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post #61 of 1472
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BleaK View Post
 

Great writeup! Thank you for doing this!

 

I will get the vali closer to christmas and I am looking to upgrade the dac after christman holidays.

The ones I have been looking at are:

 

-Concero

-Gungnir

-Violectric V800

-X-Sabre

 

Looks like the gungnir is a top contender, especially with the new usb. However the comments from Maxvla makes me nervous it will be to "upfront" and I won't be able to relax or casual listen with it (which I like to do time to time).

 

Decisions decisions...

 

Maxvla owned the USB Gen 1 and hasn't heard the Gen 2. Note that olor1n also threw his Gungnir (Gen 1 USB) into the trash for the same reasons as Maxvla. On the other hand, Questhate threw his X-Sabre in the dumpster because he hated the Sabre treble. With the Gen 2, the Gungnir is better able to be soft as well as loud and brash. If you are coming from the DAC-1, the X-Sabre might be a more familiar sounding DAC. Really hard to say what you would prefer. How do you feel about your current DAC? What would you like to see improved? I heard the Concero briefly, and I didn't think it was all that great or what it was cracked up to be. Need more time with it.


Edited by purrin - 12/7/13 at 11:52am
post #62 of 1472
Thread Starter 

This may help. Think of it as a VOLUME transfer function from recording -> DAC rendering

It shows how the softest sounds are either dropped or compressed by each DAC. And how the loudest sounds are compressed by each DAC.

 

RECORDING         X-SABRE

10----\       10
 9     \_______9
 8             8
 7             7
 6             6
 5             5
 4             4 
 3      _______3 
 2-----/       2  
 1             1     
 0             0

 

RECORDING          GUNGNIR USB 1

10------------10
 9             9
 8             8
 7             7
 6      _______6 
 5     /       5
 4____/        4 
 3             3
 2             2  
 1             1     
 0             0

 

RECORDING         GUNGNIR USB 2

10------------10
 9             9
 8             8
 7             7
 6             6
 5             5
 4     /-------4 
 3____/        3
 2             2  
 1             1     
 0             0

 

RECORDING          PWD2 BEST CONFIG

10------------10
 9             9
 8             8
 7             7
 6             6
 5             5
 4             4 
 3             3
 2             2  
 1-------------1     
 0             0

 

RECORDING          AGD M7 BEST CONFIG

10-----\      10
 9      \------9
 8             8
 7             7
 6             6
 5             5
 4             4 
 3             3
 2             2  
 1             1
 0-------------0

Edited by purrin - 12/7/13 at 11:51am
post #63 of 1472
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
 

 

Maxvla owned the USB Gen 1 and hasn't heard the Gen 2. Note that olor1n also threw his Gungnir into the trash for the same reasons as Maxvla. On the other hand, Questhate threw his X-Sabre in the dumpster because he hated the Sabre treble. With the Gen 2, the Gungnir is better able to be soft as well as loud and brash. If you are coming from the DAC-1, the X-Sabre might be a more familiar sounding. Really hard to say what you would prefer. How do you feel about your current DAC? What would you like to see improved? I heard the Concero briefly, and I didn't think it was all that great or what it was cracked up to be. Need more time with it.


 

DAC1:

-Bass is a bit anemic, and a bit one noted, feel rolled off

-Mids are detailed, with pretty decent imaging

-Lower treble are a bit harsh, thin and a bit too "splashy"

-Soundstage have great width, but close to zero depth (things sound like they come from wither either left or right)

-The Audio gd interface (usb->spdif) made the DAC1 so much better than the SPDIF out from the PC, makes the HD800 listenable on it.

 

So I would like a stronger bass without one-note, maybe a bit fuller but detailed mids, "warmer" treble (if I can say that) and a soundstage with a good balance between width and depth.

 

Gosh sounds like I'm describing a mixture of Gungnir and X-sabre. I just won't make this easy on myself.

 

Btw, I like the HD800 unmoded (maybe I'm not treble sensitive). So that may be a factor.

post #64 of 1472
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
 

This may help. Think of it as a VOLUME transfer function from recording -> DAC rendering

It shows how the softest sounds are either dropped or compressed by each DAC. And how the loudest sounds are compressed by each DAC.

 

RECORDING         X-SABRE

10----\       10
 9     \_______9
 8             8
 7             7
 6             6
 5             5
 4             4 
 3      _______3 
 2-----/       2  
 1             1     
 0             0

 

RECORDING          GUNGNIR USB 1

10------------10
 9             9
 8             8
 7             7
 6      _______6 
 5     /       5
 4____/        4 
 3             3
 2             2  
 1             1     
 0             0

 

RECORDING         GUNGNIR USB 2

10------------10
 9             9
 8             8
 7             7
 6             6
 5             5
 4     /-------4 
 3____/        3
 2             2  
 1             1     
 0             0

 

RECORDING          PWD2 BEST CONFIG

10------------10
 9             9
 8             8
 7             7
 6             6
 5             5
 4             4 
 3             3
 2             2  
 1-------------1     
 0             0

 

RECORDING          AGD M7 BEST CONFIG

10-----\      10
 9      \------9
 8             8
 7             7
 6             6
 5             5
 4             4 
 3             3
 2             2  
 1             1
 0-------------0


I think I understood that! Thanks! :beerchug: 

 

Also, I hope someone send you guys a violectric dac someday, VERY interested how it would match up in your testing and ranking.


Edited by BleaK - 12/7/13 at 12:04pm
post #65 of 1472
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

Maxvla owned the USB Gen 1 and hasn't heard the Gen 2. Note that olor1n also threw his Gungnir (Gen 1 USB) into the trash for the same reasons as Maxvla. On the other hand, Questhate threw his X-Sabre in the dumpster because he hated the Sabre treble. With the Gen 2, the Gungnir is better able to be soft as well as loud and brash. If you are coming from the DAC-1, the X-Sabre might be a more familiar sounding DAC. Really hard to say what you would prefer. How do you feel about your current DAC? What would you like to see improved? I heard the Concero briefly, and I didn't think it was all that great or what it was cracked up to be. Need more time with it.
My Gungnir was no USB.

I feel the Concero is very similar to the X-Sabre. Nick_Dangerous from Dallas and I compared them side by side on the same amp and hp. We agreed they were almost the same.

I may have a chance to hear the V800 in a month.
Edited by Maxvla - 12/7/13 at 12:07pm
post #66 of 1472
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
 

 

I hesitate to rank your DAC (Audio-gd NFB-7.32) because I only heard it once, it was at a meet, it wasn't comparative with at least three to four other DACs, and I've haven't heard it on the speaker setup, and no one here has lived with it for a week. (Although one of my minions has heard it.) That's the key here with the rankings. Every single DAC was at least compared with three others, with one to three other evaluators present. Again, this was as part of a series of DAC-offs. The rankings were a synthesis of the results.

 

My take is that your DAC sounded a like lot an X-Sabre, but improved. Better resolution, dynamics, microdynamics, and gradations of volume (in these areas it's equal to the top tiers). It's notable weaknesses were the following: the lack of bass pitch differentiation and bass texture; the SABREsque quality of the uppermost octave / air region - it wasn't glaring or strident or anything like that; and a lack of continuity / liquid-ness of rendered sounds - particularly notable with vocals. I also felt your DAC, even without the OR5, had good performance. The M7 via USB is severely crippled. You never had a chance to hear the M7 via USB because I won't install the USB drivers.

 

As you know the differences among the classifications is really small. We are talking about DACs, not headphones.


Thanks for writing that up! Agreed that the my DAC lacks that liquidness in the mids and that amazing bass texture the M7 has. M7 is too damn good in that respect!

 

Been pondering about getting an OR5 or separates; this confirms that separates might be the better way to go.

post #67 of 1472
Thread Starter 
 
No. You are not making this easy. What you want only exists in Class A or B. 
 
The X-Sabre's treble issues are in the upper band, not lower treble. I would not say the X-Sabre is thin sounding, but it is leaner in comparison to the Gungir. I am concerned about the Gungnir's aggressiveness with the HD800, particularly if it's un-modded. It may come down to the amp. It's possible my experiences with the Gungnir and HD800 were different from Maxvla's because mine were from tube amps (Maxvla had a BHA-1 and aggressive + aggressive is not good). And my Gungnir + Mjolnir experiences were mostly with speakers (which are tuned to be slightly dark.) Then again, you run HD800s unmodded, and you don't have any issues with the 6k region. No issues with resolution.
 
Any plans for the amp?

Edited by purrin - 12/7/13 at 12:10pm
post #68 of 1472
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post


My Gungnir was no USB.

I feel the Concero is very similar to the X-Saber. Nick_Dangerous from Dallas and I compared them side by side on the same amp and hp. We agreed they were almost the same.

I may have a chance to hear the V800 in a month.

 

Really, I thought the X-Sabre was better (this totally from memory, so I could be full of ****). Your thoughts?

post #69 of 1472
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post


My Gungnir was no USB.

I feel the Concero is very similar to the X-Saber. Nick_Dangerous from Dallas and I compared them side by side on the same amp and hp. We agreed they were almost the same.

I may have a chance to hear the V800 in a month.


Please posts impressions if you to, I would love to hear them. I've read John's X-sabre review and he says that they compare, but the V800 have better imaging and goes a bit further with quality recordings. However not all my music listening is top quality. I listen mostly to FLAC, but use spotify (ogg vorbis 320) to find new music and listen when I relax. Also there are alot of proggresive rock and metal in my list, and not all of them are quality material (however Ayreon and Opeth recordings still never cease to amaze me with how great they are recorded and mixed).

post #70 of 1472
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
Any plans for the amp?

 

Just the Vali for now, then I'm saving up for something good. Maybe statement Schiit, maybe an EC-amp. Perhaps a crazy new HD800-synergy ss-amp is just around the corner :wink_face: 

 

It feels like the tonality from gungnir is something I would love, but I would also like the "relaxed" and detailed sound of the x-sabre. Right now I am hoping that the V800 (or concero) is somewhere in the middle, especially when Violectric says that they are upgrading their USB input. But right now I am leaning towards the gungnir with the gen 2 USB.


Edited by BleaK - 12/7/13 at 12:24pm
post #71 of 1472
Tone and presentation between the X-Sabre and Concero are nearly identical. We thought the X-Sabre was a bit more resolving and just a touch more extension on both ends. The main differences between the units are the balanced connections and ability to DSD/DXD. The new Concero HD does DSD now too but it is also more expensive than the original. Now I will say DSD and DXD are not really selling points, but it is a difference. I would say build quality is similar as well, with the edge to the X-Sabre.

If you like this sound, buy a Concero if you don't need balanced, buy a X-Sabre if you do. The $500 difference doesn't show up in sound. These DACs are like twins with different clothes on.
post #72 of 1472
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
 

 

I believe someone is sending my minions and I a Vega. The whispers we have been hearing is that the Vega is hyper-detailed and bright, but in a very well done way. We are hopeful, but downplaying our expectations after our experience with the Invicta. I was hoping I would be throwing the PWD2 out the window from the things I was reading about the Invicta.

 

Huh, I don't hear it as being bright, but most of my DACs have been Sabre based, so maybe my frame of reference is off.  It's very detailed, though, yeah.  Be sure to try the Exact clock setting when you get it; it takes everything up a notch.

 

I occasionally miss the NAD M51's spacial presentation, but I think I like the Vega better overall. 


Edited by driver 8 - 12/7/13 at 1:00pm
post #73 of 1472
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

Tone and presentation between the X-Sabre and Concero are nearly identical. We thought the X-Sabre was a bit more resolving and just a touch more extension on both ends. The main differences between the units are the balanced connections and ability to DSD/DXD. The new Concero HD does DSD now too but it is also more expensive than the original. Now I will say DSD and DXD are not really selling points, but it is a difference. I would say build quality is similar as well, with the edge to the X-Sabre.

If you like this sound, buy a Concero if you don't need balanced, buy a X-Sabre if you do. The $500 difference doesn't show up in sound. These DACs are like twins with different clothes on.


Wow, that's huge. I only need usb and unbalanced. This can save me alot of cash (for a better amp in the future! :devil_face:).


Edited by BleaK - 12/7/13 at 12:58pm
post #74 of 1472
Thread Starter 

My main quibbles (they are not major ones) with the M51 were that sounds were compressed. I felt like that I had to turn the volume knob down on soft sounds and up on loud sounds to get the same effect as the better DACs. The attack was good, but the high treble rendering was off. Not anything annoying or rough, but rather not natural sounding. Sort of like an exquisite silky fine grain. Very open sounding though. It's a good DAC, and I would have purchased it if NAD did not give it the retarded price of $2000 in the USA. (The Aussies lucked out.) I do wonder what magic the OR5 via i2s would have been able to work on it.


Edited by purrin - 12/7/13 at 1:06pm
post #75 of 1472
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

Tone and presentation between the X-Sabre and Concero are nearly identical. We thought the X-Sabre was a bit more resolving and just a touch more extension on both ends.

 

That could be crucial though.


Edited by purrin - 12/7/13 at 1:07pm
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