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post #61 of 119

Easy, just connect the HD800 to the XLR balanced out at the back.  That can feed anything suitable and the HD800 ftts that bill nicely :-)

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post #62 of 119

Thanks Rudi.

 

But they are just FIRST impressions.  I'm told the AQ improves further over time.  We shall see.

 

For sure it will be the last such toy I'm buying so it is here to stay.  I'll be interested to follow what others find, particularly with the very revealing HD800s!

 

 

John

post #63 of 119
Thread Starter 
You are welcome John
Did try the 6,3 mm headphone out compare to your pre amp balance out?
I believe from balance pre out more power compare to headphone out
post #64 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by rudi0504 View Post

You are welcome John
Did try the 6,3 mm headphone out compare to your pre amp balance out?
I believe from balance pre out more power compare to headphone out

No, more experiments like that ahead today Rudi.

 

I've been told that there is a mismatch of output impedances using the balanced XLR connection - the Vaughan being 600 ohms while the HD800 are 300.  This causes a mid bass boost.  I'll investigate.

 

John

post #65 of 119

I just did a series of tests, again with a variety of music.  First up I compared the balanced out (via Warren cabling) to unbalanced out with stock cabling for the HD800.  Yes there was a warmer sound via balanced but any midrange bass boost was nowhere near as drastic as has been suggested to me as a result of an impedance mismatch. There did seem better resolution via balanced than unbalanced.  I observed the same thing previously with the NuForce DAC9

 

I then tried other phones. The extra ambience or space around the instruments displayed by the HD800 was immediately apparent.  Not that the sound from these others is bad, it is just not as appealing (I resisted saying realistic as that sort of claim is impossible to justify).

 

The best of the other bunch (all unbalanced) was the AKG fitted with Moon Audio Blue Dragon (LCD-2) cable.

Next were Sennheiser HD650s fitted with standard cabling (hate the heavy clamping of these - wish I had never bought them)

Last the AKG fitted with standard cable, although to be preferred to the HD650 for comfort.

 

As for volume levels, if anything they were higher through the unbalanced but there was heaps of reserves through either.

 

One feature of the Vaughan I really dislike is that mesh in front of the LCD display - it makes it hard to read and does not add to any aesthetics for me. If it continues to irritate I might remove it.

 

Something I have not done yet is to directly compare the Vaughan to the NuForce DAC9.  The use of the word "direct" is ironic as I deeply suspect the reliability of auditory memory and there has to be a considerable time lapse plugging and unplugging between these items.  That said this plugging/unplugging was done until I was sick of it with the headphone tests above and the differences in AQ were consistently clear.  And I must say I did not expect there to be quite as much difference between the HD800 and the others. But it does seem that to get the best results balanced connection is required.  And of course that opens up another can of worms regarding which cabling is best.  Enough, enough he said!!!  Too much has already been spent on this "hobby" (an ironic term to use to excuse extravagances!).

 

John

 

post #66 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tassie Devil View Post

Easy, just connect the HD800 to the XLR balanced out at the back.  That can feed anything suitable and the HD800 ftts that bill nicely :-)


I find that a little bit wierd..

It may work just fine with HD800, but with low impedance headphones it can be a bad idea.

John, keep the impressions coming, love them !

 

I may audition a Vaughan this weekend, I'm so excited ! :-)

post #67 of 119

I cannot help but wonder if the amplification in the Vaughn is on par with dedicated headphone amps .

It would be great and very convenient if it is .

Just imagine adding a dedicated amp and finding way better SQ , now things get expensive as we wont let the amp go .

 

There are less expensive dacs as good as the Vaughn , leaving plenty money for top notch amplification and maybe better value for money .

Still, if the Vaughns amp is great the one box solution would be fantastic .

Any opinions from users with external amps would be welcome

 

Happy comparrisons.

post #68 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by wild4sound View Post

I cannot help but wonder if the amplification in the Vaughn is on par with dedicated headphone amps .

It would be great and very convenient if it is .

Just imagine adding a dedicated amp and finding way better SQ , now things get expensive as we wont let the amp go .

 

There are less expensive dacs as good as the Vaughn , leaving plenty money for top notch amplification and maybe better value for money .

Still, if the Vaughns amp is great the one box solution would be fantastic .

Any opinions from users with external amps would be welcome

 

Happy comparrisons.

IMHO the critical part with digital is minimising jitter and using a suitable filter.  Recently considerable progress has been made in this direction so the resultant analog signal emerges without ringing, harshness and all the other nasties we had to tolerate for years.  Further refinement shows up with better resolution etc.  No head amp can improve on what is fed in - GIGO applies with a vengeance and I have felt for years this has been something poorly appreciated by many audiophiles who change components, most popularly speakers, in an effort to ameliorate (read filter out) the nasties.

 

And it is here that headphone listening shines because it does away with preamps, amps and speakers.  OK so the amplifying section in the M2Tech Vaughan is a preamp and headphones substitute for speakers but you get my drift.

 

So I wonder if a dedicated head amp would in fact improve things.  To this naive mind it adds in more electronics and EVERY item in the signal path has some affect on that signal with the result being virtually inaudible in a good design to skewing it up disastrously in another. No head amp could improve the output to the headphones unless there was a disastrous mismatch.  [Interestingly another head-fier is suggesting that I do have a bad mismatch because the HD600 with an impedance of 300 ohms demands a load of around 30 ohms to yield solid bass, not the 600 ohms out from the Vaughan.  Not sure where he gets the 600 ohms impedance for the balanced XLR output - is this correct? - it is not listed in the specs.  Anyone know?  Anyway the elevated, less solid bass he theorises is not what I've heard so far but will investigate further later]

 

Now the golden ear reviewers do claim that there are big differences in preamps so the question remains as to how good that amplifying section is in the Vaughan and I'm puzzled about how it could be tested.  For sure emphasis with the Vaughan is on the DAC and I've paid for a lot of features like sophisticated USB input that I'll never use, but I would be surprised if that DAC is followed by a mediocre amp. Maybe someone will come up with the answer.

 

In the meantime I really cannot quarrel or nit pick about the AQ being heard.  But then new toy syndrome is undoubtedly present and it remains to see if it stands up to the test of time.  It better because I've spent more than most on this "hobby", a figure my better half is blissfully unaware of. [I was able to smuggle the Vaughan in the other day when she was out - the challenges we have to conquer sometimes!].

 

John

post #69 of 119

Dear John ( if I may)

 

I agree that digital has come far and we benefit from it .

I would go so far as to say onboard and external amplification equally benefit from better signals.

Yes , extra cables and electronics in the pathway MAY degrade the sound but we are not talking nickle and dime external amps here at this level .

Try as I have, I have never been able to prove that all amps sound alike and that all amps bring out the best in a particular headphone.

 

In which category do you fall

 

1 ) One dac // several phones //one or more amps

2 ) Several dacs// one phone// one or more amps

3)  Several dacs// several phones// several amps ///    several complete systems to taste

 

For simplicity sake one dac/amp / phone would be nirvana but that  combo still eludes me.

 

I wonder how many headfiers with a dac/amp combo uses an external headamp , that is if the dac has audio outs .

For the longest time a headphone out on any piece of equipment has been substandard as an amp

Thankfully things are changing and there are noteable units currently

I for one would be thrilled if the amp in the Vaughn is as good an amp as the dac is a dac.

That will make my next purchace an easy decision .

 

So I am merely trying to get some  opinions from Vaughn owners with access to a  quality external  headamp .

This product , I speculate is not primarily aimed at headfiers but folks with amps and speaker systems.

 

Given the fact that the headout is there would be a huge bonus if it compares well on par with quality external units after a good listen.

 

Thanks for your reply and thoughts , I take note.

Very Happy that you enjoy the music.

 

Tom

post #70 of 119

Hey Tom,

 

I will be reviewing Vaughan very soon, and will compare it's headphone out with a Burson Conductor (that till today is the best headamp I've heard).

post #71 of 119
Quote:

I would go so far as to say onboard and external amplification equally benefit from better signals.

Yes , extra cables and electronics in the pathway MAY degrade the sound but we are not talking nickle and dime external amps here at this level .

Try as I have, I have never been able to prove that all amps sound alike and that all amps bring out the best in a particular headphone.

No argument about this Tom.  GIGO.  Any amplifier benefits from the best possible input.

 

And no quibble that amplifiers can, and often do, sound different.

 

But what I cannot get my head around is how can  

 source -> DAC with preamp -> headphones (connected to balanced out where the amp plugs in)  

not be better than

 source -> DAC with preamp -> head amp -> headphones?

 

No amplifier can improve the AQ of what comes out of the DAC unless there is a serious mismatch between the preamp out and headphones. Or am I missing something?

 

Yes, the unbalanced out is another amplifying stage and it is pretty obvious the AQ is better at the stage earlier ex XLR.  On the same basis I cannot understand how a head amp cannot cause some AQ degradation.  OK, in a well designed and constructed head amp such degradation might not be observable, but why use amplification at all if there is a strong enough signal Ex XLR?  About the only justification would be for volume control (or serious mismatch), but sophisticated units like the Vaughan control volume before  XLR output and even the NuForce DAC9 does this.

 

John

post #72 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarKu View Post

Hey Tom,

 

I will be reviewing Vaughan very soon, and will compare it's headphone out with a Burson Conductor (that till today is the best headamp I've heard).

Thanks DarKu.

That would be very usefull

Analog out to the Conductor amp section would be very interested to hear.

 

Cant wait.

post #73 of 119

Or am I missing something?

 

Dear John .

 

I am no electronix  expert so call it speculation but this is how I think .

If we play a pure tone signal , I dont think it would matter.

However music is a dynamic process with constantly changing demands being placed on the amp by the speaker if it was to produce the sound true to life or "Well " to our ears .

This is where things start to matter , with the amps ability to cope with these demands , same dac same phone  but different SQ if played through different amps.

 

I might like the sound from the Vaughan but I might prefer the sound from the Vaughan through an external amp . It is as simple as that , purely subjective .

If you can hear a clear difference , then you can prefer and go with your choice . If you prefer the Vaughan sound better then great for our wallets . If you prefer the external amp sound better then I need to make further value estimations .

 

Where this leads to is this :

 

The upcomming Metrum Hex will sell with add ons roughly $ 3000 , leaving $ 3500  for a quality amp // 2 box sollution

The Vaughan one box sollution sells roughly $6500 au  locked into one amp , if I need a second amp due to preferance add $3500 // more expensive .

 

If opinions are unanimous that the one box deal  equals or betters external amps then I need to spend some money to audition the Vaughan first .

 

This is where I value your ears and your opinion  if you compare with an external amp.

Ta.

post #74 of 119

Yes I'm coming around to the fact a head amp is needed because of impedance mismatch.  Research on the topic is confusing but the message has finally got through.  And yes, this will be a very expensive exercise when finished so I would not argue there could be less expensive alternatives that sound just as good.

 

What I'll be looking for is a straight balanced amp with no frills, only needs XLR balanced in & out and no volume control needed.

 

Frustrating as I thought I was finished - oh well.

 

Thanks for your input

 

John

post #75 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tassie Devil View Post

Yes I'm coming around to the fact a head amp is needed because of impedance mismatch.  Research on the topic is confusing but the message has finally got through.  And yes, this will be a very expensive exercise when finished so I would not argue there could be less expensive alternatives that sound just as good.

 

What I'll be looking for is a straight balanced amp with no frills, only needs XLR balanced in & out and no volume control needed.

 

Frustrating as I thought I was finished - oh well.

 

Thanks for your input

 

John

 

Here is one that is getting terrific reviews and is not expensive....

 

http://schiit.com/cart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=0&products_id=10

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