New Zealand - Auckland / Northland - DAC / amp ABX testers wanted

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  1. Badas
    I really like a analog sound. Hense the Yggy. Yggy is extremely smooth and analog sounding.

    I find the esaber chipsets so digital. Too much focus on treble. Plus the treble sparkles. Often mistaken for detail. Actually distortion.

    Wa22 and Ether are bad. It falls apart. Planar doesn’t like tube amps. Sounds totally different from the more grunty V281. Planar likes power.
    I do need a better HP for the WA22. I have the HD6xx coming.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
  2. Badas
    Oops! I should also add my Ethers are not standard. They are fitted with the newer Electo Static ear pads than Dan developed.
    They do sound a little different.
  3. robthemac
    I suggest that @Badas chooses his favourite DAC/amp/HP combination, and we use that as a starting point. Happy to offer up my LCD3 or K812, but the Violectric/Ether sounds like a good place to start.

    Start with comparing the chosen TOTL combination to simply coming straight out of a laptop motherboard. Each participant listens to a certain number of samples (I suggest at least ten), first through each of the setups (A/B), then either A or B is replayed and they have to identify which (X). Repeat with the rest of the tracks for each participant.

    I think we should each choose a few tracks that we are familiar with. If each of us chose three or four, that would be about ten in total. To save time, we only listen to the first 20 or 30 seconds of each track. We identify the tracks in advance, so each of us can familiarize ourselves with them and listen for the overall character as well as the finer details.

    If one of us does better than chance, we move on to comparing individual components. We could compare the laptop output to the Yggy, with each running through the Violectric. Then compare the V281 to my $40 Behringer headphone amp, with each coming out of the Yggy. These tests would identify which individual components matter.

    My partner is a pretty reasonable statistician who is happy to calculate statistical significance once we have some data.
  4. Badas
    That seems a fair test.

    Only thing I would change is the 20-30 seconds. My ears are sensitive to treble and things only
    reveal themselves in a chorus.
  5. robthemac
    We could do any 30 seconds of the songs. It just makes sense to keep it short to allow us to get as much data as possible.
  6. Badas
    Okay. I'm cool with it all. Even tho I have the most to loose. It would be funny if the cheaper gear matched the gear I have.

    PM me with some suggested dates. Saturday might be the best day for me. Sundays I like to keep free for JetSking.
    Be aware we are approaching crazy busy time of the year and my available time is disappearing quickly.

  7. Yourmomm
    I saw them but decided the hole was too big for my ear...i do this weird thing with the ethers where I use the smaller hole to cup and hold the backs of my ears a treat to improve the sound, and no difference to comfort levels, believe it or not...

    Mebbe @robthemac is right about cheap things making big changes...

    I'm in, depending on date chosen. Saturdays work better for me, too. If I still have it, I'll bring my WA2 so we can do an ABA comparison at the end, without all the science... I suspect it'll be harder to pick from the wa22 than your laptop is from the yggy, but I still reckon there should be reliable differences. Also the chord if you just want a listen out of curiosity's sake, badas...
  8. Badas
    I agree with you on the whole comfort thing on the Ethers.
    I have a love / hate relationship with them.
    I don't find them overly comfortable. My ears just fit the pads.
    The new pads do help with taming the treble.
    Not sure about the overall sound of the Ethers. I do like them more than
    the LCD-X and LCD-3 that I use to have. However sometimes I just want to
    throw them. They can sound harsh on occasion.
    I prefer the NightHawks a lot more. However I do listen overly dark.
    I'm not sure about some cheap things making things sound better. My experience
    has been the opposite. The more I upgraded the better the sound. Very noticeable.
    Each upgrade I could hear in the first 10 minutes. Especially DAC's. They have made
    huge leaps in my system.
    I have gone from the Oppo HA-1 to the ArcamIRDac to the Auralic Vega to the Yggy.
    I have also heard a Sim Audio HA-2, Bricasti, Hegel H20 and Pvane. Pvane is slightly
    better than the Yggy. Both are R2R chipsets.

    Please remember I don't want to rip my system apart. I will remove the turn table and other
    amps could be fitted temporarily on the Yggy.
  9. robthemac
    My expectation is that the DAC will probably make a noticable difference, but the amplifier won't. We'll double-blind the rater to make sure our prejudices don't influence the results too much.
  10. Badas
    DAC’s certainly make the biggest difference. Amps should be as a transparent as possible. Wired with gain. Amps are more about Synergy. You have to find one which works best with HP collection.
    Finally there is the HP’s. Whatever flavour they are.

    I think the biggest mistake people make is changing DAC’s and Amps to change the HP. If the HP is not working get rid of it.
  11. Yourmomm
    The problem I've had is that I love the sound of low power tube amps (always have), and I love the sound of the ethers, too... But the two just don't go together, in my experience, no matter how much you then I've had to start spending separately on both tastes, (which gets VERY expensive, very quickly). Then, at least you have different options, to match specific types of music mood and style.

    But no money.

    I still don't have a decent amp for the Ethers, despite spending thousands in the search for 'one amp that rules it all'. And, (since my Hd800s got nicked, which I didn't rate THAT much), I've got no real top-end dynamics, to pair with my yet-to-arrive EC ZDS: but, until I can afford to try the focal utopias, I'm more than happy with my HD600's.

    I think the key is to choose a DAC, and HPs, whose sound you like, then fit the amp(s) to these...i haven't even bothered with dacs, yet. Yggy way out of my price range. Was thinking more along the lines of Gungnir, though, or these look interesting for my Ethers:

    Especially since they're now easily available at 2/3 those prices... I like the sound of a configurable Dac, whose sound you can tailor to your preference (or HP)...
  12. Badas
    Focal Utopia is not all that. I’ve spent a lot of time with them. They sound great on your first impression. The more you listen the more you realise they are lean in the midrange.

    The HP that has impressed me is the HE1Km2. That thing really sounds end game to me. I really should get one. However once again it is Planar and won’t match with the WA22.

    I’m hopeful that the HD6xx (650) works with the WA22. It should being a dynamic driver. If it does I will rewire to balanced and be done with all HP’s.

    I have a hard time with this hobby as it’s not really my main focus.
    I have a state of the art Home Theater with $120k worth of gear. Featuring a $35K 4K UHD projector and 2500 watts amplified sound system.
    I also have two JetSkis that I love.
    So HP’s are just a side hobby. In a distant 3rd place.

    Another HP I was impressed with and will be magic with the WA22 is the HD800s. I liked that even tho I didn’t like the HD800.
  13. robthemac
    So no chance of doing this on a Sunday prior to Christmas for you guys? My Saturdays are looking pretty busy already...
  14. Yourmomm
    Sundays pretty much out for me as I've got commitments...
  15. Badas
    Sundays during summer is not good for me also.
    Family JetSki's/wakeboards/tubes as much as possible.

    I am off for three weeks during Xmas. Away camping 29th-6th.
    I can do one afternoon in that 3 weeks 22nd-15th.
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