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CEntrance DACmini DAC/Amplifier Official Thread - Page 6

post #76 of 1131
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Listens View Post





Thanks for the kind words.

 

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

Hi Jay,

 

Has the CEntrance USB solution evolved at all over the different products that used it or is it the exact same implementation?  How well does it control jitter in relation to an asynchronous USB design?

 

Also, would you be able to tell me if the noise floor and volume control of the DacMini lend it well to use with highly sensitive IEMs?  I have had particular trouble finding devices that can adequately drive my IEMs to satisfaction because of high amounts of hiss, poor volume tracking between left and right channels, and poor control of volume at low levels. 

 

Thanks!
 

post #77 of 1131

Our solution is constantly evolving. The biggest difference in our two headphone products is DACport is powered from the USB bus whereas DACmini has an external power supply and features galvanic isolation. The result is a better experience with DACmini.

 

Long story short, yes, all the solutions are unique to each product. Comparing to a "different" USB technology is kinda tough. Any product is only as good as the collection of its parts. So there are good and bad USB solutions, but not necessarily bad technologies. Its how you implement the technology that makes the difference.

 

Manufacturers of other USB technologies will lead you to believe that if you are not using the same methodology you are automatically inferior. We believe both technologies can perform great if implemented well.

 

As for the IEMs, we specifically designed DACmini to address these concerns. We understand your frustration with hiss, off-center tracking and poor volume control. The reality is most potentiometers will have some sort of tracking error at the very low range. We hand select our pots to minimize this and make it inaudible at the lower range.

 

DACmini will not give you any hiss issues with your IEMs. Do you plan on only using DACmini with the IEMs?

 

If so there is always the possibility of tuning your DACmini to the range of those IEMs

 

post #78 of 1131

Hello Mike and Jay,

 

I wanted to ask you about the newer iterations that you plan to come out with later this year. What differences will these models have with the current CX model? I'm just curious because I have seen a lot of praise given to your current product as it is and I was wondering what other features you might be providing. Also I was wondering a silly newbie question, with this CX model is there a selector for output (i.e. headphone line out)? One last thing, I am planning to get this shipped to Korea and wondered if you guys supply country specific power cord. Thanks in advance. Have a great one.

post #79 of 1131

Hi Ptrok! Really like the avatar pic. L3000.gif

 

The next DACmini model we have announced is the PX. The only difference between the CX and the PX is it will feature a power amplifier so you can connect it directly to your speakers, but other than that they are identical.

 

Take a look at what Stereophile had to say:

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

 

The output selector is automatic. So if headphones are plugged into the front of the DACmini CX, the rear RCA outs are disabled. Once the headphone cable is removed, they are re-enabled. We don't ship country specific power cables, but are currently offering FREE international shipping.

 

Let me know if you have any more questions.

post #80 of 1131


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Listens View Post

Hi Ptrok! Really like the avatar pic. L3000.gif

 

The next DACmini model we have announced is the PX. The only difference between the CX and the PX is it will feature a power amplifier so you can connect it directly to your speakers, but other than that they are identical.

 

Take a look at what Stereophile had to say:

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

 

The output selector is automatic. So if headphones are plugged into the front of the DACmini CX, the rear RCA outs are disabled. Once the headphone cable is removed, they are re-enabled. We don't ship country specific power cables, but are currently offering FREE international shipping.

 

Let me know if you have any more questions.


Thanks for the immediate reply. I was curious as to what comes with the CX models in terms of power cord or usb cables. I am also wondering when the KX is projected to be coming out.  Also, concerning the international shipping that you are providing is there any way around the customs issue. If not I can have a friend ship it. Thanks for your quick reply and help.

 


Edited by ptrok - 3/6/11 at 10:38pm
post #81 of 1131

CX ships with DACmini CX (obviously), a USB cable, a power supply, and a IEC cable. As for KX, its hard to say when exactly it will be shipping. What I can tell you is PX will be shipping this summer. As for customs, we will try to be as accommodating as possible within the law obviously wink_face.gif

 

Please let me know how else I can help. We're here for you guys!!! atsmile.gif

post #82 of 1131

I'm surprised I never saw this thread before.  It will take some time for me to read it all, but in the meantime, here are some links to other posts I've written about the DACmini.

 

RMAF 2010 Impressions Thread has basically a mini-review of the DACmini:

 

 
DACport review thread with list of things the DACmini improves upon:
 
 
LCD-2 headphone amp recommendations thread:
 
 
post #83 of 1131
Thread Starter 

Hey Larry, Welcome aboard.  I know your links will prove extremely helpful to anyone who's considering a DACmini. Much appreciated.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post

I'm surprised I never saw this thread before.  It will take some time for me to read it all, but in the meantime, here are some links to other posts I've written about the DACmini.

 

RMAF 2010 Impressions Thread has basically a mini-review of the DACmini:

 

 
DACport review thread with list of things the DACmini improves upon:
 
 
LCD-2 headphone amp recommendations thread:
 
 


 

post #84 of 1131

Hey, if I just need the DAC part of DACmini because Ive already had some amps, is it kind of waste of money that I just pass the amp part of DACmini?

 

Or... I mean does DACmini mainly focus on just DAC or both DAC and AMP?

 

thank you

post #85 of 1131

Thanks to Jonathan I ordered my Dacmini and I am counting down the days. Thanks again for all your help with my endless questions and I'll be sure to post my impressions of the unit as soon as I get to hear it. But I know already the customer service is top notch. 

 

post #86 of 1131


Why don't you get DACport if you want DAC part only?

Quote:
Originally Posted by isuperfish View Post

Hey, if I just need the DAC part of DACmini because Ive already had some amps, is it kind of waste of money that I just pass the amp part of DACmini?

 

Or... I mean does DACmini mainly focus on just DAC or both DAC and AMP?

 

thank you



 

post #87 of 1131
Quote:
Originally Posted by sfhoo View Post


Why don't you get DACport if you want DAC part only?



 


I'd say the DacMini type layout is better if you are wanting to use it as a DAC only.  It has separate line-outs vs having to go through the headphone amplifier (and degrading the signal quality) of the DacPort when you want to use it as a DAC.

 

post #88 of 1131

MORE IMPRESSIONS:

 

I posted some of this in a PM to another head-fi member, but wanted to say that since I got the DACmini in February I've listened to the LCD-2 headphones more in the past 4 weeks than I did in the previous 6 months because of the improved synergy with LCD-2 over my other amps.  Prior to this my $1000 ALO Amphora was my best amp with the LCD-2, followed by the HDP.  But the DACmini has taken the lead.

 

I just didn't have anything with synergy this good with the LCD-2 (I was using HDP > ALO Amphora or HDP alone before).  And since I received the DACmini 4 weeks ago I have put maybe only 5 hours on my Apogee mini-DAC > WA6/eXStatA/SAC/EF5 in the bedroom rig, mostly just for comparisons but not personal listening.  I've also been using the DACmini line-out > SR-71b > HE-6 about as much as the LCD-2, followed by my JH13Pro and ES5.  My basement rig with PS Audio PWD > Woo WES and EC ZDT > HD800, HE60 and O2 Mk1 has been getting ignored too, not because it sounds bad but because the Macbook > DACmini in my bedroom is more convenient.

 

After spending all this time feeding the DACmini into the SR-71b amp for the HE-6 headphones, the big surprise tonight is that the DACmini drives my HE-6 to normal listening volumes at 2 o'clock, and it plays music at volume levels louder than I like when max'd at 5 o'clock, without having the sound turn south like it's running out of steam.  It still has about 4-5 dB less headroom than my balanced SR-71b at full power, but it's power is now closer to the HDP or EF5 with HE-6 headphones vs the lower gain pre-production model shown at RMAF.  That's totally useable, although I'd like more power with the HE-6 to improve bass impact just a little, but bass depth/presence is still excellent.  So I can't discount the DACmini for people with the HE-6 anymore, and it can always be used to feed a more powerful amp when money becomes available later for an upgrade.  The new DACmini PX model with 25-watt speaker amp might be even better for the HE-6 headphones which like to be plugged into the speaker outputs of powerful amps.  But for now I'm really digging the CX model with my HE-6.

 

My SAC KH1000 amp for the AKG K1000 headphones has the extra power for the HE-6, but the aggressive nature of the SAC amp means it doesn't sound as transparent/good as the DACmini because it's better suited for the mellower sounding K1000 headphones.  If I didn't want to use extremely sensitive IEM all the time then I might go for the gain of 10 like Austin's modded DACmini instead the standard gain of 8.  I just worry that more gain could increase the noise floor and that might make it less enjoyable to use with my ES3X.  That fear may be unfounded, but I don't want to take the chances, especially when I have been listening to the HE-6 with it for the past couple of hours with the volume only at 2 o'clock and no urge to turn it up more (nor do I want to disturb my sleeping wife).  I still think the more efficient LCD-2 are a better match with the DACmini than HE-6, but this amp can definitely please both camps as well as making HD800 owners happy.

 

And a few other observations:

 

1) While the SR-71b has a little better dynamic headroom with the HE-6, I was experiencing some bass clipping and doubling (not sure which) with the HE-6 when using 30Hz test tones and below; and bass notes of 20Hz were difficult to hear while the doubling was much louder than the actual tone.  Switching to the DACmini amp and listening to the test tones I find the DACmini does not exhibit this doubling effect, nor any distortion or bass roll-off.  I was using the DACmini line-out to feed SR-71b, so it was the same source.  The deep bass with the difficult to drive HE-6 is clean and extended through the DACmini, although with headphones other than HE-6 the SR-71b didn't do as poorly.  Note - I only use the SR-71b with full-size headphones if they are balanced, and my balanced LCD-2 cable should ship today.  The SR-71b didn't do very well with my single ended LCD-2.

 

2) The HDP DAC line-out made the SR-71b amp slightly more aggressive sounding in the upper mids and highs by combining their similar traits and multiplying the effect.  Feeding the DACmini into the SR-71b results in a more refined and balanced/transparent sound out of the SR-71b.  So, I am finding the DACmini is a little better as either a DAC or an amp.

 

3) I used to feed my Pico DAC-only into my ALO Amphora and SR-71b with my Macbook, but switching to the DACmini as the source also results in a more open and deep soundstage, more so with native 24/96 music where the extra micro-detail adds to the transparency, air, and ambience.  I am one of the earliest loyal buyers of the Pico DAC, and it's a great DAC for the price and obviously more portable, but I don't see myself going back to it very much in this rig.  I like the Pico too much to sell, but not enough to use it in place of the DACmini.  If I need a slightly more laid-back sounding amp I can feed the DACmini into my Amphora, and if I want a slightly more aggressive sounding amp I can feed it into my balanced SR-71b.  But so far I am quite pleased with the DAC and the Amp section alike.

post #89 of 1131
Thread Starter 
Larry, your experience with the DACmini/LCD-2 combo seem to track my impressions exactly. I also find that with my increased gain I'm liking it better than my stock gain unit which I returned to CEntrance after doing an extended comparison with both on all of my full-size headphones (including my HE5LE) & all my IEMs. As I said before, I was a little surprised the higher gain unit was still great with all my IEMs. The noise floor was still better than with my HDP.

The DACmini is my favorite SE amp with my LCD-2s. The only amp I prefer to it is my Phoenix running in fully balanced mode & even then, it is not a night & day difference. That says a lot fir the overall sound quality of the mini.

Anyway thank you so much for your impressions, I enjoyed reading them.
post #90 of 1131

Thanks again guys for all the kind reviews.

 

I have been getting a ton of PMs and just about every one starts off by saying "Sorry to bother you" or "Sorry for all the questions" etc.

 

GUYS!!!!

The reason we are "hear" (sorry for the pun, I couldn't help myself) is to do ONE thing.....ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS AND GET FEEDBACK!!!

 

Our products are only as good as the people who use them. So, PLEASE by all means feel free to contact me at any time. We really appreciate the opportunity to speak with each and every customer!!!

 

atsmile.gif

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