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Fostex TH900 Impressions & Discussion Thread - Page 399

post #5971 of 14233
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnakChan View Post

Personally for me, I have to admit I didn't really enjoy the HP-A8 as much. I gave it a 3-star in my review. As a DAC-only it's better however IMHO that's quite a bit to pay for just "DAC-only". For me I think in almost every way I preferred the WA7 over the HP-A8. If I had the WA7 already and I had a further $1600 - $2000 to spend on a DAC, I'd probably find a dedicated DAC or some sort.

Yup, same for me. I felt it was a waste to spend that much and use the DAC only. If Fostex made a DAC without a discreet headamp and charged $500 - $700 less, I probably would have bought it. Same for the WA7, but in reverse. I think the in-built DAC is only about as good as most of the portable usb-stick units (like the first-gen Dragonfly), and would prefer if Woo sold it as an amp only for around $200 less.

I still maintain that, if I needed a single unit for both DAC and amp functionality for the TH series headphones, and had to choose between the HP-A8 and WA7, I'd take the HP-A8. If you were to ask me to rate the HP-A8; DAC = 4/5, Amp = 3/5, Overall = 3.5/5
Edited by kurochin - 12/24/13 at 9:53pm
post #5972 of 14233
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnakChan View Post

Personally for me, I have to admit I didn't really enjoy the HP-A8 as much. I gave it a 3-star in my review. As a DAC-only it's better however IMHO that's quite a bit to pay for just "DAC-only". For me I think in almost every way I preferred the WA7 over the HP-A8. If I had the WA7 already and I had a further $1600 - $2000 to spend on a DAC, I'd probably find a dedicated DAC or some sort. @pervysage, you may wanna ping Currawong and ask him about the AudioGD DACs.

+1, I think Audio-GD DACS offer tremendous VFM.
post #5973 of 14233
Quote:
Originally Posted by kurochin View Post

Yup, same for me. I felt it was a waste to spend that much and use the DAC only. If Fostex made a DAC without a discreet headamp and charged $500 - $700 less, I probably would have bought it. Same for the WA7, but in reverse. I think the in-built DAC is only about as good as most of the portable usb-stick units (like the first-gen Dragonfly), and would prefer if Woo sold it as an amp only for around $200 less.

I still maintain that, if I needed a single unit for both DAC and amp functionality for the TH series headphones, and had to choose between the HP-A8 and WA7, I'd take the HP-A8. If you were to ask me to rate the HP-A8; DAC = 4/5, Amp = 3/5, Overall = 3.5/5

 

You can find something similar to HP-A8's AK4399 dac chip in the $130ish Creative E-Mu 0204 USB 2.0 with the AK4396. And you can get the W7's PCM5102A dac in the Stoner Acoustic UD 110v2 for $49+10S&H. just fun fact! :)

I have seen the w7 on sale for $200 less on certain sites. I think it was going for $800.

post #5974 of 14233

I am looking to buy a DAC aswell to pair with my TH-900's and EF-6. I think I want a USB DAC tho... anyone have any experience with the Audiolab M-DAC or the Eastern Electric Mini DAC Plus?


Edited by fonna - 12/25/13 at 1:43am
post #5975 of 14233

the HP-A8 definitely looks interesting.

post #5976 of 14233
Quote:
Originally Posted by kurochin View Post


Yup, same for me. I felt it was a waste to spend that much and use the DAC only. If Fostex made a DAC without a discreet headamp and charged $500 - $700 less, I probably would have bought it. Same for the WA7, but in reverse. I think the in-built DAC is only about as good as most of the portable usb-stick units (like the first-gen Dragonfly), and would prefer if Woo sold it as an amp only for around $200 less.

I still maintain that, if I needed a single unit for both DAC and amp functionality for the TH series headphones, and had to choose between the HP-A8 and WA7, I'd take the HP-A8. If you were to ask me to rate the HP-A8; DAC = 4/5, Amp = 3/5, Overall = 3.5/5

 

Wasn't a fan of the HP-A8, I felt it was overpriced for its performance even as a combo unit. In the $1000 price range my top picks would go to the Concero, Ciunas DAC, Yulong DA8, Schiit Gungnir (although I've never tried the pairing with the Fostex headphones specifically). At $1500 - try and find a used PWD MK II or a NAD M51. 

post #5977 of 14233

About DAC, Fostex will launch new HPA8 model for CES 2014 in january (says Fostex distributor in Germany).

Just received my TH900 bought from excellent Headfier Girls Generations, aka Apollo.

 

First impressions (source : Concertgebouw Amsterdam radio Internet + AK 100 MKII) :

totally throws out of the park the HD800 I owned previously. My main concern with HD800

was that harshness in transitories, rendering music more like a high precision mechanism than a truly organic

whole. Everything was in your face, punchy, cranking up, but never really smooth and flush.

Soundstage is obviously deeper than HD800's, probably a bit straighter. Reminds me a classical concert hall,

with that layered touch of various orchestral sections which I found lacking in HD800 presentation. With HD800,

instruments seemed packed like German cars on a huge parking lot outside BMW factory in München. With TH900,

you have a very delicate and authoritative placement of instruments. Listening to Ligeti's Piano Concerto, the net effect is a real dialogue of instruments, as they're supposed to do in the orchestra, responding to one another in space.

With TH900, I have those organic impressions, and a sense of homogeneity which is properly engaging. Plus it has that

special darkness which is quite on par with musics like Stravinsky or Mahler or jazz. All in all, presentation is

very elegant. Reminds me a very long flight aboard a 747 when seated in front of the plane. You just flow with

the air, gently balancing with high currents.

So far so good and truly remarkable.

 

PS : Can't wait to try it with the HPA8 or new 2014 model or any full-fledged headamp.


Edited by quantx - 12/27/13 at 7:13am
post #5978 of 14233
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greed View Post
 

 

Wasn't a fan of the HP-A8, I felt it was overpriced for its performance even as a combo unit. In the $1000 price range my top picks would go to the Concero, Ciunas DAC, Yulong DA8, Schiit Gungnir (although I've never tried the pairing with the Fostex headphones specifically). At $1500 - try and find a used PWD MK II or a NAD M51. 

HPA8 is highly regarded here :

http://www.headfonia.com/?s=HPA8

Fostex has a new model just round the corner.

post #5979 of 14233
Quote:
Originally Posted by quantx View Post
 

HPA8 is highly regarded here :

http://www.headfonia.com/?s=HPA8

Fostex has a new model just round the corner.

 

I'd be interested in the new Fostex model, but from what I heard I wasn't a fan. For that kind of money, you better know what you are doing. As for the "highly regarded" review from Headfonia, well let's just chalk that up to hype and bias. 

post #5980 of 14233

You can now find the HPA8 for about 900 USD. It's becoming cheaper. Which unit would you promote around that price ?

Yulong DA8 ? Invicta Concero ? Schiit Gungnir ? According to fellow frenchman Pierre Paya who's got taste, Burson is too

brutal in-your-face.

When listening to delicate musics (jazz, contemporary), you need units that respect heights, tones, dynamics, etc.

Not your average electronics.

post #5981 of 14233
Quote:
Originally Posted by quantx View Post
 

You can now find the HPA8 for about 900 USD. It's becoming cheaper. Which unit would you promote around that price ?

Yulong DA8 ? Invicta Concero ? Schiit Gungnir ? According to fellow frenchman Pierre Paya who's got taste, Burson is too

brutal in-your-face.

When listening to delicate musics (jazz, contemporary), you need units that respect heights, tones, dynamics, etc.

Not your average electronics.

 

I wasn't aware the HPA8 was that cheap, I remember when it came out at around $2K. Well that makes it a bit more interesting for sure. I'd have to reconsider the unit, but off hand yes the DA8, X-Sabre, Concero, Ciunas DAC, Gungnir, and the new Pulse should all be considered if you are considering DAC portions alone.

post #5982 of 14233

Could you elaborate on sound signature of each ?

 

I must say I'm so impressed by TH900 I'm inclined to try the HPA8 with it.


Edited by quantx - 12/27/13 at 12:33pm
post #5983 of 14233
Quote:
Originally Posted by quantx View Post
 

Could you elaborate on sound signature of each ?

 

I must say I'm so impressed by TH900 I'm inclined to try the HPA8 with it.

 

That would be some comparison! Honestly, I can't tell you much in detail since I have none of these on hand. I don't feel confident leading you into something without knowing it inside and out. That was just a list of potential DACs that I have heard sometime or another over my time DAC hunting. Many of those have their own threads here and even thorough reviews, check them out if you are interested. 

post #5984 of 14233
Funny thing about Headfonia, I disagree with almost everything they write, but they got it spot-on with their opinion of the Bakoon-Fostex pairing. Auditioned the Bakoon HPA-21 (the international version of the HDA-5210 they paired with the TH series headphones) with my TH900 and had one of those "mind = blown" moments.

My main beef with the HP-A8 is that it's amp section tries to flatline the TH900's sound. It's like Fostex made this ballsy sounding headphone, and then decided to neuter it with their amp. I like the DAC section though. Coupled with my Burson Soloist, I prefer the HP-A8's output to the Lavry DA11 and Benchmark HGC. May not be as hyper-detailed or "accurate", but it's airier, meatier and not as strident with the highs compared to the other two.
....
Edited by kurochin - 12/27/13 at 1:39pm
post #5985 of 14233
Yeah fostex DAC have a smooth and sweet sound but with great sense of openness. Clean and focused was the first adjectives that came to mind when listening to the HP-A3 for the first times.
The pairing with the HE-500 gave me some serious goosebumps!
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