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Fostex TH900 Impressions & Discussion Thread - Page 104

post #1546 of 7451
Quote:
Originally Posted by driver 8 View Post

I'd be terrified of plugging my TH900's into my Lyr.  I should probably try them with my HA-160D sometime.

 

The Lyr isn't bad at driving the TH900, but yes, its high power output does seem overkill for such high-sensitive headphones. Not to mention the noise it picks up from microphonic vacuum tubes. The Lyr is more suited for driving low-sensitive orthodynamic headphones.

post #1547 of 7451

Regarding the Grace Design m903 that was mentioned a couple of pages ago.

 

I like the combo Grace Design m903 + Denon AH-D7000 very much. It typically feels (quite a bit) like comming home. Others have been positive about both this combo or:

  • Grace Design m902 + Denon AH-D7000
  • Grace Design m903 + Denon AH-D5000
  • Grace Design m902 + Denon AH-D5000

See other threads on Head-Fi and the Norwegian forum Hifisentralen.

 

I've used the m903 mostly as a combined DAC and headphone amplifier, mostly via USB. I've used it a little bit as a DAC (and/or preamp) for STAX, SPL Phonitor, Burson Audio HA-160(D) and Violectric HPA V200.

 

I've often not used the others because I've found Grace Design m903 both good and (very) convenient.

 

You might like our Norwegian thread about Grace Design m903. Use Google Translate if you don't read any of the Scandinavian languages Norwegian, Danish (very similar) or Swedish.

post #1548 of 7451
Quote:
Originally Posted by CDWMcInSpots View Post

Regarding the Grace Design m903 that was mentioned a couple of pages ago.

 

I like the combo Grace Design m903 + Denon AH-D7000 very much. It typically feels (quite a bit) like comming home. Others have been positive about both this combo or:

  • Grace Design m902 + Denon AH-D7000
  • Grace Design m903 + Denon AH-D5000
  • Grace Design m902 + Denon AH-D5000

See other threads on Head-Fi and the Norwegian forum Hifisentralen.

 

I've used the m903 mostly as a combined DAC and headphone amplifier, mostly via USB. I've used it a little bit as a DAC (and/or preamp) for STAX, SPL Phonitor, Burson Audio HA-160(D) and Violectric HPA V200.

 

I've often not used the others because I've found Grace Design m903 both good and (very) convenient.

 

You might like our Norwegian thread about Grace Design m903. Use Google Translate if you don't read any of the Scandinavian languages Norwegian, Danish (very similar) or Swedish.

Thank you for the info, if m903 drives the D7000 very well means it could also drive the TH900 very well??

 

How do you think about the Centrance DACmini (1ohm mod version) compares with the m903? :)


Edited by archeryc - 8/9/12 at 10:57am
post #1549 of 7451
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnakChan View Post

I take it the HP-A8C is not available overseas yet? I'm seeing 2nd hand ones in the shops here already and they've intrigued me. Unfortunately there's no "bring home and try before your buy" concept here in Japan and I'm not certain if coming from a Benchmark DAC1 Pre will be considered as a trade-up (aside from losing balanced XLR out which currently goes to my Stax SRM-727A).

 

Has anyone overseas (or anyone who can/has review in English) tried the HP-A8C? Naturally for the Fostex TH900.


HP-A8C is available in Australia.  In fact Addicted to Audio in Melbourne has it on demo for a while now.  I have demo the HP-A8C twice once briefly in Japan, once at Addicted to Audio.  In my opinion it doesn't do much wrong, and is the combo is quite transparent, fast and natural.  But at the same time I feel they are a bit boring compare to something like V200.  I had high hope for the combo, but decided in the end to stick with my existing sources and drive the TH900 out of the Yamamoto HA-02 I have (for tube sound) and I also brought the V200.

post #1550 of 7451
Quote:
Originally Posted by driver 8 View Post

I'd be terrified of plugging my TH900's into my Lyr.  I should probably try them with my HA-160D sometime.

Please don't. eek.gif
post #1551 of 7451
Quote:
Originally Posted by rx79ez08 View Post


HP-A8C is available in Australia.  In fact Addicted to Audio in Melbourne has it on demo for a while now.  I have demo the HP-A8C twice once briefly in Japan, once at Addicted to Audio.  In my opinion it doesn't do much wrong, and is the combo is quite transparent, fast and natural.  But at the same time I feel they are a bit boring compare to something like V200.  I had high hope for the combo, but decided in the end to stick with my existing sources and drive the TH900 out of the Yamamoto HA-02 I have (for tube sound) and I also brought the V200.

 

Cheers. Yes I've tried them a couple of times myself at the Tokyo Fujiya shows and at the e-earphone shop. But in a noisy environment, I found it hard to tell the difference with my Benchmark DAC1 Pre. I need to be able to compare these in the same environment. The only feature benefit of the HP-A8C over the Benchmark DAC1 Pre is the Fostex is DSD-ready (and I do have quite a few DFF/DSF files).

post #1552 of 7451
Quote:
Originally Posted by CDWMcInSpots View Post

Regarding the Grace Design m903 that was mentioned a couple of pages ago.

 

I like the combo Grace Design m903 + Denon AH-D7000 very much. It typically feels (quite a bit) like comming home. Others have been positive about both this combo or:

  • Grace Design m902 + Denon AH-D7000
  • Grace Design m903 + Denon AH-D5000
  • Grace Design m902 + Denon AH-D5000

[...]

 

Originally Posted by archeryc View Post
 

Thank you for the info, if m903 drives the D7000 very well means it could also drive the TH900 very well??

 

It's my assumption that the Grace Design m90[23] + Fostex TH900 will be a good combination since m90[23] + Denon AH-Dx000 is and Fostex TH900 arguably is part of that headphone family. This was the was the reason(ing) behind my post #1547.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by archeryc View Post

How do you think about the Centrance DACmini (1ohm mod version) compares with the m903? :)

 

I've never heard the CEntrance DACmini CX or DACmini PX, and didn't know that CEntrance offer "Headphone output impedance of 1 Ohm is available as a mod" option when you order the product. Neither do I know much about the products.

post #1553 of 7451

Fostex HP-A8C vs. Benchmark DAC1 series

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnakChan View Post

The only feature benefit of the HP-A8C over the Benchmark DAC1 Pre is the Fostex is DSD-ready (and I do have quite a few DFF/DSF files).

 

It is a while since I read about the Benchmark DAC1 series. I read a bit about Fostex HP-A8C yesterday. A quick look seems to confirm more differences/benefits than you mention. Some of the functions on the Benchmark DAC1 series are typical for pro equipment and you will also find them in the Grace Design m90x series. I have skipped some of them.

 

Fostex HP-A8C:

  • USB Audio Class 2.0 up to 32 bit/192 kHz (Benchmark: 24 bit/96 kHz)
  • Asynchronous USB
  • Inputs: Asynchronous USB, AES/EBU, Coaxial RCA, Optical (x2) and analog RCA
  • Outputs: Coaxial RCA, Optical and analog RCA
  • Variable headphone amplifier's gain from 0dB to -12dB by 0.5dB step
  • Remote control
  • Built-in up-sampling function of x 2 and x4
  • Selectable between the internal clock and the external clock
  • Digital Filter selection between the conventional "sharp roll-off" and the "minimum delay"
  • Built-in SD (SDHC) card drive
  • Dimensions: 213 mm (W) x 78 mm (H) x 314 mm(D)

  • Weight: approx. 3.75 kgs

 

Benchmark DAC1 series

  • (Only) USB Audio Class 1.0 up to 24 bit/96 kHz
  • Adaptive(?) USB
  • Inputs: PRE and HDR: 3 coaxial RCA, 1 optical, 1 USB, 1 analog RCA
  • Inputs: USB: 1 coaxial BNC, 1 optical, 1 USB, 1 AES/EBU
  • Inputs: DAC1: 1 coaxial BNC, 1 optical, 1 AES/EBU
  • Outputs: Balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA stereo outputs
  • Selectable gain-range for headphone amplifier (excluding Benchmark DAC1), 2 (USB) or 3 (PRE/HDR) ranges
  • Remote control only on Benchmark DAC1 HDR
  • Dimensions: 249 mm (w) x 44.5 mm (h) x 237 mm (d)
  • Weight: 1.59 kg (3.5 lb.)

 

The aesthetics are obviously different, but up to each person's taste.

post #1554 of 7451

Fostex HP-A8C

 

Fostex has published the following headphone output specifications for the Fostex HP-A8C:

Quote:
 
Specifications
 
Output
Phones 1,2 Connector: Stereo phone
Max Output: 700mW (32-ohm loaded)
Opt load Impedance: 16 ohm – 600 ohm
THD: less than 0.002% at 1kHz, 32-ohm loaded, 100mW
Frequency response: 10Hz - 80kHz +-0.3dB

 

Does anyone know the headphone output:

  • Impedance?
  • Power in different impedance loads, typically from 16/25 to 600 ohms?
     

Windows driver for USB Audio Class 2.0 coexistence

Windows needs a driver to support USB Audio Class 2.0 devices. Many manufacturers base their Windows drivers and firmware on software from Thesycon Systemsoftware & Consulting GmbH. The Thesycon software is, according to Thesycon, supposed to be customized by the hardware manufacturer to their products. Some manufacturers do it themselves, and others (like Grace Design) use external companies like Wavelength Audio and their Gordon Rankin. Some companies do a good customization job, others are sloppy and don't fullfill their contractual obligations with and according to Thesycon.

 

According to Thesycon, products that use software based on Thesycon's products should be able to coexist on a computer. Unfortunately that isn't necessarily the case because of sloppy software customization by hardware manufacturers. Some can coeeist, others won't. The user will then be forced to uninstall, install and configure drivers whenever he wants to change between USB DACs.

 

As far as I've understood, Wavelength Audio and their Gordon Rankin make sure that all products using their (Thesycon based) software can coexist.

 

I have experienced a product that use Thesycon based software but its Thesycon driver wouldn't coexist with one using software from Wavelength Audio/Gordon Rankin. The manufacturer didn't reply to e-mails, and hasn't corrected the problem within a period of more than 6 months after the importer was informed and subsequently informed the manufacturer. The other manufacturers and parties involved (including Thesycon which was very quick, thorough and to the point) answered e-mails quickly or within a reasonable period. I don't want to experience the same again.

 

Why is coexistence important? One might want to have two different USB DACs in two different locations, for example two rooms or floors in ones home, home and work, home and cottage, etc., and on a regular basis carry one portable computer between the locations and use it alternately with both DACs.

 

Fostex HP-A8C Windows driver for USB Audio Class 2.0

Questions:

  • Does Fostex HP-A8C use firmware and drivers based on products from Thesycon?
  • Does Fostex HP-A8C identify itself as "Fostex HP-A8C" or something similar in the USB driver and Windows sound control panel, or does it identify itself as something more generic like "USB DAC"? The latter may indicate sloppy software customization as with my device mentioned above.
  • Will the Fostex HP-A8C Windows driver for USB Audio Class 2.0 coexist with other manufacturers Windows drivers for USB Audio Class 2.0 on the same computer?
  • Will the Fostex HP-A8C Windows driver for USB Audio Class 2.0 coexist on the same computer with Windows drivers for USB Audio Class 2.0 made by Wavelength Audio/Gordon Rankin?

Edited by CDWMcInSpots - 8/10/12 at 8:05am
post #1555 of 7451

I brought my Benchmark DAC1 Pre and my TH900 over to Fujiya Avic this evening. Due to !@#!$% traffic, I only got there 30 mins before the shop closed and I forgot to bring my Go-DAP & optical cable so I had to use their Marantz SACD & whatever discs they had there. Since I was unfamiliar with their tracks, I focused only on 1-2 classical tracks.

 

Doing a 30 min back 'n forth, I get the sense the HP-A8C & TH900 sounded more mellow whilst the Benchmark DAC1 Pre was more upfront impact. But along with HP-A8C's mellowness, it seemed to have added a somewhat more depth to the soundstage whereas the DAC1 Pre sounded more 2D by comparison (aside: this comment was also made about the DAC1 Pre vs Eximus DP-1 back in the Fujiya Spring/May Festival a few months back). I found myself focusing on certain instruments I didn't hear before and going back to the DAC1 Pre, those instruments were there, but since everything seemed more "in your face", those instruments sort of "drowned" in the music.

 

So for classical at least, the HP-A8C & the TH900 seems to be a good match. I wish I had more time to test with other genre. At times having that "in your face" impact works for some kinds of music whilst, in others having that added depth to the dimension suits better.

 

The DAC/Amp isn't only for the TH900 as I'd be using that as a DAC-only for my Stax rig. I'd have to take a chance of how the HP-A8C unbalanced out to the Stax SRM-727A will sound like. I may take my Benchmark DAC1 Pre & TH900 to Fujiya again in the near future especially when they stock the Eximus DP1 again. They also have the Grace M903, NMode X-DP1, etc. so I have a few options on seeing which ones pair well with the TH900.

post #1556 of 7451
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnakChan View Post

I brought my Benchmark DAC1 Pre and my TH900 over to Fujiya Avic this evening. Due to !@#!$% traffic, I only got there 30 mins before the shop closed and I forgot to bring my Go-DAP & optical cable so I had to use their Marantz SACD & whatever discs they had there. Since I was unfamiliar with their tracks, I focused only on 1-2 classical tracks.

 

Doing a 30 min back 'n forth, I get the sense the HP-A8C & TH900 sounded more mellow whilst the Benchmark DAC1 Pre was more upfront impact. But along with HP-A8C's mellowness, it seemed to have added a somewhat more depth to the soundstage whereas the DAC1 Pre sounded more 2D by comparison (aside: this comment was also made about the DAC1 Pre vs Eximus DP-1 back in the Fujiya Spring/May Festival a few months back). I found myself focusing on certain instruments I didn't hear before and going back to the DAC1 Pre, those instruments were there, but since everything seemed more "in your face", those instruments sort of "drowned" in the music.

 

So for classical at least, the HP-A8C & the TH900 seems to be a good match. I wish I had more time to test with other genre. At times having that "in your face" impact works for some kinds of music whilst, in others having that added depth to the dimension suits better.

 

The DAC/Amp isn't only for the TH900 as I'd be using that as a DAC-only for my Stax rig. I'd have to take a chance of how the HP-A8C unbalanced out to the Stax SRM-727A will sound like. I may take my Benchmark DAC1 Pre & TH900 to Fujiya again in the near future especially when they stock the Eximus DP1 again. They also have the Grace M903, NMode X-DP1, etc. so I have a few options on seeing which ones pair well with the TH900.

 

Thanks for all these info! I am looking forward on your review after you go to Fjiya. Please write something about the feeling of Grace m903 and DP1 and HP-A8C, as I looking to get one of these 3 amp/DAC. haha

post #1557 of 7451

AnakChan, interesting comparison maybe I will try to have a listen to the TH900 and HP-A8C combo again in the future.  When I was trying the HP-A8C, I was more focus on it being a one box solution for the TH900.  As I said it was good, but it was not the sound I was looking for at that stage.  But the unit I try in Australia was brand new out of the box, so maybe with a little bit more time its sound will change.

Anyhow I am very disappointed that the HP-A8C does not have balance output.

post #1558 of 7451
Want a great match for your TH900s? Don't mess around, get a Zodiac Gold. Mine came in today and I'm completely floored. eek.gif

Yeah, yeah, I know. It's expensive. But so is the TH900. Find a dealer, take your headphones, and test it out. I'm being serious (or at least as serious as I can be).
Edited by Magick Man - 8/11/12 at 1:34am
post #1559 of 7451

+1 for ZG with Voltikus. Amazing how well this tiny DAC/Amp system performs. It won't dissappoint.

post #1560 of 7451

Yes, i have known for a while that Zodiac Gold is in my future, it is my one from next expenditure.  Lucky you!

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