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Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by magiccabbage, May 14, 2015.
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  1. romaz
    Sure, give it a go and hear for yourself.
    I think the MHA100 will drive anything but not ideally.  You can drive an HE1000 to loud volumes, for example, with a 100 ohm source but it wouldn't sound as dynamic and controlled as a 1 ohm source.  Your frequency response with a 100 ohm source also won't be as flat and you will also likely notice higher distortion.
    Just to clarify, the McIntosh's autoformer is designed only for the headphone amp, not the speaker amp and McIntosh is very clear about this.  As for the output impedance of the headphone amp of the MHA100, just check Mcintosh's website and you will see that depending on the autoformer setting, it is either 8-40 ohms, 40-150 ohms, or 150-600 ohms.  As you have a DAVE, just check the user's manual and you will see its listed output impedance of 0.0055 ohms.  Now try and find any other commercially available source with an output impedance that low.  The only thing that will come close will be a good solid state speaker amp.  As for the output impedance of the MHA100's speaker amp, McIntosh doesn't specify it but since most speaker loads are 8 ohms and you state this amp is stable down to 2 ohm loads, then you can guess it will be well below 1 ohm.  As an example, the Moon 600i mentioned earlier has an output impedance of 0.03 ohms which in theory should drive a speaker load as low as 1 ohm.
    As for other headphones to try, in addition to the HE-1000, consider listening also to your HE-X (25 ohms) and the EnigmaAcoustics Dharma D1000 (26 ohms).  You can compare the MHA100 against the DAVE but it won't be an apples to apples comparison because there will be other factors at play beside impedance.  For a truer apples to apples comparison, listen to any of these headphones on the MHA100 but at different impedance settings using the autoformer (low, medium and high) and you should hear a fairly noticeable improvement as you go from the high setting to the low.  I think the fact that McIntosh even has these different impedance settings should tell you that impedance matching is important.  As for the idealized 8:1 ratio (damping factor = 8) between input impedance of a transducer and output impedance or a source, you probably understand this isn't a hard and fast rule and that some things can still sound decent at 4:1 or 2:1 or maybe even 1:1 but when you start comparing against something like 16:1, as an example, I'd be surprised if you didn't hear a cleaner, more effortless and controlled presentation with the higher ratio.
    onsionsi likes this.
  2. Rob Watts
    There is a typo in the handbook - Dave's OP impedance is actually 0.055 ohms - the damping factor is correct though. This is measured at the headphone OP, post connector.
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    onsionsi likes this.
  3. rkt31
    yes, this is the specialty of chord dacs. extremely low impedance allows dave and other chord dacs to drive even the lowest impedance headphones and even some 8 ohm horns directly. but alas some still  prefer the fat bass of high output impedance amps.
  4. romaz
    I am very open to trying this for myself.  I am having a custom set of speakers which incorporate a single 8 ohm Alnico driver made for me that have a 95dB sensitivity and can be driven sublimely with 1 watt. If I can use the DAVE to drive those directly, I will be extremely happy.
  5. LouisArmstrong
    Although at totally different price points - I would appreciate if anyone with BOTH the Dave and the Yggdrasil can compare and comment - after all, the latter is said to be comparable to DACs of many times its price, but I have been seriously in doubt. I don't think Yggdrasil should even be  in the Summit-fi category as it is Schitt at best. 
  6. jelt2359 Contributor
    I have both, but I have neither BHSE nor 009 so I'm not sure it would be relevant to you.
    Also, I have been primarily using the DAVE as a dac+headamp, whereas the Yggy is only a dac.
  7. LouisArmstrong

    Thanks - any comparison using headphone or speakers system is welcome.
  8. lovethatsound
    Some one has already done that comparison on this thread,I can't remember who did it,but it is on here somewhere.I remember them saying that the yggy wasn't in the same league as the Dave, hope that helps you out.
  9. TheAttorney
    I have compared Yggy and DAVE to the BHSE/009.
    You can get the details with the search function.
    In short, I felt they both shared a broadly similar neutral sound signature, but DAVE did everything better than Yggy in SQ terms, but not by as big a margin as the price tags would suggest.
    Others have said that the difference is much bigger. I found that Yggy was very sensitive to power cord and (with my Nagra CDC source) extremely sensitive to digital input cables. I was comparing the best Yggy cable combinations to come to my conclusion.
  10. rkt31
    I don't think one can attach a headphone directly to yggy . so how dave is comparable to yggy I don't understand. only way to compare both is by using a same preamp which defeats the purpose of dave being more direct and transparent. one way I find is to attach 600ohm headphone directly to rca of yggy and dave.
  11. rkt31
    dave when fed directly to power amp for a speaker system is the best for transparency. one member is using dave directly with benchmark ahb2 power amp in low gain mode and found the combo very transparent with kef reference speakers.
  12. Torq

    True enough ...
    But, despite DAVE being more transparent from it's direct headphone output than via an external amplifier - I still preferred listening to it via an amplifier with two out of three of my favorite headphones (Abyss and LCD-4 I preferred with additional amplification, HD800S I liked better right out of the DAVE).  The very minor loss in transparency was more than compensated for in other areas.
  13. rkt31
    I may be wrong but imho the correct way to compare the DACs are speakers not headphone because speakers can correctly portray the depth and imaging . and even more watching movies in 2 channel through the DACs is a even better test.
  14. Torq

    If you're comparing the DACs on a pure-DAC-performance level, sure.  Though it's largely irrelevant if you're not actually going to be using speakers.
    When I was comparing them I did use both headphone and speaker systems.  And obviously the speaker system does imaging in a way that headphones don't, so it was certainly useful there.  But regardless of what I decide to buy as a result of my extensive, broad, auditioning, my use case for this purchase will purely be for headphone listening.
    I wouldn't use movies as a source for any kind of audio-quality comparison, personally- but that's just me.
  15. Sonic77

    That means that the handbook is 99.9% correct, I measured it with my ears and a ruler [​IMG]
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