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Project Ember Review

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by razrr1275, Aug 7, 2013.
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  1. RedBull
    Good or bad, Ember scale up very well with better source. I used to use the very well regarded Audio gd nfb-2 DAC. When I swapped with Audio Gd Ref. 7.1, the difference is very obvious.
    Now I am reading Yggy.
  2. SeeSax
    Thanks for the suggestion on the M-Dac. I bought an Audio-GD NFB-1, but we will see how it goes. I'll keep the M-Dac in mind. Also, the amp might be $350, but I've collected some fantastic tubes for it thanks to Mike who posted above. I absolutely love it!
  3. Sonic Defender Contributor
    The Audio GD gear is solid so I'm sure you'll be pleased. Look forward to hearing your impressions of the combination.
  4. Tunkejazz

    Sure, you have a point there and I agree with you!
    My point was that your will notice the difference with a better dac, but  I think you get a much larger improvement investing that money in better headphones or a better amp. I have a Naim DAC (2000 GBP?) in my speaker system and I have plugged it to the Ember and I can tell the difference compared to my Ifi nano idsd, but it is more subtle that I would like it to be if I were to spend such amount of money in a Dac for my Ember.
    The difference is however much more noticeable if I replace the Naim Dac in my speakers system with an Ifi nano :p
    Anyway, I feel I am rambling here and the OP has chosen a great dac! :wink:
    Solrighal likes this.
  5. HOWIE13
    I like the M-DAC too. Very versatile with all the filters, though I usually stick to one or two.
    The main gain for me is being able to alter the channel balance with the remote from the comfort of my arm chair 'cos I'm very sensitive to channel imbalance.
  6. Sonic Defender Contributor
    Why do you think this is? I would think that in a headphone system, the sound changes are so close to your ears, you're wearing your speakers, that you would be able to hear any differences. If with the speakers that I assume are several feet away from you reveal DAC changes I would think that as you get the speakers closer (like right against your ears closer) changes should be equally evident.
    I'm not trying to dismiss what you are saying, I can't know of course as it isn't my system, but I'm actually curious what you are hearing. I have plenty to learn so just because I don't know why something would be the case, doesn't mean it isn't actually occurring.
  7. ericr

    Agreed! On occasion I will wonder if it was wise to have spent so much on a DAC, then I just listen again and the questions go away.
    Amish likes this.
  8. ericr
    A year or two ago I would have probably agreed with you but having done so in the last few months that would be hard to do now, right? Fortunately @soundsgoodtome let me listen to his MHDT DAC and now I own 3 of them. My main rig is the MHDT Pagoda, Ember + 6SN7W, and the 64 Audio A12. Thankfully (for my wallet) the Ember scales really well and I'm not compelled to upgrade my amp.
  9. HOWIE13
    I think it is possible for differences in sources to be more obvious in speakers than cans.
    My home speaker set up reproduces the low end much better than any headphone I've listened too. I use a sub-woofer too. Any differences in lower frequencies between two DACs' outputs will show up more in my speakers.
    There's also the question of output power. Amps can change their apparent audible characteristics according to the gain they are producing. My line out to my home speaker system is fixed at the industry standard of 2V but the Headphone output will usually be much greater for the normal volumes I listen to.
    This may not apply in all systems of course but it does in mine
  10. Tunkejazz
    Very good question. I think most of the differences I hear are at both ends of the spectrum as HOWIE13 pointed out. Especially in the bass actually. My speakers go down to 35 Hz and the Naim shines there. Could it be that my speaker amplifier allows to reveal these differences more clearly than the Ember? 
  11. RedBull

    Agree with this. It perhaps happened that Tunkejazz speaker is more capable than his headphone system.
    With hd800, the difference between DAC is very evident.
    Actually i heard more detailed sound with hd800 than any speakers I ever listened to. Let's not talk about Martin Logan and above yet :D

    To be fair, it is also depend on the tubes used in Ember. For less detailed tube maybe the difference between dac may not be so obvious.
  12. SeeSax
    I hear pretty obvious differences in the Ember with my different tubes (I have 12 now). Some are bright, some are warm, some have tons of gain and some do....nothing. I'm hoping that I can coax a fantastic combination out of what I have. 
    Why, oh why, did you guys have to mention MHDT. I've been looking at all their models and am foaming at the mouth. Wonder if I could get by with the Canary as opposed to the Pagoda. 
  13. Sonic Defender Contributor
    So then we aren't talking about the DAC making the difference, which was the point being made earlier, we are talking about the speaker and or amplifier. That was kind of my point, I think most DACs will be very transparent to the user, and only ones with significant sound signature differences should be identifiable. That is what I was getting at/asking. I also have a very nice speaker rig and I greatly enjoy speaker listening.
  14. jellofund
    I hade a similar experience with my Polaris paired with the Mojo and HE-560.
    The Mojo's line out mode is rather high at 3Vrms whereas most DACs are around the 2Vrms mark I think. You can lower the output by first engaging line out mode and then pressing vol down 4 clicks (both lights blue). According to Rob Watts at Chord doing so will give you a fixed output of 1.9Vrms.
    I find that by doing so I can up the volume from around 9:30 to the giddy heights of 11:00-11:30 or so [​IMG] 
    SeeSax likes this.
  15. SeeSax
    Thanks, this is super helpful. 
    Can I ask, then, what is the difference between "line-out" mode and just cranking up the volume? Is the Mojo bypassing the amp section or are we still double-amping? I'm confused as I always thought line-out was nowhere near the voltage of an amplified headphone out signal. Apologies for the rookie questions here. 
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