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
Edited by froger - 9/16/13 at 9:29am