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December 2013 Mid-Level DAC Comparison - Page 47  

post #691 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by olor1n View Post
 

Gary, I'm curious if you perceived a difference between the NAD M51 and Gungnir. I had both side by side for a few weeks and I also took great care to volume match. The difference between both dacs were evident through the LCD-2 rev.2, but more so with the HD800.


The NAD and Gungnir were never directly compared, but the NAD sounded like the other "Indistinguishables" which sounded like the Gungnir.

post #692 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

 

In fact, I rapidly concluded that I've enjoyed very little bang for my buck having "upgrading" from the DACmini CX to the Concero.  It's "better" in that the very slight etch of the DACmini CX treble is not present in the Concero, but that's about it for differences I can detect - with my ears, my gear. And I can't really hear any difference between the Concero's filter options. I've spent hours, across several occasions, trying to detect differences between no up-sampling, IIR up-sampling, and Apodizing up-sampling - all to no avail.  And you quickly reached the same conclusion, there.  I tried to drink the Kool-Aid that other Concero owners must have had, but I've decided that the few times I "thought" I heard differences between these filters were more imagined (out of simple desire) than genuinely experienced.  I have no doubt that technically, there is indeed a difference, but with my ears and my gear, I'm not getting any benefit from these options.

 

Well, also happy to hear that I didn't waste my money on the Concero. I certainly like its portability and I am enjoying annoying Hi-Fi store owners as I bring my portable MBA and DAC rig along when auditioning speakers. It does take another factor out of the equation when trying to do speaker comparisons, but store owners aren't too fond of hearing a tiny USB powered box keeping up with the big budget DACs with expensive power cords. ;)

 

Kool aid is powerful stuff! :D The difference in filters for me with Concero is very very subtle and most of the time I hear no difference at all. Also find it responding differently depending on source material, though I definitely like the IIR up sampling filter with more etchy source material. There is a definite technical difference in the way these filters function, so they certainly aren't wasted, whether its audible is a different matter.

 

Thanks for this great thread so far. Feeling more encouraged to spend more money on my vinyl rig..... Gotta run now! :D 


Edited by daerron - 12/27/13 at 2:13pm
post #693 of 1331
Thread Starter 

Folks:

 

I haven't written off hearing differences, particularly with the Metrum, Ciunas and Chordette QuteHD.  Last night Barry and I listened to the low-res stuff many of you recommended, plus some electronica that Barry brought over.  We heard no difference with that material, but I did hear differences with the Metrum and Ciunas when listening to other, high-res or better-recorded/mastered 44.1 material. 

 

I need to go back to the entire song list and start listening again.  I have listened to NOTHING so far today, since I needed a break, and also needed to mutilate, er. I mean prune, some fruit trees.  It felt good to get out and move around outside again.  I've spent too much time sitting around trying to concentrate on minute differences in these DACs over the past week or so, and I need to protect against burnout. 

 

I'm about to push the play button for about an hour's worth of listening... here's hoping JRiver doesn't crash my computer again...

post #694 of 1331

TBH, I was expecting the Ciunas and Metrum DAC to make your different list. Both have different philosophies to DAC design compared to most of the other DACs in your list, I would expect that to come out in your observations. I do have to try that Ciunas DAC sometime!

post #695 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post
 

Folks:

 

I haven't written off hearing differences, particularly with the Metrum, Ciunas and Chordette QuteHD.  Last night Barry and I listened to the low-res stuff many of you recommended, plus some electronica that Barry brought over.  We heard no difference with that material, but I did hear differences with the Metrum and Ciunas when listening to other, high-res or better-recorded/mastered 44.1 material. 

 

I need to go back to the entire song list and start listening again.  I have listened to NOTHING so far today, since I needed a break, and also needed to mutilate, er. I mean prune, some fruit trees.  It felt good to get out and move around outside again.  I've spent too much time sitting around trying to concentrate on minute differences in these DACs over the past week or so, and I need to protect against burnout. 

 

I'm about to push the play button for about an hour's worth of listening... here's hoping JRiver doesn't crash my computer again...

 

Gary you know you don't have to please me and say this :D.

If you were closer to my place I'd have lent you the SA-1 and SA-2 but shipping across the country is way too expensive.

 

I bet these would be in the "not alike" DACs group, too. Even comparing the 1 to the 2, the extension to both ends is easily noticeable, so are dynamics and sense of scale.

post #696 of 1331
biggrin.gif Come to think of it, the Debussy might be why I got rode out of town...

Seriously, I can't get my head around the Bushmaster. Keep wondering what the 'trick' is?! It's the reason I mentioned skill [and luck as possible factors.

Plus 1 to the cautionary note re USB.

Looking forward to the final verdict of this comparison. Oh and +1 to the longitudinal suggestion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

Cautionary note:
The Bush does not have a USB input.
Which may give some folks fits!

P.S. He used to "play" piano at Cowboy saloons in Disneyland! rolleyes.gif
post #697 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by thegunner100 View Post

What is it that you're disappointed with about the hd800?

Fatiguing treble and the lack of LCD2-like bass. :-)
post #698 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post


Fatiguing treble and the lack of LCD2-like bass. :-)

  

Coincidentally, I bought some used 4-Pin XLR-terminated Silver Poison cables for HD800, a few days ago. They arrived today and I've only just now been able to listen to the HD800 on my TBI Audio Millenia MG3 with resistor network (32Wpc into 8-Ohms, attenuated by 15.8 dB).

 

What a relief!  The HD800 is actually tolerable now - even enjoyable!  Not as nice as the LCD-2 overall, for my tastes, but a big improvement over what I was hearing earlier with the DACmini CX > HD800.  The MG3's reputation for sounding somewhat like an SET tube amp is really helping the HD800.  

 

My DAC at the moment is still the CEntrance DACmini CX, which isn't as smooth in the treble as my Concero, so I can look forward to an even nicer treble.  TheHD800 bass I'm hearing right now is beautiful, really - quite musical - with terrific pitch discernment - it just needs a little more oomph!  (There's no accounting for my taste!)

 

Meanwhile, the Schiit Vali will be delivered on Monday.  Maybe it can add more warmth and bass energy than I'm getting with the MG3 > HD800.  Something tells me the MG3 might be better than the Vali, though...  The MG3 > HD800 pairing is rapidly growing on me.

 

One last off-topic comment:  I've noticed that if I reduce the volume of the HD800 lower than where I normally listen, the treble calms down relative to the mids and bass.

 

Tick, tock, tick, tock...

 

:D

 

Mike

post #699 of 1331
Thread Starter 

Mike:

 

The Concero is supposed to show up at your house tomorrow via USPS, so you will have a better DAC to use with the HD800s.  The balky Gungnir should be delivered to its owner on Monday (it had to go to the West Coast, and the pony express is a bit slow this time of year).

 

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

 

I need to do some more listening, but I can tell you that with hi-res files, there is definitely a difference between the Metrum and the DM Source. 

 

On the Shelby Lynne, for example, the Metrum Octave has more sustain or echo to the sound, making it seem a bit lusher, smoother, more liquid;  the sound is also a bit brighter and livelier, but the emphasis seems to be on the upper mids not the treble.  The Source sounds a little bit flatter and drier as a result.  Both sound great, clear, detailed, blah, blah; there is just a tiny difference in presentation. 

 

Note that I also heard the sustain with the PWD, but it emphasized bass and treble more, suppressing the mids.  The mids are not suppressed on the Metrum Octave, not even a little. 

 

With the Verve recordings, the sustain or echo gives the impression of a more 3-D presentation.  It is very subtle, and I don’t know if it is artificially being added by the DAC or is on the recording, but I can hear it.  I also don’t know if this will get tiresome like some effects do, or whether it will actually be more relaxing because some missing information is there, instead of having to be created by the brain.  I supposed that answer will depend on the individual listener.

 

On Hotel CA the Metrum sounds slightly thicker, voices sound a tiny bit clearer, sharper.  The entire presentation is a bit brighter.  One listener might say a veil has been lifted, but another might think that there was no veil, but that the Metrum adds over-strength glasses, distorting things a bit. 

 

I like the Metrum sound, but could certainly live with the DM Source sound.  I'm guessing Barry would like the Source better...  My ears, my cans, his ears, his cans...

 

I'm going to do some more comparisons of these two for an hour or so more, and then if I'm still feeling awake, I'll move on to comparing the DM source to the Ciunas.  Tomorrow I will continue the second comparison and also compare the Ciunas to the Metrum.  Then I will test the Yulong against the DM Source, and probably against the other two, but one at a time, not all at once.  I do think it is easier to hear differences if I only have 2 DACs running at one time.  Then it is the Benchmark's turn, and then the Chordette.  Depending on how all of this goes, I will bring the Stealth back in, do a quick check against some or all of these, and then decide which few stay in the competition, and which get sent back Tuesday or Thursday.  Those 3 or 4 will get about a week of listening before I make a final decision.  I have to get the non-selected DACs back before the return periods run out. 

 

At this point the PureDAC is a no show.  I did try, but just couldn't get one here.  I could bring in an Anedio after the others are gone, just to see how it stacks up against my winner, and compares vs. my notes, but at that point I might be pretty burned out.  Let's see how I feel after all of the non-selected DACs are gone and I've had a few days to recover.  I'd also like to get a Bushmaster here, and if it really only costs $250 delivered, I would risk it even if there was no return allowed.  I don't care if it runs off of optical or USB or bubble gum and string, if it sounds good at that price, I'm interested. 

 

One final note.  There is no crosstalk in the switch.  With only 2 DACs running I can have them separated by several slots, and I can also listen to the slots that aren't running.  There is no sound on the latter.  There is no crosstalk (except on this thread :p).

post #700 of 1331
I was sure the Octave would mate better with the dark LCD-3.
From the DS, Ciunas and Chord, the Ciunas is the closest to the Metrum in tonality.
I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts on the Chord. The LCD-3 is clearly not the best mate, IMO, but who knows? You might find interesting stuff on its sound anyway.
post #701 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by cizx View Post
 

I really wish Gary had a couple of A-GD DACs to compare.  I'd love to be talked out of getting an M7. :)

 

I would talk you into buying the Master 7.  Truly a good DAC worth every penny.

post #702 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post

 

The Concero is supposed to show up at your house tomorrow via USPS, so you will have a better DAC to use with the HD800s.  The balky Gungnir should be delivered to its owner on Monday (it had to go to the West Coast, and the pony express is a bit slow this time of year).

FedEx and UPS are planning a merger. New company will be called FedUp.

 

Gary if you feel like a change of pace, can you give it a quick spin, try the USB OTG?

(Can also try Barry's phone if need be, or anyone wandering by with an Android phone or tablet). 

 

Player app was just released: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.extreamsd.usbaudioplayerpro

Note free trial here: http://www.audio-evolution.com/downloads/USBAudioPlayerPROTrial_1.0.0.apk

(This app has its own audio stack to get uncooperative phones and DACs to work over USB OTG)


Edited by Toe Tag - 12/27/13 at 10:42pm
post #703 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toe Tag View Post
 

FedEx and UPS are planning a merger. New company will be called FedUp.

 

... snip ....

Competing directly against U Sure Package Safe....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USPS.....  :)

post #704 of 1331

Being able to discern a difference between a bad DAC (the emotiva) and a better one adds no credibility to this comparison.

post #705 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toe Tag View Post
 

FedEx and UPS are planning a merger. New company will be called FedUp.

 

Gary if you feel like a change of pace, can you give it a quick spin, try the USB OTG?

(Can also try Barry's phone if need be, or anyone wandering by with an Android phone or tablet). 

 

Player app was just released: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.extreamsd.usbaudioplayerpro

Note free trial here: http://www.audio-evolution.com/downloads/USBAudioPlayerPROTrial_1.0.0.apk

(This app has its own audio stack to get uncooperative phones and DACs to work over USB OTG)


Okay, I just ordered the cable.  I will do the testing with the Ciunas, Chordette, DM Source, Metrum, Yulong, Benchmark and Emo.

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