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Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by magiccabbage, May 14, 2015.
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  1. ray-dude
    100% conjecture, but the only reason I'm looking at the AHB2 is I'm assuming Chord digital amps beefy enough for my setup (100W+) are at least 3-4 years away.  I would love to get a hint that I'm wrong (hint hint :wink: so the amp upgrade money could get flipped into a Blu2 or Davina
    Here is another amp that I would give strong consideration to pairing with the DAVE. SPL makes the best headphone amp I have ever tried, out of many, many. The same 120v technology is in this baby. The numbers don't look quite as pretty as some of the other mentioned here, but the technology is what makes it so hot. I have no idea how I would audition one of these, though. If it's anything like the headphone amp, the soundstage and headroom on this thing should go on for days. $3,499 I think.
  3. Edric Li
    Can you comment on the headphone amp quality in the Dave, compared to SPL's headphone amps you have come across?
    Yes, the DAVE's headphone output blows everything else away. Period.
    The SPL Auditor, on the other hand, when used in conjunction with any other DAC elevated the sound considerably. I found it to be the definition of "neutral" and "transparent" while really letting the music breath in an effortless way. The Auditor never sounded squeezed or boxed in as many headphones amps sound. It came from the pro-audio world, and is used for microscopic views in the mastering stage when a different vantage from speakers is needed. Bernie Grundman uses one. Zero fatigue.
    In sum, the DAVE's headphone output is very musical. The SPL Auditor is very analytical, yet spacious, but don't confuse that with being etched. It's will only sound etched if your digital source is etched.
    I don't know why the DAVE and the Auditor were not simpatico, though. Then again I've heard two other headphones amps with the DAVE that I didn't think sounded very good either. Go figure.
    Edric Li likes this.
  5. jelt2359 Contributor
    Meanwhile, here in Singapore, four First Watt F7's are on their way over, in addition to the one I already have. Another guy just contacted me with interest to get one and pair it with his DAVE to drive his HE1000.
    Here's what a guy from Pass Labs said, when I asked him to compare it with their other amps:
    This is only my take, The F7 is a carnival joy ride, spatially it images like nothing I've heard. The imaging abilites of the F7 are a double edged sword. With honest acoustic recordings it's charming. With recordings that have been manipulated in studio for exaggerated sound-stage it can be too much of a good thing. 
  6. astrostar59

    Perceived loudness and drive, dynamic range etc can be hugely influenced by the efficiency of the speakers and the size of room there are in. I would guess the Benchmark could sound very different with horn speakers v panels v 86db v 93db speakers. An example of dynamics v power output, we can look at a typical tube amplifier with 20-30 watt output, yet it can sound very loud and dynamic, partly as it pure class A. Then we can have (in some cases) a 4300 watt solid state that can sound thin and flat, a bit lifeless regardless of specified power. This is a huge generalisation and not as applicable as much with (the best) modern solid state designs, but you get my drift.
    Also with solid state amplifiers I find the amount of bias into Class A affects the sound v dynamics as well. Most modern amplifiers run AB and some into Class A up to 10% of their output, then switching into AB. Class A is superb for it's sound but generates huge amounts of excess heat and is fairly impractical in many room settings, not to mention wasted energy!
    So, in my view is the efficiency of the speaker is probably as or more important than power output at the speaker taps. And the ease of drive of a speaker comes in as well, 2 or 3 way designs generally being easier to drive as regards impedance curve and current demands.
    I went through quite a few tube power amplifiers, SETs, PP, 300B and EL34s, and had some success but also some problems. I now run a solids state power amplifier and feel I am within 90% of the best I got from tube amplifiers but without the problems (and cost of expensive power tubes).
    Sorry, if this has gone a bit off topic, but a subject I am passionate about.
  7. seeteeyou
    Now Blu Mk. 2 should be shipping and owners of DAVE will receive their orders in the near future, I'd like to ask a mighty interesting question.
    Let's say we're connecting a quality recorder to DAVE's line output, are we still able to "capture and retain the magic" of M-Scaler (at least partially?) when we're playing those recorded *.WAV files with Hugo 2 etc. later by any chance?
    Alternatively, it would be still pretty cool to get half of 1,000,000 taps by recording one coaxial output of Blu Mk. 2 and then play those recorded files with 100% digital systems such as connecting Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT to a smartphone.
  8. Crgreen
    As to your first point, obviously what comes out of DAVE's line outputs into a recording device is the same as goes to a preamp or power amp: so the sound quality will be a reflection of the m-scaler and DAVE, and the full benefit of a million taps.
  9. seeteeyou
    Thank you very much, now the $64,000 question should be how much would other non-Chord DACs (i.e. based on DAC-chips from AKM or ESS etc.) benefit from playing those recorded files.
    If there were a significant jump in the SQ department, stuff like MQA might become even less appealing when we could count on some kinda "Redbook upsamling service" after a few audiophile buddies have chipped in to share the costs of Blu Mk. 2 + DAVE + recorder combo.
    Granted each recording must be done in real time and upsampled files will be huge, thankfully hard drives are getting so cheap these days while a decent NAS wouldn't cost that much anyways. It's REALLY nice to be able to keep a copy of Redbook that's actually superior to the ripped version. Rare music in Redbook format might never get a remaster but at least there's a viable alternative to obtain the DIY version of a much better flavor.
    Am I totally crazy to think about stuff like this or what?
  10. Rob Watts
    Commercial ADC's are not very good or transparent; hence why Davina's ADC.
    Davina will also allow redbook conversion to M scaled files; I plan to M scale some of my music to play back on planes with Hugo 2. Of course, its pure digital to digital transfer, so in effect I will be listening to M scaled music without carrying around an M scaler. Perhaps we may see music being re-released as 705/768 kHz M scaled...
    Chord Electronics Stay updated on Chord Electronics at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    https://www.facebook.com/chordelectronics https://twitter.com/chordaudio http://www.chordelectronics.co.uk/
  11. dmance
    So the standard FLAC (...etc) file formats will properly contain those high res files?  And Hugo2 will play them back directly?   
  12. Crgreen

    I think the "problem" point in the chain would be the recording device, specifically: the ability of the analogue to digital converter to retain the benefits of what's coming out of DAVE's analogue outputs. You'd be going from a digital file to analogue and then back to a dgital file. There's plenty of potential to lose any benefits. The resulting file might conceivably be worse than the original. Frankly, I'm not sure it's a very practical idea.
  13. Rob Watts
    FLAC does not support 705/768 kHz so it would have to be a WAV file. Zipping should give good compression though on a 768 kHz WAV.
    Chord Electronics Stay updated on Chord Electronics at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    https://www.facebook.com/chordelectronics https://twitter.com/chordaudio http://www.chordelectronics.co.uk/
  14. seeteeyou
    Thanks Rob for the prompt reply.
    Is it feasible to design a product in the future with both USB input(s) and outputs since we could feed M scaler as well as record that M scaled goodness with the same computer?
    Supposedly jitters still matter even though we're going digital, maybe we could find a decent motherboard and then replace the clocks with something like this?
    It's gotta be exciting time once we realize the quality of 705/768 kHz M scaled music. They're already selling tons and tons of "Hi-Res" downloads in Japan after they've upscaled Redbook with K2HD Mastering
    Apparently we could use Google Translate to learn more about quite a few complaints
    Of course the "holy grail" would be recording master tapes with Davina and that's pretty much the best bet if those tapes were still available.
  15. Rob Watts
    Davina is bi-directional on the USB; it can receive and transmit data at the same time.
    Chord Electronics Stay updated on Chord Electronics at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    https://www.facebook.com/chordelectronics https://twitter.com/chordaudio http://www.chordelectronics.co.uk/
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