Grace Design x Massdrop m9XX DAC/Amp Review: First Impressions
Nov 29, 2016 at 11:27 AM Post #1,816 of 2,150

fjrabon

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Yes. And hd600. For now...


I'd probably go Jotenheim for now, with an eye towards eventually upgrading the DAC to a Modi Multibit.  HD6XX balanced out of the Jot is very nice.  I'd probably sell the HD600 when you get the HD6XX to help fund that.  The MM can stack on top of the Jot to the left of the vent holes.  
 
Another option is the Audioengine D1.  Sounds pretty good with the HD600 and HD6XX.  It's obviously a bit lower end, but its amp works well with the Senns, and the DAC is pretty nice.
 
Nov 29, 2016 at 12:05 PM Post #1,817 of 2,150

ld100

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I'd probably go Jotenheim for now, with an eye towards eventually upgrading the DAC to a Modi Multibit.  HD6XX balanced out of the Jot is very nice.  I'd probably sell the HD600 when you get the HD6XX to help fund that.  The MM can stack on top of the Jot to the left of the vent holes.  

Another option is the Audioengine D1.  Sounds pretty good with the HD600 and HD6XX.  It's obviously a bit lower end, but its amp works well with the Senns, and the DAC is pretty nice.


Really? It is under 150 I think. So you tried it and it sounds good with Sennheiser? I am surprised. Also I am surprised you recommending Shiit over Grace. I am just not sure I was right to spend that much. 400 for the amp and then 250 for DAC... I want something in a single box and for a little less....
 
Nov 29, 2016 at 12:14 PM Post #1,818 of 2,150

fjrabon

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Really? It is under 150 I think. So you tried it and it sounds good with Sennheiser? I am surprised. Also I am surprised you recommending Shiit over Grace. I am just not sure I was right to spend that much. 400 for the amp and then 250 for DAC... I want something in a single box and for a little less....


yeah, the D1 sounds good with senns.  I think the Grace (and a lot of other systems) is a bit better, but I was giving a cheap option that still sounds pretty good.  The Jot DAC is fine for a starting point if you want to slowly build your system.  But you will want to eventually upgrade the DAC.  I'd love to recommend that Grace, but the HD650 (and thus the HD6XX) is probably the headphone it synergizes least with amongst top end headphones.  The Grace's smooth response combines with the HD650's smoothness and comes out as just sort of lazy.  It's not a "not enough power thing" because I love the m9XX with the HD800, which requires just as much power.  It's more that the HD6XX needs something that's a bit "edgy" to counter its ultra smooth presentation.  Another cheap option that will serve you well if you eventually upgrade is the DragonFly Red.  Works really well with the HD650, and when you upgrade, it can still be valuable as your portable solution.  
 
Nov 29, 2016 at 12:25 PM Post #1,819 of 2,150

ld100

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yeah, the D1 sounds good with senns.  I think the Grace (and a lot of other systems) is a bit better, but I was giving a cheap option that still sounds pretty good.  The Jot DAC is fine for a starting point if you want to slowly build your system.  But you will want to eventually upgrade the DAC.  I'd love to recommend that Grace, but the HD650 (and thus the HD6XX) is probably the headphone it synergizes least with amongst top end headphones.  The Grace's smooth response combines with the HD650's smoothness and comes out as just sort of lazy.  It's not a "not enough power thing" because I love the m9XX with the HD800, which requires just as much power.  It's more that the HD6XX needs something that's a bit "edgy" to counter its ultra smooth presentation.  Another cheap option that will serve you well if you eventually upgrade is the DragonFly Red.  Works really well with the HD650, and when you upgrade, it can still be valuable as your portable solution.  


I have dragonfly black which sounds not to bad with HD600, but lucks volume control and speakers preouts.

I think that now I understand the issue with Sennheiser 6 series. Now it makes sense. All these negative comments are quite confusing as logically a good amp should work great with Sennheiser 6s, but now with your explanation it all makes sense. Laidback with more laidback on top could be not that great.

Is there anything esle that you could recommend? I do not mind up to six bills. I want a single box desktop smallish with preouts amp and dac combo. I am planning to get other headphones eventually...
 
Nov 29, 2016 at 12:43 PM Post #1,820 of 2,150

fjrabon

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I have dragonfly black which sounds not to bad with HD600, but lucks volume control and speakers preouts.

I think that now I understand the issue with Sennheiser 6 series. Now it makes sense. All these negative comments are quite confusing as logically a good amp should work great with Sennheiser 6s, but now with your explanation it all makes sense. Laidback with more laidback on top could be not that great.

Is there anything esle that you could recommend? I do not mind up to six bills. I want a single box desktop smallish with preouts amp and dac combo. I am planning to get other headphones eventually...


I liked the Matrix HPA3U+ with the HD650 quite a bit.  Never heard it with the HD600, so I somewhat hesitate to personally make the recommendation, as I don't like to tout things i have not personally heard myself, but if you're asking for options to fit your needs.  Also the iFi Micro iDSD is great, but again, I haven't personally heard it with the HD600.  It should work well with it, but again, I can't personally vouch for it.
 
Nov 29, 2016 at 1:15 PM Post #1,821 of 2,150

Hi-Fi EDU

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I have dragonfly black which sounds not to bad with HD600, but lucks volume control and speakers preouts.

I think that now I understand the issue with Sennheiser 6 series. Now it makes sense. All these negative comments are quite confusing as logically a good amp should work great with Sennheiser 6s, but now with your explanation it all makes sense. Laidback with more laidback on top could be not that great.

Is there anything esle that you could recommend? I do not mind up to six bills. I want a single box desktop smallish with preouts amp and dac combo. I am planning to get other headphones eventually...

 
Although I tend to agree with fjrabon (ex. no argument on the whole powering headphones thing), you should also not forget to take into account his personal preferences/perspectives. He's definitely not trying to mislead or anything but "sort of lazy" or "veiled" according to one person might not be to another. He may just not like that tonal balance, which I think he's said as much in past posts. Case in point: the Nighthawks, which some might also describe as lazy/veiled maybe even moreso than the HD650, to my ears pair marvelously with the m9XX. Not too laidback and not lacking appropriate edge or control when called for. If I'd tried the HD650 on my m9XX I'd also offer you my opinion on the pairing (I've only heard it on a Bottlehead Crack). However based on my NH experience, I do have the odd feeling I'd personally enjoy it very much with the HD650/600. If you can afford the time, I'd start with one of the above, appropriate recommendations that gives you the most flexibility in returns and listen for yourself. It's not ideal but it's likely your safest bet.
 
Nov 29, 2016 at 1:19 PM Post #1,822 of 2,150

fjrabon

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Although I tend to agree with fjrabon (ex. no argument on the whole powering headphones thing), you should also not forget to take into account his personal preferences/perspectives. He's definitely not trying to mislead or anything but "sort of lazy" or "veiled" according to one person might not be to another. He may just not like that tonal balance, which I think he's said as much in past posts. Case in point: the Nighthawks, which some might also describe as lazy/veiled maybe even moreso than the HD650, to my ears pair marvelously with the m9XX. Not too laidback and not lacking appropriate edge or control when called for. If I'd tried the HD650 on my m9XX I'd also offer you my opinion on the pairing (I've only heard it on a Bottlehead Crack). However based on my NH experience, I do have the odd feeling I'd personally enjoy it very much with the HD650/600. If you can afford the time, I'd start with one of the above, appropriate recommendations that gives you the most flexibility in returns and listen for yourself. It's not ideal but it's likely your safest bet.


yeah, that's true for sure.  I hate the Nighthawks, like an extreme amount.  Those and the Beyerdynamic DT990s are the headphones I've liked by far the least of any hi-fi headphones I've ever tried (for opposite reasons).
 
Nov 29, 2016 at 1:32 PM Post #1,823 of 2,150

Hi-Fi EDU

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yeah, that's true for sure.  I hate the Nighthawks, like an extreme amount.  Those and the Beyerdynamic DT990s are the headphones I've liked by far the least of any hi-fi headphones I've ever tried (for opposite reasons).

 
tongue.gif
My feelings on the NHs couldn't be more opposite. Yet that's the beauty and the bane of this audio game that we enjoy, especially when it comes to communicating about it.
 
Nov 29, 2016 at 2:44 PM Post #1,824 of 2,150

ld100

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Although I tend to agree with fjrabon (ex. no argument on the whole powering headphones thing), you should also not forget to take into account his personal preferences/perspectives. He's definitely not trying to mislead or anything but "sort of lazy" or "veiled" according to one person might not be to another. He may just not like that tonal balance, which I think he's said as much in past posts. Case in point: the Nighthawks, which some might also describe as lazy/veiled maybe even moreso than the HD650, to my ears pair marvelously with the m9XX. Not too laidback and not lacking appropriate edge or control when called for. If I'd tried the HD650 on my m9XX I'd also offer you my opinion on the pairing (I've only heard it on a Bottlehead Crack). However based on my NH experience, I do have the odd feeling I'd personally enjoy it very much with the HD650/600. If you can afford the time, I'd start with one of the above, appropriate recommendations that gives you the most flexibility in returns and listen for yourself. It's not ideal but it's likely your safest bet.

 
Certainly. But at least now I think I understand why there such strong opinion from few people that Grace and Senn do not match well. I like laid back and darkish personally. Still thinking about getting Massdrop's Grace.
 
Nov 29, 2016 at 3:16 PM Post #1,825 of 2,150

ld100

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Do you guys have experience with ODAC? There also seems to be a similar notion that it is great, but not matchable with HD6s... JDS Labs just released few new products and they look quite interesting... 
 
Nov 29, 2016 at 3:22 PM Post #1,826 of 2,150

fjrabon

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  Do you guys have experience with ODAC? There also seems to be a similar notion that it is great, but not matchable with HD6s... JDS Labs just released few new products and they look quite interesting... 


The ODAC has always seemed to have a pretty mediocre soundstage and a bit of harshness to it to my ears.  It's fine, but not great.  
 
Nov 30, 2016 at 9:10 AM Post #1,827 of 2,150

Nirvana1000

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Between the Mojo and Grace,which DAC is darker?
 
Nov 30, 2016 at 12:20 PM Post #1,828 of 2,150

fjrabon

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Nov 30, 2016 at 2:17 PM Post #1,829 of 2,150

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Between the Mojo and Grace,which DAC is darker?

 
My impression was that the Mojo had a bit more presence in the treble range and had a slightly more closed in soundstage. It's a great DAC for detail hounds. The Grace is a bit more natural in presentation but they're so close, I ended up keeping the m9XX for reasons mostly besides sound quality (I needed a desktop set-up). If push came to shove and I had to choose between them based on SQ, I would pick natural over precise.
 
Dec 1, 2016 at 12:47 AM Post #1,830 of 2,150

Nirvana1000

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How does the Grace compare to your Audio GD?
 

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