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Review: Questyle CMA800 Current Mode Amplifier - Page 3

post #31 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post
 

For those keeping track of Questyle: I just posted a review of their Q192 compact DAC/amp/preamp device over at InnerFidelity. It's an excellent performer for the price, giving a nice chunk of CMA800(R) precision for a small price. 

I hope we will see a review @Innerfidelity of the CMA800R too...:o

post #32 of 70
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaesar94 View Post
 

I hope we will see a review @Innerfidelity of the CMA800R too...:o

 

 

Thanks for reading! I'd love to, but it doesn't make all that much sense considering I already covered the CMA800 in depth here.... I'm working on writing up my thought of the new R version, specifically regarding differences between it and the original model. But still - there's not enough there to justify an entire article at IF. 

post #33 of 70
There are more differences between them than the 3 pin output?
post #34 of 70
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by talmlikeabalm View Post

There are more differences between them than the 3 pin output?

 

Some minor tweaks internally for slightly better sound. Also the preamp outputs which I'm finding immensely useful. 

post #35 of 70

Ohh, I look forward to your full impressions =)

post #36 of 70

Hi Project86,

Could you go into some detail regarding the minor tweaks you mentioned?
I've been gathering the favourable arguments - and the dow - to pull the trigger on the Benchmark Media DAC2 D for my HD800s, but now that I read this review and became aware of the Questyle, it got real tricky. I'm out for a DAC/Amp all-in-one solution, but the CMA800 is just too tempting. Maybe I'll just go x-mas and get both, lol.
Have you had any goes on the Benchmark DAC2 HGC yet? I have missed a detailed review of it here at head-fi, especially coming from someone who's had the experience with other top DACs and Amps, and that could place it more precisely in the reasonable $2000 context.

Cheers!

post #37 of 70
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zkadoush View Post
 

Hi Project86,

Could you go into some detail regarding the minor tweaks you mentioned?
I've been gathering the favourable arguments - and the dow - to pull the trigger on the Benchmark Media DAC2 D for my HD800s, but now that I read this review and became aware of the Questyle, it got real tricky. I'm out for a DAC/Amp all-in-one solution, but the CMA800 is just too tempting. Maybe I'll just go x-mas and get both, lol.
Have you had any goes on the Benchmark DAC2 HGC yet? I have missed a detailed review of it here at head-fi, especially coming from someone who's had the experience with other top DACs and Amps, and that could place it more precisely in the reasonable $2000 context.

Cheers!

 

To be honest, I'm not completely sure on what they changed. Whatever they did, it was enough for the specs to change - improved dynamic range, SNR, and also a bit more power available (even in SE mode). Often times you hear about an amp being tweaked or refreshed, yet the specs remain identical. But maybe that just reflects how many companies don't actually measure their gear....

 

As for the DAC2 HGC: I've only heard it a few times, too limited to have any real opinion of it other than "it seems really nice". I definitely think it sounds better than the DAC1 which had that cold, clinical thing going on, and harsh "digital" sounding highs. Unfortunately I can't say if the DAC2 is on par with some of my favorites like Anedio D2, unless I get a chance to do some direct comparisons. 

post #38 of 70

Thanks for your response, project86,

It would of course be great to have the details about what kind of changes could account for the difference in performance, even though it's small. On the other hand, it doesn't seem like Questyle belongs to the kind of manufacturers that don't measure their equipment, or that do it poorly, specially with the kind of dedication they have invested on the design of the CMA800.

I think that the Benchmark DAC2 HGC would be a very logical addition to your very well written, argued and documented DAC reviews within the $2000 price range, and that you have covered so well, and have such close experience with. Also because it seems the most obvious contender of the DACs you've reviewed and in terms of measured performance and features. Like the Anedio D2, it sports similarly great measured performance, and a similarly great Headamp section, plus a bunch of other features for just $500 more (the Benchmark DAC2 D). I personally think you'd be THE person to review it, due to your close experience with such a great number of great performing DACs in the price range.

Another $2000 DAC I would also immediately suggest, would be the NAD M51, that has several interesting features, solid measured performance, technologies and design characteristics that would make it an interesting DAC to be introduced to your more thorough, detailed discussion and evaluation.

Cheers
 

post #39 of 70
Thread Starter 

To be fair, I haven't really grilled Questyle about the differences between CMA800 and CMA800R. I recently finished the Q192 writeup and am working on some other stuff at the moment, before I write up the CMA800R and CAS192. So it's not like they are keeping it a secret or anything. I'll find out eventually.

 

I've heard the DAC2 and do find it promising. One of these days I'll probably give it a proper evaluation. I'm just way backed up with other stuff at the moment. Thanks for the kind words though!

 

I have tried the NAD M51 and it's a great DAC. Maybe not quite as good as the Anedio or Benchmark, but again this is all based on somewhat limited time spent. 

post #40 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zkadoush View Post
 


Another $2000 DAC I would also immediately suggest, would be the NAD M51, that has several interesting features, solid measured performance, technologies and design characteristics that would make it an interesting DAC to be introduced to your more thorough, detailed discussion and evaluation.
 

 

The NAD M51 is phenomenal with the CMA800R, it's perfectly liquid but still highly resolving.

 

It's in a completely different league than the Sabre DACs mentioned here, and I have found that the CMA800R is capable of showing some of the problems that Sabre DACs tend to have with treble resolution.

 

The only caveat with the NAD is that it is a full sized component and uses up some desk space...

post #41 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanlitun View Post
 

 

The NAD M51 is phenomenal with the CMA800R, it's perfectly liquid but still highly resolving.

 

It's in a completely different league than the Sabre DACs mentioned here, and I have found that the CMA800R is capable of showing some of the problems that Sabre DACs tend to have with treble resolution.

 

The only caveat with the NAD is that it is a full sized component and uses up some desk space...


I completely agree on the NAD M51 being phenomenal with the CMA800R, but I'm not 100% with the HD800's. You're using the LCD-X correct?

post #42 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by dleblanc343 View Post
 


I completely agree on the NAD M51 being phenomenal with the CMA800R, but I'm not 100% with the HD800's. You're using the LCD-X correct?

 

I just read your review over in the HD800 thread and it's great to hear some impressions from another with the same setup. I agree with your impressions of the HD800 with the CMA800R and I as well found that this is a fantastic amp and is one of the best SS amps I have heard, and certainly the best I have owned. It is the best I had heard the HD800 and it favors their resolution without pushing their tendency to amplify grain.

 

I agree as well that the HD800 has a nature that you just have to learn to accept. In my case over time I began to believe that the HD800 were not really providing as accurate a representation of the music as they should, and despite their reputation for neutrality they are in fact coloring the sound in their own way. It was actually the quality of the CMA800R in part that helped me reach this conclusion.

 

Shortly thereafter the LCD-X were released and as I am lucky enough to have a local dealer I got to spend some time with them, and despite not being in any way interested in buying another set of very expensive phones I ended up taking them home after my demo. The LCD-X are an impressive achievement as they have high resolution and air, but still give you the ortho realism and dynamic. When I was listening to them initially I can remember thinking "This is what the HD800 should sound like", and I suppose my solution to taming the HD800 was to buy the LCD-X. If you have the same rig as I do you may have a similar taste and I can strongly recommend a listen to the LCD-X.

 

I still have my HD800 and I do use them from time to time and in general after an initial wow factor I find they become disappointing. No complaints about the NAD M51 or the CMA800R, they are both among the best pieces of equipment available at any price.


Edited by Sanlitun - 3/17/14 at 1:53pm
post #43 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanlitun View Post
 

 

I just read your review over in the HD800 thread and it's great to hear some impressions from another with the same setup. I agree with your impressions of the HD800 with the CMA800R and I as well found that this is a fantastic amp and is one of the best SS amps I have heard, and certainly the best I have owned. It is the best I had heard the HD800 and it favors their resolution without pushing their tendency to amplify grain.

 

I agree as well that the HD800 has a nature that you just have to learn to accept. In my case over time I began to believe that the HD800 were not really providing as accurate a representation of the music as they should, and despite their reputation for neutrality they are in fact coloring the sound in their own way. It was actually the quality of the CMA800R in part that helped me reach this conclusion.

 

Shortly thereafter the LCD-X were released and as I am lucky enough to have a local dealer I got to spend some time with them, and despite not being in any way interested in buying another set of very expensive phones I ended up taking them home after my demo. The LCD-X are an impressive achievement as they have high resolution and air, but still give you the ortho realism and dynamic. When I was listening to them initially I can remember thinking "This is what the HD800 should sound like", and I suppose my solution to taming the HD800 was to buy the LCD-X. If you have the same rig as I do you may have a similar taste and I can strongly recommend a listen to the LCD-X.

 

I still have my HD800 and I do use them from time to time and in general after an initial wow factor I find they become disappointing. No complaints about the NAD M51 or the CMA800R, they are both among the best pieces of equipment available at any price.

I agree with your last sentence as well! And everything you wrote is very concise and in line with my thoughts.

 

Since you seem to have similar tastes, and the same rig.. have you ever tried the LCD3 or HE6 side by side with the LCDX? Your opinion would be great as I had owned the LCD3 and currently own the HE6, hence why I did not really take the time to try the newer Audezes.

post #44 of 70
Thread Starter 

With regards to HD800 - I was always a massive fan, and never thought I could replace them in my system. Until I heard HE-6 from the Auralic Taurus. Now I hardly use the HD800 these days. CMA800R is not quite as good as Taurus when it comes to HE-6, but it might still scratch that itch for a lot of people. I suspect dual CMA800R would do the trick for sure. 

post #45 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

With regards to HD800 - I was always a massive fan, and never thought I could replace them in my system. Until I heard HE-6 from the Auralic Taurus. Now I hardly use the HD800 these days. CMA800R is not quite as good as Taurus when it comes to HE-6, but it might still scratch that itch for a lot of people. I suspect dual CMA800R would do the trick for sure. 


 



curious what genres do you listen to most of the time, can't be too much jazz/classical?
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