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April Music Eximus DP-1

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  1. m2man

    I have a Furutech DIY PC (10awg) and a Synergistic Research fuse. I can't say I can hear a difference even with the HP out. I hear differences on my other amp but nothing on the DP1.

  2. realmassy
    I'm trying the Eximus at home for a week, following some nice reviews and comments here on head-fi and other forums.
    My current setup is:
    Dedicated Audio PC with Windows 7, JPlay, Audio-GD NFB 7.32, Stax SRM 600ltd, STAX SR 009. I listen only to classical, and especially vocal and chamber music.

    Last week I had the opportunity to listen to the Linn Majik DS and the Linn Akurate DS, and found the Majik to be 'poor' compared to my NFB. The Akurate is in another league though (and in a different price band): better overall dynamics, more natural timbre, wider soundstage, effortless (altough distant) presentation.

    I kind of expected a similar performance from the DP1. Had a few hours listening yesterday and I'm not sure if I like it or not.
    Let's start from things I don't like...
    In terms of features I don't use the headphone out and the preamp. In fact I don't like the 'non-bypassable' preamp, I found annoying adjusting the volume on the DP1 and on the STAX amp.
    With the volume set at max on the DP1 I have no room on the STAX, which ends up with channel imbalance.
    So I have to keep the volume in the DP1 at 3 o'clock and the volume on the STAX at 9 o'clock. This is less than ideal, and the background is not as black as with the NFB. I'll try to set the volume on JPlay at -6db and keep the DP1 at max, adjusting the volume on the STAX.
    The upsample button is pretty useless, I can't hear any difference, engaged or not.

    In terms of sound, the DP1 is more hifi than the NFB: better instrument separation and better control in lower frequencies.
    The stage is wider, but is more forward. The stage on the NFB is more distant but narrower. The music with the NFB is in front of you, like in a small concert hall. Instruments placed at the extreme left or right are still in front of you, but with the DP1 are placed 'in the ears', actually almost behind the ears.
    With the DP1 it's like seatting on the stage with the musicians, and I'm not sure I like it.
    Because of this presentation instruments tend to be bigger, altough not bigger than real ones. So, instruments are closer, better outlined, and their timbre is more natural and richer. But so far I'm not engaged by the music: maybe the quantity of details I'm hearing is distracting.
    I'll give you an example: in Haydn piano trio the cello is playing only a marginal role, leaving the leading role to the violin and the piano. They play the melodies and the quality of the interplay between them is the key of the interpretation. With the DP1 the cello is more prominent, grabbing the spotlight almost, and I end up with being focused on the sound rather than the music as whole.

    On the other hand this kind of low level information is attractive and satisfying on longer term, I think: maybe long term users can confirm.

    So, the question is: any dac out there with fewer functionalities (no preamp or headphone out for example) with similar sonic character at a similar price? Or even better sound below 5k?
  3. leeperry
    Nope, they never bothered writing a DirectKS miniport for XP, which is utterly obsolete anyway....so why should they?
    Hah, well my local reseller has a whole bunch of AC cables and I've been told a lot of good things about PANGEA's so I'll try them for free when I'll have time, we'll see [​IMG]

    I recently read a short review of the DP1+cd3k combo and the guy said that it was bass-shy and too polite......it's definitely true that the DP1 is not a bass-monster and that the cd3k being pretty shrill and its SS too colored to begin with, this will not make a nice combo IMO.
    Yep, the DP1 is all about transporting you right into the center of the action with a stunning 3D SS that'll go all the way down to behind your ears simultaneously projecting a very realistic phantom front channel.
    If you ever find a more stunningly 3D sounding DAC, please let us know[​IMG]
    BTW the DP1 outputs 3Vrms(instead of 2V) on both XLR & RCA, that's more than likely your problem. OTOH volume attenuation in the analog domain isn't such a big of a deal AFAIK: http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/resonessence/2.html
    IIRC, the manual claims that at max volume the pot will be bypassed completely.
    Also, the DP1 is badly crippled by the computer 5V IMHO, feeding it a clean linear PSU pays in cash IE.....everything becoming so much more enjoyable [​IMG]
  4. Clemmaster
    I'm going to find that out, I have DP1 & iFi USB power on their way.
    The "too forward" presentation is something I also experience with the NFB-27 when it is not setup properly (bad power feed, wrong USB mode, e.g. Kernel Streaming).
    The sound is glary and the lateral sounds just seem to be behind the ear.
    When I use WASAPI, everything is back to normal and the scene is pushed back to a more relaxed presentation. The glare is gone and I can hear each instrument distinctly.
    Maybe you experienced the same issue with the DP1?
    I'll let you know my opinion once I get my ears on the beast.
  5. realmassy
    I'm curious to know your impression.
    Anyway, I've decided the DP1 is not my cup of tea, and is on its way to the dealer. Not sure if there's something that is not setup correctly: I use a CAPS 2.1 with a linear PSU, I don't think the power to the DP1 is that 'dirty'.
    Despite the smooth sound signature after 30/40 minutes I tended to turn the volume down quite a bit. It's not a major problem per se, as I don't like very long listening sessions, but it's probably a symptom of its 'aggressive' presentation, at least to my ears.
  6. leeperry
    Due to the fact that it's using quite a bunch of discrete stages, many ppl have noticed that the DP1 takes a good while to "break in"...but maybe you got a well broken in demo unit.
    I was serious when I said it'd be great if you could let us know what other DAC you prefer, possibly even more 3D sounding [​IMG]
  7. realmassy
    I think the unit I got was well used.
    To clarify: the DP1 sounds great, for me the biggest quality is the richness of the instruments timbre. Only the piano maybe is a bit 'glossy' but nothing to be concerned about. The stage is indeed very 3D, but I prefer being a few rows back rather than on stage with the musicians. When I listen to a live concert I'm at least 10 meters from the stage, and I don't get the sound coming from behind the ears.
    That's my only complain..and I've been picky!
    Now I got something different, it's not a usb DAC, but a streamer (Linn Akurate Ds) and I'm more a fan of the Linn sound: very spacious stage, but frontal, which gives a better sense of depth. It's more organic, it doesn't have the DP1 instruments separation for example: in fact, because of the different perspective instruments are not as big as with the DP1, which adds a tad of realism.
  8. leeperry
    Oh got it, well I've always loved the cd3k because it regularly projects sound behind your ears...too bad its SS is too colored off the DP1 and tbh it pales in comparison to orthos, but I fully agree that the DP1 puts you right in the center of the audio, it's quite amazing in movies because I always have the feeling to be standing in the same room as the actors and I very often ask myself whether someone is knocking on a door/wall/shutter in the movie or in my house....my brain being unable to give me a definite answer to this most crucial question [​IMG]
    I love the "being in the studio cabin with the musicians" feeling, you prefer to be standing in front of them a few meters away.....we definitely have different expectations indeed [​IMG]
  9. realmassy
    That's right mate! I think at this kind of price point most of the DACs sound good, it's more about sound signature and personal preferences. Bear in mind, if I didn't listen to something different (not better) I'd probably happily lived with the DP1.
  10. shimm
    Guys, can you confirm Eximus's XLR perform better than RCA? I'm on the way to choose an [power] amp and want to make up my mind if its worth to focus on fully balanced design. Musical Fidelity M6PRX seems not bad.
  11. streamer
    Hi All
    I have spent the last few days reading through this thread and reviews of the DP-1 and have finally decided to pull the trigger as very few products get this amount of positive feedback. Hopefully on Friday, when I finally get my hands on it, I will be able to report back with same amount of enthusiasm everyone has shown on this forum.
  12. BournePerfect
    Congrats Streamer-one of my best audio decisions I've made personally. Hope you love it-and give it at least a few days of burn in too. :wink:
  13. BournePerfect
    Yep-I love how the 3D imaging makes this the perfect dac for movies and games as well-in fact I sold a couple of different Dolby Headphone devices because the DP1 was more accurate and natural sounding to me.
    Yep-the DP1 sets itself apart imo primarily with it's imaging and onstage presentation. Listening to almost any other dac now just sounds flat and 2D in comparison and takes a while to readjust. That said, I sold my Master 7 and repurchased the Eximus for these very reasons. [​IMG]
  14. Clemmaster
    How do you guys setup the dp1 to get the best sound in a computer based system?
    I got the Eximus yesterday together with the ifi USB power. I installed the drivers from April's website but they seem to be quite old (1.2x or something when there seem to be 1.6x available for the xmos now).
    So far my name impressions are mitigate. While I can say it is technically in the same range as the NFB-27, I find the later more organic, with a bigger soundstage and an overall more authoritative sound.
    The pairing with the 5LEs might not be ideal for the eximus but I expected more.

    Time will tell but your advices are much welcomed!
  15. BournePerfect
    I use mine out of an SBT w/ EDO, sorry. Also, keep in mind that the NFB-27 is according to Kingwa an authoritative, aggressive dac if you will. I suppose headphone matching, tastes, and getting acclimated over time will all play a role-as always. The DP1's strengths are 3D soundstaging, effortless musicality (here comes Prepo lol), and a slight sweetness to the sound that doesn't warm over the details. I'd recommend listening ONLY to the Eximus for a week or two, get accustomed to it's signature, then swap in the NFB-and let us hear back!
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