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Budget DAC?

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  1. jason41987
    I won't have much to compare it to though, and my headphones aren't exactly high end. I could compare it to the fullness and depth I get from the crossfeed filter built into my surround sound headphone adapter I use now, a feature I will probably try to look for in an amp soon.
  2. Chris Kaoss
    The improvements on your existing listening setup will be very interesting. Hope you'll share your thoughts with us here. :wink:

    For crossfeed, keep an eye on here --> http://www.meier-audio.homepage.t-online.de/
    It's very informative and you can download some sample to listen at.
    Also the corda jazz looks really nice.

    Enjoy your music. :)
  3. scruffy1
    i expect he will be very impressed

    i know i was not expecting such a major shift in the quality, but there it was
  4. jason41987
    I hope so. Onboard audio just sounds so... I don't even know how to describe it. It just sounds so, flat. Like how would you describe onboard PC audio having listened to audio through higher end equipment?
  5. scruffy1
    less wonderful

    but it's all relative

    i recall discovering "soundstorm" on nf2 boards back when athlon cpu's were the fastest thing on the planet; that via chipset was still the heart of good cards when the m-audio revolution was the shizzle that reigned supreme as the alternative to creative cards for half a decade

    then xonar from asus set a new bar; then upgrading their relevant cards with better opamps made that seem pitiful

    and then standalone dacs with new chips - like the difference between a biplane and a jet

    don't get me wrong, onboard sound , having grown up through the first soundblaster cards costing > $200 for 16 bit reproduction (and listening to mod files) and thinking wow! such reproduction, is like marvelling at an edison light bulb but living long enough to see a laser light show

    the thing i noted most is that initially the reproduction sounds sparse, especially on speakers (which sound somewhat more like headphones), until you acclimatise and realise that what you are (not) hearing is the real space between instruments that you get in live performance

    phones make that even more obvious, and that clarity is a bit odd at first for sure
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  6. jason41987
    It's a shame the Sennheiser HD6xx is out of stock on drop, because if all things go well with the new DAC, those are probably the headphones I was going to buy, especially since not only did I save $40+ on the DAC, but I am also saving about another $180 I budgeted for a new office chair by instead just getting some furniture risers for the arm chair I am using now (it's too low to the ground as it is). So, I am up in the $200 range for cans now.
  7. jason41987
    The tone board arrived today, I am going to set it up and give this thing a listen.
  8. jason41987
    I think mine is defective, I plugged it in, the light comes on, even installed the driver but I see no signs of the device being recognized. I cannot even see it in the device manager.


    Alright, there was an issue with the USB cable that it supplied with, but I had another USB C cable to try out and the device was recognized but only with the EVAL driver, which means I need to use this driver to upgrade the firmware to use the other. But, I am able to listen to it now.

    Voices still sound a bit unnatural to me compared to how it was sounding through the surround sound adapter but that's mostly due to the crossfeed effect DD headphone tech uses, something I should be able to duplicate electronically on the amp end.

    Another note, when I used my headphone amp before, I was using the 3.5mm as the input source and had to turn the volume up to maximum to gain anything vs simply bypassing the amp entirely.. however, plugging this DAC in via RCA my amp is loud AF, I cant get it past 9:00 without it starting to become painful, so it's opened up the power of my little headphone amp too, and at only 9:00 there is no noise what-so-ever

    Listening to music, I can hear more detail, like notes that I didn't notice before in songs I have heard many times before. And the one I noticed most wasn't just there, but it sounded like it was at the 1:30 position, front and right, and a bit downwards. Way more detail, and imaging than before. I definitely want the crossfeed back though, While this makes the audio seem more precise and detailed, it still sounds like headphones, while the system with crossfeed sounded more natural, like listening through good speakers.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
  9. scruffy1

    you'll need to reboot the computer after installing the driver

    if that fails, you need to try another usb port, or another usb cord, as minimal troubleshoot

    it also needs to be noted under "sound" as the primary sound source
  10. jason41987
    I edited my above post to highlight the issue and the solution I found. Currently, I am listening to a piece of classical music in native DSD, sounds really good. I may not use Spotify anymore and deal with its 128k or whatever it uses. I already have some music in FLAC, I will have to make sure to only get FLACs from now on.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
  11. jason41987
    Ouch, I can tell a difference between my $80 headphones and my $20 headphones now. The cheaper ones (closed backs) definitely sound muddier and less detailed than my SHP9500s, and for some reason, sibilant as well.
  12. scruffy1
    i predict it will take some hours of listening to establish the khadas as your new "normal"

    even the ud130 has "improved" since my initial listening; some may tell me that's "burn in" (something i am a bit sceptical about wrt circuits versus mechanical stuff like speaker cones) - i actually think it is more down to acclimatisation to what the equipment is presenting to you, rather than awareness of changes from what you were used to hearing with the previous chain

    and yes, the khadas will mercilessly reveal the deficiencies of your source, and the abilities of your listening devices

    good luck ! if you are anything like i was, the next few days will be an acoustic gluttony, and a big smile, interspersed with "no way! that sound was never there before, how the.... ??"
  13. jason41987
    Well, I just noticed something is wrong with my headphone amp. There is clearly a channel imbalance, no matter what volume it is set to. I have to adjust it in windows by reducing the right channel a bit. I may still be under SMSLs warranty for it, i'll check with them.
  14. jason41987
    I may be returning the DAC anyway. About 3 times while listening to music, it lost audio, completely, and I had to unplug it and plug it back in in order to get it to work again. If the issue persists, I'll have to send it back. If so, I am not sure I would get the tone board again but may opt for a more complete product. It's said the Loxjie and Modi both sound better, are the same price and come with a shell.
  15. scruffy1
    mine was prone to that in one of the usb jacks in my computer, but flawless in another after i realised that could be where the problem lay

    that would be my first remedy

    also, several users have had issue with the usb cable supplied, which is likely the weakest part of the product

    the khadas is inclined to need reconnection if the signal has a hiccup, so perhaps your source is causing that problem, and worth some perseverance if you like the sound

    what is it plugged into (the big usb end) ? maybe the power it supplies is inconsistent or the connection is a bit less than optimal
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