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Sennheiser HDVD800 Headphone Amplifier - Page 60

post #886 of 2498
@Frank I
I would be great to hear your opinion on the DAC in the HDVD800. The HDVA600 is just a tad less expensive so I'd prefer not to spend those extra few hundred bucks, if the DAC did not match the quality of the amp itself.
post #887 of 2498
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcklemme View Post

@Frank I
I would be great to hear your opinion on the DAC in the HDVD800. The HDVA600 is just a tad less expensive so I'd prefer not to spend those extra few hundred bucks, if the DAC did not match the quality of the amp itself.

You're better off with a seperate dac in ideal terms. Also, a bifrost with HDVA600 sounded better than the HDVD800 imo.

post #888 of 2498
if u have the money 2 get a better dac then the 600 would be the way 2 go.i use the dac in my naim hdx and it sounds great but I have used the dac from the 800 as well and it does sound good so its up 2 u really . What's really good about this amp is that as u upgrade ur other bits of hifi the amp will sound better.
post #889 of 2498
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcklemme View Post

@Frank I
I would be great to hear your opinion on the DAC in the HDVD800. The HDVA600 is just a tad less expensive so I'd prefer not to spend those extra few hundred bucks, if the DAC did not match the quality of the amp itself.

If  you have a good dac then use that and buy the hdvda600. That will be released in the US in July.

post #890 of 2498
Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeAspect View Post

Anyone increased the gain on the hdvd800s? Did it made a difference in sound?

 

If you are referring to the gain switch on the rear of the unit, it appears to be ONLY for the RCA input. It will have no effect on anything coming through the DAC or XLR inputs.

 

By the way, the CD that comes with the HDVD800 that contains the USB driver for Windows also contains the "Instruction Manual", so if you have a Mac, the CD is still useful :-) Although pretty thin in useful information it does contain text discussing some things that I've not seen elsewhere (such as about 5 or 6 lines of description on setting the RCA gain control.

 

I was going to just copy the picture from the manual to here but I didn't know what kind of copyrights there might be. There were no copyright markings in the manual but if they are being so tight lipped about technical info, then who knows what might come of it?

 

Here are some other interesting tidbits I got from the manual and the specification page:

 

1) There is a section that states "We recommend using high-impedance headphones for an optimal listening experience". Also the spec page refers to 600 ohm loads for the headphone outputs.

 

2) Another part says to "Connect one or several headphones" and it shows up to 4 headphones being simultaneously connected. So what **I** want to know is, are those jacks all isolated from each other or are they just gang bussed and hardwired together. If the latter is the case, then plugging in multiple phones will effect the sound quality. In an amp of this presumed quality and cost, isolated outputs would be expected, but I'm suspecting that it is not so, especially considering item #3 below.

 

3) The S/PDIF (coax/optical) maximum sample rate is only 88.2 KHz! This is also a bit suspicious. So in order to avoid jitter issues, you should be using the USB interface because it is likely using Asynchronous instead of adaptive mode transfers. Maybe cost cutting by not putting in any rigorous clock recovery circuitry on S/PDIF when you "should just use the better async mode" supported on the USB interface? Note that the AES/EBU input appears to be still listed as having all sampling rates (44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, and 192 KHz).

 

Anyway, it kind of appears that if you want to use hi-rez audio tracks, don't plan on using TOSlink to connect to the HDVD800. This kinda ticks me off as I wanted to occasionally reposition my HDVD800 next to my bed running a 26 foot medical grade glass optical TOSlink to my computer. Now I'll have to reconfigure to downsample all my 24/96 and 24/192 files to 24/48 just to get them over the TOSlink. And this all in a $2K DAC/amp?

 

 

 

Also, when looking at the DAC capabilities as reported through my iMac's midi control, it shows a choice of using the HDVD800's "Internal clock" or its "S/PDIF clock". These choices made available through the USB interface are referred to NOWHERE in the manual or its specs. Since I'm not completely familiar with details of S/PDIF applications, this leaves me in an uninformed position for the use of my product. By the way, an "internal clock" to the DAC would seem to obviously be associated with non-recovered clock type use which might explain why when I turn on BitPerfect, it locks that selection to "Internal Clock".

 

Although this seems to be a really nice sounding rig (I'm using it with a Beyerdynamic T1 re-terminated to balanced XLR-4), there do seem to be some suspicious  implementations that makes Sennheiser's reluctance to release information rather credible (i.e., get everyone to hear what it sounds like in it's most common operating mode first and sell on that before they discover that all of those inputs on the rear panel may not really give them what they might presume)

 

If I'm out in left field with these presumptions, then someone please let me know :-)

 

- Jeff

post #891 of 2498
Quote:
Originally Posted by wisemanja View Post

 

If you are referring to the gain switch on the rear of the unit, it appears to be ONLY for the RCA input. It will have no effect on anything coming through the DAC or XLR inputs.

 

By the way, the CD that comes with the HDVD800 that contains the USB driver for Windows also contains the "Instruction Manual", so if you have a Mac, the CD is still useful :-) Although pretty thin in useful information it does contain text discussing some things that I've not seen elsewhere (such as about 5 or 6 lines of description on setting the RCA gain control.

 

I was going to just copy the picture from the manual to here but I didn't know what kind of copyrights there might be. There were no copyright markings in the manual but if they are being so tight lipped about technical info, then who knows what might come of it?

 

Here are some other interesting tidbits I got from the manual and the specification page:

 

1) There is a section that states "We recommend using high-impedance headphones for an optimal listening experience". Also the spec page refers to 600 ohm loads for the headphone outputs.

 

2) Another part says to "Connect one or several headphones" and it shows up to 4 headphones being simultaneously connected. So what **I** want to know is, are those jacks all isolated from each other or are they just gang bussed and hardwired together. If the latter is the case, then plugging in multiple phones will effect the sound quality. In an amp of this presumed quality and cost, isolated outputs would be expected, but I'm suspecting that it is not so, especially considering item #3 below.

 

3) The S/PDIF (coax/optical) maximum sample rate is only 88.2 KHz! This is also a bit suspicious. So in order to avoid jitter issues, you should be using the USB interface because it is likely using Asynchronous instead of adaptive mode transfers. Maybe cost cutting by not putting in any rigorous clock recovery circuitry on S/PDIF when you "should just use the better async mode" supported on the USB interface? Note that the AES/EBU input appears to be still listed as having all sampling rates (44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, and 192 KHz).

 

Anyway, it kind of appears that if you want to use hi-rez audio tracks, don't plan on using TOSlink to connect to the HDVD800. This kinda ticks me off as I wanted to occasionally reposition my HDVD800 next to my bed running a 26 foot medical grade glass optical TOSlink to my computer. Now I'll have to reconfigure to downsample all my 24/96 and 24/192 files to 24/48 just to get them over the TOSlink. And this all in a $2K DAC/amp?

 

 

 

Also, when looking at the DAC capabilities as reported through my iMac's midi control, it shows a choice of using the HDVD800's "Internal clock" or its "S/PDIF clock". These choices made available through the USB interface are referred to NOWHERE in the manual or its specs. Since I'm not completely familiar with details of S/PDIF applications, this leaves me in an uninformed position for the use of my product. By the way, an "internal clock" to the DAC would seem to obviously be associated with non-recovered clock type use which might explain why when I turn on BitPerfect, it locks that selection to "Internal Clock".

 

Although this seems to be a really nice sounding rig (I'm using it with a Beyerdynamic T1 re-terminated to balanced XLR-4), there do seem to be some suspicious  implementations that makes Sennheiser's reluctance to release information rather credible (i.e., get everyone to hear what it sounds like in it's most common operating mode first and sell on that before they discover that all of those inputs on the rear panel may not really give them what they might presume)

 

If I'm out in left field with these presumptions, then someone please let me know :-)

 

- Jeff

 



What do you think of the T1 sound on the HDVD800 system?

I found the DAC has tuned it in a very different way. Using an external dac with the same amp, it sound much better on the system.

post #892 of 2498

Interesting.

 

Well, I'm not the best to get opinions from yet on sound quality biggrin.gif I was into audio pretty deep up till about 12 years ago. I've not had any real quality equipment since then. My HDVD800 and T1 combo is my reentry to the field.

 

To answer your question, I really do like the sound of my "system" but its been years since I've done any significant comparing. But here is my take so far.

 

1) I suspect that if I never changed anything, I could really live with this one.

 

2) Easy to listen to. The brightness of the T1s that has been complained about by others hasn't been a problem for me. Occasionally, a voiced sound of "S" if closely mic'ed might reveal a bit of that issue-it does happen in the same frequency range. However, I've been using a fully balance configuration on the T1 so not sure how that changes things (I'm in the process of building a short balance to single-ended adapter for my phones. after I get that I'll be able to use them in the phono outs of the amp for comparison).

 

3) It has a suitable level of detail and revelation that I like without being overly analytical (too much detail for me creates problems with recordings I like that were engineered poorly)

 

4) The form factor of the DAC/amp is a bit of a nuisance (13 inches deep). Would have been nicer for a shallower footprint for several places I'd like to put it.

 

5) There is a certain "woodiness" in some recordings that seems to be missing in the playback. For example, bamboo chimes has a distinct sound that doesn't come through as well. They tend to sound a little thin for me (i.e., missing some of the lower frequency fullness). Same thing with woodwind instruments for the same reason. Note that I suspect the Headphones here more than the DAC/amp but until I get the chance to compare things I won't be of much value.

 

6) I've only gotten about 80 hours on the system so far and waiting for things to burn in. There is a recording that I've used for evaluations in the past which seems to reveal a bit of congestion at the moment (and the lack of woodiness :-). I'm waiting to try it out again later to see what may have changed. BTW that recording is on the Audioquest Strunz and Farah album "Misterio", the track "Burabampo (The Deer)". It has several sound effects that I have heard to be quite accurate and natural on some other systems. Right now it doesn't seem to be as open as it should but from other discussions here, that seems to be expected at the moment (i.e., <150 hours).

 

One of the many reasons that I chose to start with the HDVD800 was that I assumed that the Sennheiser engineers really wanted to showcase the HD800. The HD800 do have slightly bright treble on them but the T1s also seem to have this. My assumption was that if the HDVD800 was tuned at all to optimize the HD800 sound, then the T1 phones would probably benefit just as much. Time will tell but even from the start I have not had an issue with brightness or sibilance, etc. with my setup. I did discover that on quality recordings, violin concertos smooth out even more when using 24/192 tracks. It is subtle though. I hate screetchy violins.

 

So my opinions right now are quite biased. I'm thrilled to have a system that has such good sound after going without it for a dozen years or more. But I definitely need a lot more time to evaluate. I do want to eventually compare some HD800 and some LCD-3 on the system to confirm the accuracy of my assumptions on them.

 

One last item. I purchased these components through HeadRoom in Montana. Those guys have been really great helping me in my pickyness to find a good match. One of the guys (Mike) agreed to take the HDVD800 that I was purchasing and use it to compare the HD800 and T1 (both balanced) and give me some feedback prior to my final purchase. Mike was familiar with the brilliance issue that some folks have had with the T1. In fact, he personally wasn't too thrilled with the T1 for just that one issue. After going through a couple of hours listening, he was pretty thrilled as he was seeing a side of the T1 that he had not seen before. Now I don't know if it was the HDVD800, the use of balanced hookup on the T1, or just the fact that I have a more recently manufactured T1 (s/n 13xxx - maybe Beyerdynamics has fixed some of the issues?). In any event, he implied that it was the best he'd heard the T1.

 

- Jeff

post #893 of 2498
Quote:
Originally Posted by wisemanja View Post

3) The S/PDIF (coax/optical) maximum sample rate is only 88.2 KHz! This is also a bit suspicious. So in order to avoid jitter issues, you should be using the USB interface because it is likely using Asynchronous instead of adaptive mode transfers. Maybe cost cutting by not putting in any rigorous clock recovery circuitry on S/PDIF when you "should just use the better async mode" supported on the USB interface? Note that the AES/EBU input appears to be still listed as having all sampling rates (44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, and 192 KHz).

 

 For what it is worth, I took a look at the user manual on the CD and I think that the 88.2 KHz sample rate refers only to the S/PDIF optical and NOT the S/PDIF coax. But from the way it is written, I could see how one would presume that the rate refers to both S/PDIF optical and coax. It is not entirely clearly stated, that is for sure.

post #894 of 2498
Quote:
Originally Posted by vo_obgyn View Post

 For what it is worth, I took a look at the user manual on the CD and I think that the 88.2 KHz sample rate refers only to the S/PDIF optical and NOT the S/PDIF coax. But from the way it is written, I could see how one would presume that the rate refers to both S/PDIF optical and coax. It is not entirely clearly stated, that is for sure.

 

Ahh! I see it now. Thanks for pointing that out. The wording does appear to apply the Max value of 88.2 to the S/PDIF optical only.

 

The HDVD 800 manual only suggests 5 meters of cable for USB, Optical, and coax. My current impression is that getting straight TOSlink glass optical cable good enough to run 30 feet is about half as expensive as getting USB cable good enough to pass a solid signal that same distance (about $250 vs $500). The analog degradation on USB at that length would be significant. Also since it's beyond the standard max for USB, you can't really find many USB cables that length. I believe there are other alternatives (USB to TOSlink or USB to CAT5 converters) but hardware investment in the converters would go up too.

 

It does identify a max of 10 meters for the AES/BEU interface, but of course, I don't have that kind of output on my iMac either.

 

In any event if I'm going to make a long run like that, I'd much prefer optical isolation. This may be a moot issue anyway as I believe the iMac cannot source 24/192 files to its optical out anyway since it uses the same circuitry as the built-in speakers that are limited to 24/96.

 

Guess I need to find some good info on extending USB Audio Class 2 async transfer mode over a CAT5 cable....

 

- Jeff

post #895 of 2498

I'm very doubtful that this amp has separate amps for each output.  That would mean 12 different amps inside that chassis and that is not going to happen unless they are simple opamps. 

post #896 of 2498
Quote:
Originally Posted by spritzer View Post

I'm very doubtful that this amp has separate amps for each output.  That would mean 12 different amps inside that chassis and that is not going to happen unless they are simple opamps. 

 

Agree completely!

 

There is a significant temptation when comparing headphones to just plug them all in and switch phones on the head :-)

 

That, of course, creates interactions between phones. An Impedance suck-out on one set can pull the frequency response curve of another all around.

 

Still, I would love to have a gander at the schematics for this thing regular_smile%20.gif

 

- Jeff

post #897 of 2498

They are all separate amps for each output, it has been told from the commercial made by Senn. you can easy find it on youtube. 

post #898 of 2498

The only thing that I remember about that video was where they said that "they have even gone so far as to create 1 symmetrical amplifier per driver". I assume that they are referring to the left and right driver in a set of headphones, although since it would be kinda silly to put symmetric on one and single-ended on the other, I have no idea why the statement was presented as though it were such a unique concept. Now if you combined that statement with one where they can drive 4 sets of headphones simultaneously, then that would be significant, but I just don't see how they could do it in a cost effective manner.

 

But other than that I found no reference to independent amps for each of the headphone output JACKS in the video on YouTube. Maybe I was looking at the wrong video?

 

- Jeff

post #899 of 2498

I just assume that One Driver means one Jack....

post #900 of 2498
Quote:
Originally Posted by wisemanja View Post

The only thing that I remember about that video was where they said that "they have even gone so far as to create 1 symmetrical amplifier per driver". I assume that they are referring to the left and right driver in a set of headphones, although since it would be kinda silly to put symmetric on one and single-ended on the other, I have no idea why the statement was presented as though it were such a unique concept. Now if you combined that statement with one where they can drive 4 sets of headphones simultaneously, then that would be significant, but I just don't see how they could do it in a cost effective manner.

 

But other than that I found no reference to independent amps for each of the headphone output JACKS in the video on YouTube. Maybe I was looking at the wrong video?

 

- Jeff

from whatI am gathering there is 2 amplifiers. One for each channel sort of like mono blocks all in one chassis. That is the way a true balanced amplifier would work. One amplifier for each channel.  This is supposed to be a fully balanced design.  The amp does indeed sound good.

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