CHORD ELECTRONICS DAVE
Mar 9, 2023 at 12:35 PM Post #24,196 of 25,572
Wondering what is the best headphone running straight off the Chord Dave? Sent my amp for repair. Seeing if I can add a headphone in the interim.
I second @FunkyBassMan
I like my DAVE with Dan Clark Audio Stealth too and also with Focal Utopia. I don't listen loud so I never needed a separate headphone amp.
 
Mar 9, 2023 at 1:12 PM Post #24,197 of 25,572
Wondering what is the best headphone running straight off the Chord Dave? Sent my amp for repair. Seeing if I can add a headphone in the interim.
Be sure to have tried Dave's depth with HD800's stage..
 
Mar 9, 2023 at 1:23 PM Post #24,198 of 25,572
No problem with powering Stealth with Dave.
Only when you listen at very high levels sound hardens, soundstage collapses and you just hear distortion as Dave is running out of steam.
But with 'normal' listening levels you are completely fine. YMMV as 'normal' listening levels for one are not 'normal' for other.
 
Mar 9, 2023 at 1:36 PM Post #24,200 of 25,572
I always wanted to get the HD800. That was the first TOTL can I heard 10+ years ago.
 
Mar 9, 2023 at 4:55 PM Post #24,202 of 25,572
No problem with powering Stealth with Dave.
Only when you listen at very high levels sound hardens, soundstage collapses and you just hear distortion as Dave is running out of steam.
But with 'normal' listening levels you are completely fine. YMMV as 'normal' listening levels for one are not 'normal' for other.
Yeah, that's the thing about the Stealth. It's so damn smooth and distortion-free that you can listen at outrageous volumes and not be bothered. I have to be careful.
 
Mar 9, 2023 at 5:42 PM Post #24,203 of 25,572
Yeah, that's the thing about the Stealth. It's so damn smooth and distortion-free that you can listen at outrageous volumes and not be bothered. I have to be careful.
FWIW, it has been shown, that people tend to crank up the volume when they are listening to low res sound.
Just like, when you can't hear someone clearly, you ask them to speak a bit louder.
With a high quality, smooth, distortion free setup, a lower volume will do very nicely.
I am sure there are other reasons for someone to push the volume up, but in practice, a smooth low distortion setup, can have the opposite effect.
With my setup (Hugo2 and Audeze LCD-XC 21), I get to hear perfectly well at much lower volumes, than I could with my mobile phone and my cheap IEMs.
 
Mar 9, 2023 at 5:48 PM Post #24,204 of 25,572
Wondering what is the best headphone running straight off the Chord Dave? Sent my amp for repair. Seeing if I can add a headphone in the interim.

The 2022 Utopia is probably the best candidate I can think of, especially with its bit of warmth over the original. Anything easier to power that isn't inherently bright pairs well. I.e. original Utopia could get a bit hot with it, but that was due to inherent issues with the OG Utopia highs.

I personally would stay away from any of the high impedance headphones that are notoriously hard to drive, unless you get a good deal or want to use them when you get the amp back. The Dave can power them volume wise but they'll be limited. I would probably go Utopia, Caldera, or something along those lines.
 
Mar 9, 2023 at 7:44 PM Post #24,205 of 25,572
Focal Utopia
 
Mar 10, 2023 at 3:16 AM Post #24,208 of 25,572
The last few days I have been running a Abyss 1266 TC straight out of the Dave - I prefer it to running off a Benchmark AHB2. I need to listen to the TC more over the next few days, not sure their overall balance/resolution matches my desire for a complimentary pairing with the SR1A. But the Dave doesn't seem to be the bottleneck here.
 
Mar 10, 2023 at 5:28 AM Post #24,209 of 25,572
Both Meze Elite and Hifiman HEK (I've tried V2 and SE) sound great direct out of Dave. Go for HEK if you prefer a more open and airy presentation, and go for the Elite if you prefer a better built all-rounder that is kinder to poor recordings. At a demo, the Final 8000 (og) sounded very impressive out of Dave, with a particularly strong bass, but it was heavier and less comfortable than either Elite or HEK.

I was not a fan of the og Utopia out of Dave (or anything else), primarily because of its small sound stage and prominent HF, but I haven't tried the new Utopia.
 
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Mar 10, 2023 at 7:02 AM Post #24,210 of 25,572
Elite with the new angeled alcantara pads which do the DAVEs level of detail and imaging justice.
 

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