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Tiny DAC, Big Sound, Evolved – Stoner Acoustics UD100 / UD110 / UD120 - Page 10

post #136 of 940

Got mine on the way as well. Seller confirmed it's shrinkwrapped. Still, a nice housing wouldn't be bad. 

post #137 of 940
Mine came in a nice yellow rap biggrin.gif
post #138 of 940
Just got mine today! Sooner than expected too, roughly two weeks from the time I placed the order. Just some brief impressions since I'm currently powerless thanks to Sandy frown.gif

First off works great as a usb dac straight out of my s3 (us version) as expected. Volume control using software attenuation works fine as well. It is dead silent, zero hiss. I'm not much of an audiophile in terms being able to technically describe what I hear, but soundstage is definitely better and clarity of the music is fantastic (listening to classical music it is night and day compared to the onboard dac). Adding my e6 amp to this makes me really happy. Not sure how to describe it, but the combination works really well.

I tried just the e6 straight out of the s3, just the ud100, and finally both combined and there is definitely a noticeable difference between the three. For those of you using it unamped I highly recommend adding an amp, even something as small as the e6.

So in the end I ended up spending $80 for the dac and amp and I'm very happy with the sound.I'm not sure how it compares to something like using the e7 as a straight usb dac/amp, but my setup is definitely the most portable usb dac/amp combo I've seen so far(although there are 5 cable connections between my phone and my jh5s). I'll try to post a pic one I get power back. For those of you on the fence or those of you currently waiting to get yours, it's definitely worth it!
post #139 of 940
Actually the dragonfly or whatever it's called is more portable I guess but it's also 3 times as expensive.
post #140 of 940

Got it in the mail today. It looks like the most unpretentious thing in the world. :) Didn't bring an amp with me to work so can't listen to it right now. 

 

 

1000

post #141 of 940

Major Stoner fan here. Got mine today and with the CmoyBB combo, amazing rig for $100 or so. I only wish it played 24/96 files, so I ordered the one on ebay too, which does play 24/96 but uses the same dac chip. Will compare. Along with the MH1C, a double barreled winning combo from ClieOS.

post #142 of 940

A Comparison - Stoner Acoustics UD100 vs Hifimediy SABRE USB DAC on eBay:


Quote:

Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post

My Brief 1st Impressions of UD100:  

 

This is an audible upgrade over feeding the headphone-out of my Macbook Pro into the A2 and A5 speakers with stands.  The treble extension and presence is a little better with UD100 vs with the MBP alone or with my original uDAC, with a slightly bigger and less forward soundstage too.  In the past I've written that the original uDAC was just a little too dark with the Audioengine speakers, and I had switched to the DACport until I got my uDAC-2 and Audioengine D1.  The uD100 is a good match for these speakers.

 

But overall, the uDAC-2 and Audioengine D1 line-out both seem to have a little bigger soundstage than the uD100, with the DACport surpassing even those in soundstage depth and size.  Still, for $50 it shouldn't sound this close to the $130-170 DACs via line-out.  These all seem to have fairly comparable levels of detail (not including the original uDAC).  I do not think the UD100 is in the same league as my HDP with S11 PSU.  I know the S11 PSU makes the HDP sound more refined and holographic, but I can't compare things with the stock PSU right now because it's been misplaced.  Based on my past comparisons of stock HDP to the uDAC-2, and knowing where uDAC-2 stands vs the uD100, I don't think I would say that the uD100 is on par with the HDP as a DAC only.  Still, the UD100 is surprisingly good for the price (and size).

 

I do really wish that the volume could be controlled by the computer, or that it had some kind of physical volume control.  Instead I have to reach behind the A2 speakers to adjust the volume, or use a Westone in-line attenuator between the DAC and the speakers, which hurts clarity slightly.  Compared to my old $49 Headstage DAC cable (a PCM2706 by itself) the sound is also miles ahead.  But at least the Headstage DAC cable can have the volume adjusted via the PC system volume control, and it's using the same USB receiver chip as the UD100.

 

I bought the same TF card reader to transplant the DAC into later, but TF reader showed up in lime-green instead of black, so it's a little more fun but less professional looking.  No pics until I get this DAC installed.  I'm going to try feeding the UD100 into my SR-71b balanced amp in the next few days, and try it with my LCD-2 and HE-500.  More to come later (when I feel like it).

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by nipit View Post

How does it compare for example with this one? Link

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post

I forgot to mention, I bought the Hifimediy Sabre USB DAC ES9023 + Tenor TE7022, 96khz/24bit, 96/24 in that link a few days ago.  I'll post something about it when it comes.

 

IMPRESSIONS Hifymediy SABRE USB DAC:
 
So, I've got about 24 hours of burn-in on the Hifimediy SABRE USB DAC from eBay, and so far I am very pleasantly pleased with it.  It's definitely worth the $45 or more.  While the Stoner Acoustics uD100 is great as the tiniest DAC that I've seen, this new one is a much better budget solution for directly driving headphones than the Stoner Acoustics, since the Mac's system volume will adjust the output levels (rather than having to adjust the volume within the apps). I'm using OSX 10.8.2 on a 15" retina Macbook Pro, and I set Audio MIDI setup for 24/96 and left it there.
 
Vs the Stoner Acoustics UD100 as a DAC-only, this Hifimediy SABRE DAC is very similar to the UD100 although just a little closer in soundstage size to the line-out from the Audioengine D1 and uDAC-2 SE.  I tried it while feeding my Pico Slim amp, and my Audioengine A2 and A5 powered speakers.  When driving headphones directly from the headphone out, as an amp it's a little more spacious sounding than the D1 or uDAC-2 SE built-in headphone amps.  
 
This puts the soundstage depth and transparency (lack of coloration) somewhere between the D1/uDAC-2 SE and the DACport.  Even at moderate volumes with the LCD-2 rev2 it's easy to appreciate the level of transparency and soundstage that this little DAC/amp offers.  Note - I've always preferred the D1 or uDAC-2 line-out over their headphone out, which are still pleasant to use with headphones but not as impressive as their line-out capabilities.
 
Unfortunately it's not nearly as powerful as the Audioengine D1, uDAC-2 SE, or DACport - so when driving the LCD-2 rev2 the volume levels are just adequate but not exceptional, and there is less punch and weight or authority to the sound.  The little thing just couldn't do justice to the LCD-2 like a good strong amp can.  It wasn't even worth trying my less efficient HE-500.  
 
Switching to the V-MODA M-100 is where the Hifimediy found a much better partner, since those are so easy to drive. The Hifimediy driving the M-100 seems to have a similar power output to the iPhone or iPods, and it's much more volume than anyone needs.  I can listen to the M-100 with the volume set to 50-60% where the LCD-2 rev2 require increasing the volume setting to 80-100% to give similar volume levels.  It's not nearly as powerful as the Pico Slim either, which is not a very powerful amp because it's really designed for IEM.  Also, I suspect the output impedance is >1 ohm because the M-100 mid-bass is just a little more boomy with the Hifimediy SABRE DAC than if I drive the M-100 with the Pico Slim (<1ohm).  
 
Fortunately, the Hifimediy is dead silent with my Westone ES5 custom IEM.  And the low power output is such that it's the only amp I've tried where I can turn the volume to 100% and not blow out my ear drums with my custom IEM.  I would listen to the ES5 through this DAC with the Mac's volume at 60%, same setting as what I'd use with the M-100, where 80% and above is louder than I would normally listen.
 
The Hifimediy SABRE DAC is a bit bigger than the UD100, but if you are toting about a laptop then the slightly bigger size isn't going to matter.  It's about the size of 4 UD100 set in a rectangle pattern, or about 60% the length of a 5th gen iPod nano, the same width, and about 2x the thickness.  If I set it on my Mac keyboard, it only covers the tab, caps lock, Q and A keys.  It probably takes up about 1/3 of the cubic inches of the uDAC-2 SE, so it's still very small.  
 
The short attached 4" USB cable acts nicely as a strain relief, so when using a stiff mini>RCA cable to my speakers it's not trying to twist the DAC out of the USB socket.  I know you can just add a 6" USB extension to the uD100, so that's not a deal breaker.  And the rim of the 3.5" mm jack is a little shiny so it's not too hard to find and plug in a headphone in very dim light.
 
SUMMARY:  If I had to pick just one, I have to say it would be the Hifimediy SABRE USB DAC - it's more versatile due to allowing system volume control, accepts 24/96 natively, and is better when driving headphones.
post #143 of 940

Okay, so I spent more time listening to my ES5 custom IEM with a variety of these USB DACs listed, and my impressions have not changed.  In terms of synergy and performance the DACport is the best match for the ES5 custom IEM, followed by the uDAC-2 SE and Pico DAC > Pico Slim.  The volume pot on the D1 isn't great with IEM, so I didn't bother.  

 

The UD100 was also silent with the ES5, no hiss with any of them.  I would control the UD100 volume inside iTunes, and normal listening with the ES5 was at about 40%.  I could max iTunes out to 100% and just like with the Hifimediy it was louder than I care to listen but didn't blow out my ear drums.  The UD100 driving the ES5 directly is clearly more forward sounding and less spacious than the Hifimediy or the headphone jack on my retina Macbook Pro.

 

So, the UD100 is best to me as a DAC-only, feeding an amp and not driving headphones.  As a DAC it competes well with DACs costing 3-4x as much.  As a headphone amp, not so much.  It can drive a high-end custom IEM in a pinch, but I suspect that someone with a budget for $1000 IEM isn't going to use a $50 USB DAC-only to drive them.

post #144 of 940

HPA, can I ask a simple question please? Forget about driving headphones, I power my ES5 with the Stepdance. Forget about system volume control or 24/96, all of which are published spec differences...

 

As a DAC feeding a good clean amp (say Pico Slim since you don't have the Stepdance) and driving the ES5, how do the UD100 and Hifymediy compare, DAC only, sound quality only?

 

Thanks!

post #145 of 940
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post

...As a headphone amp, not so much.  It can drive a high-end custom IEM in a pinch, but I suspect that someone with a budget for $1000 IEM isn't going to use a $50 USB DAC-only to drive them.

Absolutely. ESS chip isn't meant to drive any headphone directly. It just doesn't have the current output needed since there is no amp section, this is especially true for IEM with low impedance where current is most wanted.. Plus, the output impedance is about 250ohm so there won't be any dampening. With such a high output impedance, colouration due to crossover circuit is also unavoidable for most multi-driver IEM. As you said, it might sound half decent in a pinch, but it is a waste of potential in my mind.
post #146 of 940

Never mind.


Edited by aamefford - 11/4/12 at 7:46am
post #147 of 940

finally got mine today! bigsmile_face.gif

 

I just tested the UD100 with Foobar player (UD100 connected to a Penguin amp) - works great! L3000.gif

post #148 of 940
Quote:
Originally Posted by cooperpwc View Post

HPA, can I ask a simple question please? Forget about driving headphones, I power my ES5 with the Stepdance. Forget about system volume control or 24/96, all of which are published spec differences...

 

As a DAC feeding a good clean amp (say Pico Slim since you don't have the Stepdance) and driving the ES5, how do the UD100 and Hifymediy compare, DAC only, sound quality only?

 

Thanks!

 

As a DAC only and feeding my Pico Slim, and ignoring all else but the sound, I think I slightly prefer the little bit of extra transparency and space of the Hifimediy SABRE DAC over the UD100, but it's pretty close.  They both beat the crap out of my old $49 Headstage DAC cable (PCM2706 all by itself), and either one of these would be an excellent inexpensive DAC upgrade for something like my 3MOVE, XM5, or EF2 amps with older built-in PCM2702E JPN DACs in them.  The line-out sound quality of these $50 DACs comes very close to the line-out of the uDAC-2 SE and Audioengine D1 that cost times as much, but when driving headphones they fall behind and that's where your Stepdance comes in.

 

If I absolutely needed the smallest possible DAC to feed an amp, I would not have a problem with picking the UD100 over the Hifimediy if that one was too big.  But I just can't think of a time when that would be an issue for me, and I like to consider the extra features that I might be able to use some day.   Note, the UD100 does sound more spacious when driving an amp than when driving a headphone directly.  When driving a headphone it just sounds more compressed and bland, but it's really clean and more lively when driving an amp.  So keep that in mind.

 

I will be trying these DACs with my iPad 3 and camera connection kit, and if they both work the HiFimediy might still be a better choice because of the short flexible cable that would prevent the DAC from acting as a lever in the CCK that's plugged into the 30-pin jack.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post


Absolutely. ESS chip isn't meant to drive any headphone directly. It just doesn't have the current output needed since there is no amp section, this is especially true for IEM with low impedance where current is most wanted.. Plus, the output impedance is about 250ohm so there won't be any dampening. With such a high output impedance, colouration due to crossover circuit is also unavoidable for most multi-driver IEM. As you said, it might sound half decent in a pinch, but it is a waste of potential in my mind.

 

Yeah, I would prefer to use these as a DAC only, but it's nice to be able to drive a headphone in a pinch.  That wouldn't be a long term solution for me.  Even a cMoy plugged into these DACs should be a big upgrade. 

post #149 of 940

HPA, exactly what I was looking for. Thanks. (Personally, I do look the small footprint and dongle-free design of the UD100 but the Hiflmediy looks good.) 

post #150 of 940

But these DAC's seems to be fine for headphones that have impedance < 32 Ohms, right?

 

What are the dimensions of HifiMeDiy Sabre USB DAC?

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