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A nice new DAC2 from Benchmark showing at RMAF - Page 16

post #226 of 236
I've have the dragonfly, and the detail retrieval depends on the headphones that are connected to it.  It's not an ideal source as I would like as the bass was not as defined as other sources I've heard.  Two headphones I've tried with is 1964 triples and TG334.  TG334 with early roll off of the top end could not output much defintion in the treble region, but the triples did a better job because of it's over emphasized treble region.  ODAC does work out better than the dragonfly in terms of treble defintion with the TG334 with better spacial sound with better defintion in the mids and bass if the fit is done well with the right tips.  This leads me think that the dragonfly's treble is not defined as well, and even with bright phones such as the triples, the treble did not sound accurate. ODAC overall does a better than the dragonfly, and this can be due to the O2 being used in conjunction to it.  

 

I used to own the 535 and the 846, and I don't regard them as being very revealing iems, the treble is emphasized, but at the bold treble region which seems to lack a palette that the NT6 has which provide much more variations to the treble and over more accurate when it comes to transparency and therefore output micro details and reveals the resolution that is there.  This was the situation when I compared the ODAC to the HP, I noticed treble not being as resolving as the DAC2 or the Hugo, and even the ODAC.   Stage presentation was wide with the HP.  I felt that HP sounded filtered to smooth out any roughness that can outputted by dynamically compressed recordings, and this would reduce the transparency with recordings in general.  

 

So far I much preferred that ES9018S over the 2M version which the HP includes.  The DX90 uses the 2M and it was less favorable to my ears, but this was a portable player with less power capability.  Calyx M also utilizes the same chip, but is said to be warmer, so it's about implementation in the end.  I've also listened to another ES9018S based DAC/Amp, the Anedio D2 which outputs the stereo typical Sabre characteristic.   It outputs the dry forward treble details, which is great if one likes in your face detailing, but it's not accurate to the recordings. Dry treble characteristic is very noticeable with NT6.  With headphones like the HD800, the dry treble is much less noticeable.   I've also heard the ibasso R10 which utilizes the ES9018S, and it does output similar treble characteristic, but I thought it's the best portable performer I've heard until the Hugo and the AK240 which has different sound sig with cleaner treble.  It was quite impressive for a portable player, but ui is horrible, laggy, and battery drains too quick.  


Edited by SilverEars - 8/17/14 at 2:51pm

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post #227 of 236

 Last response from me Re: concero HP, I promise. I have not heard it with the super sensitive IEMs. And I will freely admit the NT6 blows the 535 out of the water detail wise from everything I've read.  But I have listened to it with the Senn 800. And for the supposed flaws people claim that can has, resolution is not one of them. The detail retrieval and punch on Van Morrison's Astral Works 96/24 and Bon Iver's self titled on redbook was impressive (800 tested at store)...  I have not heard the O2/Odac so I can't make a comparison there.

 

My only other question was did you test it (the concero HP) with anything but the NT6's? The concero HP does have an output impedance of 2.2 ohms and as noted in the positive CYMBACAVUM review, 

 

"At 2.2 Ω, it’s not an ideal for multi-driver IEMs with wildly swinging impedance curves, but it’s certainly well within the realm of reason"

 

For all its merits, the NT6 seems to have a pretty big impedance swings from what i've read, so maybe it's just not the best pairing.

 

FWIW, I think the concero HP sounds great with both my 650 and the 800 I tried it with in store. 

 

That's it for me on the subject. Sorry if the thread went off track for a second. 


Edited by Hartsmusic - 8/17/14 at 1:13pm
post #228 of 236
I compared the DAC1, DAC2, and Concero HP quite closely in multiple extended listening sessions using the HD600s, Alpha Dogs, and Westone W40s. I did the entire Philips Golden Ears challenge using the DAC2+HD600. There is little audible difference between the three DAC-amps in bit-perfect mode, at least at reasonable listening levels. All sounded excellent, quite neutral, and without any noise, clipping, or distortion that I noticed. The Concero HP pulls this off with USB power, which I think is quite impressive.
post #229 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hartsmusic View Post

 

"At 2.2 Ω, it’s not an ideal for multi-driver IEMs with wildly swinging impedance curves, but it’s certainly well within the realm of reason"

Well that's the theory, but at the same time my AK240 is 3.24ohms and it sounds very resolving, and the detail loss is not there like the HP.  Treble quality of the AK240 is definately better than out of the HP.  NT6 is a bit on the bright side, and it will pick up details well even with that minor impedance output as the AK240 proves.  I was more interested in the HP's performance with iems at the time, so I haven't tried cans.  ODAC/O2 sounded more accurate and was disappointed with the performance for $900.  There are plenty of USB powered devices out there that can power easily driveable cans, the HP isn't that novel in that aspect.


Edited by SilverEars - 8/17/14 at 1:37pm
post #230 of 236

Rather late to the game, but still very satisfied with the DAC2 complementing my new V281, driving either a balanced T1 or a K812.

 

Fortunately I can't find any pops on switching inputs or on/off so far, maybe they tweaked the firmware in the mean time. I very much like having an analog-like volume control (i.e. no endless encoder or, even worse, buttons) for my digital sources. I do like how they use the motor pot to slowly rase volume when changing settings (i.e. unmute or activate HT), the only thing I really miss is an option (jumper or config) to have a fixed-level output on RCA/XLR as I mainly use it as a DAC.

 

Actually the HPA2 is quite fine, though has a slight tendency to present the upper midrange a bit sharp (sometimes even a bit sibilant), something the V281 handles in a more elegant manner. Detail retrieval is very fine and about what I expected.

post #231 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by plakat View Post

the only thing I really miss is an option (jumper or config) to have a fixed-level output on RCA/XLR as I mainly use it as a DAC.

Coming from a DAC1 HDR and investigating possible upgrades, I was unpleasantly surprised to discover that very few DAC/amp models have independent volume controls for headphones and other analog outputs (or do fixed-level). They all want to be preamps. Even the really expensive and feature-rich ones like the Resonessence Invicta don't have this simple feature. The Lynx Hilo is one of the very few exceptions.
post #232 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by gepardcv View Post


Coming from a DAC1 HDR and investigating possible upgrades, I was unpleasantly surprised to discover that very few DAC/amp models have independent volume controls for headphones and other analog outputs (or do fixed-level). They all want to be preamps. Even the really expensive and feature-rich ones like the Resonessence Invicta don't have this simple feature. The Lynx Hilo is one of the very few exceptions.

 

I actually just emailed Benchmark about this (as I'm looking at the DAC2 and was surprised to read this).  Their response below:

 

"The DAC2HGC can have its outputs set for fixed or variable (to use as preamp) out. This is done by putting any particular input into the ‘HT’ mode which will give a fixed maximum out of 2Vrms on the RCA and differing voltages on the XLR depending on the jumper setting. "

post #233 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by barid View Post
 

I actually just emailed Benchmark about this (as I'm looking at the DAC2 and was surprised to read this).  Their response below:

 

"The DAC2HGC can have its outputs set for fixed or variable (to use as preamp) out. This is done by putting any particular input into the ‘HT’ mode which will give a fixed maximum out of 2Vrms on the RCA and differing voltages on the XLR depending on the jumper setting. "

 

The HT bypass on the DAC2 locks the level of all analog outputs, including the headphone amp's. It rotates the volume knob to 3 o'clock and freezes it there. You cannot control the volume of headphones plugged into the DAC2 whenever you use an input set for the HT bypass.

 

This is fine if you don't plan to use the DAC2's headphone amp in conjunction with other amplifiers downstream, but it's a silly limitation if you want to plug dynamic headphones into the DAC2 and also feed the analog output to an electrostatic rig. Doubly silly because the DAC1 handles this use case just fine.

post #234 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by gepardcv View Post
 

 

The HT bypass on the DAC2 locks the level of all analog outputs, including the headphone amp's. It rotates the volume knob to 3 o'clock and freezes it there. You cannot control the volume of headphones plugged into the DAC2 whenever you use an input set for the HT bypass.

 

This is fine if you don't plan to use the DAC2's headphone amp in conjunction with other amplifiers downstream, but it's a silly limitation if you want to plug dynamic headphones into the DAC2 and also feed the analog output to an electrostatic rig. Doubly silly because the DAC1 handles this use case just fine.

 

Good to know.

 

Is it particularly difficult to reset the input from HT on/off? I suppose that would be annoying resetting it everytime; but not sure how often I'd be running doing both (using it as a headphone and needing it to run dac out).

post #235 of 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by barid View Post

 

Good to know.

 

Is it particularly difficult to reset the input from HT on/off? I suppose that would be annoying resetting it everytime; but not sure how often I'd be running doing both (using it as a headphone and needing it to run dac out).

 

It's been a while since I demoed the DAC2, but I think you press and hold the Mute button. It then takes a few seconds for the motor to rotate the volume pot to the appropriate position.

post #236 of 236
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