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REVIEW: Grant Fidelity TubeDAC-11 - Page 7

post #91 of 267
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutchi MerenGue View Post

thanks project86, i appreciate the help, just 1 final follow up question, i currently run my tube out to an external amp (matrix m stage) and am unsure on something, the volume potentiometer on the actual td11, for optimum performance, should i max it out and only adjust the volume on the external amp or leave it at around lets say 3 o clock on the td11 and adjust the knobs on the m stage even further?

 

 

i feel like if its max volume it puts less of a strain on the m stage but on the other hand, i think running at max might make the signal run too hot so to speak and introduce clipping and such and the m stage would then be boosting a degraded signal, what do you think? 

 

Don't worry about strain or anything like that - just go by what sounds best to you. If I recall correctly, turning the knob to max equates to 6V which will be too hot for some amps and just fine with others. If you run the volume knob at slightly less than half, you'll end up with a more typical 2V to 2.5V which will definitely work fine.

 

If you have the non-USB M-Stage with 2 analog inputs, you can connect the "DAC Direct" output of the TubeDAC to one input, and the tube out to the other input. The DAC Direct is fixed at 2V so it can be your reference - see if switching to the Tube out with hotter levels causes any problems, or any improvement. 

post #92 of 267

From the TubeDAC-11 product page..

 

4. What is the DAC-11's output via DAC out and Line Out / Tube Out? Where do I set the volume to optimize the performance?  

 

A: The TubeDAC-11's maximum output is 6V RMS thru the Tube and Line outputs, 2V RMS on the DAC Direct Out. The entire output stage was tweaked to make a volume control that can be used for the various scenarios. 


1). As a traditional DAC the volume knob sets Tube and Line Outs to the right level for your pre-amp or integrated from the 5 sources (typically 1/2 to 3/4 volume, with 3/4 typically being about 2.5v). We find that with our showroom equipment just under 3/4 volume is where we like it, probably just over 2v. The DAC Direct of course has no volume control and only the 3 digital inputs comes out the DAC Direct Out. We expect most will use both the DAC Direct Out and the Tube Out to their pre-amp stage and switch between to suit your music library selection and sources. We run all 3 outs at the same time into our pre-amp stages on our showroom systems, always fun to be able to get 3 flavours of sound at the switch of your pre-amps input control. We found that adding a switch to take the volume control out of the circuit was more of detriment to the sonics than have the volume control always present. Plus you can always run the DAC Direct out thru something like our B-283MKII tube processor loaded up with the Treasure/Psvane CV181-Z/T upgrade tubes or your favourite 6SN7 for a whole new world of high-end TubeDAC. Or run the DAC Direct Out to a dedicated headphone amp, which can sometimes be difficult incorporate into a system without manually switching cables around.

post #93 of 267
Thread Starter 

Thanks Jazz.

 

If that's true, then maybe the output voltage doesn't increase in a linear fashion. How else could 3/4 of the way get you 2.5V when the max volume equals 6V? But that's not necessarily a bad thing - giving more delicate control to the lower and middle end of the volume scale actually seems very smart. 

post #94 of 267

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

post #95 of 267
Originally Posted by underhysteria View Post

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

 

Easily & effortlessly.  HD600 + TD-11 is my setup, actually... and I LOVE it.

post #96 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlySweep View Post

 

Easily & effortlessly.  HD600 + TD-11 is my setup, actually... and I LOVE it.

 

It seems that you have the ODAC + O2 too. How does the tube compare to this setup with the HD600s?

post #97 of 267

Hi, this might be silly question as it seems. I'm relatively unfamilar with the implementations of the DAC so bear with me

 

 

Which is the recommended form of connection? I.e, more stable, better audio transmission and etc.

 

 

1) Direct USB connection from the t-11 to the desktop

 

or 

 

2) A S/PDIF connection from my asus xonar DX soundcard to the t-11? By doing so, the t-11 will act as the DAC, not the soundcard right?

post #98 of 267
Originally Posted by underhysteria View Post

It seems that you have the ODAC + O2 too. How does the tube compare to this setup with the HD600s?

 

Comparing the TD-11's tube output vs the ODAC/O2 is apples to oranges, IMO.  One (the ODAC/O2) aims for ultimate transparency and the other (the TD-11's tube output) purposely 'colors' the sound in a uniquely musical manner (which is what tubes are heralded for).  Generally speaking, the 'tube sound' is less concerned with absolute neutrality and transparency.. which, conversely, is exactly what the ODAC/O2 aims to achieve.

 

Plus, different tubes have different sonic characteristics, so pinning down any specific 'sound' the tube output has would be inaccurate.  What I can say is that both the tube output & O2/ODAC sound excellent with the HD600.  I tend to use the ODAC/O2+HD600 when I'm putting around the house (or working on the laptop).. and use the TubeDAC-11's tube (and solid state) output when I'm at the desktop.  Both rigs drive the HD600 very well.. and with ease.


Edited by FlySweep - 12/1/12 at 1:57am
post #99 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlySweep View Post

 

Comparing the TD-11's tube output vs the ODAC/O2 is apples to oranges, IMO.  One (the ODAC/O2) aims for ultimate transparency and the other (the TD-11's tube output) purposely 'colors' the sound in a uniquely musical manner (which is what tubes are heralded for).  Generally speaking, the 'tube sound' is less concerned with absolute neutrality and transparency.. which, conversely, is exactly what the ODAC/O2 aims to achieve.

 

Plus, different tubes have different sonic characteristics, so pinning down any specific 'sound' the tube output has would be inaccurate.  What I can say is that both the tube output & O2/ODAC sound excellent with the HD600.  I tend to use the ODAC/O2+HD600 when I'm putting around the house (or working on the laptop).. and use the TubeDAC-11's tube (and solid state) output when I'm at the desktop.  Both rigs drive the HD600 very well.. and with ease.

 

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? 

post #100 of 267
Thread Starter 
Quote:
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? 

 

More than half, actually. But then again those are all low-impedance models. Occasionally a low impedance headphone might have a pleasing coloration but for the more part you want 300 ohm and up headphones if you are going straight from the tube buffer. That means good candidates are Beyer 600 ohm models, Senn HD600, 650, and 800, some older AKG, and a few others. It's a limited selection but so far all the ones I've tried have worked great.

post #101 of 267
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by underhysteria View Post

Hi, this might be silly question as it seems. I'm relatively unfamilar with the implementations of the DAC so bear with me

 

 

Which is the recommended form of connection? I.e, more stable, better audio transmission and etc.

 

 

1) Direct USB connection from the t-11 to the desktop

 

or 

 

2) A S/PDIF connection from my asus xonar DX soundcard to the t-11? By doing so, the t-11 will act as the DAC, not the soundcard right?

 

Either way is fine. in scenario 2, the TD-11 will indeed be the DAC - the sound card is equivalent of a transport only. 

post #102 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

Either way is fine. in scenario 2, the TD-11 will indeed be the DAC - the sound card is equivalent of a transport only. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

More than half, actually. But then again those are all low-impedance models. Occasionally a low impedance headphone might have a pleasing coloration but for the more part you want 300 ohm and up headphones if you are going straight from the tube buffer. That means good candidates are Beyer 600 ohm models, Senn HD600, 650, and 800, some older AKG, and a few others. It's a limited selection but so far all the ones I've tried have worked great.

 

Thanks for the prompt reply.. that pretty sums it up.

 

Seems that the t-11 is the dac/amp I've to include in my <$400 criterion. I was initially considering the yulong d100mkii but the price point of this grant fidelity makes the deal even sweeter (and free shipping too!).

post #103 of 267

Aww crap.. now I cant decide between this and the Audinst-Mx1 L3000.gif

post #104 of 267

Well if you get that Audinst, you'll need to make another decision, and that's how you intend to improve on it's 15V walwart.  The toroidal transformer in the TD-11 is one of it's biggest selling points.  So if you're entertaining the Audinst then you go start by reading the head-fi posts on replacing it's PSU which date back to April 2010...

http://www.head-fi.org/t/484163/review-audinst-hud-mx1-dac-amp-a-promising-newcomer-compared-to-audio-gd-fun-amb-gamma2/15#post_6586503

 

Seems like the popular direction is a DIY Tread PSU with a small toroid.  GrantFidelity probably followed these threads and released the TD-11 in late 2011 WITH the toroid.

 

 

While scanning the posts on this Audinst I was surprised to find two users (dragon777 and m-p) describing an elusive noise issue with that Audinst that parallels my experience with the TD-11.  Fortunately I isolated my issue to 88khz or 96khz + wasapi + unit-is-cold, so most of the time I don't remember to turn on wasapi 30min in, and that's fine.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/484163/review-audinst-hud-mx1-dac-amp-a-promising-newcomer-compared-to-audio-gd-fun-amb-gamma2/180

post #105 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wynnytsky View Post

Well if you get that Audinst, you'll need to make another decision, and that's how you intend to improve on it's 15V walwart.  The toroidal transformer in the TD-11 is one of it's biggest selling points.  So if you're entertaining the Audinst then you go start by reading the head-fi posts on replacing it's PSU which date back to April 2010...

http://www.head-fi.org/t/484163/review-audinst-hud-mx1-dac-amp-a-promising-newcomer-compared-to-audio-gd-fun-amb-gamma2/15#post_6586503

 

Seems like the popular direction is a DIY Tread PSU with a small toroid.  GrantFidelity probably followed these threads and released the TD-11 in late 2011 WITH the toroid.

 

 

While scanning the posts on this Audinst I was surprised to find two users (dragon777 and m-p) describing an elusive noise issue with that Audinst that parallels my experience with the TD-11.  Fortunately I isolated my issue to 88khz or 96khz + wasapi + unit-is-cold, so most of the time I don't remember to turn on wasapi 30min in, and that's fine.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/484163/review-audinst-hud-mx1-dac-amp-a-promising-newcomer-compared-to-audio-gd-fun-amb-gamma2/180

 

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?).

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