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Is ODAC an upgrade to the hifimediy DAC?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

Hi

 

I have the hifimediy DAC built on ES9023:

http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=83

 

It's great, and I use it to drive all my headphones directly - FIIO E17 and FIIO E6 are now unemployed.

The sound has great detail over the entire frequency range, solid bass impact and huge soundstage.

 

ODAC is supposed to be an affordable reference-level DAC, but it uses the same ES9023 chip and costs over 3 times more.

I am sure that it has better specifications then the hifimediy DAC, but are there any audible differences?

Can ODAC drive the headphones directly as well as hifimediy does, or does it require an amplifier?

post #2 of 31
Thread Starter 
Nobody has/had both? I thought they were very popular...
post #3 of 31

While the ODAC is a fairly common DAC, the Hifimediy isn't, which is why I guess you're not getting responses.

 

The ODAC does not drive headphones at all, they need a separate amp.

post #4 of 31

My friend compared HiFimeDIY Sabre USB DAC with NuForce uDac 2. Conclusion was, that there were only little nuances in sound. HiFimeDIY had better bass extension and it was more analogue sounding. Overall both DACs are on one level. So should be ODAC on par with HiFimeDIY Sabre USB DAC.


Edited by MiLKMAN - 3/19/13 at 12:48am
post #5 of 31
Just because two different devices share the same dac does not mean that they will sound the same, similar or on par with one another. How the dac is implemented is the key. I have not heard the medley or the nu force.
post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poimandres View Post

Just because two different devices share the same dac does not mean that they will sound the same, similar or on par with one another. How the dac is implemented is the key. I have not heard the medley or the nu force.

 

I agree with your point about implementation being more important than the chip.  That's why I started this thread.

Hopefully there is somebody that heard both ODAC and HiFimeDIY.

post #7 of 31

Buy something a lot better if you want to upgrade or sit back and enjoy the music that you can buy for the money that you saved.

 

I have not heard either DAC, but from the information that I gathered here it seems that they are very close.

post #8 of 31

When I compared HiFimeDIY Sabre USB DAC with NuForce uDac 2, I found that HiFimeDIY highs sounded bright (some tracks sounded unpleasant because of this), mids and bass were pleasingly more extended. NuForce was more on neutral side. But still, for 32€ + shipping, HiFimeDIY Sabre USB DAC is a bargain.


Edited by MiLKMAN - 3/19/13 at 12:56am
post #9 of 31

There are TWO hifimediy usb DACs. one in a box, the other on a cable. UAE23, UAE23+ I would hope the isolated + one is better.

 

Not heard the others you mention, but have heard many sub £500 CD players sound worse. From how I hear DAC's, they seem to be steps in the SQ ladder.

 

Works/CD, Above CD, real hi-fi, amazing.

This DAC is in the above CD verging on real hi-fi at times. Not yet heard an amazing DAC ever! Amazing CDP yes.

Heard plenty of solid "real hi-fi" dacs for around £2k+ though. Trying a full speced wiliang dac9 ak4399 next I think, aiming for budget solid hi-fi.

post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbloke View Post

 

Not heard the others you mention, but have heard many sub £500 CD players sound worse. From how I hear DAC's, they seem to be steps in the SQ ladder.

 

 

True. Although the ones I've heard that sound worse through my headphone system don't sound "off" on speakers, so I suspect they really voice it for speakers (ie, deliberately curved to make speakers sound good). The entry levels, especially Cambridge and Marantz, put the drums ahead of the band with my headphones; they were still a bit 2D on speakers but at least the drummer wasn't in front. The NAD didn't have this problem but the manufacturer blurb always described as an improved "bass slam" gave me a headache on headphones, but was extremely satisfying to listen to on speakers.
 

Take note though that's an HD600, so maybe the response on the headphone and most of the entry level CDPs are similar enough they add up as bad staging or head-pounding percussion.

post #11 of 31

It's clearly because headphones all sound much better than speakers ;) Although to be fair, they are a lot smaller and cheaper to produce.

 

But seriously, I would love to understand more about how headphones can do staging. Unless you are using binaural recordings headphones do not offer any kind of real staging. They offer some kind of away from the ears or closer to the centre of the head but at no point can you close your eyes and imagine that you are at a concert or all the members of the band are sitting in the same room as where they recorded it, you can't listen to the room.

 

So headphones might allow you to pick up more from a recording, but they cant transport you there or provide any imaging. That's the problem with headphones. I've heard the HD800 which I found a it delicate and not so musically involving but were quite analytical and clean.

post #12 of 31

I have heard both. The Hifimediy and Odac share the same character, at first listen, it will be very hard to tell the different but the more listen i find that Odac is clearer, better definition, more 3d sound stage. Thats not a huge different, Hifimediy is about 85% of Odac.

post #13 of 31
Thread Starter 

I have bought the ODAC, and it's definitely not an upgrade.

 

For almost 4X difference in price, I couldn't hear any significant differences.

Hifimediy does have a more powerful output - drives HE-400 without any issues.

ODAC is 8-9DBs quieter.

 

Ordered 2 more Hifimediy DACs - want to have them plugged into every laptop/workstation/HTPC I have.

post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenF View Post

I have bought the ODAC, and it's definitely not an upgrade.

 

For almost 4X difference in price, I couldn't hear any significant differences.

Hifimediy does have a more powerful output - drives HE-400 without any issues.

ODAC is 8-9DBs quieter.

 

Ordered 2 more Hifimediy DACs - want to have them plugged into every laptop/workstation/HTPC I have.

 

If the HiFeMediy is a neutral DAC -- I've never heard one -- the ODAC certainly wouldn't be an upgrade: They'll both sound exactly the same. With all the blather about sound quality improving as the price increases, it's unfortunate this isn't completely obvious.

 

I'm a satisfied ODAC owner. Even so, its quality is duplicated by a number of products, some less expensive and most more expensive. It's a good sign you're pleased with your HiFiMediy. If you like it as much as I like my ODAC, it's a great sign. Congratulations on your purchase(s).

post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenF View Post

I have bought the ODAC, and it's definitely not an upgrade.

 

For almost 4X difference in price, I couldn't hear any significant differences.

Hifimediy does have a more powerful output - drives HE-400 without any issues.

ODAC is 8-9DBs quieter.

 

Ordered 2 more Hifimediy DACs - want to have them plugged into every laptop/workstation/HTPC I have.

The odac should be used with an amplifier.  No wonder you are unable to differentiate a difference,  It is not meant to drive any headphone or iem.

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