CHORD ELECTRONICS DAVE
Apr 20, 2022 at 1:43 PM Post #19,816 of 25,821
Wow! What have they done to the DAVE? I had a Silver one on loan from the store as there was a three month wait for a Black one. This arrived today. Yay! But.... the silver loaned Dave sounded somewhat weak in the Bass area. This new Black version is absolutely different and stunning. Pumping Bass much more than the 'silver loaner'. I'm also using Audeze LCD-5's which are not exactly known for their fantastic Bass delivery but on this new DAVE it's absolutely awesome! Absolutely no EQ needed. Which is great as I'm not a great EQ fan. Play on.... I'll update as I go. 🎧
 
Apr 20, 2022 at 1:49 PM Post #19,817 of 25,821
Wow! What have they done to the DAVE? I had a Silver one on loan from the store as there was a three month wait for a Black one. This arrived today. Yay! But.... the silver loaned Dave sounded somewhat weak in the Bass area. This new Black version is absolutely different and stunning. Pumping Bass much more than the 'silver loaner'. I'm also using Audeze LCD-5's which are not exactly known for their fantastic Bass delivery but on this new DAVE it's absolutely awesome! Absolutely no EQ needed. Which is great as I'm not a great EQ fan. Play on.... I'll update as I go. 🎧
It’s true…. Black is known to sound better due to Chords new RF blocking black paint, it’s scientifically proven and wiffy approved 😌

Just kidding of course ..
 
Apr 20, 2022 at 1:59 PM Post #19,819 of 25,821
Other than the Black RF Blocking paint 🤣 and darker sounding due to the colour 🤣 something has definitely changed. My LCD-5's did not sound like that before.
I'm looking at different Headphone Amps to go with the DAVE and have sort of decided on the Ferrum oor and Hypsos combo. What's everyone's thoughts on that combo?
 
Apr 20, 2022 at 2:10 PM Post #19,820 of 25,821
Other than the Black RF Blocking paint 🤣 and darker sounding due to the colour 🤣 something has definitely changed. My LCD-5's did not sound like that before.
I'm looking at different Headphone Amps to go with the DAVE and have sort of decided on the Ferrum oor and Hypsos combo. What's everyone's thoughts on that combo?
I've been auditioning a Benchmark HPA4 for the past 2 days, and i regret believing the "pure sound out of Dave's HP out bs" for 2 years now.
It's a huge upgrade even with easy to drive Elites. Would be more so with the LCD-5. To be fair, I think the biggest difference is actually the HPA4-s Pre-amp, since they are so easy to drive.
Direct to Dave sounds like a mushy tube amp compared to Dave in Dac mode + HPA4. All the traits are unchanged, just...distilled :)
 
Apr 20, 2022 at 4:11 PM Post #19,821 of 25,821
I've been auditioning a Benchmark HPA4 for the past 2 days, and i regret believing the "pure sound out of Dave's HP out bs" for 2 years now.
It's a huge upgrade even with easy to drive Elites. Would be more so with the LCD-5. To be fair, I think the biggest difference is actually the HPA4-s Pre-amp, since they are so easy to drive.
Direct to Dave sounds like a mushy tube amp compared to Dave in Dac mode + HPA4. All the traits are unchanged, just...distilled :)
Must admit HPA-4 was another good option. Also, GS-X Mini has been quotes as a great match. I'm currently running a Singxer SA-1 Head Amp to 'keep me going'. Its actually very good.
 
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Apr 20, 2022 at 4:32 PM Post #19,822 of 25,821
Must admit HPA-4 was another good option. Also, GS-X Mini has been quotes as a great match. I'm currently running a Singxer SA-1 Head Amp to 'keep me going'. Its actually very good.
Pro tip : you can still use Dave's pretty good crossfeed with an external amp, since it doesn't actually turn off in Dac mode :) best of both worlds. CF on 1 with the HPA4 is just great. Much less fuzziness than going direct to Dave.
 
Apr 20, 2022 at 7:44 PM Post #19,823 of 25,821
Other than the Black RF Blocking paint 🤣 and darker sounding due to the colour 🤣 something has definitely changed. My LCD-5's did not sound like that before.
I'm looking at different Headphone Amps to go with the DAVE and have sort of decided on the Ferrum oor and Hypsos combo. What's everyone's thoughts on that combo?

Maybe the crossfeed is not set to zero. Crossfeed setting other than zero adds bass (for some reason).

Unless you are trying to drive power-hungry headphones like Susvara, for example, DAVE's headphone output is simply divine and provides sublime audio. Just to cut off some adverse comments, a very small number of DAVE owners even publish that they like the Susvara from DAVE's headphone output.

There is no need for removal of transparency by adding a downstream headphone amp to DAVE. Try it first before potentially wasting more capital.
 
Apr 21, 2022 at 1:28 AM Post #19,824 of 25,821
Maybe the crossfeed is not set to zero. Crossfeed setting other than zero adds bass (for some reason).

Unless you are trying to drive power-hungry headphones like Susvara, for example, DAVE's headphone output is simply divine and provides sublime audio. Just to cut off some adverse comments, a very small number of DAVE owners even publish that they like the Susvara from DAVE's headphone output.

There is no need for removal of transparency by adding a downstream headphone amp to DAVE. Try it first before potentially wasting more capital.
Have you actually tested this yourself? The susvara people have a MODIFIED Dave, with another psu. And even then, i am skeptical
 
Apr 21, 2022 at 7:51 PM Post #19,825 of 25,821
There is no need for removal of transparency by adding a downstream headphone amp to DAVE. Try it first before potentially wasting more capital.

I would say it's extremely important to try both with and without an external amp with any hard to drive, expensive headphone so that you ensure you aren't wasting capital by under-powering and limiting the potential of a high priced headphone.

You don't need an uber expensive amp for this test either. Something as simple as a GSX-Mini, Benchmark HPA4, etc. should give a pretty good idea. I absolutely would not spend $4k on a pair of headphones without trying this out for my own ears. Cannot stress this enough.
 
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Apr 21, 2022 at 8:28 PM Post #19,826 of 25,821
Have you actually tested this yourself? The susvara people have a MODIFIED Dave, with another psu. And even then, i am skeptical

Yes I have tested this myself. I own a Headtrip II amp that I use in my professional audio setup. I tried it on my DAVE and did not like the result even after swapping many cables around, different power distribution etc. So it stays in the professional chain and is more than excellent there.

I don't own power-hungry headphones, so DAVE's headphone output on the ARC6 DC4 power supply is perfect for my home system.

Regards
GG
 
Apr 21, 2022 at 8:56 PM Post #19,827 of 25,821
Maybe the crossfeed is not set to zero. Crossfeed setting other than zero adds bass (for some reason).

Unless you are trying to drive power-hungry headphones like Susvara, for example, DAVE's headphone output is simply divine and provides sublime audio. Just to cut off some adverse comments, a very small number of DAVE owners even publish that they like the Susvara from DAVE's headphone output.

There is no need for removal of transparency by adding a downstream headphone amp to DAVE. Try it first before potentially wasting more capital.
This has certainly not been my experience using the Dave as a headphone amplifier with my Sennheiser 800S. I would characterize its sound simply as “meh”! Completely underwhelming compared even with a low end headphone amplifier like the Sony TA-ZH1ES, which runs rings around the Dave. I would characterize Dave’s headphone capability in the class of my Oppo 205 universal player or even the old classic Sony ES CD players that came with headphone outputs. Useful for someone like me who only very seldom listens to headphones because they are so colored sounding compared to my Quad electrostatics or Harbeth monitors. But if you’re a serious headphone listener, gosh, there are so many better headphone amplifiers out there, from Cavalli (solid state) to Woo Audio (tubes).
 
Apr 21, 2022 at 10:33 PM Post #19,828 of 25,821
This has certainly not been my experience using the Dave as a headphone amplifier with my Sennheiser 800S. I would characterize its sound simply as “meh”! Completely underwhelming compared even with a low end headphone amplifier like the Sony TA-ZH1ES, which runs rings around the Dave. I would characterize Dave’s headphone capability in the class of my Oppo 205 universal player or even the old classic Sony ES CD players that came with headphone outputs. Useful for someone like me who only very seldom listens to headphones because they are so colored sounding compared to my Quad electrostatics or Harbeth monitors. But if you’re a serious headphone listener, gosh, there are so many better headphone amplifiers out there, from Cavalli (solid state) to Woo Audio (tubes).

HD800(S) are very hard to drive properly. I've been very critical on this topic toward the Dave, mainly just to be as transparent and helpful to others as possible. But with low impedance headphones, I do have to say that it's pretty excellent. So much so that my end conclusion, after a TON of A/B comparisons with and without external amps, is that if it's relatively easy to power it's probably not worth it or needed to explore other amps. The only hard exception there for me is if it's with a headphone that it just inherently bright or offensive in the highs.

I have had amps pair better with some easily powered headphones, and maybe even performed better. In this case it can be a bit tough honestly to determine whether it's due to better amplification (which I'm totally sure is the case sometimes) or if it's mainly due to the added color and better pairing of some amps (which I'm also totally sure is the case sometimes). In either case, the difference is so slim that it's hard to justify adding an amp to the Dave. (unless also have harder to drive cans on hand also)

But again, with harder to drive headphones (TC, Susvara, HD800 etc.), it is very easily a no brainer decision. Which is pretty much the consensus for most ppl that have actually tested and tried it.
 
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Apr 21, 2022 at 11:01 PM Post #19,830 of 25,821
How is it hard to drive if it's 103dB sensitivity? It's actually a tuned headphone that needs 45ohms output impedance to get intended sound out of it more than any other factor.

That's why I said properly. But even that is probably too unclear. I should say subjectively, optimally. You can drive the HD800 audibly to deafening levels pretty easily. Which is also true for the Susvara to be quite frank. But like the Susvara, the HD800 or HD800S sounds its best (fullness of sound, solid low end and better dynamics) out of a high powered, high quality amp--and particularly, as noted multiple times this thread, amps that have higher quality and/or beefier PSUs. I've owned like 4 of them at this point with quite a few amps, most recently with the Dave and WA33.. and that's been pretty consistent. (keep in mind I adored the original HD800 for over a year out of an old budget Beresford TC DAC through it's low powered headphone amp long, long ago).

If it were easy to drive optimally for most ppl, I don't think we'd have multiple amp threads dedicated here and in other forums specifically to it. But I can really only speak to my experience.
 

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