Audiobyte Hydra Stack: Hydra.Vox + Hydra.Hub + Hydra Zap
Aug 2, 2020 at 10:47 AM Post #61 of 600

bocky

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So I have now had a couple days with the Vox/Zap.... My initial impressions were, this unit is very good but not overwhelming amazing. However as of last night that totally changed. Things have really settled in and opened up. I can now say this unit sounds absolutely fantastic! I am actually surprised this unit does not get more attention. It is a true bargain imo.

With that said I think I need some more power for the LCD-4 and Abyss Diana V2 to get that last bit of goodness out of them. Going to give it some more time, but I have a feeling a dedicated amp will be coming next.
Good to know that you love them. To hear the true potential of the DAC, you probably need a good separate amp. The headphone out is rated at 3w 16ohms, decent power but by no means outstanding. Both LCD and Abyss are power hungry cans. They did not say it on the website but I’m wondering what is the output impedance of the headphone out. I won’t be surprised if it is high.
 
Aug 2, 2020 at 4:44 PM Post #62 of 600

m-i-c-k-e-y

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Congrats Bro! Happy late nights! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Regarding the internal HP amp. Mine opened on the 5th day of continuos burn-in (on the 8th DAC/Amp started to settle in).

If you have read my experiences, that was my initial reaction. What I believed the HP amp was kind of holding back the DAC. Lacks punch, grit, "power" you mean. BUT NOT NOW.


With my current cans, I think I am happy for now with the HP amp. More important is the coming HUB.
 
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Aug 3, 2020 at 10:30 AM Post #63 of 600

kali77

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@kali77
Congrats Bro! Happy late nights! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Regarding the internal HP amp. Mine opened on the 5th day of continuos burn-in (on the 8th DAC/Amp started to settle in).

If you have read my experiences, that was my initial reaction. What I believed the HP amp was kind of holding back the DAC. Lacks punch, grit, "power" you mean. BUT NOT NOW.


With my current cans, I think I am happy for now with the HP amp. More important is the coming HUB.

Thanks man! I will definitely give the HP amp another week or so before making a determination.
 
Aug 6, 2020 at 7:14 PM Post #64 of 600

neogeosnk

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So I have now had a couple days with the Vox/Zap.... My initial impressions were, this unit is very good but not overwhelming amazing. However as of last night that totally changed. Things have really settled in and opened up. I can now say this unit sounds absolutely fantastic! I am actually surprised this unit does not get more attention. It is a true bargain imo.

With that said I think I need some more power for the LCD-4 and Abyss Diana V2 to get that last bit of goodness out of them. Going to give it some more time, but I have a feeling a dedicated amp will be coming next.
What other dacs do you think this sounds better than? Is this at the same level as the Schiit Yggdrasil or Matrix audio stuff? Looking for an upgrade to those.
 
Aug 6, 2020 at 7:36 PM Post #65 of 600

kali77

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What other dacs do you think this sounds better than? Is this at the same level as the Schiit Yggdrasil or Matrix audio stuff? Looking for an upgrade to those.

Sorry, can’t really comment on those. I was out of the hobby for quite some time and just started back not long ago. The only other references I have are against some older Audio GD DACs, a benchmark hgc2 and the RME Adi FS. The Audiobyte is much better than all of the aforementioned. Sorry as that is probably not much help. Hopefully someone else with more recent gear can chime in.
 
Aug 7, 2020 at 4:44 AM Post #66 of 600

m-i-c-k-e-y

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@kali77

So the HP amp did good for your cans?
 
Aug 7, 2020 at 9:19 AM Post #68 of 600

m-i-c-k-e-y

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Yeah your cans needs power to bloom IMO. I think 3W is not enough for them.

I have a HD600 and an Audio Zenith PMX2 ver 2 for listening. And they are sounding very good already with the internal amp.
Listening them at around -22DB and -28DB respectively.

Might be adding too a headamp/preamp later, but the HUB and a powered speaker takes precedent.
 
Aug 7, 2020 at 9:46 AM Post #69 of 600

kali77

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Yeah your cans needs power to bloom IMO. I think 3W is not enough for them.

I have a HD600 and an Audio Zenith PMX2 ver 2 for listening. And they are sounding very good already with the internal amp.
Listening them at around -22DB and -28DB respectively.

Might be adding too a headamp/preamp later, but the HUB and a powered speaker takes precedent.

Yeah, I am at roughly -15 to -20db but I am sure I could get more control and accuracy with a stand alone amp. Not that it sounds bad lol, just trying to get that last bit pulled out of the drivers.
 
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Aug 13, 2020 at 6:43 AM Post #70 of 600

m-i-c-k-e-y

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So it has been almost a month since I received my Audiobyte Hydra.Vox.

Still am pleased on the value/performance the stack brings. Especially for those who are building their inventory (sans amp, preamp, streamer etc.). And will continue to increase this ratio when the final piece, the Hydra.Hub, will arrive.

Aside from adjectives that you have read from Sandu of Soundnews and Dan of Headmania about the dac section, I believe it has very good headamp as well. It may not be enough to some (3W), not friendly to sensitive IEMS, but it DO make my cans (HD600, PMx2 v2) sing.

However there's still this thing that I am resolving:
- occasional loud pops during transitions (from PCM→DSD or vice versa, shifting different bit depth/rate) using either USB or SPDIF. It doesn't happen often, but just on this last 10 days had about 6 of them. Nicolae says its the mute relays in VOX. And recommends a firmware upgrade (BULLET) w/ some DC offset. Since little could be done for now, will wait till summer ends. For now, my temporary solution is to convert PCM to DSD during playback.

Talking about relays during transitions, when activated there will be a slight pause and click. This might be a annoyance to some as Dan noted in his review.

Will continue to write once in a while of my journey with this dac/amp/lps stack.

Hoping my experience are informative to others,
 
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Aug 21, 2020 at 2:14 AM Post #71 of 600

VERASTARR

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So you rate Termi over VOX/Zap?
How would you rate both compared to the rockna wavelight?
I rate the VOX/Zap over Terminator, for a few reasons, I feel it images better. I also feel it is cleaner sounding as in less noise. In addition , I feel that the platform of the Vox/Zap is much more versatile as Termi is pigeonholed into her sonic (unless you collect all the revised boards, of which I have a few if anyone wants them..) What I mean is VOX is a FPGA based software DAC, so you can simply reflash the FPGA for a completely different DAC (Like PS Audio Directstream for instance) Furthermore a companion piece the HUB is due out end of this year that will handle the remodulation of the input to DSD512 (Octo DSD) convert it to i2s, Reclock and isolates so that the DAC will simply decode and do nothing else since DSD512 is its native format. It will also have an onboard streamer So not only will VOX get a sonic upgrade with HUB, it will receive an onboard streamer. So with outboard super capacitor power supply, HUB Streamer/reclocker/i2s convertor The VOX/ZAP/HUB will be the new contender for best Source/DAC/Volume control/Headphone under $10K .. I think it outclasses Termi on features alone before we even listen. Its far more advanced and forward looking in terms of design. Termi is an old chopper .. kind of cool, nostalgic and fun when you ride around in groups, but when its up to latest technology, Rockna has Termi whipped IMHO. Not heard Wavelight , but feature wise I think there are many of the same points as compared to Termi with Wavelight .. Its clear to me that the VOX/ZAP/HUB design has been created to lead the market once you simply review the list of features, advantages and benefits.

So you rate Termi over VOX/Zap?
How would you rate both compared to the rockna wavelight?
I just replied in a long page and posted but I dont see it .. ?

So I have now had a couple days with the Vox/Zap.... My initial impressions were, this unit is very good but not overwhelming amazing. However as of last night that totally changed. Things have really settled in and opened up. I can now say this unit sounds absolutely fantastic! I am actually surprised this unit does not get more attention. It is a true bargain imo.

With that said I think I need some more power for the LCD-4 and Abyss Diana V2 to get that last bit of goodness out of them. Going to give it some more time, but I have a feeling a dedicated amp will be coming next.
Im not sure why my long reply did not get posted, and I must abridge due to time . I think Vox is better sounding than Termi, and I think the feature list shows it is far more advanced technologically, especially with the HUB. Are you one of my clients ? Sorry If I dont recognize the moniker. Never heard wavelight, but Ive got some Wavedream Signatures in the balanced version here, and Vox is still cooler to me with supercap outboard Psup with isolated Digital and analog feeds, FPGA Based ability to re=bonk the whole sound. Its simply too cool for school. Its clear to me Rockna made the VOX/ZAP/HUB to dominate the $10K or under class. Cheers !
 
Aug 21, 2020 at 2:34 AM Post #72 of 600

ThanatosVI

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Im not sure why my long reply did not get posted, and I must abridge due to time . I think Vox is better sounding than Termi, and I think the feature list shows it is far more advanced technologically, especially with the HUB. Are you one of my clients ? Sorry If I dont recognize the moniker. Never heard wavelight, but Ive got some Wavedream Signatures in the balanced version here, and Vox is still cooler to me with supercap outboard Psup with isolated Digital and analog feeds, FPGA Based ability to re=bonk the whole sound. Its simply too cool for school. Its clear to me Rockna made the VOX/ZAP/HUB to dominate the $10K or under class. Cheers !
Thx for the lengthy replies.

No I am no client (yet maybe?). For now I am saving up for the Wavelight DAC + Wavelight streamer combo.

However unexpected expensive car maintenance further delayed this :frowning2:
 
Aug 23, 2020 at 4:16 AM Post #75 of 600

VERASTARR

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how does this stack up against the rockna wavelight dac ?
so I have not heard the wavelight. The only Rockna Branded product I ever bought and sold was the Wavedream Signature Balanced. I heard the wavedream regular edition and it was too harsh sounding for me. So I can compare Vox/Zap to wavedream SigBal, and its close. I'll post a comparison vid maybe tomorrow ..So aside from the sonic, its clear that the Vox/+Zap , has Wavelight outclassed on features big time. Starting with outboard power supply, Ultra Capacitor Psup no less, sp essentially Vox runs on batteries, except much better and quieter is Ultracapacitor. This power supply is very advanced. Its got a full color TFT touchscreen display to show actual voltage on the 4 outputs (2 for analog, 2 for digital) So as far as I know that's one of the the best ways to make a low noise power supply for a DAC, isolate all 4 outputs both by being in a separate chassis as well as ACnever entering the DAC Chassis, its not even coupled through the ground. So its extremely quiet. Furthermore VOX is an FPGA bases single bit DAC. Single bit DSD DACs have less digital nasties to deal with after conversion as they do not have the phase issues of other types.. Because itds firmware based you're not pigeonholed into just an R2R type sound. In fact there will be 3 totally different DAC profiles to choose from with the VOX depending on what you like and giving any potential buyer a much better chance of loving the DAC since there are 3 that are all different to chose from.. For what it's worth VOX has a killer headphone section inside, that people freak for , but I'm not a headphone guy so I cant comment from experience.. Itis a real differential output with no op amps, only discrete components.. The onboard volume control is great sounding and can eliminate the need for a linestage if you have no switching to do.and in a few months for only $1998 you can add a HUB which is a streamer, upconverter, reclocker and i2s convertor. This allows you to send the VOX its native format (DSD 512)and bydoing sso , it relieves the DAC of anything else besides just decoding, and when you remove these things from the DAC and send it its perfect ideal format, you're operating at 100% of what the DAC has to offer. . Things always sound better that way..so there's some info .to help you decide..


Cheers ! .
 

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