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(QNKTC) Henry audio usb dac 128 for AKG Q701?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,
I own a pair of AKG Q701, and was wondering if the Henry Audio USB DAC 128 (rebranded QNKTC AB-1.2 dac) was worth the investment.
Currently I have the HiFimeDIY Sabre U2 Asynchronous USB DAC.
Am I going to hear any noticible improvement with the Henry?

Also, the U2 is 1vrms output, and can barely drive my headphones without an amp.
The Henry is using the AK4430ET dac, which outputs 2vrms:
http://www.akm.com/akm/en/product/datasheet1/?partno=AK4430ET
Should I expect the whole Henry dac to output the 2vrms accordingly? 
I really don't want to buy an additional amp. :D

link to the Henry:
http://www.henryaudio.com/


Thanks!

post #2 of 3

Hi,

 

I use the DAC with K701 headphones and a Graham Slee Ultra Linear HP amp. That works very well. The AK4430 chip isn't really designed to drive headphones directly. The DAC design also has 470Ohm series resistance on the output, as per the design recommendation in the AK4430 datasheet.

 

Before you try connecting the headphones directly, check your volume control. The DAC is designed on purpose with very few volume controls in the signal path, assuming that would take part in a separate amplifier. But some audio players have volume controls in them. Make sure you use that kind of feature reliably, then connect your headphones and gently turn the volume up.

 

Let us know how it works out!

 

 

Best,

Børge

 

P.S. I'm the maker of the Henry Audio USB DAC 128. That makes me a commercial player on this forum.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

UPDATE:
At the end I did buy the Henry Dac, connected directly to my AKG Q701, and wasn't that impressed, because as Børge clearly stated, you really need an amp!
So, I went ahead and bought the Matrix M-Stage amp. and WOW, I could immidiately notice a huge difference("night and day") :D in all aspects. even older recordings became alot more enjoyable, not to mention, the ones that already sounded great...
But, as the M-stage features an Input selector, I connected both the Henry dac, and the Hifimediy simultaneously, for some A-B testing. just out of curiosity.
I fired up two instances of foobar, one for each dac and scheduled playback of some hi-rez files to the same time, for seamless switching.
To my amazement when I was switching between the two dacs, I noticed no differnce at all. Tried to focus on some specific part of the sound, and still nothing. :blink:
After playing for some time, I forgot on which dac it was set, and definitely couldn't pick it up by the sound signature alone.

My Conclusion: The huge leap in sound quality was due to this amazing M-stage amp. Though I really wanted the Henry to sound better(costs much more, and was compared to dacs whose cost is even higher), the difference in SQ just isn't noticible, at least with my setup, and to my ears.
Maybe higher-end headphones would make the difference.
Still, I'm not saying the Henry dac isn't great, cause it does sound amazing with this amp. plus, it supports up-to 192/24 from usb.
But, what I am saying is that the Hifimediy is SUPER value, and It even has volume control (which is handy, until you buy a decent amp :p).

Cheers.
 

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