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Abbingdon Music Research DP-777 Thread

post #1 of 341
Thread Starter 
Gonna start a thread on this amazing DAC as there seems nothing much on it on Head-Fi. This is not a technical review of the DP-777 as I neither possess the ability nor the knowledge and expertise to do that, so I will basically just share what I have heard so far with this DAC. The set-up I am using is Mac Mini> ifi USB +ifi Gemini > Dp-777 > Eximus Dp-1 (headamp)> HD800. Yes, I am using the headamp section from the Eximus Dp-1, as I am waiting for the arrival of my Stratus amp. I know the Dp-1 headamp is not the optimal amp for HD800, which I thought it all the more highlights how good the Dp-777 is.

The headphone rigs which i have experienced so far include Dac- Eastern Electric minimax, Audio-Gd Master-7, Eximus Dp-1; Amplifier- Audio-gd Master 8, Decware Mini Torri; Headphones- HE-6, LCD-2.2, HD800, Mad Dogs.

The AMR DP-777 has burned in for around 350 hours and according to many feedback, this is when the music starts to stabilize, but should continue to improve until 1000 hours. If anyone is getting this DAC, I will say there is no point listening to it for the first 200 hours, as it will sound nothing like the end product. Master-7 has a pretty long burn-in time too, but I thought the change I experienced during the burn-in on the Dp-777 is even more drastic compared to the Master-7.

There are quite a number of reviews on the Dp-777 on other forums, but as wonderful as many have reported compared to many high end DACs, most of them are using this DAC on speakers set-up. However, I did read one reviewer who auditioned Lampizator Level 3,4, MSB Analog, AR dac8 and Auralic Vega and ended up choosing the Amr Dp-777 to pair with his DNA Stratus and LCD-3.

As my set-up is still far from optimal, I will just highlight a few things which I thought are outstanding from Dp-777. First is the soundstage. Some may question why will they need a DAC to further enhance the soundstage of HD800, which is already arguably the best among all the headphones? In fact, I will say it actually takes a headphone like HD800 that images so well to fully appreciate the wonderful soundstage of DP-777 and the reverse is just as true. The imaging and layering of instruments and voices produced by Hd800 has always been top-notch, but the Dp-777 simply takes it to another level. Mind you, I am not talking about creating a soundstage that is as big as possible that will definitely sound unnatural like AKG 701 at times. With the Master-7, the first thing I noticed on the Hd800 is the separation as Master 7 is able to create a wide soundstage. With the Eximus Dp-1, what stands out is the layering or depth. However, on DP-777, it is basically both and on top of that, adds in the element of height. The end result is a highly cohesive soundstage which appears so natural that, you can believe the singers and the instruments are physically there at their respective positions. One example that highlights this, is a track which I have listen to many times on the other rigs. On the other rigs, all the singers in the band are well separated from each other side by side, and I thought that is pretty impressive, but on the Dp-777, what I heard is, other than they are separated, the little girl of the band is actually standing in front of the rest and singing from a lower height!

The next strength of Dp-777 over the other DACs I owned is tonality or how natural the voices sound. When I was using Master 7,8 and HD800, I always thought music sounded very high-fi and while it sounded good, your mind would tell you it is music produced by headphones. As musical and engaging as Eximus Dp-1 sounds, it also possesses that digital edge which makes it not totally believable on HD800. The only time I thought music sounded real to me was when I used the LCD-2.2 with Master 7 and 8. Now, with the Dp-777, even on the Hd800, music sounds real again, like the person is singing in front of me, so it is really possible to make HD800 sound organic like the Audezes.

Last but not least, I can't really pinpoint which aspect of the Dp-777 causes this, but I am just happy to report how well the DAC is playing all my red book tracks which I ripped from my CDs. I am not sure if others share the same experiences, but when I was with my previous rigs, I was always browsing through my music collections to hear the tracks that are the most " well mastered" to give me the wow factor. Whenever I bought an CD album, I was always praying that the album would turn out well-mastered. This is also the reason why I ended up buying closed to 100 high resolution albums from different sources like Hdtracks, Qobuz over the last 2 years. However, since I have gotten the DP-777, I have hardly listened to any high Rez materials, which include the 12 albums I recently bought at the Qobuz sale. Yes, the high rez still sound good, but the dac has also made all my redbook tracks sound like well mastered high rez tracks. Whenever, I upgrade my audio gear, I will always try to find a track that I can use to impress my wife, and this selected track usually ended up being a holographic sounding high rez track. This time round, I am at a loss to choose the "best" track as almost all my music sound so well now. I cannot remember when was the last time I finished listening an entire album, as I had developed a bad audiophile habit of imploring the songs and would just skip the track when I didn't find the wow effect. Nowadays, I am simply suck into the music as everything is presented so naturally. I mean how can you not listen when it seems that the entire band or singer is singing in front of you. Yes, I have exaggerated here, but I think you get what I mean.

The retail price of this DAC may seems a bit high, but I think you should able to get it lower at street price. Nowadays, I have read so many people buying multiple headphones, amplifiers which far exceeds the cost of this DAC. I am not saying amplifier is not important, but I just feel that once you have found an amplifier that is more than capable, then perhaps spending the money on a DAC may yield more improvement than getting multiple amps. Just food for thoughts smily_headphones1.gif
Edited by froger - 9/16/13 at 9:29am
post #2 of 341

Nice impressions, Froger. Got any pics?

 

Your Eximus vs dp-777 soundstaging impressions have officially put this on my radar. And to think this is all from the (much less than ideal for high-impedance) dp-1 headout?! The fact that you and I share similar tastes (bye bye Master 7) have further piqued my interest. Subscribed.

 

-Daniel

 

edit: Official produt page: http://www.amr-audio.co.uk/html/dp777_individual.html


Edited by BournePerfect - 9/15/13 at 7:41pm
post #3 of 341
Thread Starter 

Sure, will try to post it later when I get home :) Yes, to me, the Eximus DP-1 is more of a side-grade to the Master-7, mainly more musical sounding and enjoyable presentation of the soundstage, but the Dp-777 is clearly better than both, especially when playing red book files. The Classic DAC portion that doesn't oversample is probably the reason, and as reported by many reviewers, it has none of the treble rolled off characteristics that many NOS DACs suffer.

post #4 of 341
Thread Starter 

The DP-777 is built like a tank, almost makes the Eximus DP-1 look like a well-made toy beside it :regular_smile :

To BournePerfect: If you read the reviews of DP-777, you will know that it is an excellent pre-amp too. Worth considering since you may venture to speakers once you get your Levi amp.

post #5 of 341
A new challenger appears!
Great review Froger. I fear this DAC is only going to complicate things for me.... I love this hobby.
post #6 of 341

Holy crap that thing looks like it would dwarf even the M7. I like!

 

-Daniel

post #7 of 341
Thread Starter 
Ha... I think it is actually quite comparable in size to the Master-7, DP-777 being shorter in depth, but higher in height. The workmanship on the other hand, is much better than the audio-gd DIY looking finish and quality.
post #8 of 341
Froger, did you get a chance to compare the DP-777 to the HEX?
post #9 of 341
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audio Jester View Post

Froger, did you get a chance to compare the DP-777 to the HEX?

 

No, I have not heard the HEX. Based on a fellow head-fier feedback who has heard both, but not side-by-side, he only mentioned he recalled the DP-777 being smoother sounding and the HEX is more dynamic. I was actually seriously considering the HEX, but in the end went with the DP-777 as there are more favourable feedback on it comparing to the higher level DACs (partly because the HEX is still very new to the scene) and on top of that, it has the pre-amp function and remote control that I want. I am pretty sure the HEX sounds really good too based on I read from all the reviews available, but if you are looking for better separation and layering of music, especially for speakers or a pair of headphone that has a great soundstage, my bet is the DP-777 could be a better choice, with some bias of course :)

post #10 of 341

Hi Froger,

 

This DAC takes a while to open up and stabilize - it seems to change a lot through the burn in process.  I lost count of how long I have burned mine in for, but it's easily over 400hrs playback - and I left it on continuously for over a month (not always playing back)

 

I find a big difference in sound comes from the DAC's output stage - to my ear there seemed to be a big difference between Solid State and Valve based units, with my preference being towards tubes.  Although the DAC I had before that was the Audio Research DAC 8 which was SS and still very nice and under appreciated, on forums at least.  

 

I never had the chance to demo the lampizator Level 4 and 777 side by side - only weeks apart.  They are both very good DAC's at a similar price point, both worth investigating.

 

Cheers,

 

gav.

post #11 of 341
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gavtorn View Post
 

Hi Froger,

 

This DAC takes a while to open up and stabilize - it seems to change a lot through the burn in process.  I lost count of how long I have burned mine in for, but it's easily over 400hrs playback - and I left it on continuously for over a month (not always playing back)

 

I find a big difference in sound comes from the DAC's output stage - to my ear there seemed to be a big difference between Solid State and Valve based units, with my preference being towards tubes.  Although the DAC I had before that was the Audio Research DAC 8 which was SS and still very nice and under appreciated, on forums at least.  

 

I never had the chance to demo the lampizator Level 4 and 777 side by side - only weeks apart.  They are both very good DAC's at a similar price point, both worth investigating.

 

Cheers,

 

gav.

I see... Yes, I bet Lampizator Level 4 is great sounding too, but I thought it could be a bit too tubey to pair with the Stratus in my case and yours of course. I agree, the DAC continues to amaze me towards the 500 hours mark :)


Edited by froger - 9/17/13 at 11:28pm
post #12 of 341

Glad you're enjoying the DP-777.

 

I previously owned the AMR CD-77 which is the one-box version of the DP-777 DAC with a transport.  About a year back I did a comparison here on Head Fi of the CD-77 with several high-end DACs and it held its own against some very well rated competition.  In its favor was the impressive physical presence and visual bling,  it had a very neutral presentation and great detail.  My drawbacks were its somewhat unreliable USB input (had to have it sent back to AMR for repairs twice), and in two channel set-up, it's soundstaging was acceptable, but was blown away by two units, albeit ones which would be more expensive than the DP-777 (but not the CD-77).

 

AMR deserves to get some good press and the DAC stage in the DP-777 is well worth listening to if you get the opportunity.

post #13 of 341
Quote:
Originally Posted by froger View Post
 

I see... Yes, I bet Lampizator Level 4 is great sounding too, but I thought it could be a bit too tubey to pair with the Stratus in my case and yours of course. I agree, the DAC continues to amaze me towards the 500 hours mark :)

 

Wow you have the stratus as well!  AMR + Stratus is quite the combo.  Unfortunately I don't like the hd800 with it, but not a fan of the hd800 in general.  

 
If you're using the AMR with USB input make sure you work on your PC setup as well, as with such a nice DAC + amp you will hear the difference.
post #14 of 341
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smeckles View Post
 

Glad you're enjoying the DP-777.

 

I previously owned the AMR CD-77 which is the one-box version of the DP-777 DAC with a transport.  About a year back I did a comparison here on Head Fi of the CD-77 with several high-end DACs and it held its own against some very well rated competition.  In its favor was the impressive physical presence and visual bling,  it had a very neutral presentation and great detail.  My drawbacks were its somewhat unreliable USB input (had to have it sent back to AMR for repairs twice), and in two channel set-up, it's soundstaging was acceptable, but was blown away by two units, albeit ones which would be more expensive than the DP-777 (but not the CD-77).

 

AMR deserves to get some good press and the DAC stage in the DP-777 is well worth listening to if you get the opportunity.

 

I have read that the AMR CD-77 is meant to be better than the AMR DP-777.  What units did you like more than the CD-77?

post #15 of 341
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gavtorn View Post

Wow you have the stratus as well!  AMR + Stratus is quite the combo.  Unfortunately I don't like the hd800 with it, but not a fan of the hd800 in general.  
 
If you're using the AMR with USB input make sure you work on your PC setup as well, as with such a nice DAC + amp you will hear the difference.
The Stratus is coming in a couple of months' time according to Donald's estimation. Are you using the set-up primarily with LCD-3 now? What tubes are you using for the Stratus? I hope I am getting good enough results from Ifi USB and Gemini cable, that combi is recommended by some reviewers.
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