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CEntrance DACport & Ayre QB-9

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

Granted, measurements are not always indicative of final sound quality but out of curiousity I compared the Stereophile Measurements of the CEntrance DACport (June 2010 issue) to another USB-only DAC, the Ayre QB-9;

http://www.stereophile.com/computeraudio/ayre_acoustics_qb-9_usb_dac/index6.html

Correct me if I'm wrong but after comparing their respective "Measurements" sections, it appears to my untrained eye that the DACport in most ways measured as well and more frequently superior to the QB-9???

At $399 that CEntrance DACport IS quite the bargain!  I just may have to pick one up ...

post #2 of 34

Measurements aren't everything, BUT, the DACport is an impressive unit.  I'm still hoping for CEntrance to create a unit like the DACport, but more full featured unit (Digital ins/outs, analog RCA out, maybe even balanced XLR, along with a similar SE headphone amp section.)

 

I can dream, I guess.

post #3 of 34
post #4 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by thuantran View Post

This http://www.headfonia.com/?p=4658 ?


That's three days old, and I hadn't noticed it yet.  Good call.

 

Yes, I'm looking forward to that. o.o

post #5 of 34
Thread Starter 

I still haven't purchased the DACport yet.  The only thing holding me back is there seems to be consistency in the reviews that the unit lacks a bit in lower frequency impact.

Given it is making due with only the power supplied by the USB cable, it's still very impressive.

 

Any DACport owners here have any feedback regarding the unit's Low Frequency (bass) performance?

 

Thanks!

post #6 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by USAudio View Post

I still haven't purchased the DACport yet.  The only thing holding me back is there seems to be consistency in the reviews that the unit lacks a bit in lower frequency impact.

Given it is making due with only the power supplied by the USB cable, it's still very impressive.

 

Any DACport owners here have any feedback regarding the unit's Low Frequency (bass) performance?

 

Thanks!


First, a note on power consumption. In the stereophile article on the dacport, it is explained that although it does rely on the USB for power, the Dacport's software "tricks" the computer into providing more than the USB limit, so there is enough class a power  on tap for a given situation. 

As for the bass, I have the dacport and have run it into a set of AK702 and Etymotic HF2. The AKG 702 sounded a bit bass light, disappointing to be honest, but then again that is its reputation, plus, it is a big load to drive anyway. With the HF2, the bass was actually better, surprisingly deep and very articulate. 

The Dacport is an awesome product, it is portable and very practical. However, in my limited experience it does seem to have limits in driving cans that are more difficult loads. This, or course, makes sense. It is awesome because it is a tiny tube, but this is also its limitation. 

I am happy with this tradeoff since it is so easy to carry around and all I need is the Dacport, a small usb cable and the HF2 and I have a very enjoyable rig wherever my laptop goes, i.e, something I can use at home, work, and on road trips. 

However, the issue is whether the trade-off is worth it to you. A larger, dedicated headphone amp will almost surely give you more robust sound (not just bass) but it will also be bulkier and likely require a separate dac. The dacport gives you both pieces in a smaller portable package.

Its all about synergy, not just with system sound, but system purpose. If you have larger and/or harder to drive cans, then you will not likely be porting them around anyway, so the Dacport's portability may not help at all. In turn, maybe a larger amp or dac/amp is best anyway. Hey, the Dacport isn't cheap, there are lots of larger dedicated DAC/AMPs in its price range, maybe they are a better match for your system and purpose. 

 

 

post #7 of 34

One correction from CEntrance. The inference that DACport somehow tricks the computer to give it more power is incorrect. USB jacks yield maximum 500mA of power. DACport consumes about 380 mA when driven hard, so it's always running well below the limit of the USB port.

 

The "trick" may have been referring to the way we get true bit-perfect performance out of Windows. We do that by announcing that the unit is fully capable of 24/96 (which it is) and Windows complies, sending audio to the DACport w/o changes.

 

While I agree that for the kind of portability you get the trade-off is acceptable, we've taken the comments about bass response to heart. DACmini (dacmini.com) will address the bass issue and will drive so much power into a piece of wire that you could weld with it. (Joke. Welding is not recommended.)


Edited by mgoodman - 9/1/10 at 5:42pm
post #8 of 34
Thanks for the correction. I should not have conflated the voltage shift with increased power per se. Either way it is a great product and I look forward to that dacmini.
Edited by guerillaw - 9/2/10 at 6:13pm
post #9 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgoodman View Post...

While I agree that for the kind of portability you get the trade-off is acceptable, we've taken the comments about bass response to heart. DACmini (dacmini.com) will address the bass issue and will drive so much power into a piece of wire that you could weld with it. (Joke. Welding is not recommended.)

Thanks Michael!

 

Are there any changes that can be made to the DACport to improve bass performance?  Maybe a DACport version 2?

Or is it just a limitation of the amount of power available via USB and still have the portability that the DACport offers?

post #10 of 34

Hmm. Good question. I know there are a lot of modders out there, but the design is so tightly packed that the answer is "probably not". We are using 0402 size Surface Mount components (read - very small) and there is practically no room left inside. Besides, you'd probably need to beef up the power supply a bit, which means redesign... That's exactly what we are doing with the next product...

post #11 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgoodman View Post

Hmm. Good question. I know there are a lot of modders out there, but the design is so tightly packed that the answer is "probably not". We are using 0402 size Surface Mount components (read - very small) and there is practically no room left inside. Besides, you'd probably need to beef up the power supply a bit, which means redesign... That's exactly what we are doing with the next product...


Hi Michael,

I wasn't thinking about updating existing DACport's but a new version of the DACport that would have improved bass performance.

Thanks for listening!

post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgoodman View Post

 DACmini (dacmini.com) will address the bass issue and will drive so much power into a piece of wire that you could weld with it. (Joke. Welding is not recommended.)



I listened to this(dacmini) at Canjam. It was equaled only by the (then)~$5000 Cary 303T(to my ears). Very good stuff, and excellent bass. Very fortunate to have some good Bob James on the Mac mini used with it.

 

 

Are you the gentleman rep. at the CEntrance table there at Canjam?

post #13 of 34
The production version of DACmini will be even louder than the prototype at CANJAM. We want to make sure there is not a single complaint about level.

Another portable product is in development and it wil also include these "lessons learned".

Yes, I was at CANJAM, and yes, I hope I was a gentleman :)
post #14 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgoodman View Post

The production version of DACmini will be even louder than the prototype at CANJAM. We want to make sure there is not a single complaint about level.

Another portable product is in development and it wil also include these "lessons learned".

Yes, I was at CANJAM, and yes, I hope I was a gentleman :)


Great!  Given the terrific work done with the DACport I'm looking forward to seeing the new product!

 

digger945,

I believe mgoodman (Michael Goodman) is being humble, it's my understanding that he is the founder and principal designer of CEntrance.

post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgoodman View Post

The production version of DACmini will be even louder than the prototype at CANJAM. We want to make sure there is not a single complaint about level.

Another portable product is in development and it wil also include these "lessons learned".

Yes, I was at CANJAM, and yes, I hope I was a gentleman :)


A finer gentleman was not to be found there, and the music from your mini was surpassed only by the beauty of the young lady who accompanied you.

 

I thank you both for your kindness and hospitality, and for the opportunity to listen to one of the finest at canjam. I say that having listened to both the Ayre and DACmini with T1s and my music, while at the show.

 

I look forward to meeting you again soon.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by USAudio View Post


Great!  Given the terrific work done with the DACport I'm looking forward to seeing the new product!

 

digger945,

I believe mgoodman (Michael Goodman) is being humble, it's my understanding that he is the founder and principal designer of CEntrance.



Thank you for the clarification USAudio.

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