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Devialet d-premier as headphone amp / system ?

Poll Results: Would Devialet d-premier be the ultimate high end digital headamp?

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 75% (3)
    yes, this will be headfi nirvana
  • 0% (0)
    no way the headphone will survive
  • 25% (1)
    no, there are much better alternatives for the money
4 Total Votes  
post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

This amp had some impressive reviews. I heard it on Wilson speakers. Big advantages are:
- ultra high end digital resolution, very revealing, excellent macro and micro dynamics, very impressive spacious resolution.

- compact size, containing DAC/preamp / amp system

- will be fitted with WIFI interface this summer, providing the best link possible to your streaming music collection.

- programmable, you can vary the output power (now between 190 -> 240 W) and the required in/output to some degree.

 

At the moment I play with a Rudistor RPX100 balanced amp with a AKG701 headphone I rewired myself with silver/gold (tube amp) connection wire, now on Furatec XLR plugs. I could easily remove the plugs and connect the wiring directly at the amplifier output, providing some adjustments are made on the amps output power...

 

Getting enthousiastic on the idea, I checked with the guys from Devialet if this would be possible at all. This was my question to them:

 

  

        use often headphones and I’m a kind of headphone enthousiastic. I understand that an analogue line out can be defined so the D-premier would only act as DAC. But would it be possible to configure the power outputs to a very low power (say 3-4 W) so I can use a balanced connection to directly drive my headphone? Guess it would make a fantastic headphone amp….

 

Ye 

      Their answer:

      Yes you can! Digital 1 & 2  can also be Fixed  or variable Level Line Out for connecting the headphone amp  with selectable maximum voltage level at fullscale input, any value up to 4.0Vrms, with default setting of 2.0Vrms. We are about to launch the 'configurator' in 4 weeks from now. You will download it for free from our website. 
It's also possible to directly connect your headphone on the speakers outputs, we can internally limit the output voltage (thus the power) of these outputs. This will indeed convert the D-Premier into probably the best headphone amp ever built. Note that such feature will not be available in the configurator and will require custom configuration.

 

  

     So this seems to be a real possible option. Only drawback is the price..... (11900 Euro's). However, compared to a top high end headamp + DAC + digital interface/player + cabling, I guess the price will be about the same or even less.

 

      Do you have any thoughts / considerations on this you would like to share on this 'crazy' idea? 

 

 

 

A

 

S

 

 

 

 

 

a

 

I
 

 

post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEar View Post

This amp had some impressive reviews. I heard it on Wilson speakers. Big advantages are:
- ultra high end digital resolution, very revealing, excellent macro and micro dynamics, very impressive spacious resolution.

- compact size, containing DAC/preamp / amp system

- will be fitted with WIFI interface this summer, providing the best link possible to your streaming music collection.

- programmable, you can vary the output power (now between 190 -> 240 W) and the required in/output to some degree.

 

At the moment I play with a Rudistor RPX100 balanced amp with a AKG701 headphone I rewired myself with silver/gold (tube amp) connection wire, now on Furatec XLR plugs. I could easily remove the plugs and connect the wiring directly at the amplifier output, providing some adjustments are made on the amps output power...

 

Getting enthousiastic on the idea, I checked with the guys from Devialet if this would be possible at all. This was my question to them:

 

  

        use often headphones and I’m a kind of headphone enthousiastic. I understand that an analogue line out can be defined so the D-premier would only act as DAC. But would it be possible to configure the power outputs to a very low power (say 3-4 W) so I can use a balanced connection to directly drive my headphone? Guess it would make a fantastic headphone amp….

 

Ye 

      Their answer:

      Yes you can! Digital 1 & 2  can also be Fixed  or variable Level Line Out for connecting the headphone amp  with selectable maximum voltage level at fullscale input, any value up to 4.0Vrms, with default setting of 2.0Vrms. We are about to launch the 'configurator' in 4 weeks from now. You will download it for free from our website. 
It's also possible to directly connect your headphone on the speakers outputs, we can internally limit the output voltage (thus the power) of these outputs. This will indeed convert the D-Premier into probably the best headphone amp ever built. Note that such feature will not be available in the configurator and will require custom configuration.

 

  

     So this seems to be a real possible option. Only drawback is the price..... (11900 Euro's). However, compared to a top high end headamp + DAC + digital interface/player + cabling, I guess the price will be about the same or even less.

 

      Do you have any thoughts / considerations on this you would like to share on this 'crazy' idea? 

 

 

 

A

 

S

 

 

 

 

 

a

 

I
 

 


I don't think you'll need it unless you have something unfathomably hard to drive

 

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

I don't think you'll need it unless you have something unfathomably hard to drive

 

 

Of course you do not need the full power, however 3-4 W of power for a headphone amp is not abnormal, especially when you have magnetostatics to drive like LCD-2 or the good old K1000 and the amp can be software tuned to that level.

But you are missing the point, that this is one of the best integrated dac/amps is of the world and you could actually use it to drive your phones directly....

 

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEar View Post

I don't think you'll need it unless you have something unfathomably hard to drive

 

 

Of course you do not need the full power, however 3-4 W of power for a headphone amp is not abnormal, especially when you have magnetostatics to drive like LCD-2 or the good old K1000 and the amp can be software tuned to that level.

But you are missing the point, that this is one of the best integrated dac/amps is of the world and you could actually use it to drive your phones directly....

 

well, you can go ahead and try. tell us how it works out.
 

 

post #5 of 14

You do realise that the devialet is a way to piggyback a class A line-stage without huge power consumption and heat ... none of which are factors with headphones.

 

For headphones and with a huge budget I'd look into a real multibit DAC like the MSB's and a tube amplifier with a large rolling potential and very good technical parameters. Something like these two guys:

 

http://davidberning.com/products/preone

 

http://www.atma-sphere.com/products/mp1.html

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

 

You do realise that the devialet is a way to piggyback a class A line-stage without huge power consumption and heat ... none of which are factors with headphones.

 

For headphones and with a huge budget I'd look into a real multibit DAC like the MSB's and a tube amplifier with a large rolling potential and very good technical parameters. Something like these two guys:

 

http://davidberning.com/products/preone

 

http://www.atma-sphere.com/products/mp1.html

 

Agreed, the components mentioned are very good indeed but take you (including a high-end interface) to again a (much) higher price level.  The reason I think the devialet seems attractive is because of its integration level. The amp is internally fully digital with short lines which is one of the reasons I believe it sounds so sensational, even relative to its already high price.

I have a Berkeley Design Alpha DAC which is a very good dac already, but this is blown away by the Devialet, although I admit I never heard the Devialet operating as DAC only.

 

 

post #7 of 14

What you don't get is that your devialet solution (if it's a great success - and I don't see why it would not be) only works if you have found your perfect headphone, with the perfect sound signature and the perfect interaction with your ear size/shape. And if you already have that, what the hell are you looking around for devialets? :)


Edited by eugenius - 3/22/11 at 12:20am
post #8 of 14
Just for some information:

I was at an audition last weekend. I listened to the B&W 805D and they sounded sooooo **** good. Never heard a small speaker that good. Even the shop owner said that in his 25 years of auditioning, this was one of the best he ever gave. (and believe me, he has some really hardcore material like Sonus Faber, Avalon or Genesis)
So I was tempted to ask if is possible to hook up some headphones. Of course he said yes. Last week came a new update which pushed the quality even further. So I booked another audition for next week smily_headphones1.gif I'll test the D-Premier with my K701 and will report ^^

(By the way, I ordered a Devialet - B&W 805D setup wink.gif )
post #9 of 14

Headphone DIRECTLY connected to the Line-Out of the Devialet

 

So... has someone tried to connect an Headphone DIRECTLY to the Line-Out of the Devialet ?  It is possible and was today again recommended to me by a Devialet technician,  but... How does it sound ? 

 

very interested to hear your comments....

post #10 of 14

So... nobody tried connecting the headphones DIRECTLY to the Line-Out of the Devialet ? ksc75smile.gif

post #11 of 14

Getting the Devaliet to do that is like getting a Ferrari, only to drive 100 meters to your local shops and back home, never exceeding 50km/h and only using the first 10% of throttle travel. An expensive waste of money, but great if you are a poser. You will look very cool to those who are ignorant but silly in they eyes of those who know what a Ferrari is really for.

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hooster View Post

Getting the Devaliet to do that is like getting a Ferrari, only to drive 100 meters to your local shops and back home, never exceeding 50km/h and only using the first 10% of throttle travel. An expensive waste of money, but great if you are a poser. You will look very cool to those who are ignorant but silly in they eyes of those who know what a Ferrari is really for.

No, this is not the point.  

 

I plan to use the Devialet's Power AMP to drive normal speakers, and my question is "do I need to invest in an Headphone amp also", or can I, as Devialet suggest, use the Line Out (configured in variable mode) to power the Headphone through a special cable ?  

 

So, let's me rephrase more clearly my question:

 

Headphone DIRECTLY connected to the Pré-Out of the Devialet. Did Someone tried this ? 


I know that It is possible and this was today again recommended to me by a Devialet technician. He said that we just need to configure the line-out in variable mode and get an adaptor cable RCA-Jack , and the power will be way enough since up to 4 volts are available on the line-out (default configuration is 2 volts and should be enough according to him)

but the real question remain... How does this connection sound compared to a high-end headphone amp ? 

very interested to hear your comments.... because this will save me the cost of purchasing an external expensive headphone amp.


FROM Devialet FAQ site at " http://www.devialet.com/support-faqs.php " "You can use the PreOut output to connect headphones either directly - via a hybrid RCA-to-Jack cable - or through an external headphone-amplifier (for high voltage headphones for example). You need to activate this output using the online configuration tool and define the correct output level depending on the type of headphones you use. If you connect the headphones straight to the D-Premier, leave the volume control field ticked on "Variable". If you plan to use an external headphone-amplifier then opt for the "Fixed" volume control. Remember to assign a remote control key to turn the PreOut output "On" or "Off". It is also possible to connect headphones if you have a multi-amplifier configuration. In this case, you need to daisy chain the amplifiers using the DOUT on the master and the AES/EBU input on the slave in order to free the PreOut connectors on the slave for the headphones. Should you be interested in such a configuration, please send us a mail through our website. We will gladly create a matching configuration file for you."


Edited by bmichels - 11/30/12 at 4:48am
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmichels View Post

No, this is not the point.  

 

I plan to use the Devialet's Power AMP to drive normal speakers, and my question is "do I need to invest in an Headphone amp also", or can I, as Devialet suggest, use the Line Out (configured in variable mode) to power the Headphone through a special cable ?  

 

So, let's me rephrase more clearly my question:

 

Headphone DIRECTLY connected to the Pré-Out of the Devialet. Did Someone tried this ? 


I know that It is possible and this was today again recommended to me by a Devialet technician. He said that we just need to configure the line-out in variable mode and get an adaptor cable RCA-Jack , and the power will be way enough since up to 4 volts are available on the line-out (default configuration is 2 volts and should be enough according to him)

but the real question remain... How does this connection sound compared to a high-end headphone amp ? 

very interested to hear your comments.... because this will save me the cost of purchasing an external expensive headphone amp.


FROM Devialet FAQ site at " http://www.devialet.com/support-faqs.php " "You can use the PreOut output to connect headphones either directly - via a hybrid RCA-to-Jack cable - or through an external headphone-amplifier (for high voltage headphones for example). You need to activate this output using the online configuration tool and define the correct output level depending on the type of headphones you use. If you connect the headphones straight to the D-Premier, leave the volume control field ticked on "Variable". If you plan to use an external headphone-amplifier then opt for the "Fixed" volume control. Remember to assign a remote control key to turn the PreOut output "On" or "Off". It is also possible to connect headphones if you have a multi-amplifier configuration. In this case, you need to daisy chain the amplifiers using the DOUT on the master and the AES/EBU input on the slave in order to free the PreOut connectors on the slave for the headphones. Should you be interested in such a configuration, please send us a mail through our website. We will gladly create a matching configuration file for you."

 

A pre out generally has a relatively high output impedance so it may not be as good as a dedicated headphone amp that should have a low output impedance and therefore a better drive for headphones. You need to know the output impedance of the pre amp. If it is at least 8 times lower than the input impedance of your headphones it should be fine. Have you considered driving your headphones from the speaker output? This should work, as long as you are VERY careful with the volume.

 

See:

http://www.ultrahighendreview.com/bob-carver-black-magic-20-stereo-power-amplifier/

"On a lark, I decided to make up a 1/4″ stereo jack to banana plug adapter and drove my Etymonic ER-4S in-ear headphones from the speaker terminals."

post #14 of 14

Moved to another country temporarily, and with a very small apartment. Needed to keep the main system back home and to downsize. 

 

Call me mad, but I bought one of the new models, the 170, and connected the loudspeaker outputs to a Stax SDB/7 Pro, driving some old Lambdas. From there, to the main loudspeakers (Gallo Strada 2 with subwoofer - ideal for a very small apartment). I keep the Woo Audio WEE and the Lambda 407 in my home country with the main system.

 

Cable clutter is minimal (it is connected via ethernet to the Apple time machine, acting as router AND contanining all the Itunes library)

 

I can wirelessly stream music to it from all the IOS sources:

 

- Iphone

- Ipad (both at 16/44,1)

- MacBook Air (up to 24/192) (It can be driven by the remote app on any one of the above, but then it needs to be on)

 

The convenience is fantastic. You can explore all your files at a fingertip - no need even to get to the computer. And the newer high resolution downloads are worth their price. 

 

Now listening to Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances, Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra, Reference Recordings, at 24/96. The sound is the best I have ever heard, by a wide margin.  Much more dynamic than any other system ever heard. Clean but utterly natural. Slam on an Stax !! You see now that Staxes are typically held back by their active energizers. Purity of tone but limited dynamics. 

 

Reverie, by the same players, conductor and label, at 24/176, was sweeter but less dynamic.

 

With the Devialet app, you can set the preferred bit depth and sampling frequency sent to the machine. And with the Midi Setup app, you can see at every moment what's actually being sent to it. Playing with the settings, the most important change is from 16 to 24 bit - the sound loses the edge and is much more dynamic AND relaxed at the same time. The only drawback so far is that Devialet does not accept DSD - and now Sony is starting to release many of them to support their hardware bet for media players.

 

(I have to confess that, while I have AKG 701 and Sennheiser HD800 with Cardas Cable, no one can hold a candle to the Lambdas when driven from a passive energizer and a good amplifier)

 

As the weakest point of the current set up is the Stax integral loudspeaker cable (it ticks all the possible design no-nos in my book), I have ordered a dedicated 1 m set of loudspeaker cables from Mapleshade. Pierre Sprey uses the same set up (except the Devialet) to listen to his recordings for editing purposes.

 

He has a modified Lambda as well, trying to get better performance through unimpeded air flow and case vibration control. The picture is very expressive (aren't they beautiful?), but I have not decided myself to go that far...

 

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