FYI: The Go-DAP actually has a version upgrade from 1.01 to 1.02. The minor revision is merely to change the rate of volume increase. As I understanding it, instead of a linear increase (from the rotation or the volume knob) it increases more exponentially. I should be getting my Go-DAP back from VentureCraft tomorrow.
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VentureCraft Go-Dap GD-04 for iPhone 4 - Page 4post #46 of 16111/3/11 at 7:42am
Gear mentioned in this thread:post #47 of 16111/4/11 at 10:36am
cool, nothing stopping us changing opa2134 to opa1642 or other suitable soic8 unity gain stable opamp. the opa2134 is ok, nothing wrong with it per say, but i certainly have other preferences and since its a simple soic8 chip it will be easy to change out.post #48 of 16111/4/11 at 10:41ampost #49 of 16111/4/11 at 8:27pmpost #50 of 16111/5/11 at 3:23ampost #51 of 16111/6/11 at 1:39amQuote:
The OPA2134 version has the quantity of a high and low than an MUSES8820 version.
I like OPA2134 version.post #52 of 16111/6/11 at 7:17am@takoyaki, wait I'm a little confused. As you can see pix from my earlier posts I have the Go-DAP with the red front plate. So that should be the Muse version.
But as you can see from my earlier post here, http://www.head-fi.org/t/533084/venturecraft-go-dap-gd-04-for-iphone-4/30#post_7818738, my Go-DAP says GD-04LI.
Is it definitive that :-
GD4 == Muse 8820
GD-04LI == OPA2134??post #53 of 16111/6/11 at 8:27am
My MUSES8820 version is initial release of GoDap unit 4.0.
There is two version, perhaps.post #54 of 16112/13/11 at 11:48pmpost #55 of 16112/23/11 at 7:14am
So a week ago, VentureCraft further announced upgrades and customisable options available to the Go-DAP 4.0. Bear with me that I'm going to regurgitate what they have told me about the upgrades and have not put -my- opinion of the validity of what they've told me.
The upgrades VentureCraft has provided include :-
1) DAC upgrade - adding MUSE F95 capacitor
2) Gain change - RK73. This seems to change the entire volume range downwards. i.e. if you're used to listening to a particular volume, now you have to turn it up to match the volume you're used to. The explanation I've been told is that by "turning up" that volume it "opens up the DAC" and therefore provides higher bitrate. (this is the disclaimer where I did not question what they said 'cos my knowledge of electronics is extremely basic).
3) Amp upgrade: 3 options :-
a) OP-275 - more natural
b) AD8397 - bipolar, suited for Jazz, female vocals, classical
c) OPA-2604 - classic FET, supposedly better for electronic/type music
As mentioned, I'm regurgitating what I was told (pls bear in mind I'm listening to Japanese-translated English - it's possible that it could be described entirely differently).
What I have done is to upgrade both my Muses 8820 and BurrBrown OPA2134 to OPA-275 and AD8397 respectively. I also did the DAC and the Gain upgrades. For the past week I've been demo-ing between the two. The upgrades definitely improve the SQ of the Go-DAP for both. I found that the AD8397 was good for the bebop jazz I like and has a slightly wider soundstage than the OP-275 amp. The highs seem more revealing -a little more- than the OP-275.
The update to me narrows the gap difference between the original Go-DAP 4.0 (Muses 8820/BurrBrown OPA2134) and the Fostex HP-P1, and seriously challenges it in fact. In addition that the Go-DAP 4.0 upgrade puts your iPhone into a convenient portable package, if I'm travelling I'd rather carry the Go-DAP over the Fostex HP-P1 cos the difference (to my ears) is negligible.
However in terms of VentureCraft as a business and the Go-DAP as a project, I think there is much room for improvement.
1) the jacket needs to be modular and swappable in case the iPhone 5 has a different form factor. VentureCraft has a good DAC/Amp product but the lack of modularity is a major disappointment. No one is going to spend $600 for a device that lasts as long as your iPhone 4/4S (Apple upgrades every year!).
2) They have got the sound right -NOW- with these upgrades and customs. That means early adopters of Go-DAP 4.0 Muses 8820 and BurrBrown OPA2134 pretty much lucked out. The gain and the DAC upgrade should have been standard instead of upgrades. The only real custom is the differences in the 3 Amp options.
3) As a business I think they need to reconsider their marketing and product release strategy. The Go-DAP 4.0 in its earlier form seemed "rushed" out of the market. Yet it's released late (1 year after the iPhone 4 was released). At least in my opinion they should have :-
a) held back the Go-DAP 4.0, got the design more tuned to what is is now with the DAC/gain/Amp upgrades as standard into the product
b) designed something more modular (c'mon, they had the 3G/S version and now repeating the same mistake for the 4/S?). Think of the Hifiman DAPs that have modular amps. And of course the iPhone 4 jacket needs to be modular and replaceable.
c) get the two above right then come up with something good that is released in conjunction with the iPhone 5 next year.
d) have the firmware user self-upgradeable (this is a problem for -all- iDevice DAC makers: Fostex, Cyperlabs, and VentureCraft)
Info about the upgrades are here (in Japanese). They're not cheap...the Go-DAP 4.0 is currently going for USD$448 (this month special USD$384). The complete upgrades (DAC/Gain/Amp) are a further USD$228 :-
http://item.rakuten.co.jp/japanshop/c/0000000108/post #56 of 16112/24/11 at 8:54ampost #57 of 16112/24/11 at 10:28ampost #58 of 16112/24/11 at 5:24pmpost #59 of 1614/5/12 at 4:34am
Go-DAP 4.0 OpAmp Comparison Review
For the past few weeks I've had a couple of Go-DAP 4.0s on loan for a review. Some of you may know that in the past 6-7 months I've had bought a couple of Go-DAPs, upgraded them, then got rid of one. I started off with the Muses 8820E first back in early October and very soon after the BurrBrown OPA2134. Then VentureCraft announced they were providing upgrades to the OpAmps offering 3 versions, OP-275, AD8397, and OPA-2604. I upgraded one Go-DAP to the OP-275, and another to the AD8397.
Since then, VentureCraft has offered another OpAmp, not as an upgrade but as it's own Unit 4.0 - the OPA1612.
I kept my AD8397, sold the OP-275 to a friend and for the past few months the Go-DAP 4.0 AD8397 has been my favourite portable DAP.
Current Go-DAP Comparisons
I've talked about my AD8397 in the past in some Go-DAP threads so I won't be talking about this OpAmp. However I have managed to secure the original Muses 8820 & the OPA1612 on loan from VentureCraft and this review is specifically about these two models.
Aside from the aforementioned Go-DAPs, my tests involve using the Ultrasone Edition 8's , Unique Melody Merlin's, and V-Moda M-80's. My audio files are a mixture of 256k AAC, 320k AAC, ALAC, and FLAC (via FLACPlayer). My tracks used are Phantom of the Opera, Gerry Mulligan's Night Lights, Paul Desmond's Bossa Antigua, Black Eyed Peas' E.N.D., & Michael Buble's Call Me Irresponsible.
Note that all the Unit 4.0 Go-DAPs use the AKM AK4353 DAC so the comparison is primarily on the OpAmp.
In general, if one is looking for a completely integrated DAC/Amp to the iPhone 4S, in my humble opinion, nothing beats the Go-DAP. I know many Head-fiers have concerns that the integrated iPhone 4(S) jacket is limiting especially Apple comes up with new iPhone models annually. However if most people buy the iPhones on contract, usually the contract is 2 years so one could get a 2 yrs life out of the Go-DAP. In addition, one could always buy a iPod extended cable and hook up any iDevice to the Go-DAP.
Here are the notes I've written up when comparingthe OPA1612 with the Muses 8820E
- Probably the most prominent difference between the two is the 1612 seem to have more depth and more full bodied (apologies if I'm using wine jargon in my comparisons here)
- The 1612 also lean towards a more 3-dimensional soundstage over the 8820E. That's not to say that the 8820E doesn't have much soundstage as it's reasonably wide however the 1612 seems to add depth to the width. The 8820E seems more "flat".
- Across the frequency range, the 1612 seems to have more impact. It's not necessarily "in your face" but whether it's primary vocals, or instruments seem to have more distinction.
- Along with the impact (and probably the cause of the impact) is the 1612 is somewhat more detailed and clear
- Both the 1612 and the 8820E have a wide soundstage however the 1612 has a slight edge over the 8820E.
- The 1612 also has (ever so slightly) an edge over the 8820 in terms of treble extension. At times the 1612 could sound more "bright" and for headphones like the Ultrasone Edition 8's, one may find it fatiguing. The 8820 may be better for such headphones for extended play.
- The 1612's mid bass seems seems more forward too than the 8820. In terms of bass extension though, I think both are the same. At least to me they are full enough with the Merlins and with the M-80's.
Overall, I feel that the 8820E is fine for extended listening to music and seems suited across all genre. Whereas the 1612, I find myself immersed into the music.
Other Aspects of the Go-DAP
- I found the gain settings on the Muses 8820E to have a bigger difference (between low and high) than the OPA1612.
- The 1580mAh battery charges a dead iPhone 4(s) up to about 54% before it kaputs. But very strangely the 2000mAh (the one that comes with the OPA1612) doesn't charge the iPhone 4(s) fully either. I got as high as 68% before the 2000mAh battery went flat. The charging is probably a little too quick...both cases of the 1580mAh and the 2000mAh, it drains in less than 1 hr. This is without using the Go-DAP for music.
- The Go-DAP is reasonably pocketable...it is large however, it is integrated. Carrying something like the HP-P1, or CLAS+Amp is definitely less pocketable.
- The brushed aluminium back scratches very easily. So one has to be very careful with it.
- The Go-DAP can be used as a transport too with an optical out. I've chained up the Go-DAP to my Benchmark DAC1 Pre but to me it sounds flat in comparison to optical out from my iMac or iBasso DX100. Talking to the makers, the Go-DAP apparently up-samples from 44.1kHz to 48kHz and this is a side-effect of the up-sampling. I have not yet tried loading up a 48kHz ALAC/AAC to see if this flatness disappears since no up-sampling is required then. I'll try that later.
Go-DAP vs other iDevice DAC/Amps
I have actually owned the Fostex HP-P1, CLAS, Pico Slim, and RSA SR-71B. In my honest opinion, the Go-DAP is up there with the rest of them and in my personal opinion I'd lean towards the Go-DAP even for SQ alone. I feel it has a slight edge over both the HP-P1 and the CLAS in terms of detail and whichever OpAmp is chosen they seem to provide a decent amount of bass and treble extension.
NB: Based on memory from last year, the OP-275 on the other hand doesn't seem to have the same treble extension as the AD8397, or OPA1612.
As a complete integrated DAC/Amp package for the iPhone 4(s), the Go-DAP 4.0 is the only product I know. All others are either separate component attachments, or Amp-only integrated package (iFuzen for example).
Venturecraft does ship the basic Go-DAP 4.0 model overseas from their online site :-
However if you're looking at the customised versions like the ones mentioned above, the details are at the bottom of the home page and you'll need to mail VentureCraft on the customisations you require. They will have to give you a mail quote.
- VentureCraft Go-Dap GD-04 for iPhone 4
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