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Questyle CMA800 Current Mode amp - Page 10

post #136 of 633
Quote:

Originally Posted by BournePerfect View Post
 

[BHA-1]

 

Still sounds better than the 'true balanced' Mjolnir from my experience, and most reports. ...

 

 

Yes agreed, I felt the same when I had both. I returned the Mjolnir and kept the BHA-1.
post #137 of 633

Good choice. Keep in mind I only heard them both the balanced HD800s and balanced LCD 2.2s-and felt the BHA-1 was superior for both. The MJ did perform admirably for the price though.

 

-Daniel

post #138 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by BournePerfect View Post
 

Good choice. Keep in mind I only heard them both the balanced HD800s and balanced LCD 2.2s-and felt the BHA-1 was superior for both. The MJ did perform admirably for the price though.

 

-Daniel

 

They really weren't that far apart with the balanced headphones I tried, lcd-3, hd-800, he-6.

Thought the MJ was  rougher on the high notes, with slightly less resolution overall. Certainly not the amount as one would expect from the price difference.

In the end, the lack of SE on the MJ also played a part.

If I was more strapped for funds, I would have kept the MJ for balanced, as I still have the Soloist that does an excellent job single ended with my many phones.

 

Getting back to topic, I just ordered two CMA800R (for a balanced setup) and will compare that to the BHA-1 after I receive them. I'm hoping for another step up in resolution.

post #139 of 633
Oh don't get me wrong, the Bryston is an excellent amp. Very good with most any headphone. I'd choose it over 90% of the other high end apps out there.
post #140 of 633

dang I was gunna post the review... 

 

Anyway my Questyle should be arriving in a couple of weeks!

 

Cant wait.

post #141 of 633

I received a single CMA800R to compare to the original CMA800. Questyle will send along another CMA800R down the road, to evaluate the balanced dual mono capability. I was under the impression that the 800 should sound very, very similar to the 800R version, but they tell me it is more different than I would have expected. We'll see. 

post #142 of 633

Alden told me that the distortion was lower on the 800R, so maybe they did tweak its gain circuit relative to the 800.  I'd be interested to know if there is a significant difference in sound signature between the models, too.  Did they give you a heads up on what to look for in the way of difference?

post #143 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post
 

I received a single CMA800R to compare to the original CMA800. Questyle will send along another CMA800R down the road, to evaluate the balanced dual mono capability. I was under the impression that the 800 should sound very, very similar to the 800R version, but they tell me it is more different than I would have expected. We'll see. 

Hi John, thanks for all the impressions and I look forward to the CMA800R as well. Coming back to the bridged dual mono design, I hope you are reviewing the nuforce HA-200 as well. I know you probably don't have time to review everything but I am keeping my fingers crossed since you have reviewed nuforce previously. Thanks again for all the great work.

post #144 of 633

The Nuforce looks an interesting design as well. The dual mono idea seems to be catching on.

 

When I got my first CMA800R, I tried it using fixed output from an Eximus and then a Naim DAC. I found the sound to be better using variable output, especially from the Naim, as this added slightly more weight to the bass. With the Eximus, it added emphasis to an already wide soundstage.

 

With dual mono CMA800R's you need to set the volume to max on both units, and control the volume from your DAC (which needs a preamplifier). This means the signature of the DAC/preamplifier is introduced into the sound of the Questyle.

 

Questyle's own DAC has received some very favourable reviews, but does not have a built in preamplifier. I suppose though, this could be used with a passive preamplifier.

 

I think what I am trying to say, is that you have a wide number of variables to influence either the sound of your DAC, or the CMA800R, whether it be in single use, dual mono, or fully balanced.

post #145 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacal01 View Post
 

Alden told me that the distortion was lower on the 800R, so maybe they did tweak its gain circuit relative to the 800.  I'd be interested to know if there is a significant difference in sound signature between the models, too.  Did they give you a heads up on what to look for in the way of difference?

 

They didn't give real specifics as far as what to look for. They said it's a slightly different "feel", and should be noticeable, so we'll see. I do spot some external differences right off the bat which I hadn't noticed from pics alone. The front panel on my CMA800 is squared off on the sides, while the CMA800R has those angles sides which make it look even more similar to the Ayre gear (not that Ayre is the only one to do that.... it's just the first I could think of). The volume knob sicks out twice as far which I appreciate - it's now easier to grasp, and in comparison the original feels too recessed. It also has a more solid feel when turning it, like more resistance (but not too much), though I suppose that could be a byproduct of being brand new. 

 

Anyway, I immediately see the benefit of having the pre-amp outputs. A system like mine is constantly in need for connections between sources and amps. I've always appreciated when an amp has clean, transparent pre-amp outputs that I can tap in order to connect another device. Currently have the CMA800R feeding a Parasound amp in the speaker rig, making connection much more convenient. Seems quite transparent too. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lithium1085 View Post
 

Hi John, thanks for all the impressions and I look forward to the CMA800R as well. Coming back to the bridged dual mono design, I hope you are reviewing the nuforce HA-200 as well. I know you probably don't have time to review everything but I am keeping my fingers crossed since you have reviewed nuforce previously. Thanks again for all the great work.

 

I hand't seen that one from NuForce yet. Will have to check it out. But no guarantees, since I've got a large backlog going. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PETERCALV View Post
 

The Nuforce looks an interesting design as well. The dual mono idea seems to be catching on.

 

When I got my first CMA800R, I tried it using fixed output from an Eximus and then a Naim DAC. I found the sound to be better using variable output, especially from the Naim, as this added slightly more weight to the bass. With the Eximus, it added emphasis to an already wide soundstage.

 

With dual mono CMA800R's you need to set the volume to max on both units, and control the volume from your DAC (which needs a preamplifier). This means the signature of the DAC/preamplifier is introduced into the sound of the Questyle.

 

Questyle's own DAC has received some very favourable reviews, but does not have a built in preamplifier. I suppose though, this could be used with a passive preamplifier.

 

I think what I am trying to say, is that you have a wide number of variables to influence either the sound of your DAC, or the CMA800R, whether it be in single use, dual mono, or fully balanced.

 

This. Especially considering how transparent the Questyle amps are. They definitely show the differences between DACs, more so than most any other amp I've used. They even show the differences in the same DAC, between SE and balanced output. Some DACs sound identical but some have a very distinct character where I prefer RCA or XLR out. Which makes sense - some of them use very different components in each path. So in case anyone was wondering why they Questyle allows use of the XLR inputs even when connecting a headphone through the SE output.... that's why. To give us a chance to get the best from our DACs, whatever that may be. Just like Violectric does with the V200, and Luxman does with the P-1u, etc. 

post #146 of 633

I have a Yulong DA8 that I've been using as a dac/amp for the past few months, but I'm a bit of a newbie when it comes to actually hooking configuring a multiple piece system...

 

I just pulled the trigger on one CMA800R and it will arrive in a few weeks. When it arrives, I'll send the output of the DA8 via two three pin xlr cables to the stereo xlr input pair on the CMA100R, make sure the CMA800R is in stereo mode, switch the DA8 to "Pure DAC" mode and I should then be all set. So, pretty simple all around, I think. Does this sound correct?

 

But if at some point in the future I pick up a second CMA800R so I can use each of them as a mono-block, what do I need to do get the DA8 to function as a DAC + Preamp? I'll of course need to:

  1. Switch the two CMA800R's to mono mode.
  2. Send left xlr channel to one CMA800R and right xlr channel to the other CMA800R.
  3. Turn volume on each CMA800R to max setting
  4. And then how do I set up the DA8? As far as I can tell I have two (maybe three?) options:
  • A. Use "Pure DAC" mode to ignore the volume switch, which isn't what I want in this case since I want it to function as a pre-amp.
  • B. Have it run normally (DAC+Amp) and end up always keeping it's volume near the very low end of what it can do since I'll be leaning on the pair of CMA800R's to do the majority of the amplification?
  • C. Some how set the DA8 to run as a DAC+Preamp (No Amp)? I gather this would be optimal, but I'm not sure I can configure the DA8 to run this way?

 

Or would it be preferable to use the DA8 as just a DAC in this case and get a separate dedicated pre-amp? If so, are there highly reccomended pre-amps for headphones? This is all new to me, so I'm unsure what the correct/best way to set this up is. Thanks!

post #147 of 633

Initial setup sounds right to me.

 

If you later add another CMA800R, I'd say your second option (B) is the way to go. Use the DA8 to control volume, and the CMA800R would be amplification only. Similar to adding using the DA8 to control a dedicated speaker amplifier which of course doesn't have volume control of its own. You could add a dedicated pre-amp and use the DA8 in Pure mode, but unless you spend a good amount on a very high quality pre, you are likely to do more harm than good. 

post #148 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by yzap View Post
 

I have a Yulong DA8 that I've been using as a dac/amp for the past few months, but I'm a bit of a newbie when it comes to actually hooking configuring a multiple piece system...

 

I just pulled the trigger on one CMA800R and it will arrive in a few weeks. When it arrives, I'll send the output of the DA8 via two three pin xlr cables to the stereo xlr input pair on the CMA100R, make sure the CMA800R is in stereo mode, switch the DA8 to "Pure DAC" mode and I should then be all set. So, pretty simple all around, I think. Does this sound correct?

 

But if at some point in the future I pick up a second CMA800R so I can use each of them as a mono-block, what do I need to do get the DA8 to function as a DAC + Preamp? I'll of course need to:

  1. Switch the two CMA800R's to mono mode.
  2. Send left xlr channel to one CMA800R and right xlr channel to the other CMA800R.
  3. Turn volume on each CMA800R to max setting
  4. And then how do I set up the DA8? As far as I can tell I have two (maybe three?) options:
  • A. Use "Pure DAC" mode to ignore the volume switch, which isn't what I want in this case since I want it to function as a pre-amp.
  • B. Have it run normally (DAC+Amp) and end up always keeping it's volume near the very low end of what it can do since I'll be leaning on the pair of CMA800R's to do the majority of the amplification?
  • C. Some how set the DA8 to run as a DAC+Preamp (No Amp)? I gather this would be optimal, but I'm not sure I can configure the DA8 to run this way?

 

Or would it be preferable to use the DA8 as just a DAC in this case and get a separate dedicated pre-amp? If so, are there highly reccomended pre-amps for headphones? This is all new to me, so I'm unsure what the correct/best way to set this up is. Thanks!

 

 

With two CMA800R's in balanced/dual mono mode, you will need to control the volume from either the preamp on the DA8 or as suggested by project86 an additional preamplifier. Remember that the CMA800R's will be set to full volume, so you know that the output is equal through both of them.

post #149 of 633

Most headphone amps can double as preamps, so putting a dedicated preamp between the DAC and a pair of monoblock CMA800R amps just for the volume control seems a little redundant, and most likely will add its own color and/or shortcomings into the signal train.

 

Seems like you ideally need a DAC with just enough analog pre-amp capability for volume control to run the dual CMA800R setup.  Since none of my current desktop or home dedicated DACs have volume adjustment capability either via local knob or remote, I wonder just how prevalent such DACs with volume control are these days, or are most of these type products offered as combo DAC/(HP) amps?

 

It might be a worthwhile exercise here to enumerate some of the current pure(?) DACs with volume control around that might be held in good esteem via user and/or reviewer recommendations.

 

To start, and I realize this might be perceived as overkill, the MSB Analog DAC has volume control as an option.

post #150 of 633
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacal01 View Post
 

Most headphone amps can double as preamps, so putting a dedicated preamp between the DAC and a pair of monoblock CMA800R amps just for the volume control seems a little redundant, and most likely will add its own color and/or shortcomings into the signal train.

 

Seems like you ideally need a DAC with just enough analog pre-amp capability for volume control to run the dual CMA800R setup.  Since none of my current desktop or home dedicated DACs have volume adjustment capability either via local knob or remote, I wonder just how prevalent such DACs with volume control are these days, or are most of these type products offered as combo DAC/(HP) amps?

 

It might be a worthwhile exercise here to enumerate some of the current pure(?) DACs with volume control around that might be held in good esteem via user and/or reviewer recommendations.

 

To start, and I realize this might be perceived as overkill, the MSB Analog DAC has volume control as an option.

 

 

Yeah, adding a preamp for volume control seems like it would only make sense in the context of a bigger system. Like, say, working the CMA800R monoblocks into a larger speaker based rig. But in that case one likely already has a pre anyway.

 

There does seem to be a correlation between DACs with volume control and those with integrated headphone stages. But don't let that shorten your list - some great DACs have headphone amps on board, but you can just ignore that part if you want. I'd say the new Benchmark DAC 2 is worth looking at, the Anedio D2, Wadia 121, Yulong DA8, Resonessence Labs Invicta, and the Grace M903 (among many others). Models with volume control but no headphone stage include the Resonessence Invicta Mirus, NuForce DAC-80, MSB Analog, SOtM sDP-1000, Onkyo P3000R, NAD M51, the Perreaux Audient DP32..... and many more I'm sure. 

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