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MCINTOSH LABS INTRODUCES NEW HEADPHONE AMP MODEL MHA 100 - Page 18

post #256 of 1237

I have been listening to the MHA100 with its own DAC this afternoon.

First let me say that I don't think comparing the MHA100 internal DAC sound to the Bricasti M1 + MHA100 amplifier is not a fair comparison. Remember that the Bricasti is a high end DAC that cost double the price of the MHA100.

The comparison was done using the same source for both DACs. The source was a Mac Mini with 16Gb RAM, 120Gb SSD drive for the software and 1TB HDD for the music files. It also uses an external linear power supply from Mojo Audio and the player was JRiver for Mac. The cables are WireWorld Platinum USB and also in the line are the iUSB and iPurifier. 

When using the Bricasti it is connected to the MHA100 using a pair of Wireworld Eclipse 6 XLR cable to the analog balanced input of the MHA100.

 

Now to the sound. Yes, there is a difference in the sound between the 2 DACs. The sound when using the internal DAC is warmer or darker in comparison. This darker presentation takes some of the detail and dynamics from the sound. Because of this the soundstage presentation is not as clear or transparent. There is also less "air" or separation between the instruments and voices making it less three dimensional and the soundstage is narrower.

 

Now, that is doing a direct A/B comparison between the 2 DACs which as I said I do not consider fair. If I did not have the Bricasti would I be happy with the sound of the MHA100 DAC? Probably I would. The real question is how the DAC of the MHA100 compares to a $1,500-$2,000 DAC. I think that would be a more fair comparison.

post #257 of 1237
If I connected my SACD player to the MHA100, would I be bypassing its internal DAC?
post #258 of 1237

Enjoy my D100 as a DAC... curious how the MHA100 DAC compares to the D100.  Also does it have the same strange firmware behavior where if you turn up or down the volume and pause a half second then continue to turn the knob it basically ignores your input until it finishes cycling through some display mode a couple seconds later.  Same thing occurs with mute button.  Unmute unit and immediately try to turn the volume down.  Really wish the D100 had a bit more power in the headphone out.  Thinking to buy a McIntosh speaker amp soon.

post #259 of 1237
Quote:
Originally Posted by macbob713 View Post

If I connected my SACD player to the MHA100, would I be bypassing its internal DAC?

Yes, you can connect the RCA or XLR (if it has them) analog output of your SACD player to the RCA or XLR analog input of the MHA100. That is going analog to the MHA100 bypassing it DAC. That's the was I am using the MHA100.

post #260 of 1237
Quote:
Originally Posted by groovyd View Post
 

Enjoy my D100 as a DAC... curious how the MHA100 DAC compares to the D100.  Also does it have the same strange firmware behavior where if you turn up or down the volume and pause a half second then continue to turn the knob it basically ignores your input until it finishes cycling through some display mode a couple seconds later.  Same thing occurs with mute button.  Unmute unit and immediately try to turn the volume down.  Really wish the D100 had a bit more power in the headphone out.  Thinking to buy a McIntosh speaker amp soon.

I did not notice anything like that when I was trying its internal DAC. 

post #261 of 1237
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicman59 View Post

Yes, you can connect the RCA or XLR (if it has them) analog output of your SACD player to the RCA or XLR analog input of the MHA100. That is going analog to the MHA100 bypassing it DAC. That's the was I am using the MHA100.

Thanks for the info, this amp is now seriously on my radar. I'm enjoying your updates on the Mac.
post #262 of 1237
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post
 

I loved the MHA100 at CES!

 

Heard it w/ my Audeze LCD-XC's & Moon Audio Silver Dragon cables.

They were using another DAC (the new Mytek if I remember correctly) - but it sounded dynamic, airy, and I was especially impressed with the fluidity of the mids.  The bass SLAMMED too - especially playing Eskmo, Amon Tobin, or Recondite.

 

We reviewed the D100 at Audio360 - so we were psyched to hear from them about this!!

I bought the D100 and use it as my main DAC (and headphone amp for easier to drive cans) in my system w/ my Liquid Gold, HP4 and Studio Six.

 

Plus I was able to hear it w/ some of my own reference tracks so the demo was just plain FUN!

 

We have the review currently in the works for Audio360.org!

We should be finished soon!

 

Gonna be the first review of the unit I believe.

 

My buddy has it now - and I get it next week!

*

 

 

Psyched to put it through its paces at home!!

Hi Mike,

 

Am very, very interested to read your review, especially on its synergy with the XC. Let us know when the review is up : )

post #263 of 1237
Quote:
Originally Posted by groovyd View Post

Enjoy my D100 as a DAC... curious how the MHA100 DAC compares to the D100.  

Also very interested to this DAC comparaison. .
Edited by bmichels - 6/9/14 at 8:02am
post #264 of 1237

Looking forward to your review, and any direct comparisons you can make between the MHA100 and the LAu.

post #265 of 1237
Mike, could you compare the Mac vs the Phonitor 2?
post #266 of 1237

Really good looking amp.  It's good to know it works well with both the HE-6 and the HD800s.   

 

With the HD800s how does it compare with some of the TOTL tube amps i.e...  DNA Stratus and the new EC amps..  This amp with a better DAC would solve my two amp issue for the HE-6 and HD800.  I just wish it had an XLR headphone out..


Edited by preproman - 6/12/14 at 5:32am
post #267 of 1237
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post
 

Really good looking amp.  It's good to know it works well with both the HE-6 and the HD800s.   

 

With the HD800s how does it compare with some of the TOTL tube amps i.e...  DNA Stratus and the new EC amps..  This amp with a better DAC would solve my two amp issue for the HE-6 and HD800.  I just wish it had an XLR headphone out..

I have no experience with TOTL amps. 

post #268 of 1237

Review oh the MHA100 just being published now in HiFi-News UK.  

 

 

 

Unfortunately he did not tested the DAC part or the Speaker amp part: He reviewed Only the Headphone's Amp part.

 

And nowhere I can find any first impressions about their "associated" MHP1000 Headphone !  Has it been released yet ? No samples units for the press ? 

 

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90


Edited by bmichels - 6/14/14 at 5:07am
post #269 of 1237
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmichels View Post
 

Review oh the MHA100 just being published now in HiFi-News UK.  

 

Thanks bmichels.

 

I just quickly read through the article, and this sentence doesn't inpire confidence: "I settled down to the longest bout of headphone listening that wasn’t on a train journey or a flight".

 

Unfortunately there's really no useful information in the review, only the usual "vice-like control" and "Savouring the “direct injection” nature of a transducer mere millimeters from one’s ear". 

post #270 of 1237
Quote:
Originally Posted by snejk View Post
 

 

Thanks bmichels.

 

I just quickly read through the article, and this sentence doesn't inpire confidence: "I settled down to the longest bout of headphone listening that wasn’t on a train journey or a flight".

 

Unfortunately there's really no useful information in the review, only the usual "vice-like control" and "Savouring the “direct injection” nature of a transducer mere millimeters from one’s ear". 

 

agree:  a lot of  Bla bla bla in this review but no real personal position taken.  

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