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post #211 of 1895

I am really enamored with the soundstage, imaging, air, etc. that I am getting with my recently acquired HD800s.  I am however a tad on the fence about how well I can handle the treble/detail, etc. in the long run.  I am currently using a Bottlehead S.E.X., and it sounds phenomenal.  I might build a Crack as it is said by some I respect to be a perfect match for the HD800.  My current DAC is my Nuforce HDP, and I was thinking of updating my DAC to match the general level of the Bottleheads (so up to $750 range).  The Concero, D18, and Audio-gd 5.32 (or 1.32) are the three main contenders.  I like what I hear about the Concero, but am wondering if its strengths might be a weakness for me.  I would like to keep as much of the air and detail of the HD800, but move away from the harshness that it can sometimes show.  By descriptions, something more laid back like the D18 might fit better, but I don't want to lose the insight into the recordings that make the HD800s so special.  Really looking for a natural sound.  Would love any opinions.

post #212 of 1895

The Concero is a step up from the HDP when I had them both together. However the HDP is in a lower price bracket but also has more features. If you just want usb and RCA out then the Concero would definitely be a good option for something simple and it doesn't take up much space. My vlink takes up more space than the concero before even comparing it to my D1 dac. For the price and size it is surprisingly good. I have it connected to my mini X amp and HE6 and they sound great.

post #213 of 1895
Quote:
Originally Posted by FraGGleR View Post

I am really enamored with the soundstage, imaging, air, etc. that I am getting with my recently acquired HD800s.  I am however a tad on the fence about how well I can handle the treble/detail, etc. in the long run.  I am currently using a Bottlehead S.E.X., and it sounds phenomenal.  I might build a Crack as it is said by some I respect to be a perfect match for the HD800.  My current DAC is my Nuforce HDP, and I was thinking of updating my DAC to match the general level of the Bottleheads (so up to $750 range).  The Concero, D18, and Audio-gd 5.32 (or 1.32) are the three main contenders.  I like what I hear about the Concero, but am wondering if its strengths might be a weakness for me.  I would like to keep as much of the air and detail of the HD800, but move away from the harshness that it can sometimes show.  By descriptions, something more laid back like the D18 might fit better, but I don't want to lose the insight into the recordings that make the HD800s so special.  Really looking for a natural sound.  Would love any opinions.


I'd say give the D18 a try, it doesn't cover the detail, but makes it smoother (unless you don't like the detail to be smooth). Grant fidelity has a 30 day trial which sounds like a good deal for me. The only problem is, D18 doesn't have usb port, so you'll have to use usb-s/pdif converter.

 

I'm using the D18 with Solo and HD650, and doesn't sound muffled at all to my ears, but then again everyone has different preferences.

post #214 of 1895

Rawrster,

 

Have you tried using the Concero as a USB converter to the D1?  Im considering trying to find a used one in the future as an upgrade while keeping the Concero as a converter, especially since I have no need for balanced.


Quote:

Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

The Concero is a step up from the HDP when I had them both together. However the HDP is in a lower price bracket but also has more features. If you just want usb and RCA out then the Concero would definitely be a good option for something simple and it doesn't take up much space. My vlink takes up more space than the concero before even comparing it to my D1 dac. For the price and size it is surprisingly good. I have it connected to my mini X amp and HE6 and they sound great.

post #215 of 1895
Quote:
Originally Posted by T.F.O.A View Post


I'd say give the D18 a try, it doesn't cover the detail, but makes it smoother (unless you don't like the detail to be smooth). Grant fidelity has a 30 day trial which sounds like a good deal for me. The only problem is, D18 doesn't have usb port, so you'll have to use usb-s/pdif converter.

 

I'm using the D18 with Solo and HD650, and doesn't sound muffled at all to my ears, but then again everyone has different preferences.

 

I love detail, but don't need to be hit in the face with it.  Smooth but detailed, if not an impossibility, sounds good to me.  

 

I have time before making a DAC decision.  I need to finish building a B22 and a Bottlehead Crack to do a three way shootout with my S.E.X. to decide on my amp before finding a DAC that pairs nicely with it.

 

I will say that I really like the size and looks of the Concero.

post #216 of 1895
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

The Concero is a step up from the HDP when I had them both together. However the HDP is in a lower price bracket but also has more features. If you just want usb and RCA out then the Concero would definitely be a good option for something simple and it doesn't take up much space. My vlink takes up more space than the concero before even comparing it to my D1 dac. For the price and size it is surprisingly good. I have it connected to my mini X amp and HE6 and they sound great.

Thanks for that feedback.  Very useful since you have an HDP.  I have added a Sigma 11 to mine and just got in the Nuforce USB to Spdif adapter (asynchronous and 24/192) to see if that improves the sound I am getting via USB.  I *think* the Sigma 11 improved its ability to handle more complex passages and quieted the background a little, but just like differences I have heard in cables, I could have imagined it all.  Haven't set up the USB to spdif adapter yet.

 

I loved the value that the HDP had, especially the form factor, but now that I have both the USB Spdif converter and the Sigma 11, it is a gangly mess.

post #217 of 1895
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcullinan View Post

I was checking the Mapleshade out but I read there are issues with connections and it only works in certain positions, like between computer and dac. Some kind of issue like that.

If you have DAC and iFi iUSBPower, it will only work on one side of the iFi, not both. If you don't have that iFi power unit, no problem.
post #218 of 1895
Quote:
Originally Posted by FraGGleR View Post

I am really enamored with the soundstage, imaging, air, etc. that I am getting with my recently acquired HD800s.  I am however a tad on the fence about how well I can handle the treble/detail, etc. in the long run.  I am currently using a Bottlehead S.E.X., and it sounds phenomenal.  I might build a Crack as it is said by some I respect to be a perfect match for the HD800.  My current DAC is my Nuforce HDP, and I was thinking of updating my DAC to match the general level of the Bottleheads (so up to $750 range).  The Concero, D18, and Audio-gd 5.32 (or 1.32) are the three main contenders.  I like what I hear about the Concero, but am wondering if its strengths might be a weakness for me.  I would like to keep as much of the air and detail of the HD800, but move away from the harshness that it can sometimes show.  By descriptions, something more laid back like the D18 might fit better, but I don't want to lose the insight into the recordings that make the HD800s so special.  Really looking for a natural sound.  Would love any opinions.


Have you considered the Anax HD 800 mod?  It does a fantastic job of taming the 5.5kHz and 11kHz peaks that are so prevalent in the HD 800.  If I were bothered by the peaks in the HD 800's FR (I'm not -- don't know whether my hearing is strategically rolled off in the right places or the FR of my very early production HD 800 is flatter than usual), I would have run straight to the nearest Michaels to get the materials for the mod after I heard Anax's modded HD 800 at the Coronado meet last November.

post #219 of 1895
Quote:
Originally Posted by FraGGleR View Post

I love detail, but don't need to be hit in the face with it.  Smooth but detailed, if not an impossibility, sounds good to me.
Time to go electrostats. It's the only answer.
post #220 of 1895

I have the materials for the Anaxilus mod (in fact I had them on hand as soon as I ordered the HD800).  I wanted to get a feel for the HD800s before changing anything (and also wanted to preserve the ability to return the HD800s if they weren't what I was looking for.  I don't notice the peaks, per se, it just can be a bit fatiguing after a while (several hours).  I will most likely do the mod later this week.

 

And Stax are a bit out of reach for now.  I have had the fortune of hearing the SR-009s at a meet and they were quite stunning (though possibly a bit too much for me in the treble as well).  I was awfully tempted by the Koss electrostatics since they came with an amp and were less treble oriented, but from what I gathered it was going to be a side step or down step from an HD800.

 

Thank you all for your recommendations.  I am very close to getting the Concero and calling it a day.  

post #221 of 1895
Anax mod is 100% removable with no signs of it's use, fyi.
post #222 of 1895

Any more reviews or comparisons because this dac is currently on top of my list for just usb dacs. I'm also looking at micromega my dac and the meridian explorer dac. My budget is around 6-700 beans and I will be using hd800's/V200 amp. I like to hear alot of detail and will be using foobar/itunes. Thanks

post #223 of 1895
Quick question for those who own the concero. How big is the volume difference given the lower output of the concero vs other dacs?
post #224 of 1895

I still have a ridiculous amount of gain. I cant get past 11 on the preamp dial. I am running speakers and havent tested headphones though.

post #225 of 1895
Thread Starter 

It doesn't seem very significant. I suppose if you had some headphone amp that barely reached adequate levels with your favorites headphones, then maybe the Concero would be too quiet as compared to another unit with 2Vrms output. Seems an unlikely scenario though. 

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