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O2 AMP + ODAC - Page 21

post #301 of 3453

Question - I've got the integrated O2/ODAC combo.  Is there any way to use it as a pure DAC?  I tried the headphone out while the player was turned off and got nothing, but I'd have thought they'd include the option if it were physically possible (and there's no reason they couldn't include a line out, right?

 

If not, it wouldn't be too hard to install a line-out socket, would it?

post #302 of 3453
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragunov-21 View Post

Question - I've got the integrated O2/ODAC combo.  Is there any way to use it as a pure DAC?  I tried the headphone out while the player was turned off and got nothing, but I'd have thought they'd include the option if it were physically possible (and there's no reason they couldn't include a line out, right?

 

If not, it wouldn't be too hard to install a line-out socket, would it?

 

Unless you have some special custom version, there is no line output. It is possible to add one, or modify how the line input jack is wired so that it becomes a line output instead; check a DIY forum (here, or even better at diyaudio.com) for help if needed. If you are not too worried about "double amping", and you have a 1x gain setting (if not, then it can be created by clipping two resistors), you could also just use the headphone output at maximum volume; the quality difference is minor, and probably inaudible.

post #303 of 3453
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lobe View Post

I hope you guys (who seem a lot more knowledgable than me) could give some advice. I purchased an odac and o2 (separate units) from JDS labs, however between when I ordered and it arrived, I impulse bought an awesome Woo Audio 6 tube amp. So now I am using the odac and wa6 and the o2 is doing nothing, so I want to get a new dac to pair with the o2 for my desktop pc. If I were to get a dac other than the odac, what are some of the best options around the same price range? what about the same performance range?

The odac seems fantastic from my use so far, but I don't want to buy another one unless it is by far the best option as I would like to try new hardware out. 

 

The ODAC is hard to beat at the price. < $500 (or even a little more) is kind of a no-man's land in terms of DACs. Lots DACs in that price range sound muffled, strange, suffer from extreme digititus, or have some kind of flaw which makes them unlistenable. The only one I could think of is maybe the AMB Gamma2. It's not as resolving as the ODAC, but more impactful and dynamic. Unfortunately, it's cheap only if you can DIY. And even if you can DIY, it's a serious pain to build because of the surface mount chips with tiny pins.

post #304 of 3453

purrin,

 

How come you can get away with stating that the ODAC is hard to beat at the price??

 

Which I whole heartedly agree....

 

When I state this the hate mail comes in and I get creamed for stating this....

 

Must be your cat pix....lol

 

Alex

post #305 of 3453
Quote:
Originally Posted by adydula View Post

purrin,

 

How come you can get away with stating that the ODAC is hard to beat at the price??

 

Which I whole heartedly agree....

 

When I state this the hate mail comes in and I get creamed for stating this....

 

Must be your cat pix....lol

 

Alex

 

Never mind the ODAC! Let's see more cat pix!!

post #306 of 3453
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoke Signals View Post

 

What is your low gain setting? 2.5x or 3.0x etc.

 

Also, how far do you have to turn the volume knob to get it to be too loud?

 

Thanks.


Feel like I should chime in here -

 

I can't speak for those relying on a standard 2V output source (like the ODAC or some fancy CD player), but on a "lower quality" source like a cell phone, computer, or Mp3 player, not only is the 2.5X gain good, but the 6.5x is even better.

 

I can't clip mine off a laptop @6.5X on a music DVD or a movie, so I assume I would need more source voltage to do so. Also, under those circumstances the extra volume is much appreciated.

 

I would prefer to have a 1X, 2.5X, and 6.5X if possible. Better yet, a variable gain.

 

On music, crazy time is 12 O'clock with my HE-400s. With my Senns, a bit lower. I am usually listening at what would look like about 7-9 O'clock, which is probably a 1/4th to a 1/3rd.

post #307 of 3453
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

 

The ODAC is hard to beat at the price. < $500 (or even a little more) is kind of a no-man's land in terms of DACs. Lots DACs in that price range sound muffled, strange, suffer from extreme digititus, or have some kind of flaw which makes them unlistenable. The only one I could think of is maybe the AMB Gamma2. It's not as resolving as the ODAC, but more impactful and dynamic. Unfortunately, it's cheap only if you can DIY. And even if you can DIY, it's a serious pain to build because of the surface mount chips with tiny pins.

OK, thanks for this. I had a look at the Gamma1 and Gamma2 a bit before you posted this, and was considering taking it on as a project, but by the sounds of things I'd be best to start my foray into DIY territory with an easier project. With what you have said, it seems like the ODAC is the other option, as I'm not ready to pay close to $1000 for a serious dac yet. That's not a bad thing, I am really pleased with mine.

post #308 of 3453
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
The ODAC is hard to beat at the price. < $500 (or even a little more) is kind of a no-man's land in terms of DACs. Lots DACs in that price range sound muffled, strange, suffer from extreme digititus, or have some kind of flaw which makes them unlistenable. The only one I could think of is maybe the AMB Gamma2. It's not as resolving as the ODAC, but more impactful and dynamic. Unfortunately, it's cheap only if you can DIY. And even if you can DIY, it's a serious pain to build because of the surface mount chips with tiny pins.

 

The ODAC, unlike the O2, isn't available as a kit, only as a finished circuit board.

 

Quoting the designer of the ODAC and O2 [emphasis in original]:

CAN I BUILD MY OWN ODAC? Unfortunately no. The ODAC will be offered only as an assembled board.

 

WHERE IS THE SCHEMATIC & PARTS LIST? ... [T]here are no DIY-friendly 24 bit USB audio chips that meet the design criteria. So we’re forced to use components licensed for OEM use that are not available through normal distribution

post #309 of 3453
Quote:
Originally Posted by adydula View Post

purrin,

 

How come you can get away with stating that the ODAC is hard to beat at the price??

 

Which I whole heartedly agree....

 

When I state this the hate mail comes in and I get creamed for stating this....

 

Must be your cat pix....lol

 

Alex

 

LOL. I've been creamed in the past for saying the ODAC or O2 don't sound as good as some select pieces of more expensive equipment, even while acknowledging they (O2/ODAC) are hard to beat, and pointing out diminishing returns of the more expensive equipment.

 

I think another reason is that the more dogmatic ***-hats have been banned from HF.


Edited by purrin - 11/11/12 at 12:31pm
post #310 of 3453
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

 

LOL. I've been creamed in the past for saying the ODAC or O2 don't sound as good as some select pieces of more expensive equipment, even while acknowledging they (O2/ODAC) are hard to beat, and pointing out diminishing returns of the more expensive equipment.

 

I think another reason is that the more dogmatic ***-hats have been banned from HF.


I also think its a matter of point of view. For those who don't have an open budget, it always makes sense to drop that extra 50 on a headphone rather than a DAC.

post #311 of 3453

I ordered the 02/ODAC combo last Thursday and it shipped the same day. That was five days ago and it was delivered today. All I can say is WHOA! Is that what I've been missing all these years?

 

My setup before the arrival of the 02/ODAC was a simple desktop setup with a Creative Titanium HD feeding my Sen 598s. I thought it sounded pretty good but it wasn't as good as I hoped it would be. And listening to music straight out of my laptop left a LOT to be desired. So I started to read for possible upgrades and just about everything I read said the 598s don't need amplification and the Titanium HD was pretty decent in the music department. So I started to think that perhaps I needed to spend some big bucks to make an upgrade that was worth the money. The one component I could start with that would have immediate returns was a DAC or DAC/AMP combo for use with my laptop and work pc. I originally thought that an E17 would be the way to go, but somehow it didn't seem like much of an upgrade, especially if I later decided to upgrade the cans. Then I started to read about the 02/ODAC and it seemed like a decent upgrade plus it would be usable when I decided to upgrade my headphones. So I ordered the combo unit and I'm glad I did.

 

The difference in sound with the 02/ODAC feeding my 598s is a huge improvement over the Titanium HD. My first thought when I fired the 02combo up was that there was more emphasis on the highs. Then I fired up Bohemian Rhapsody. I am hearing a definition and clarity that wasn't there before with the Titanium HD and it's not just the mids/highs but across the entire spectrum. Not only that but everything seems, um, sharper I guess. The sound doesn't sound muddy or blended together and what I'm hearing now are clear notes that are distinct from each other and not overpowering in any way. Very balanced. Now I'm listening to AC/DC Squealer and loving every second of the guitar riffs.

 

I don't know what made the bigger difference, the DAC or the AMP, but whatever it is, it is totally worth it.  I may even hold off on upgrading my cans now, maybe not...

post #312 of 3453

Normally I think people make too big a deal of output impedance, but I wonder how much can be attributed to output impedance and damping factor this time around...

 

Out of all headphones (not IEMs), modern Senn HD 5xx series seems like it is one of the most sensitive to these things.  They say about 50 ohms nominal, but it rises to over 250 ohms.  The ~36 ohms output impedance of the Titanium HD (according to goldenears) causes a ~3.3 dB boost to around 100 Hz with these headphones, quickly sloping off in higher and lower frequencies.  I mean, 3.3 dB is not a lot, but it's not a little either.  Damping factor around 1.5?  Maybe an issue actually?

 

So I'm not sure how much I'd attribute to O2/ODAC.  Maybe something else would've worked too.  But enjoy what you have, anyway.

post #313 of 3453
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by adydula View Post

purrin,

 

How come you can get away with stating that the ODAC is hard to beat at the price??

 

Which I whole heartedly agree....

 

When I state this the hate mail comes in and I get creamed for stating this....

 

Must be your cat pix....lol

 

Alex

 

LOL. I've been creamed in the past for saying the ODAC or O2 don't sound as good as some select pieces of more expensive equipment, even while acknowledging they (O2/ODAC) are hard to beat, and pointing out diminishing returns of the more expensive equipment.

 

I think another reason is that the more dogmatic ***-hats have been banned from HF.

 

I agree with what you guys say. I pinched a friend's ODAC while we were in Tokyo for a while so I could give it a run. On sonic merit alone (ignoring everything else) the ODAC + O2 combo is great. The closest I've come across would be the Dragonfly or Audio-gd NFB-16 (not currently available) which are, respectively, a little flatter and a little-less-clear-but-more-musical sounding.

 

Some observations:

 

The ODAC isn't the first to use the output straight from the DA chip. The Metrum Octave does the same trick. The downside of this is that it depends on the amp used having a good input stage. Likewise, the ODAC sounds better with better power feeding it. The slight harshness in the sound disappears if I plug it into my Vaunix USB hub (designed for their lab-use signal generators). If I then feed the output into my Phoenix, which makes most DACs sound excellent, I could just about fool myself into thinking I'm listening to my main DAC + digital accessories.  Other amps I've tried don't fare as well. The ODAC and O2 were designed for each other, so, not surprisingly, work perfectly together.

 

The O2 doesn't seem to deliver the dynamics of music as well as much more expensive amps, so the overall O2/ODAC combination sounds a little flat in comparison but does a lot better than quite a few more expensive amps. I'd rather listen with the combo than a lot of other gear I've had pass through here that didn't impress as much, but cost a lot more.

post #314 of 3453

I don't know, is "output straight from the DA chip" kind of misleading?  Or more relevantly, I'm not so sure about dependence on the amp input stage.

 

Specs on ES9023 are not publicly available, but the literature that's out there calls it a "24-bit stereo audio DAC with integrated 2Vrms op-amp driver."  If there's a trick involved, it's Sabre putting op amps in the DAC IC package.  Do you really consider it to be different than a DAC with an op amp line driver in a separate package?  Lots of ICs these days have many integrated components and functionality though.  That's the name of the game now.

post #315 of 3453
Quote:
Originally Posted by Agavehound View Post
I don't know what made the bigger difference, the DAC or the AMP, but whatever it is, it is totally worth it.

 

I do not think it is the DAC, unless it is poorly implemented on the Titanium HD (the parts used by themselves would allow for excellent performance), but I doubt that is the case. As already explained by mikeaj, the O2 likely made a difference, headphone support is not something sound card manufacturers usually pay much attention to. Also, check that there is no unwanted DSP (EQ, reverb, etc.) enabled on the Sound Blaster, and that you listen to both devices at matched volume (this can actually only be guaranteed with measurements), for a fair comparison.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Agavehound View Post
I may even hold off on upgrading my cans now, maybe not...

 

Headphones make the most difference to the sound, but it is not easy to find the best ones for your personal preferences.

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