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CEntrance DACmini DAC/Amplifier Official Thread - Page 53

post #781 of 1129
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

 Bravo Larry!  L3000.gif

 

I just stumbled into this, knowing that it was in the works, and I'm thrilled to see how much effort you've put into describing all those combinations, logically, and articulately!  

 

You have filled a pretty large void in the information available to those who have tried to find solid information regarding what distinguishes these three CEntrance products.  Thank you!

 

Your conclusions are indeed surprising - especially that the DACport, feeding the DACmini's amp section, could offer better synergy with the HD800 than either the DACport LX or the DACmini's own DAC, through the DACmini's amp section.  But your explanations make a lot of sense as to why this is so.    

 

Another eyebrow-raising moment, for me, was your statement that (in the context of comparing rendered detail), the LCD-2 rev.1 could be the weakest link when used with either the DACport LX > DACmini amp, or the DACmini CX alone.  That's a huge compliment to the resolving power of the LX and DACmini DACs as well as to the DACmini's amp section, despite the LCD-2 falling short of some other, notable headphones, for resolution.

 

My profile reveals that I can actually carry all of my headphones with two hands, but the SE530 is among them, so I've long been aware that the LCD-2 rev.1 doesn't offer the ultimate in resolution.  With my recent acquisitions of the DACport LX and DACmini CX, however, that has become even more obvious, as the gap between SE530 detail and LCD-2 detail has widened using CEntrance gear.  

 

These CEntrance machines are indeed VERY resolving and there's an odd comfort in knowing that my LCD-2 is, at last, properly nourished!

 

Thanks again for your time and effort to perform these comparisons, Larry.

 

Mike

 

Yep.  Weak links in the chain are not that hard to identify IF you have the right gear to compare with.  In your case you can use the SE-530 to pick up the slight decrease in resolution when you switch over to the LCD-2, etc.  And the LCD-2 are pretty detailed on their own, and probably more so than the D7000 or HF-2, but not at the top of the dynamic food chain like the LCD-3, HE-500/HE-6, HD800, Beyer T1, K1000, HP-1000, etc.. (ignoring stats for the time being)

 

Someone out there could easily do a review of the DACport LX vs the DACmini and report that the LX is every bit as good as the DACmini; but we have to look at what headphones or speakers they used in the review to know if there is noticable weak link in the chain.  A weak link reduces everything to the same level of performance, instead of letting the better gear stand out above the lesser piece.  In my opinion, it's a lot more likely for the headphones to be the weak link than the DAC or the Amp, because the electro-to-mechanical conversion is so much harder to achieve perfection.  

 

Basically, IF I am stuck using my LCD-2 rev1 headphones as the only way to evaluate two rigs, I just can't say that my $3000 PS Audio Perfectwave DAC + $2700 Eddie Current ZDT is any more resolving than the DACmini alone.  Sure, the more expensive rig has more power with a bigger, deeper, wider soundstage and is a little more refined sounding when paired with the LCD-2, but in terms of sheer resolution and transparency the LCD-2 just don't pick up on the increased micro-details and other cues like a more resolving headphone.  If I switch to the HE-500 or HD800 then the differences become more apparent, and not just to me but my son and brother-in-law have noted this too.  

 

And then there's the whole conundrum of synergy.  Sometimes you have it and sometimes you don't.  Good synergy is a requirement in picking any gear to use for a review.  The LCD-2 are very good, but not my first choice for reviewing gear unless the synergy is there.  Just because the LCD-2 and HE-500 sound better with my DACmini than with my Woo WA6 doesn't mean the WA6 isn't as good an amp as the DACmini.  It just means it's worse with some phones than others, and in return the WA6 beats the DACmini when using my HD600 and HD800, while with the LA7000 the two amps are pretty much equal.  Likewise, just because the SR-71b amp sounds better than the WA6 with balanced LCD-2 or HE-500, it doesn't mean the SR-71b is a better amp than the WA6, because the WA6 is a bit better than the SR-71b with HD800 and Grado RS-1.  Sometimes the synergy comes from voltage swing, or current delivery, or impedance matching, or power output, and other times they just balance each other out in frequency response.


Edited by HeadphoneAddict - 10/4/12 at 10:56pm
post #782 of 1129

Indeed, a fully integrated system with all the fixings for both headphones and sensitive speakers, the ADS is amazing. The only thing is, you have to keep the speakers off the ground, especially for movies, as there is a nasty bit of boom in the upper bass and low-mid mids. Apart from that, it is fantastic. 

 

It is worth the layout of dosh and easily one of the best bets for high-end audio for both headphones and speakers. Oh yes, and the inputs rock. If it's a headphone system you are looking for, the DACmini really is all you need. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post

I still say the CEntrance ADS is the BEST desktop system bundle for the money, hands DOWN.

I listen to it every day in my home office.  There's ways to squeeze eve more performance out of it as well.

KILLER, just KILLER.  I wast most excited about this product when I worked there, cept maybe their upcoming HiFi-M8!!!!

post #783 of 1129

Larry,

 

Your last post, above, explains so many peoples' frustration with upgrades not adding any audible value, especially subtle enhancements like custom cables, that can be so controversial - precisely because party A has the gear with which to hear the enhancement when party B does not.

 

The resolution of a system as a whole can be calculated by taking the reciprocal of the sum of reciprocals for every component's individual limit of resolution, as follows:

 

1 / Total System Resolution = 1/R + 1/R + 1/R + 1/R ...

 

Looking at this equation, with a little thought, it becomes apparent that IF the individual resolutions are all in the same league, so to speak (having a small standard deviation), the total resolution will be pretty much equal to the limit of resolution imposed by any one of individual components.  But IF just ONE of the components in the chain limits resolution to a value that significantly deviates from the rest, its impact on total resolution is dramatic, and must be addressed first, ahead of any concern for improving the others..  

 

I realize, that what I've written here isn't very profound to anyone who understands "weakest link in the chain" (which is pretty much everyone), but for those who can look at equations and "feel" them, this sum of reciprocals is illuminating.  The hard part, of course, is identifying which component in the system is dragging down the rest.

 

For the record, I'm much more a consumer of mathematics, than I am a mathematician. In fact, I'm closer to being nothing more than an arithmetician.  redface.gif

 

Mike

post #784 of 1129

Hello Michael or Kenny @ CEntrance,

 

 

I have noticed that some headphone amp manufacturers (eg. Burson, Schiit) are tending to increase the available wattage on new models.

I believe the rise and popularity of planar technology headphones (such as Audez'e or HiFiMan)

are influencing this power increase for headphone amps.

 

While I enjoy music using my DACport and Audez'e LCD-3 at an enjoyable safe volume,

I notice an improvement with my DACmini CX (10ohm, gain of 8) due to it being more powerful.

 

 

*** So, I have been wondering how a "Supercharged" DACmini CX , with say, 5 Class A watts would sound like.***

 

 

I respect you are busy with development of the M8 at the moment, though I thought I would mention this.

 

Personally, I would be willing to pay more for a "Supercharged" DACmini CX as I do not need a lot of gear, though I do appreciate and respect quality.

I get quality with the CEntrance products, it is just that going from DACport to DACmini provided "more of everything", was wondering if a yet more powerful DACmini would be a possibility (so I could experience yet another improvement), due to the rise of the planar headphones.

 

 

John

post #785 of 1129
Please consider the DACmini PX integrated Amp ($999.95). Its power amp features 25W per channel and is ideal for driving HE-6. We had a head-fi guy at RMAF use a banana cable adapter to go from speaker outputs to his headphones. He really liked the sound quality and output level.

Michael
post #786 of 1129

I had seriously considered getting the PX instead of the CX, with the notion of using its speaker terminals to drive the LCD-2.  It seemed like a no brainer given that the black finish, alone, is a $200 upgrade for the CX - so basically, getting a PX is like ordering a CX in black finish, that includes a free 25-Watt Class D amplifier!

 

I hit the brakes, however, because...

 

A)  It's a Class D amplifier (although I'm willing to assume its design - by CEntrance, after all - defies my understanding of Class D weaknesses.)

 

B)  It's got a 25-Ohm output impedance (theoretically not a good match for the 50-Ohm LCD-2 rev. 1 - I'd rather see a 5-Ohm output impedance, at most - just going by the 8:1 rule of thumb - one of the reasons I ordered my CX with the 1-Ohm mod).

 

C)  I was afraid I could damage the LCD-2 if an exceptionally strong pop or other noise artifact suddenly came barreling down at whatever peak the PX is capable of hitting above 25 Watts RMS.  (The LCD-2 rev.1 are only rated at 15-Watts max.)

 

D)  I really don't have any interest in connecting loudspeakers to something like the PX (despite the very credible reviews regarding the ADS system as a whole).

 

So, count me as not interested in using a DACmini PX for LCD-2 (or LCD-3), but VERY interested in the "Super-charged" DACmini CX that Duke40 has imagineered.  

 

My DACport LX and DACmini CX have made me a die hard loyal fan, so I will wait as long as it takes for CEntrance to revisit the desktop arena and produce a 5-Watt (or greater) solid state, balanced headphone amp!  A DAC/amp combo would be even better, but I think you'd reach a larger market with just an amp.  

 

Thanks!

 

Mike


Edited by zilch0md - 10/16/12 at 7:31pm
post #787 of 1129
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

 

B)  It's got a 25-Ohm output impedance (theoretically not a good match for the 50-Ohm LCD-2 rev. 1 - I'd rather see a 5-Ohm output impedance, at most - just going by the 8:1 rule of thumb - one of the reasons I ordered my CX with the 1-Ohm mod).

 

 

This is the impedance of the line output, not to be confused with the speaker output which should be much less than 1 Ohm.

post #788 of 1129

Oh yeah!  I just went back to the specs.  Thank you!  

 

They don't indicate what the output impedance is actually (for the 25-Watt amp), but it does say, "drives 4...8 Ohm speakers."

 

So it should be OK with a 50-Ohm load (and the power into 50-Ohms would be less than 25W - a good thing when using headphones rated at 15W max.)

 

Hmmm...  Now I want to hear my LCD-2 on a PX.   tongue.gif

 

Mike 

post #789 of 1129

Solid-state speaker amps mostly all have very low output impedance (especially relative to headphone impedances), as far as I know.  When you're driving 4 ohm speakers, you don't want half of the power to be lost internally to the amp just because of the output impedance, that's for sure...

 

Also, for that matter, many people say that their planar magnetics sound just fine on higher-Z sources.


Edited by mikeaj - 10/17/12 at 7:29pm
post #790 of 1129

Thanks Mike!

post #791 of 1129
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

Oh yeah!  I just went back to the specs.  Thank you!  

 

They don't indicate what the output impedance is actually (for the 25-Watt amp), but it does say, "drives 4...8 Ohm speakers."

 

So it should be OK with a 50-Ohm load (and the power into 50-Ohms would be less than 25W - a good thing when using headphones rated at 15W max.)

 

Hmmm...  Now I want to hear my LCD-2 on a PX.   tongue.gif

 

Mike 

 

Hey, wait a minute....  

 

If the DACmini PX' Class D amp is rated at 25 Watts into 8 Ohms, it will deliver 4 Watts into the 50-Ohm LCD-2.

 

but...

 

If the DACmini PX' Class D amp is rated at 25 Watts into 4 Ohms, it will deliver 2 Watts into the 50-Ohm LCD-2.

 

Now I don't feel so bad having recently purchased the CX instead of the PX, given that I might have ended up preferring the 1.5 Watt Class A headphone amp in either case.  

post #792 of 1129
> If the DACmini PX' Class D amp is rated at 25 Watts into 4 Ohms, it will deliver 2 Watts into the 50-Ohm LCD-2.

We would suggest that you use the output voltage as the basis for a rough calculation, as follows:

- DACmini PX should deliver about 20V Peak at the speaker output terminals.
- 20V across 50 Ohms equals 0.4A of current per channel.
- 20V multiplied by 0.4A gives you 8 Watts, peak.

In summary, you would have around 6dB additional gain at the speaker outputs compared to the headphone outputs. The output impedance at the speaker outputs is a fraction of an Ohm, compared to 1 or 10 Ohms at the headphone output. This would deliver additional power across the headphones connected to the speaker output, compared to the headphone output. Distortion would still be extremely low since we are using the latest amp technology.

Disclaimer: I'm not a loud listener, so this level would be out of my comfort zone for LCD's. I can't guarantee this but I don't think you will blow up your LCD's -- it looks like you should be safe and have just enough output power for that extra kick. HE-6 owners are going to be very happy.

Regarding trying this out: We offer a 30-day money back guarantee, so trying is easy. Let me know if any questions.

Michael
Edited by mgoodman - 10/17/12 at 8:35pm
post #793 of 1129

Michael @ CEntrance , thank you for taking the time to respond & answer our questions.

 

John

post #794 of 1129

Yes, thanks Michael!

 

I'm tempted by your very generous 30-day return policy, but I'm too easily hooked once something is in my possession.  tongue.gif 

 

And frankly, although I've done it twice now, with other Head-Fi manufacturers, I really feel bad when I take advantage of money-back guarantees.  On both occasions, I made the purchases with the intention of keeping the items, but was too disappointed to stay the course.   

 

Still, I very much appreciate the offer - you make it a lot easier for us by doing so.

 

Mike

post #795 of 1129
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

Yes, thanks Michael!

 

I'm tempted by your very generous 30-day return policy, but I'm too easily hooked once something is in my possession.  tongue.gif

 

And frankly, although I've done it twice now, with other Head-Fi manufacturers, I really feel bad when I take advantage of money-back guarantees.  On both occasions, I made the purchases with the intention of keeping the items, but was too disappointed to stay the course.   

 

Still, I very much appreciate the offer - you make it a lot easier for us by doing so.

 

Mike

 

Maybe you don't try the PX and return it within 30 days.  Maybe you return the CX and use the credit towards the PX, and keep it?

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