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Anyone ordered the Grace M903 - Page 3

post #31 of 84

I've had the m903 for a few months now. Of the three full-size headphones I've tried through the m903 amp, the only one that makes sense is the HD800. The m903 cannot drive the HE-6, and the LCD-2 (R1) sounds better off my WA6SE. With regards to the HD800, the WA6SE has the advantage of a larger soundstage, smoother sound (easier on bad recordings), and more bass impact, while the m903 has the advantage of clarity/precision (a classic difference between tube amps and ss amps). I prefer the m903 with the HD800 normally simply because I believe it brings out more of that precision that I appreciate. I use the HD800 with the WA6SE when I've had a couple drinks ;) because I don't listen as carefully to detail then and I love the amazing combination of large soundstage and solid imaging. The HD800/m903 alone would not fully satisfy anyone here I believe, but if you have a warm set-up already, this set-up gives the listener a lot of versatility. Also, I would characterize as the HD800/m903 as bass impact adequate (extension is better). Bassheads would not fancy either product.

 

The LCD-2s (R1) are simply not designed for the m903. I never use the combo. It sounds as if the LCD-2s (R1) are trying to be detailed cans, but they just plain are not detailed cans (relative to others in their league of course). They have a very natural sound, and for that reason I would pair it with a tube or hybrid amp to bring out its strengths. I havent heard other ss amps, but for me the LCD-2 (R1) is better suited for an amp with a more natural, warm sound signature like a tube amp.

 

On a side note, the m903 does lean toward the bright side as some have indicated. I have noticed that tendency, however, more when I first listened to the m903 than today. It's possible that I just acclimated to the sound.

post #32 of 84
Thread Starter 

i love my 902 and 903 remotes!

great as controls and weapons.......

 

paul
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by third_eye View Post

I got my m903 in a few days ago and am thoroughly impressed. Using together with T1 and have some Focal CMS 40 monitors coming in tomorrow. I'm between 74-80 on the volume with T1 (this is with +9 offset on the headphone out). Plenty of drive and I tend to listen on the loud side. Love the sound, crystal clear, transparent, and neutral but in a non-fatiguing way. Crossfeed function seems to be subtle and somehow is increasing bass? I will probably add the remote control soon.



 

 

post #33 of 84
Thread Starter 

yes on the gain and the 903 gets really hot at the jacks.

my furutechs and cardas plugs feel very warm during use.

 

paul
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by denydog View Post

Hello,

 

I haven't read very many impressions of the Grace m903 sound, but since I upgraded from the m902 to the m903 last month, I thought I'd chime in. The main reason I upgraded was for the improved USB input of the m903. I do my primary listening via speaker setup from the line outs, with line 1 going to my power amplifier, and line 2 to a pair of powered subwoofers.  I play 16/44.1 and higher audio files through Foobar2000 (on a netbook) and feed from the USB port to the m903.  Previously, due to the m902's relatively poor USB input, I used a Musiland 01 USD to convert the USB to S/PDIF. That method worked pretty well, but eliminating the Musiland greatly simplified my setup, and whether it was from the simplification, or the m903's improved circuitry, the m903's asynchronous USB is sounding clearly better.

 

I don't have the best hearing, Even so, the difference in the two units is very striking to me.  When I used my NAD CDP as source, I thought the m902 DAC was a little soft compared for instance to the digital output from the DAC in my CDP.  It lacked a little impact and dynamics, and maybe some clarity in the higher frequencies. The m903 does not seem to be lacking in these areas, and sounds sharp, clear, and yet smooth at the same time.  I am very happy with the sound of my whole system now.  This includes headphone listening as well. I am actually surprised at how apparent the improvement in sound is. I wasn't expecting it to be this much better.

 

I will also mention that the ability to control the volume of line 1, and 2, either individually or together is a great convenience, especially with my amp and sub's setup.  I use both methods at different times, all controlled from the remote control.  I also am using the level offset.

 

One thing I've noticed, and would like if anyone else can confirm, is that the gain of the m903 seems to be lower than the m902?  I find that I am turning up the volume 8-10 higher on the m903 for the same perceived loudness, so I am using up to 78 on the volume at times.(typically 72 with headphone output, K701) This seems to be on the S/PDIF input also.
 



 

 

post #34 of 84

I was considering the Grace M903 so am I to assume that they are bad for low impedance headphones?

post #35 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronicled View Post

I was considering the Grace M903 so am I to assume that they are bad for low impedance headphones?


Not at all from my impression. I believe it's fine for both high and low impedance headphones.


Edited by third_eye - 9/24/11 at 5:24pm
post #36 of 84

I actually think of the M903 more as a DAC/pre-amp than an amp. I'm thinking about it as an upgrade from my Mav D1. It wouldn't be too hard for the M903 to be a improvement over the D1 amp. Has anyone compared the M903 amp section to the Schiit Lyr? 

post #37 of 84

Quote:

Originally Posted by chronicled View Post

I was considering the Grace M903 so am I to assume that they are bad for low impedance headphones?


The m903 output impedance is 1.2 ohms, and it's been reported to drive the 62 ohm AKG701's (including mine) very well.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by milosolo View Post

I actually think of the M903 more as a DAC/pre-amp than an amp. I'm thinking about it as an upgrade from my Mav D1. It wouldn't be too hard for the M903 to be a improvement over the D1 amp. Has anyone compared the M903 amp section to the Schiit Lyr? 


The m903 as configured, functions very well as both a headphone amp, and a pre-amp.  I can't remember where, but I think I read from a Grace source somewhere that the line amps (1, and 2) are not up to the quality of the headphone amp,  I'm not implying that the line amps are bad, because I happily use my m903 as a pre-amp with my speaker setup 80% of the time. 

 

post #38 of 84
Thread Starter 
i know of a dealer throwing an end of fiscal year sale, send me PM....
post #39 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulchiu View Post

i love my 902 and 903 remotes!

great as controls and weapons.......

 

paul 

 

 


Just got the remote in. You were not kidding, this thing could double as a weapon! VERY solid.
post #40 of 84

To me the m903's remote felt lighter than the m902 remote, to the extent that I took a look inside to see if it still used the same 9v battery. (it did)

 

At one time I thought the m902 remote's housing was metal.  Not sure about the front housing, but I now know the rear is plastic.  I managed to chip the rear housing of the m902 remote control. So I emailed Grace Design to ask about buying a replacement rear cover.  I received a reply stating that a new one was being sent out immediately! Can't ask more than that.

 

Back to a previous topic. To satisfy my curiosity I decided to check the temperature of the m903's top plate after an hour of running at high volume from both line outputs. The result I got was 98 degrees F.  Not so bad I guess.

 

 

Edit:  I want to clarify my earlier comment that the gain of the m903 seems to be lower than the m902.  I recently using the analog inputs of my m903, and the gain of this input seems comparable to the m902.  The difference I noticed was with the digital inputs, and are not directly comparable to my previous m902 setup.  So I have to question my earlier observation about m903 gain.
 

 


Edited by denydog - 10/4/11 at 5:42pm
post #41 of 84

hihi, now that you have a few months to test the 903, how would you compare to Headroom's BUDA?

post #42 of 84

I am still illogically slightly bothered that I frequently have the m903's volume set at 80-85 during speaker listening sessions using the line outputs. I know this has a lot to do with the sensitivity of my amplifier and speakers, but the curious thing is that with my previous m902 I would usually use volume setting at 70-75. (Currently the m903 set at 80 = 80 SPL at my listening position.) I'm using the same associated equipment.

 

I don't see it as a serious issue though, since I'm not likely to need much higher loudness, and I can eliminate it, if I choose, by using the m903''s Level Offset function to add up to 9.5 dB to the line output . To note; The analog input fed from my CDP, and headphone output with source from any input, seem to behave the same as they did on the m902.

 

BTW- Stereophile Magazine is doing a review of the m903 that will probably be in the December issue. I usually receive the magazine mid month, so around Nov 15th I should get to see if they like the m903 as much as I do.

post #43 of 84
Thread Starter 

after some 30 hours with a current straight 12 hours, new Cary 300 SEI running sweet with Grace M903 as DAC.

So buttery, oh the vocals!

 

Cary 300SEI P1000113.jpg

post #44 of 84

computeraudiophile.com posted a review of the m903 yesterday.

post #45 of 84
Thread Starter 

thanks for the link.

i have found that the best performance is with optical input using the rather pedestrian Apple's own Monsters white light cable.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by denydog View Post

computeraudiophile.com posted a review of the m903 yesterday.



 

 

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