Originally Posted by K3cT
Yes but the thought of buying something then only using 1/2 of its circuity is certainly a disturbing one, for me at least.
A bit hard to justify paying almost 50 % extra if you are not going balanced yes. I couldn´t justify it anyway personally.
I changed the DSP modules now and as mentioned they do make quite a difference. Not enough to make me favor the DAC19 DSP 5 over the Ref9 with the DSP 3 though. DAC19/Ref9 is of course not a straight comparison. EU REF-7 loaner program anyone
But anyway the DAC19 do seem to have a flatter FR response. Soundstage seem truer but that is one part that improved most with the Ref9. May seem like a bit of contradiction but I really don´t want to be able to hear where the transducers are located. Particularly not with headphones that have quite unrealistic placing of those transducers.
On the DAC19 I could really feel where the LCD-2 drivers are and the voices was all inside my head. The instrument separation is greater on the Ref9. I said before that the Ref9 felt more like an amp upgrade since it did so many things for my LCD-2 I normally expect from proper amping. Better attack, more controlled decays, more blackness and cleaner sound and a more realistic less compressed soundstage.
The differences are slim though. It´s not like the Ref9 sound totally artificial or anything. Due to the soundstage improvement on the LCD-2 quite the opposite though they have somewhat of a digital sound signature to it or what I would like to call it. Kind of a blanket that hugs my ear and spice things up a bit... Similar to the oppo bd83SE does. I like it very much though it´s not something I will ever be annoyed by. Music has never flown more freely for me then with the Ref9/LCD-2 combo. Both on my Head One and GHP. Particularly my Head One grow though I still preferr solid state for LCD-2.
I tested a bit with my other gear but LCD-2 is what I focused on primarily to not confuse things to much.