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CEntrance DACmini DAC/Amplifier Official Thread - Page 5

post #61 of 1131
Thread Starter 

Hey BC, it has been a while.  Yeah with your super ears you probably need to talk to Michael & his staff 'cause just because I don't hear anything but a very black background on mine with any of my IEMS won't mean it won't sound to you like being inside a subway tunnel with a train passing.

 

I have a number of very sensitive IEMs that I've tried with my DACmini & I've had zero problems. In fact my unit's gain was "upped" for me to allow it to match better with my hard to drive full-size phones & still don't hear any hiss with any of my IEMs including my favorites, Westone3, 3X10s, or Monster Coppers. I no longer have any custom fit IEMs, thanks to our new puppy.

 

If you're interested in the mini, please talk to Micheal or one of the other CEntrance guys & I bet they can tune a CX for even your sensitive ear. I for one would be very interested in "hearing" bach from you here after you've had a chance to try a mini out.  I think it was on the Nuforce HDP thread where we exchanged some posts concerning that unit's "background hiss" issue with you, though I could be wrong.  I monitor lots of threads though I seldom actually post so it could have been another thread.

post #62 of 1131

Hey AustinHorn,

 

Yup, it was the HDP thread where we were talking about hiss and volume issues with the HDP.   I now use my HDP as a source feeding the Pico Slim when I want to use my IEMs with it.  That's solved the problem for me. 

 

So would you say the DACmini sounds better than your HDP? 

 

It was funny when I was first heard about the DACmini I was imagining it being some really small thing, smaller than the dacport.  It was when I finally saw enough pictures of it that I realized it's called DACMini not because it is mini, but because it is the exact same size as a MACmini!

post #63 of 1131
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcwang View Post

Hey AustinHorn,

 

Yup, it was the HDP thread where we were talking about hiss and volume issues with the HDP.   I now use my HDP as a source feeding the Pico Slim when I want to use my IEMs with it.  That's solved the problem for me. 

 

So would you say the DACmini sounds better than your HDP? 

 

It was funny when I was first heard about the DACmini I was imagining it being some really small thing, smaller than the dacport.  It was when I finally saw enough pictures of it that I realized it's called DACMini not because it is mini, but because it is the exact same size as a MACmini!


I thought it was that thread. Glad to know I remembered correctly.

Comparing the two, I find the dacs pretty comparable, but much prefer the more 3D warmer sound of the DACmini. I'd call it very hybrid-like. My plan is to eventually buy an Apple mini to match with it for a music/video system in my home office. First I need to sell off some gear that I'm really not using enough any more. But I will be keeping my DACport & DACmini for the long haul. As a one-box solution I do prefer it to the HDP. but it does cost a lot more so deciding performance/cost-benefit becomes a very personal matter. If you just want to use the unit primarily as a dac to feed other gear, either will do a fine job.
post #64 of 1131
Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinHorn View Post



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.



If I am looking for an upgrade, I thought the DACmini would be a good choice. But for the price, I can have both the DACport & the HDP (for it's preamp, line in, spdif).

I said in my previous post that I did prefer the tone of the DACport slightly to the HDP, and my HD650 really sounds great on both.

From pictures, the DACmini looks better than the HDP and it's built like a tank.

I found the CEntrance sound signature to be a better match for both the HD650 & DT880 (250Ohm), while the HDP sometimes can be a bit painful to the already bright sounding DT880 (to my ears).

The only other equipment I have tested so far which matches both of them well was the Lavry Da11 but it's way out of my budget.

However, I'm still not sure about the price premium for the 10%+ improvement from my DACport I get from the mini.

 

I hope you can give me your valuable opinions regarding which is a better buy.

Keep the DACport + get the HDP or just get the DACmini and call it a day.

Is the amp section of your "tuned" DACmini as powerful compared to the HDP and your previously owned HA160.

 

Thank you.

post #65 of 1131
Thread Starter 

I'd advise you to go for the DACmini.  The clincher in that advice is this is a situation where two are not better than one. The sonic characteristics of the HDP, IMHO, will never ever be a good match for the Beyer's, Having a DACport too won't make up for that. I have all 3 amps mentioned & the one advantage of having the DACport is that with my iPad + an external power supply, I can have that same great sound signature when I'm out & about or in the car. But if I had to choose to keep only 1 unit, hands down I'd choose the mini. It in one unit contains all the advantages of each of the other two & none of the weakness/limitations each of they have. So it is the best buy for you in my opinion at any price. You'd have to spend a lot more & buy the new Burson dac/amp combo to have comparable/better flexibility/features, & I still slightly prefer the tone of the mini to the Burson. 

 

My "tuned" DACmini has more power/volume than the HDP but even my original stock mini never had any problem driving my HD650 & it could have easily driven the 250ohm version of the 880. I'd suggest you ask CEntrance to "tune" your mini anyway since, if you are like most of us, you'll someday want to try harder to drive headphones like the T1s, or Orthos like my HE5LE, LCD-2 or even the HE6. My new mini is still great with all my IEMs so there isn't a downside of raising the gain. 

 

Hope this helps. It is just one man's opinion, but it is based on 100s of hours with all 3 products & the headphone brands in question (although my 880 is the 600 ohm version but has same sound signature for most part). Let me know what you decide & why. 

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SennSean View Post





If I am looking for an upgrade, I thought the DACmini would be a good choice. But for the price, I can have both the DACport & the HDP (for it's preamp, line in, spdif).

I said in my previous post that I did prefer the tone of the DACport slightly to the HDP, and my HD650 really sounds great on both.

From pictures, the DACmini looks better than the HDP and it's built like a tank.

I found the CEntrance sound signature to be a better match for both the HD650 & DT880 (250Ohm), while the HDP sometimes can be a bit painful to the already bright sounding DT880 (to my ears).

The only other equipment I have tested so far which matches both of them well was the Lavry Da11 but it's way out of my budget.

However, I'm still not sure about the price premium for the 10%+ improvement from my DACport I get from the mini.

 

I hope you can give me your valuable opinions regarding which is a better buy.

Keep the DACport + get the HDP or just get the DACmini and call it a day.

Is the amp section of your "tuned" DACmini as powerful compared to the HDP and your previously owned HA160.

 

Thank you.

post #66 of 1131

Well... I'd already placed an order for the DACmini with my local store.

Currently it's out of stock so I have to wait for another 1 month or longer.

 

I think you've explained clearly why. Haha.. and thanks so much for sharing your experience!

 

Perhaps I have always wanted a DACmini after reading this thread, just that it wasn't available a month ago and currently so I'd never had a chance to audition the unit.

That's why I needed an extra push from someone who has a similar setup as mine. (Impressive audio inventory you have!)

Also, having tested several DAC/Amp & DAC + Amp combo, I'd still prefer the sound signature of CEntrace product and they are quite affordable compared to other system.

 

Okay... I used to thought the HD650 could never have that kind of airy characteristic of the DT880.

I knew I was wrong when I heard it on the Lavry Da11, which further leads me to believe that the HD650 can really shine with good amplification.

You've described that you "much prefer the more 3D warmer sound of the DACmini".

I'd imagine this could be what I was looking for in my HD650, and might be the 10%+ enhancement that the DACport was lacking slightly.

 

Well... even if the improvement in sound quality may not be huge, I guess the added features would certainly be worthwhile as a One-Box-Solution, not to mention it is a more elegant setup and I needed something that could sit firmly on my desk. (the DACport have too much movements.)

 

Anyway, thanks so much Austin!

Anxiously waiting for my DACmini to arrive!

 

 

Edit : Forgot to mention that I will sell my DT880 and grab a pair of DT770 (600Ohm) to pair with the DACmini.


Edited by SennSean - 2/21/11 at 4:00pm
post #67 of 1131

I'm really interested in the Rega DAC right now and I wonder how the DACmini would compare as a DAC to the Rega.  

post #68 of 1131
Thread Starter 
SennSean, Congrats on your purchase. I can't wait to hear your feedback as soon as you get it.

BC - I haven't heard the Rega so I can't help on that comparison. I can say, I only have one dac that I think is audibly better to my ear than the mini & even that is close. My 32 bit EE minimax dac is the best pure dac I've ever owned.
post #69 of 1131

Does plugging in phones mute the rear output connections?  Are the rear outputs volume-controlled or constant level?

 

EDIT - hmm, it seems mute function is there but not variable out: http://www.centrance.com/products/dacmini/blog/2010/10/12/line-out-jacks/.  I wonder if CEntrance will still provide variable outs as an option.  It would be nice to have this as a dac/amp/preamp with the volume control for studio monitors

post #70 of 1131

Hi Ert,

 

To answer your questions - the outputs do mute when you plug in the headphones - no changes there. The RCA out levels are fixed, but if you need it, we can make a custom mod for variable outs. We've found that most people are fine with the fixed outputs, so it looks like the decision to leave them fixed was correct. But if you need it, we'll make it!

 

Michael

post #71 of 1131

Michael, thanks for the clarification.  I think the DACmini may be a serious contender in the dac/pre/amp category against the more expensive "pro" models from Benchmark, Lavry, etc.  I've been looking for something similar to (cheaper than!) the pro units and I think the DACmini may be the right choice.  I don't know that most people need the array of outputs and inputs as on the pro models, but I think being able to switch from variable to constant output would be a very nice feature.  What would be the best route for me to order a modified unit with variable output?  I don't see an option for variable output on CEntrance order form.

 

eric

post #72 of 1131

Hey Eric...

 

After you put in your order in our store, just send me a PM and I will make sure you receive a modded unit. gs1000.gif

 

-Jay

post #73 of 1131

Great service!

post #74 of 1131

Ordered! can't wait...

post #75 of 1131
Quote:

Originally Posted by ert View Post

 

I think the DACmini may be a serious contender in the dac/pre/amp category against the more expensive "pro" models from Benchmark, Lavry, etc. 



Thanks for the kind words.

 

FYI both of the above mentioned companies are using a CEntrance USB solution. wink_face.gif

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