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REVIEW: Grant Fidelity TubeDAC-11 - Page 4

post #46 of 267

A customer has lent me about 40 tubes from uber expensive to snack money. I'm going thru them to see if I can find the killer $50 tube that sounds just like the uber expensive in the TubeDAC-11. As always the uber expensive might sound like crap in your setup, but all my testing on tube rolls has been with my HD540's of course on the Tube-Outs and the expenive are worth the investment.

 

Just broke my HD540's, thinking of trying something else, but always prefered the HD540's to everything Senn up to the 650's. Never liked a pair og AKG 701 that have been on loan for a few years, guess the guy didn't like them much either. Any suggestions or anyone have some HD540s for sale?

 

Glad the Genelex is sounding good, I have to try that.

 

Cheers,

Ian


Edited by Grant Fidelity - 7/10/12 at 3:51pm
post #47 of 267

I had the HD540RII and consider the HD600 to be a superior phone.

post #48 of 267

Since Ian from Grant Fidelity is checking this thread I just wanted to post a little suggestion for the next version, and that would be to have a 2nd headphone jack for the tube output to headphones rather than having to resort to rca splitters and an RCA to ¼ inch adapter in order to use your headphones with the tube out as well as use it for a pre-amp.  That is to say, if I were to use the tube-outputs to go to my active monitors and also want to use it for my HD650 headphones it would be easier or cleaner anyway to have the separate headphone jack.  There are probably technical reasons behind the current design, but there you have it.

 

Cheers.
 


Edited by runswithaliens - 7/11/12 at 11:06am
post #49 of 267
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant Fidelity View Post

A customer has lent me about 40 tubes from uber expensive to snack money. I'm going thru them to see if I can find the killer $50 tube that sounds just like the uber expensive in the TubeDAC-11. As always the uber expensive might sound like crap in your setup, but all my testing on tube rolls has been with my HD540's of course on the Tube-Outs and the expenive are worth the investment.

 

Just broke my HD540's, thinking of trying something else, but always prefered the HD540's to everything Senn up to the 650's. Never liked a pair og AKG 701 that have been on loan for a few years, guess the guy didn't like them much either. Any suggestions or anyone have some HD540s for sale?

 

Glad the Genelex is sounding good, I have to try that.

 

Cheers,

Ian

 

 

A lot of people who love turntables and tubes tend to enjoy the Beyerdynamic T1 headphones. Not sure what the correlation is, but it's something I've noticed. The T1 is 600 ohms and thus a good candidate for being driven from the tube outs. There's also the Beyerdynamic DT880 in the 600 ohm version, which is not nearly as expensive and should still be enjoyable. I don't think I've heard the HD540 so I don't know what kind of signature it has.

post #50 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by runswithaliens View Post

Since Ian from Grant Fidelity is checking this thread I just wanted to post a little suggestion for the next version, and that would be to have a 2nd headphone jack for the tube output to headphones rather than having to resort to rca splitters and an RCA to ¼ inch adapter in order to use your headphones with the tube out as well as use it for a pre-amp.  That is to say, if I were to use the tube-outputs to go to my active monitors and also want to use it for my HD650 headphones it would be easier or cleaner anyway to have the separate headphone jack.  There are probably technical reasons behind the current design, but there you have it.

 

Cheers.
 

 

Thanks for the suggestion runswithaliens, basically it was a space issue and not wanting to run the Tube Outs back and forth thru the box, getting tubes this quiet in this environment is not an easy task. We are pretty happy with the current version as is and of course there will be a next version in a few years when, but the 11 will remain in production for a long time. What I should have done was include an adapter for the TubeOuts, next time :)

 

I value the opinion of the Head-Fi members, a lot of good ears and posters here. While headphones is just a part of the TubeDAC-11 typically there is a lot less gear between the DAC and the ears around here :)

post #51 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

 

A lot of people who love turntables and tubes tend to enjoy the Beyerdynamic T1 headphones. Not sure what the correlation is, but it's something I've noticed. The T1 is 600 ohms and thus a good candidate for being driven from the tube outs. There's also the Beyerdynamic DT880 in the 600 ohm version, which is not nearly as expensive and should still be enjoyable. I don't think I've heard the HD540 so I don't know what kind of signature it has.

I think a customer brought in a pair of DT880s, they were about $180 and they were the closest I had heard to the HD540, was kind of suprised, not quite as accurate but still something a studio engineer could use (which is where I got hooked on the HD540, 3 sets ago in the late 80's) It is the accuracy, neutrality and tonal balance of the HD540 that set them apart from everything else back then and I haven't heard anything yet that makes me want to switch. If you want to hear what they sound like, listen to some of my speakers :) trying to find a set of HD540s is getting hard, studio engineers still want them and anyone who has come into contact with me has heard me tell them to get a set. I'm going to check out the BD's, thanks.


Edited by Grant Fidelity - 7/12/12 at 7:42pm
post #52 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by grokit View Post

I had the HD540RII and consider the HD600 to be a superior phone.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant Fidelity View Post

I think a customer brought in a pair of DT880s, they were about $180 and they were the closest I had heard to the HD540, was kind of suprised, not quite as accurate but still something a studio engineer could use (which is where I got hooked on the HD540, 3 sets ago in the late 80's) It is the accuracy, neutrality and tonal balance of the HD540 that set them apart from everything else back then and I haven't heard anything yet that makes me want to switch. If you want to hear what they sound like, listen to some of my speakers :) trying to find a set of HD540s is getting hard, studio engineers still want them and anyone who has come into contact with me has heard me tell them to get a set. I'm going to check out the BD's, thanks.

 

 

To explain myself a bit better, it was the bass. I loved the HD540RII back in the day, and I owned tried a pair relatively recently. Tonally accurate with a beautiful sound, but the RII really broke down in the lower frequencies. So I kept the HD600 and sold off the 540. Perhaps the Original 540, or the Gold series is better in this area?

post #53 of 267

I placed my order a few days ago.  I'm patiently waiting now...

 

Can anyone with a TubeDac-11 comment on the internal headphone amp?  I'm curious if I will be happy with the built-in amp, or if getting an Objective 2 or Matrix M-Stage would give a noticeable improvement.  Headphones I'm using would be Fostex T50rp, Denon 2000, AT M50... 

 

Should I plan to get a separate headphone amp anyway to experience the tube out?
 

post #54 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by nv88 View Post

I placed my order a few days ago.  I'm patiently waiting now...

 

Can anyone with a TubeDac-11 comment on the internal headphone amp?  I'm curious if I will be happy with the built-in amp, or if getting an Objective 2 or Matrix M-Stage would give a noticeable improvement.  Headphones I'm using would be Fostex T50rp, Denon 2000, AT M50... 

 

Should I plan to get a separate headphone amp anyway to experience the tube out?
 

 

 

for those headphones you mentioned, you should be more than happy, they're all relatively low impedance and the tubedac 11 should have no problem driving them. i loved the headamp on this, really clean sound, no line noise or anything, just a really black background.

 

 

of all my headphones, only the akg k601's did i have trouble driving (they're only 120 ohm and the headamps are rated up to 300, but the k601's are notoriously ineffiecient and hard drive), i would have to max out the vol pot to get anywhere near decent listening levels so i ended up getting a matrix m stage and running both the dac out and tube outs into it. now i can a/b the tube sound and the straight dac out without the built in amp interfering (not that there was anything wrong with it)

 

my recommendation would be to stick to stock for a while unless you plan to tube roll, in which case you may want to get a separate headamp just to sample the tube sound

 

 

btw i pretty much forgot what the stock tubes sound like, from memory they were really really good & neutral, i prefered them to the regular line out when i ran them to my swan m10's, they really sweetened the sound and smoothed out the digital edge on some highs a bit, i rolled in some vintage mullard made rca tubes and been in love ever since (crazy lush sound btw, warm and gooey :) )

post #55 of 267

Thanks!  Not needing to spend more money for awhile sounds good.

 

Did anyone get shipping info/tracking number after ordering through the Grant Fidelity website?  About how long should shipping take to east coast US?

post #56 of 267
I was amazed at how fast mine arrived. The first few days are spent getting through Chinese customs, I believe. Then I got a tracking number by email and I belive it actually arrived the next day.
post #57 of 267

Is the power cord upgrade worthwhile?  There is a $100.00 power cord upgrade option offered on ordering, increasing the price from $350.00 to $450.00. 

 

I know the "Stereomojo" review said it was worthwhile to upgrade the power cord, but:

 

1)  It seems a lot to increase the price by 1/3 for a power cord

 

2)  I'm a power cord skeptic in audio matters.

 

How many of you have taken the power cord option?

 

How many are delighted with the TubeDAC-11 without the power cord upgrade?

post #58 of 267

At all good power cord gives more dynamic in sound, and overall improvement of sound. But there are difference cables gives different improvements. Some cables gives more bass, another gives more trebles, third give overall improvements.

I've used a MS Audio's cables on my first Schiit's source. I really feel the improvements with upgrade of power cords. 


Edited by danik97 - 7/23/12 at 1:12am
post #59 of 267

I've got the upgraded power cord and mentioned I'd do an A/B w/ the standard power cord.. my apologies for not reporting back.. I, admittedly, forgot about it.  Will take care of this in the next day or two.

post #60 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by nv88 View Post

I placed my order a few days ago.  I'm patiently waiting now...

 

Can anyone with a TubeDac-11 comment on the internal headphone amp?  I'm curious if I will be happy with the built-in amp, or if getting an Objective 2 or Matrix M-Stage would give a noticeable improvement.  Headphones I'm using would be Fostex T50rp, Denon 2000, AT M50... 

 

Should I plan to get a separate headphone amp anyway to experience the tube out?
 

hey i had to come back to this question because i just found something really really interesting you might care to know.

 

ever since i bought the matrix m stage i never went back to the headamp on the tubedac 11 because i saw little reason 2, i ran both tubes and the dac out directly into the matrix m stage (which i have biased into a class a with vintage burr brown opamps) and figured i was getting the same sound from the dac out as i would plugging directly into the headamp on the tubedac 11 but i couldnt be more wrong

 

good god almighty i couldnt be more wrong lol, i dont know how it slipped past my mind that the op amps in the m stage would color the sound and give it its own signature (now a very very warm signature) so out of curiousity i plugged in my sony xb1000's to the tubedac's headamp to see if i notice a difference between the tube out to m stage, dac out to m stage, and regular head amp and you know what i found? the gf tubedac 11's headamp was superrrrrrr clearrrrr, like you can see yourself in its reflection clean and completly uncongested, im at a very real loss for words lol

 

 

the difference is night and day, once i level matched it was no competition, the headamp on the tubedac blows the m stage out of the water in terms of detail and clarity (still prefer the tube output tho, im using vintage mullard made rca's but its a totally different, more musical and lush sound, more preferance than anything)

 

i had written off the headamp on my tubedac 11 seeing it as more of an afterthought compared to everything else it does but now after like 5 months of owning this beautiful piece of hardware did i come back and see the light, wow is all i have to say right now, the spl on my headphones is insane right now, im seeing a whole nother side to trance right now, i hope im not to late in stopping you from considering another headamp because unless you have some crazy ineffiecient high ohm rating can that absolutly needs more power, you should be more than happy with this this, i'm going to go and compare my other headphones to it and see if i rediscover my music for a couple of days lol, grant fidelity hit it out of the park with this one

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