Like appleheadmay said this is a fairly neutral dac and amp. It will not color any sound. If neutrality is what u want this is it. With emphasis on detail retrieval. Mine still cooking and I like what im hearing. Still gonna get a balanced amp soon to play around.
April Music Eximus DP-1 - Page 18
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I use it mainly as a Dac as well with my amps. But for getting to know it I used the phones out quite a bit.
The output is good enough to make me decide I could do with three amps instead of four. I had been thinking of selling my HA5000 a few weeks ago but then changed my mind to the P1-u which is also a very neutral well performing allrounder. I do need some further listening/testing time though to decide once my Zana comes in.
Funny thing is that it's dead quiet with the ATs (very sensitive) and it drives the HD800 with ease as well.
I remember someone posted earlier it did a good job with the LCDs and those are know to be tough to drive. So its certainly versatile.
If I were you I'd add a balancd tube amp for the variety. I enjoy having the choice between tubes and ss.
Just my thoughts hough, I like configuring a nice system in my mind. :)
A nice little Balancing Act would be what I would get if I was into balanced. =)
Step by step is just as much fun!
I had a Little dot MkIII and I must say it was quite a fun amp. Much better than it's price would suggest.
Most people seem to think that Stax is a step up from a top dynamic rig.
I had a top Stax rig more than a year ago (O2Mk1 + 717) and must say I preferred dynamic cans to it.
That's why I sold it. Everyone his own opinion of course.
I'm moving in that direction once my source upgrades are complete this summer-fall. The two amplifiers currently on my list are the BA (307A) and the discontinued TTVJ-Millet 307A.
One of my main upgrade objectives is a deeper clarity through complex and demanding passages in classical music. I expect and take it as a given the DP-1 will (should) bring improvements in that area.
Right now what I want is big soundstage and detail retrieval. The DP-1 is best at the detail dept. but i've heard better soundstage. Im on a two weeks vacation and left the DP-1 playing all the time with a crappy mp3 player that I had lying around. Hopefully by the time a get back the sound will have settle down and the soundstage improved. I'm leaning toward a Linennenberg amp and a LD MKVI+ tube amp. If that cant please my hears its back to saving for a BA.
Yes im keeping the DP-1. It just a wonderful component to look at and the sound is very good. I think I miss my full tube sound of the Bottlehead Crack too much. The Lyr is good but not as musical as the Crack I sold. Tubes is like crack, very addictive.
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My Eximus has now 100 hours burning in and I am very pleased with it. I am going to sell my Violectric V200 headamp within the next days and couldn´t wait longer to compare it to the Eximus headamp. It was a really close race and there is no clear winner. The Eximus is cleaner, more detajled and has a slightly bigger soundstage (the soundstage of the Eximus hasn´t changed so much under the burning in yet). It is really neutral. But that is not only a positive thing.
The Violectric (connected to the Eximus with silver XLR-cable) is a little smoother in the midrange and creates some magical moments hearing voices (I like Kurt Wagners voice from Lambchop really much) - it creates en intimicy which the Eximus doesn´t create because it has not the same peak in the midrange as the Violectric. Here I can feel sometimes the Eximus is too neutral (but maybe this ends with more burning in). That is why I think the Eximus will work well with a tube headamp (I would like to hear the Yammy!). The Eximus is so sweet and detajled - but the soul comes with the tubes. The Violectric tries to create a soul as well - and that works OK - but its smoothness does not really compete with the smoothness of a good (and more expensive) tube-headamp (sometimes I am tempted to use the filter of the Eximus, but I don´t understand why April Music choosed to highten the bass and lower midrange so much with the filter. It had be really enough the half way.)
I am really glad that I have a tube poweramp-speakers systems (Aurum Integris 300B) which gives me plenty of soul. I am prefering it over the headamp and my Sennheiser HD800 most of the time. But who knows what are going to happen after more burning in.
Should I choose between the Eximus and the Violectric - I would go with the Eximus. But in the future - maybe I will look after a Yammy or a Zana Deux.
Edited by yellowblue - 3/16/12 at 11:13am
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My Eximus was impressive out of the box but really got serious- through speakers- at around the 240 hour mark (ten days). It started to really gel together organically at that point. The headamp didn't fully come on song for many days after that though- but I hadn't been listening to headphones that much.
I'm not surprised to hear that because the V200 has a great reputation on headfi. You may find the the eximus headamp improve further though, like I did. Especially the soundstage.
I'm actually finding it working a treat with my RS-2's, which I normally find too bass light. I guess it could be too much with bassier cans though. I have my eyes on the new Shure SRH-1840, which again might benefit from the filter.
Edited by BrainFood - 3/16/12 at 1:32pm
As promised I am penning down my impressions on the Eximus.
My DP1 has got more than enough burn-in by now so I know what it's capable of.
Now this is not a review, I'm not going to write about specific passages in specific tracks but more general info on the sound of the DP1 used as a dac and dac/amp.
My impressions are based on listening to three different kinds of music:
70's hardock: CD rips to Apple Lossless of Rainbow (Catch The Rainbow: The Anthology) and Uriah Heep (The Ultimate Collection)
Vocal: CD rip to Apple Lossless of Melody Gardot (My one and only thrill)
Classical: 96/24 Le Quattro Stagioni by Vivaldi and 192/24 Belezza Crudel by Vivaldi.
Now I don't have much knowledge about classical music but I love Baroque and Chamber Music.
I know Vivaldi's Four Seasons well though I had never heard Belezza Crudel but wanted to include some music recorded in 192/24.
The setup I used for listening was with headphones only, no speakers.
My iMac is connected with an AudioQuest (AQ from now on) USB Carbon cable to a Vaunix Lab Brick USB hub, from there with the same cable to the Eximus DP1.
The DP1's built-in headamp was mainly used as I wanted to see what it was capable of. I compared it to the Luxman P-1u connected via AQ King Cobra XLR cables to the Eximus and briefly to the Audio-Technica AT-HA5000ANV connected with AQ King Cobra RCA cables. For those who want to know about power cables used: AQ NRG-2 for the Eximus and Luxman and NRG-1.5 to Churi 300W stepdown with the Audio-Technica "Triple Hybrid Power Cable" to the AT-HA5000ANV. The iMac with stock cables of course and connected to an iBox UPS for safety. All except the UPS/iMac is connected to an Accustic Arts Power Strip Active 8.
I didn't compare it to a tube amp since I don't really see the point of that, the sound would be too different anyway and I was more interested to how the Eximus DP1 performed as a whole.
The headphones mainly used were the Audio-Technica ATH-W3000ANV for vocal music, ATH-L3000 for hardrock and Sennheiser HD800 for classical.
The Luxman DA-200 Dac was used to compare the Dac part as well as a Classe CP-800 but that one was not done A to B. I might attempt that in the future though.
Some thoughts on not sound related quality:
- Packaging: top notch, unboxing the Eximus DP1 felt like unboxing an Apple product and for those who use Apple you know that's as good as it gets. I won't post any unboxing shots here as Airs already did a great job at that HERE.
- Build quality and looks: a nice and spring-fresh idea with the leaves from April Music. The DP1 stands out from any other device you may have, it gets noticed. Nothing overdone or exaggerated, just a clean, beautiful and totally new look. Coffee-table worthy I would say. And nice details are the volume knob and little colored Leds instead of a display. The color is not the simple silver used on many other devices as well, it's more clear and a bit matte-pearlescent, hard to describe but very nice!
As for sturdiness, the casework used is thick, much thicker than on most hifi gear. You won't be able to push a dent in the top plate of this one, I doubt it would even do so if you jumped on it. Top grade!
- Functionality: two outputs that can make it the center of a speaker and headphone setup, connected to a music server via usb and an analog input for a vinyl setup or tuner. Digital coax, I2S, optical and AES as well so what more do you want? I heard some people talking about not having a remote control but in my opinion remotes have no place in a headphile setup. I even don't use the ones that come with my speaker system, I like the feel of a good volume knob. I do use an iPod as a remote to select music on both systems and that works with the Eximus system as well of course.
Ok, to the sound now. Hard to say much that hasn't been said in this thread already but I'll try anyway.
Compared to the Luxman DA-200, both Dacs connected to the P-1u amplifier so I was able to hear only the change the Dac part made. This was simply put astonishing! Both Dacs cost about the same here in Europe (3000€ vs 2850€) but the Eximus runs laps around the Luxman. I always loved the Luxman's sound before I had the DP1, it sounded nice and smooth to me at the time. Ok, it"s not async and it's not 192/24 but does that matter all that much when playing CD quality? Well, either it does or the design and components of the DP1 are of a whole other level. I can't tell you in what area it is better because it's simply better in every area, much better. Detail retrieval, soundstage, extension both high and low, you name it.
The DP1's Dac is different because it achieves sounding natural without being cold and analytical or adding warmth. Yet it manages to sound smooth and not sharp. You'll have a hard time getting back to a lot of other Dacs when you heard this one I bet. Being accurate is what I think you would want from a source.
I also tried a Classe CAP-800 for an afternoon at my dealer, but mainly with speakers. I did connect the Classe to his P-1u for a while to listen with the HD800 he sells as well and I would say the DP1 at least matches the Classe, it might even be better. no A-B comparison though but I plan to take the DP-1 to the dealer because I just need to know. The Classe is a 5500€ Dac/preamp and for those who don't know the brand Classe makes power amps ranging from 6000€ for a stereo amp to 14000€ for a mono amp. From memory the Classe far outclassed the PSAudio PWD (Mk1) I had before, the same goes for the Eximus.
AMP PART: A comparison to the AT-HA5000ANV was a bit useless since the AT amp is too different in sound, it's much warmer and not all that correct sounding in my opinion, but just like the phones they make that makes it enjoyable to listen to.
It made much more sense to compare the amp part of the Eximus to the Luxman P-1u, both strive to be natural sounding. One thing that has to be noted though is a bit of shrillness that people are hearing in the highs with the DP1 amp. I heard it as well when the amp was not burned in yet, but with the proper amount of burn-in it is completely gone for me. Another thing that improved with burn-in was the soundstage, not only did it get a little bigger but increase in depth was what I noticed most.
Compared to the P-1u, which costs 2900€ here in Belgium, the Eximus proved it would have been worth its money even if there wasn't a Dac or preamp included in the unit. I would never have thought that at first, surely not when the DP1 wasn't burned-in yet. I also didn't want it to be that good as I always thought very highly of my P-1u, and I still do but this makes me put things into perspective. Both amps are very natural (meaning accurate while remaining smooth, not overly warm, not cold) and the Eximus performs very similar to the P-1u in that regard. But what makes it different from the P-1u is the extra detail and soundstage I get. Going back to the P-1u from the Eximus is like putting a thin veil of see-through curtain over the sound if I have to describe it. I never thought of the P-1u's sound as veiled and I still don't but the difference is there.
When it comes to the amount of power the amp has I think all has been said in this thread before. It easily drives the HD800 with flair and some people use it succesfully with the LCD's as well it seems. What is remarkable to me though is that while being so powerful it does well with the low impedance, high sensitivity Audio Technica phones as well. It is completely silent with them and introduces no hiss or hum which I experienced with some amps recently, even one that was an especially bad case.
For the music I tried with the DP1 to write this I give some brief thoughts about things I noticed to be different. I said before this isn't really a review and I will not analyze song by song here, far from it.
With the hardrock I especially noticed what I call an increase in speed and attack from the bass guitars mainly and a lot pof PRaT (if that exists) since I couldn't sit still while listening to those CDs.
With Melody Gardot the mids really shined, so detailed and velvet-like as I like to call it. The DP1 really does vocals justice.
High-res classical music simply was jaw-dropping. I never heard full 192/24 before but even with 96/24 it outclassed the DAC-200 by a big margin. It's almost impossible to describe how real the music sounds and how well the Eximus lets you discern individual inbstruments with all the detail and the big soundstage you get from the DP1/HD800 combo.
People who say that they can't hear the difference between CD quality and higher are invited to come and take a listen to my system.
Is there nothing negative to remark then? Sure, the DP1 always starts up in upsampling mode so I always have to push the button a few times since I'm a "What comes comes out" type of guy. And I really don't see the use of the little filter button, I'd be fine without it. But that's about it for me, I'm as happy I can be with my purchase.
Do I really need 4 amps when I have the DP1? Probably not, I like having lots of stuff around and I tend to collect things I like. I am really contemplating putting the P-1u up for sale again though, the money might be better spent on some more phones.
Now when I would need to do with such an extensive setup, I could easily live with a DP1 as my Dac/SS HP amp/preamp with a tube amp connected to the RCAs for a bit of variance in sound signature and a power amp (S1 coming up already?) connected to the XLRs to drive my speakers. Full high-end system for a reasonable price!
I see this has become quite a bit of text, and since I love to see pics myself I'll lighten it up with a few pictures! :)
Edited by AppleheadMay - 3/18/12 at 6:45am