Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Grace Design m903, reference headphone amplifier, DAC, monitor controller
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Grace Design m903, reference headphone amplifier, DAC, monitor controller - Page 4

post #46 of 79



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NA Blur View Post

 

Khaos,

 

I believe at this point the lack of bass emphasis with the Grace is a combination of the HD-650 roll off, impedance as a function of frequency on the low end, and the brightness of the amp.  The hardest thing for amps to do, in general, is to produce solid well controlled bass.  Same goes for headphones really.

 

Flea,

 

The Grace is fatiguing compared to the Ultra Desktop.  If you are going for pure sound enjoyment then the Ultra is more pleasant, the Grace is a bit too analytical. 



 Thanks for taking the time... Pity you'd say that. The Grace possessed many features I found desirable.

post #47 of 79
Thread Starter 

Whatever you can say about the quality or the impact of bass cannot be said about the quantity of bass, the amp section is straight from 18 to 80000 Hz with a error margin of +- 0.5 dB, and I don't know a single DAC that's not flat within 0.1 dB from 5 to 5000 Hz, I don't see why the grace would be an exception.

 

Moreover the output impedances of 1.2 ohm guarantees that the flatness of the amp section is preserved with the greatest variety of loads, especially with high impedance headphone where the damping factor would be over a hundred.

 

So unless, Grace Design is lying about their specs and the DAC section underperforms compared to the average iPod, what you are hearing is not a *lack* of bass, it could be anything else regarding the bass, but not a lack of it.

post #48 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by khaos974 View Post

Whatever you can say about the quality or the impact of bass cannot be said about the quantity of bass, the amp section is straight from 18 to 80000 Hz with a error margin of +- 0.5 dB, and I don't know a single DAC that's not flat within 0.1 dB from 5 to 5000 Hz, I don't see why the grace would be an exception.

 

Moreover the output impedances of 1.2 ohm guarantees that the flatness of the amp section is preserved with the greatest variety of loads, especially with high impedance headphone where the damping factor would be over a hundred.

 

So unless, Grace Design is lying about their specs and the DAC section underperforms compared to the average iPod, what you are hearing is not a *lack* of bass, it could be anything else regarding the bass, but not a lack of it.



Well, the m903 has some deficiency in the lows when compared to the DAC1. Not sure what it is in terms of measurement, but the difference in sound on good full-range speakers is quite evident and not subtle.

 

post #49 of 79
Thread Starter 

Well, the bass could be sloppy, or muddy, or lacking impact, I wouldn't know which not having heard the unit, but a non flat frequency response in the bass range is extremely unlikely.

post #50 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by khaos974 View Post

Well, the bass could be sloppy, or muddy, or lacking impact, I wouldn't know which not having heard the unit, but a non flat frequency response in the bass range is extremely unlikely.



Lacking impact is the way I would characterize it.

 

post #51 of 79
Ae the comparisons with dac1 and headroom ultra done using USB inputs?
post #52 of 79
Quote:

Originally Posted by NA Blur View Post
 

My next test will be slamming a pair of AH-D2000's into the m903 and doing some more a/b testing.

 

 

As someone who aspires to one day own the AD2K, I sincerely hope other owners are gentler with their headphones than you seem to be, good sir :)

post #53 of 79

 

I'm getting somewhat better bass now with the m903. The only thing I changed was to disconnect a headphones amp which was connected to the unbalanced outputs of the m903. It seems that this improved the sound quality out of the balanced outputs. I'm not 100% sure because I haven't tested this carefully, but it was the only thing I changed.

 

I've also done some testing of the headphones output on the m903. Not stellar so far... I get some hiss on my Shure SE535. The Senn HD800 are not driven well by the m903 for some reason. They sound noticeably better on the DAC1 and the Gilmore Lite.

 

post #54 of 79

Visualguy,

 

You used the balanced output of the grace design which is a line output. So you just use the dac part of grace without the amp. No need to say you should have an anemic sound.

 

I'm telling you that because I own a 901 and bass accuracy and extension is one of the strength of the grace. Very low distortion being another.

 

Also regarding the noise, you have to check your gain staging. My grace has a very low noise floor...

 

Cheers,

post #55 of 79

An update about the m903. I really enjoy it with two pairs of headphones:

 

1.) Philips SBC HP910

These are a fun can to listen to. They are nothing special to most people, but to me they produce a completely fatigue-free spectrum of listening bliss. Tyll and I did some tests a while back and he was not impressed, but he really did more testing than listening. You have to amp them or you just leave yourself in the line of audible fire.

 

2.) Denon AH-D2000

The Denon AH-D2000 is already incredibly flat in the frequency domain which is one reason I like it. In addition the m903 is also very flat. Combined the two really complete each other. The only thing I found missing from the AH-D2000 + Grace m903 combo is the lack of resolution while listening to binaural recordings. For some reason my Grado's reign supreme there.

 

The Ultra Desktop + AH-D2000 was a bit too boomy for my taste. In all I really enjoy the m903 and do not plan on replacing or upgrading any time soon. The only other can I would consider would be the LCD-2 as it sounds a tad better than then AH-D2000. I tested myriad other headphones including T1, T5, HD-800, and none sounded as nice as the AH-D2000 through the grace to my ears.

 

Perhaps if you find your AH-D2000's too bassy the m903 will mellow the bass out.

post #56 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by marcan View Post

Visualguy,

 

You used the balanced output of the grace design which is a line output. So you just use the dac part of grace without the amp. No need to say you should have an anemic sound.

 

I'm telling you that because I own a 901 and bass accuracy and extension is one of the strength of the grace. Very low distortion being another.

 

Also regarding the noise, you have to check your gain staging. My grace has a very low noise floor...

 

Cheers,


I used the balanced output to feed an amp. I wasn't feeding headphones directly from that output.

 

The bass on the m903 is somewhat anemic on all outputs (headphones, balanced and unbalanced outs going to an amp connected to speakers or headphones). The m903 has the least amount of bass impact among all my sources. The rest of the frequency range is fine.

 

post #57 of 79

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by visualguy View PostThe Senn HD800 are not driven well by the m903 for some reason.

 

 

I am very happy with the HD 800 on my m903 - even better than they were on my old m902b.

 

But I want accuracy and neutrality for recording and mastering, rather than something that "sounds great".

 

When I first heard the HD 800 (three years ago) with my m902b I was listening solid for 6 hours and thought it was only 2.  I stopped at 10pm (so I thought) for the news and found out it was actually 2am the next day!

 

post #58 of 79

Wonder if anyone here knows that the Grace M903 is now rated A+ by Stereophile Magazine in their most recent Recommended Components issue.

 

I now have two units and recently started using the M903 with the Audeze LCD3. 

post #59 of 79

Sadly, the Stereophile of 2012 tends to be rated D- by many on Head-Fi and elsewhere. Personally, I find a lot of Wes Phillips' stuff entertainng but Sam Tellig/Gillette/whatever has annoyed many people over the last few years. Main problem is the perception that their business model/editorial is built entirely around 'cash for comments'.  

 

Here is a Sam Tellig horror story which has scary parallels with the experience of a vendor here in Oz and our sole remaining Hi-Fi publication:

 

http://www.decware.com/paper35.htm

 

Ironically, the editor of said Aussie publication complained bitterly about the arrogance of journalists from 'one high profile publication' at CES 2012, They reportedly 'barged' into listening rooms, pushed their way to the exhibitors and one guy interrogated the poor sod while the other took notes - they then stormed off to the next room without so much as a wave. This is particularly poor in an industry where the mags rely on the vendors for review samples and inside info, but I guess deadlines are deadlines .....  rolleyes.gif

post #60 of 79

The m903 is currently with a reviewer for Hi-Fi World in the UK.

 

So, expect a new review in print shortly.

 

The reviewer has already had a trans-Atlantic phone call interview with the designer, so I expect an interesting review.
 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Grace Design m903, reference headphone amplifier, DAC, monitor controller