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Audiophile by accident . The Hobby: An Unexpected Journey - Page 16

post #226 of 459
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarKu View Post

Good luck to all participants !

Thanks, Sandu!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cucera View Post

Hi Dan,

I have followed your story for 2 Months on your blog. Great description of personal impressions and related feelings. I can absolutley understand your development, because I went throug a similar one. Starting HD580 then (intermediate Stax) LCD2 / HE500 and at Last HD800.

Greetings from Germany
Dan

Thank you for reading and posting Dan. Ha...you have a great name there...one of the best I know :)) . 

post #227 of 459

I am really enjoying this thread.Appreciated Dan.

post #228 of 459
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by keepitsimple View Post

I am really enjoying this thread.Appreciated Dan.

Thanks keepitsimple! Happy to hear that :D

post #229 of 459
Thread Starter 

 

Previously:

A wonderful trip down memory lane

 

The Little Black Box: Arcam rPac

Hey guys,

I have seen this little box recently and it intrigued me a lot. It has an impressive build quality.

Arcam rPac

It has a very thick aluminum case and it feels like a tank can get over it and wouldn’t hurt it.

Ok…Now I am curios..would it hurt it? Why am I thinking of this?

Because of this crazy video:

Hmm…All i need now is a tank… Does anybody knows a guy…with a tank?

I managed to get a test unit and while I had a good feeling about this small box, it still managed to surprise me.

P1250119

Let’s get to business shall we? For testing, I have used Sennheiser HD800Focal Spirit OneAudeze LCD2,  Fiio E17 and Burson Conductor.

Here are my impressions on some songs:

Pink Floyd – Time

The treble is really detailed and sparkly at the beginning. The bells were nicely separated and had a very present ring. The presentation was detailed and I just loved the drums coming from every direction which you can easily pinpoint. The voice was natural and had a nice texture.

Sons de la frontera - Al jardin de la alegria

This was a nice surprise. The sound was airy, articulate, controlled & detailed. Loved how the guitar strings snapped with full extension as they were right near me. During the test I liked the sound presentation so much as I listened to 4-5 other songs from that album.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) Angry And Dead Man Alive

Wow…I just loved this song…I really got caught in the moment. I don’t know about you but I just love articulate sound and this combo, rPac+Spirit One, was just awesome. The guitars gave me goosebumps. The drums…had a very very good impact and round full sound.

Leonard Cohen – The Traitor

Again loved the guitars. rPac goes very well with the articulate nature of the Focal Spirit One. Leonard’s voice seemed natural and present as it should be throughout the song.

Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing

Really nice PRAT. Really toe tapping! I really feel that the separation of instruments is quite good in this small package. The sound articulate as always and the bass was fast and with good extension.

Infected Mushroom – Army of Mushrooms  - Wanted To

The PRAT was awesome. I really love the well extended bass with the rPac. The sound was fast, energetic and really engaging.

Amandine Beyer & Gli Ingogniti – The Four Seasons -  L autunno Allegro

The sound was quite open and dynamic.  On this piece, however I realized the background wasn’t quite black. I changed the stock usb cable with a Chord Usb Silver Plus and the problem was solved. The difference was quite noticeable.

P1250102

Comparison to Fiio E17

Given the price point you would ask yourself how it would compare to FIIO E17.

These units are pretty close but there are some differences between them and it may be a matter of choice after all.

Sound wise

The rPac had a more detailed sound with better decay, the sound was more articulated & better rounded at both ends, with better instrument separation, better bass extension and more energetic.

E17 has a warmer presentation & a cleaner sound than the rPac and that is mainly because the E17 runs on battery while the arcam is powered by the USB. I have tried a better cable with rPac and it really improves the sound.

Sound wise, I prefer the rPac to E17.

Amplification

I have tried Sennheiser HD800  with both units. rPac was maxed out for normal listening, while the E17 had more until reaching maximum, so it seemed like e17 had more juice. However I felt that the control was quite better on the rPac, and it did reach a good normal listening volume. So rPac quite impressed me with this. I ended up listening to a whole bunch of songs with the pretentious HD800 & the arcam unit (never expected this…wow) .  There I was…minding my own business when the rPac surprised me as hell with this.

revengeb

Build quality

The e17 is almost half the size of the rPac.

Both have a very sturdy aluminium case, but the rPac really looks impenetrable.

While the E17 has a usb input, SPDIF In, aux out & headphones out, the rPac has only the USB In, headphones out and RCA out.

The E17 has a nice menu while the rPac has only volume buttons on it having a rather spartan but pleasant design .

While you can use Fiio separately as amplifier and as dac, the rPac could be used just an external dac with other devices.

Also the E17 has a battery than can become really handy in some situations, and also contributes to a cleaner sound.

P12501162

Conclusions

I really loved this little box and I recommend it with ease to anybody who wants portable sound. Don’t forget that it really benefits from a good USB cable.

Pros:

  • Excellent build quality 
  • Good amplification and DAC with good instrument separation, wide soundstage, articulated & detailed sound, excellent PRAT, good decay, well extended & punchy bass, nicely overall rounded sound, sparkly but not bright treble
  • rca out

Cons:

  • no battery
  • can’t be used just as amp (only as dac)
  • has only volume buttons with no screen or menu (i don’t find this upsetting but there might be people that would)

P1250117P1250108

 

Next:

The King of Musicality: Audeze LCD3


Edited by dan.gheorghe - 5/16/13 at 4:20pm
post #230 of 459
Thread Starter 

Guys I found a bug in a pair of LCD3's measurements...no..really ..a bug

 

 

 

post #231 of 459
Thread Starter 

Guys, I have some new gear for testing, and not any gear! I have had a lot of wow moments lately! I will be writing about them soon :D


Edited by dan.gheorghe - 5/10/13 at 4:56pm
post #232 of 459
Quote:
Originally Posted by dan.gheorghe View Post

Guys, I have some new gear for testing, and not any gear! I have had only some wow moments lately! I will be writing about them soon :D

Looking forward to it! biggrin.gif

post #233 of 459
Quote:
Originally Posted by dan.gheorghe View Post

Guys, I have some new gear for testing, and not any gear! I have had a lot of wow moments lately! I will be writing about them soon :D

I'm sure you wallet begs to differ

 

Curious to see what you've found biggrin.gif

post #234 of 459
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiont View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by dan.gheorghe View Post

Guys, I have some new gear for testing, and not any gear! I have had a lot of wow moments lately! I will be writing about them soon biggrin.gif
I'm sure you wallet begs to differ

Curious to see what you've found biggrin.gif

Must be what the wallet consider "ouch" moments! tongue.gif
post #235 of 459
Thread Starter 

 

The King of Musicality: Audeze LCD3

Hey guys,

As you may have read a few weeks ago, I have re-auditioned the Audeze LCD3 and I have been very impressed.

I had to get the HD800 to really understand the LCD3 . First time I have heard it, it impressed me, but I did not think it to be that much above LCD2. 

In the last month with HD800 and LCD2 I found myself listening a little more to the sennheisers. LCD2 seemed to lack in dynamics, details and soundstage compared to HD800.

Darku was kind enough again to lend me his LCD3 for a week. I must say these days my impressions of LCD3 had completely changed from the first time I have listened to them.

It has exactly what I found to be lacking in LCD2.

Audeze Lcd3

They feel more refined than the LCD2. Also they are more comfortable. Their pads are softer, the zebra wood gives them a nice look and feel and they fit better on the head.

P1250620

Let’s get to what is really important: the sound.

Here are my impressions on a few songs:

(The tests have been made with the Burson Conductor and the Toxic Silver Widowcable)

Leonard Cohen – Dress Rehearsal Rag

The first thing that popped out was the change of tonality and the soundstage. LCD3 seem more neutral to me. The sound really opened up to a level you cannot find the music to be congested any more. Leonards’ voice has an excellent texture and body. The guitars were much more apparent on LCD3 and had a tactile feeling on them.

 Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon – Time

Again the soundstage was considerable wider. The positioning of the bells was better on LCD3 and they had more sparkle. The drums from the beginning had again a tactile feel on LCD3. You can feel the music with it.

ABBA, Mamma Mia Slipping Through My Fingers

I just loved this song on LCD3. All blended in with great musicality. The voice was brilliant and had wonderful texture and presence. The chorus and instruments behind had a very well placed position. The sound was so better layered and you could hear all the voices in the chorus distinctively. Excellent round sound. It was so good it gave me goosebumps.

Goosebumps8168_n

Dire Straits, Brother In Arms – Ride Across The River

Wow, the dynamics are absolutely awesome on LCD3. You can really enjoy music on lower volumes because of this. And the bass…so deep, so well controlled so full & detailed …. mesmerizing. Somewhere on a back, a guitar told magical story that makes you weep of joy, while all the instruments around it make you feel there.

Franz Schubert -Piano Trio No. 1 in B flat Major D898 – Andante un poco mosso

The instruments are excellently put into space and have a lot air between them. You can hear every one of them and each with different intensity and feel. The instruments have great extension and a very important tactile feeling.

Infected Mushrooms, Army of Mushrooms – Wanted to

The bass is absolutely incredible. I think this is the best bass I have ever heard in a headphone and there is no doubt about it. It has an incredible body, goes incredible low and is very detailed! The sound is very well rounded, not too much of anything keeping a very good balance.

P1250615

Conclusions

Is it better than LCD2? It definitely is. It will be hard going back to it knowing what these new babies can do.

You can feel that the LCD3‘s drivers are more thin and are faster.

The dynamics are one of the most important thing they bring over LCD2. You can hear the full extension of the instruments now. Every sound has a fuller life . You can hear it born and you can hear it disappearing in the dark.

The soundstage is considerably wider than LCD2, the instruments are better separated and have more air between them.

The bass  is more detailed and refined than LCD2 and is the best bass I have heard in a headphone till date.

They are more neutral and the treble is more defined than with LCD2.

There are somethings that I like about LCD2 as well. The lower midrange and bass have a little more impact. Also the sound has a nice warmer color on them. The voices are a little fuller.

You will ask yourself if they are better than Sennheiser HD800. I, for one love them both and don’t consider one to be better than the other. They sound very different and both are excellent in their own way.

Even after LCD3 when you put HD800 on your head, the sound opens a lot.

HD800 is still more detailed, has a wider soundstage , better positioning, instrument separation & transparency.

However, LCD3 has a fuller sound with the best bass I have ever heard,  a creamy, tactile sound and great musicality.

Pros:

  • Excellent dynamics
  • King of the bass
  • Good soundstage
  • Detailed, yet very smooth and musical
  • Tactile feel of sound
  • Multi layered sound
  • Very good imaging

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • I do not own one  :))

Audeze LCD3

Next:

 

Audiobyte Hydra: High-End USB interface


Edited by dan.gheorghe - 5/26/13 at 4:40am
post #236 of 459

Thank you very much for a nice review!

Even after LCD3 when you put HD800 on your head, the sound opens a lot. HD800 is still more detailed, has a wider soundstage , better positioning and instrument separation.

That's exactly why I chose HD800 and never looked back! Exactly this.

However, LCD3 has a fuller sound with the best bass I have ever heard,  a creamy, tactile sound and great musicality.

I've seen many people on head-fi prefering "creamy" and "musical" presentation... To that extent that I purchased a tube amplifier for my HD800 with different tubes to find out what's all the talk about. In the end, I must say that I am going back to the transparency, blackness, neutrality and technical ability of a quality solid-state amplifier and have no intensions for tubes anymore (especially since they are not suitable for powering IEMs/earbuds). I can certainly understand that they offer a very natural kind of presentation but I definitely want to engage HD800's technical abilities to the max. That's the way I prefer it.

As for the bass, I must say that HD800 pretty much beat LCD-2 here because of the awesome separation from the rest of the spectrum and because I find it to be surprisingly more visceral (this is most probably connected to MUCH better and accurate soundstaging). LCD-2's bass has more punch but HD800 are much more accurate, much more "life-like" - you hear and visually see the band in front of you... This is not possible with LCD-2 at all, their bass leaks too much to places where other instruments should have their space. Not very accurate imaging and too stereoish kind of presentation definitely do not help here.


Edited by RustA - 5/17/13 at 5:09am
post #237 of 459
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RustA View Post

Thank you very much for a nice review!

Even after LCD3 when you put HD800 on your head, the sound opens a lot. HD800 is still more detailed, has a wider soundstage , better positioning and instrument separation.

That's exactly why I chose HD800 and never looked back! Exactly this.

However, LCD3 has a fuller sound with the best bass I have ever heard,  a creamy, tactile sound and great musicality.

I've seen many people on head-fi prefering "creamy" and "musical" presentation... To that extent that I purchased a tube amplifier for my HD800 with different tubes to find out what's all the talk about. In the end, I must say that I am going back to the transparency, blackness, neutrality and technical ability of a quality solid-state amplifier and have no intensions for tubes anymore (especially since they are not suitable for powering IEMs/earbuds). I can certainly understand that they offer a very natural kind of presentation but I definitely want to engage HD800's technical abilities to the max. That's the way I prefer it.

As for the bass, I must say that HD800 pretty much beat LCD-2 here because of the awesome separation from the rest of the spectrum and because I find it to be surprisingly more visceral (this is most probably connected to MUCH better and accurate soundstaging). LCD-2's bass has more punch but HD800 are much more accurate, much more "life-like" - you hear and visually see the band in front of you... This is not possible with LCD-2 at all, their bass leaks too much to places where other instruments should have their space. Not very accurate imaging and too stereoish kind of presentation definitely do not help here.

Thank you RustA.

 

I actually like LCD2's bass presentation too. I did not find it to leak into the mids. Try to listen to the Momentum...there the bass leaks into the mids... Lcd2's bass is too fast to do that. 

However, I also agree that HD800 has an awesome bass, and it is indeed more detailed than LCD2's bass. On the other hand..in my opinion..lcd3 beats them both on this.

On the visceral side, I found lcd3 to be the most visceral headphone I have heard until now. HD800 also has this, indeed, but for example with LCD3 you can really feel the cellos, violins, drums . HD800 has this also but places the instruments a little further.

post #238 of 459

Nice review dan.

 

I completely agree with your sentiments re the difference between the HD800 and LCD3. I find that with a fairly neutral SS amp, these two headphones really come into their own. Personally, I found that I didn't have a very clear bias in terms of sound signature preference - I just seem to really get and love the different presentations offered. As a matter of hairsplitting personal preference based on the quality of source material and genres I listen to, the LCD3s will probably be more versatile for most people as opposed to the HD800s (but this is not to say that the HD800s aren't versatile either - they certainly are).

 

My personal usage on a daily basis is dictated by the following logic,

 

If I want to feel my music and be immersed in it, I'll go with the LCD3s.

If I want to hear, analyse and see my music, I'll go with the HD800s.

 

First world problems *sigh*

post #239 of 459

^Again a very enjoyable and excellent review.

Dan excuse me for missing the obvious but are you using a cd player for your source.(The tests have been made with the Burson Conductor and the Toxic Silver Widowcable)

 

 

 

 

 

Connectivity

On the digital front, the Conductor features a 24bit/192khz Tenor TE8802 USB receiver working in Asynchronous Transfer Mode. It also accepts coaxial and Toslink inputs supporting 32bit/192khz audio files. On the analogue front, it accepts analogue input via RCA and outputs in 6.35mm headphone jack, line-level output (DAC) and variable output (preamp). With such versatility, the new conductor works perfectly with any audio system.


Edited by keepitsimple - 5/18/13 at 12:56pm
post #240 of 459

He's using his computer connected via USB :)

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