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Did HRT kick Dacmagic's butt ?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi,

I just came back a HiFi-store where I wanted to listen to a pair of HD650 before I ordered a pair of DT880.

I am a bit perplexed about what the guy there told me, so maybe you knowledgeable people here can weigh in. 

 

We got talking about my headphone needs and first he took me for an mp3 guy running of the computer-jack, but I told him I only play lossless files on the computer over USB/Toslink to a DACMagic to the integrated amplifier, and was thinking of putting a headphone amp after the dac and then to the headphones (Sennheiser or Beyer).

 

Then he said that, OK, you are a little bit botched in your setup because CD-player is always better even than lossless because the decoding of the flac takes time and can cause delays or generate miniscule distortions. But then he went on to say that my DACMagic was also a weak link in the chain. I thought he would try to start selling me an Arcam or a Naim or even more expensive gear, but instead he said HRT had more or less changed the industry of computer music and so doing they gave even the DACmagic a wipping. I did not ask for an explanation because I was a bit taken a back by the statement and he went off to continue his general pitch for products he sold.

 

I know the Dacmagic is not God's gift to audiophiles, but heck, I was under the impression it was one step above entryline DAC and that it was very good value for money if you can make do with 16-bit USB. And I thought it played in a league one notch above HRT Musicstreamer.

 

I am asking not to justify my purchase of the DM because I am happy with it but to judge this guy's reliability. He wanted to sell me a Pioneer A-A9 that he was discontinuing for about 400€ (600US$?) and said that it's headphone jack was good enough to obliterate the need for a dedicated headphone amp.

 

Is this guy for real? Can I trust him as a salesman. He has a store with a good reputation in the capital of my country, but I got the impression he was trying to take me for a ride.

 

???

 

Thanks for any comments!

post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by guermantes View Post

Hi,

I just came back a HiFi-store where I wanted to listen to a pair of HD650 before I ordered a pair of DT880.

I am a bit perplexed about what the guy there told me, so maybe you knowledgeable people here can weigh in. 

 

We got talking about my headphone needs and first he took me for an mp3 guy running of the computer-jack, but I told him I only play lossless files on the computer over USB/Toslink to a DACMagic to the integrated amplifier, and was thinking of putting a headphone amp after the dac and then to the headphones (Sennheiser or Beyer).

 

Then he said that, OK, you are a little bit botched in your setup because CD-player is always better even than lossless because the decoding of the flac takes time and can cause delays or generate miniscule distortions. But then he went on to say that my DACMagic was also a weak link in the chain. I thought he would try to start selling me an Arcam or a Naim or even more expensive gear, but instead he said HRT had more or less changed the industry of computer music and so doing they gave even the DACmagic a wipping. I did not ask for an explanation because I was a bit taken a back by the statement and he went off to continue his general pitch for products he sold.

 

I know the Dacmagic is not God's gift to audiophiles, but heck, I was under the impression it was one step above entryline DAC and that it was very good value for money if you can make do with 16-bit USB. And I thought it played in a league one notch above HRT Musicstreamer.

 

I am asking not to justify my purchase of the DM because I am happy with it but to judge this guy's reliability. He wanted to sell me a Pioneer A-A9 that he was discontinuing for about 400€ (600US$?) and said that it's headphone jack was good enough to obliterate the need for a dedicated headphone amp.

 

Is this guy for real? Can I trust him as a salesman. He has a store with a good reputation in the capital of my country, but I got the impression he was trying to take me for a ride.

 

???

 

Thanks for any comments!


1. Never trust any salesman - his job is to sell you kit, period. From what you have said, it sounds like he reads 'What Hi-Fi' and works from there

 

2. The only person who can determine if DAC A sounds better than DAC B is you, and there are so many other factors that its impossible for anyone else to make that call.

 

3. The HRT punches well above its weight, but it does one thing - USB. Check the connections on your DACMagic - I think you will find you have a lot more options available to you.

 

4. On the A9 : yes, Mr Sales Guy, I've read the same reviews you have, but I have never seen anything written specifically about the headphone out. Pioneer make good gear, no question, but you need to audition that headphone out with a decent pair of cans before you make any decisions.

 

Anyone who throws terms like 'obliterate' around probably hasn't heard a dedicated headphone amp in years, if at all, and I'm confident that 600USD will buy you a very good SS headphone amp - the question is whether you also need a speaker amp ? If you dont, just rule a line through the A9 and spend your $600 elsewhere - if you do, then its time to start looking at a stack of other kit before you lash out on the Pioneer.

 

End of the day, its your music, your ears and your wallet - trust no-one.

 

 

 

post #3 of 9

The original MusicStreamer did not measure very well for Stereophile. They may have improved with the II, but I doubt it reaches DacMagic quality. To suggest they've revolutionized anything is a joke.

 

Also, the guy thinks a CD sounds better than FLAC? Oh boy rolleyes.gif

post #4 of 9

I can concur that the Music Streamer, the II+ version at least, sounds better than the DACMagic. No idea about the other versions as II+ was the one that I had compared with the DACMagic. The Music Streamer sounded more detailed and open, the DM in comparison was a bit muffled. Overall the differences are not major but the II+ has a very clear edge in form factor, hi-res USB and needs no additional power. 


Edited by K3cT - 10/27/11 at 5:54am
post #5 of 9
Flac takes time to decode and causes disortion lol, I would have laughed at him.

I doubt any1 could tell the difference between a flac and cd if they didn't know what they were listining 2.

Keep your dacmagic its good enough the hrt might even be a slight downgrade.
post #6 of 9

In my experience, any lossless file stored on a hard drive sounds better than a cd spinner. My marantz sacd player have digital inputs. I've compared files played back from my pc to the same track played back on the cd mechanism and the flac file always sounded better. There are more steps involved when playing tracks from a cd transport than a file played on a computer, which is why I say all that salesman is trying to do is to get you to spend more money. Also 600.00 will buy you a better headphone amp than the pioneer he mentioned, and even if the hrt he mentioned does sound better, it definitely won't destroy the magic. I bought a music streamer pro sometime ago, and it wasn't any better than any of my midfi dacs and I eventually sold it. There's several reasons why hifi stores are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Bulls**t salesmen throw at you to make more money is one of them. I live in an area where there's 1.4million people and as of today, there isn't one hifi store in the area when there use to be one around every corner. The last store that closed was about 8 months ago. Right before they closed the store manager tried to sell me some 2500.00 speaker cables. I told him those cables cost more than than my speakers. He then told me that those cable would bring the performance of my speakers close to the performance of a 5000.00 pair of speakers. Now that's just priceless.

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by K3cT View Post

I can concur that the Music Streamer, the II+ version at least, sounds better than the DACMagic. No idea about the other versions as II+ was the one that I had compared with the DACMagic. The Music Streamer sounded more detailed and open, the DM in comparison was a bit muffled. Overall the differences are not major but the II+ has a very clear edge in form factor, hi-res USB and needs no additional power. 


Its still going to come down to what sounds better to the OP - I personally like the warmth of the MSII, even if its not the 'worlds most resolving DAC'. One of the things that Keith Halvorsen had in his favour with the MSII is that he was one of the first to be 'buzzword-compliant' after the Ayre QB-9 convinced a stack of audiophiles that asynch USB was the 'new messiah'. To have the same technology (HRT wrote their own code, while most of the others licensed the Wavelength code used by Ayre) in a small enclosure costing a fraction of the price of the QB-9 soon had the magazines falling all over themselves to write very similar 'Audio Revolution !'-style reviews, and that is where our sales friend undboubtedly got his spiel from.

 

I've worked with quite a few sales people (as in 'my pay is mostly commission'), and I can see why they have to get results, but they tend to make themselves scarce when there is actual work to be done.

 

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by moodyrn View Post

I live in an area where there's 1.4million people and as of today, there isn't one hifi store in the area when there use to be one around every corner.


Really ? Brisbane is around that size, and you can count genuine 'hi-fi' stores on one hand. Plenty of consumer electronics crap, er, warehouses, but very little in the way of people-who-know-their-stuff, and most are owner-operators. I guess its the old story - the cream will always rise to the top - but I agree with you in principle - the days of being able to sell cables for astronomical prices must be numbered. Even in the era of the dedicated etailer and tough competition, we still have places in Oz that are happy to cater to the wealthier end of town:

 

http://lenwallisaudio.com/

 

At one stage, I would have given my right arm to get a pair of HD650s for 500 bucks ...

 

http://lenwallisaudio.com/products/accessories/headphones/hd650

 

post #9 of 9

OK so this is a 3 year old thread but I know we all like to have info... err I mean opinions!

 

I've got an HRT Music Streamer II and a Dacmagic (original model) here on my desk right now.

 

HRT Music Streamer II wins by a nose. Similar sound to both, but the HRT handles "busy" sections of music better.

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