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O2 AMP + ODAC - Page 159

post #2371 of 5248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorrofox View Post

I received my ODAC XL & O2 this morning. They are tiny! I somehow wasn't prepared for that. Anyway, I hooked it all up via USB 3 to my Mac mini, selected "ODAC" in Sound Preferences and it's working perfectly with no problems at all. Whatever problems others were having previously when connecting via USB 3 seem to have been fixed. Music plays with no stuttering or pops & clicks. I'll be back later with an early assessment of the sound but for now I'm off to listen to some music. Here's what I'll be reviewing...

http://www.headnhifi.com/dac/odac-xl-version

http://www.headnhifi.com/amplifiers/desktop-headphone-amplifiers/O2-desktop-amplifier

Main headphones will be bass-modded AKG Q701's and V-Moda M100 XL's.

 

Have fun with 'em. Btw, one can put the ODAC board into the O2 enclosure for an even smaller package, which (unless advanced hackery is used) will make the O2 mains only and of course there is no room for RCA plugs...

 

Joachim

post #2372 of 5248
If you think the ODAC XL is tiny, you should see the standard one!
post #2373 of 5248
I'll be straight up. This is the best I have ever heard music. It's the first time since buying the Q701's that I haven't been looking for an EQ. I must confess to having had a couple of beers today. A proper review will have to wait I'm afraid. I've been reading every thread I could find on this combo before I finally put the money down. Some people thought it was of marginal benefit whilst others had an almost religious experience. I belong in the latter group. I like to think of myself as someone who knows quality when he hears it. I'm not rich but have always loved music. I started my working life with a part-time job in a hi-fi shop. I'm pretty sure I've never heard music reproduced with quite the same clarity as I'm hearing right now. Right now, by the way, is Communique by Dire Straits.

By far the biggest feature, at least initially, is the inky blackness that this combo delivers. There is absolutely no noise. Nada, zilch! I'm listening to the AKG Q701's right now. I have tried my V-Moda M-100's but they sounded like what they are. It's not hi-fi. That was a surprise to be honest. Up to now I've used the Q's and M's interchangeably, depending on whether I wanted to hear bass or not. With the E18 as DAC/amp I could do that but not with the ODAC/O2. There's a gulf between their resolving capabilities. The M's are still great headphones of course. I'll be using them as portables forever I think. Out & about they rock!

One thing I'm noticing that night be slightly counter-intuitive is that with the Q's the soundstage seems to have shrunk. Not a bad thing. Before it was wide but, and I confess I'm only noticing this now, it was imprecise. Now it's absolutely focused. I'm listening to Eddi Reader now and her voice is dead centre but with instruments which seem to swirl around her. It's meant to sound like that. I know Eddi and know this to be how it was mixed. I've never heard that before though. Candyfloss & Medicine is a spectacular album to be honest. It's not very forgiving of crap playback though.

I bought my ODAC XL and O2 (desktop version) from Walter & Stefan at Head'n'Hifi. I opted for 1x/3x gains, recommended to me by Hekeli from these forums. That was an excellent call. I've yet to find anything that Unity (1x) gain can't deal with. The build quality is superb. Really, both units are very nicely assembled. Photos to follow. I went for the XL version of the ODAC because I wanted to be able to use existing cables I have kicking around. Currently I'm using Linn Black RCA interconnects which are obviously far too long but I can't remember ever seeing anything shorter. The Linn's to my ears are pretty neutral cables. I've had them for a while and used them in a few different places in my system and they seem to add very little to anything. Maybe a tad lean but only a wee bit.

This has turned out longer than I intended, lol. It's not definitive by any means. Just my opinion. This is money very well spent. Want to know something? My wife likes this sound. For the first time in thirty years she's actually noticed an improvement!
post #2374 of 5248

My O2 Amp (with some company). From headnhifi, have changed the volume knob with a better one.

 

 

Low points : battery life (not that terrible for a desktop use), everything's on the front panel (but I'm used to it now), low quality volume knob (but the pot is very solid / smooth)

High points : power, gain multiplier (excellent for low output sources), very "obvious" sound, withou any blur or mis-eq, rock solid case, great performance for the price.


Ali

post #2375 of 5248
I'm finished for tonight. My stereo sounds fantastic! It's a cliché we see a lot around here but I heard things tonight I've never heard before. How much did this cost? Crazy.
post #2376 of 5248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorrofox View Post

I'm finished for tonight. My stereo sounds fantastic! It's a cliché we see a lot around here but I heard things tonight I've never heard before. How much did this cost? Crazy.

 

I feel the same way with my unit. The DT880 headphones with this unit does "sing". I know there are better quality amp/DACs available. But will I be able to hear the difference? How obvious will this difference be? And what is the cost of such a unit? I think this unit hits the sweat spot of performance to cost for a minimalist design. The only thing I see lacking are some optional features, like direct DSD decoding and an optical input, for instance. But nothing important to me right now.
 

BG


Edited by r010159 - 3/31/14 at 7:25pm
post #2377 of 5248
For the price and if you have headphones that can be driven to the max by it (the majority) the O2 is hard to beat. Yes there are better options available but it quickly becomes a matter of diminishing returns. Is it worth it? Depends on your finances and how much you crave those last %, everybody has his own limit. I heard amp and dac combos ranging from the price of the ODAC/O2 upto 50k USD. My sweet spot for a good combo is about 7-8 k, not willing to go beyond that. But it's certainly true that in hifi a lot of bulls***ware is being peddled at tremendous premiums so caveat emptor always applies, certainly if you spend higher amounts.

Enjoy the music!
post #2378 of 5248
Any thought on interconnects people? I'm using Linn Black RCA's to connect DAC & amp but they're a metre long and I wouldn't mind something neater. Trouble is most quality cables tend to be thick and fairly rigid so a short length wouldn't be flexible enough. With the two units stacked 4 or 5 inches would be perfect. I'll go have a look at Toxic Cables but I just know it's going to cost a fortune. I'm definitely not spending more on the cables than the amp, that's for sure.
post #2379 of 5248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ali-Pacha View Post

My O2 Amp (with some company). From headnhifi, have changed the volume knob with a better one.




Low points : battery life (not that terrible for a desktop use), everything's on the front panel (but I'm used to it now), low quality volume knob (but the pot is very solid / smooth)
High points : power, gain multiplier (excellent for low output sources), very "obvious" sound, withou any blur or mis-eq, rock solid case, great performance for the price.


Ali

Hi mate. What was wrong with the original volume knob and what's so good about your replacement? And where did you get it?
post #2380 of 5248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorrofox View Post



Hi mate. What was wrong with the original volume knob and what's so good about your replacement? And where did you get it?

 


Cheap plastic, which doesn't cover the lockwasher of the potentiometer (raw metal colour).
I've bought a black aluminum potentiometer at Mayflower electronics...my sister (who lives in Seattle) brought it to me the last time she came back to France.

Ali
post #2381 of 5248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorrofox View Post

Any thought on interconnects people? I'm using Linn Black RCA's to connect DAC & amp but they're a metre long and I wouldn't mind something neater. Trouble is most quality cables tend to be thick and fairly rigid so a short length wouldn't be flexible enough. With the two units stacked 4 or 5 inches would be perfect. I'll go have a look at Toxic Cables but I just know it's going to cost a fortune. I'm definitely not spending more on the cables than the amp, that's for sure.

Take a look at some of these, they're not too expensive and well built (i own a set of rya interconnects):  http://epiphany-acoustics.co.uk/products-page/

 

Warning:  I'm not a cable lore guy, feel that these are the last part in your chain that you should dump money into and as you say, spending more on the cables than the device is madness.

post #2382 of 5248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ali-Pacha View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorrofox View Post



Hi mate. What was wrong with the original volume knob and what's so good about your replacement? And where did you get it?

 


Cheap plastic, which doesn't cover the lockwasher of the potentiometer (raw metal colour).
I've bought a black aluminum potentiometer at Mayflower electronics...my sister (who lives in Seattle) brought it to me the last time she came back to France.

Ali

Was your original Alps?  Does your new one have better balance at low volume rotation?

post #2383 of 5248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ali-Pacha View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorrofox View Post



Hi mate. What was wrong with the original volume knob and what's so good about your replacement? And where did you get it?

 


Cheap plastic, which doesn't cover the lockwasher of the potentiometer (raw metal colour).
I've bought a black aluminum potentiometer at Mayflower electronics...my sister (who lives in Seattle) brought it to me the last time she came back to France.

Ali

That's true. I hadn't actually noticed that washer but you're right enough. I guess a bit of extra weight might help too. I'll look into that. Is it just a standard fitting or is there anything special about it? You can tell I'm not very knowledgeable about such things, lol.
post #2384 of 5248
I
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverEars View Post

Was your original Alps?  Does your new one have better balance at low volume rotation?

I know your question's not aimed at me but FYI my gains are 1x & 3x. On unity gain my volume sits at around 3 o'clock driving the Q701.
post #2385 of 5248

I'm glad you are enjoying the objective combo.  The imbalance is more of concern to me because I use iems that are very sensitive with them.  K701 has low sensitivity so it shouldn't have issues.

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