Hey guys, I just wanted to update on how my system is setup with the the Herus now.
I would say all components work together in a nice synergy, but I was shocked by the effect of the interconnect. A few pages back, I was asking about the interconnect between the Herus and an amp while I was waiting for the amp to arrive.
I had never really believed that a cable would make much difference assuming proper and quality construction. I had read a lot that even people who admit to hearing a difference that it was usually subtle, but in my case, the difference was significant, quite literally as significant as the difference between choice of headphone. The interconnect I bought is the Stager Silver Solid ( http://stagersound.com/silver/), though I had to custom order it for the 1/4 inch out from the Herus. Marc, the owner, was great in that he didn't charge me any extra fee for this. I did receive the cable last week, but there was actually an intermittent short with the right channel, so I had to send it back to be fixed. Anyway, I am using a Pangea standard USB (not silver) cable from the PC to Herus, and then the amp is the iFi iCAN micro.
My Shure 535 sounds sufficiently good from the Herus alone, but this interconnect + amp takes it to a seriously different level, particularly with separation in treble. It is so clear now, even with the crappy quality recordings I listen to, which is to say, not a crappy MP3 per se, but the style I listen to the most is based largely on a sample from a 60s funk song that is sampled and sped up, so the treble on the hi-hats and cymbals is always noisy. And it just gives me so much headroom to EQ it the way that I want to, which means a serious increase to sub-bass (50 Hz and below). There is a bass switch on the amp itself, which helps, as that allows me to lower the EQ in J River. This setup in its current state allows me to make the Shure 535 almost as bassy as I want while also making some other cuts here and there to make it completely fatigue free.
I also bought a JVC HA-SZ2000 last week (which have been proved to have the best bass output of practically any other headphone), though they have been difficult to listen to for longer than 45 minutes or so due to fatigue from overly warm mids and noisy treble. I just got the interconnect back today, and it has immediately changed the sound of these JVCs to be pleasant to listen to and gives a bit more control to the bass.
I am very happy with the total system as it is now, but I plan to buy a planar or the Fostex TH-900 after recovering from all of these purchases over the last few weeks and the wife starts to forget about it. I may sell sell the Shure to help pay for the Fostex, but I don't know about that yet.
Anyway, as MikeyFresh was explaining to me, the Herus is capable of resolving differences in cables as he worded it. I would just like to repeat, the difference in the interconnect was SIGNIFICANT, just as significant as going from a 10-dollar earbud to some 300-500 phone. The change from a standard USB to the Pangea was not. It was very subtle, and I am inclined to believe it doesn't have much to do with better digital signals per se as having a better power lead to the Herus as the thing I noticed most about the change in USB cables was just a bit more bass.
Regarding the Herus, just to summarize what I think I said before in this thread, I started looking for a USB small form factor DAC back around February, and I tried the Dragonfly 1.0, Audioengine D3, the iFi DSD Nano, and then the Herus. After all that, I kept the Herus and returned everything else.
Here are some pics of the stuff and the interconnect.