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Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by magiccabbage, May 14, 2015.
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  1. ecwl
    Yes. I upgraded to the Aeon Flow Closed to go with my Mojo for work from the PM3 because I want a pair of closed headphones for work. I think the Aeon Flow closed is better than PM3 and I prefer it to PM1 (which is also open anyway)
    miketlse likes this.
  2. musickid
    I'm listening to the PM1 through my mscaled H2 now and the mids are stunning better than many hi end phones. The PM1 has been compared to LCD 3 and beyond. If this is the case what do folk here think about diverting all my finances towards a dave and trading in my h2/mscaler to finally just use my PM1 with the dave. It seems if you don't have the latest model it's not up to the latest trend. PM1/DAVE has had much praise as a combo. Even though all the other options equate either to more musicality or make more sense financially the idea of owning dave for the first time presents a real sense of excitement for me not found elsewhere.
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
  3. ecwl
    I have to admit, I really, really don't like the Sony Z1R because I found the frequency response very odd. Now, different people like different headphones and speakers so if you're 100% sure that's your upgrade path, then Z1R is right for you. But my main caveat is that just be sure you've listened to a lot of different musical materials on the Z1R (instead of just a few select tracks) because headphones with interesting frequency response might sound good with some music but not with others.
    I think Z1R is very easy to drive (I drove it with my Mojo at our Head-Fi meet where only 1 out of 10 people liked the Z1R driven by various amps). So it doesn't matter whether you have Hugo 2 or TT2 or DAVE, You'll be able to drive it fine. For someone who likes PM1 but not Audeze LCD3 and you dislike the comfort level of Ether 2, HD820 or Empyrean, I would suggest considering trying Focal Utopia, Stellia or Clear.
    Another issue is that if going M-Scaler + TT2 is already a lot of money, personally, I would not upgrade if I were in your shoes. I would probably keep on listening to various headphones until I find a new comfortable one that is truly sonically an upgrade to your PM1 before upgrading. While I do think M-Scaler + DAVE or DAVE alone is better than say Hugo 2 (since I've actually listened to these setups, rather than M-Scaler + Hugo 2), I do think it's not something that's likely worthwhile for most people given the financial stretch. And I waited about 5 years before I finally upgraded my HD650 to Focal Utopia and I waited 5 years to go from HD280Pro to PM3 and another 3 years before I upgraded to Aeon Flow Closed. I have a small head so it's hard to find headphones that fit comfortably. And there are many headphones that just have slightly different sound but are not a true dramatic improvement. I'm lucky that these upgrades are no longer a financial stretch like they used to be 10 years ago. But essentially, I still wait for the next product that I believe are truly special and fit my needs and finances before upgrading.
    With all that said, sometimes, just do what feels right. Whatever upgrades you choose, you'll be happy with.
    bidn likes this.
  4. burbster
    Thank you for your detailed and insightful response.
    Called in to local shop, still no etude but I now have a spm1200 on home demo driven straight from Dave. Sounding nice!
  5. Triode User
    I tried an SPM 1200 Mk2 for a couple of weeks but eventually bought a Pass Labs XA30.8 having compared them back to back in my system connected direct to Dave and driving Spendor SP200 speakers. The SPM 1200 is a fine amp but it all comes down to personal preference at that level.
    burbster likes this.
  6. musickid
    Thankyou ecwl excellent advice there. I keep remembering how Rob favours mscaling musicality if the other option was dave's transparency. Mscaled with TT2 here. However my dealer has offered me in addition to my h2/hms traded in just £3200 for a dave yes £3200! In this scenario i would be using my PM1 with the dave as i could not afford to upgrade cans or add an mscaler. Interestingly on the TT thread the argument concerning 1st gen chord sound (natural,warm,organic?) vs chord gen 2 sound hugo 2 with mscaler and so on is looming and adding another dimension to my quandary. In addition Ray prefers an mscaled h2 as does Romaz vs a solo dave. I have a few weeks before i do the deal and if i go for a dave i will be using it with my PM1 and maybe next year afford an mscaler//new cans. To be honest i've tried focal headphones and find the headband very rigid.

    The sound quality of the PM1 is very close to 2-3K headphones and i wonder if it were released today if it would be all the rave. £3K for a dave is compelling but is this the right step forwards? Time will tell. Thanks to all as i've been trying to get multi-perspectives today which i will then analyse later. I have heard Dvorak's slavonic dances from a solo dave with my PM1 at Sonority Design in the West Midlands and was totally gripped. Listening to Carly Simon with the same set up i can hear a warmer more organic presentation in line with the "chord gen 1" sound found in mojo-hugo-TT. Is it accurate to even define a chord gen1 vs 2 sound as is being discussed on the TT thread?? Dave is firmly generation 2 i now know.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
  7. ecwl
    Like @Triode User, I would caution you on getting SPM1200 (Mk I or Mk II). I think it is probably better in the UK or Wales but I've found in Canada (and maybe the US too), some Chord dealers tend to stock older generations of Chord amps that they need to move. As a result, they rarely agree to bring in new amps unless you're reasonably committed to buying. Personally, I think if you're happy with SPM1200 and you're ready to pay Etude prices, you can probably just order Etude and the dealer can take care of it for you. If you're not committed, you should insist on your dealer bringing in a demo as I think Chord in general is fairly accommodating. If not, you can probably PM John Franks about this to get a demo for your dealer.
    I do think Pass Labs XA30.8 has a different sound than Chord amps (from dealer demo I've listened to in a different setup) and I definitely would not choose SPM1200 Mk I over XA30.8 and I suspect I also would not choose SPM1200 Mk II over XA30.8 either. But I suspect (without having done A/B testing), I would choose Etude over XA30.8 but I would totally understand if some people would prefer XA30.8 over Etude.
    burbster and Triode User like this.
  8. ecwl
    Hmmm... I agree there are two generation of sounds from Chord DACs but this is how I would classify them (in order of sonic quality):
    Gen 1: Mojo, 2Qute, Hugo, Hugo TT,
    Gen 2: Hugo 2, Qutest, Hugo TT2, DAVE
    Blu2/M-Scaler is a totally game-changer that has less to do with the DAC technology itself and more to do with tap length and upsampling.
    That's why I would never compare your Hugo 2 sound to the true Gen 1 sound.
    However, the more gripping sound from DAVE is due to the 20-element pulse array (vs Hugo 2 and TT2's 10-element pulse array), higher order noise shaper and improved power supply. From all the Head-Fi posts on TT2 I've skimmed through, many have said that TT2 is a huge upgrade from Hugo 2 because of the improved power supply and higher order noise shaper. Obviously DAVE would even be better but I know 100% if I were in your shoes, and I've decided to upgrade to either M-Scaler+TT2 vs DAVE right now, I'd choose M-Scaler+TT2 and just choose to never listen to DAVE again.
    That said, my decision is based on my biases and my experiences with Mojo, 2Qute, DAVE and Blu2/M-scaler (and dealer demos in the past with TT, Hugo, Hugo 2, Qutest).
    I totally get that your preferences would be different. And like I said earlier, whatever you decide in the end, I think you'll be super happy with it.
    musickid likes this.
  9. musickid
    Many thanks ecwl. Not listening to dave again has the opposite effect if you understand!! Do you know why a 20 element pulse array had me totally absorbed? Ignoring the improved noise shaper and power supply in dave so what does a 20 element pulse array do that a 10 element does not in terms of listening?
  10. simorag
    Re: DAVE crossfeed magic

    This is old news, I know, but I could not resist reporting about this once again.

    After listening to some binaural recordings, hence switching back to the crossfeed = 0, I wanted to please myself with the good old Beethoven 9th tonight (Tilson Thomas, SFS), in this outstanding recording, but I felt I was not enjoying it as much as I remembered.


    Then, clicking back to crossfeed = 3, i.e. my usual setting since I only listen through headphones, BANG here I am in the music hall again!

    The depth, naturalness, immersivity of the sound experience is really .. magical for a headphone (credit to be given to the AB-1266 TC as well, of course).
    A slightly warmer / darker sound signature, at no expense of transparency and detail, is another welcome side-effect to my ears.

    I believe crossfeed implementation is a strong asset of Chord DACs, and DAVE in particular, for headphones users :L3000:
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
    muski likes this.
  11. ecwl
    Now I get what you’re saying. All the improvements are similar, more elements, better noise shaper and better power supply just all lead to lower noise and better transparency, better micro dynamics and better details which does translate somewhat to more accurate timbre, and definitely better depth perception.

    The real problem is when you have DAVE, you’ll want M-Scaler and DAVE. I am reasonably confident of that, now I have a better appreciation from your perspective. This is why the top of the line setup is not M-scaler+TT2 or DAVE, it’s M-Scaler+DAVE. So you might as well save up until you can sell the Hugo 2 and buy DAVE.
  12. musickid
    The jump from h2 to dave is 6700 sterling. Too much at one go. Listening to Le Concert by Armand Amar.

    Last edited: May 31, 2019
  13. Triode User
    Or keep an eye open for a second hand Dave. The last one I saw went for about 5500 on UK ebay and H2 typically sell for 1200 on UK ebay so the upgrade by that route is 4300 sterling . . . .
  14. Rob Watts
    Yes agreed; crossfeed on HP with Dave/Hugo2/Hugo TT2 makes a big difference to depth perception. Oddly, it didn't happen with Hugo, and is due to Dave's small signal resolution - principally the 350dB capable noise shaping. Funnily enough on my flight up too Edinburgh on Thursday, I had Hugo 2 set to crossfeed off for the first 5 minutes - thought it sounded flat - turned on to crossfeed 3 (blue) and the soundstage opened up dramatically.

    I see the discussion about gen 1 and gen 2 designs. Note Dave is firmly and absolutely gen 2; it took 2 to 3 years to develop (working most of my time solely on Dave) and the DACs following Dave all use Dave's topology and use Dave's code too for the core audio path.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
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  15. burbster
    I had not considered the pass labs at all, certainly something to consider, although on paper it looks a little low on power for my set up?
    Putting subjective opinions aside I am noticing a lot more detail being retrieved with the 1200 straight from Dave. I suspect, as someone earlier suggested, this could be down to the change in pre amp more than the power amp.

    I’m also going to demo a gamut d200i as well, although it’s a 3 hour drive to hear it!
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