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Comparing 5 good DAC/AMPS ..... and one EASY winner ...  

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

So recently I had a need to buy a great pair of IEMs, and I needed to get a good DAC/AMP to use with all of the WAV files on my laptop. Getting the Vsonic GR07s meant I had the ability to dredge up the very best of whatever unit I chose. So after asking quite a few questions here that never did get answers, I decided to just purchase several and do a comparison ... I also had two nice friends who loaned me their units as well.

 

The idea was to do a very comprehensive review that compared all of the intricate attributes, and tell about all of the differences. The issue is that one of these devices just stomped down all of the others with simply MUCH better sound, and there was simply ZERO comparison..... and in my mind at least, no longer a need to do the comparison in depth.  And the funny thing is, it was the one device that I was literally talked into trying, and I had almost no hope for it against some of what I thought would be stiff competition !

 

Here were the would be players in this game :

 

 

Headamp Pico Dac/Amp

 

Leckerton UH-4

 

RSA Predator

 

Nuforce uDac 2 SE

 

HRT Musicstreamer

 

 

 

One of these units simply dug up information in the recordings the others just missed. Textures and nuances were MUCH more present and enjoyable, It was truly a complete shock to me, but one of these units made the rest just fall far behind ....

 

 

 

This is the easiest and best recommendation I have ever been able to make in the Headfi world .....    Do not think ... do not question ,.. just try one and see,

 

 

P1040957.JPG

post #2 of 31
Thread Starter 

Wow ... No comments huh ?   If you are like I was, you have probably read this and thought to yourself   " No way " ....   I never thought the Headstreamer had a chance either.  But it's DAC is just waaay superior to those used in the other dac/amps I tested.  And the amp section is PLENTY powerful !

post #3 of 31

This is always subjective, clear winner to you might not necessarily be to the next.

 

Perhaps writing a review how you got to the conclusion might be more helpful? 

post #4 of 31
Thread Starter 

I'm sorry sir ... but having been working in the high end audio industry for 28 years, I did not have to listen closely even. It was not really close.

 

So once again, this statement should pretty much cover why it is so much better....   The Headstreamer was able to show details in the recording the others missed or just did not play well.

 

Textures, dynamics, clarity , and tone is much more life like.

post #5 of 31

This is interesting indeed. Judging from money alone Pico would be a clear winner, so that's what I've been considering for, in fearing Headstreamer stuff won't perform decently.

Also, did you get a chance to compare your new ADL Curise with the gang? Just out of curiosity. Form factor or size wise it may not be matching this group well, just out of curiosity coz that's the one I'd like to invest in.

post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WorldsEndWombat View Post

This is interesting indeed. Judging from money alone Pico would be a clear winner, so that's what I've been considering for, in fearing Headstreamer stuff won't perform decently.

Also, did you get a chance to compare your new ADL Curise with the gang? Just out of curiosity. Form factor or size wise it may not be matching this group well, just out of curiosity coz that's the one I'd like to invest in.



I was very frustrated today when my Cruise was brought back to me by the friend I had loaned it to .... and the Headstreamer sounded much more dynamic and detailed. I thought at first it was just because the Cruise is so smooth sounding, but while listening to Cassandra Wilson's awesome voice, it became obvious the Headstreamer was just way, way better at allowing you to hear the tone and texture of her voice. It just sounded way more lifelike, ... Like she was in the room singing to me.. So I was pretty frustrated after spending $500 on a product that is clearly not as good as a $139 product  mad.gif

 

To those who have trouble believing it, I simply say to you TRY ONE.  They are only $139, and Amazon allows returns.  But eh ... you won't be returning it LOL.

post #7 of 31

Thanks for this write-up, I'll definitely compare the two. BTW, the tests you did were comparing the DAC+amp combo holistically. Any tests via analog-in for Amp session only? I know Headstreamer doesn't have analog in.

Also, besides Vsonic GR07, any chance you tried Shure or Westone universal fits?

 

post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WorldsEndWombat View Post

Thanks for this write-up, I'll definitely compare the two. BTW, the tests you did were comparing the DAC+amp combo holistically. Any tests via analog-in for Amp session only? I know Headstreamer doesn't have analog in.

Also, besides Vsonic GR07, any chance you tried Shure or Westone universal fits?

 



I only used the GR07s for my testing. They are the most neutral ones I own.  I did not test them as amps, but as dac/amps at the best each could offer.

post #9 of 31

I'll stick with my HRT MSII. Kevin knows how to build good gear for small dollars, no question. Whether the Headstreamer scales to bigger cans is a question which, by your own admission, you haven't addressed. 

post #10 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

I'll stick with my HRT MSII. Kevin knows how to build good gear for small dollars, no question. Whether the Headstreamer scales to bigger cans is a question which, by your own admission, you haven't addressed. 



Oh yeah ... by all means bud.  The MSII is a superior DAC in the same line, so it will be even better. If Kevin would put the HS's amp in a MSII+, I would be ALL over it !!!

post #11 of 31

Do you know how does it preform comparing to E17?

post #12 of 31

So.. my english isnt that good, whos the winner? HRT HeadStreamer?

post #13 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Torontoraccoon View Post

So.. my english isnt that good, whos the winner? HRT HeadStreamer?



Yes .... HRT Headstreamer is just awesome.

 

post #14 of 31

At first I thought this is the first generation of MSII which is a DAC. Then after some searching around I found out this a new HRT DAC/Amp with asynchronous USB. This should get more attention here for the asking price.

 

Just curious, how do you stick it to the back of the laptop?

post #15 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by badmod View Post

At first I thought this is the first generation of MSII which is a DAC. Then after some searching around I found out this a new HRT DAC/Amp with asynchronous USB. This should get more attention here for the asking price.

 

Just curious, how do you stick it to the back of the laptop?



Sticky backed Velcro ...

 

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