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CEntrance DACmini DAC/Amplifier Official Thread - Page 4

post #46 of 1150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Listens View Post

Well we showed our DACmini PX (integrated DAC and amp) and our MasterClass Coaxial Speakers at CES.

 

http://www.stereophile.com/content/centrace-dacmini-px

 

They are slated for release in the summer and we are hoping to have a higher than 96kHz products later this year.

 

One thing that has been a decade-long focus for us is our USB drivers. We are already licensing 192kHz USB drivers. It can often be overlooked, but I would be cautious about buying a product from a company that outsources its drivers and does not write them internally.


Thanks for the information! Interesting!smily_headphones1.gif

 

post #47 of 1150
Thread Starter 
Thanks Jay. Now that my new DACmini was "fixed" by you guys I would like to see if it is now powerful enough to drive the HE6 (which don't own) so I was hoping you guys at CEntrance might fix another mini & try it with an HE6. Any possibility of your doing that? Let me know.
post #48 of 1150

We're here to help! gs1000.gif

 

According to the spec for the HE6, they have an impedance of 50 ohms.

 

Your tests show that the DACmini you have can drive the UE X10v (@32ohms) and the Beyer 880s (@600ohms). So, DACmini should be more than powerful enough to drive the HE6.

post #49 of 1150
Thread Starter 
I hear you, but with Orthos, ohms aren't really the whole story. Specs on a lot of amps seem to indicate that a lot of them ought to be able to drive them well, but the truth is many/most can't. At least they can't make them sound their best. My 1st DACmini, for what ever reason wasn't really able to drive either the Beyers or the HE5LEs to their best. The new one does a much better job but still sounds greaat on all my IEMs which still have a totally black noise floor. Much appreciated.

By the way, the old mini is on it's way back to CEntrance. Thanks a lot guys, great pro-active custormer service.
post #50 of 1150

AustinHorn - thanks for your insights. 

 

Interested in your views to assist me going forward.

 

I have a DACport which was my first external DAC and pairs beautifully with my K702's. Since then I have acquired an Audi-gd NFB-11 DAC/HeadAmp which uses the ESS 9018 dac chip and now I have acquired a pair of LCD-2.

 

The DACport was usually about 2:30 pm on the dial whilst the NFB-11 doesn't get past 9 o'clock so has plenty of muscle in reserve. For my listening the DACport worked well with the 702's perhaps softening them a touch whilst the Audio-gd with the ESS 9018 seems a bit more revealing and pairs well with the LCD-2 (I like my treble ! and mainly listen to accoustic/vocals) although as the LCD-2 has had more use it or its cable has opened up more and may be the differences are not so great. 

 

But my main rig Meridian CD player is dying so it may be time to acquire another source (probably a MacMini this time) and another DAC for the main rig.  I see in your profile that you have the EE unit which also uses the Sabre ESS 9018 chip and is a very similar price to the DACmini.

 

Could you share your insights into how the EE versus DACmini might compare tone / PRAT wise for a main rig feeding an integrated amp and floor standing speakers ?

 

many thanks - Vincent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #51 of 1150
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vincents View Post

AustinHorn - thanks for your insights. 

 

Interested in your views to assist me going forward.

 

I have a DACport which was my first external DAC and pairs beautifully with my K702's. Since then I have acquired an Audi-gd NFB-11 DAC/HeadAmp which uses the ESS 9018 dac chip and now I have acquired a pair of LCD-2.

 

The DACport was usually about 2:30 pm on the dial whilst the NFB-11 doesn't get past 9 o'clock so has plenty of muscle in reserve. For my listening the DACport worked well with the 702's perhaps softening them a touch whilst the Audio-gd with the ESS 9018 seems a bit more revealing and pairs well with the LCD-2 (I like my treble ! and mainly listen to accoustic/vocals) although as the LCD-2 has had more use it or its cable has opened up more and may be the differences are not so great. 

 

But my main rig Meridian CD player is dying so it may be time to acquire another source (probably a MacMini this time) and another DAC for the main rig.  I see in your profile that you have the EE unit which also uses the Sabre ESS 9018 chip and is a very similar price to the DACmini.

 

Could you share your insights into how the EE versus DACmini might compare tone / PRAT wise for a main rig feeding an integrated amp and floor standing speakers ?

 

many thanks - Vincent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In all honesty, I see the two as very different animals which have very different niches they fill.

 

In one statement I can say that the EE dac, being fed from my modded HIface USB/BNC connector, can make any headphone amp I own sound BETTER with my headphones than I've ever heard them sound before. That is the bottom line. Using the DACmini as a dac only, makes any amp sound AS GOOD with headphones as any dac before, even my , highly modded, high dollar Benchmark HDR. Soundwise, tonewise, PRaTwise, the EE with that Sabre 9018 is just a better pure DAC.  But the DACmini is a better buy 'cause they cost about the same & the DACmini is a great dac, a better headphone amp, & can also feed my powered PC speakers for essentially the same money. So it gives me a lot more bang for the buck. With this economy, & money being so tight, if I could buy only one, it would be the DACmini.  That isn't even a hard decision.  Thank goodness, I can afford to own both, at least right now. The combo will allow me to sell a lot of gear I've accumulated over the past few years & will make my wife very happy.

 

I plan for the DACmini to eventually be paired with an Apple TV/Apple Mini for a really nice music/video/TV system in my home office. The EE will eventually end up with my main home theater (maggie based 1.7s, MMGs, + CCR) speaker system, either as a supplement to or even replacement for the HDR.

 

Now, I haven't yet heard the new Burson Audio dac/amp combo but it seems to be getting rave reviews, but I'd be shocked if that combo is much, if any better as a one box solution for a PC than my DACmini. But the Burson is $200+ more & much bigger the DACmini, with the small footprint, is a better fit for me anyway.  Me, I love the very small footprint of the DACmini & it sounds wonderful with my LCD-2, HE5LE, & my 600 ohm Beyer 880s (finally).   

 

I currently use my EE as a front end for my AudioGD Phoenix & that is a combo made in heaven running balanced. I've never heard my HD-650s sound sooooo good as with that amp & a balanced cable from SSA. Same for my K702s, HE5LEs, & 880s.  I don't have a balanced cable for my LCD-2 yet, but it will be my birthday gift to myself in February if uncle sam cooperates on my 2010 taxes. ;-)  Hope this helps.

 

Best of luck with your decision. Feel free to PM me if you have other questions.
 

post #52 of 1150

HI Thanks - a good insight. Yes I will be interested to see more reviews of the DAC quality of the Burson - as here in Oz it is much cheaper than the DACmini and a touch more than the EE.

 

Thanks again for all your posts which are helpful to many of us here !

 

Vincent

 

post #53 of 1150
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vincents View Post

HI Thanks - a good insight. Yes I will be interested to see more reviews of the DAC quality of the Burson - as here in Oz it is much cheaper than the DACmini and a touch more than the EE.

 

Thanks again for all your posts which are helpful to many of us here !

 

Vincent

 

Yeah, given where you are, I'd jump at the Burson dac/amp.  Every review I've read says it is great. Several talk about what a wonderful match it is with the LCD-2.  So I don't see a downside.   However, if you're after a preamp front end for your speaker system, I'd probably lean toward the EE or one of the other more expensive dacs with the 32 bit sabre chip. Running on my maggies, I can tell a significant difference between the EE & any of my 24 bit dacs - much more so than on headphones. Also, I'm a tube guy & I think that tube preamp also makes a difference you just don't get in solid state. Even my wife noticed the improvement & that was a big shock to me. She doesn't know an headphone amp from a portable radio.

 

Also, thanks for the kind words.  I hope some of what I say will keep others from making some of the mistakes I've made.  That can get expensive. I've been helped several times by others here so if I can return the favor with someone else, that's great.
 

post #54 of 1150

Hi AustinHorn,

 

I'm using DACport with my HD650 and like it better than the Nuforce Icon HDP (auditioned it extensively).

Been planning to get a desktop DAC/Amp combo (better connectivity options than the DACport) for both headphones & speakers.

You've mentioned that the DACmini is like a DACport on steroid, so how does the HD650 sound on the DACmini compare to the DACport?

I'd imagine they sound the same, just that the DACmini is able to give more headroom to harder-to-drive headphones right?

 

Thank you.


Edited by SennSean - 2/8/11 at 4:00pm
post #55 of 1150
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SennSean View Post


Hi AustinHorn,



 



I'm using DACport with my HD650 and like it better than the Nuforce Icon HDP (auditioned it extensively).



Been planning to get a desktop DAC/Amp combo (better connectivity options than the DACport) for both headphones & speakers.



You've mentioned that the DACmini is like a DACport on steroid, so how does the HD650 sound on the DACmini compare to the DACport?



I'd imagine they sound the same, just that the DACmini is able to give more headroom to harder-to-drive headphones right?



 



Thank you.




 



You hit the nail on the head, similar sound signature, but with a bit more base clout & treble extension. I love my HD650s on them. The only ss amp I prefer them with is my Phoenix & that is in balanced mode.

I love my DACmini setup with my PC. I turn it on it's side so it has a tiny footprint. I use it with my powered Audioengine5 speakers & it is about as good as it gets. It really does rival my maggie surround sound system thoough on a much smaller scale. Highly recommended.

NOTE: I will say, that if you just plan to just listen to your HD650s from your amp, then I'm
not sure I'd pay another $700+ for the mini.. I think my DACport sounds 90%+ as good as my mini with my Senn.headphone. I can only tell the tiny differences by going back & forth & then only on certain songs. Hope this helps.
post #56 of 1150

Well... I'll only be using HD650 & DT880 (250Ohm)...

I was so surprised that the cigar sized DACport could drive both of them so well...

 

Yea... I'm not gonna get any other headphones and I don't have any powered speakers at the moment...

So I'd probably save the $700+ since they both sounds so similar...

 

Both the port & mini are great products...

If the local reseller had brought in the DACmini I'd probably went with it for future upgrading options...

But the DACport is about just as good for me...

 

Thank you so much Austin ^^

And Kudos to CEntrance!

post #57 of 1150
Thread Starter 

You're so welcome. I hate to kill a sell for Micheal & the CEntrance guys 'cause they are the best, but from everything you say, you'd be better off keeping your bucks until you have an unmet need that the DACport won't fill. This CX mini is only the 1st of several variations they have planned & down the line one of them may better meet your needs than the CX.  I know I plan to upgrade myself when they introduce their preamp version.  I hope at some point they go to a 32 bit dac chip & provide for both balanced inputs/outputs too, but time will tell.... I plan to be a longterm customer based on their 1st two dac/amps.

 

All the best in the future SennSean.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SennSean View Post

Well... I'll only be using HD650 & DT880 (250Ohm)...

I was so surprised that the cigar sized DACport could drive both of them so well...

 

Yea... I'm not gonna get any other headphones and I don't have any powered speakers at the moment...

So I'd probably save the $700+ since they both sounds so similar...

 

Both the port & mini are great products...

If the local reseller had brought in the DACmini I'd probably went with it for future upgrading options...

But the DACport is about just as good for me...

 

Thank you so much Austin ^^

And Kudos to CEntrance!

post #58 of 1150

Wow, how did I now hear about the Dacmini until now? 

 

Now I've heard "totally black background" and "completely silent" before but have been let down many more times than not.  Does the Dacmini really really have no hiss with the most sensitive of IEMs? 

 

How much volume control on sensitive IEMs do you have, good channel balance at even very low volumes? 

 

Be really critical about the answers if you have to, even the slightest hint of hiss or the slightest imbalance at the lowest of volumes will probably be a disastrous plain as day flaw once I plug my headphones into it.  This has just simply been my experience.

 

Thanks!

post #59 of 1150

Please ping HeadphoneAddict. He has already written about DACmini. Now he has his own unit and has been giving it a critical spin recently.

post #60 of 1150

I don't think HeadphoneAddict will be able to give feedback on those matters to the degree I require.  That's why I've put this question out there for feedback from others as well. 

 

What will be very interesting is if the Centrance folks were able to answer these due to measured performance with sensitive equipment.  The trouble I have with most equipment is the inability to use well with IEMs because of high levels of hiss and very poor channel matching on very low volume dial levels.  I wonder how well this model pairs with sensitive IEMs.

 

My current benchmark for inaudible hiss is the Ray Samuels Tomahawk, and for fine volume adjustment with perfect matching the Pico Slim.  I've found nothing else satisfactory when using IEMs so far.

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