O2 AMP + ODAC
May 16, 2013 at 1:36 AM Post #1,471 of 5,663

miceblue

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Quote:
Has anyone experienced the  O2 + ODAC with the following headphones? 
 
HD 650
HD 800
LCD 2
Hifiman He 500
 
I have a budget of $1000+ and plan on using the headphones for mainstream (billboard top 100) music and movies. I've been told that headphones play the biggest part in influencing sound quality,  thus I'm inclined to allocate more of my budget towards headphones. Also, i might or might not have the luxury of auditioning the above headphones with the O2 and ODAC before purchase. I'm open to suggestions for other headphones as well. Looking forward to hearing from those who have heard those phones with the O2!

LCD-2.2 sounds amazing with the O2!
 
HE-500 sounds okay but the 9 kHz peak annoyed me. Tube amps help mask that flaw...
 
May 16, 2013 at 2:39 AM Post #1,472 of 5,663

Greenleaf7

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Quote:
LCD-2.2 sounds amazing with the O2!
 
HE-500 sounds okay but the 9 kHz peak annoyed me. Tube amps help mask that flaw...

That's great to hear. Since you've heard both the LCD2 and HE 500 with the O2, which of those do you feel are more suited for mainstream music?
Also, I see that you own a K701, mind telling me how it sounds through the O2? Thanks!
 
 
Quote:
 
Honestly, the O2 works well with everything just about, except those rare cans that require absurd gain. If you want power and literally the most neutral, audibly perfect sound, get the O2. Other amps are for if you want coloration, which you might very well prefer (I know I do), but facts are facts, and the O2's design, performance, and clarity is well-documented.

I second that. I don't fancy coloration, I like my music to sound as intended. Currently favoring the O2 and ODAC since it boasts an excellent price to performance ratio, is technically excellent and measures well on top of everything. What headphones do you use with your O2?
 
May 16, 2013 at 3:58 AM Post #1,473 of 5,663

ProTofik

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I heard every headphones you named on Odac and o2 and they all do very well.
For mainstreamam music i think I will recommend hd650 for you. Lcd2 are also a great choice of you can spend more money.
I don't think you will like hd800.
About he500... I just don't like these headphones...

Remember that more expensive headphones doesn't equal better sound. I heard most of top tier headphones and I still love my hd600 . I don't think I will change them any soon.
 
May 16, 2013 at 6:05 AM Post #1,474 of 5,663

Greenleaf7

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Quote:
I heard every headphones you named on Odac and o2 and they all do very well.
For mainstreamam music i think I will recommend hd650 for you. Lcd2 are also a great choice of you can spend more money.
I don't think you will like hd800.
About he500... I just don't like these headphones...

Remember that more expensive headphones doesn't equal better sound. I heard most of top tier headphones and I still love my hd600 . I don't think I will change them any soon.

The HD 650 holds its own very well and is great value IMO. I won't be getting the HD 800 unless i can get a used one for a good price so it's my least likely choice for now. 
Why doesn't the HE 500 appeal to you? Most who have heard both claim that the LCD 2 offers better base and the HE 500 offers better balance for all music genres, though admittedly i yet to hear either myself.
 
May 16, 2013 at 3:02 PM Post #1,475 of 5,663

MrMateoHead

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Quote:
I did a blind A/B of the ODAC/O2 v. the Magni/Modi at a meet and the results were really disappointing. The difference between the two was minute to my ears, if it exists at all.

It is good to think that a less expensive amp produces such good results.
 
The other differences that matter are aesthetics (Jacks in the front of O2 is a little messy), and the fact that the O2 has a gain switch (1X, 2.5X, or 6.5X) while the Magni is fixed at 5X (which is quite high, if not too high for an amp with that much power).
 
May 16, 2013 at 3:11 PM Post #1,476 of 5,663

miceblue

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Quote:
Quote:
LCD-2.2 sounds amazing with the O2!
 
HE-500 sounds okay but the 9 kHz peak annoyed me. Tube amps help mask that flaw...

That's great to hear. Since you've heard both the LCD2 and HE 500 with the O2, which of those do you feel are more suited for mainstream music?
Also, I see that you own a K701, mind telling me how it sounds through the O2? Thanks!
 

For mainstream music? It depends on what kind of sound you're looking for since the two have different sound signatures. I gravitate towards the HE-500 over the LCD-2 for mainstream music because of its airiness and spacious soundstage, but the LCD-2 has much better texture and a more realistic timbre to my ears.
 
With the K 702, I like the sound out of the O2/ODAC combo. I don't know how it compares to the widely recommended Matrix M-Stage amp though. I actually prefer the JDS Labs C5 with the K 701 since the 701's imaging sounds a bit unnatural to my ears with the O2.
 
May 16, 2013 at 3:16 PM Post #1,477 of 5,663

MrMateoHead

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Quote:
 
My Xonar D1 (the PCI version of the DX) which I have tested extensively is from 2011, and I doubt that a major hardware revision (such as adding a TI headphone amplifier) has been made since then without renaming the card. I assume your claim of dedicated headphone amplification is based on this part of the manual: "The Front Out jack has a built-in high-quality amplifier to drive headphones. Connect your stereo headphones directly to this jack." - but it is there in the manual of every Xonar card, and the specifications say nothing about a headphone amplifier. I assume if there was one, ASUS would make it more obvious to potential customers. The "front out" jack on my card (which looks the same as any picture I have seen of this model) is driven by an NJM5532 op amp, and it definitely has 100 Ω output impedance.

Interesting review page! It is nice to see such detailed analysis of component performance. Clearly, low-impedance loads (like headphones), will have a serious bass roll-off with that card, suggesting to me that is in not actually using a 'dedicated' amplifier. The STX uses a TI Chip, which is probably what I was thinking about.
 
Did you ever bother to try other loads - like 32, 50, 300, and 600? Those impedance's seem to be fairly common.
 
May 16, 2013 at 3:51 PM Post #1,478 of 5,663

lcooksl

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Listening to music just now with the chain Macbook Air > MF VLink II > Heed Obelisk DA > O2 > Heir Tzar 350. Sounds surprisingly well....actually awesome at 1x gain and with 15V psu.
 
 
 

 
May 16, 2013 at 4:07 PM Post #1,480 of 5,663

MrMateoHead

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Your amp is sick looking
cool.gif

 
May 16, 2013 at 4:38 PM Post #1,481 of 5,663

tintin220

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Quote:
It is good to think that a less expensive amp produces such good results.
 
The other differences that matter are aesthetics (Jacks in the front of O2 is a little messy), and the fact that the O2 has a gain switch (1X, 2.5X, or 6.5X) while the Magni is fixed at 5X (which is quite high, if not too high for an amp with that much power).

 
In some ways, NwAvGuy has succeeded in that not only has the O2 proven to be indistinguishable from many solid state amps priced several times higher, but I would say the Modi/Magni release is a direct response to the popularity of the ODAC/O2, itself an amp that many cannot distinguish from the O2, Asgard, etc. Though still vilified by many, this point has been proven pretty resoundingly. Ironically enough, I am a tube guy, but I know that the tubey sound signature I love is a result of distortion (beautiful, beautiful distortion 
smile.gif
) and that tube amps are generally not "high fidelity" in the historical sense of the term, which refers to exact reproduction of the source. 
 
May 16, 2013 at 4:56 PM Post #1,482 of 5,663

autoteleology

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Given my very limited experience with tube amps, I really like the sound that they provide (and I love the idea of tube rolling and modding). However, I'm not sure I would ever use a tube amp for mixing/mastering/etc, because I feel like the same distortion that makes the sound euphonic would also be a) coloring the output and b) covering up errors that I would need to be fixing (clipping comes to mind). Are my suspicions grounded in reality?
 
May 16, 2013 at 5:04 PM Post #1,483 of 5,663

MrEleventy

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Given my very limited experience with tube amps, I really like the sound that they provide (and I love the idea of tube rolling and modding). However, I'm not sure I would ever use a tube amp for mixing/mastering/etc, because I feel like the same distortion that makes the sound euphonic would also be a) coloring the output and b) covering up errors that I would need to be fixing (clipping comes to mind). Are my suspicions grounded in reality?


I think they are. You want neutral if you're mixing/mastering. In theory, SS would be the best way to go since even the sound of tubes can vary depending on their lifespan. Tubes are more for the experience.
 
May 16, 2013 at 5:05 PM Post #1,484 of 5,663

tintin220

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Speaking of the Magni, I do also believe the Magni's 5x gain is very high. I personally listen to my O2 at 1x (unity) gain since I only have low-impedance cans right now. It's being driven by a γ2, which is only 1.4 Vrms, though truthfully, I also can't tell it apart from the ODAC (or really any well-designed DAC). 
 
Regarding aesthetics though, it's a great match for the O2, right down to the convenient front 3.5mm DAC output. I prefer its versatility as far as inputs and outputs, including two analog outs. For those up for the challenge, it's a bit pricier than an ODAC to build. (For those wondering, the silver B3-080 houses a σ25 PSU; I plan to get a matching black case and install matching screws on the O2).
 
I actually much prefer the look of the O2 to the Modi/Magni. Granted, I am a research scientist, but I am really partial to the O2's blue-collar, scientific instrument-like, DIY aesthetic. Don't get me wrong, I am also a fan of the Apple-esque cleanliness that defines Schiit's product line, but the Magni unfortunately feels and cheap in comparison to its larger cousins (which, in all fairness, it is cheap in comparison). The M&M stack (to me at least) comes off as trying too hard and has that knockoff feel to it. As for the O2, it can be made to look a lot cleaner if you custom make your own front panel instead of getting a pre-printed one.
 
==
 

 
 

 
May 16, 2013 at 5:38 PM Post #1,485 of 5,663

autoteleology

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That setup isn't going to look so clean after you add a headphone cable, a power cable to the O2 (unless you've got a battery or are using some kind of custom back entry we can't see), and a data cable to the DAC.

I like the utilitarian look of the O2 (especially *my* O2) more than the Apple-esque look of the M&M (mainly because it looks better than everything else on your desk and matches virtually nothing), but thanks to NwAvGuy showing an incredible lack of foresight by putting all of the inputs and outputs on the front, it is virtually impossible to not create a jungle of tangled wires coming and going around the Objective stack. This irritates me to no end.


 

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