or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › Sennheiser HDVD800 Headphone Amplifier
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Sennheiser HDVD800 Headphone Amplifier - Page 184

post #2746 of 2802

Just pick up some new HD tracks Pangaea. I find that magic all over again every time i throw a new 24/192 FLAC file on my HDVD800+HD800. :)

post #2747 of 2802
Listening to a few new Rush tracks from the album Hemispheres, I just purchased through HDTracks at 192k. magic is right.
post #2748 of 2802
Can anyone comment on the Schiit Valhalla 2 + Bifrost Multibit stack vs the HDVD800 with the HD800? What's a better pairing?
post #2749 of 2802

Okay, my journey to "balanced" started today with my picking up a HDVD800. 

 

Excited, disappointed, rediscovered, satisfied (to be advised).

 

That is the sequence I will now describe in regard to my initial impressions.

 

I set myself the task of first listening, unburned in as it was, to the single ended output as my balanced cable is still in the mail.

 

Phase 1 Excitement

 

I naturally selected my HD800 first. Choosing the right track was difficult so I picked 4, 

 

1. Bare Wood by Ottmar Leibert, 24 bit 88,200 Hz sample rate

2. Witchy Woman by The Eagles, 24 bit 96,000 Hz sample rate

3. Novacaine by Ambar Rubath, 24 bit 96,000 Hz sample rate binaural

4. Stank by Lenny White, 24 bit 176,400 Hz sample rate binaural

 

Phase 2 disappointment

 

I first played "Bare Wood" through my existing Fostex HPA8, feed from my computer's USB output. Nice, finely resolved. Great. This will be terrific through the HDVD800 I think, so I move my USB cable to the Seinheisser's input. Oh... that's umm okay I think. Hang on, lets be honest, its not better per se. I repeat with the other recordings and if anything my conclusions are firmed up.

 

Phase 3 rediscovered

 

I connect the analogue out from the HPA8 to the HDVD800 analogue input. Select the unbalanced input. Play.... ummm, nice. Okay lets A/B the Fostex DAC's amp out with the HDVD800 with them both utilizing the HPA8's DAC. Result: nice, yes the HDVD is noticeably a better amp utilizing its single ended output. Yes, the DAC of the HPA8 is noticeably better than the HDVD800.

 

I was selling the HPA8. I am not any more. And yes, I'm keeping the HDVD800 just based on its single ended performance alone.

 

Phase 4 satisfied is to be advised.

 

Now I wait for the balanced cable. This should add the icing to the HDVD cake. I did A/B the single ended and balanced outputs on the HDVD at the shop. So I do expect to be satisifed.

 

The only thing I can say is that the DAC in the HDVD800 makes me feel like advising the HDVD600 and a separate DAC as a better purchase. Certainly the Fostex DAC does a better job, finer detail, better resolution, more punch, better separation of sounds. I'll be trying my Benchmark DAC1 later to see how it feels in combination with the HDVD but in reality my earlier model doesn't have the USB input so I'll likely stick with the more versatile HPA8 which on single ended performance would have satisfied me if I wasn't chasing balanced.

 

Just my initial reflections, straight out of the HDVD box! Of course, to be fair the DAC in the HDVD800, I will repeat this exercise once its had some burn in... perhaps that's what I should have done... I'll report back...

 

Cheers,

 

TonyTripleA


Edited by TonyTripleA - 1/29/16 at 8:37pm
post #2750 of 2802

Hi Tony,

Yes, I think it's pretty well known on the Head-fi forums that the DAC in the HDVD800 doesn't cut it.  Many folks have stated the same conclusion as you.  In rough retail numbers, the HDVD800 is $2000 and the HDVA600 is $1600, so the DAC is worth $400 at best.  Personally, I have not heard the HDVD800, but I own the HDVA600 amp and like it.  I use it with a stand-alone DAC, the Schiit GMB.  Not a bad pairing with the HD800 headphones, especially with classical and jazz music.  It's a very quiet amp with plenty of power.  Nicely matched to the HD800 impedance.

 

Net - when you wrote "the DAC in the HDVD800 makes me feel like advising the HDVD600 and a separate DAC as a better purchase" I think most HDVD800 owners will agree with you.

 

Enjoy your music!

RCB

post #2751 of 2802
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post

Its a beautiful amp and should bring you years of enjoyment. Congrats and do please give your impressions when you have more hours under your belt.

Dionysus, have you tried Mojo as dac with your hdvd 800?
post #2752 of 2802

Have not, I will this weekend and report back.

post #2753 of 2802
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post

Have not, I will this weekend and report back.

Nice! Fun to play.

Anyone compared Alo CDM with HDVD600/800?

These 2 are on my short list.
post #2754 of 2802
To add to previous comment:

Looking for right balance of 1)maxing out hd800 with 2) forgiving of my "real-world" music collection. No hi-rez in sight!😕

IMHO, the big boy amps I've auditioned were underwhelming when fed only CD quality music. That's OK, my wallet just gave a big sigh of relief.
post #2755 of 2802
Quote:
Originally Posted by King of Pangaea View Post
 


I also have a Denon DVD-3930 and consider it to be equal in quality and voicing to the Marantz SA8005.  My Oppo BDP95 is more detailed but a bit bass-shy on some recordings. 

 

I think it may be that for all practical purposes, I have about as good as it gets, materially speaking.  Any significant improvement, either in DAC or amp would run into the multi thousands of $.  Listening again today, I think the Benchmark DAC2 is actually the equivalent of the Senn HDVD 800 ie;  this is, functionally what I did was buy another DAC/amp.  In the case of the HDVD800 it is an amp/preamp with a built-in DAC, whereas the  Benchmark is a DAC with a built-in amp/preamp.  It's just a different emphasis on things.  The Senn is a $2000 amp with maybe a $400 DAC built in whereas the Benchmark is a $2000 DAC with a $400 amp/preamp added in.  They are both the same thing, just different marketing and conceptual orientations.  The DAC section of the HDVD800 is just OK, whereas I don['t know about the amp section of the Benchamrk.  I haven't really done any critical listening to it.  My assumption is it is not going to be a better amp than found in the Senn unit.  My point being, I thought I was buying a better DAC than what I might have in my players, but what I really bought was another brand of the same kind of thing, with a difference emphasis.  Although all that varied connectivity is nice to have, I really should have been thinking better and put my money into a DAC only.  Might have seen some improvement, maybe not.

 

I think probably the DAC section of many CD players that perform above their price point is equal to a DAC way above the average price point.  To get anything I could call a material improvement I would have to look at Audio Research, Luxman, Esoteric or somewhere around up in that prioe range.

 

Also of significance is the fact that listening only to CDs I am limited to 16/44.1 and whatever can be extracted from that source.  I haven't gotten around to ripping my CDs to a HD yet and as far as downloading hi-rez files from some site, that is about as expensive as new CDs: I don't intend to replace my 800+ CDs with a hi-rez downloads of most of the same.

 

Just my thinking so far.  The Benchmark was acquired used on eBay so no returning.  I am not sorry I bought it, you buy, you try, you learn. 

 

My question still remains though: Is there a synergy relation between DAC and amp like between amps and cans, or does anybody really know?

 

Maybe I should quit spending money and be happy with what I have, which is very satisfying.   Maybe, just maybe, if I have any sense, I will be satisfied with my current setup as the end of the road.

 

MAYBE.

 

Hi King of Pangaea,

 

Did you get a chance to compare your Benchmark DAC-2 HGC's amp section with the HDVD 800 amp section?

 

I just got my hands on a HDVA 600 just yesterday, and I am burning it in as we speak. It is intended to replace my venerable Benchmark DAC-1 HDR, which is currently serving as the headphone amp for my HD800. DAC duties are split between a Marantz SA8004 and Auralic Aries Mini with LPS.

 

I have to say, out of the box the HDVA 600 driving HD800 unbalanced (I know, I know) is not wowing me relative to the Benchmark. But it is very early days, and I am still waiting for my balanced cable.

 

Supposedly, the Benchmark DAC-2 is claimed to have the same headphone amp (HPA-2) as in the DAC-1.

 

It would be interesting to hear your findings relative to these two amps since I'm assuming both your units are burned in.

post #2756 of 2802
I'm wondering if I should sell my Schiit Valhalla 2 + Bifrost Multibit combo to try out the HDVD800. Is that a good idea?

confused.gif
post #2757 of 2802
Quote:
Originally Posted by sysfail View Post

I'm wondering if I should sell my Schiit Valhalla 2 + Bifrost Multibit combo to try out the HDVD800. Is that a good idea?

confused.gif

 

If anything, keep the Bifrost Multibit and get an HDVA600.  IMHO, the Bifrost is a better DAC than the HD800, while the Valhalla 2 is on par with the 600/800 Senn amp.  The advantage of the HD600 is that it can also drive low impedance phones, like Audeze, very well.  You should definitely audition before selling as I think many people would prefer the Schiit combo over the HDVD800.  Use your own ears to make your decision.

post #2758 of 2802
Quote:
Originally Posted by WilCox View Post
 

 

If anything, keep the Bifrost Multibit and get an HDVA600.  IMHO, the Bifrost is a better DAC than the HD800, while the Valhalla 2 is on par with the 600/800 Senn amp.  The advantage of the HD600 is that it can also drive low impedance phones, like Audeze, very well.  You should definitely audition before selling as I think many people would prefer the Schiit combo over the HDVD800.  Use your own ears to make your decision.

 

Thanks! I like my setup the way it is, I'm just curious how the HDVD800/HDVA600 sounds since it's made specifically for the HD800. Trading the Valhalla 2 with the HDVA600 is probably a pretty silly choice since the 600 is about 2x-3x the cost of the Valhalla 2 if they're really on par. I'll definitely audition first before anything.....or I can just be content with what I have now instead of being so curious of everything and spend more money where it isn't necessary.

 

:deadhorse:

post #2759 of 2802
Quote:
Originally Posted by rajivarora View Post

I have to say, out of the box the HDVA 600 driving HD800 unbalanced (I know, I know) is not wowing me relative to the Benchmark. But it is very early days, and I am still waiting for my balanced cable.

Wow, what a difference about 20 more hours made! The HDVA 600 has really opened up. Soundstage is wider, the harshness has receded, and it just seems to be singing.

Can't wait to hear what more burn in + balanced Black Dragon cable will yield!
post #2760 of 2802


I just compared the amps in the HDVD800 and Benchmark DAC2, using HD600 and analog out of the Marantz SA8005 using its DAC and bypassing the DACs in both Senn and Benchmark.  After several minutes it became apparent the HDVD800 amp was superior.  Better detail, definition and a greater soundstage.  The HDVD800 is an amp first and a DAC second.  The DAC2 is a DAC first and an amp second. 

 

Case closed.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: High-end Audio Forum
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › Sennheiser HDVD800 Headphone Amplifier