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Harman Kardon HK 3490 receiver. Unlimited power for your phones and a nice DAC to boot? - Page 4

post #46 of 54

Just thought I'd update after getting my D2k's back from a friend..

OP, you are totally right, in the part where hiss is virtually non-existent on the Denons. ~-25 is where I begin to notice the noise floor. However, I notice the receiver really sucks out the mids. This hadnt occurred to me until I tried my V-80's on the HK(awful pairing). Funny enough, the HD650 and T1's sounded great from the receiver. Isnt the receiver supposed to have a flat EQ with bass and treble dial are centered?

post #47 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by aleki View Post

Just thought I'd update after getting my D2k's back from a friend..

OP, you are totally right, in the part where hiss is virtually non-existent on the Denons. ~-25 is where I begin to notice the noise floor. However, I notice the receiver really sucks out the mids. This hadnt occurred to me until I tried my V-80's on the HK(awful pairing). Funny enough, the HD650 and T1's sounded great from the receiver. Isnt the receiver supposed to have a flat EQ with bass and treble dial are centered?

Do your D2k's sound really compressed and too tight? My D5k's sounded that way, so I sent my HK 3490 back. Just sounded plain bad. I picked up a used Onkyo TX-SR606 on ebay and there is no noise from the headphone out, no hiss, really wide soundstage and it's very organic sounding.

post #48 of 54
Thread Starter 

As far as I know eq should be flat with the bass and treble at 12 o clock.  Do you have a way for me to test mids?  I'm no expert and have no idea what you mean.  Listening to my d7000's and my ascend sierra 1 speakers everything sounds perfect to me.  Is there a test track that would make it easy to tell?  Every time I've had doubts about my equipment I listen to something else that was mastered differently and realize it just sounds how it really sounds.
 


Edited by Brando - 9/7/12 at 10:21pm
post #49 of 54
My personal feeling is that the DAC is what is affecting the sound. How are you guys feeding music into this thing?

I found that when feeding the music using the optical cable gave a much "clearer" sound, but I realized it was bacause the mids are recessed by the DAC, when I feed it using an external DAC, the sounds starts to be fuller again.
post #50 of 54
Thread Starter 

Maybe that's what I'm hearing when it sounds more punchy and sharp to me.  I'm thinking about finally getting an external dac like a gungnir or whatever the hot $HeeT is at the moment and I'll give impressions if I do.
 

post #51 of 54

I just wanna report that my findings as well are similar to yours. I've tried various amps and receivers and found they all had excellent headphone outputs. At the end I picked the Onkyo A-5VL (~400$) integrated amp with a DAC that has a great sounding headphones output, with loads of power, in fact far more than any headphone amp I've ever tried. Runs DT880's 600ohm with EASE, its very controlled and punchy, and above 60% of volume, its way to loud to listen to, so it's got a lot of headroom.  It also sounds great with HD650's, which aren't really that power hungry in comparison, and low impedance Ultrasone HFI-2400's sound great as well.

As far as noise goes, there's none whatsoever on DT880's or HD650's, even at maximum volume, its completely silent. With HFI-2400's there is some barely audible hum when turning the knob to the last 10% or so, but that's very low hum, barely audible, and with such low impedance headphones, either my ear drums or drivers would be blown out way before I could turn the knob that far while music is playing, because it gets too loud to bare even for a second before the knob is turned to 50%.  

 

As for the DAC inside, its a dual (one for each channel) Burr Brown 24/192, second chip from top of the line, the one with 118db SNR, like in Asus D2X card. So a bit weaker than in Asus ST, but I honestly hear no difference whatsoever between using the Asus as a DAC, or just using the built in DAC. Those differences in specs on paper are way above what is audible, its at least as good sounding DAC unit as the Asus ST.  

But as a whole unit there is no comparison. Comparing the Asus ST's headphone out and Onkyo's headphone out while using built in DAC, there's no doubt Onkyo wins on pretty much every area. Soundstage is wider, sound is overall somehow bigger, its more punchy, more liquid, more smooth. Just a nicer listening experience.

I also have to say that I've compared it to Asus Xonar Essence One, Teac UD-H01 and Cambridge Audio Dacmagic+ directly, in store, and I had the Essence One at home for a while.  Asus and CA are twice the price, and Teac is about 50% more than Onkyo, and Onkyo was at least as good if not better in terms of sound quality than all of them, and in terms of power, it obliterates them all. If we were to put all three units together, they still would not have the power the Onkyo has, and they're all dedicated head amp/dac combos that cost much more. 

 

As you've said, and I agree, it makes my Asus ST redundant, as well as my head amps, and makes the idea of buying a separate headphone amp or DAC seem totally pointless, especially after hearing most of the <1000$ offerings.  Also, as far as looks and build quality goes, there's no competition with standalone head amps or DAC's.  This unit looks business, it weighs 23 pounds, it feels solid like a rock, all the knobs have a high quality solid mechanical, but at the same time smooth feel, there's a remote control,  volume pot is motorized,  and lets not forget a great speaker amp part as well. Possible bi-wiring and plenty of power for my Kef Q300 speakers, which are pretty big and pretty power hungry.


Edited by derbigpr - 9/9/12 at 2:13pm
post #52 of 54
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Quote:

Originally Posted by derbigpr View Post

I just wanna report that my findings as well are similar to yours. I've tried various amps and receivers and found they all had excellent headphone outputs. At the end I picked the Onkyo A-5VL (~400$) integrated amp with a DAC that has a great sounding headphones output, with loads of power, in fact far more than any headphone amp I've ever tried. Runs DT880's 600ohm with EASE, its very controlled and punchy, and above 60% of volume, its way to loud to listen to, so it's got a lot of headroom.  It also sounds great with HD650's, which aren't really that power hungry in comparison, and low impedance Ultrasone HFI-2400's sound great as well.

As far as noise goes, there's none whatsoever on DT880's or HD650's, even at maximum volume, its completely silent. With HFI-2400's there is some barely audible hum when turning the knob to the last 10% or so, but that's very low hum, barely audible, and with such low impedance headphones, either my ear drums or drivers would be blown out way before I could turn the knob that far while music is playing, because it gets too loud to bare even for a second before the knob is turned to 50%.  

 

As for the DAC inside, its a dual (one for each channel) Burr Brown 24/192, second chip from top of the line, the one with 118db SNR, like in Asus D2X card. So a bit weaker than in Asus ST, but I honestly hear no difference whatsoever between using the Asus as a DAC, or just using the built in DAC. Those differences in specs on paper are way above what is audible, its at least as good sounding DAC unit as the Asus ST.  

But as a whole unit there is no comparison. Comparing the Asus ST's headphone out and Onkyo's headphone out while using built in DAC, there's no doubt Onkyo wins on pretty much every area. Soundstage is wider, sound is overall somehow bigger, its more punchy, more liquid, more smooth. Just a nicer listening experience.

I also have to say that I've compared it to Asus Xonar Essence One, Teac UD-H01 and Cambridge Audio Dacmagic+ directly, in store, and I had the Essence One at home for a while.  Asus and CA are twice the price, and Teac is about 50% more than Onkyo, and Onkyo was at least as good if not better in terms of sound quality than all of them, and in terms of power, it obliterates them all. If we were to put all three units together, they still would not have the power the Onkyo has, and they're all dedicated head amp/dac combos that cost much more. 

 

As you've said, and I agree, it makes my Asus ST redundant, as well as my head amps, and makes the idea of buying a separate headphone amp or DAC seem totally pointless, especially after hearing most of the <1000$ offerings.  Also, as far as looks and build quality goes, there's no competition with standalone head amps or DAC's.  This unit looks business, it weighs 23 pounds, it feels solid like a rock, all the knobs have a high quality solid mechanical, but at the same time smooth feel, there's a remote control,  volume pot is motorized,  and lets not forget a great speaker amp part as well. Possible bi-wiring and plenty of power for my Kef Q300 speakers, which are pretty big and pretty power hungry.

 

 

Just thought I'd chime in after returning the HK. I took your advice and picked up a nice second-hand A5VL from Amazon; I have to say, for stereo receiver, they really nail the headphone-out. I plan to use the first speaker bank to power my LCD-2's, and am thinking about wiring the Fiio e9 to the second bank for additional inputs.. My only concern is that I may be feeding the e9 a bit too much power by doing this.. Does anyone know if I should be using resistors for the e9, or will I be fine by watching the volume knob?

post #53 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by aleki View Post

Just thought I'd chime in after returning the HK. I took your advice and picked up a nice second-hand A5VL from Amazon; I have to say, for stereo receiver, they really nail the headphone-out. I plan to use the first speaker bank to power my LCD-2's, and am thinking about wiring the Fiio e9 to the second bank for additional inputs.. My only concern is that I may be feeding the e9 a bit too much power by doing this.. Does anyone know if I should be using resistors for the e9, or will I be fine by watching the volume knob?

 

Why don't you just connect the e9 to a RCA output the way it was intended? Speaker outputs are NOT line level. Is there anything to gain by connecting the e9 to speaker outputs? If not, then why even contemplate it? And, if the headphone out is so good, what do you need to e9 for?

post #54 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hooster View Post

 

Why don't you just connect the e9 to a RCA output the way it was intended? Speaker outputs are NOT line level. Is there anything to gain by connecting the e9 to speaker outputs? If not, then why even contemplate it? And, if the headphone out is so good, what do you need to e9 for?

Well, I want to leave all the processing to the receiver and get rid of my soundcard. As I previously mentioned, I would be putting the e9 jacks to use for other things, like my studio monitors. I honestly havent done too much looking, but from what I can see, the receiver doesnt have pre-outs.

 

edit: wow, totally overlooked the tape-out feature; even better smile_phones.gif


Edited by aleki - 11/16/12 at 12:50am
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