Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › December 2013 Mid-Level DAC Comparison
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

December 2013 Mid-Level DAC Comparison - Page 77  

post #1141 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by kothganesh View Post


So that's what it is. Thanks Barry. What would you recommend as an amp to achieve that "warmer, thicker" sound?


The GSX-mk2 is the first amp that comes to mind, but it's $2800.  It's very neutral, the sound has body, and it has a good soundstage. I'm searching for something with the same signature and close in quality for half the price. I have some hopes for the Schiit Ragnarok and the Oppo HA-1 (DAC included!) but who knows? The Master 9 and Soloist are on my list of candidates. I should get a chance to hear a WA22 at the DC meet--if it delivers the clean non-fuzzball sound promised--it might be a good choice. I listened to Gary's TBI Millenia and it's not my taste, but if you want a warm, thick solid-state sound, it's worth trying. Gary's Odyssey Cyclops is pretty good, but it's huge and will take out a power grid.

 

I think there are some decent low cost amps that sound good, but they all fail to deliver the big soundstage good equipment deserves.

post #1142 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry S View Post
 


The GSX-mk2 is the first amp that comes to mind, but it's $2800.  It's very neutral, the sound has body, and it has a good soundstage. I'm searching for something with the same signature and close in quality for half the price. I have some hopes for the Schiit Ragnarok and the Oppo HA-1 (DAC included!) but who knows? The Master 9 and Soloist are on my list of candidates. I should get a chance to hear a WA22 at the DC meet--if it delivers the clean non-fuzzball sound promised--it might be a good choice. I listened to Gary's TBI Millenia and it's not my taste, but if you want a warm, thick solid-state sound, it's worth trying. Gary's Odyssey Cyclops is pretty good, but it's huge and will take out a power grid.

 

I think there are some decent low cost amps that sound good, but they all fail to deliver the big soundstage good equipment deserves.

 

Wait for Greed's feedback on the Master-9 pretty soon.

He told me it compares well to the GSX :beerchug:

post #1143 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post
 

 

Wait for Greed's feedback on the Master-9 pretty soon.

He told me it compares well to the GSX :beerchug:

 

 

Looking forward to his feedback! I was also looking at the GSX too and the Master-9 as well. The Questyle CMA800R also seems pretty interesting, though the talk about it could all be FOTM syndrome. The Ragnarok looks promising but I think it'll be best to wait for the dust to settle before jumping on a new SS amp. Might have to wait until we're past the Ragnarok FOTM period as well.

 

One nice thing about the GSX, Master-9, and Ragnarok is that they have built in fully balanced designs. Whereas the CMA800R needs 2 amps, one amp for each channel in order to be fully balanced. The redeeming factor is the CMA800R can be bought for $1000 if you look in certain places.

post #1144 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post
 

 

Wait for Greed's feedback on the Master-9 pretty soon.

He told me it compares well to the GSX :beerchug:

 

I've seen some hints from Greed along those lines, but he needs to spill the beans!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EraserXIV View Post
 

 

Looking forward to his feedback! I was also looking at the GSX too and the Master-9 as well. The Questyle CMA800R also seems pretty interesting, though the talk about it could all be FOTM syndrome. The Ragnarok looks promising but I think it'll be best to wait for the dust to settle before jumping on a new SS amp. Might have to wait until we're past the Ragnarok FOTM period as well.

 

One nice thing about the GSX, Master-9, and Ragnarok is that they have built in fully balanced designs. Whereas the CMA800R needs 2 amps, one amp for each channel in order to be fully balanced. The redeeming factor is the CMA800R can be bought for $1000 if you look in certain places.

 

Nothing wrong with FOTM as long as it still tastes good the next month. :wink_face:

post #1145 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry S View Post
 


The GSX-mk2 is the first amp that comes to mind, but it's $2800.  It's very neutral, the sound has body, and it has a good soundstage. I'm searching for something with the same signature and close in quality for half the price. I have some hopes for the Schiit Ragnarok and the Oppo HA-1 (DAC included!) but who knows? The Master 9 and Soloist are on my list of candidates. I should get a chance to hear a WA22 at the DC meet--if it delivers the clean non-fuzzball sound promised--it might be a good choice. I listened to Gary's TBI Millenia and it's not my taste, but if you want a warm, thick solid-state sound, it's worth trying. Gary's Odyssey Cyclops is pretty good, but it's huge and will take out a power grid.

 

I think there are some decent low cost amps that sound good, but they all fail to deliver the big soundstage good equipment deserves.

About WA22, clean sound = yes.  Fuzzball = nope unless you have bad tubes.  Be prepare to roll at least $500 into upgraded tubes to get somewhat optimal sound from the WA22.  Now you are looking at $2500.  Built like a tank and gorgeous to look at from any angle.

I love the WA22 very much but it can't drive my HE500 with enough power though the combo still sounds good.  For HD800, the WA22 is absolutely wonderful.

post #1146 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by cizx View Post
not yet, so you should go ahead and feel free to chip in and make one!

I would do it, but English isn't my mother tongue, so I don't understand which are the DACs Gary tried and which ones he wanted to try but then he has not tested...

post #1147 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by EraserXIV View Post

Looking forward to his feedback! I was also looking at the GSX too and the Master-9 as well. The Questyle CMA800R also seems pretty interesting, though the talk about it could all be FOTM syndrome. The Ragnarok looks promising but I think it'll be best to wait for the dust to settle before jumping on a new SS amp. Might have to wait until we're past the Ragnarok FOTM period as well.

One nice thing about the GSX, Master-9, and Ragnarok is that they have built in fully balanced designs. Whereas the CMA800R needs 2 amps, one amp for each channel in order to be fully balanced. The redeeming factor is the CMA800R can be bought for $1000 if you look in certain places.

Then I would call the CMA800R bridged, not balanced!
post #1148 of 1331

I'd like to thank Gary for his great work.

As a benchmark dac 2 hgc owner i'm both happy and sad. Happy because Gary has verified what i know is true - that the dac sounds greats. I'm also sad because i paid freakin' 2000$ and apparently could have settled on a much cheaper setup with just as good sound quality.

You learn something every day :)

post #1149 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trendin View Post

I'd like to thank Gary for his great work.
As a benchmark dac 2 hgc owner i'm both happy and sad. Happy because Gary has verified what i know is true - that the dac sounds greats. I'm also sad because i paid freakin' 2000$ and apparently could have settled on a much cheaper setup with just as good sound quality.
You learn something every day smily_headphones1.gif

Then again you could have paid much more for worse quality wink.gif
post #1150 of 1331

Yeah, that's true as well :wink_face:

post #1151 of 1331
By the time Gary gets done reading that we'll all be dead of old age, so I guess that's it then... tongue.gif
post #1152 of 1331

I'm never going to get that time back...

post #1153 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by daerron View Post
 

Well if differences are so difficult distinguish on a $2000 headphone, which is reference class, then I'm finding it difficult to believe that it will make a substantial difference on other gear. I can only think of the HD800 that should be able to pick apart more differences and perhaps some custom IEMs, but then again those were designed for that purpose! It remains the first and foremost conclusion I derived from this thread that value for money should be a careful consideration when it comes to DACs.

 

What I disagree with is that you're lumping "all reference quality headphones" together - and assuming that they are all "equal" in exposing the differences in other components - and then assuming that everyone using them will be able to hear, and will be listening for, the same things; and I disagree strongly with those assumptions. Different headphones (and different speakers) have different strengths; just as we all have different preferences. I just sold my HifiMan 500's because, even though I loved the midrange and they were very clean, to ME they were too laid back; and I like my electrostatics better; the HiFiMans seem to be a much better match for the fellow I sold them to. (The HiFiMans were also much more comfortable, but I rarely listen to headphones for extended periods of time, so that was less of a priority for me.)

 

One time I compared several DACs using two different "speakers" I had hooked up at the time: my pair of Emo Stealth 8 speakers (which use AMT tweeters and are quite "analytical" sounding), and my pair of AKG 240 MKII's (which definitely aren't "reference quality", but I would still expect even a mid-fi headphone to let me hear specific differences better than a speaker). Well, not really. Differences that were obvious on the speakers were absolutely not there with the AKGs. Considering the type of differences I heard, it seemed obvious to me that they involved transients, which the Stealths handle very well (or even maybe emphasize a tiny bit), but apparently the AKG's don't do well with at all. Incidentally, I found the same differences rather obvious on my Koss Electrostatics, but barely noticeable on the HiFiMans (if I hadn't been listening specifically for them I probably wouldn't have noticed them.) I'm guessing that it would be difficult if not impossible to find any two models of "reference quality headphones" with identical frequency response graphs and waterfall plots; which means that some will indeed do a better job of pointing up certain types of differences, while others do better with other sorts of things (and, again, different of us will notice or not notice specific of those differences even if they are there).

 

Based on this, and lots of other similar experiences, I don't find it at all surprising that certain pieces of equipment emphasize (or entirely fail to differentiate) certain types of signal differences, and that certain of us either do or don't notice or place priority on certain of those differences as well. (Personally, for example, I place the highest importance on vocals, usually female vocals, but if things like wire-brush cymbals, with transients, don't sound natural - and like real metal, it annoys me and so distracts me from the vocals. Likewise, I never liked vinyl because, no matter how good the music sounds, a single tick or pop would ruin the experience for me. Now, with saxophones and other horns, I know what they should sound like, but I don't mind sacrificing a bit of that if everything else sounds very good.  Someone else may not notice the cymbals at all, or not especially care if the voice is perfect but the cymbals are a little off, or really worry about the horns and not so much about the voices.)

 

Even further, I wonder if our individual "personality type" plays a significant part in how we evaluate things like this.....

 

Do you prefer to use "super revealing" headphones that let you hear every detail - and every flaw - of the music, or do you prefer headphones that tend more to "sound good with everything"? Which would you say are "better" headphones?

 

Personally, I prefer to hear every detail - and, if the details force me to conclude that the recording sounds lousy, then I'll either stop listening to it, look for a better recording, or just accept that the warts are part of the experience. Other people obviously place greater emphasis on "the music" rather than on "the recording", and would much prefer a headphone (or speaker) that makes even poor recordings sound pretty good rather than put a spotlight on their shortcomings, even though technically it may be less accurate. Some people prefer really sharp photos, some prefer a soft focus filter, and quite a few prefer an impressionist painting.

post #1154 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by boatheelmusic View Post
 

Emo still showing $499 pricing on the  DC-1, FYI.

 

I just wanted to comment on a few things.....

 

1) Emo is quite happy with the results of Gary's review/comparison.

 

2) While the other inputs on the DC-1 have galvanic isolation, the USB input does not - which is why you might hear a tiny bit of noise there - with certain few computers and under some grounding conditions. (Even though you probably won't hear it with anything except very sensitive IEMs.) Any decent USB ground isolator should eliminate it entirely.

 

3) Since everybody seems to be happy about the sale price, Emo has decided to make it the "regular price" for the DC-1;

at least until further notice  ($499)  :beerchug: 


Edited by kLevkoff - 1/7/14 at 7:25am
post #1155 of 1331
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components
This thread is locked  
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › December 2013 Mid-Level DAC Comparison