO is similar to Audio-gd FUN, which I know pretty well.
Other people say that PICO resembles quite a bit the Gamma2 DAC, which I own.
In either case Audinst would be considered inferior, but not far away.

Unfortunately my Gamma2 has died on me (probably because a cold joint) so I cannot finish the scheduled comparison this week.
I won't be able to get it back up and running sonner than the weekend.
I'll update the review some time after that.

I did however spend two evenings comparing the two, and what I've listened so far favors the Gamma2 by some margin, depending on power.

Gamma2 has a smoother and more refined character which indicates a more mature sounding DAC than Audinst (probably because of it's upsampling and ASRC circuit). Gamma2 is improving the already very good HUD-MX1 in just about every department.
Sound signature is slightly warmer and fuller on Gamma-2. Also more engaging (timing and rhythm is very nicely executed).
Overall Gamma-2 feels and sounds like an expensive source, while Audinst like a very good budget source (honest, plenty resolute, but not as refined)


Differences aren't big and the PSU has actually the last word here:

- Gamma2 fed by TREAD PSU is superior in just about anything to Audinst fed by USB or wallwart. Both fed by TREAD the gap is not as large and Audinst can hold its' own.

- Gamma2 fed by USB is hardly different or superior to Audinst fed by the TREAD.

- Both fed by USB, there are a few differences, but nowhere near as big as discrete.
I think feeding the Gamma2 by USB is a crime.
It's such a good sounding DAC, but it doesn't show it's full colors and bloom until fed by clean power.
post #35 of 408
great job, waiting for further analysis. Was planning on getting a uDAC + amp, but this seems more promising.

Just a normal USB port can power this, correct?
post #36 of 408
Quote:
Originally Posted by omniloathe View Post
great job, waiting for further analysis. Was planning on getting a uDAC + amp, but this seems more promising.

Just a normal USB port can power this, correct?

USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 Full Speed compliant.
post #37 of 408
Speaking of USB power, in relation to the power supply, wouldn't the performance be better if the MX1 were plugged directly into the wall instead of fed through powered USB? Anyone care to make a comparison?
post #38 of 408
Thread Starter 
I've already ranted about this very issue. Check my previous posts.
Just to be clear:
Audinst plays significantly better when fed by a quality linear regulated PSU (such as TREAD, not the stock wallwart), compared to USB.
post #39 of 408
How does the Audinst compare to really compact DAC/amps, such as the Pico? Is it a night/day difference?
post #40 of 408
Judging from what's been written, it's slightly inferior, but not grossly so. Then again, 'really compact DAC/amp' can be applied to a lot of products across the spectrum, from the Icon Mobile to the Ray Samuels Audio Predator.
post #41 of 408
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiofil View Post
AD797brz feels like a nice match and improvement and I have no serious intent of exploring other options.
LT1028acn8 is highly regarded as well, and reputed for it's warm signature. That may be an option. I won't go into it as it's rather pricey (2 x 14$ + BD adapter + shipping) and have no other use for it.
Guess that is something I will look into. Thanks for the input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiofil View Post
Next week my Audio-gd Roc is supposed to arrive and I'll probably sell the Matrix M-stage (which is the only other device I have with interchangeable opamps).
So no more opamp rolling for me.
The M-Stage is something I would be interested in getting to pair up with the HUD-MX1. How well did they pair up?


Quote:
Originally Posted by audiofil View Post
I'm using a TREAD PSU, which I've built myself -->> Tangent Regulator, Adjustable, plus Diode bridge
Warren (aka Tangent) sells it as a kit for a mere 17$ - Tangent's Parts Shop
You can buy also Browndog adapters from him as well (which I recommend).

You'll need to add a few things:
- heatsink for the LM317 regulator (not included in the kit). You can buy one from any electronics shop.
- 1Kohm carbon film resistor for R2 (the kit comes with a 2.2 Kohm resistor). The original kit is designed to output between ~ 22 and 30V. Using a 1Kohm R2 instead of the original 2.2Kohm, you can adjust between 12V and 22V.
- a transformer. I use a wallwart transformer, which feeds the TREAD with 18V DC. Even a cheap one will do.

Tangent's page is very well thought out and provides all necessary info for putting together the TREAD.

Other DIY PSUs :
- AMB Labs Sigma11 -excellent, but more complex & pricey, bit of an overkill for Audinst: The σ11 Regulated Power Supply
- AMB Labs Sigma25 - simple, cost effective design: The σ25 Regulated Power Supply
- Velleman K1823 , a more inferior design but still pretty good - K18231A Power Supply : Miscellaneous Kits : Maplin
Which one would be the easiest one to build for someone who has absolutly NO experience in electronics? I wanted to try my hand at DIY but have been a bit weary about it.
post #42 of 408
judging from all the reviews from various different sources:

pico < uDAC < Audinst < Fun

Though there are also sources saying that Fun and pico are still very similar in terms of quality, so either they are mistaken or the diff b/w the 4 is minor (the latter is probably true either way).

If you have tough to drive phones then they would have bigger differences due to the quality of the internal amps, since pico and uDAC aren't too suitable to the really tough boys. The audinst works for everything but the FUN is better.

The above should be a pretty accurate summary of audiofil, project86 and headphonia's reviews. It seems to me the conclusion would be that the difference in DAC quality is less than the difference in amp quality between those 4 units.
post #43 of 408
Most interesting... What if we were to throw in an HDP into there? I'm looking to drive RE0 (in ear headphones; 64 ohm) as well as HD650 (300 ohm). Would the HD650 sound better through the Audinst than through a Pico / Predator / D4 / Arrow?

Which one has the most upgrade potential? It seems that as you said, the amplifier is outperformed by the DAC in those units.
post #44 of 408
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icewyng View Post
The M-Stage is something I would be interested in getting to pair up with the HUD-MX1. How well did they pair up?
They pair very well. Both are pretty neutral units and somewhat complementary (Audinst - cooler, M-stage-warmer, fuller) and cannot see any reason of mismatching.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icewyng View Post
Which one would be the easiest one to build for someone who has absolutly NO experience in electronics? I wanted to try my hand at DIY but have been a bit weary about it.
TREAD is the best documented of all for a beginner. So that's my first and strongest recommendation.
Tangent also has lots and lots of tutorials starting with basics (electronics and even soldering) and going into quite complex matters. I like his articles very much as they are exquisitely comprehensible for a wide range of people with different background, experience, age, etc.

Quote:
judging from all the reviews from various different sources:

pico < uDAC < Audinst < Fun
I don't think Pico rates so low. From what I've read about it it seems the closest to the FUN.
Would love to compare it to Audinst, but don't know anyone near me owning a Pico.

I'd rate the 4 units sonically in the same order as their prices suggest.
Just by an informed guess (but stil a guess!) - Pico somewhere between Audinst and FUN, although God knows closer to which.

I would rate uDAC the lowest as it is so clearly outperformed, outgunned and outmaneuvered by the Audinst.
uDAC is a very nice entry-level DAC that scores high for an equilibrium between musicality and performance. On SQ alone it's not that different from a good soundcard, but it does present a more musical/authentic kind of presentation that makes me appreciate uDAC higher than soundcards.

The other three DAC/amps are superior designs and more serious performers so I wouldn't put uDAC so close to them.
post #45 of 408
crap, I just realized i misquoted headphoneaddict's sentiments regarding D10/4 vs udac. somehow i confused pico with d4 x_x
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