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Emotiva Stealth DC-1 DAC - Page 17

post #241 of 798
It 's always good to know we can be happier with a product that costs twice as much with fewer features ...........
post #242 of 798
Quote:
Originally Posted by subsonic1050 View Post
 

So, I received the Dangerous Source today. I should mention that in between the Emotiva DC-1 and the Dangerous, I tried a Burson HA-160DS amp/dac combo that I bought off of this site. I also got a pair of Audeze LCD-2 cans and some HD800's. For the past few weeks I was listening to these headphones on the Emotiva and then the Burson (primarily the Burson). I always felt as if they never sounded quite right - not the way they had when I auditioned them in the store. Good - but not great.

 

Well as I mentioned - I got the Dangerous Source today. HOLY CRAP ON A CRACKER!!! This thing is seriously amazing. I know in Gary's test, he determined that the DC-1 and the Source were "indistinguishable" - and I believe him, because he was using the DAC only, NOT the built in amp. He did mention that he much preferred the headphone output of the source to the DC-1, but I can't overstate how huge the difference is here. Not just between the DC-1 and the source, but the Burson as well. This thing completely eclipses both of them. Clarity is about the same, but the depth of the sound, the fullness of the sound across the spectrum is vastly improved. Most surprisingly to me - the soundstage is at LEAST double what it was on either of the other two units with the LCD-2's, and a bit wider with the HD800 as well. This is contrary to what Gary experienced (he said he felt the soundstage was smaller) - but he must have been using a better separate amp) 

 

It even tamed the highs of the HD800, which were previously so shrill that I noticed I would physically cringe while listening to them. I could only handle a song or two on them before my ears were hurting, even at modest volumes.

 

Neddless to say - I am sold!

 

I've been looking at the DM Source as well now. So the built in amp turned out decent. I want to audition one as well, but it'll be nearly impossible to actually find one that carries it here.

post #243 of 798
Quote:
Originally Posted by boatheelmusic View Post

It 's always good to know we can be happier with a product that costs twice as much with fewer features ...........

….?

 

Are you implying that DM Source has less features? I personally love the features and inputs on the DC-1, but the DM is ridiculous with what you can do with it. The separate Latch mode for both outputs is amazing.

post #244 of 798
Well, I value a remote, an internal power supply over a wall wart, a sample rate indicator so I know what's going on, XLR's, etc.....
post #245 of 798
Quote:
Originally Posted by boatheelmusic View Post

Well, I value a remote, an internal power supply over a wall wart, a sample rate indicator so I know what's going on, XLR's, etc.....

 

The Source is designed as a portable piece so that's why the wall wart over the internal supply. It definitely looks more transportable and being able to fit in a bag along with a laptop. For some, that's definitely an applicable bonus. There actually is XLR output on the DM. The lightshow on the DM tells you exactly all the sources that are on. The USB takes 192/24, so it pretty much plays anything. Also, I personally prefer playing stuff in their native format without any re-sampling or conversion. Native sounds the best. So it really doesn't make a difference if it's displaying the sample rate or not. Keep everything in their native mode and monitor through the CD transport or computer application….unless you are into that up conversion stuff.

post #246 of 798

"It 's always good to know we can be happier with a product that costs twice as much with fewer features ..........."

 

It's good to know that we can have a meaningful conversation about different products, but boatheelmusic will be a know-it-all (while knowing very little), shill for Emotiva nuisance no matter the situation.

 

Also, "more features" does not mean better quality. In fact, most people know that some of the best products out there do the bare minimum - but do it extremely well. That said, I think the point about the DC-1 having more features than the Source is very strange, as it is obvious that the Source has FAR more features than the DC-1. However, the DC-1 does offer a few features which the Source does not, and if the things you mentioned are what are most important to you - then fine.

 

However, my main concern is sound quality. To my ears, the Source bends the DC-1 over its knee in that regard. I also like 1/4" headphone jacks (and the ones on the source seat so positively that they are almost locking jacks - which I love). The ability to power two full size headphones simultaneously (I was listening to my HD800 last night, while my wife listened to the LCD-2, and we had the volume just past half way for a good listening level) is also something that I appreciate. I am also concerned with build quality. The Emo appears to be built well, but in my experience is not (granted, my sample size is only 2 - but 100% of them were faulty in some way). My sample size with the Source is only one, but it does appear to be very well built, and it has no issues yet. I also like the portability, which I will likely be taking advantage of.

 

Zoom - I would definitely give the Source a try. I have only tried it with the HD800 and the LCD-2, but to me it pairs very well with the LCD-2, and fairly well with the HD800 (certainly much better than the DC-1 or Burson did). It definitely has more power than either of them, and sounds fantastic to me. I actually didn't care for the styling in pictures, I thought it would clash with the brushed aluminum look of my other stereo equipment, but now that I have it here I think it looks great as well.

post #247 of 798
Quote:
Originally Posted by boatheelmusic View Post

It 's always good to know we can be happier with a product that costs twice as much with fewer features ...........


For the record, not quite twice the price, and pretty much the same features, just implemented a bit differently.   It all really comes down to what you value most in the competitors.  They are different in size and shape, and in how the controls operate. Some might like one unit's size and control system more than the other, and vice-versa. 

 

From a pure performance standpoint, my personal experience, having had them both in the same rack feeding the same system, is that if all you need is a DAC, there is little to distinguish the performance of the two except finer volume control on the DM Source.  If you want a headamp, that's another story, and every individual is going to value the difference between the two differently.  Is the headamp on the DM Source worth $400 more than the one on the Emo?  Everybody has to decide that on their own.


Edited by Gary in MD - 1/25/14 at 8:51am
post #248 of 798

SIDE NOTE:

 

I might have found a solution that was actually under my nose all along. So today, I tried the Emotiva with the LCD-3 after a few weeks as I was away and the treble really annoyed me. They made it seem bright and over the top. WIth HE-500 and LCD-2 it wasn't that bad though, even through the HE-500 is inherently brighter than LCD-3. I don't know why, but it bothered me on and off for the last few months. I had the Emotiva hooked up to my Marantz CD5004 CD player.

 

Out of the blue I remembered that when I didn't have an amplifier for a week and just the CD5004, I tried driving the HE-500 and the D2000 out of the headphone port on the CD5004. Later on I connected the CD5004 to O2 and eventually Emotiva. The amplifiers made the headphone sound a bit wider and fuller with more bass. Although I still remembered the CD5004 sounding really good with even better imaging than through either amplifiers. The tonality, sense of air and treble was done really well.

 

So I broke out my Norse copper single ended cable (I had been using my silver balanced cables with Emotiva - not that it matters) for the LCD-3 and gave it a shot. Immediately going from the Emotiva to the Marantz headphone jack, I noticed that the soundstage was less wider, although more holographic. The bass didn't have the full bloom and rumble of the Emotiva, yet still managed to keep up with the bass lines of music ranging from vocal jazz to 140+ BPM electronic music.

 

I wanted to take it off right away, but decided to carry on and give it another 10 minutes or so. I'm glad I did. After 15 minutes or so, I actually got used to the sound and actually really started liking it. The bass, while still lacking in the bloom went very deep and had great texture, better than Emotiva. There was amazing sense of air and not that lean type of artificial air that I got from the Emotiva or even through the Bryston BHA-1. Instead it was this rich and dense air, very realistic and natural. Best of all, the treble was on point. All the details, but nothing hurt. Excellent transients for it's headphone port. I hate using the word "musicality" but this sounded very transparent, dynamic and musical.

 

A few months back I tried the BDA-2/Arcam D33 along with BHA-1 along with other DACs and PS Audio power centres. While I really liked the BHA-1, it was still very aggressive like the Emotiva, but not as much. The bass was very tight and had good bloom. Very dark background and transparent, yet it didn't quite sell me, especially considering how much the rig was priced at. I liked the BHA-1 over Emotiva for LCD-3 (in balanced mode), although the best pairing I had was the D2000 on the BHA-1 in single ended mode. This thing was a beast on the BHA-1. I might still consider the BHA-1 down the road for it's connections, warranty and sound.

 

Although without a doubt I can say that the LCD-3 off the CD5004 headphone jack sounded more "musical" than the BDA-2/BHA-1 and definitely over the Emotiva. I got to audition that combo for around 5 hours in a closed room by myself and tried the various filters, but always ended up preferring the native mode as the other sampling modes made it sound over the top smooth.

 

Back when I had the HE-500 and the LCD-2, I was considering picking up a Marantz PM series, but never ended up going with it as the Emotiva went fine with them. Although the LCD-3 and Emotiva just couldn't keep me happy consistently over the months.

 

Everyone that paired those marantz amps with marantz's own CD player reportedly excellent pairing. I am thinking of giving one of them a shot, looking especially at PM6004 and maybe PM6005 (like PM6004 but has digital inputs as well). The PM6004 is rated at 45W, very similar to the Emotiva's 50W, so that way I would still have enough volume play with the LCD-3 and maybe HE-6 down the road. The PM8004 while heavier and better sounding is around 100W, which wouldn't be ideal with the LCD-3 unless I had an adapter. Also, it's closer to the 1k mark.

 

The PM6004 has been reduced to $400 now due to the PM6005 coming out which took over it's price at $600/$700 (depending on where you look at it).

post #249 of 798
Quote:
Originally Posted by subsonic1050 View Post
 

"It 's always good to know we can be happier with a product that costs twice as much with fewer features ..........."

 

It's good to know that we can have a meaningful conversation about different products, but boatheelmusic will be a know-it-all (while knowing very little), shill for Emotiva nuisance no matter the situation.

 

Also, "more features" does not mean better quality. In fact, most people know that some of the best products out there do the bare minimum - but do it extremely well. That said, I think the point about the DC-1 having more features than the Source is very strange, as it is obvious that the Source has FAR more features than the DC-1. However, the DC-1 does offer a few features which the Source does not, and if the things you mentioned are what are most important to you - then fine.

 

However, my main concern is sound quality. To my ears, the Source bends the DC-1 over its knee in that regard. I also like 1/4" headphone jacks (and the ones on the source seat so positively that they are almost locking jacks - which I love). The ability to power two full size headphones simultaneously (I was listening to my HD800 last night, while my wife listened to the LCD-2, and we had the volume just past half way for a good listening level) is also something that I appreciate. I am also concerned with build quality. The Emo appears to be built well, but in my experience is not (granted, my sample size is only 2 - but 100% of them were faulty in some way). My sample size with the Source is only one, but it does appear to be very well built, and it has no issues yet. I also like the portability, which I will likely be taking advantage of.

 

Zoom - I would definitely give the Source a try. I have only tried it with the HD800 and the LCD-2, but to me it pairs very well with the LCD-2, and fairly well with the HD800 (certainly much better than the DC-1 or Burson did). It definitely has more power than either of them, and sounds fantastic to me. I actually didn't care for the styling in pictures, I thought it would clash with the brushed aluminum look of my other stereo equipment, but now that I have it here I think it looks great as well.

 

I really want to audition the Source. The features and size of it is quite attractive. One thing I really like about the Fiio E10 is it's portability. While the Source is much bigger, it could still be transportable around the house, especially if you can have a few wall wart power supply hooked up around the house, so you can just unplug and plug wherever you go, without carrying the cables and adapter. I would be more interested in the Source matching the D2000/TH-900 and KRK KNS 8400 off the headphone jack. If it drives the LCD-3 as well, I'll take that as a bonus.

 

Long & McQuade here carries it in Canada, which is similar to Guitar Center in States. Although they are out of stock everywhere. Might force them to bring one in stock so I could audition it down the road.

post #250 of 798

My 30 day trial of the Dac 1 expires next week and I'm trying to decide if I'm going to keep it. It sounds great, but I don't need a headphone amp( have a Bottlehead Crack), a volume control,opt , coaxial or xlr inputs or outputs.etc,etc. All I need is USB in, RCA out, 44 to 192 sampling, and of course a great sound. So, since money is tight and $500 bucks is a big shot, I keep thinking that I can get what I need for a lot less. Problem is I can't find a review like Gary's that deals with lower priced DAC's. I'm have trouble working up the energy to order 3 or 4 of them and find out for myself.

post #251 of 798

I'm glad you found a good pairing! Although, I am starting to think that you might not prefer the Source - it is definitely on the warmer side of neutral. As I listen to it more I can also tell that it doesn't have some of the "crispness" of the Burson - which makes it much less cringe worthy, but possibly at the expense of clarity. However, I have listened to the full gamut of genres, and find it to play everything extremely well, even stuff that I only listen to for the sound quality alone - like classical or opera. 

 

I have a PM series integrated amp, it is the Marantz PM7000. I have to say that the source sounds better, and I think I even preferred the Burson and Emotiva over the Marantz. It just sounded slightly blunted in certain areas in comparison. However, my model is 10 years old, so the new ones might sound better. Also, that was playing a CD directly to the Marantz and comparing it to the .flac file through the DAC's. I haven't tried hooking up a DAC to the Marantz and comparing the sound that way.

post #252 of 798
Quote:
Originally Posted by subsonic1050 View Post
 

I'm glad you found a good pairing! Although, I am starting to think that you might not prefer the Source - it is definitely on the warmer side of neutral. As I listen to it more I can also tell that it doesn't have some of the "crispness" of the Burson - which makes it much less cringe worthy, but possibly at the expense of clarity. However, I have listened to the full gamut of genres, and find it to play everything extremely well, even stuff that I only listen to for the sound quality alone - like classical or opera. 

 

I have a PM series integrated amp, it is the Marantz PM7000. I have to say that the source sounds better, and I think I even preferred the Burson and Emotiva over the Marantz. It just sounded slightly blunted in certain areas in comparison. However, my model is 10 years old, so the new ones might sound better. Also, that was playing a CD directly to the Marantz and comparing it to the .flac file through the DAC's. I haven't tried hooking up a DAC to the Marantz and comparing the sound that way.

 

The Marantz PM7000…yeah that's old. They had a PM700X until last year but nothing at the moment. With PM6004 and CD5004, they apparently made big changes to the design from their previous 0003 models. The PM6004 is only a few years old. I think it came out in 2010/2011. I am really hoping that adding a PM6004 to the CD5004 will just amplify the sound and still retain the sound I'm hearing from the CD5004. All the users really praise the synergy. The best thing I'm loving about the Marantz at the moment is that I can get it loud overall, including the treble, and I can hear everything at full blast yet no pain whatsoever. Just want to keep on listening.

post #253 of 798

Since my morning post, I ended up picking a PM6004 to pair it with CD5004 and LCD-3. One word: Success.

post #254 of 798

LOL I might still end up picking a DC-1 as I need a DAC for computer use (movies and shows). 

post #255 of 798
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoom25 View Post
 

LOL I might still end up picking a DC-1 as I need a DAC for computer use (movies and shows). 

 

You won't regret it.

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