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Emotiva Stealth DC-1 DAC - Page 23

post #331 of 449

elwappo, any feedback for us on your DC-1?

post #332 of 449
Quote:
Originally Posted by boatheelmusic View Post
 

elwappo, any feedback for us on your DC-1?

 

Hey! 

 

Unfortunately, school has kept me pretty busy, so I didn't get to spend as much time critically listening to this unit as I had expected. 

 

Overall, I'd have to saw quick observations are similar to what most people have found. A few things I was worried about that I didn't see commented on (without really being able to compare this to my other DACs side by side).

 

1. I believe this DAC sits on a slightly warmer side of neutral. Not a tube DAC warm, and not PCM1704 warm, just a bit. Definitely warmer than previous Audio-GD DACs I've owned that are dead cold.

 

2. I would probably keep this unit based on functionality alone. There's just so many things that are thought through. DAC, preamp, headphone amp, remote. I think it's pretty solid overall. Also, the volume control is really excellent. It doesn't work like most preamps through a potentiometer, but uses relays, like the Audio-GD units, which means excellent volume control at any level. This also applies to the preamp functionality. 

 

3. I've had 0 issues with drivers using USB input, Win7 64bit. I've had some USB drivers for audio gear that cause blue screens, prevent computer from sleeping. No issues with this one.

 

4. "Stand-by Mode" puts the unit to sleep, but keeps it warm. I find DACs sound their best after being on for a few hours, but this guy stays warm in stand by and perks right up.

 

5. A worry I had was that the headphone amp would be an afterthought, or a gimmick, or there for functionality but not really something you'd use in a main rig. The headphone unit is pretty solid. I think it sounds very very good, sometimes. I had my M50 on the unit while I was working and thought it was a pretty impressive unit. IEMs also sound really good. Really spacious, lots of bass control, clear sounding. Out of curiosity I plugged in my K712, and it didn't have the same clarity and power that I expect from the K712. Keep in mind, I didn't compare this to other amps/dacs, so just off the top of my head. 

post #333 of 449
Thanks, your experience mirrors mine.

I've found only the PS Audio PWDII and the NAD M51 best the Emo DC1 in non sabre dacs, which I think are harsh.

And the EMO is a super value.

I'm keeping the DC1 and the PWD and am done with dac compares, except for consideration of the PS Audio Directstream once it's out there awhile.

Also note these two are supported in the US, no learning foreign languages or international shipping to who knows where!

Best,
post #334 of 449

Anyone compare this to the Matrix Mini-I Pro? I know the Emo cannot do DSD or higher then 192k, but all other features considered. I posted this question in the Matrix thread as well.

 
post #335 of 449

I wonder why the headphone amp didn't do well with the K712's. I've never heard the Emotiva Stealth DC-1, but I had thought about picking one up for use at work and selling off one of my older DAC's that don't have a built in headphone amp or preamp. I thought I read/or heard that the Emo Stealth DC-1 uses a headphone circuit that's very similar (BUF-634 and op-amp) to the one used in Benchmark's DAC's which have a pretty good reputation. Possibly I was misinformed...

 

I could always use the RCA output to a headphone amp and use the XLR outs to the amp but its shame if the built in headphone amp isn't up to par with the rest of this unit. I know that I read on a DIY forum that the Stealth uses the Muses 72320 for volume control and that's a very highly regarded part as its also used in the Pass Labs XP30. Anyway, I've been thinking about buying one of these so I hope that more owners post their opinions about the sound quality and if the HP amp is up to par or not. Most of the time in the office I'd only be using the HP amp with the B&W P7's or maybe a pair of Westone W40's...obviously both are very easy to drive. 

post #336 of 449
Quote:
Originally Posted by KLJTech View Post
 

I wonder why the headphone amp didn't do well with the K712's. I've never heard the Emotiva Stealth DC-1, but I had thought about picking one up for use at work and selling off one of my older DAC's that don't have a built in headphone amp or preamp. I thought I read/or heard that the Emo Stealth DC-1 uses a headphone circuit that's very similar (BUF-634 and op-amp) to the one used in Benchmark's DAC's which have a pretty good reputation. Possibly I was misinformed...

 

 

To be fair, I found the Benchmark to have a disappointing headamp built in. My comparison was with the Matrix M-stage which is a clone of the Lehmann BCL, which runs for $1k. I think it's an okay amplifier, and sounds better than any fiio product. It does sound good for less demanding headphones, and does okay with my K712. But, I've ran through a lot of amplifiers for my Q701/K712, and I think the M-stage is about as good as it gets for them. 

post #337 of 449

I use the Dac 1 to feed my bottle head crack, and I'm very, very happy with the sound it gives me running HD 600. I run my Fitear to go 334's from the Emo's headphone outs and love the sound. YMMD

post #338 of 449
Quote:
Originally Posted by elwappo99 View Post
 

 

To be fair, I found the Benchmark to have a disappointing headamp built in. My comparison was with the Matrix M-stage which is a clone of the Lehmann BCL, which runs for $1k. I think it's an okay amplifier, and sounds better than any fiio product. It does sound good for less demanding headphones, and does okay with my K712. But, I've ran through a lot of amplifiers for my Q701/K712, and I think the M-stage is about as good as it gets for them. 

 

I'm not sure how much the Q701/K712's differ from the K701's but have you tried them with the Lyr? I always loved the midrange and treble of the K701's, but it wasn't until I bought the Lyr that finally heard them sound really dynamic with a good bit more bottom end...I was truly surprised how much the Lyr helped.

 

I've got a two year old DAC1 USB (not even hooked up right now) and it did fine driving Grado's and IEM's but I've never tried it with my HE-400 or 500's...it may well be lacking the juice to get the job done. Don't know.

post #339 of 449
Quote:
Originally Posted by KLJTech View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by elwappo99 View Post
 

 

To be fair, I found the Benchmark to have a disappointing headamp built in. My comparison was with the Matrix M-stage which is a clone of the Lehmann BCL, which runs for $1k. I think it's an okay amplifier, and sounds better than any fiio product. It does sound good for less demanding headphones, and does okay with my K712. But, I've ran through a lot of amplifiers for my Q701/K712, and I think the M-stage is about as good as it gets for them. 

 

I'm not sure how much the Q701/K712's differ from the K701's but have you tried them with the Lyr? I always loved the midrange and treble of the K701's, but it wasn't until I bought the Lyr that finally heard them sound really dynamic with a good bit more bottom end...I was truly surprised how much the Lyr helped.

 

I've got a two year old DAC1 USB (not even hooked up right now) and it did fine driving Grado's and IEM's but I've never tried it with my HE-400 or 500's...it may well be lacking the juice to get the job done. Don't know.

 

The Q701/K701/K702/K712 all share the same drivers, it's just the padding that's different. 

 

I did like the Lyr, but thought it was only so-so when price is factored in. Actually I think the Vali is pretty stellar with the Q701.

post #340 of 449
Quote:
Originally Posted by elwappo99 View Post
 

 

The Q701/K701/K702/K712 all share the same drivers, it's just the padding that's different. 

 

I did like the Lyr, but thought it was only so-so when price is factored in. Actually I think the Vali is pretty stellar with the Q701.

 

I've never heard the Vali, my oldest son wants one so I'm sure I'll get the chance before too long. The K701's seemed to like the power that the Lyr had on tap but of course then the DAC you use with it plays a big part too. I was hoping that the hp amp in the Stealth DC-1 was really nice as I'd like to sell a couple DAC's and have two of my setups (not my main system) running with a DAC that has a built in amp to save some space. I could just pickup a Bifrost Uber and stack one of the amps on top of it. Any idea how the Stealth DC-1's DAC compares to the Uber Bifrost?...about the same amount of money. 

post #341 of 449
Quote:
Originally Posted by KLJTech View Post
 
 

 

I've never heard the Vali, my oldest son wants one so I'm sure I'll get the chance before too long. The K701's seemed to like the power that the Lyr had on tap but of course then the DAC you use with it plays a big part too. I was hoping that the hp amp in the Stealth DC-1 was really nice as I'd like to sell a couple DAC's and have two of my setups (not my main system) running with a DAC that has a built in amp to save some space. I could just pickup a Bifrost Uber and stack one of the amps on top of it. Any idea how the Stealth DC-1's DAC compares to the Uber Bifrost?...about the same amount of money. 

 

Pretty much how I saw things with my DC-1. It's not my main DAC. At some point I'll compare it to my Audio-GD Reference 1 and see how it compares. But, I purchased it for the desktop side rig. The preamp functionality is really fantastic up to my monitors and the volume control is superbly implemented.

 

 

As for comparisons, I really don't like to speculate on DACs without having them side by side. They all sound so similar and the differences are small nuances. In a recent comparison of many DACs, Gary found it in the top tier and basically put it equally with the Gungnir. 

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/689783/december-2013-mid-level-dac-comparison/1170#post_10141530


Edited by elwappo99 - 5/16/14 at 5:46pm
post #342 of 449

I have to assume that the DC-1 is at the very least a pretty nice DAC, even lower cost DAC's have gotten so good in the past couple years that its amazing. I recall back in the early 90's paying around $1200 for a Monarchy Audio 22A DAC and a good bit more for a CD transport. Audio gear has come a LONG WAYS since then and great sounding gear has become SO much less expensive. These are certainly great/fun/exciting times to be a music lover. 

 

I'm just getting started in the world of portable audio...as that's exactly what I need, yet another hobby to help drain my bank account. :D

Oh well, ya only live once. (as far as I know...YMMV)


Edited by KLJTech - 5/16/14 at 10:23pm
post #343 of 449

I'm looking to upgrade from the DC-1. Problem is most DACs sound very similar so I do not think it is worth spending much more for subtle changes. Has anyone lived with DACs (preferably with DSD capability) that would blow the Emotiva out of the water? 

post #344 of 449
Quote:
Originally Posted by KLJTech View Post
 

I have to assume that the DC-1 is at the very least a pretty nice DAC, even lower cost DAC's have gotten so good in the past couple years that its amazing. I back in the early 90's I paid around $1200 for a Monarchy Audio 22A DAC and a good bit more for a CD transport. Audio gear has come a LONG WAYS since then and great sounding gear has become SO much less expensive. These are certainly great/fun/exciting times to be a music lover. 

 

I'm just getting started in the world of portable audio...as that's exactly what I need, yet another hobby to help drain my bank account. :D

Oh well, ya only live once. (as far as I know...YMMV)

 

Yup! Great how affordable it's becoming! :beerchug:

post #345 of 449
Quote:
Originally Posted by lojay View Post
 

I'm looking to upgrade from the DC-1. Problem is most DACs sound very similar so I do not think it is worth spending much more for subtle changes. Has anyone lived with DACs (preferably with DSD capability) that would blow the Emotiva out of the water? 

If you don't mind me asking what do you think of the headphone amp built into the DC-1? Does it sound as transparent as the DAC or does it appear to be more of an afterthought?

 

I certainly feel as far as DAC's go the price point of diminishing returns is getting lower and lower. Today's $500 DAC will most likely have better USB specs AND sound better than a $1000 DAC of just a few years ago. A great amp or speaker today will still be a great amp or speaker several years from now...yet DAC's are getting better and cheaper all the time. Maybe it makes more sense to go for the very good but not cutting/or bleeding edge DAC only to see it bested by a cheaper unit 6 months or a year later. 

 

You could simply add Schiit Audio's new Loki to your DC-1 for DSD capability which would buy you more time to see how the format takes off. Just a thought...best of luck!

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