Audiobyte Hydra Stack: Hydra.Vox + Hydra.Hub + Hydra Zap
Jul 14, 2020 at 2:52 PM Post #33 of 600

m-i-c-k-e-y

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So mine arrived today!

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Initial notes during installation:

1. UltraCaps needs to be charged 100% before Hydra.Zap will let you access Hydra.Vox
2. Audiobyte's Apk from Play Store works via Bluetooth. You can access Zap's and Vox's options and volume control (Very handy when you have speakers!).
3. Power cable connections needs a bit of force to screw in.
4. Its a kind of hot during operation so it needs to breath..
5. Have two drivers for windows. Standard (for windows sound) and ASIO (for JRiver, Foobar, JPlay etc.).
6. Clicks on the unit when changing options (maybe a design choice?)
7. Sometimes LOUD clicks when changing formats (PCM -> DSD)..:thinking: (Nikolae says is the mute relay inside VOX which is activated during transitions)
8. The stack's size/footprint is just right for a desktop setup.
9. Finally! I could hear my DSD512 materials (curios of what's about).

As Sandu of Soundnews had said, it doesn't give you an outright "Aww" but everything is excellent and spot on in its place.
Let us see if there are changes after burning-in. Liking already the sound.
Coming from its HP out, SQ is very similar to my Geek Pulse Infinity + LPS4 but a bit more nuanced/textured, defined.
 
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Jul 16, 2020 at 8:44 PM Post #34 of 600

m-i-c-k-e-y

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So 48 Hrs during burn-in I was curious...

What struck me are the musical/instrument separations...could hear every instruments played. Not that I couldn't hear them in my previous system. But I do hear them VERY WELL (more convincing) but not only that, more separated, more defined/detailed, and TEXTURED. How they are strucked, resonate, vibrate etc...

Its not an orchestra anymore, rather its a group of individual musicians with their instruments playing together.

Nothing stands out. No sharpness (digital glare).

This is a brutal/honest DAC. Everything will be just playing and sounding great/alive when called for. And will reveal imperfections. It will not sugar coat like some...

Sorry don't want to sound as a giddy little boy... But I didn't expect this great difference to my previous system after 48 hrs.

If I am to cherry pick at this brief time:

- Pause/clicks(on occassional very loud) when changing formats (PCM to DSD, DSD256 to DSD64 etc).
- I don't have a separate headphone amplifier, but ME THINKS the on board headphone amplifier is holding back the DAC. Still brief, but I wan't it to have a bit more power when needed. But contented still the same that its there.

Just wanted to share my ongoing personal experience.

Its 3:25am now...ready to go to sleep with a happy face.

Continuing the burn-in..
 
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Jul 17, 2020 at 6:27 AM Post #35 of 600

niche2000

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Hi Everyone,
Thanks for the reviews.
it seems that this DAC is a very potent one.
Anyone would have the ability to compare it to the new Sonnet Audio Morpheus, i think it's similarly priced.
Talking about price, i'm a bit confused, this thread is talking about 4200€ stock price and the reviewer at SoundNews is talking about 3500€.
Anyone knows what should be the recommended price?
 
Jul 17, 2020 at 10:30 AM Post #36 of 600

m-i-c-k-e-y

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Around 3500€ non VAT, 4200€ w/ VAT depending on what country. You can ask yours: http://www.audiobyte.net/where-to-buy-audiobyte-products

Update on its 75th hour:

Those voices!

Tested PC audio from USB. The CP Sound properties sees it as a Digital Output and you could configure supported sample rates (upto 24/192). At the Advanced Option you can configure Hydra.Vox up to what bit depth and rate it will be running. I chose the highest (32/384). So when playing some YT music, Hydra.Vox constantly displays "PCM 384K".

Thoughts...

You know what, I am happy with my purchase. NOT that its sounds good. Yes it is, but i realized its the CONVENIENCY that struck me most.

It has an upgradeable DAC (thru firmware), It has a very good HP amp, a preamplifier (which I can attach later a powered speaker or a dedicated HP amp if I decide later on), an LPS (so no more power conditioners) and later a HUB (that will act as a digital interface, streamer, reclocker, upsampler). An AIO. So a complete package if you will, most that I needed is there.
 
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Jul 19, 2020 at 6:05 PM Post #37 of 600

m-i-c-k-e-y

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125 Hrs...

So after 5 days of burn-in (using ISOTEK Full System Enhancer CD on an infinite loop) I decided its enough.. I found minimal changes on its 4th day and called it quits on its fifth.

My initial apprehension about the HP amplifier holding back the DAC has gone away.

Its now a great sounding DAC. Natural and musical. Very balanced, nothing stands out yet everything sounds good.

I like this kind of presentation. You are made to listen more to your music NOT on your equipment.

BUT what me realized is NOT how good the DAC is. Its the CONVENIENCE the Audiobyte stack will bring to my system. A very good ALL-IN-ONE.

I don't know if I still need a HP amplifier down the road....Pathos Inpol Ear keeps popping up.

What keeps bugging me still however are the rare/occassional loud cracks/pops when changing audio format (using JRiver on Win10 Pro). Will definitely write the devloper about this.

But for now the Hydra.Hub will be a definite target along a good NAS to hold my growing music database.

So it would be a beautiful musical COVID summer for me.

For those who are looking and deciding for a Terminator/Hugo TT2 level DAC. I am enviting you to consider this stack. NOT only for the SQ it brings. But the convenience it will bring to your system.

Happy listening.

Michael

After burn-in Update:

Those occassional loud pops are getting me annoyed. I increased ASIO buffers to max {3 sec in JRiver) and it seems to go away. Emailed Audiobyte again however .

Sandu of Soundnews was right about sensitive IEMS. I have a 1st gen 10-driver UM Maestro. And definitely heard some hiss. And contrary to him, this hiss marred the music coming to my Maestro. My cans were dead silent however.

Now on to more music...
 
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Jul 24, 2020 at 2:38 PM Post #39 of 600

m-i-c-k-e-y

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"They say" Vox is more "exciting". One guy in another forum prefers Vox because Wavelight is as it is called..."lighter". Here in the Wavelight thread, one preferes it to the Vox. He says its a joy to listen to and more transparent. Have you seen OCD Hifi Guys's vids in YT?. Of course its YT take it as grain of salt. But at least it gives you idea how it compared to others.

13 Mega DAC Shootout
BAlabo BD-1 $37K vs APL HiFi DSD M+ $36K vs AUDIOBYTE HYDRA VOX/ZAP $3.7K
Denafrips Terminator $4.5K vs Jeff Rowland Aeris/PSUP $17K vs Denafrips ARES $800
EXOGAL COMET Plus $3.500 vs Denafrips Pontus $1800 vs STELLO D700 $6K 7 years ago
Vermeer 2 $23K vs MBL 1511 $6K 25 years ago vs WADIA X32 Digimaster $2500 25 years ago

Rockna / Audiobyte Comparison
Rockna Wavedream Sig. Bal $16K vs Audiobyte Black Dragon $1.8K vs AudioByte VOX/ZAP $4K vs APL HiFi DSD M $25K

Audiobyte Vox vs $20K DACs
Audiobyte VOX/ZAP $4K vs APL HiFi DSD Master $20K vs Playback Designs Dream DAC $20K
 
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Jul 24, 2020 at 3:06 PM Post #40 of 600

bocky

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"They say" Vox is more "exciting". One guy in another forum prefers Vox because Wavelight is as it is called..."lighter". Here in the Wavelight thread, one preferes it to the Vox. He says its a joy to listen to and more transparent. Have you seen OCD Hifi Guys's vids in YT?. Of course its YT take it as grain of salt. But at least it gives you idea how it compared to others.

13 Mega DAC Shootout
BAlabo BD-1 $37K vs APL HiFi DSD M+ $36K vs AUDIOBYTE HYDRA VOX/ZAP $3.7K
Denafrips Terminator $4.5K vs Jeff Rowland Aeris/PSUP $17K vs Denafrips ARES $800
EXOGAL COMET Plus $3.500 vs Denafrips Pontus $1800 vs STELLO D700 $6K 7 years ago
Vermeer 2 $23K vs MBL 1511 $6K 25 years ago vs WADIA X32 Digimaster $2500 25 years ago

Rockna / Audiobyte Comparison
Rockna Wavedream Sig. Bal $16K vs Audiobyte Black Dragon $1.8K vs AudioByte VOX/ZAP $4K vs APL HiFi DSD M $25K

Audiobyte Vox vs $20K DACs
Audiobyte VOX/ZAP $4K vs APL HiFi DSD Master $20K vs Playback Designs Dream DAC $20K
Very interested. Thanks for the info. Seems few people have the Vox. Guess even fewer willing to sell.
 
Jul 24, 2020 at 4:51 PM Post #42 of 600

m-i-c-k-e-y

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Hoping I will not be alone...:L3000:
 
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Jul 28, 2020 at 3:21 AM Post #44 of 600

m-i-c-k-e-y

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Update 28 July 2020

- Well 2 weeks from purchase and is sounding sweet, textured, defined, separated, wide, natural (anymore? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: ).

- Three days now and I haven't encountered those occasional loud pop/crack. Just now I had a quick test cycling music on different formats (DXD, DSD64, 196Khz, DSD128 etc., about 25 or so) and haven't heard a thing. Nicolae says it comes from the mute relays of VOX which are activated during transitions. Contacted my local distributor, and Nicolae advised them to install the latest Bullet firmware. I have Rocket 2.

- They (distributor) say the Hub might be available around September. Last June Audiobyte said to them that they were finishing development because of delay due to COVID.

- My HD600 sings on this unit. The viel has now come off! Just imagine with my PMx2s!

- Don't think I need a separate headphone amplifier (for now..:o2smile:).

- Still sleeping aroung 2AM with this thing...it's becoming a drug.
 
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Jul 29, 2020 at 2:11 PM Post #45 of 600

kali77

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Update 28 July 2020

- Well 2 weeks from purchase and is sounding sweet, textured, defined, separated, wide, natural (anymore? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: ).

- Three days now and I haven't encountered those occasional loud pop/crack. Just now I had a quick test cycling music on different formats (DXD, DSD64, 196Khz, DSD128 etc., about 25 or so) and haven't heard a thing. Nicolae says it comes from the mute relays of VOX which are activated during transitions. Contacted my local distributor, and Nicolae advised them to install the latest Bullet firmware. I have Rocket 2.

- They (distributor) say the Hub might be available around September. Last June Audiobyte said to them that they were finishing development because of delay due to COVID.

- My HD600 sings on this unit. The viel has now come off! Just imagine with my PMx2s!

- Don't think I need a separate headphone amplifier (for now..:o2smile:).

- Still sleeping aroung 2AM with this thing...it's becoming a drug.

Awesome to hear the Hub is expected to drop in September. On another note my unit is stuck in France, so probably wont have until later this week or early next week.
 

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