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I can't notice ANY difference between these two AMPs. WHY??

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hey there.

 

Here comes my current setup:

Mac -> Audinst HUD-MX1 (DAC + AMP) -> Audeze LCD-2r2

 

Now I bought an Violectric V200 so the new setup looks like the following:

Mac -> Audinst HUD-MX1 (DAC) -> V200 (AMP) -> Audeze LCD-2r2

 

But: I can't notice ANY difference between these two setups.

 

Audio source is iTunes with Amarra, both iTunes volume and system volume are maxed.

 

On the second setup I maxed the volume of the HUD-MX1.

 

Audio format is 16 bit, 44,1 kHz. Data is uncompressed music. Tried it with a lot of different songs from a lot of different genres.

 

WHY in hell is that? Is the Audinst such a good AMP that I can't notice any difference?

Is it my bad ears? (I don't think so! etysmile.gif)

Is the Audinst a bad DAC so the V200 amplifies "bad" signals?

 

 

Is there a way to get noticable better quality than from my current setup without spending thousands of dollars?

 

 

Please help

Thank you! :-)


Edited by odyssey2001 - 9/7/12 at 3:21pm
post #2 of 23

When I'm not listening critically to modern pop music, I can barely tell the difference between my HD 580 and HD 800.

 

Do you have any audiophile jazz or classical tracks you can try? I usually throw on Jazz at the Pawnshop (it's a very cliched yet good choice around here) and listen for the hum of the audience and the clinking of glasses while Arne Domnerus is playing.

post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 

I used a lot of classical tracks from artists like Ludovico Einaudi, Zoe Keating, Niels Frahm, Yiruma or Helen Jane Long. But there was absolutely no noticeable difference. frown.gif


Edited by odyssey2001 - 9/7/12 at 3:50pm
post #4 of 23
Quote:

Audio source is iTunes with Amarra, both iTunes volume and system volume are maxed.

 

On the second setup I maxed the volume of the HUD-MX1.

 

You should be using the line out of the DAC.  Line out signal comes directly from the DAC circuitry before the amp circuitry so it is not affected by the volume control at all.  The fact that you said you're maxing the volume sounds like your driving your V200 from the headphone out of the HUD-MX1.  This is double amping and is bad for many reasons beyond negating most of the benefits you would hear from a better amp.

 

If you're not double amping, then you just need to train your ears.  You will eventually find tracks for yourself that will reveal the differences.  They are different for different headphones and different genres.  Modern pop music and electronic music is highly compressed and as such will not tell you much about soundstage or imaging.  As for classical, it depends on the tracks you're listening to.  Listen critically without distractions.  Don't be doing something else at the same time else the music will just become background noise.

 

Quote:
Is there a way to get noticable better quality than from my current setup without spending thousands of dollars?

 

The V200 isn't expensive enough already?  LOL.  If you're seriously doubting your setup at this price point, I think it's time to start doubting your interest in the hobby.

post #5 of 23

Don't know those DACs but do like Amarra. I also tend to not like USB DACs that much or computers as source but If I was on that path and not getting a result, I'd try using XLD for rips to AIFF or WAV and see if that helps. I think a good cheap USB interface is the Halide bridge but I prefer something a Dice II firewire setup like you get with Weiss (expensive) or TC Electronic (reasonable but not quite as good for no specific reasonwink_face.gif). http://www.tcelectronic.com/impacttwin.asp

post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by atomiccow View Post

 

You should be using the line out of the DAC.  Line out signal comes directly from the DAC circuitry before the amp circuitry so it is not affected by the volume control at all.  The fact that you said you're maxing the volume sounds like your driving your V200 from the headphone out of the HUD-MX1.  This is double amping and is bad for many reasons beyond negating most of the benefits you would hear from a better amp.

 

If you're not double amping, then you just need to train your ears.  You will eventually find tracks for yourself that will reveal the differences.  They are different for different headphones and different genres.  Modern pop music and electronic music is highly compressed and as such will not tell you much about soundstage or imaging.  As for classical, it depends on the tracks you're listening to.  Listen critically without distractions.  Don't be doing something else at the same time else the music will just become background noise.

 

 

The V200 isn't expensive enough already?  LOL.  If you're seriously doubting your setup at this price point, I think it's time to start doubting your interest in the hobby.

Im pretty sure that the MX1 has a variable line out (pre-amp)  so you do have to max the volume out and it is NOT double amping if that's the case.

post #7 of 23

Welcome to audio nervosa. Get out while you still can.

post #8 of 23

The Audinst is a good unit in its price range for what it is but I'm surprised you can't hear a difference between that and with the V200 in the mix. The Audinst has a much better dac section than the amp section and the V200 is definitely an improvement over the amp in the Audinst.

 

 

Atomiccow, it depends on your perspective. The V200 is expensive and past that comes in diminishing gains but to me the V200 is the weak link in my chain but good enough to not care to upgrade.

post #9 of 23

If you don't hear any difference, then that is probably a good thing, regardless of whatever anybody else thinks you should be hearing.  That said, there are some out there who would say that you probably shouldn't be able to consistently hear a difference in sound quality between the two and that this is a normal result.

 

If you want to hear a difference, here are some things to try:

  1. First of all, make sure to match the volumes between the two devices very carefully, preferably with a sound meter and/or voltmeter (using a constant test tone) to check levels.  Maybe use a switchbox or improve the setup so you can switch between the two setups rapidly.  It's often easier to hear differences when the auditory memory of the other experience is fresher.
  2. Within reasonable limits and without periods of long exposure (please, don't blast your ears), turn up the volume a lot on both.  Maybe the HUD-MX1 will start to falter and distort as the power levels increase.
  3. Use different headphones.  Like when testing limits as in #2, try HiFiMAN HE-6 instead.  Or for sure you can hear a difference if you find some multiple balanced-armature IEMs with crossovers that have very wild impedance vs. frequency graphs, with impedance dipping very low at some frequencies (below 16 ohms).  In that case, the ~5 ohms output impedance of the HUD-MX1 should be apparent compared to the lower output impedance of the V200.

 

These are issues not really pertaining to improving sound quality of your setup though.

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 

I do. I can both adjust the volume of the line out and the headphone out by using the volume knob

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by atomiccow View Post

 

You should be using the line out of the DAC.

post #11 of 23

As mikeaj says, you need to match the sources to the same volume.

Other than that, if you can't hear any difference, maybe there is none within discernible limits.

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by odyssey2001 View Post

I used a lot of classical tracks from artists like Ludovico Einaudi, Zoe Keating, Niels Frahm, Yiruma or Helen Jane Long. But there was absolutely no noticeable difference. frown.gif

 

Try some serious classical albums that has orchestration.  New age piano are not really great choice for what you are trying to do.

 

One of my favor CD to test new equipment is this one.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Diabolus-Musica-Paganini/dp/B000BD8120/ref=sr_1_21?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1348079380&sr=1-21&keywords=paganini

post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by odyssey2001 View Post

Hey there.

 

Here comes my current setup:

Mac -> Audinst HUD-MX1 (DAC + AMP) -> Audeze LCD-2r2

 

Now I bought an Violectric V200 so the new setup looks like the following:

Mac -> Audinst HUD-MX1 (DAC) -> V200 (AMP) -> Audeze LCD-2r2

 

But: I can't notice ANY difference between these two setups.

 

Audio source is iTunes with Amarra, both iTunes volume and system volume are maxed.

 

On the second setup I maxed the volume of the HUD-MX1.

 

Audio format is 16 bit, 44,1 kHz. Data is uncompressed music. Tried it with a lot of different songs from a lot of different genres.

 

WHY in hell is that? Is the Audinst such a good AMP that I can't notice any difference?

Is it my bad ears? (I don't think so! etysmile.gif)

Is the Audinst a bad DAC so the V200 amplifies "bad" signals?

 

 

Is there a way to get noticable better quality than from my current setup without spending thousands of dollars?

 

 

Please help

Thank you! :-)

 

The second system should theoretically be worse than the first one. Amping a middle of the road amp/dac will give you the sound of a middle of the road amp/dac plus whatever distortions the V200 + cables introduces. What you are doing seems pointless. The fact that you hear no difference only means that the V200 and the connectors, cables you are using are good enough not to audibly degrade the sound.

 

Would this setup make any sense to you Mac -> Audinst HUD-MX1 (DAC) -> V200 (AMP) -> Better amp than the V200 ->Audeze LCD-2r2? Again, that should be worse than just Mac -> Audinst HUD-MX1 (DAC + AMP) -> Audeze LCD-2r2

 

A chain is only as good as the weakest link. Inserting high quality stuff downstream of middle grade gear will not improve anything.


Edited by Hooster - 9/19/12 at 1:20pm
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hooster View Post

The second system should theoretically be worse than the first one.

 

Not necessarily if the V200 is better than whatever amplifier is built into the HUD-MX1. Using the line output of the latter, it is a simple question of which amplifier is better. However, as surprising as it may sound to some, amplifying an already amplified output can potentially make an improvement. It is a myth that "double amping" is always a bad thing. The line input of an amplifier is much easier to drive than a headphone or speaker. Therefore, if you gain more by the first amplifier (which could be underpowered, have high output impedance, etc.) not having to drive a difficult load than what you lose by adding another amplifier to the chain, then the overall quality will indeed be better. That is also why you do not drive everything, including passive loudspeakers, with line outputs, which are technically also "amplified". normal_smile%20.gif

 

Of course, if the HUD-MX1 includes an amplifier that is already good enough to drive the LCD-2 well and without any audible issues, then the V200 is not needed.


Edited by stv014 - 9/19/12 at 3:08pm
post #15 of 23

I just think the Audeze is too good for the audinst and matching those does not make much sense. The V200 is not likely to help much.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/618984/audeze-lcd-3-and-1k-amp-or-audeze-lcd-2-and-2k-where-is-the-sweet-spot/165

 

"I owned the V200 for about a year, first with the LCD-2 rev 1 and then with the LCD-3 (original and RMA'd versions).  I liked the V200, especially for its size and price, but IMO it's a bit too warm and congested for the Audeze models I had, especially considering that warmth and a less-than-expansive soundstage seem to be inherent weaknesses of Audezes.

 

I tried the V200 first with the Lavry DA-10, which was fairly neutral but lacked a bit of realism and excitement, and may have contributed to the constricted soundstage.  I then tried the V200 with my current source, the PS Audio PWD MKII, which is much more resolving, natural, dynamic, and 3-dimensional than the DA10.  The V200 was better with the PWD, but still seemed a bit too boomy in the bass and imaging seemed a bit dull and lacking focus.  Those issues have disappeared with the Liquid Fire, which is by far the best (and most expensive) amp I've heard with the LCD-3."

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