06 Micro DAC vs Ultra Micro DAC
Nov 6, 2008 at 8:03 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 40

myinitialsaredac

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That's it, I've heard quite enough. Just got the Ultra Micro DAC and been listening for about two hours now and all I can say is wow. The unit came in to replace my 06 Micro DAC (dated 8/20/07 but its the one that can take 2 9v to be portable) and I actually didn't realize time had passed. I simply hooked it up via the optical input to my computer and the old cardas 6 in mini to mini to the micro amp and set up a playlist to play through foobar (wasapi) and just
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.

As some specifics towards SQ the attack has a ridiculous improvement over the 06. The crunch of the guitars, the punch of the kick, the snap of the cymbals it's all there and so organic. In comparison I would say the 06 has a much softer edge to all the notes, almost pillow like. The next major area of improvement is the separation and soundstage. Through the 06 the soundstage was large, but had a bit of artificial feeling and on tracks such as "Deliver us from Evil - B4MV" the instruments sounded clustered together. Now the sound paints a picture of each individual guitarist, the singer, the drummer, everything falls into place inside the frame of my minds eye. That artificial feeling is completely gone and sounds real. Like it should be. Voices sound lovely. I just finished listening to Krall's "Frim Fram Sauce" and just switched to Cole's "Waters of March" and I am simply falling for their voices. They are now full and endearing. They pull you into the music, like a siren's call, simply awaiting to bring you into their world and hold your mind there permanently. As a final major note the sound is far more forward, it seems to surround more, also bringing me deeper into the music and making my mind lose focus on whats happening, pushing me into a state of simply being.
As for some more specific tracks, Slightly Stoopid's "Circle House Blues" the guitars in the intro have gained a lot of forwardness, texture, and have a far more realistic decay with the Ultra Micro DAC. Tha Formula's "Get Low" seems to be more open, as if they are actually performing in my head instead of a mile away. The background is Pitch Black. It is simply void of anything. Music has become extremely clean with the Ultra. Bass is more pronounced, especially welcome on the 701s, but it is a night and day deal, it is still very articulate though. Haha, the noise is so lifelike, organic, real, and clean that I actually turned on David Banner's "9mm" that has a lot of background sound that is so clearly defined now, and the voices are-I hate to repeat myself but for lack of a better word-real.

All I can say is why did I wait so long to do upgrade to the Ultra Micro DAC? The sound is overall better, with specific improvements in cleanliness, texture, realism, soundstage, bass, separation, I'm running out of adjectives but you get the point. Highly recommended upgrade whilst they are having this sale. For extra information I did purchase the astrodyne with the Ultra and was just running the 06 through the stock wallwart. All the files I listened to are ALACs through Itunes Multiplugin with Foobar throughput using wasapi and are off of CDs.

Headroom Guys, you did a great job on this one! Special thanks to Jorge for helping me out on this decision!

I can't wait for my new amp!
Dave
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Nov 6, 2008 at 8:41 PM Post #2 of 40

moogoob

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Quote:

Originally Posted by myinitialsaredac /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The sound is overall better, with specific improvements in cleanliness, texture, realism, soundstage, bass, separation, I'm running out of adjectives but you get the point.


Texture, soundstage and bass? I'm definitely not regretting pulling the trigger now.
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All are things my 325is love, need and want.

I did not, however, order the Astrodyne due to budget issues (it was either get the Ultra Micro DAC without it or get neither). What sort of improvements can be found versus the already-quite-good wallwart?
 
Nov 6, 2008 at 8:44 PM Post #3 of 40

myinitialsaredac

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O dear moogoob,
You will not regret ordering the Ultra. It had a far greater improvement than I could have imagined. As for the wallwart vs astrodyne question I can honestly say that I didn't bother unwrapping the stock wallwart it came with. It was one of those deals where you just unpack it as fast as possible plug it in and disappear for oh 3 hours now
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. Give me a bit and I may be able to get back to you on that, but I am just enjoying it so much right now, its like falling in love with my tunes all over again. Once my amp gets here that 3 hours time will turn into 300-400 hours time
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.

Dave
 
Nov 6, 2008 at 8:50 PM Post #4 of 40

thread

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Holy crap I simply cannot wait to try mine out when it arrives tomorrow. My plan is to use the stock wallwart for some time before switching to the Astrodyne one. I fully intend on listening critically for differences, and if it's not worth it to me, I'll take advantage of HeadRoom's 30-day money back guarantee.

Thank you for the comments, myinitialsaredac!
 
Nov 6, 2008 at 8:54 PM Post #5 of 40

myinitialsaredac

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Thread,
You are welcome, I literally just switched the astrodyne to the wallwart and I can firmly say that there is a difference. It may not be huge but going from the astrodyne to the wallwart it seems to have brought the texture and attack down a notch, and the soundstage shrank a bit with a bit less perceived seperation. It is still a leap over the 07, but the astrodyne definitely gives it room for upgrade. Moogoob, when funds allow you should get the astrodyne, is a much smaller difference than the 07 to the ultra but it is a difference I think is worth the money. I believe you will like it with the wall wart, it is still amazing, just not Amazing.

*Edit* Point of reference, I was lazy and just used the 07's wallwart, but the ultras may be different, like I said mine is still in the box, but I'd assume they were the same.

Dave
 
Nov 6, 2008 at 9:14 PM Post #6 of 40

moogoob

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Quote:

Originally Posted by myinitialsaredac /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Thread,
You are welcome, I literally just switched the astrodyne to the wallwart and I can firmly say that there is a difference. It may not be huge but going from the astrodyne to the wallwart it seems to have brought the texture and attack down a notch, and the soundstage shrank a bit with a bit less perceived seperation. It is still a leap over the 07, but the astrodyne definitely gives it room for upgrade. Moogoob, when funds allow you should get the astrodyne, is a much smaller difference than the 07 to the ultra but it is a difference I think is worth the money. I believe you will like it with the wall wart, it is still amazing, just not Amazing.

*Edit* Point of reference, I was lazy and just used the 07's wallwart, but the ultras may be different, like I said mine is still in the box, but I'd assume they were the same.

Dave



Thanks.
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If I do, I'll have to order two as I couldn't stand having my Micro Amp using inferior power to my DAC.
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Why hasn't Headroom made a 2-output Micro Power supply for their Ultra stack?
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Hint, hint....
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Nov 7, 2008 at 4:49 PM Post #7 of 40

Tyll Hertsens

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Quote:

Originally Posted by moogoob /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Why hasn't Headroom made a 2-output Micro Power supply for their Ultra stack?
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Hint, hint....
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411954244_nPFQp-O.jpg


Sometimes this job just sux.

It's a good idea, but it's really MUCH more cost efficient to buy two Astrodynes. We simply are unable to make a better power supply for less, even if we could fit it into that tiny enclosure.

It's a fun thought, but fundimentally impractical.
 
Nov 7, 2008 at 5:30 PM Post #8 of 40

moogoob

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Tyll Hertsens /img/forum/go_quote.gif
411954244_nPFQp-O.jpg


Sometimes this job just sux.

It's a good idea, but it's really MUCH more cost efficient to buy two Astrodynes. We simply are unable to make a better power supply for less, even if we could fit it into that tiny enclosure.

It's a fun thought, but fundimentally impractical.



Yeah, I thought of that after I posted it. Heat generation, technical difficulties etc. aren't worth it when there's already a product out there that does it.
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Thanks for your entertaining response, though.
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We all appreciate the products you guys have and R&D you put into them.
 
Nov 8, 2008 at 7:37 AM Post #9 of 40

mikeg88

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Speaking of awesome-performing amps in small enclosures, can we expect to see the DAC module from the ultra desktop amp showing up in the desktop balanced any time over the horizon?

...oh no, wait, that's called the home balanced amp with DAC.

...or is it?
 
Nov 8, 2008 at 4:50 PM Post #10 of 40

cooperpwc

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Well done, yourinitialsRDAC. I am very jealous. I keep mulling over the exact same upgrade with this amazing sale but I think that I am committed to Headroom putting me in the poorhouse with their Desktop MaxDAC next year.

FWIW, I think that it's less confusing to talk of your comparison as being with the 2006 MicroDAC. Apparently there were some of those released in 2007, but that names is usually used here for the newer line-voltage only model.

Anyway, enjoy that wonderful new DAC.
 
Nov 8, 2008 at 5:09 PM Post #11 of 40

TheSloth

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Tyll Hertsens /img/forum/go_quote.gif
411954244_nPFQp-O.jpg


Sometimes this job just sux.

It's a good idea, but it's really MUCH more cost efficient to buy two Astrodynes. We simply are unable to make a better power supply for less, even if we could fit it into that tiny enclosure.

It's a fun thought, but fundimentally impractical.



It would be even more cost effective to split a single Astrodyne output and have two connectors at the end, conveniently spaced for Micro Stack use. Cheapest way is probably to make a small splitter cable...
 
Nov 8, 2008 at 5:46 PM Post #12 of 40

myinitialsaredac

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Quote:

Originally Posted by cooperpwc /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Well done, yourinitialsRDAC. I am very jealous. I keep mulling over the exact same upgrade with this amazing sale but I think that I am committed to Headroom putting me in the poorhouse with their Desktop MaxDAC next year.

FWIW, I think that it's less confusing to talk of your comparison as being with the 2006 MicroDAC. Apparently there were some of those released in 2007, but that names is usually used here for the newer line-voltage only model.

Anyway, enjoy that wonderful new DAC.



I too was trying to make that decision, but I decided $1000+ was too much to justify for my system. For the time being anyways. Alrighty, I wasn't sure which it was, thats why I specified the 9v's.
Thanks for the info =D.

Dave
 
Nov 8, 2008 at 5:50 PM Post #13 of 40

moogoob

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Quick opinion after listening to it a bit last night: took me a while to see what the fuss was about. Then it all clicked, and I realised that it seemed that the music was somehow made even more forward than before, a feat rather impressive considering I was listening to 325is. The OP is right- the music feels more "there" and present, while my old setup (Total Bithead used as a DAC for my Micro Amp) seems more recording-like by comparison.

Still need some more listening, but I'm liking the Ultra Micro DAC so far.
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Nov 8, 2008 at 5:52 PM Post #14 of 40

myinitialsaredac

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Quote:

Originally Posted by moogoob /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Quick opinion after listening to it a bit last night: took me a while to see what the fuss was about. Then it all clicked, and I realised that it seemed that the music was somehow made even more forward than before, a feat rather impressive considering I was listening to 325is. The OP is right- the music feels more "there" and present, while my old setup (Total Bithead used as a DAC for my Micro Amp) seems more recording-like by comparison.

Still need some more listening, but I'm liking the Ultra Micro DAC so far.
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Glad you are enjoying it. Get us some details when you have the time ^^.

Dave
 
Nov 8, 2008 at 6:09 PM Post #15 of 40

myinitialsaredac

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Quote:

Originally Posted by TheSloth /img/forum/go_quote.gif
It would be even more cost effective to split a single Astrodyne output and have two connectors at the end, conveniently spaced for Micro Stack use. Cheapest way is probably to make a small splitter cable...


The problem is that the amp and dac would have different power requirements at different times I believe. I may not be correct though....but you would be putting twice the strain on the astrodyne also.

Dave
 

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