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Fostex HP-A4 - Page 9

post #121 of 231

My A4 just landed today from Moon Audio.  I have it running in now with my LCD-2s.  I'm running it from my Windows 8 desktop with the nice white USB cable provided, and I am using the Fostex software player (don't have anything but iTunes setup on this machine).  I haven't had a 'real' headphone setup in a long time, so I can't give any valid impressions of sonics or how well it drives the LCD-2.  Drew at Moon Audio said that it drives the LCD-2 well though.

 

It is well made, and yes, it took a while to find the Windows USB driver, since it's not on the A4 page. No hiccups here. Sound is smooth and rich through the headphones, and even through my Acoustic Energy Speakers I use.

 

The software player has a cool Fostex look to it, not a lot of functionality though.  I think I heard a difference when I used the player, but I haven't done any comparisons to iTunes yet.   Has anybody dones any player comparisons between the Fostex player and other contenders?

 

I have a Macbook Pro, and I will probably try that out as well. 

post #122 of 231

My impression of the A3 (my office desk amp) was always that they spent the most money on the AK DAC chip, it is very similar to the A8 AK chip (only very tiny differences in performance ratings). However, I can tell that the A3 amp section is a little weak, not that I can't get the volume, but I can tell that the sound is more richly filled out across the spectrum at lower volumes than at higher volumes, and that's certainly a power issue. Of course, they wouldn't put a powerful amp in the A3 or A4 since it is USB-driven in any case, so maybe that is what it all boils down to in the end. Anyways, I love the DAC side of the A3, I think I'll get a tube amp and use the A3 just for DAC duty if I decide to power up more.

 

Still, would love to hear a more direct comparison between the A3 and A4, if anyone has an A4 in the Tokyo area, send me a message so that we can get together and put this to rest!

post #123 of 231

I decided to return my HP-A4. To be honest, the main reason is the size - it's too small for my taste :)

post #124 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundwave76 View Post
 

I decided to return my HP-A4. To be honest, the main reason is the size - it's too small for my taste :)

 

Sounds like a future A8-owner ;-)

The big brother is exactly that: big. And heavy. In a very reassuring way, i.e. massive toroidal power transformer, heavy enclosure...

post #125 of 231

After a good 24 hours of burn in the A4 is starting to shine.  Just spent a couple of hours with it and my LCD-2s listening to U2's Joshua Tree (which I haven't sat and listened to for 25 years!). What an amazing experience!  When I first connected the A4 I thought it was having a hard time driving the LCD-2s, but now after it's had time to flex it's muscles I think it's driving them quite well.   It's very high energy, very transparent, detailed, controlled and some great bass.  Still using the Fostex software player and hi-rez and redbook Flac files.


Edited by tuckers - 2/20/14 at 2:31pm
post #126 of 231

Here's a pic.

 

post #127 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHern View Post
 

My impression of the A3 (my office desk amp) was always that they spent the most money on the AK DAC chip, it is very similar to the A8 AK chip (only very tiny differences in performance ratings). However, I can tell that the A3 amp section is a little weak, not that I can't get the volume, but I can tell that the sound is more richly filled out across the spectrum at lower volumes than at higher volumes, and that's certainly a power issue. Of course, they wouldn't put a powerful amp in the A3 or A4 since it is USB-driven in any case, so maybe that is what it all boils down to in the end. Anyways, I love the DAC side of the A3, I think I'll get a tube amp and use the A3 just for DAC duty if I decide to power up more.

 

Just to follow up, I picked up a decent RCA cable and now plugging my HP-A3 into many other sound systems as a DAC-only. The same basic characteristics come through in all cases, the sound signature of the AK chip is unmistakable. Basically this DAC rounds out music across the spectrum, makes different components sound more elastic, resonant, and rich, and it is just a very nice effect. Like turning a cheap plastic viola into a resonant full-sounding instrument. Even the very HF is polished and rounded, pushing on the edges of sibilance in some cases, at least relative to other DACs, but not completely to the point of annoying sibilance. The LF end is tightened and bouncy, like a big rubber ball. It makes my mouth water, like you can chew on it. Yummy!

 

Now so curious about the A4 DAC that I'm going to run out and buy one just to satisfy my curiousity. This is all quite fascinating, and clearly the DAC is extremely important.

post #128 of 231

Just compared my Fostex HP-A4 to the Teac UD-501 today.

(Using the ATH-A900X, ATH-ES10 and ATH-ESW11LTD)

 

Both sounded similar if not the same to me. (Burr Brown DACs?)

 

Was quite tired when I compared them (fell asleep testing halfway) so I dare not confirm my above statement.

 

Will go down and try again another time.

post #129 of 231

Well my new HP-A4 and TH900 are on there way from Moon Audio, can not wait to get home and try them out.

post #130 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by OddJobs View Post
 

Well my new HP-A4 and TH900 are on there way from Moon Audio, can not wait to get home and try them out.

 

So any update on this combo? I'm thinking of getting an A4 to use in bed w/ Surface Pro for TH900... 

post #131 of 231

I think the A4 is well worth its price though I preferred the A8 when using the TH900. Keeping budget in mind the A4 is in my opinion the smarter choice though.

post #132 of 231

Hey guys, any thoughts on how this would pair with TH600s yet? Or TH900s for similar comparison?

I'm moving overseas in a few months and will be selling my M-Stage but hopefully taking my TH600s with me, then purchase a new Dac/Amp once settled over there.

 

Some have said the A4 is not great in terms of power and you'd still need a dedicated amp, how true is this?

An all in one solution sounds good to me (although some people swear it never works)... would the Woo Audio WA-7 be a better option though ? More $ but I've heard its a sublime combo with the Fostex headphones. Very pretty too.

I'll probably keep my Audioengine D1 which I quite like as a nice compact good quality DAC but if the A4 or WA7 can work well as Dac/Amp combo and that's all I need then that's the way I'd prefer to go.

post #133 of 231

I like the A4/TH600 combination better than A4/TH900: the TH600 seems to be a bit more linear and pairs well with the A4, which, in my opinion, has a tad stronger bass than the A8. Which, in turn, I prefer feeding the TH900.

 

Power? More than enough for the TH600, even on low gain it would kick my eardrums much more than I'm willing to tolerate when going beyond 12 o'clock. I'd say the TH600 is driven quite well by the A4, I see no need for an additional amp.

 

Can't comment on the WA-7 as I've never heard it. Definitely a nice looking piece of gear.

post #134 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by plakat View Post
 

I like the A4/TH600 combination better than A4/TH900: the TH600 seems to be a bit more linear and pairs well with the A4, which, in my opinion, has a tad stronger bass than the A8. Which, in turn, I prefer feeding the TH900.

 

Power? More than enough for the TH600, even on low gain it would kick my eardrums much more than I'm willing to tolerate when going beyond 12 o'clock. I'd say the TH600 is driven quite well by the A4, I see no need for an additional amp.

 

Can't comment on the WA-7 as I've never heard it. Definitely a nice looking piece of gear.

Cool, thanks Plakat.

Good to know power is sufficient and its a nice sounding combo.

The HP-A4 wins in price and portability over the WA7 but its still a tough choice, I've been wanting to try a tube amp for ages.

With the price different though it would help me fund a pair of Sig Pros or DJs which I've been wanting to try for ages. Be a nice office and travel option when I need isolation.

post #135 of 231

I would go for the A4 and spend the difference on some interesting headphones... especially since the TH600 is not exactly the optimal headphone for on the go ;-)

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