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EmotivaPro Airmotiv 4's with Audioengine D1?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm considering pairing my Airmotiv 4's with an Audioengine D1 dac. I use the airmotivs with my macbook pro for lossless audio listening and some 320k mp3 listening. The speakers sit on my desk nearfield (2ft). I know the D1 is highly regarded, but at least one review has described the sound from it as more "fat" and rounded than lean. See link below. Since the airmotivs are already very neutral and lean, I'm wondering if this would be a good pairing or just muddy up the clarity of the airmotivs a bit. Anyone tried this combination out there? I really like the airmotivs, but I do miss some of the midbass from my old audioengine A5's that made guitars sound so nice.

 

http://www.audiostream.com/content/audioengine-d1-24-bit-dac

post #2 of 11

I know this is a little late but I have a D1 arriving Friday to pair with my Airmotivs.  I hope the synergy is there and will report whether I like the combo.  I have been using the optical out from my motherboard to a Fiio D3 DAC using the computer volume control but I was looking for a DAC/Headphone amp option and the Audioengine D1 was in my price range.  I have read that it is mellow sounding and that is what I am going for...should pair nice with Ety 4P/Grado phones and the DAC portion for the Airmotiv.  Fingers crossed.
 

post #3 of 11

So the Audioengine D1 paired with Emotiva Airmotiv 4s or Grado SR80/RS2s/Ety 4Ps is a win in my book.  The sound to my ears is detailed but non-fatiguing for long listening sessions and I don't feel like the Airmotivs have been compromised by the D1 as the DAC/line-out.  I think the Audioengine D1 is a very noticeable step up from the Fiio D3 DAC/line-out combo (still a steal for $28) plus I have a new headphone amp and volume control instead of PC only slider controls for the Airmotivs.  I know there are DACs/Headphone amps that cost much more and probably sound better but for my total delivered cost of $140 after using some old Crutchfield rewards...I call it bang for your buck for a computer setup with low impedance headphones/powered speakers without breaking your piggy bank.  Audio snobs may not want to apply but I am happy with the purchase...I just wish I had orded the Grado 1/4->1/8 adapter cable when I ordered the D1.  The Grados can be a bit bright to my ears and the Etys are not everyone's taste but with the D1 all of my phones are easy on my ears and I would rather have the option of listening for multi-hours versus whatever extra clarity I might get from higher dollar gear.

 

I will say WASAPI out + Foobar with stock motherboard optical to the Airmotivs was really lean and bass lost quite a bit of impact until I removed WASAPI output and just used the standard Foobar -> Digital output.  Optical out from Auzentech X-plosion sounds great with WASAPI and the D1.  Lateral soundstage seems to have increased with the D1 versus D3 and instrument separation is still quite nice.  I am using optical...listened to USB DAC mode very briefly but not because of any perceived sound issues...I just like using the optical out.

 

Hope this helps anyone on the fence with the D1 and using as a preamp/headphone amp with a computer for music/gaming.
 


Edited by vampirehunterd - 7/9/12 at 2:59pm
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Anyone else out there tried this combo? Would love to hear about your impressions.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vampirehunterd View Post

So the Audioengine D1 paired with Emotiva Airmotiv 4s or Grado SR80/RS2s/Ety 4Ps is a win in my book.  The sound to my ears is detailed but non-fatiguing for long listening sessions and I don't feel like the Airmotivs have been compromised by the D1 as the DAC/line-out.  I think the Audioengine D1 is a very noticeable step up from the Fiio D3 DAC/line-out combo (still a steal for $28) plus I have a new headphone amp and volume control instead of PC only slider controls for the Airmotivs.  I know there are DACs/Headphone amps that cost much more and probably sound better but for my total delivered cost of $140 after using some old Crutchfield rewards...I call it bang for your buck for a computer setup with low impedance headphones/powered speakers without breaking your piggy bank.  Audio snobs may not want to apply but I am happy with the purchase...I just wish I had orded the Grado 1/4->1/8 adapter cable when I ordered the D1.  The Grados can be a bit bright to my ears and the Etys are not everyone's taste but with the D1 all of my phones are easy on my ears and I would rather have the option of listening for multi-hours versus whatever extra clarity I might get from higher dollar gear.

 

I will say WASAPI out + Foobar with stock motherboard optical to the Airmotivs was really lean and bass lost quite a bit of impact until I removed WASAPI output and just used the standard Foobar -> Digital output.  Optical out from Auzentech X-plosion sounds great with WASAPI and the D1.  Lateral soundstage seems to have increased with the D1 versus D3 and instrument separation is still quite nice.  I am using optical...listened to USB DAC mode very briefly but not because of any perceived sound issues...I just like using the optical out.

 

Hope this helps anyone on the fence with the D1 and using as a preamp/headphone amp with a computer for music/gaming.
 

thanks so much!

post #6 of 11

How much better would you say the emotiva pro 4 is than the audioengine a5?

I am gonna hear the audioengine a5 & a2 soon and i'm interested even more in the emotiva pro but it's online only. 

Also the emotiva pro stealth are supposed to come out soon

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Here are my subjective impressions having owned both speakers (though not compared at the same time side by side). These were sent in a PM to another head-fi user:

 

I've owned both the audio engine A5's and the Airmotiv 4's. They sound very different. I would actually buy both of them and compare (if you can) because they both have a no questions asked 30 day return policy. The A5's are definitely a warmer speaker. They may go a bit lower than the 4's, have a little less-controlled bass, and they have more of what I would call a "lush" sound. The A4's on the other hand have a more detailed midrange (cymbals and strings/voices sound amazingly clear). This can make you think that the sound is a bit thinner, but it's actually just neutral. I do miss the lushness of the A5's, but the airmotiv 4's have grown on me a bit. With the 4's you can dial down the tweeter if you find it to be too bright. You can also dial back the bass as well. So that's a nice feature. I haven't played with these eq's yet since I just moved. Another thing to consider is that the audioengine a5's aren't as finicky about placement, whereas the airmotiv 4's require some playing around with toeing in or out, moving forward or backward. Overall, I think the airmotiv 4 is a better speaker and probably a better value, but the two do sound very different. I listen mostly to rock and acoustic, but techno might sound fuller on the A5's. But with the 4's, it's like a veil is lifted from the midrange. Your best bet is to get them both to compare.

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kazsud View Post

How much better would you say the emotiva pro 4 is than the audioengine a5?

I am gonna hear the audioengine a5 & a2 soon and i'm interested even more in the emotiva pro but it's online only. 

Also the emotiva pro stealth are supposed to come out soon

Can you link to the info on the stealth line? Isn't it just an 8inch monitor? Or are there other models in the line?

post #9 of 11

there isn't any press for it just photos of a 6 & a 8 at conventions. 

 

 


Edited by kazsud - 9/6/12 at 12:04pm
post #10 of 11

The Emotiva Airmotiv 4's and Audioengine's D1 are a combination I have been considering for near field listening. Thanks for sharing your experience - the comparison to the Audioengine A5's is particularly helpful. It is great to hear that the Airmotiv 4's pair well with the D1 as I have looked at more expensive DACs and it would be nice to save money if possible.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Reviving this thread. Anyone else have an experience paring the d1 with airmotiv 4 speakers?

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