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post #1786 of 1854
Quote:
Originally Posted by daerron View Post
 

 

I'm not quite sure where you read that. You can do some serious damage if you toss the Concero at somebody. It's got a milled aluminium chassis and feels very hefty for the size. The sound is more hefty than you would expect considering the Concero's size. I have heard DACs with greater dynamics and meatier mids and better detail retrieval, but the best thing about the Concero is the cohesiveness from top to bottom and it has quite a lively sound. There is nothing that sounds out of place which is rare at the price. 

I was referring to the sound (not the build).  That was primarily from the audiostream and 6moons reviews.  So they are a very neutral sounding DAC you would say?  I kind of wonder what the term "meaty" means anyway.  Do you mean they don't have as much lower midrange emphasis as other sources?  Do vocals ever sound thin on these?  I'm just curious because I like detail but am always scared of the midrange sounding thin.  I suppose I kind of like "fat" mids, whatever that means.

post #1787 of 1854
Quote:
Originally Posted by dizzyorange View Post
 

I was referring to the sound (not the build).  That was primarily from the audiostream and 6moons reviews.  So they are a very neutral sounding DAC you would say?  I kind of wonder what the term "meaty" means anyway.  Do you mean they don't have as much lower midrange emphasis as other sources?  Do vocals ever sound thin on these?  I'm just curious because I like detail but am always scared of the midrange sounding thin.  I suppose I kind of like "fat" mids, whatever that means.

 

Apologies, I was just having a bit of fun, should have inserted my sarcasm disclaimer.:evil: Unfortunately I don't read Audiostream or 6moons reviews (too many fancy words, but the 6moons photos are usually great and educative), so you will have to ask the reviewers what they mean with their sophisticated vocabulary.

 

A good DAC in my view is supposed to be neutral sounding, excelling on finer points such as detail retrieval, refinement, dynamics, timbre, sound staging and imaging. The Concero doesn't excel in any of those areas, but it is a solid 7/10 effort in most of them. That actually makes the Concero is a great baseline to compare other DACs to. I like it for most music genres, but particularly with vocals, jazz and classic rock. I derive most worth out of it due to the portability and its excellence as a USB->SPDIF converter.


Edited by daerron - 6/15/14 at 2:37pm
post #1788 of 1854
Quote:
Originally Posted by daerron View Post
 

 

Apologies, I was just having a bit of fun, should have inserted my sarcasm disclaimer.:evil: Unfortunately I don't read Audiostream or 6moons reviews (too many fancy words, but the 6moons photos are usually great and educative), so you will have to ask the reviewers what they mean with their sophisticated vocabulary.

 

A good DAC in my view is supposed to be neutral sounding, excelling on finer points such as detail retrieval, refinement, dynamics, timbre, sound staging and imaging. The Concero doesn't excel in any of those areas, but it is a solid 7/10 effort in most of them. That actually makes the Concero is a great baseline to compare other DACs to. I like it for most music genres, but particularly with vocals, jazz and classic rock. I derive most worth out of it due to the portability and its excellence as a USB->SPDIF converter.

Thanks that's pretty helpful actually.  

 

I became interested in the Concero mainly because a reviewer who I've been following for a while (the guy at digitalaudioreview.net) ranked it extremely high in his DAC index.  But I think it may not quite be for me based on what I've read in this thread (actually read about 50 pages).  I'm one of those pseudo-audiophiles that likes my sound to be a bit colored and syrupy.


Edited by dizzyorange - 6/15/14 at 8:59pm
post #1789 of 1854

it s not properly a coloured dac

it s a bit on the warm side

the voice and the treble are very nice

from mypoint of view it miss a bit of punch in the bass region

but it s something that you can notice only after an A/B comparison

post #1790 of 1854
Quote:
Originally Posted by dizzyorange View Post

 

I became interested in the Concero mainly because a reviewer who I've been following for a while (the guy at digitalaudioreview.net) ranked it extremely high in his DAC index.  But I think it may not quite be for me based on what I've read in this thread (actually read about 50 pages).  I'm one of those pseudo-audiophiles that likes my sound to be a bit colored and syrupy.

Here's my two cents on the matter... For a long time I was using a Channel Islands DAC with a (seemingly) really well-designed analog stage, that I appreciated for what I considered to be a smoother, more analog sound. For a handful of reasons, I ended up switching to a Concero HD, and the extra detail that I perceived warmed me up to it right away. Then I had to send it back to Canada for a couple of weeks, and the old rig just... didn't cut it. It feels bassier, and perhaps it is, but I think it may just be an issue of lacking a certain something in the highs that the Concero managed with ease. The CI has (or, seems to have) more color to it - color that I thought I liked, and this on speakers that aren't really cut out to be bass monsters in the first place... But the coloration just seemingly ended up getting between my ears and the music. The Concero may not be 'syrupy,' but it sure sounds sweet...

post #1791 of 1854

So I managed to snap up an Audiophilleo 2 for a great price here locally so I can get the Concero back to my headphone rig and use my laptop with the AP2 on my speaker system. Having listened to the AP2 in comparison to the Concero as a converter its interesting to note the little bit of colour the Concero adds to the music. I still find it difficult to believe that a DDC can impart a signature to the sound, but there it is, you can really hear it. The AP2 is drier sounding and a touch more detailled with a slighter wider and better organised presentation. The Concero adds a touch of musicality and a little bit mid bass and the expense of outright clarity. For certain music types, vocal, jazz and acoustic I think I'd actually prefer having the Concero in the chain. Again just shows what an amazing device the tiny Concero is. I received an external USB power supply with the AP which just added more body to the AP2 and extended the sound stage slightly. Unfortunately I couldn't get it to work with the Concero, I actually think the Concero might benefit more from it.

post #1792 of 1854
Quote:
Originally Posted by daerron View Post
 

So I managed to snap up an Audiophilleo 2 for a great price here locally so I can get the Concero back to my headphone rig and use my laptop with the AP2 on my speaker system. Having listened to the AP2 in comparison to the Concero as a converter its interesting to note the little bit of colour the Concero adds to the music. I still find it difficult to believe that a DDC can impart a signature to the sound, but there it is, you can really hear it. The AP2 is drier sounding and a touch more detailled with a slighter wider and better organised presentation. The Concero adds a touch of musicality and a little bit mid bass and the expense of outright clarity. For certain music types, vocal, jazz and acoustic I think I'd actually prefer having the Concero in the chain. Again just shows what an amazing device the tiny Concero is. I received an external USB power supply with the AP which just added more body to the AP2 and extended the sound stage slightly. Unfortunately I couldn't get it to work with the Concero, I actually think the Concero might benefit more from it.

 

Hey daerron,

 

I'm having no difficulty seeing your post as an absolutely sincere and credible testimony of your personal observations - your veracity is unquestioned, in my mind - but man, this has got to be one of the most amazing posts I've ever read in terms of its ability to elicit a "How can that be?" reaction.  :D

 

It helps that I'm in the camp that believes jitter, or the lack of jitter, can do incredible things to the sound, all the while delivering a stream of 1's and 0's, and I "know," from personal experience, that USB cables can make a difference, believing it's because of the impact they can have on jitter, but I've never really worked out just exactly what the scope of impact is for jitter. Reading your post, if jitter is the variable in question, it can impact a lot of traits that I wouldn't think possible. Clarity, yes, but sound stage, for example, is a difficult trait for which to imagine an explanation.

 

Still, I have to reiterate, I respect and appreciate your observations. I use the Concero exclusively as an S/PDIF source, even though I consider it to be the best ESS9023 DAC available - way better than three other ESS9023 DACs I've spent a lot of time with.  It doesn't even sound like an ESS9023 DAC - like the other three - but I have other DACs that I prefer to the Concero (including the ESS9018-equipped Oppo HA-1, and for a warmer sound, the Wolfson-based Beresford Bushmaster MkII (with which I use the Concero for Coaxial input), and for an even warmer sound - which has become my "cure" for the HD800 - the PCM1792A Line Out of the still bug-laden FiiO X5 DAP.  

 

 

 

Some people have written, in this thread, that there are better USB-to-S/PDIF converters out there than the Concero, including the AP2. Having previously talked about, but having never done any comparisons myself, it's great to read that (for some types of music) you prefer the Concero to the AP2, in that role, but I had never imagined that it could add "a touch of musicality and a little bit mid bass and the expense of outright clarity."

 

Now, I'm thinking I should just get on with my previous thoughts of buying a "cheap" USB-to-S/PDIF converter, such as the 96kHz-capable HiFiMeDIY Sabre U2...

 

 

... but then I'd be comparing an optical cable to a coaxial cable, as well. To stick with Coaxial output, I could spend a little more money and go with the 96-kHz-capable Teralink X2, instead.

 

 

I would be approaching the Concero comparison from the low side, instead of from above, as you did, but that might reveal even greater differences than what you've discerned with the AP2.

 

I've had the Teralink X1/X2 PSU for several months now (pictured below), and have found it to be a very, very clean-sounding power supply, providing 5VDC at 1A output (or an user-adjustable 9VDC, via a different jack - the brass screw head seen in the photo atop a little blue box allows the user to adjust the voltage at the barrel jack - up to 9VDC - but I have no audio gear that can make use of this feature.)  The Teralink PSU works very well with the Concero, but I prefer battery power, as a rule. You might want to give it a try with your Concero, given that your AP2 PSU apparently doesn't provide enough current. It includes a very nice USB Power/Data splitter cable, that substitutes some very expensive alternative cables out there for segregating USB power from data:

 

 

 

 

OK, I just ordered the Teralink X2 USB-to-S/PDIF converter. "Estimated delivery Thursday, July 24 - Wednesday, Aug. 27"   Ouch! - I guess it's a long way from Taipei, Taiwan to Texas!   :D

 

Let's hope it helps me to appreciate something I've been taking for granted with the Concero. Otherwise, the Concero will go up for sale (as I don't have any PCM files at rates higher than 96kHz and I'm not really interested in paying for higher rates.)  

 

May the better-sounding USB-to-S/PDIF converter win, regardless of price, build quality, chicness, and cosmetic appeal!  :wink:

 

Mike

post #1793 of 1854

i m using the concero HD as a converter to the burson conductor and i can confirm the musicality that add to the burson

plus i use it as a pure dac in my main system, where i mostly listen to vinyl

do you think guys, as a converter , the concero, and concero HD are the same?

post #1794 of 1854
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post
 

 

Hey daerron,

 

I'm having no difficulty seeing your post as an absolutely sincere and credible testimony of your personal observations - your veracity is unquestioned, in my mind - but man, this has got to be one of the most amazing posts I've ever read in terms of its ability to elicit a "How can that be?" reaction.  :D

 

It helps that I'm in the camp that believes jitter, or the lack of jitter, can do incredible things to the sound, all the while delivering a stream of 1's and 0's, and I "know," from personal experience, that USB cables can make a difference, believing it's because of the impact they can have on jitter, but I've never really worked out just exactly what the scope of impact is for jitter. Reading your post, if jitter is the variable in question, it can impact a lot of traits that I wouldn't think possible. Clarity, yes, but sound stage, for example, is a difficult trait for which to imagine an explanation.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Still, I have to reiterate, I respect and appreciate your observations. I use the Concero exclusively as an S/PDIF source, even though I consider it to be the best ESS9023 DAC available - way better than three other ESS9023 DACs I've spent a lot of time with.  It doesn't even sound like an ESS9023 DAC - like the other three - but I have other DACs that I prefer to the Concero (including the ESS9018-equipped Oppo HA-1, and for a warmer sound, the Wolfson-based Beresford Bushmaster MkII (with which I use the Concero for Coaxial input), and for an even warmer sound - which has become my "cure" for the HD800 - the PCM1792A Line Out of the still bug-laden FiiO X5 DAP.  

 

 

 

Some people have written, in this thread, that there are better USB-to-S/PDIF converters out there than the Concero, including the AP2. Having previously talked about, but having never done any comparisons myself, it's great to read that (for some types of music) you prefer the Concero to the AP2, in that role, but I had never imagined that it could add "a touch of musicality and a little bit mid bass and the expense of outright clarity."

 

Now, I'm thinking I should just get on with my previous thoughts of buying a "cheap" USB-to-S/PDIF converter, such as the 96kHz-capable HiFiMeDIY Sabre U2...

 

 

... but then I'd be comparing an optical cable to a coaxial cable, as well. To stick with Coaxial output, I could spend a little more money and go with the 96-kHz-capable Teralink X2, instead.

 

 

I would be approaching the Concero comparison from the low side, instead of from above, as you did, but that might reveal even greater differences than what you've discerned with the AP2.

 

I've had the Teralink X1/X2 PSU for several months now (pictured below), and have found it to be a very, very clean-sounding power supply, providing 5VDC at 1A output (or an user-adjustable 9VDC, via a different jack - the brass screw head seen in the photo atop a little blue box allows the user to adjust the voltage at the barrel jack - up to 9VDC - but I have no audio gear that can make use of this feature.)  The Teralink PSU works very well with the Concero, but I prefer battery power, as a rule. You might want to give it a try with your Concero, given that your AP2 PSU apparently doesn't provide enough current. It includes a very nice USB Power/Data splitter cable, that substitutes some very expensive alternative cables out there for segregating USB power from data:

 

 

 

 

OK, I just ordered the Teralink X2 USB-to-S/PDIF converter. "Estimated delivery Thursday, July 24 - Wednesday, Aug. 27"   Ouch! - I guess it's a long way from Taipei, Taiwan to Texas!   :D

 

Let's hope it helps me to appreciate something I've been taking for granted with the Concero. Otherwise, the Concero will go up for sale (as I don't have any PCM files at rates higher than 96kHz and I'm not really interested in paying for higher rates.)  

 

May the better-sounding USB-to-S/PDIF converter win, regardless of price, build quality, chicness, and cosmetic appeal!  :wink:

 

Mike

 

Well, it gave me a bit of a head scratch TBH :confused:, especially considering my views on digital transports. I did the comparison more out of curiosity, since I'd like to keep the better converter on my Hi-Fi in case there was an obvious difference. Usual hearing disclaimer applies as well, though a lot better now that I've moved to an area where I'm no longer troubled by allergies and I always let my wife listen as well and pick her thoughts to see whether I'm not going off the rails, she'd be the first one to drop me off at the psychiatric ward. Listening impressions were also done on my Hi-Fi system and not my headphones.

 

I doubt there is any more detail being pulled out, but the focus and presentation is subtly different and of course psychology also plays its part (Did that drum roll just came out more from the side listening to Dire Strats' Private Investigations?). Most important to me about music listening is how it makes you feel. When I was listening to a Katie Melua song with the AP2, I was acutely aware of how melancholic the song sounded, when I listened with the Concero it took some melancholic sting away leaving a silver lining with a hint of warmth which is what I would term "more musical". The AP2 presentation feels more matter of fact leaving the business end up to the DAC. This is pertinently why I feel some might have a preference for Concero and of course left me scratching my head. Where the AP2 was deeply impressive was with complex classical music. It definitely managed to delineate the complex arrangements better, where it would be more mushy and congested on the Concero. This was with my favourite "In the hall of the mountain king" recording which gets real busy at the end. The differences are definitely slight, but consistent and I wouldn't lose sleep over which one of the two I would use. If you want to end up in a mental institute, try using the AP2 as a converter for the Concero's coax input! :D

 

For the evaluation I used a Wireworld Ultravoilet cable and Kimber USB B-bus Cu cable (couldn't discern a difference) and an Ecosse The Director coax cable.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by montanari View Post
 

i m using the concero HD as a converter to the burson conductor and i can confirm the musicality that add to the burson

plus i use it as a pure dac in my main system, where i mostly listen to vinyl

do you think guys, as a converter , the concero, and concero HD are the same?

 

Afaik, Resonessence Labs did make some changes to the PCB on the HD to improve some things on the original Concero. I doubt there are major differences in the firmware and filters. I'd imagine they'd still be very close.


Edited by daerron - 7/6/14 at 9:32am
post #1795 of 1854

Thanks for the elaboration, daerron! 

 

Mike

post #1796 of 1854
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by montanari View Post
 

 

do you think guys, as a converter , the concero, and concero HD are the same?

 

 

That's my experience. If there's any difference, it is really really small, such that I have yet to notice it.  

post #1797 of 1854
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post
 

 

 

That's my experience. If there's any difference, it is really really small, such that I have yet to notice it.  

Nice to hear, i'm happy i've gone with the non hd version for 550 Euros.


Edited by amigastar - 7/6/14 at 2:40pm
post #1798 of 1854
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post
 

 

 

That's my experience. If there's any difference, it is really really small, such that I have yet to notice it.  

 

read similar quotes here prior to ordering my Concero HD, but went HD to have the DSD capability.

yet at least one professional review (Digital Audio Review) indicated perhaps slightly "more caffeinated retrieval" in the HD, that was not insignificant.

 

 

so again, chain dependent answers differ.

post #1799 of 1854
Quote:
Originally Posted by jexby View Post
 

 

read similar quotes here prior to ordering my Concero HD, but went HD to have the DSD capability.

yet at least one professional review (Digital Audio Review) indicated perhaps slightly "more caffeinated retrieval" in the HD, that was not insignificant.

 

 

so again, chain dependent answers differ.

 

Project86's answer was related to differences pertaining to using the Concero (SD) and HD as converters. The digital transport path through the two versions should be similar, but the DAC sections are notably different, especially since the ESS9023 and ESS9018-2M differ a lot in architecture, the former being more modular and the latter requiring more additional supporting circuitry.

 

From my opamp rolling experiences I'm pretty sure that the AD based I/V stage in the HD has something to do with its more caffeinated sound signature. My headphone is caffeinated enough as it is, which is why I went with the standard Concero. Again, a lot of people on Head-Fi overlook system synergy for wanting the best all the time.


Edited by daerron - 7/6/14 at 11:59pm
post #1800 of 1854

It's a good thing I like am dependent on caffeine... the AD8397 suits me fine.

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