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Review: Resonessence Labs Invicta - new high end DAC/amp/playback system - Page 15

post #211 of 715

Twsmith, agreed wholeheartedly.  The SD option is certainly the most resolving.  I prefer it as the reference standard in my rig, but when I'm lazy to upload a new CD, the Cambridge/optical combination sounds really good, almost analogue-like but without the precision of SD.  Like I said, it's a more cohesive presentation where you have trouble pin pointing things, but the whole room just fills with the music.  Will have to try out the adapter at some point but for now, no hurry.

 

I guess I forgot to mention on this forum, spoke to Mark just two weeks ago and he said DSD support should be coming in a new firmware update sometime in December, so look out guys.

post #212 of 715

really attempting DAC, added to my wish list :)

post #213 of 715

I received my Invicta last Monday. No additional fees were charged by UPS, and the shipping went smoothly and fast. ( I picked the UPS worldwide expedited, as Mark suggested. ) However, I still need to wait a few days till I am back in town from a business trip before I can try it.

 

To my surprise, my wife tried the Invicta with HD800s yesterday. I never thought she would be interested, and was just hoping that she would not be too mad about my purchase of the Invicta given its price...  She noticed significant differences when switching among filters, and did enjoy one of them. Previously at an audio store, she found the HD800s physically unbearable when paired with a BHA-1 (using SE output) and a Peachtree DAC, which caused her a headache. (Interestingly, she found the PS1000 on the same setup sonically much more comfortable.)  

 

I myself found the Prechtree DAC/BHA-1(SE output) / HD800s combo not bad, but nothing special. As I heard good things about the BHA-1, I suspect that the Preachtree DAC and/or the SE output was the weak link. I cannot wait to try the Invicta/HD800 combo myself, and will report back my impressions. 

 

BTW, I have yet to purchase any aftermarket headphone cable for my HD800s as originally planned. According to a number of reviews and my very limited experience, aftermarket cables can change the sound of the headphones, but none of them seems to be able to offer improvement in every aspect over the stock cable, in particular as far as the HD800s are concerned. More expensive cables tend to offer improvement in more aspects, but still you could always find at least (, and typically more than,) one aspect in which they are not as good as the stock cable. I once tried a Labkable cable for HD800. (It was either a pure copper cable, or a silver/gold type one, which I am not sure). I found that it offered a fuller sound and more quantity in bass. However, the bass quality became worse. To put it in somewhat ambiguous terms, the bass sounded woody, which I didn't like, and the sound were less inspiring. And I prefered the stock cable. I think I like the basic sonic characteristics of HD800s' stock cable. Maybe I should stick with the stock one, or just try to find some aftermarket ones that are silver plated copper (SPC) as the stock one, but a bit thicker? Any more suggestions? 


Edited by econparanoia - 12/17/12 at 4:34am
post #214 of 715

I have both single-ended and balanced Cardas cables for the HD 800.  I found both to be unambiguously better than the stock cable.

 

I currently use the balanced cable out of the balanced output of the Bryston BHA-1, with the Resonessence Concero.  It's a very, very tasty combination.
 

post #215 of 715

Looking forward to your further impression econparanoia :)

post #216 of 715

So is the invicta THE dac to get under 4K or are there others?

post #217 of 715
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zachchen1996 View Post

So is the invicta THE dac to get under 4K or are there others?

 

 

Of course there are others - plenty of great choices. Invicta just happens to be one of the best in my opinion, but I wouldn't pretend it is the best choice for every person and system.

post #218 of 715
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

 

Of course there are others - plenty of great choices. Invicta just happens to be one of the best in my opinion, but I wouldn't pretend it is the best choice for every person and system.

What other dacs 4k and under would you say are on par with the invicta? I'm looking for the best dac I can get 4k and under that is as uncolored, neutral, real sounding, flat, and detailed as possible. In my opinion, coloration, warmth, etc, should happen at the amp or headphone stage.

post #219 of 715

I've been able to spend one or two hours with my Invicta each day for the past few days. I have only used the SD card mode and its integrated headphone amp. And my headphone is a newly acquired pair of HD800s with less than ten hours of usage, stock cable. 

 

Overall, the DAC and integrated headphone amp of Invicta together pair with HD800s pretty well. In my opinion, it is easily on par with, if not better than, a Peachtree DAC/Bryston BHA-1 combo or a Northstar DAC32/Phonitor combo for driving the HD800s. I think this is remarkable given that the BHA-1, Phonitor, Northstar DAC32, and the Peachtree DAC (to a lesser extent) are all very capable dedicated amps and DACs. I'm under the impression that the Invicta sounds fuller and more musical without being less neutral or sacrificing any details compared with the Northstar DAC32/Phonitor combo, though I was not able to run a side-by-side comparison. 

 

A few observations about the filters: Under the Minimum Phase IIR filter, Yanni' album Live At The Acropolis left me in awe last night. The soundstage was so realistic and 3D with great instrument separations, neutrality and musicality that I felt like I was there. For this specific album, I can hardly imagine it going any better. The Minimum Phase IIR filter also do a fantastic job for orchestral pieces because of its ability of truthfully reproducing the soundstage. Similar observation was mentioned earlier by Twsmith. However,  the Minimum Phase IIR filter may sound a bit sibilant (to a lesser extent than the Phonitor) occasionally for vocals, for example when listening to the album This Left Feels Right by Bon Jovi. The Linear Phase Apodizing filter or the Linear Phase Slow Roll-Off filter does a better job taming the sibilance and therefore arguably works better for vocals, but may still sound a tad harsh to some. All available filters of the Invicta are able to produce tight and impactful bass. 

 

Now I am looking for a dedicated amp to pair with the Invicta not because I am not very content with the Invicta as a DAC/AMP driving the HD800s, but because I'm curious to see how music will sound differently. After some intense searching, I find the Eddie Current Super 7 tempting at its price, and will probably get one soon. I don't expect the EC Super 7 to be superior than Invicta's integrated amp in every aspect or for every genre of music. Rather, I expect the Super 7 to be a nice complement to the integrated amp.  

 

A couple of questions:

 

1) While the Invicta has both RCA unbalance output and XLR balanced output, the EC Super 7 only has a RCA unbalance input. Should I connect them with a RCA to RCA cable, or a XLR to RCA cable (or a XLR to XLR cable with a XLR to RCA adapter)? Will there be an audible difference (given that I will use a short cable in either case) ?

 

2) Any suggestions on the choices of RCA cable and/or XLR cable?

 

3) When using the Invicta with a dedicated amp, should I adjust the volume control on the Invicta or that on the dedicated amp to adjust the volume?

 

4) I found background noise in most old recordings. Is there anything we can do to reduce background noise that is in the records? 

 

5) Dose anyone have experience changing the fuse(s) in the Invicta to change its voltage setting? According to Mark of the Resonessence Labs, the voltage setting can be easily changed by the user by changing the fuse in the fuse box. He set the Invicta for me for use under 115v in U.S., and also sent me a pair of additional fuses for use under 220v because I told him I might spent a few months abroad next year. And I just want to double check with you guys. 


Edited by econparanoia - 12/28/12 at 1:45pm
post #220 of 715

I had blown fuse when I first received mine (bought it used and didn't really know what was wrong so to err on the side of caution I sent it into Mark to have it looked over, turned out to be just a blown fuse) -- as far as I know it's pretty easy to swap out, fuse compartment's on the back.  I REALLY wish Mark would have a PDF up on the site of how to change the fuse out with pictures.  Getting to the compartment isn't all that intuitive.  Apologies that I cannot be of more help, but if Mark gives you any detailed instructions please do post them here, it will help us all.  Or even if you're able to document your own fuse-swapping procedure, that would help too.

 

I think you will see that the Super 7's better than the internal amplifier if for no other reason other than the fact that you're able to use the proper outputs in the back.  IIRC, the headphone side of things is fed with a 9016 chip instead of the Invicta's primary weapon - the 9018.  

 

I would use RCA-RCA and any old sturdy cable should get the job done.  I use Blue Jeans myself.  No nonsense and sufficiently bomb-proof.

post #221 of 715
Quote:
Originally Posted by sphinxvc View Post

I had blown fuse when I first received mine (bought it used and didn't really know what was wrong so to err on the side of caution I sent it into Mark to have it looked over, turned out to be just a blown fuse) -- as far as I know it's pretty easy to swap out, fuse compartment's on the back.  I REALLY wish Mark would have a PDF up on the site of how to change the fuse out with pictures.  Getting to the compartment isn't all that intuitive.  Apologies that I cannot be of more help, but if Mark gives you any detailed instructions please do post them here, it will help us all.  Or even if you're able to document your own fuse-swapping procedure, that would help too.

 

I think you will see that the Super 7's better than the internal amplifier if for no other reason other than the fact that you're able to use the proper outputs in the back.  IIRC, the headphone side of things is fed with a 9016 chip instead of the Invicta's primary weapon - the 9018.  

 

I would use RCA-RCA and any old sturdy cable should get the job done.  I use Blue Jeans myself.  No nonsense and sufficiently bomb-proof.

Sphinxvc, thank you for sharing your experience. So I guess I don't need to worry too much about the switching voltage setting thing because the Invicta is, by design, protected by the fuse from potential incorrect voltage setting. Still I will check with Mark first before I will need to change the setting. And I will try documenting my own procedure, maybe even with some photos :)  


Edited by econparanoia - 12/28/12 at 2:00pm
post #222 of 715

Thanks -- by the way, here's what Mark told me when I was thinking of changing the fuse myself: "Yes, the fuses can be swapped easily to 115V by replacing the fuses and rotating the fuse holder..takes about 5 minutes."

 

I'm sure he can give you more detailed instructions.

post #223 of 715
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zachchen1996 View Post

What other dacs 4k and under would you say are on par with the invicta? I'm looking for the best dac I can get 4k and under that is as uncolored, neutral, real sounding, flat, and detailed as possible. In my opinion, coloration, warmth, etc, should happen at the amp or headphone stage.

 

None that I've heard. I recognize though that at that price range, it's far less common to find a "dud" compared to when you spend $500 or $1,000. The Anedio D2 is excellent but difficult to obtain due to always being sold out. The Violectric V800 gets somewhat close to the Invicta, for a mere $1300. It's not as good but gets you maybe 80% of the way there, maybe approaching 85% when fed by a top class USB to SPDIF converter. But there are a ton of other good options available that I have yet to hear. Still, of the ones I have heard, Invicta is on the top of the heap.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by econparanoia View Post

 

1) While the Invicta has both RCA unbalance output and XLR balanced output, the EC Super 7 only has a RCA unbalance input. Should I connect them with a RCA to RCA cable, or a XLR to RCA cable (or a XLR to XLR cable with a XLR to RCA adapter)? Will there be an audible difference (given that I will use a short cable in either case) ?

 

2) Any suggestions on the choices of RCA cable and/or XLR cable?

 

3) When using the Invicta with a dedicated amp, should I adjust the volume control on the Invicta or that on the dedicated amp to adjust the volume?

 

4) I found background noise in most old recordings. Is there anything we can do to reduce background noise that is in the records? 

 

 

I'm only answering the ones I know about:

 

1) Either way should be fine, and I didn't notice any different when feeding an amp that had both RCA and XLR options for input. 

 

2) Lots of good choices out there - Blue Jeans, Toxic Cables, Charleston Cable Company, Monoprice... depends on what you think about cables and what you want to spend.

 

3) I'd keep Invicta maxed out and use the volume on the amp. But mess around with it and see if the inverse sounds better to you. It shouldn't, in theory, but you never know. You're pitting the pre-amp capabilities of the Invicta against the volume pot of the amp, so whichever one ends up being the weak link is not yet known at this point.

 

4) Nothing really. Sorry. 

post #224 of 715
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

None that I've heard. I recognize though that at that price range, it's far less common to find a "dud" compared to when you spend $500 or $1,000. The Anedio D2 is excellent but difficult to obtain due to always being sold out. The Violectric V800 gets somewhat close to the Invicta, for a mere $1300. It's not as good but gets you maybe 80% of the way there, maybe approaching 85% when fed by a top class USB to SPDIF converter. But there are a ton of other good options available that I have yet to hear. Still, of the ones I have heard, Invicta is on the top of the heap.

This helps alot thanks, have you heard the anedio d2 with a top end usb to spdif converter? Would that just about match the SQ of an invicta plugged into pc through just usb?

post #225 of 715

That is, unfortunately, not how it works.  If I were you, I would start by filtering out DACs by feature set; then start collecting impressions on all that are left.  Here are a couple of more names after the Anedio D2 to get you started:

 

NAD M51, Mytek Stereo 192, PWD 2, Zodiac Gold + PSU (also the Zodiac Silver)

 

A little while ago people were hot on the W4S DACs too.  

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