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REVIEW: Grant Fidelity TubeDAC-11 - Page 8

post #106 of 267
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by underhysteria View Post

 

Well thanks for the input.. i dont know how much noticeable sonic improvement the audinst will benefit from the increased power anyway. I'm still quite skeptical over this.

 

From what I read, both the audinst and tube-dac11 have no problems synergizing with the HD600s. The T-11 costs about $200 more but I'll be getting the tube output (and the thought of swapping the tubes kinda excites me) and the cirrus CS4398 (I'm assuming its better than the wolfson 8740 implemented in the audinst?).

 

It's not necessarily increased power, but better quality power. As you move higher up the ladder for DACs and amps a lot of what you are paying for is increased power supply quality. In fact a lot of folks are of the opinion that for the most part we are chiefly listening to the PSU and everything else is secondary. Not sure I go that far, but it is an important aspect.

 

The WM8740 and the CS4398 are both quite capable chips. It's the way they are implemented that matters most. The TubeDAC-11 is just a more ambitious design. But the Audinst is nice for the asking price, so you have to decide what you want to spend. 

post #107 of 267
Originally Posted by underhysteria View Post

Thanks mate.. that pretty sums it up the reason for you in owning both setups. Project86 claimed that half of his headphones sounded poor when driven out straight from the tube buffer. I was pretty worried if the HD600 synergizes poorly with this tube component.

 

You seem to emphasize alot on the tube component with the HD600. What about the headphone out component (the one at the front) when paired with the senns? 

 

The HD600 through the TD-11's headphone output sounds excellent to me.  The Headphone Out doesn't run through the tube buffer, so you're hearing the TD-11's solid state capabilities.  It's very transparent, clean, clear, controlled, and smooth.  Soundstaging is accurate, the sound is dynamic so there's excellent depth, bass is tight and extended, treble is detailed, clear, and balances airiness/smoothness quite well, and the midrange is uncolored and neutral for the most part.  There's plenty of spare power to effortlessly drive the HD600 loud.. I rarely have to go past "12 o'clock" on the pot to get the desired volume.  The TD-11's headphone out drove my HE-500 really well when I had it too.

 

That's the thing I really love about the TD-11.. the fact I've got an excellent tube buffer and a well implemented 'solid state' output.. in one compact, desktop friendly unit... and both outputs sound great to my ears.  The TD-11 isn't the end all be all of Tube Buffered DACs.. but it provides a lot of versatility (I'm slowly getting into speaker-fi.. and the TD-11 will have a place in that system as well) and the sound quality is excellent for the price.  I've had the TD-11 since April (I think) and haven't had any desire to look around for another desktop DAC/amp.  Plus, tube rolling is fun (and relatively inexpensive since you only need one tube).


Edited by FlySweep - 12/3/12 at 11:14am
post #108 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by underhysteria View Post

Does the tubedac-11 drives 300ohms headphones fairly easily? I'm contemplating of pairing the HD600 with this!

I am driving my Hd580's (w/650 cord) with fantastic results from the tubedac-11's tube out. I also think that the headphone out is very good. Can you spend $800 and higher and get an even better solid state headphone amp? yup. But in my experience with a lot of amps and cans that's how much you'd have to spend. However, I can say that the tube out for headphones at 250 to 300 ohm is amazing. it is totally beyond anything else in its price point, and by many leagues. I 've had $500 woo tube hp amp, had the RSA Raptor (one of my faves!!!),and melos sha gold (also had tube preamps including the famed marantz model 7 and use a tube power amp by david berning that is a mind blower) - so I have some tube experience. the TD11 scales up with better tubes so very friggin well that it rivals the raptor. the Raptor has a tad more refinement overall, but only just a tad. and its is only a headphone amp and costs nearly four times as much as the TD11. This thing is an absolute steal for the money, and would be a darn good buy for a lot more given it's multiple personalities/flexibility). I do not know how much better DAC's get. I do not have the experience. but I do know that even playing a cd through my desktop as a transport (w/foobar) via the usb to the td11 sounds every bit as good as my $3,300 Naim cd setup (cd5 w/outboard pwr supply). that tells me its a pretty good dac at least. I am mostly playing hirez files through the usb to td11 and using the tube out. the sound is CRASY good. phenominal even. it was quite good with it's stock tube. it's killer with a telefunken, an orange globe amperex, a bugle boy, a zaerix, a mullard e88 cc-01, etc etc. the zaerix and a russian tube (see my posts from last few days as hirezconvert here for the tube name: http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=398070).  that go for very little money sound as good as the teles and, amperex's and mullard. so you need not spend large dollar on tubes to get high end sound from it. I was just auditioning a pair of Beyerdynamic T70 cans. they are 250 ohm. I was running them via the td11 tube out to my rsa hr2 as I had things set up that way for my Rs1i's. The T70s sounded very good for what they are (but  I am yearning for an even higher end can, beyer t1, senn hd800 or grado ps1000). but when I drove the T70's directly outta the td11 tube out they began to sing! it made them almost a keeper. 


Edited by analog'd - 12/3/12 at 4:21pm
post #109 of 267

Nice thoughts, analog'd.  your impressions of the Voshkod tube definitely piqued my interest.. can you tell us a little more about it's tonal characteristics?  I was originally looking at getting an Amperex tube cause I'm curious to hear what they (generally) sound like (and are said to match quite well with the TD-11.

post #110 of 267

Hi Analog'd,

 

I'm still running the stock tube in my TD-11 and like it, but I'm itching to roll it if I can find something for not a lot of money that will improve resolution/soundstage without overly coloring the sound.  I don't want to turn my TD-11 into a euphonic cream puff.  Does any easily-available tube stand out for that purpose from among the ones you listed above?  Thanks.

 

Love that avatar!

post #111 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlySweep View Post

Nice thoughts, analog'd.  your impressions of the Voshkod tube definitely piqued my interest.. can you tell us a little more about it's tonal characteristics?  I was originally looking at getting an Amperex tube cause I'm curious to hear what they (generally) sound like (and are said to match quite well with the TD-11.

what tube(s) do you have at this point?

 

i'm in the middle of rolling thru the tubes i have and jotting down impressions. i'll post something about the voskhod 6n23 tomorrow. 

post #112 of 267
Originally Posted by analog'd View Post

what tube(s) do you have at this point?

 

Stock tube, Electro Harmonix 6922, Zaerix 7DJ8 (not the 6DJ8), and the Gold Lion 6922.

 

To my ears, the stock tube sounds the least 'tube-y' (in a stereotypical sense).. it's still quite capable though.. took about 25 hours to open up.  The Zaerix & EH tubes are fantastic.. open, smooth, airy, romantic, smooth.. the Gold Lion is excellent for rock.. it's got a lush, slightly midforward, character that's quite smooth and detailed (reminds me of the HiFiMan's RE262's sound).

 

The EH sort of sounds like a combination of the Zaerix & Gold Lion.. but not quite as technical advanced as the latter two.. but very close.  I think it's a must buy for <$20.. especially if you're new to the TD-11/tube rolling.  All my (tube out) listening is done with the HD600.

 

Looking forward to your thoughts on the Voshkod.

post #113 of 267

zaerix 6dj8 or 7dj8 or the russian voskhod 6n23 are inexpensive and very good. neither is so euphonic as to creampuff your world.

 

 

having said that, i have yet to find any tube, including the more 'liquid' mid generating mullard i own, that makes everything sound lusher than life itself (the way some tube gear can). the tubedac11 simply doesn't over emphasize the colours that are there from tube to tube. certainly you will find some tubes have very little colour compared to others, but as its all so subjective (one's reactions/appreciation i mean), you'll just have to try and hear for yourself to determine what sounds best to you.

 

i will also sometimes roll to a given tube as a way of balancing the sound a bit to compensate for the sonic tendencies of a particular set of headphones or speakers.

 

anyway, i dont think you need to hesitate to try the two i mentioned.

 

have fun!  

post #114 of 267

Flysweep: Did you upgrade the power cord for your t-11 + HD600 setup?

post #115 of 267

Originally Posted by underhysteria View Post

Flysweep: Did you upgrade the power cord for your t-11 + HD600 setup?

 

Yes.. I have the GF PC 1.5 cord.  Incredulously, I haven't done an A/B between it & a stock power cord (I've been using the 1.5 from the moment I unboxed the TD-11).  I'll do an A/B as soon as possible.  My TD-11 is getting modded at the moment, so I won't have it for another week or so.

post #116 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlySweep View Post

Originally Posted by analog'd View Post

what tube(s) do you have at this point?

 

Stock tube, Electro Harmonix 6922, Zaerix 7DJ8 (not the 6DJ8), and the Gold Lion 6922.

 

To my ears, the stock tube sounds the least 'tube-y' (in a stereotypical sense).. it's still quite capable though.. took about 25 hours to open up.  The Zaerix & EH tubes are fantastic.. open, smooth, airy, romantic, smooth.. the Gold Lion is excellent for rock.. it's got a lush, slightly midforward, character that's quite smooth and detailed (reminds me of the HiFiMan's RE262's sound).

 

The EH sort of sounds like a combination of the Zaerix & Gold Lion.. but not quite as technical advanced as the latter two.. but very close.  I think it's a must buy for <$20.. especially if you're new to the TD-11/tube rolling.  All my (tube out) listening is done with the HD600.

 

Looking forward to your thoughts on the Voshkod.

i'll roll from the voskhod to my Zaerix 7dj8 and back a few times while i work tomorrow ( i work from home in my stereo cave) so i can try to relate itV to a tube you know well.

post #117 of 267

I haven't seen anyone inquire on cryo'd tubes.  I use them elsewhere in my system and love the results (very low noise floor).  If I was using the TD-11's tube-out I would be trying something cryo'd, although at these prices it would be nice to split a pair with another TD-11 owner.

 

$110/pair

BLACK SABLE JJ E88CC / 6922 Gold Pin

http://www.tubedepot.com/bsct-e88ccg-jj.html

 

$49/pair

6H6P=6922 Russian 1980's

https://www.tubeworld.com/kuhltubedetails.htm#58.55

post #118 of 267

Just wanted to ask , this is compatible with the Linux MPD VOYAGE etc as USB DAC from Linux PC box...

 

 

V

post #119 of 267

Gonna place my order on these soon..

 

hope that I made my the right choice for the HD600 :)

post #120 of 267

Are most of you guys using your TubeDAC-11 as both the DAC and amp (tube-out), or are you using DAC-out to another amp?

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