Audeze Deckard - class A amp, USB DAC

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by lamode, Jan 6, 2015.
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  1. SomeGuyDude
    Zero distortion for me, brotha.
  2. maheeinfy
    Thanks! Was it using internal dac on the Deckard?
  3. SomeGuyDude
    Yep. Straight USB into the HD650 because my X is out.
  4. resafety
    Loving the Deckard so far! Great for planars! Although should I be concerned about how warm it gets? I usually have it on for like 10+ hours on my desk while listening to music and/or gaming.
  5. SomeGuyDude
    It's designed to get hot. The whole body is a giant heatsink. It keeps the internals from overheating. Don't stress it, brother!
  6. resafety
    Thanks! :D
  7. SomeGuyDude
    Oh and another FYI. If it actually does overheat (and I'm not sure what that would take, I accidentally left it on for like two days before), it'll just shut off. Give it some time to cool down and it'll spring back to life.
  8. mcbaon
    Here in Brazil, it gets really hot when the room temperature exceeds 28ºC. Under 24º it gets only warm.
  9. maheeinfy
    Ok i think i figured out what was causing that distortion. Its the generic usb driver that Windows installs with the new Creators update. New generic drivers 'supports' all my DACs but looks like its not perfect.

    Installed the drivers from Audeze website, and everything sounds fine now
  10. SomeGuyDude
    YES, oh man. I made that mistake too haha. The Windows drivers are GARBAGE. I have no idea what's going on there. Gotta use the Audeze direct and it'll sound loads better. Had the same issue with my Mojo.
  11. GarageBoy
    Class a amps are basically "on" all the time, it'll get warm. Anyone try the amp with an aeon flow, atticus, elear, or ether ?
  12. gLer
    I tried my Matrix HPA-3B (balanced Deckard amp section) with the Atticus. Not bad, powers it well. Works Bettie with the Woo WA3 though (which I bought after comparing it to the sound from the Matrix. Matrix pairs beautifully with my LCDs however.
  13. Pharmaboy
    Your post mentions 3 things of great interest to me:
    • Atticus (have a new pair burning in right now)
    • Matrix HPA-3B (very interested in this for Atticus & other HPs)
    • and Woo WA3 ( " " " " " ) + want some quality tube sound on the desktop
    (thanks for this!)
  14. MyNickIsUnique

    i recently sold my Chord Mojo and was on a hunt for new toy. My main goal was to improve sound on my pc for gaming/music/videos. First i turned my interest onto Astell Kern AK70 but i wasnt sure i want another battery driven device for my mainly home use. Also price and battery life were major reasons not to buy Astell. Next i discovered Sony Walkman NW ZX300, which is the newest walkman with 30 hour battery life and first walkman with DAC function and its same cost as ak70. I almost bought it but then i read about its major flaw, which is 0.5 sec delay in dac mode with pc. Its not problem for music. Not a big one for video as you can set delay, but it is problem for gaming, which i do a lot. So i turned into desktop dac/amp combos and bought Deckard. It was for roughly same price as ak70 and Sony and almost twice as Mojo, which is currently quite cheap in Europe. I use it with Hifiman HE400i and i found the sound quite decent but not mindblowing. I cannot compare it to Mojo much because i got Deckard after almost month since i sold Mojo. But if would have to try, i would say Deckard is more fun, has more detail and has V shaped sound, but can sound tiring and harsh with longer listening compared to Mojo. Both devices are huge improvement when compared to pc onboard sound card but nothing spectacular i was hoping based on superlative reviews. There are few notices after few days of use:

    - it works without any problem and without delay under windows 10 usb 3.0 up to 192/24 and it is dead silent with HE400i
    - medium gain seems to work best with he400i. On low its slightly more natural and spacious but it lacks bass and sounds kinda boring
    - once my left channel was low on volume and i discovered, that if you slightly move with gain switch it drops in and out....not very sturdy..kinda afraid to touch it anymore

    I want to ask: what windows player/codecs are you using to achieve max sound quality? I have foobar and have tried direct sound, kernel streaming,asio and wasapi and all sound the same. When using asio, kernel or wasapi, the XMOS driver outputs correct sampling rate and doesnt over/under sample to sampling rate which i got set in windows, BUT i can still control volume in windows, which is weird. I couldnt do that with Mojo. Windows shouldnt have to be able to control volume or do any bul***t to sound when im doing asynchronous usb perfect bit to bit output. So i wonder if im doing something wrong? Also... anyone using different usb cable and achieving better sound?
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
  15. mattering
    I just got my Deckard in today. Firstly, it looks way better in real life compared to pictures posted over the internet and there is some heft to its weight! I like it. I wish I could compare this to my now defunct Geek Pulse X, I can only compare it to my Dragonfly Red (DFR) DAC/AMP in which, the Deckard wins hands down. I also don't have a dedicated amp to pair it with to just test the DAC section of the Deckard or DFR. The Deckard is definitely erring on the warm side. What I noticed when I went from my DFR to Deckard is that the Deckard needs some warming up to get the optimal sound from it. So here goes. I'm just switching back and forth from the Deckard to the DFR as I am writing this. Also I'm using downloaded spotify songs as well as my Earsonic SM64s to test both DAC/AMPs. Volume matching/loudness of playback is done by ear.

    DISCLAIMER: I am not the best at describing sound, nor am I very knowledgeable at discerning different frequencies. All my conclusion on frequency region comes from research through websites and clip examples/ messing with EQ. Also, I've been into head-fi/speakers since 2010 or more specifically, I started my journey during 2010. At 23, I may have lost hearing in the really high frequencies but I'm not sure as I have not done a hearing test.

    Sound Comparison: Deckard (Low Gain) vs Dragonfly Red (DFR)

    Bass Song: Sango - So Voce - Great Sub-bass representation with easy to distinguish mid-bass (think of a drum bass kick) while making it easy to tell if bass bleeds into the other regions. The snare does get muted a bit once the bass kicks in but that is due to mastering.
    Mids Song: Point Point - F+L - Has a lot of mid-centric synths and instruments (I think). Simple yet complex track that is relatively well mastered in my opinion.
    Highs Song: Darius - Carried Away - Hi-hats on this song shows how each product handles high frequencies. Mastering is good.

    To test Sub-bass, bass that rumbles instead of bass that has impact (think of a drum bass kick), I used "Sango - So Voce". Bass starts at 0:41. Reason to choose this song? That sub-bass is just orgasmic in my opinion. To start off, the DFR does sub-bass pretty well but at the cost of mid-bass as the impact of the initial bass kick, though still present, is not very impactful. The bass extends really well but there is a little bit of a bloat in the region (I'm thinking around 100Hz region). The reason why I say there bass is a bit bloaty is because though the DFR rumbles, there is more bass that just "floats" around in this track, making the bass sound a bit loose and not as tight/well controlled. The rumble is there but it relatively light.

    Compared to the DFR, the Deckard really does bass well. That sub-bass rumble is amazing. Simply put, it rumbles all the way down and tickles my genital areas. Ok, that may be an exaggeration. But it outclasses the DFR in this region. Bass is tight and well controlled. There is no bloat in bass in which I don't really hear bass that just "floats" around in the track. The initial bass kick is also more impactful compared to the DFR and the rumble does not effect it's initial impact and the bass kick's decay. The rumble is real with this one.

    Fun fact: The bass bloat is more apparent on my HiVi Swan M50W 2.1 speakers and the bass is just way better with the Deckard.

    My specialty is bass (I guess you can call me a basshead) and I'm not the best at describing Mids although I have had Westone 3 and Westone 4R which are notoriously known for their mids. For mids, I chose to listen to "Point Point - F+L". It's a wonderful remix of Kanye West's song Flashing Lights. The DFR definitely has recessed mids as the viola and other instruments at the start has a higher pitch than it is supposed to be. I'll keep this short as I'm not too sure how to describe mids but it is not overly recessed, just a little bit.

    The Deckard reproduces the sound of the string instruments really well, there is more weight to them and the violas have a deeper sound. Not only that, but background details like the snaps, especially at 2:51 where the song becomes more "congested", and the shaking that starts at 3:02 are more prominent. Mids just sound better on the Deckard.

    Fun Fact: Bass bloat is really apparent with this track on the DFR

    To compare details in the high frequencies, I used the "Darius - Carried Away". For this song I focused mainly on the hi-hats and how each product extended the highs from it. The DFR does the highs really well. It sounds clean, crisp, well extended and also is not sharp. It may sound sharp for some people as it could be considered near the boundary of sharp. People who like their treble might appreciate how the highs sound on the DFR. It also does not sound "tinny" or thin/metallic. I really don't know if I'm using the terminology right on the last sentence but I always associate high frequencies with metal and it being able to be too thin.

    The Deckard's highs are also great. They are like the DFR in which they do nothing wrong with it but they are not as prominent or sound a bit more muted compared to the DFR.

    Miscellaneous Comments About Sound Performance and Other Stuff
    - Deckard made my rethink how big the soundstage of my SM64 can go and it really made me go wow. DFR has good soundstage but is small compared to the Deckard.
    - Deckard has wayyyyyyy better in overall sound presentation in terms of sound positioning, separation, and imaging. I can't stop smiling when listening to music now.
    - DFR has more a V-shape like sound though the mids are not really that recessed. DFR is not bad though but the Deckard is just way better.
    - As you can tell, I hate that bass bloat from the DFR
    - Overall, I think that the Deckard is definitely worth $400 - $500 more than the DFR.
    - Don't be scared to buy refurbished! I got mine refurbished and I still have the full 2 year warranty. Product registration went fine.

    Overall the Deckard is somewhat neutral in that it represents all frequencies really well. It also leans more to the side of a warm signature.
    Well folks, that wraps up my first impression of the Deckard. Hope you guys enjoyed it and hope it was useful.
    Liu Junyuan likes this.
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