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$999 Calyx M with DXD + DSD, 64GB + SD + µSD storage - Page 298

post #4456 of 4464

So quick impressions between Calyx M compared to Calyx DAC 24/192 into external amp Burson Soloist.

M was playing as stand alone, minimum gain and using an Audioquest 1/8" to RCA adapter, Soloist in Medium gain. DAC 24/192 fed by USB using Schiit Wyrd, Soloist in Low gain. RCA cables are the same. Used Audeze LCD-3F for this comparison.

 

M sounds more forward in your face, a tiny little bit dynamic restrained. Detailed and high resolution, very good. DAC 24/192 sounds more open, a lot more relaxed and laid back, comfortable and not breaking a sweat. I preferred the DAC 24/192 for use with an external amp.


Edited by Matias - 10/23/14 at 4:41pm
post #4457 of 4464
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matias View Post
 

So quick impressions between Calyx M compared to Calyx DAC 24/192 into external amp Burson Soloist.

M was playing as stand alone, minimum gain and using an Audioquest 1/8" to RCA adapter, 

 

If M were used as a source, the "impedance setting" should be high. Especially if you control volume at an amp, low will limit M's highest volume = voltage swing. Also low impedance setting is not required because input impedance of an amp is well high. Also try the same psu with M if your time allows.

IMO the difference between DAP mode and USB DAC mode comes from upsampling feature of the player software of the computer (if a good external power is provided). It took some labor to find an optimal setting of Audirvana for me. 


Edited by gracky - 10/23/14 at 5:44pm
post #4458 of 4464

If any of you were considering going to the upcoming San Diego Head-Fi meet:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/733292/3rd-annual-san-diego-head-fi-meet-saturday-november-1st-2014#post_10853944

 

I wanted to let you know one of the vendors, WyWires will be using the Calyx M with their headphone cabling so it would be a great opportunity to get to hear the M with an excellent set up.  We had hoped to have one at our upcoming ChiUniFi 8.5 but the delivery person can't make it as a conflict came up.  :(

post #4459 of 4464
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matias View Post
 

So quick impressions between Calyx M compared to Calyx DAC 24/192 into external amp Burson Soloist.

M was playing as stand alone, minimum gain and using an Audioquest 1/8" to RCA adapter, Soloist in Medium gain. DAC 24/192 fed by USB using Schiit Wyrd, Soloist in Low gain. RCA cables are the same. Used Audeze LCD-3F for this comparison.

 

M sounds more forward in your face, a tiny little bit dynamic restrained. Detailed and high resolution, very good. DAC 24/192 sounds more open, a lot more relaxed and laid back, comfortable and not breaking a sweat. I preferred the DAC 24/192 for use with an external amp.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gracky View Post
 

 

If M were used as a source, the "impedance setting" should be high. Especially if you control volume at an amp, low will limit M's highest volume = voltage swing. Also low impedance setting is not required because input impedance of an amp is well high. Also try the same psu with M if your time allows.

IMO the difference between DAP mode and USB DAC mode comes from upsampling feature of the player software of the computer (if a good external power is provided). It took some labor to find an optimal setting of Audirvana for me. 

 

Absolutely. M must be on high gain and full volume to be used as a USB DAC. That brings out its full dynamic range and detail. (Which is why BTW I am getting pretty good results re-amping the M through the GS-X mk2 into the Lab 1.)

 

I am interested in this comparison, Matias, so I hope that you can do it again with the M in USB DAC mode (full 1.2 Vrms output). 

post #4460 of 4464

Unfortunately, my M is already back at the store to be shipped to the supplier because of the 'gluing-problem'. The lower right corner of the decoration as well as of the glass lifted and there was an audible 'pop' after touching the screen for navigation. My dealer's demo model shows a similar situation which I didn't notice while I was testing the player two days ago.

 

Production date of both players show May, 2014. Does anyone have a newer model or does anyone know which models where for domestic selling and from what date the units where used for exportation (as I bought mine in Switzerland)?

 

Looking forward to getting a replacement unit soon.

post #4461 of 4464
Quote:
Originally Posted by cooperpwc View Post

 

I am interested in this comparison, Matias, so I hope that you can do it again with the M in USB DAC mode (full 1.2 Vrms output). 

 

Sure, I will redo the test with high gain setting this weekend whenever I have some time again.

post #4462 of 4464

I'd like to add some notes about using the M as a source. 

1) If you used the M at the max volume, you'd have no more problem than other source components. But I think it would be worth to try M's volume with your amp's volume at the max. I think M's internal volume is very good. (Maybe it's Sabre Dac's internal volume, then it is very well implemented. I heard that the volume has many tricky issues in getting a proper performance.) As I said in another post, in my experiences M's volume is better than HP100's volume that is the Alps blue velvet. But using M's volume, probably you'll have more difficulty in keeping the noise floor of the whole rig sufficiently low. Unconventional grounding might be required (as the case of mine).

 

2) USB DAC mode vs DAP mode. Usually this comparison won't be in the same condition. The USB DAC mode will work only with the power from the USB line, while the DAP mode works with the battery or an external power. I think it is necessary to infuse a good external power into the USB line to compare the USB DAC mode and the DAP mode properly. And such an external PSU is in its turn beneficial to the sound. With the same power, and if you set up your computer well, I believe the USB DAC mode is better, especially upsampled to the max freq. with softwares such as Audirvana. (BTW, the filter settings of Audirvana is also worth to look at).

 

3) As put in my sig, I'm using M as a pre/dac into a power amp driving speakers. In this setup, eliminating hum or buzz and getting the sufficiently low noise floor was more tricky than with the HP100 i.e. a headphone amp. In fact, right now the hum is eliminated only in the USB DAC mode, and I get hum yet in the DAP mode running the M with its battery. So I think in the USB mode the ground of the rig is different to one in the DAP mode. Maybe the internal ground of the computer helps (but I've cut all the ground of every device in the rig, except one connected to the M's analog output and shield of the Y cable and the ground of the USB connection is also broken), or maybe the internal ground of the M works differently in different modes. But with my experiences I believe it would be easier to achieve lower noise floor in the USB DAC mode (with a proper external PSU). But of course this issue will also  depend on what amp you use.

 

I hope this helps some of you.


Edited by gracky - Today at 4:22 am
post #4463 of 4464
Quote:
Originally Posted by gracky View Post
 

I'd like to add some notes about using the M as a source. 

1) If you used the M at the max volume, you'd have no more problem than other source components. But I think it would be worth to try M's volume with your amp's volume at the max. I think M's internal volume is very good. (Maybe it's Sabre Dac's internal volume, than it is very well implemented. I heard that the volume has many tricky issues in getting a proper performance.) As I said in another post, in my experiences M's volume is better than HP100's volume that is the Alps blue velvet. But using M's volume, probably you'll have more difficulty in keeping the noise floor of the whole rig sufficiently low. Unconventional grounding might be required (as the case of mine).

 

2) USB DAC mode vs DAP mode. Usually this comparison won't be in the same condition. The USB DAC mode will work only with the power from the USB line, while the DAP mode works with the battery or an external power. I think it is necessary to infuse a good external power into the USB line to compare the USB DAC mode and the DAP mode properly. And such an external PSU is in its turn beneficial to the sound. With the same power, and if you set up your computer well, I believe the USB DAC mode is better, especially upsampled to the max freq. with softwares such as Audirvana. (BTW, the filter settings of Audirvana is also worth to look at).

 

3) As put in my sig, I'm using M as a pre/dac into a power amp driving speakers. In this setup, eliminating hum or buzz and getting the sufficiently low noise floor was more tricky than with the HP100 i.e. a headphone amp. In fact, right now the hum is eliminated only in the USB DAC mode, and I get hum yet in the DAP mode running the M with its battery. So I think in the USB mode the ground of the rig is different to one in the DAP mode. Maybe the internal ground of the computer helps (but I've cut all the ground of every device in the rig, except one connected to the M's analog output and shield of the Y cable and the ground of the USB connection is also broken), or maybe the internal ground of the M works differently in different modes. But with my experiences I believe it would be easier to achieve lower noise floor in the USB DAC mode (with a proper external PSU). But of course this issue will also  depend on what amp you use.

 

I hope this helps some of you.

 

Of course you can try anything but I do not really agree with this reasoning. A theoretically better volume control is not the highest priority IMO. Rather you get the best dynamic range for USB DAC usage by maximising the M's Vrms output.

 

Good comments!

post #4464 of 4464

Some thoughts on the M as a USB DAC...

 

It is pretty good actually. I highly recommend using the Schiit Wyrd as power supply, isolator and reclocker. But then I recommend that you use it with all USB DACs. Across the board it improved performance with every one of the DACs that I compared the M to. It actually brought one of my DACs, USB Monica, back to life and has changed my listening habits accordingly.

 

My earlier impressions of the M as USB DAC were that it did not resolve enough for the GS-X mk2 and HD800 - which is tough company to please. No doubt Wyrd helped but I also was affected before by coming direct from the 2006 MicroDAC which is a detail monster. On revisit (and with Wyrd), I would say that the M does a good job if you relax and focus on what it does well. The M is has a lush sound with nice layering in the soundstage. It is remarkably organic given its sabre roots. In other words, its performance as a USB DAC greatly parallels its sound signature as a DAP. Once I put Wyrd in the chain, I found that it outperformed the UD120 handily - and that DAC (with Wyrd) is already pretty good. The M is both cleaner and smoother. They are both a bit dark and the M simply performs better for that sound signature.

 

Compared to the MicroDAC, it is really apples and oranges. The microDAC is technically a very proficient dynamics and detail monster. But I do not find the sound signature very compelling. The M sounds more organic with richer vocals. the MicroDAC's bass is tighter but the bass of the M is more satisfying. I choose the M.

 

Then, having retired it because I thought that it could not keep up with detail requirements of the GS-X mk2, I pulled out USB Monica to throw her into the comparison (and also check if Wyrd would help). USB Monica is a NOS DAC from DIYParadise based on the old Philips TDA1545 chip. I have one of the rare turnkey versions; it is mostly sold as a DAC board for completion by the user. One word: Wow. With Wyrd in the chain, the girl has come back to life. The qualities that I used to enjoy wth my EMP - a rich organic tone with lifelike vocals and a certain je ne sais quois magic - are back. This is what people are waiting for with Ygyy and my wait has suddenly become a whole lot easier.

 

What I can say in favor of the M is that it came closest amongst my small selection of DACs to meeting that organic feel. But USB Monica has more magic. The M has good ambience and USB Monica takes that a fair bit further

 

(I did not test the X5 directly for the comparison. I have used it before and it is a pretty good USB DAC. I suppose that I should pull it out at some point.)

 

So I think that the Calyx M is a good USB DAC with a nice smooth sound and decent layering in the soundstage that I find attractive. It is not extreme on detail or dynamics (better on the former than the latter) but very clean and smooth sounding. It is definitely worth trying in your rig.

 

One last thought: Since I use the M as my preferred DAP, the constant plugging and unplugging is a negative for USB DAC use. I also have some concerns about whether one is constantly charging and discharging the M battery while in USB DAC mode. I do not know but unless clarified, that has the potential to diminish its already challeged battery life. In the circumstances, I prefer to keep its battery strong for DAP use where I find it to be quite fantastic. 

 

(Did I mention that you should buy the Schiit Wyrd for your USB DAC? Whatever you are using...)


Edited by cooperpwc - Today at 4:22 am
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