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Cypher Labs Algorhythm Solo: A Game Changer - Head-Fi TV, Episode 003 - Page 7

post #91 of 122

Well, I'll put it this way:  I have a 5.5g iPod (Whiplash-modded and Rockboxed), and since I got my Solo, I haven't touched it.  And I've only listened to my HM-801 a few times just to confirm that I prefer the Solo.  I've had the Solo for about 3 weeks, so maybe I'm still biased by "new toy" euphoria, but I don't think so.  I had the Classic for about 6 months before I heard the Solo, so I was pretty familiar with how it sounded.

 

As for the amp, I'd say go with whichever amp out of the top-tier portables you can get the best deal on (if you don't mind buying used), and whichever one whose presentation you think you would like based on descriptions.  In addition to the ones you listed, I would consider the Pico Slim, TTVJ Slim, Stepdance, Protector, SR71b, and the iBasso amps.  If you haven't already, check out the Headfonia portable amp review for one perspective and browse some of the Portable Amp threads here.


Edited by dj nellie - 5/2/11 at 1:16pm
post #92 of 122

Thanks dj nellie, makes sense.

post #93 of 122

FWIW I am currently running: iPod Classic > CLAS > TTVJ Slim > Senn. HD 650/ Shure SE535. The sound is very good... sorry, I'm not an audiophile-- just a guy who likes music-- so I don't know impedance from impudence and can't give you the kind of listening impressions that an audiophile would. That being said, I do find use of the CLAS beneficial (noticeably better than listening via the iPod's internal DAC), and the TTVJ Slim is a very nice little amp.

 

In addition to the above, the TTVJ kinda' sorta' can run my LCD-2, but not nearly as well as a desktop amp; for this reason I may try the RSA SR71B shown in the video, because even though the Audez'e are by no means portable I can carry them in their travel case while on the road without too much difficulty.

post #94 of 122

I just wanted to chime in briefly to say that I absolutely love my Solo.  I'm hearing detail from my compressed (Mp3 320kbps LAME encoded) files that completely eluded my ears prior to the Solo's DAC.  I'm running it out through ALO's matching Rx MkII amp, into a new set of Ultimate Ears UE18 Pro customs.  Absolute joy!

 

I suspect I'd enjoy the RSA amp that Jude used in the video considerably more but I'll save that for another paycheck.  My next test will be driving my 650's with this rig, as soon as I can pick up a mini to 1/4" adapter.

post #95 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by dj nellie View Post

Quote:


 

Have you looked at the ALO website?  They deliver internationally and accept PayPal. 




The Solo is specifically designed to accept USB input from an iDevice, whereas other USB DACs can accept input from any other source with a USB output (generally computers).  If you plugged in a typical USB DAC to an iPod, I believe you would just be re-converting the analog output from the iPod to digital and then back to analog.  Other USB DACs aren't able to extract a digital feed from an iPod.


Thanks dj nellie, l will.

                  Dave
 

 

 

post #96 of 122

and if you connect your ipod to mac with the normal cable, and then usb from mac to dac, you are taking perfect bit from ipod and by passing dac from ipod, aren't you ?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dj nellie View Post

Quote:


 

Have you looked at the ALO website?  They deliver internationally and accept PayPal. 




The Solo is specifically designed to accept USB input from an iDevice, whereas other USB DACs can accept input from any other source with a USB output (generally computers).  If you plugged in a typical USB DAC to an iPod, I believe you would just be re-converting the analog output from the iPod to digital and then back to analog.  Other USB DACs aren't able to extract a digital feed from an iPod.



 


Edited by Vaipec - 5/4/11 at 12:33pm
post #97 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaipec View Post

and if you connect your ipod to mac with the normal cable, and then usb from mac to dac, you are taking perfect bit from ipod and by passing dac from ipod, aren't you ?
 


I don't think so. A "normal" USB-to-iPod cable will not take a digital signal from the iPod, just a line-level analogue signal.

 

Also, why would you want to connect iPod>Mac>DAC? What purpose does the Mac serve?

post #98 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by dj nellie View Post

Quote:


In terms of portable players with a digital out, I'm only aware of the iRiver H1x0 line (optical out).  But if anyone knows of other portables that can be used as a digital transport, I'd like to learn about them.  I hope innovations like the Solo and the JH3A will lead to the release of more cheap, small DAPs that can be used as transports.


The QLS-QA350 has coaxial output: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/496326/review-qls-qa-350-solid-state-transport-amazing-sound-and-versatility

 

post #99 of 122

I think I wasn't clear. Ipod to mac connected with the sync cable. It opens itunes and instead of filing my mac hd with tones of GB and slowing it down, I use hd from ipod. Mac only serves as music server throw usb to my dac. I'm almost sure that using the sync cable, its bit perfect, as using any other external hd. Can someone confirm this, or should have the tones of GB on internal Mac hd ? (don't want to use other external hd)
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric_C View Post




I don't think so. A "normal" USB-to-iPod cable will not take a digital signal from the iPod, just a line-level analogue signal.

 

Also, why would you want to connect iPod>Mac>DAC? What purpose does the Mac serve?



 

post #100 of 122

I think that would work fine for bit perfect, just not 24/96. Itunes can play 24/96 but if you are playing thru your connected ipod, the ipod only outputs 16/44. If you have no problem with that or don't have any 24-bit recordings, then disregard. If you want to use your ipod for storage and still play 24/96 thru itunes, you'd need to use the ipod as an external drive. you would mount it, load your music (which could not be accessed on itunes, storage only this way). then add the files (without copying) to itunes. This method works like any other external hard drive. 

 

Adding an external DAC will give you a better sound in almost all cases. Better separation, bass extension, etc. Search forum for numerous posts on the importance of a good DAC in both MAC and iPod setups. Every bit as important as a good headphone amp if you care about making your rig sound it's best within budget. 

post #101 of 122

Thanks Kevin, just like I thought. I would love to play 24/96 even 24/192 but my dac is only 16/44, and yes I do have a external dac (normal usb, not asynch) and being much better than mac, ipod, it's still limited and the weakest link in my chain. That's why Cypher algorhythm came to my mind... unfortunately it doesn't play 24/192 so searching for a desktop dac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinWolff View Post

I think that would work fine for bit perfect, just not 24/96. Itunes can play 24/96 but if you are playing thru your connected ipod, the ipod only outputs 16/44. If you have no problem with that or don't have any 24-bit recordings, then disregard. If you want to use your ipod for storage and still play 24/96 thru itunes, you'd need to use the ipod as an external drive. you would mount it, load your music (which could not be accessed on itunes, storage only this way). then add the files (without copying) to itunes. This method works like any other external hard drive. 

 

Adding an external DAC will give you a better sound in almost all cases. Better separation, bass extension, etc. Search forum for numerous posts on the importance of a good DAC in both MAC and iPod setups. Every bit as important as a good headphone amp if you care about making your rig sound it's best within budget. 



 

post #102 of 122

Me too. I'm also in want of a desktop dac. A true Asynch USB 24/192 but they are out of my price range for the time being. The MSII+ does 96, and is asynchronous USB. It's excellent for the price, but I'm already craving more detail than it offers. The solo is awesome for a portable, but it's steeply priced since it's among, if not the first portable dac capable of bypassing the ipod dac. the desktop dacs I covet are upwards of 1000.00 US. Some would argue WAY upwards, especially since asynch USB is still scarce among the current dac offerings. Then there's the issue of USB implementation quality and how that differs.....and that's when my head starts to hurt.

 

 

 

post #103 of 122

yeah I share your pain.... dammit for this hobby...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinWolff View Post

Me too. I'm also in want of a desktop dac. A true Asynch USB 24/192 but they are out of my price range for the time being. The MSII+ does 96, and is asynchronous USB. It's excellent for the price, but I'm already craving more detail than it offers. The solo is awesome for a portable, but it's steeply priced since it's among, if not the first portable dac capable of bypassing the ipod dac. the desktop dacs I covet are upwards of 1000.00 US. Some would argue WAY upwards, especially since asynch USB is still scarce among the current dac offerings. Then there's the issue of USB implementation quality and how that differs.....and that's when my head starts to hurt.

 

 

 



 

post #104 of 122

I was very excited about the Cypher Labs Algorhythm Solo, until I learned that it costs $579! I would mostly use a device like this while traveling and flying, but I'll continue to listen to my music while flying using my iPod's DAC through my Headroom Portable Desktop amp. When I reach my destination, I can plug in my $150 Onkyo ND-S1. I wish that Cypher Labs had forgone the DAC and built an item that would simply bypass the iPod DAC for about $200.

post #105 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by heathdwatts View Post

I was very excited about the Cypher Labs Algorhythm Solo, until I learned that it costs $579! I would mostly use a device like this while traveling and flying, but I'll continue to listen to my music while flying using my iPod's DAC through my Headroom Portable Desktop amp. When I reach my destination, I can plug in my $150 Onkyo ND-S1. I wish that Cypher Labs had forgone the DAC and built an item that would simply bypass the iPod DAC for about $200.


Like you, my basic travel rig was iPod (classic) > (LOD >) Headroom Portable D.A. > IEMs/headphones. The aforementioned setup works well, is reasonably portable, and I was satisfied for several years.

 

However, the upgrade bug bit and now I am using:  iPod Classic > CLAS > TTVJ Slim > IEMs/headphones for travel. I utilize the ALO aftermarket CLAS interconnects, which bumps up the price associated with the CLAS.

 

Now would be a good time for my Standard Disclaimer: I am not an audiophile as most around here would define that term; I barely know impedance from impudence. However I do enjoy listening critically as I'd assume everybody who takes the time to be here does. I enjoy an eclectic array of music from classical to Jazz to electronic to rock to hip hop to... you get the picture. I listen mostly to Apple Lossless files on the iPod. OK with that out of the way, I will say that my upgraded travel rig blows the prior one out of the water IMO. A few specifics, remembering that I don't really speak audiophile and that these impressions are mine and mine alone:

 

1. The amps. The Headroom sounds "bigger" in the bass and lower midrange, but the TTVJ Slim is much tighter and seems quicker/more responsive to me. I hear more detail with the Slim. And speaking of slim, the TTVJ is quite a bit smaller than the HR. 

 

2. The CLAS. Waaaay more detail and clarity when used with either amp. Is it worth the price? To me, yes, but only you can answer that one for yourself. I will only say that I was very price-sensitive and therefore did a lot of thinking before upgrading.

 

3. The ALO interconnects. A lot of controversy surrounds this subject as I'm sure you know. All I can say is that I hear what to me is a big difference. I would go so far as to say that if you aren't going to spring for the cables, don't get the CLAS.

 

Again, only my opinions.

 

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