I just bought one of these and it's in the mail now from HK. I should get it next week. I'll be comparing it to my Burson HA-160D (via USB). I mainly listen to speakers now (Quad 12L actives) but I also have a Grado RS1i. It'll be curious to see how the headphone amp meshes with the Grados.
What I like about the Burson sound with the RS1i is the weight and slightly dark sound that helps tame the treble. But I know from some experience with other DACs that I can get a bit better soundstaging and imaging from an upgrade. So I'm curious to see how the DA8 handles things for both the speakers and headphone out.
Looking forward to getting this bad boy in the house
I use the DA8 with my speakers as well (see sig) and it doesn't disappoint! I prefer the 'slow' filter because it provides a more coherent sound. Guitar plucks seem to come out of thin air and jump out past the speakers. Using the 'sharp' filter will bring a tad bit more air (high frequency) to the music, but you lose the silence between the notes and the realism is diminished. Plus, after long listening sessions you'll most likely find the 'slow' filter is less fatiguing thanks to less ringing on the IR and a slight roll off of really high HF content.
The internal amp should suit the Grados nicely, but you may be into the -30dB+ attenuation range, so you're going to lose a chunk of SNR. With that said, I don't think it will be problem though. Keep us updated on your impressions!
P.S. If using USB, cover pins 1 & 4 with small strips of electrical tape to keep the PC power from interfering. The DA8's USB provides filtered Class A power for the cable, so use the feature :)
Edited by brunk - 12/4/13 at 10:11am