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I actually can’t figure out where they get the price tag from....
There was a healthy amount of sarcasm in my original post. Clearly overpriced.
Lol, clearly went right over my head!
What isn’t over priced these days. Have not met a flagship or a upgrade without jaw dropping price increases.
Will take Sony another 20 years to catch up with Chord Electronics, and only if they stop developing great DACs such as DAVE
They never will catch up without Rob Watts!
Has anyone had a good experience driving the Abyss PHI direct from DAVE or is an amp an absolute necessity to get the best sound out it the HMS is added to the chain?
Also wondering how well the STAX SR009 with any amp pairs with the DAVE with HMS?
How does the Eleven XI Audio Formula S amp compare to the Master 9 which is a much more reasonably priced amp, especially if for most listening the DAVE is great alone. I also wonder what the HMS adds to the Abyss PHI experience without an amp?
I made the mistake of listening to a Dave today for the first time. My bank account is going to hate me. It shouldn’t have been a surprise since I owned a mojo and currently have a Hugo 2 but man the higher up the Chord ladder you go, it’s impressive.
The thing that really knocks me out is how clean and pure it is. Just completely natural. And that wasn’t even with TOTL headphones pluggged in.
Have you placed the order?
Not yet. I need to spend the night listening to my Hugo 2 and convincing myself not to spend the money
I do think I’ll consider getting one in the next 6 months. It also gave me the urge to really give the Hugo TT2 a solid look. I’ll also have to read up on MScaler + HugoTT2 combo too.
I haven't compared the Formula S back to back with AGD amp, only can report about DAVE direct vs. DAVE used as a DAC combined with Audio GD NOS11 used as an amp. The amp section is derived from the Master 9 but presumably M9 would perform better so take my impressions with more than the usual pinch of salt.
When I tried DAVE + NOS11 to my Abyss Phi, I felt that I was not getting any better than DAVE direct. In fact, I felt I was loosing too much of the DAVE's magical transparency, 3D ambience and speed (as in the ability of handling transients - attack and decay - in a very natural and effortless fashion).
With the Formula S + Powerman, the trade-off is more compelling, and with some tracks / music types / listening levels I feel the XI Audio combo offers an overall better experience than DAVE direct. That said, I would not consider adding an amp to the DAVE "necessary" to drive the Abyss Phi in general, as it is very much dependent to what someone likes, his/her hearing sensitivity etc.. (I still do a good part of my listening with HMS+DAVE direct). I would recommend trying before buying in this case even more than usual, because there is the serious risk that adding an amp actually makes things worse.
Coming to the M Scaler, the improvement of the listening experience compared to DAVE alone - with or without an amp in the chain - is in general very noticeable in many ways to my ears (with most tracks). When it comes to the paring with the Phi in particular, I would mention better treble (more refined and natural), warmer, more present and meatier vocals and improved bass definition and resolution.
My very first impression was that sub-bass response was a bit less deep, but I then I realized (even with the help of specific tracks from Stereophile and Chesky test CDs) that the Phi bass extension with the HMS in the chain is as good as ever, and the perception of a slightly less bass was due to the tightness and articulation improvement.
Double bass plucks, electric bass harmonics and phrasing are more realistic with the HMS in place.
After all, if I want my skull rattled with some rap, electronic or organ music I can always adjust the pad positioning on the Phi, where a slight opening around the lower part of my jaws produces a very satisfying physical bass feeling, close to a subwoofer experience (within the limitations of a headphone, of course).
Are you using a balanced cable on the PHI. The DAVE only has balanced XLR outputs on the back??
I am using an XLR cable direct to the Formula S, while connecting to the DAVE headphone jack via the XLR to 1/4'' adapter that came with the Abyss Lite package. Based on several posts on this thread, including Rob Watts posts, the XLR output of the DAVE should not be used with headphones.
Still searching for the best amp synergy with DAVE and Abyss PHI that is most transparent, not over $2K budget and comes with a remote control for volume.