Is Hifiman HM801 sufficient as a desktop DAC? Thinking abt Meier StageDAC or Audio-Gd DAC19
Jan 23, 2011 at 1:26 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 9

jelt2359

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Hi Y'all,
 
I'm using my Hifiman HM801 as a desktop DAC via its line-out. I love that I can play music off its SD card.
 
However, with my amps I've found a great value-for-money improvement with going desktop instead of portable. Should I do this with my HM801? I'm looking at 'value-for-money' ones, specifically the Meier StageDAC or the Audio-Gd DAC19. Will these offer a great improvement over the HM801?
 
Thanks...
 
Jan 23, 2011 at 10:29 PM Post #2 of 9

SP Wild

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I liked the Stagedac for its customising possibilities and digital crossfeed...very versatile and very detailed.  Problem was that it wasn't enough to convince me that the WM8741 is less "digital" than the PCM1704.  I thought I heard what I felt was noticeable digital glare in the stagedac but only audible with my LCD2s.  However it was only a brief audition...a longer time spent with the stagedac might have yield different outcomes.
 
Also what headphones are you using?  If you're using cans in the HD650/K701 level...I recommend the Stagedac completely...the changeable tonal balance is brilliant for the K701 (warmup switch!) and the digital crossfeed is indispensible IMO...it is a finely tuned crossfeed algorithm...on par with the best software implementations IMO.
 
"Digital glare" only became an issue when I used the LCD2s.
 
Jan 23, 2011 at 11:34 PM Post #3 of 9

jelt2359

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I'm using the HE6s. I guess the Stagedac is not a good match then?
 
Jan 24, 2011 at 10:45 AM Post #4 of 9

SP Wild

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To be fair, I compared the stagedac A/B directly against the Bryston BDA-1 DAC, and that is a much more expensive DAC so its no surprise that the stagedac didn't sound as good.  To make matters worse I've never heard the HM801 or DAC19 - but I do own the Ref7  with the same 1704 chipsets and I am biased towards R2R chips.
 
Does it match the HE6? I wouldn't actually know without hearing your other alternatives directly.
 
Jan 24, 2011 at 11:35 PM Post #5 of 9

jelt2359

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So I found a used DAC19 and went for it. The HM801 sounds so fantastic I decided to stick with a good thing. :) Thanks for your tips..
 
Jan 25, 2011 at 4:59 PM Post #6 of 9

mrarroyo

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Having had the HM801 for a while I have had the opportunity to use it as DAC in my office rig. I was very favorably impressed and IMO it sounded better than may stand along cd-players and the output of the Wadia 170i. However only you can determine if it is good enough or not, perhaps you can compare it with your soon to arrive DAC19. Granted the cost differences should be accounted favor ...
 
Good luck.
 
Jan 26, 2011 at 10:25 PM Post #7 of 9

jelt2359

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The audio-gd has arrived. My respect for the HM801 has just gone up another notch. With the audio-gd I've had to upgrade power cable and the USB-interface just to get close to the HM801's stock (battery + sd card) performance.
 
The audio-gd does sound slightly smoother- different, but not necessarily better.
 
Jan 27, 2011 at 11:06 AM Post #8 of 9

jelt2359

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Since I'm still waiting on my Audio-Gd Digital Interface, today I plugged in my iRiver Optical Out -> DAC19. Wow. Night and day difference. Honestly, the DAC19 should just not come with a USB in. It's awful.
 

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