Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › Review: Resonessence Labs Invicta - new high end DAC/amp/playback system
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Review: Resonessence Labs Invicta - new high end DAC/amp/playback system - Page 36

post #526 of 694
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedBull View Post

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.

 

With 128 Gb cards and 256 getting cheaper, I believe this will be less and less an issue. The real issue, IMHO, is that it still is impossible to organise tracks by artists, albums or songs, just like in iTunes. This means one has to organise tracks on the SD card manually which is very inconvenient for such large capacities (instead of just dropping them on the card and letting the Invicta organise them). 

post #527 of 694
Quote:
Originally Posted by MayaTlab View Post

 

With 128 Gb cards and 256 getting cheaper, I believe this will be less and less an issue. The real issue, IMHO, is that it still is impossible to organise tracks by artists, albums or songs, just like in iTunes. This means one has to organise tracks on the SD card manually which is very inconvenient for such large capacities (instead of just dropping them on the card and letting the Invicta organise them). 

Yes, I agree that it can be somewhat cumbersome to organize files on the SD cards, but if you use relatively high capacity cards (64 gb or more), you only have to do it once.  You can organize files anyway you want -- the Invicta will read subdirectories too, so you can put all albums relating to a specific artist under one folder, etc, or even create new folders with tracks from a variety of albums (i.e. "playlists").  Granted it doesn't function like iTunes but it is very convenient not to have to hook up a computer, iPod, etc to the Invicta.  My own preference is to use a bunch of somewhat lower capacity (64 Gb) cards - you can put music of difference genres on separate cards, and it's easier to scroll through files on the smaller cards.   Also you should know that the Invicta will read FLAC files, which will increase the capacity of the SD cards.  I suppose the downside is that if you also use an iPod for music,  iTunes will not support FLAC.  But I just use XLD to convert the FLAC files to ALAC for iTunes -- the conversion process is very fast.  I think the SD card reader on the Invicta is a brilliant innovation, and I only wish more devices would take advantage of it -- an iPod-like player that uses SD cards and plays FLAC files would be nice. 

post #528 of 694
Thread Starter 

I find the SD Card playback to be superior to any disc-based transport I've tried, and on par with my reference Auraliti PK90/NuForce LPS-1/Audiophilleo AP1+PurePower. It's not super convenient and I don't think I'd want it as my one and only playback method. But I do have a few 64GB SD cards (prices keep dropping) that I keep loaded with demo-type music including a lot of hi-res and DSD stuff. So that way I can quickly break out that stuff for review purposes. 

 

 

EDIT - didn't see the posts above. You're right, organization is not quite perfect. I just rename my folders by artist, and then do subfolders for each album or whatnot. I'm used to doing it that way for some of my primitive portable DAP devices anyway. 

 

Another think worth noting is the Toslink output. Invicta becomes a top level transport, allowing up to 192kHz output that sounds really great. A lot of DACs top out at 96kHz over optical so it's good for testing. Not sure how useful optical output is for a casual user, but for reviewing it is definitely welcome.


Edited by project86 - 7/21/13 at 7:37am
post #529 of 694
Quote:
Originally Posted by twsmith View Post

Yes, I agree that it can be somewhat cumbersome to organize files on the SD cards, but if you use relatively high capacity cards (64 gb or more), you only have to do it once.  You can organize files anyway you want -- the Invicta will read subdirectories too, so you can put all albums relating to a specific artist under one folder, etc, or even create new folders with tracks from a variety of albums (i.e. "playlists").  Granted it doesn't function like iTunes but it is very convenient not to have to hook up a computer, iPod, etc to the Invicta.  My own preference is to use a bunch of somewhat lower capacity (64 Gb) cards - you can put music of difference genres on separate cards, and it's easier to scroll through files on the smaller cards.   Also you should know that the Invicta will read FLAC files, which will increase the capacity of the SD cards.  I suppose the downside is that if you also use an iPod for music,  iTunes will not support FLAC.  But I just use XLD to convert the FLAC files to ALAC for iTunes -- the conversion process is very fast.  I think the SD card reader on the Invicta is a brilliant innovation, and I only wish more devices would take advantage of it -- an iPod-like player that uses SD cards and plays FLAC files would be nice. 

 

That's basically what I'm doing right now - and as you I do find it cumbersome. I believe reading artists / albums tags should be a top priority at Resonessence for future upgrades : just drop the file in the card, and the Invicta sorts it out for you ! As far as SQ goes, I find the SD card superior to basic iTunes + USB playback, but I still prefer Amarra + USB to it. I don't know what this software does, but at least on my MBA it works like magic. And it isn't just a question of taste, it seems that it actually is more detailed all the while sounding less digital. Which flummoxes my left brain while delighting the right one. I still use the SD card most of the time as I too find it very convenient despite the awkward navigation (anyway, Amarra is a pain to use, so I keep it for "critical listening session", meaning me sitting in The Listening Chair in near-field, eyes-closed with the hand making rhythmic patterns in the air and a look of audiophoholic pleasure on my face - the experience is sometimes augmented with a glass of porto stuck in the other hand, because it looks even cooler that way).

 

Also, I have some sort of an engineering-based question : wouldn't it be possible for Resonessence in future hardware designs to replace the holes in the top cover by some sort of radiator-like pattern to increase surface to air ratio ? This probably means that without internal rearrangement the Invicta would be a little taller (5mm ? 1 cm ?). Or is it me being idiotic about thermal engineering ? I did buy the Invicta fully knowing that it had holes on the top cover, and I'm working around it, but I'd welcome any revision without holes on the top.

 

I've tried to see if it pops or thumps when turning on / off, and as expected I too didn't hear anything. Which is truly great. Thank you, Resonessence ! 

post #530 of 694
Thread Starter 

I suppose they could add a bunch of heatsinks or something to suck up more heat, though it would increase complexity and probably still wouldn't be as effective as actual venting. 

 

I take it you have had some fiasco in the past with vented gear? Care to share?

post #531 of 694
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

I take it you have had some fiasco in the past with vented gear? Care to share?

 

So far not. But I've witnessed several disasters. One of them involved a Phonitor that ended up soaked wet in a studio after some bloke's coffee cup fell onto it (stereotypical studio mistake - it isn't a myth, they do actually happen). I also like to travel with a DAC / amp combo and if it has vents I need to wrap it up. In addition, cleaning my Phonitor has been a real pain. It isn't a deal breaker - just that I'd encourage any manufacturer to avoid holes whenever possible. At least on the top.


Edited by MayaTlab - 7/22/13 at 7:44am
post #532 of 694
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

Well, maybe I shouldn't answer that... for the sake of your wallet. Seriously, the D2 is an amazing DAC. And at $1500 is rivals many others I've heard costing double or even triple. That's not generic reviewer hyperbole - I've named names before and will do so again if need be. 

 

That said, the Invicta does seem superior to me, by a reasonable margin. Anedio still absolutely tops it in terms of value to dollar. But for the highest fidelity possible, and some very useful features like SD Card Player, DSD/DXD, balanced headphone out (via adapter),the Invicta is the clear winner. My first review in the original post compared the original Anedio D1 to the prototype Invicta. It was a close call with the Invicta edging out the D1. Anedio made the D2 even better, but Resonessence also made a lot of upgrades to the Invicta, including some behind the scenes processes which make sound quality that much better.

 

Or for another perspective - I recently got to compare the Calyx Femto with the Auralic Vega and a few older heavyweights like dCS Elgar Plus and Esoteric D-05. I felt the Auralic was the best of the bunch, clearly surpassing the beautiful Calyx Femto, which itself beat the two older models by a decent margin. Yet as good as the Vega was, I didn't hear anything that I felt surpassed my Invicta - in fact, the Invicta might be superior. So yeah, it's a killer DAC imo. 

 

 

 

Good question. I just don't know at the moment. 



Hi there project86,

I'm seriously thinking about pulling the trigger on the D2, and even though I wouldn't be able to spend $4995 on the Mirus or Invicta right now, this is of course a question that comes to mind: how much better is the Invicta really, and at what level? Your most direct answer is "by a reasonable margin", but I guess it also depends on the use and the value of the features.
The use I plan to give the D2 is to simply hook it up directly to a pair of active studio monitors via XLR (most probably a pair of Genelec 8040Bs) and use the headAmp with my HD800s (or use my V100 as Amp). I am not interested in DSD or any other exotic format, and as my 2.3TB collection has meant hundreds of hours of ripping, converting and organizing, I really don't consider spending more money on SD cards and time on organizing.
So, discounting the extra features and the value of the components that make up for them, what is left is ultimately SQ.
Im my case, I'm out for is primarily transparency and neutrality, and personally a wide soundstage and good imaging, no extras really. Most of my recordings - or at least the portion of my collection I have come to listen to mostly in recent times - qualify as very good recordings, so they wouldn't be my worry either.
As always, I would appreciate your insight and experinece with these DACs.

Thanks in advance.

Cheers!


 

post #533 of 694

You cannot go wrong with the D2. I am primarily a classical listener and have a very purist system. I find the D2 has all of the attributes you have described as needing. Regards

post #534 of 694

I haven't listened to the Anedio D2, but to the Benchmark DAC2, which, while much less expensive than the Invicta and pretty close to the Anedio's price, gets very, very close to the Invicta in terms of SQ from the XLR out. It resolves practically just as well, perhaps a tiny bit less in the bass, has a slightly worse timbre accuracy (very slight tin can effect), and actually is smoother / more liquid / less grainy. I suppose the D2 is likely to be in the same ballpark as the Benchmark in overall performance.

Where the Invicta starts to make sense is IMHO when you feel like you're going to fully exploit its niceties, like the internal HP amp (which I find adequate with the HD800, at least moreso than all other DAC / amp combos I've tried), the SD card, the build quality, the operational goodies (dual HP amp, pretty extensive settings options, no pop / thumps, etc.). 

Since you're not going to use the Invicta's SD card, and since as you seem prepared to buy an Anedio D2 I believe I can deduce you're not really going to need the Invicta's form factor or most of its gadgets, I believe it therefore depends in your case on how much time will you spend on your speakers system and the HD800. If the former, I'd stick to the Anedio or a similarly priced DAC, and perhaps consider something a bit better than the Genelec 8040, an if the latter, then the Invicta may start to make sense.

post #535 of 694
Thread Starter 

Good points all around. The Invicta does indeed make the most sense when using it as more than just a DAC. Granted I use an outboard music server primarily, but sometimes the SD Card playback comes in extremely handy. Same story with the headphone amp.

 

Anedio D2 is a fantastic unit. Not sure about the Benchmark, but I would think it should be somewhat competitive - at least I hope it is. Either of them should make you happy, but for extremely critical listening the Invicta is just better. You just have to decide how much you are willing to pay for the last bit of quality.... maybe 5%? Not sure how to put a number on it. 

post #536 of 694
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

Good points all around. The Invicta does indeed make the most sense when using it as more than just a DAC. Granted I use an outboard music server primarily, but sometimes the SD Card playback comes in extremely handy. Same story with the headphone amp.

 

Anedio D2 is a fantastic unit. Not sure about the Benchmark, but I would think it should be somewhat competitive - at least I hope it is. Either of them should make you happy, but for extremely critical listening the Invicta is just better. You just have to decide how much you are willing to pay for the last bit of quality.... maybe 5%? Not sure how to put a number on it. 


If I had the $$$ I would go for both and chose the one that convinced me the most, but I also think that once a DAC is transparent - and both the D2 and the Mirus meet and exceed the conditions for transparency according to the tresholds of our human hearing - the differences shouldn't be drastic. Once transparency is achieved it would be illogical to claim one can further improve it, as it is ultimately based on the conditions and limitations of our human hearing, beyond which even superior performance wouldn't make a difference to us. Also, if any of the DACs add anything to the music, it wouldn't be properly doing it's job. IMO a DAC has to guarantee a transparent signal, but not introduce it's own personality or signature. It is of course fully legitimate to tune a DAC, and most look for the sound that they prefer, but personally I would rather pay for accuracy and transparency.

I believe if I could, I would buy both and do a blind test, and if I'm not capable of hearing a substantial difference with my best recordings - and ears -, I would logically go for the most affordable option. The problem is having the $6500 to actually do that.

I'm willing to pay for performance and real world costs of the units in question, so I would measure quality according to performance and pay what is reasonable based on the real costs of the component. There are DACs that cost 3 or 4 times the Mirus, and whose performance and real world costs make their price-quality relation a joke. I believe that's where the detailed and responsible measurements and specs provided by Anedio, Resonnessence Labs and Benchmark play a fundamental role, and constitute no less than a role model to the rest of the industry. There are of course manufacturers that don't necessarily provide detailed specs, but that do a very good job, like NAD or Bryston for example, but they are sadly a small minority. (There is a minimum of responsibility towards the consumer that has to be reflected in sufficient and reliable specs, but this has yet to be formalized and to become part of the necessary standards to regulate an industry that sells equipment with costs comparable to those of cars and houses.)

On the other hand, if we can really and reliably hear differences between two DACs that are supposed to be transparent, It only confirms that our Instrumental measurements are themselves limited and thus not able to render the entire picture when it comes to our human perception and experience of sound. Which is why I would consider blind testing to be a complementary method - and a type of measurement based on our subjective listening experience - that could shed further light on that which escapes our instrumental measurements. In that sense, instead of speaking of objectivity, I would use a term with a more sound ephistemological connotation, such as "intersubjectivity", and instead of considering measurements done with instruments as opposed to those done using our ears, as complementary and part of the data that should go into producing a final conclusion or result.

In my opinion, the "subjective" impressions collected from a a blind test, are a continuation of the so called "objective" measurements using machines or instruments. It is a method to collect data obtained using our hearing as instrument, but with the same purpose of discerning sound quality within the limits of our human hearing. So the ultimate meaning of "objectivity", would be set by the limitations of our own perception, which we refer to as "subjective", as opposed to the results measured with instruments. In this sense, wouldn't it be logical to consider a blind test as a necessary complement to instrumental measurements, and thus consider it as part of measurements in general and for them to be complete and sufficient? And woudn't it for the same reason, be logical to consider the final results of both measurement methodologies - using instruments and using our ears - as intersubjective (meaning that on which we agree to be universally valid among subjets and our limitations as such) instead of as the opposed categories of "subjective" and "objective"?

Well, I better leave it at that, lol.

Cheers




 


Edited by Zkadoush - 7/24/13 at 3:04pm
post #537 of 694
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

Anedio D2 is a fantastic unit. Not sure about the Benchmark, but I would think it should be somewhat competitive - at least I hope it is. 

 

My point was exactly that, as you said that the Anedio was just a little worse overall than the Invicta, and as I found the benchmark to come extremely close (to put it in perspective, I think it's closer the Invicta than the Lavry DA11 or V800 are to the Benchmark), I believe money would be better spent on better speakers if this is going to be the most used system and if the Invicta's extras won't be used much.

 

I believe there is going to be quite a bit more differences between a pair of Genelec 8040 and a pair of PSI A25, Geithain RL940, ATC 25A, PMC, etc. than between an Anedio D2 and an Invicta.

 

In my case the Invicta started to make sense as I was limited in terms of speakers size to small bookshelves (I've recently moved more times than changed mobile phone) - so I couldn't gain anything in that department, and I constantly use the Invicta's extras.

 

Frankly, I I had a choice between an Invicta + Genelec 8040 and an Anedio D2 + a pair of PSI A25 / others, I'd pick the second system anytime if there was nothing else to take into account in the equation.

post #538 of 694

Thanks for your answer MayaTlab, and the speaker suggestions, will most certainly check them out. I'm not looking for a particularly small speakers or necessarily monitors, but for the speakers that offer me the best performance for the dollar (max $4500). I considered the GENELECs to be excellent in this respect, and because they offer the advantages of active crossovers, but I am open to other combinations. I guess it would be an advantage to buy the DAC first and bring it along for a trial of different speakers.

THX!


Edited by Zkadoush - 7/24/13 at 1:34pm
post #539 of 694
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zkadoush View Post

Thanks for your answer MayaTlab, and the speaker suggestions, will most certainly check them out. I'm not looking for a particularly small speakers or necessarily monitors, but for the speakers that offer me the best performance for the dollar (max $4500). I considered the GENELECs to be excellent in this respect, and because they offer the advantages of active crossovers, but I am open to other combinations. I guess it would be an advantage to buy the DAC first and bring it along for a trial of different speakers.

THX!

 

I too, have a bit of a preference for active speakers, but I've heard active systems I didn't like much and passive ones I really enjoyed. Please don't focus too much on my suggestions - I spent months trying to find the right speakers for me, but there are much more experienced people around here on that matter. I did listen to the Genelec 8040, I found them OK, in the same ballpark as other "mainstream" monitors brands I've tried (Adam, Focal), but not as impressive as more exotic brands (Geithain, PSI, ATC). There are many other brands around I didn't or couldn't try - if you don't know it already, I find Gearslutz to be a rather good source of information for monitors (although one has to take into consideration that they're mostly professionals looking for working on the equipment - not necessarily enjoying it). My whole point simply was that, if you're ready to spend an extra 3500 on an Invicta, won't use all its extra features, will use it more with your speakers than with your HD800, and are not limited by size / weight regarding speakers, I think I'd rather spend the extra cash on top of the line active monitors.

post #540 of 694
Thread Starter 

Sounds like you fit (somewhat) into the camp of "once you reach a certain level of goodness, no more money needs to be spent". Paraphrasing of course! But I'd say that's not a bad place to be. If you are firmly committed to that stance, then you can enjoy your system and spend less in the process. Some people take it a bit far (ODAC=as good as it gets, period) and I can't agree with them. But your stance is reasonable in my book and I imagine the Resonessence crew wouldn't begrudge it, even despite the potential loss of a sale. 

 

The only thing I can challenge is the NAD reference. They don't provide specs, and their highly regarded M51 got bad marks from a 3rd party independent test lab. I can't find the link right this second, but it sure surprised me because everyone (and I mean everyone!) seems to love that device, and the engineering appears solid. So that's one small data point showing how some disconnect between measurements and sound will always exist. 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: High-end Audio Forum
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › Review: Resonessence Labs Invicta - new high end DAC/amp/playback system