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post #1321 of 1711

Thanks.

post #1322 of 1711
Is the original Concero in a lower league than the DA8/X-Sabre/Anedio or is the sound signature just different?
post #1323 of 1711

Original Concero has a very similar sound signature to the X-Sabre and doesn't fall far behind in terms of sound quality. Generally I recommend the X-Sabre if you need balanced I/O because otherwise, it's pretty darn close. I'd pay maybe $200 more for the sound quality difference but not $500.

 

Original Concero is TOUGH to beat for the money!

post #1324 of 1711

I just jumped off the deep end and bought this bad boy. Hoping it's a substantial step up from my old HRT MSII, which was my first DAC ever (2 years ago!). The wait begins. 

post #1325 of 1711
looks like 2.5 update is out for Concero HD/HP

as a bonus for HP users, you can now use the spdif as an out now smily_headphones1.gif

for those seeking to use the HP as a TRS to RCA to a much bigger amp, it works well, but the soundstage is completely missing, i dont know the technical term for this, but it sounds "closed in", this is compared to the HD btw.
post #1326 of 1711
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post
 

tomscy2000,

 

Thanks for your very well written review of the HP - enjoyable reading and a compelling argument for considering the HP as an all-in-one desktop solution.

 

I noticed you included this comment:

 

 

A while back, I had asked, on this thread, whether anyone had ever heard any USB power-related glitches when using the Concero.  I had received a unanimously negative response (a good thing), and not having heard any audible problems whatsoever, much less problems that I could directly attribute to insufficient 5V power coming from my laptop, I decided not to experiment with using an external 5VDC power source. 

 

A few days ago, however, I was using my rather inexpensive (poorly made?) Acer notebook without AC power, with the Concero getting its power from one of the Acer's USB ports. Everything seemed OK, just using Foobar 2000 to play WAV files from an SD card (my preferred storage media, to avoid HDD throughput issues as other Windows applications are running).  

 

But when I started playing a 720p YouTube video, via WiFi (with which I was enjoying a 17.94 Mbps download speed in my home - as tested right then), I immediately began hearing short-duration dropouts in the audio - gaps of silence occurring at irregular but frequent intervals (about every two or three seconds) - using the USB-powered Concero with an externally-powered amp and LCD-2.  I immediately suspected that the dropouts were due to a lack of current available to the Concero, so after trying all three USB ports on my Acer, to no avail, I plugged the Acer into a 120V AC outlet: The problem went away.  Taking the Acer back to battery power (which was at 82%, by the way) the gaps in audio recurred. 

 

I suspected this was due to the heavy power consumption imposed when using the WiFi receiver, the graphics adapter and display, and the HDD (which was spinning constantly), while streaming the 720p video, using the laptop's battery instead of 120V AC power.

 

So...  I decided to reproduce this situation (streaming a 720p video via WiFi while the laptop was using its internal battery), but with the Concero getting its power exclusively from an external source - an Anker Astro Pro, 10,000 mAh LiPo battery with dual 5VDC 2-Amp USB A ports - connected to the Concero via a Cables to Go C2G 28108 USB Y-cable, as shown in these photos:

 

 

LaCie USB DualPower Sharing Cable for Rikiki - closeup of "tape" mod

 

The result?  No more drop outs while streaming that same 720p YouTube video, with the Acer laptop running on battery power, because now, the Concero had a separate, 5-Volt 2-Amp power supply, all to itself.

 

Moral of the story:  USB 2.0 ports are supposed to put out 5VDC at 500mA, but when several loads are simultaneously demanding power from my Acer, it's apparently incapable of meeting that specification.

 

I'm a fanatic about clean power, so I'm done using my Acer's USB ports to supply power to the Concero, even when the Acer is plugged into AC power and is not streaming 720p videos via WiFi.  I want the peace of mind of knowing that my Concero is "all that it can be" - without my having to constantly monitor the audio quality, wondering if I'm compromising the Concero in any way. I'd rather just give it 2 amps of clean 5V power, all the time, for portable operation and for desktop use.  It deserves better power than what my Acer laptop can supply.

 

Back to your review comment...  If you had never tried connecting the Concero HP (which likely has higher current demands than a Concero) to the iUSBpower, you would never have known that any improvement in audio could be had, subtle though it was, in your case. And what if your laptop or PC USB power was less accommodating, but still not presenting any blatant problems?  In other words, how can we be sure we aren't compromising the USB-powered device without diligent A/B testing, between laptop power and a high-quality 5VDC source?    

 

I, for one, am not willing to sacrifice audio quality for the sake of convenience.  I can see myself doing so with a $100 USB-powered DAC, but not with one that costs $600 and performs as if it costs much more. And I'd be even less comfortable doing so with an $800 USB-powered DAC+Amp, that offers such premium performance.  An additional $63 worth of clutter and inconvenience can ensure uncompromised power. 

 

All that said, I eagerly accept your assessment that the Concero HP's power management is remarkable.  I can easily imagine this to be true, just given my experience with the Concero (in all situations other than streaming 720p video with my Acer laptop when it's not on AC power).  I have either owned or spent considerable time with three other ESS9023-based, USB-powered DACs that all exhibited power-related "glitches" under far less compromising situations on the same laptop:  the Stoner Acoustics UD100, the JDS Labs ODAC, and the Audioquest Dragonfly.  None of those DACs can "groom" USB power as well as the Concero - it's truly exceptional.

 

Mike

 

I know this is a late reply but thanks for this info.  I no longer have the Concero, but I'm temporarily using a Schiit Modi in the meantime.  I pulled the trigger on the 15,000 mAh Anker model ($49) and the usb splitter pictured.  I have a full size desktop PC and it wont even put out the necessary current to run the Modi at all.  I have to run it through the powered USB hub on my monitor at the moment.  I also expect the difference to be more noticeable on the Modi since it probably doesn't have the same level of regulation as the Concero does.  

 

And also, I'm planning on upgrading again later to the Concero HD or the regular Concero as transport to a Meier Audio Daccord.  Part of me is of course wondering how the Concero as a USB transport with the battery would compare to an AP1 + PP supply.  And I would imagine Concero HD + battery could be extremely resolving as well.  I'd be pairing either with my Soloist and possibly K812 headphones in the future.  It's unfortunate that Audiophilleo charges 10x the price for a battery. 2A of current is plenty for the USB spec and clean DC is clean DC.


Edited by JWahl - 11/28/13 at 5:53am
post #1327 of 1711
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Quote:
Originally Posted by JWahl View Post
 

 

I know this is a late reply but thanks for this info.  I no longer have the Concero, but I'm temporarily using a Schiit Modi in the meantime.  I pulled the trigger on the 15,000 mAh Anker model ($49) and the usb splitter pictured.  I have a full size desktop PC and it wont even put out the necessary current to run the Modi at all.  I have to run it through the powered USB hub on my monitor at the moment.  I also expect the difference to be more noticeable on the Modi since it probably doesn't have the same level of regulation as the Concero does.  

 

And also, I'm planning on upgrading again later to the Concero HD or the regular Concero as transport to a Meier Audio Daccord.  Part of me is of course wondering how the Concero as a USB transport with the battery would compare to an AP1 + PP supply.  And I would imagine Concero HD + battery could be extremely resolving as well.  I'd be pairing either with my Soloist and possibly K812 headphones in the future.  It's unfortunate that Audiophilleo charges 10x the price for a battery. 2A of current is plenty for the USB spec and clean DC is clean DC.

 

 

JWahl,

 

From the sounds of it, your Concero might have been just "getting by" on the poor current provided by your PC's USB port, but the Schiit Modi's design can't compensate it.  It's a tribute to the Concero's power supply design, but I say, why even try to make a silk purse from a pig's ear?  I'd much rather give the Concero silk with which to make a silk purse.

 

Let us know how it works out.

 

Thanks,

 

Mike


Edited by zilch0md - 11/28/13 at 10:12am
post #1328 of 1711
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post
 

 

JWahl,

 

From the sounds of it, your Concero might have been just "getting by" on the poor current provided by your PC's USB port, but the Schiit Modi's design can't compensate it.  It's a tribute to the Concero's power supply design, but I say, why even try to make a silk purse from a pig's ear?  I'd much rather give the Concero silk with which to make a silk purse.

 

Let us know how it works out.

 

Thanks,

 

Mike

That's an interesting thought.  Even though, I was still quite impressed with the regular Concero while I had it.

post #1329 of 1711

Hi guys, I've joined the Concero HP owners club having decided to go completely off the grid!  The Concero is step one as it's much easier to battery power than my NAD M51 and Schitt Mjolnir.  The latter pair sound fantastic but even with all the filters and regenerators I have daisy-chained together they're still subject to variation based on time of day and day of the week.

 

I'm currently running the Concero off a SOtM PCI-E card with a cheap linear supply from Maplins.  I need to decide whether to get a battery supply for the PCI card, which will only be phase one as the i7 920 (about 140W TDP) will need to be replaced before the rest of the PC goes battery powered too, or whether to switch to a laptop.  I have a Samsung ultrabook, which the Concero works with, but the battery life has declined over the last year and is only about 3 hours now so I'd need something else to use as a battery powered music server.  Has anyone tried the Concero HP with a Haswell Macbook Pro and compared it to a dedicated USB card (a CAPS server for example)?  The built in SDXC slot is what makes the Mac look attractive as I'd store my music files on that.

 

I have some questions too:

1. Someone earlier in the thread (sorry for not going back and checking who) stated that Resonessence provide ASIO drivers.  I've found the DLLs in the download, but can't see anyway to install them.  Instead I've used the experimental ASIO plugin for Foobar (as KS and WASAPI didn't work with the Concero).  Should I be using the Resonessence ASIO instead?

 

2. I've also seen mention of hooking it up to a Galaxy S3.  If I can find the appropriate cable how would I go about doing that, and would it leave the normal headphone connection untouched if I just take the phone with me and not the Concero?  ie does the phone act normally with the Concero unplugged?

 

3. The volume control on Windows 8.1 shows as a pop-up with volume 0 at the lowest setting.  I use about 20-24 which is only part way up the scale with my HD800s.  Plugged into my laptop which runs Windows 7 I see the volume scale vary from 0.00db at the top end and then a sliding scale of negative values.  Why is that different?  Both use Foobar (possibly different versions) and my Windows 8.1 install of Foobar doesn't show the volume control, in case it matters.

 

I also cut the end off a chunky USB cable and hooked the Concero up to one of my linear supplies (power only), then fed the SPDIF input from an old Micromega T-Drive.  That sounded very nice as a fully linear powered system running off an Airlink balanced transformer.  The sound briefly had a fluidity that only happens very rarely.  It sounded so good in fact that I moved it to my main rack - and then discovered the fluidity had gone, such is the transient nature of my mains supply.  :frown:  I'm hoping to get that back with batteries.

post #1330 of 1711

Not to continue to stray too off topic but I received the Anker battery and have been listening for a bit attached to the Modi.  The results were somewhat opposite of what I was expecting but mostly in a good way.  The slightly annoying digital noise I get when no music is playing and when moving my mouse is still there, even when the battery is powered down.  I suspect there is some kind of ground loop that's causing it to pick up the data signal, since the sound is at a higher pitch when moving my mouse, indicating a usb data signal.

 

On the flip side, the rest of the sound actually improved noticeably more than I expected.  I would say a slight increase in clarity, separation, and imaging, and a rather noticeable improvement in bass quality and quantity.  Also a perceived reduction of "psychological fatigue".  Not sure if that's the best way to describe it.  There is just a more ease and flow to the sound in general.

 

I can only imagine what this little bad boy would pull out of the Concero HD.  I'm going to try to not be too sensationalist but the improvement was certainly more than I expected, and well worth the $60 investment IMO.

post #1331 of 1711
Quote:
Originally Posted by JWahl View Post
 

Not to continue to stray too off topic but I received the Anker battery and have been listening for a bit attached to the Modi.  The results were somewhat opposite of what I was expecting but mostly in a good way.  The slightly annoying digital noise I get when no music is playing and when moving my mouse is still there, even when the battery is powered down.  I suspect there is some kind of ground loop that's causing it to pick up the data signal, since the sound is at a higher pitch when moving my mouse, indicating a usb data signal.

 

On the flip side, the rest of the sound actually improved noticeably more than I expected.  I would say a slight increase in clarity, separation, and imaging, and a rather noticeable improvement in bass quality and quantity.  Also a perceived reduction of "psychological fatigue".  Not sure if that's the best way to describe it.  There is just a more ease and flow to the sound in general.

 

I can only imagine what this little bad boy would pull out of the Concero HD.  I'm going to try to not be too sensationalist but the improvement was certainly more than I expected, and well worth the $60 investment IMO.

 

Hey, that's great news, JWahl.  I didn't really have a problem to "fix" with my Concero, except under a peculiar set of circumstances when my laptop fails to supply enough amps via the USB port.  Running my Concero on battery power fixed that infrequent problem, but also assures me that I'm allowing the Concero to be all that it can be, so to speak, with uncompromised power.  Your situation was much worse, with your Modi not even powering up on USB power, so you're getting a lot more bang for the buck than I am in going to battery power, for sure. 

 

:D

post #1332 of 1711

Hi Stormfriend,

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stormfriend View Post
 

Hi guys, I've joined the Concero HP owners club having decided to go completely off the grid!  The Concero is step one as it's much easier to battery power than my NAD M51 and Schitt Mjolnir.  The latter pair sound fantastic but even with all the filters and regenerators I have daisy-chained together they're still subject to variation based on time of day and day of the week.

 

I'm currently running the Concero off a SOtM PCI-E card with a cheap linear supply from Maplins.  I need to decide whether to get a battery supply for the PCI card, which will only be phase one as the i7 920 (about 140W TDP) will need to be replaced before the rest of the PC goes battery powered too, or whether to switch to a laptop.  I have a Samsung ultrabook, which the Concero works with, but the battery life has declined over the last year and is only about 3 hours now so I'd need something else to use as a battery powered music server.  Has anyone tried the Concero HP with a Haswell Macbook Pro and compared it to a dedicated USB card (a CAPS server for example)?  The built in SDXC slot is what makes the Mac look attractive as I'd store my music files on that.

 

I have some questions too:

1. Someone earlier in the thread (sorry for not going back and checking who) stated that Resonessence provide ASIO drivers.  I've found the DLLs in the download, but can't see anyway to install them.  Instead I've used the experimental ASIO plugin for Foobar (as KS and WASAPI didn't work with the Concero).  Should I be using the Resonessence ASIO instead?

 

2. I've also seen mention of hooking it up to a Galaxy S3.  If I can find the appropriate cable how would I go about doing that, and would it leave the normal headphone connection untouched if I just take the phone with me and not the Concero?  ie does the phone act normally with the Concero unplugged?

 

3. The volume control on Windows 8.1 shows as a pop-up with volume 0 at the lowest setting.  I use about 20-24 which is only part way up the scale with my HD800s.  Plugged into my laptop which runs Windows 7 I see the volume scale vary from 0.00db at the top end and then a sliding scale of negative values.  Why is that different?  Both use Foobar (possibly different versions) and my Windows 8.1 install of Foobar doesn't show the volume control, in case it matters.

 

I also cut the end off a chunky USB cable and hooked the Concero up to one of my linear supplies (power only), then fed the SPDIF input from an old Micromega T-Drive.  That sounded very nice as a fully linear powered system running off an Airlink balanced transformer.  The sound briefly had a fluidity that only happens very rarely.  It sounded so good in fact that I moved it to my main rack - and then discovered the fluidity had gone, such is the transient nature of my mains supply.  :frown:  I'm hoping to get that back with batteries.

 

Needless to say, I'm digging your love of battery power.   ;) 

 

As I write this, I'm listening to my near-field monitors completely off the grid (Definitive Technology SM45, with 90dB sensitivity at std. parameters), with a 5V LiPo battery for the Concero, a 24V LiPo battery for my TBI Audio MG3 amp (32Wpc rms into 8-Ohms), and the Windows 7 notebook running on its internal battery.  It thounds goot!  

 

In truth, running the laptop on battery power probably doesn't accomplish much, as the Concero only gets data from the laptop, but there is a possibility that things are "cleaner" with the laptop disconnected from the mains.  Reading your post, it sounds as if you're hoping to power your Modi from a laptop's USB port, with the laptop running on battery power. This concerns me, as I think your Modi could still be compromised by the quality of power supplied at the laptop's USB port - especially when several laptop devices are running simultaneously.  Even blanking the display can help with this, as well as reading from SD cards instead of reading music from an HDD or SSD - which consume more amps than would a card reader - and, potentially, generate more interference on the power bus. (I use SD cards exclusively.) 

 

So... even if you go to a battery-powered laptop, I'd suggest you still use a separate battery pack to supply power to a USB-powered DAC.

 

Mike

post #1333 of 1711

I kind of had a realization tonight with my Concero.

 

When I was trying to decide between the IIR and Apodizing filters I used my HE-500. I assumed that what was good for one would be good for all. I was very wrong. The IIR filter sounds best with the LCD-2 and the Apodizing is best with the HE-500. For my ears at least. On the upside both filters are very good so I wasn't missing too much, but that last bit of performance is there now for the LCD-2 and that makes me happy. Just wanted to share my findings. :atsmile:

post #1334 of 1711

Very interesting, M-13!

 

Just guessing, could it be that the not-known-for-its-resolution, LCD-2 is enjoying the greater detail of the IIR filter where the the HE-500 likes the smoother sound of the Apodizing filter. (My argument is obviously based on the premise that IIR yields a higher resolution sound than does the Apodizing filter - I'd be interested in finding out if anyone else agrees with this.)

 

Mike

post #1335 of 1711
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post
 

Very interesting, M-13!

 

Just guessing, could it be that the not-known-for-its-resolution, LCD-2 is enjoying the greater detail of the IIR filter where the the HE-500 likes the smoother sound of the Apodizing filter. (My argument is obviously based on the premise that IIR yields a higher resolution sound than does the Apodizing filter - I'd be interested in finding out if anyone else agrees with this.)

 

Mike


I agree actually. Those were my thoughts exactly! LOL. :D (It's so obvious now that I realized it. I should have suspected from the beginning)

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