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Sennheiser HDVD800 Headphone Amplifier - Page 85

post #1261 of 2280
Quote:
Originally Posted by CantScareMe View Post

 

 

Thanks for reading it!

 

I tried my best when it came to volume matching as I know from a long way back that this is the most important thing to ensure when testing different amps. First i used the hd800 for an hour, then the d7k for 45 mins (not both interchangeably). When testing two amplifiers using a headphone, the first 4/5 times I switch between amps I don't compare their sound - I only try to match volume. Using a few tracks I'll find where they sound just beneath what I consider to be loud and leave it there.


When you do your comparison, you forgot to mention what output jack you are using from the amp. I am pretty sure that Solo Ultra-Linear is single ended, and if you do not mod your phone, they should all be single ended too. My guess is that you are doing an single ended output comparison across these 2 amps.

 

Well, for what I learned from HDVD800, the single ended output is good, but not as good as other top tire single ended amps (e.g. my rpx-35 or V200). The juicy part is the balance output. I wish you have some balance phones to do the comparison cause I am very interested in such reviews~~~~ Always wanna know how other phone in balance configuration sounds on HDVD800 compare to other SE amps~~~

post #1262 of 2280
Quote:
Originally Posted by CantScareMe View Post


Thanks for reading it!

I tried my best when it came to volume matching as I know from a long way back that this is the most important thing to ensure when testing different amps. First i used the hd800 for an hour, then the d7k for 45 mins (not both interchangeably). When testing two amplifiers using a headphone, the first 4/5 times I switch between amps I don't compare their sound - I only try to match volume. Using a few tracks I'll find where they sound just beneath what I consider to be loud and leave it there.

Studies have shown that a difference in volume of one decibel is all it takes to skew the results (the louder amp sounding better). Unfortunately matching volume to less than 1dB is not possible by ear alone, so you would never know one amp is louder than the other - only that one sounds better.

Now if the amps have significant frequency response differences or obvious distortion, then volume matching is less critical, but this wouldnt be the case with the quality and ciner of amps you tested.

Im not saying your listening opinions arent valid. I have compared amps and DACs the very same way myself. Im just pointing out other thngs to consider before coming to any conclusions.

As for Alan's comment about balanced outputs - I have to ask, which output is louder, balanced or unbalanced? Also, effectively comparing the HDVD800 balanced to the unbalanced Graham Slee is impossible because it takes too long to switch the cables between listening. Having two HD800's on hand might work, but production variations in frequency response from one headphone to another could be (and I think probably are) greater than any differences between the two amps.
Edited by palmfish - 7/14/13 at 1:28am
post #1263 of 2280

Unbalanced folks. 

 

The graham slee diamond is single ended - I actually didn't test the balanced output of the hdvd800 at all. Should of maybe.

 

Your right when you say a volume difference of 1db is all it takes for an amp to sound different and skew results. But in this instance, as in many other instances, whether I put an amp louder or quiter - it still would sound inferior. Like with the hdvd with the denon. I turned the volume down and up from the 'matched' state and it still sounded better. 

 

I've owned/listened to over 250 headphones and say 50 dacs/amps, and I have the experience I feel to largely see past the 'louder sounds better' way of thinking. I am human this experience should set me apart somewhat from the average joe that walks into a bose store to be fooled by the 'louder is better, regardless' concept. Otherwise I'm an idiot who has wasted many thousands of £ and hours over the last 4 years!  I see it as that much of a problem.

 

The hdvd sounded more sharper with the hd800 and this only increased when put louder. The graham slee always sounded more controlled in this sense, even on higher/lower volumes. 

post #1264 of 2280

I use a Macbook Pro for my HDVD 800. It seems that when I change format to 44100.0 Hz in Audio MIDI Setup when playing music files of the same sample rate, there is no pop /crack sound. Otherwise, the up-sampling would give me unpleasant cracks.

 

I had a DAC1 USB set to 192000.00 Hz before and it never gave me this kind of issue.

post #1265 of 2280

good morning all.

 

 Was there a new driver release to solve the issue when playing dsd files??

 

  Also is there anywhere I can download the driver for the unit. I own it and have the cd. but when I last checked it I could not find an updated version or even the original online.  Does anyone here know where or can they post a link.

 

 thanks

  AL.D

post #1266 of 2280

I got a return email from the person that was helping me in the store.

He told me that indeed the dac of the cd player was used, not the dac of the HDVD800.

The cd player = Music Hall CD35.2 (cost 799,- Euro).

 

In the store I heard alot more detail and seperation (tones and instruments).

Is it possible that this difference I heard has to do with the fact that I listened using a different dac in store than that I'm using at home?

I have very good recorded digital music.

 

I know that many people think that it has to do with the magic of being there and so on. But sounds are  more muddled (or less seperated from each other) than in the store. In the store I was blown away due to the seperation of sounds, now I'm not.

The store is also too far away to test anything unfortunatly.

post #1267 of 2280
The DAC in the store should not sound noticeably different than your DAC at home. Air and space and soundstage are not really a product of the electronic chain (amp and DAC) - they are mostly contained in the recording.
Edited by palmfish - 7/17/13 at 8:00am
post #1268 of 2280
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlancoTheBull View Post

I got a return email from the person that was helping me in the store.

He told me that indeed the dac of the cd player was used, not the dac of the HDVD800.

The cd player = Music Hall CD35.2 (cost 799,- Euro).

 

In the store I heard alot more detail and seperation (tones and instruments).

Is it possible that this difference I heard has to do with the fact that I listened using a different dac in store than that I'm using at home?

I have very good recorded digital music.

 

I know that many people think that it has to do with the magic of being there and so on. But sounds are  more muddled (or less seperated from each other) than in the store. In the store I was blown away due to the seperation of sounds, now I'm not.

The store is also too far away to test anything unfortunatly.

 

I think I'll reply to your last PM here. Hopefully we can use collective brainpower to solve out this mystery. 

 

If you tried a CD player at home as a source and found it sounded identical, I doubt the USB implementation is the "bottleneck"

 

Are you using this unit balanced or single ended? Are you listening to the same recordings that you did in the store?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by palmfish View Post

The DAC in the store should not sound noticeably different than your DAC at home. Air and space and soundstage are not really a product of the electronic chain (amp and DAC) - they are mostly contained in the recording.

 

 

I agree with palmfish here. 

post #1269 of 2280

Hey Elwappo99,

 

I'm using it single ended. Unfortunatly I'm not listening to the same recordings. 

I have listened to alot of very good recordings, 3 albums from Chesky for instance, and it never reached the levels of seperation and detail that I heard in the store (no recording did). And I have listened to hundreds of songs.

 

Thanks for your help

post #1270 of 2280
You really need to listen to the exact same recordings you heard in the store. It is the ONLY way for you to know.
post #1271 of 2280
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlancoTheBull View Post

Hey Elwappo99,

 

I'm using it single ended. Unfortunatly I'm not listening to the same recordings. 

I have listened to alot of very good recordings, 3 albums from Chesky for instance, and it never reached the levels of seperation and detail that I heard in the store (no recording did). And I have listened to hundreds of songs.

 

Thanks for your help

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by palmfish View Post

You really need to listen to the exact same recordings you heard in the store. It is the ONLY way for you to know.

 

Again, agree with palmfish totally here. In an audio shop they will definitely have recordings that will show off space and detail more than your average recording. There is a test track I think ultrasone has for their headphones that sounds like a trumpet is coming from another room. It's not that their headphones sound amazing, but the recording is meant for that purpose. 

 

For future reference, always have a few really good tracks you like that you test. I've got a few I test on every new audio purchase and any time I'm comparing items. 

post #1272 of 2280
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlancoTheBull View Post

Hey Elwappo99,

 

I'm using it single ended. Unfortunatly I'm not listening to the same recordings. 

I have listened to alot of very good recordings, 3 albums from Chesky for instance, and it never reached the levels of seperation and detail that I heard in the store (no recording did). And I have listened to hundreds of songs.

 

Thanks for your help

 

Ok, one more time. Since the headphone amp analog component is the same unit as used in the store. What were the differences?

 

1) Headphones? Or did you buy the ones that were also demo'ed in the store? As I recall, you had HD800s. Those phones are going to be very revealing and open even before they are "broken in", so unless you have a damaged set of HD800 or cables (and especially if you actually brought home the demos), I just can't see it being the headphones.

 

2) You had analog cables on your source side at the store. Cables are typically measured in how much or how little they degrade the signal. Adding cables in this case just couldn't make the signal that much better than the tiny connections between the DAC and Amp sections of the HDVD800.

 

3) You were not using the DAC in the HDVD800 (which, of course means that you were not using any of the digital input circuitry on the HDVD800 either) It seems very odd. The HDVD800 appears to have a very good DAC in it. I suppose that there is always a possibility that the DAC itself or it's digital interface that you are using has something wrong with it. But when it sounds so "good" as it is (maybe not terrific but it is functioning), that would be an odd failure mode. Just doesn't seem as likely.

 

4) You are not using the same digital recordings as at the store. This also doesn't seem to explain the difference because you should still be able to hear some "air" on other decent recordings that you have access to that would be similar to the recordings at the shop.

 

Which leads me to the last 2 things I can think of:

 

5) The "transport" mechanism that you are using for your source is completely different than in the shop. The CD player has the advantage of having its master clock inside the same box with both the DAC and the CD transport itself which can assist a bit in jitter control. I think I remember you saying that at home you are using a computer as your digital source. If your home source is producing a lot of jitter it could potentially produce a reduction of focus. Also if you are set up to operate your USB in Adaptive transfer mode instead to Asynchronous mode, you jitter could be a bit worse than just using TOSlink or another S/PDIF interface. Are you using an audio program designed to bypass some of the generic OS audio handling processes on the PC? I know that on my iMac, this DOES make a difference for me.

 

6) This last item is rather subjective. Sometimes, you can have a sound A that seems nicer than sound B even though sound B is more accurate. I learned this many years ago with intermodulation distortion. On some amps, the distortion would add a very low level and subtle extra sound or hash that would occur synchronously with the real sound coming from the recording. I've also seen this in some cases where jitter related artifacts are present. They would add extra "body" to the sound that could make it more "rich" and "Musical" to listen to. But that "richness" was from artifacts not in the source recording. It wasn't until I noticed that when I got that "richness" and extra body in the music, the sound stage would tend to collapse due to the true sounds of ambience in the recording being overrun with a fake kind of "ambience" created as a result of jitter or intermodulation distortion. I know that this isn't quite what you were describing, but it might be something to think about.

 

So if you can't get your hands on that CD player to check it's output both from its analog and digital outputs, I'd do some reading and revisit how your computer system is set up to output the digital tracks that you have stored on it.

 

Again hope this gives you some ideas.

 

- Jeff

post #1273 of 2280
Quote:
Originally Posted by wisemanja View Post

 

Ok, one more time. Since the headphone amp analog component is the same unit as used in the store. What were the differences?

 

4) You are not using the same digital recordings as at the store.

 

 

Not the same = different.

post #1274 of 2280

Any new news on the firmware update coming from sennheiser?

post #1275 of 2280

Hey guys,

I just reviewed HDVD800 (but you would need google translate, at least check the photos I took).

Long story short, I really like it paired with a balanced HD800. It needs a lot of burn-in to sound right, but when burn-in period passes HD800 just sings with it. I didnt use 24bit material for this review, so I didnt notice any issues with this unit. HDVD800 sounds great to me, unfortunately not as good with Audezes or other low impedance headphones, so its not quite an universal combo DAC/Amp.

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