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post #61 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew_WOT View Post
 


I am pretty sure it was mentioned already and if not, everyone was thinking about it. :D

Sounds like right now it boils down to:

- Anedio D2 (no DSD, specific treble hot signature, not sure about USB input quality)

- M51 (too big, no DSD, USB is not the best)

- Linx Hilo (only DSD64, not sure about USB quality, useless for most ADC but you pay for it)

- Yulong DA8 (full DSD/DXD support, stellar USB, preamp function, not too shabby integrated amp. Comparison review with Hilo are mixed, some state that SQ difference virtually non existent, some greatly favor Hilo. Even if HIlo sounds like 5% better, DA8 is almost half of the Hilo price)

 

For now I ended up with Yulong but keep eying Hilo as a possible step up.

The thing I love about the Hilo is NEUTRALITY.  It is not cold, clinical, agressive, ruthlessly revealing, unforgiving, nor is it warm, forgiving, tubey, golden, or any of that. The sound lacks grain, and instrumental timbres are right. I am not comparing it to the others mentioned -- I've not heard them -- but it's the best DAC I've owned (though not the most expensive) in 25 years of listening to digital. If you are interested in classical -- or other unamplified -- music and a frequent concertgoer, as I am, and your ears are anything like mine, its neutrality will be apparent. I find it like drinking from a clear mountain lake.

 

Prices: Yulong, $1300 on Amazon; Hilo, $1850 Head-Fi price.

 

The Hilo's headphone amp has, I believe, a 0.08-ohm output impedence, so it should not be affected by impedence of the phones you choose.

 

But, in the end, DACs are really a matter of taste, and features do vary between the DA8 and the Hilo. So maybe you can try some before you decide?

 

Good luck!

post #62 of 67

I put all of that what you just wrote as transparent. That sense of listening to nothing but the music itself. That is subjective to some degree as well. Some persons transparent might be some other persons slightly warm or cold.

I've heard too much gear being described as neutral that was on the clinical/digital/thinner and colder side of things to me that the term. The term neutrality is given out too lightly.

We are just starting to figure out what neutral means in regard to headphones and that concept will continue to evolve a bit further.

post #63 of 67

Transparent isn't a subjective term. It's an objective, measurable attribute.

 

You can see right through something transparent. You cannot see it's there. So transparent audio conversion means you cannot tell the signal has been through an ADC > DAC loop. The input sounds exactly the same as the output. Transparent.

 

Here are some samples for you to listen to from a mid level audio interface. MOTU 828. Since it has 10 channels in and 12 channels out it's possible to loop a stereo signal 5 times.. You might expect that the difference the first time round would be quite small and hard to hear. After 5 times? Surely that's easy? Right?.

 

Have a go. See how you get on.

 

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/low-end-theory/564195-how-bad-motu-828-mkii-audio-conversion-lets-find-out.html

 

 

I did the same with my $500, 4 year old Ultralite when I first got it.  Same result, just cba to post the samples. Respect to prontold.

post #64 of 67

No reason to buy the Yulong at Amazon when you can buy it from Grant Fidelity (Authorized North American reseller) right now for $1199.00

 

 

Quote:

 

 

Originally Posted by Mike-48 View Post
 

 

 

Prices: Yulong, $1300 on Amazon; Hilo, $1850 Head-Fi price.

 

 

post #65 of 67
There is a DAC comparison developing with Gary in MD. It would be nice if someone would volunteer a DA8 in the mix.
post #66 of 67

t looks like bench racing, but based on my reading of it, the performance is really close and can tip the scale one way or another based on sonic preferences alone, while feature wise D8 could be a better package as a whole

hDDnd7

post #67 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweden View Post
 

I put all of that what you just wrote as transparent. That sense of listening to nothing but the music itself. That is subjective to some degree as well. Some persons transparent might be some other persons slightly warm or cold.

I've heard too much gear being described as neutral that was on the clinical/digital/thinner and colder side of things to me that the term. The term neutrality is given out too lightly.

We are just starting to figure out what neutral means in regard to headphones and that concept will continue to evolve a bit further.


I agree: sometimes "neutrality" is used to mean "cold" or "analytical."  To my ears, the Hilo is not that way; it doesn't sound too cold or too warm, and when I listen to a piano (e.g.) all the notes seem to come from the same instrument; none jump out; and timbre doesn't change unexpectedly. That is based on listening with a couple of pairs of phones and through decent speakers (Revel Ultima Studio) to mostly classical and jazz recordings. Also based on a lifetime (50 yr) of listening to such music live.

 

I agree that terminology means different things to different people. To me, "transparency" is more about distortion and noise, but clearly too much midbass could also make something sound non-transparent, which is probably how people began to think that cold sound was neutral. I appreciate your comments, and I agree that figuring out what is neutral in a pair of phones is difficult. Given that each listener's head is different, it may be impossible.

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