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Review: Resonessence Labs Invicta - new high end DAC/amp/playback system - Page 35

post #511 of 694

Got mine today. I'm currently listening to it (while doing some DIY at home, so nothing critical). 

 

Build quality is in absolute terms OK, and in relative terms spectacular (I find 99% of audio equipment badly built relative to the price). All the other DACs I've tried are rubbish in comparison.

 

Operationally, it's a zillion times nicer to use than my other DACs. Example : I hate the volume control on the Benchmark DAC2 for many reasons (play in the mechanical system, noisy, slow, incomprehensible memory behaviour when switched on / off, impossible to see the volume in the dark, sticks out too much) - none of these problems on the Invicta. Being able to control playback on a mac via USB is monstrously brilliant (can't figure out why no other company is able to do it, I'd say it should be USB DAC 101). The UI would benefit from a little bit of thorough thinking though. It's hard to predict what button does what in which situation, and all is a bit confusing. My experience with a Phonitor also makes me strongly dislike equipment with vents on top. Yes, it gets hot, but I'd rather them find any other solution than having vents at the top. I'll try later on to see if it pops or not when switched on or off.

 

The integrated HP amp is the first on a DAC / amp combo I don't dislike. I'll spend a little more time with it later on.

 

I haven't opened it yet, but I believe the transformer has been replaced in the new series. 

 

So far, it's performing as I expected it to.

post #512 of 694
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MayaTlab View Post

Got mine today. I'm currently listening to it (while doing some DIY at home, so nothing critical). 

 

Build quality is in absolute terms OK, and in relative terms spectacular (I find 99% of audio equipment badly built relative to the price). All the other DACs I've tried are rubbish in comparison.

 

Operationally, it's a zillion times nicer to use than my other DACs. Example : I hate the volume control on the Benchmark DAC2 for many reasons (play in the mechanical system, noisy, slow, incomprehensible memory behaviour when switched on / off, impossible to see the volume in the dark, sticks out too much) - none of these problems on the Invicta. Being able to control playback on a mac via USB is monstrously brilliant (can't figure out why no other company is able to do it, I'd say it should be USB DAC 101). The UI would benefit from a little bit of thorough thinking though. It's hard to predict what button does what in which situation, and all is a bit confusing. My experience with a Phonitor also makes me strongly dislike equipment with vents on top. Yes, it gets hot, but I'd rather them find any other solution than having vents at the top. I'll try later on to see if it pops or not when switched on or off.

 

The integrated HP amp is the first on a DAC / amp combo I don't dislike. I'll spend a little more time with it later on.

 

I haven't opened it yet, but I believe the transformer has been replaced in the new series. 

 

So far, it's performing as I expected it to.

 

 

Nice impressions - very "real world user". Did you get the newest Invicta with the dual ES9018? 

post #513 of 694
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

 

Nice impressions - very "real world user". Did you get the newest Invicta with the dual ES9018? 

 

I bought a new one with the integrated HP amp - so yes, it's the dual ES9018, but not the Mirus. I may open it in the future to play "spot the differences", but as I said I believe the transformer has been replaced. I also noticed the XLR DAC board has those white "plugs" one could see on the prototype pictures that were removed from the production unit. I suppose this is so that they can produce only one XLR DAC board for economies of scale and just use two of them in the Mirus.

 

So far SQ is pretty good. I always wanted to replace my DA11 that I just bought as a reference for comparisons. The brief was to have a DAC / HP amp combo and so far the Invicta is the only one I don't dislike (meaning : there is nothing that annoys me to the point of wanting to replace it). I may spend the time to write a four-way comparison (DA11, V800, DAC2, Invicta), although I'm not really sure it's going to be much useful as prices are pretty different and my conclusion is utterly boring (I rank them from the most expensive to the least one).


Edited by MayaTlab - 7/19/13 at 12:59pm
post #514 of 694
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

 

Nice impressions - very "real world user". Did you get the newest Invicta with the dual ES9018? 

This is probably a close to impossible question to answer, but I would be curious to know if there are any differences in SQ in the HP section of the new Invicta related to upgrading the HP DAC chip from the ES9016 to 9018.  I frankly would expect very little that you could actually hear but that would require carefully comparing 1st and 2nd generation Invictas, and I doubt this would be an option for most people.  And if there are differences, you would also have to take into account any other changes to the Invicta.  

post #515 of 694
When i heard the hp amp in se, heard slight grainyness compared to my lehmann bcl, thus is with lcd2. Anyone have similar impression?
post #516 of 694

I'll try to answer your question later on - but I will only be able to give you relative impressions.

 

The new series has a whiter OLED display than the previous one. I suppose it could be related to life expectancy (I believe blue OLEDs to be more problematic than others - somebody correct me on this if i'm wrong). It's criminally ugly when juxtaposed with the deep blue LEDs, but I didn't buy the Invicta to make a fashion statement. Anyway it isn't far from the speakers with bright green LEDs, the TV with red LEDs, the internet box with yellow LEDs and the power strips with orange LEDs. I'm only lacking something with purple LEDs to complete the picture. Perhaps a Concero.


Edited by MayaTlab - 7/20/13 at 12:37am
post #517 of 694
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedBull View Post

When i heard the hp amp in se, heard slight grainyness compared to my lehmann bcl, thus is with lcd2. Anyone have similar impression?

 

 

Hmmmm, no grain that I recall. I do have LCD-2 (the latest, in bamboo) and mostly listen in balanced mode, but sometimes SE. I'd say the BCL has more grain, but then again I don't have a super high opinion of the BCL after having heard the Matrix M-Stage sound the same for a fraction of the price. 

post #518 of 694
Hmm, interesting. I dont kmow where the different lies, but but me and my friend have the same opinion. Maybe we are referring to a different 'grain' definition.
post #519 of 694
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedBull View Post

Hmm, interesting. I dont kmow where the different lies, but but me and my friend have the same opinion. Maybe we are referring to a different 'grain' definition.

 

Could be - terminology is often confusing, and I'm not above being totally wrong. For me, grain manifests as upper midrange "funk" among other things. You could call it "grit" and maybe better capture the meaning. It's like film grain, which clearly separates the real event from the reproduction. Though film grain can arguably be welcome as an inherent part of the medium, grain in audio is definitely unwelcome! 

post #520 of 694
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedBull View Post

When i heard the hp amp in se, heard slight grainyness compared to my lehmann bcl, thus is with lcd2. Anyone have similar impression?

 

I cannot compare it to a Lehman BCL, but I just spent a little time comparing the Invicta internal amp with the Benchmark DAC2 internal amp with a pair of HD650. I'd say there could be a very slight hint of graininess / harshness / roughness indeed.q

post #521 of 694
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

Could be - terminology is often confusing, and I'm not above being totally wrong. For me, grain manifests as upper midrange "funk" among other things. You could call it "grit" and maybe better capture the meaning. It's like film grain, which clearly separates the real event from the reproduction. Though film grain can arguably be welcome as an inherent part of the medium, grain in audio is definitely unwelcome! 

The 'grain' that i hear actually is not exactly rough and not only at the upper midrange, its like in the whole frequency range (maybe exclude bass range), and again, not exactly rough, just that i find bcl flows more 'liquid', effortlessly, maybe, using another term if that make a beter sense.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MayaTlab View Post

I cannot compare it to a Lehman BCL, but I just spent a little time comparing the Invicta internal amp with the Benchmark DAC2 internal amp with a pair of HD650. I'd say there could be a very slight hint of graininess / harshness / roughness indeed.q

Thanks maya, i think that conclude what i am hearing as 3 people now hearing similar than what i hear.
But that only a slight, not really bothering. I imagine i can live with that after a while, after my head 'burn in' to the sound.
Edited by RedBull - 7/20/13 at 6:38pm
post #522 of 694
Thread Starter 

OK, spent some time with LCD-2 in single ended mode (with Charleston Cable Company Auric recable) and I think I hear what you mean. It's not the kind of grain/grit I was talking about, and it mostly appears at higher volume levels. Interestingly, when I use the stock balanced cable with an adapter from Charleston to work with the Invicta, I don't really hear it any more. Perhaps it's symptomatic of a slight lack of power in SE mode? I normally use CIEMs in SE mode and never hear anything of the sort. And some of my CIEMs have significantly higher resolution than the LCD-2. So that (maybe) supports my theory, since CIEMs need far less juice.

 

Just a theory. 

post #523 of 694
Thanks for testing for me. Yes, its not that annoying grit you might think of.

It maybe due to the lower power in se mode is a bit too much for lcd2. i never try balance nor with iem though, so cant comment.
post #524 of 694
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedBull View Post

Thanks maya, i think that conclude what i am hearing as 3 people now hearing similar than what i hear.
But that only a slight, not really bothering. I imagine i can live with that after a while, after my head 'burn in' to the sound.

 

I'm not exactly sure that we're talking about the same thing here - and I wasn't using a pair of LCD-2.

To me the upper mids / highs may be very very slightly "throaty" / "forward" / "rough" (pick your term). Still it remains quite a bit smoother than most other internal amps I've tried, only a little less smooth than the one from the Benchmark DAC2 (which I find to be electrostatic-like liquid). It isn't less detailed, and it isn't more aggressive (meaning I don't want to take my headphones off).

Also, did you try it with the SD card ? I find it to be a little rougher / edgier than using a mac with Amarra via USB.

 

Nevertheless the SD card idea is brilliant. 


Edited by MayaTlab - 7/20/13 at 11:59pm
post #525 of 694
I think we are about the same when you mentioned a bit 'throaty', my bcl is just a little more grainless.

No i didnt bother to try sd card. I was imagining i have to copy the music everytime before i play them, i am not in favor. But i can see it is brilliant for some, at least it is different from the rest of the offerings on the market.
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