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Brief Odac impressions - Page 114

post #1696 of 1954

 

 

 

Just hooked up the ODAC, impressions soon....

 

Edit 1: So far, very impressive! Definitely a good sized step up from the Fiio E17's DAC section. Very detailed, but still very musical. It didn't transform the sound into a bright digital sounding mess like a few people claim. It isn't making my Q701 unlistenable like I've heard some claim either. I'm not going to give a huge detailed review yet, but so far I'm very happy with the difference for a mere $115. I will say that it is definitely a step up from the E17 in every way. Tighter bass, bigger soundstage, better separation, definitely better treble detail.  

 

Edit 2: I am currently listening to Opeth's "The roundhouse Tapes", and I just heard fans cheering in the background during Blackwater Park in a section of the song that I most definitely never noticed before. It was very faint and distant, but it was there. It made me imagine that I was there at the show for a minute. Very nice!


Edited by jasonb - 8/26/13 at 5:34pm
post #1697 of 1954
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonb View Post

Just hooked up the ODAC, impressions soon....

 

Edit 1: So far, very impressive! Definitely a good sized step up from the Fiio E17's DAC section. Very detailed, but still very musical. It didn't transform the sound into a bright digital sounding mess like a few people claim. It isn't making my Q701 unlistenable like I've heard some claim either. I'm not going to give a huge detailed review yet, but so far I'm very happy with the difference for a mere $115. I will say that it is definitely a step up from the E17 in every way. Tighter bass, bigger soundstage, better separation, definitely better treble detail.  

 

Edit 2: I am currently listening to Opeth's "The roundhouse Tapes", and I just heard fans cheering in the background during Blackwater Park in a section of the song that I most definitely never noticed before. It was very faint and distant, but it was there. It made me imagine that I was there at the show for a minute. Very nice!

I am surprised you find it so different from the E17. Do you have this E17 on hand to compare, or are you comparing from memory?

 

I personally could not hear any difference between an e17 and an o2+odac stack when comparing them back and forth with critical listening. Not saying there can't be a difference, just suggesting giving the e17 another shot and making sure you actually hear a consistent difference.

post #1698 of 1954

I do still have the E17. After a few days of getting used to the ODAC, I plan on switching back to the E17 to try and confirm my findings.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislangley4253 View Post

I am surprised you find it so different from the E17. Do you have this E17 on hand to compare, or are you comparing from memory?

 

I personally could not hear any difference between an e17 and an o2+odac stack when comparing them back and forth with critical listening. Not saying there can't be a difference, just suggesting giving the e17 another shot and making sure you actually hear a consistent difference.

post #1699 of 1954
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonb View Post

I do still have the E17. After a few days of getting used to the ODAC, I plan on switching back to the E17 to try and confirm my findings.  

Then I look forward to your future impressions!

post #1700 of 1954

The detail, speed, and resolution is quite astounding. Day two and I'm even more impressed. 

 

Edit:

This current setup I'm using is really something. The ODAC feeding the Pioneer SX-750 powering an AKG Q701 is really sounding great. It's truly in a different league than what I've used before. Both separates easily blow the E17 out of the water. To top it all off, the whole setup was pretty inexpensive. $40 for the SX-750, $115 for the ODAC, and $240 for the Q701. For just under 400 bucks it's truly incredible.

The detail, resolution, and speed are unreal. The bass with the bass knob at +2 is really surprising, considering how most people view the Q701' bass. I'd say at this point it's just slightly north of neutral along with plenty of lower end extension, and along with the great texture they are known for. If anything, the ODAC seems to have smoothed out the Q701's sometimes edgy treble, while still being just a tad bright and very revealing. The mids are still right where they should be and also very detailed.

I am very very happy with this current setup. But of course, we will see how long it takes before I get the desire to upgrade again.


Edited by jasonb - 8/28/13 at 6:44pm
post #1701 of 1954

I haven't done an A/B comparison yet between the ODAC and the E17, but I can simply say without a doubt that the ODAC is the much better DAC.

 

It is better in every way, but most obvious is the top end detail and resolution. On the top end it's like comparing a 128kbps MP3 against a 320kbps MP3 or FLAC. On the E17 the top end on the Q701 never really impressed me all that much in regards to top end extension and sparkle. On the E17 it all seemed kind of mushed together up top. Cymbals on rock and metal recording kind of seemed like a compressed blur, but with the ODAC the top end is very extended and crystal clear. I never really realized this though until hearing the ODAC. It wasn't like I knew something was missing on the E17, but now that I have heard better it is a pretty obvious change.

 

My totally custom, self built car stereo always seemed pretty revealing to me, I always thought there was plenty of top end detail and extension, but now in comparison it sounds veiled. The tweeters in my car are mounted on axis to the drivers headrest, with an active crossover with 100 watts rms per channel by the way.

 

Again, the sound of the ODAC is better in every way, but the area I just described is the most obvious difference in my opinion. There is no going back from here. I will do a real A/B one day before I sell the E17 though.


Edited by jasonb - 8/31/13 at 8:22am
post #1702 of 1954

I have other dacs that cost a lot more.....and i prefer the ODAC to them all.....its taken awhile but it works so well.

 

oh, and the price is a super deal...

 

A.

post #1703 of 1954

Careful you don't let all this expectation bias alter the sound of the E17. If you go into it expecting to hear mushy highs... You probably will ;-)

post #1704 of 1954

It looks like this thread has run it's course, but since I have taken the time to read the entire thing, I'll post my impressions of the ODAC.

 

I originally found this forum while searching for a DAC, and I've been coming back ever since to read the board.  First, I'll start with a little background.  I've been actively listening to music for more than 20 years now.  I say actively listening because, prior to that, I just took it for what it was and was not really concerned with the quality of the reproduction.  During college, I worked in a high-end (read, expensive) boutique audio store.  It was there that I came to know all the big names in the high-end game.  I've been lucky enough to spend time with speakers and amplifiers selling in for the big bucks.  It was also there that I first began to notice that no matter what the manufacturer's representative that came to the store to train us said, I just couldn't hear all the magical things that they were talking about.

 

Their latest and greatest high-dollar interconnects, preamps, and amplifiers pretty much sounded the same to me.  I just chalked it up to inexperience.

 

It was only later when I became the defacto in-store installer that I realized that maybe I wasn't crazy after all.  When new gear would come in everyone would wait around impatiently for me to get it set up.  Then they would sit around an expound on the most wonderful sound that they had ever heard.  Oftentimes I would take this opportunity to pull little pranks on them.  I would secretly connect a Marantz receiver in place of the big and bad Bryston amp.  Then I would connect it with the cheapest interconnects that I had at home.  The we ran the wiring in some of the setups even allowed me to substitute 16 gauge lamp cord for the Kimber speaker wire.  The owner would listen to his favorite setup this way for a least an hour a day, and he never noticed when I would make the substitutions.

 

So, what does this have to do with the ODAC? First let me say that while I do enjoy listening to headphones, I do most of my listening on my two channel setup with KEF 105/3 speakers. They are often described in similar terms as the ODAC.  Clinical, analytical, ect.  Which to me means transparent.  I also have a fondness for pro-sound equipment.  Especially the fanless amps from the 80's and 90's like the Yamaha P2200.  I like them because the manufactures give pages upon pages of technical specs and measurements taken at all levels of output and under all loads.  They don't just simply list the the frequency response and distortions specs at a single, undisclosed output.  I like the objectivity.

 

That objectivity is exactly what I like about the ODAC.  It is a DAC after all.  A digital to analog converter.  No more, no less.  It is not a "DAC-Q".  A "digital to analog equalizer" like so many others try to be.  If I want EQ, I will simple fire up the EQ. Preferably a parametric one.

 

I am unable to comment on the "sound" or the "soundstage" of the ODAC simply because it does not produce those things.  It just converts the digital signal from my computer so that my amps can power my speakers.

 

I do have more to add, but my time is limited.  I'll be back in a few days.

post #1705 of 1954
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonb View Post
 

I haven't done an A/B comparison yet between the ODAC and the E17, but I can simply say without a doubt that the ODAC is the much better DAC.

 

It is better in every way, but most obvious is the top end detail and resolution. On the top end it's like comparing a 128kbps MP3 against a 320kbps MP3 or FLAC. On the E17 the top end on the Q701 never really impressed me all that much in regards to top end extension and sparkle. On the E17 it all seemed kind of mushed together up top. Cymbals on rock and metal recording kind of seemed like a compressed blur, but with the ODAC the top end is very extended and crystal clear. I never really realized this though until hearing the ODAC. It wasn't like I knew something was missing on the E17, but now that I have heard better it is a pretty obvious change.

 

My totally custom, self built car stereo always seemed pretty revealing to me, I always thought there was plenty of top end detail and extension, but now in comparison it sounds veiled. The tweeters in my car are mounted on axis to the drivers headrest, with an active crossover with 100 watts rms per channel by the way.

 

Again, the sound of the ODAC is better in every way, but the area I just described is the most obvious difference in my opinion. There is no going back from here. I will do a real A/B one day before I sell the E17 though.

 

I agree too but E17 still isn't bad for the price (and options like Optical/Coax input). I'm not sure if you knew this but it does have some slight treble roll off when bypassing the amp. I don't know if it's audible.

I've found the E17 to be warmer sounding than the ODAC and Modi but the soundstage is more closed in. Fuller low mids for sure, but that's just some nice coloration.

 

ODAC/Modi IMO are about equal to my ears. My ears couldn't hear much difference. ODAC did sound like perhaps 1% more clearer but that could have been my imagination. There were a few other differences but people have always told me it's impossible.

 

Too bad I don't like the O2 as much as the ODAC.

post #1706 of 1954

The E17 is still a great value, being that it is a DAC with 3 different input methods and an amp with lots of options like EQ on top of that. 

 

I was aware that when using it as a DAC the top end is very slightly rolled off. 

 

A few weeks later and I am still loving my ODAC. I got the chance to try it with my speaker setup the other day and it impressed me in that situation as well. I ended up selling the E17 with a whole bunch of extras to my dad for $80. He said it sounds better than the soundcard in his laptop. He is happy to have it, and I am happy to have sold it so easily and I didn't make out to bad on the deal.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by tdockweiler View Post
 

 

I agree too but E17 still isn't bad for the price (and options like Optical/Coax input). I'm not sure if you knew this but it does have some slight treble roll off when bypassing the amp. I don't know if it's audible.

I've found the E17 to be warmer sounding than the ODAC and Modi but the soundstage is more closed in. Fuller low mids for sure, but that's just some nice coloration.

 

ODAC/Modi IMO are about equal to my ears. My ears couldn't hear much difference. ODAC did sound like perhaps 1% more clearer but that could have been my imagination. There were a few other differences but people have always told me it's impossible.

 

Too bad I don't like the O2 as much as the ODAC.

post #1707 of 1954
Quote:
Originally Posted by vbxt View Post
 

That objectivity is exactly what I like about the ODAC.  It is a DAC after all.  A digital to analog converter.  No more, no less.  It is not a "DAC-Q".  A "digital to analog equalizer" like so many others try to be.  If I want EQ, I will simple fire up the EQ. 

 

Have to agree with this. Upgraded to the ODAC (e-dac) from the fiio e10. Huge difference in terms of fidelity and clarity. Honestly cant 'hear' the dac, just the sound of the amp and the speakers/headphones.

 

On the questions of brightness. I would say it seems brighter compared to the fiio but it is actually just the missing higher frequencies that the fiio couldn't reach. The ODAC seems very balanced and neutral. I would not say cold and clinical, as it is pretty much just not there.

 

Excellent performance, and even more so because of the price.

 

System listening on: Foobar (Flac 24/44) - ODAC - Audiolab 8000Q/8000PX (originals)  - EB Acoustics EB1(speakers) / Audio Technica ESW9A

post #1708 of 1954

Agree with everything said above. The ODAC is superior to the Fiio´s. Higher range of frequencies and higher clarity and detail. I wouldn´t say is brighter, I would rather say Fiio is usually slighlty darker. Enjoying this DAC so much.

post #1709 of 1954

I'm almost sold on this DAC, especially after reading comments like vbxt's above. Is there any reason why this might not be a great DAC for me? It will be my first decent piece of hardware (coming from PC onboard audio) and will be paired with either Swan M200MKIII or T200B speakers.

 

If I have speakers plugged in to the rear RCA ports, can I use the front line-out with headphones? (Sennheiser momentum's)

post #1710 of 1954
Quote:
Originally Posted by dclaz View Post
 

I'm almost sold on this DAC, especially after reading comments like vbxt's above. Is there any reason why this might not be a great DAC for me? It will be my first decent piece of hardware (coming from PC onboard audio) and will be paired with either Swan M200MKIII or T200B speakers.

 

If I have speakers plugged in to the rear RCA ports, can I use the front line-out with headphones? (Sennheiser momentum's)

An issue with the odac is that it has no spdif inputs, so it can never improve through using a good usb to spdif converter, making it vulnerable to the fast evolving usb reciever chip technology.

It is likely that in two years time many cheap dacs will outperform the odac because they would simply use a more capable usb chip.

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