Originally Posted by mink70
Thanks jexby and Roscoeiii for your posts, but can you kindly expand on your comments about the SQ of the Geek Out and iDSD Nano beyond the issue of hiss? You know, tone, resolution, soundstaging, dynamics, DSD vs redbook playback, etc? Michael Lavorgna's notes are all we have so far. Thanks.
Sorry not a pro at any of this, and didn’t have days on end to compare.
Found a spare couple hours to “back n forth” with the same tracks playing so here is the summary.
Source: MacBook Pro 13” retina OS X 10.9.3
NAD HP50 (yes these have a “RoomFeel” sound which may skew a bit of the below)
Note: no measured volume matching. Luckily I could "get close", leave both DACs plugged in, knob stayed in same position on iDSD, Audirvana remembers volume setting of GO450.
In short, my setup and ears could find no “flaws” with any elemental sounds or acoustics.
I’d be hard pressed for anyone to “complain” that one unit blows the other away.
(if, of course, other parts of the chain match these units well.)
1. Summary of differences playing 24/96 FLAC and AIFF 16/44:
GO450 sounds like you are on stage with the music.
nano iDSD is about 2 rows back, yet also delivered more a sense of “room acoustics” feel at times.
Other differences harder to identify were:
GO450: has a tad wider soundstage.
goes a bit lower on deep bass guitar strings.
slightly better instrument and voice separation (clarity) during complex pieces.
You might hear or notice background keyboards or parts of harmony a bit easier with GO450.
sounds a bit more like being in a room acoustics wise, especially drums.
drum skins sound a bit more real as do other drum kit elements (wooden or cymbal taps).
sometimes bass drum feels more enveloping, with more initial punch.
vocals very slightly recessed compared to GO450, but neither’s vocals are “out front” at all.
2. playing DSD files:
previous slight difference in soundstage width between GO450 and nano iDSD is further decreased.
iDSD now more like “front row”, as compared to “on stage" with GO450.
instrument separation and clarity also closer (same?) between both units.
Only recommendation might be:
make the choice between these two small but amazing DAC/Amps based on features, not just the sonics.
the battery in the nano iDSD makes it perfect with iPhone/iPad as well as computer, which is why I’m keeping nano iDSD (mostly around home and travel) for long awhile.
GO450 at the office.
Purchase with a 30 trial Money Day Back Guarantee, and you're unlikely to be disappointed unless it turns out to be an under/over powered amp pairing with your headphones.
please don’t ask me to repeat the above with HE-500, HD600 or IEMs.