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Skeptico Saloon: An Objectivist Joint

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by gnarlsagan, Jun 27, 2013.
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  1. cjl
    Why did you use high gain? I would think with a fairly high output voltage DAC, an O2 would be more than adequate on low gain to drive HD650s to earsplitting levels.
    (and as maverickronin said, the O2 distorts if the product of the input level and the gain is too high, so if you have that problem, you can restructure the gain in the O2 by changing out some resistors, attenuate the input level a bit, or just use the O2 on low gain to avoid that issue)
  2. maverickronin
  3. Steve Eddy
    Yay! Bigshot made it to #1! I knew you had it in you! :p

  4. davidsh
    Bigshot is now officially likeable
  5. Steve Eddy

    Some of us knew it all along. :D

  6. krismusic Contributor
  7. bigshot
    Time for my Sally Field moment...

    Steve Eddy and xtroria like this.
  8. castleofargh Contributor

    the better question would be: why the hell did you use high gain for the hd650?
    I got unity gain on the lower setting of my O2 and I already tend to struggle getting out of the imbalanced lower part of the volume knob with the odac(I believe it outputs 2V but I never actually checked).
    pushing the knob at 12 o clock on the O2 I get some pretty loud music(more than what I actually ever listen to). 
    so that's with 1X gain instead of default 2.5X and I use replay gain so almost everything is quieter.
    in fact I switch to high gain when I use my sony A15. that's the only time when I do it. the A15 LO is 0.25V. now that's a reason to go high gain on the O2!
  9. imackler
    Thanks for all the answers! Here's some responses.

    So I'm not a real science guy (as if you couldn't tell). I don't actually have an amp now... Kind of rebuilding. I know I've like the old headroom micro desktop, o2, sr71a, pico power, neco soundlab v3... Those have been favorites. I haven't like asgard, magni, e12, e9, e09k as much. Vali and valhalla were different. I can't remember when it was with the 600 or 650 though with those. I should have stuck w several of those. (I have no idea how subjective I've been!)

    I was kind of looking at portable source and amp... I have a hd600 at work and hd650 at home; I'm never without my laptop so one portable answer financially makes sense...

    I drank some koolaid about if you move past noon you should up the gain... I think it was because of classical recordings...

    See above.

    Do you all have a go to dac recommendation besides odac? (Just checking if there is cheaper \better)

    And is there a portable dap that measures well?

    I've kind of got burned out and just want to land on some affordable answers that i don't need to worry about "oh this is better" or "your stuff sucks"... I've let it take the fun away and now i have a laptop w a bunch of flac files, a hd600, a hd650.... And a fiio x3... I'm kind of " meh" about. Supposedly it's better via lineout.
  10. gikigill
    Try the Cayin C5 with the Sennheiser 650. Pairs well and has heaps of power.
  11. castleofargh Contributor
    I have no idea where that "past noon up the gain" comes from.
    I'm guessing it's one of those "we need headroom" stuff that somebody told to you, but it doesn't make a lot of sense in practice. if only because volume knobs aren't all the same and the attenuation at 12 o clock on one amp is unlikely to be the same as on another amp. making that kind of statement meaningless.
    to me most DACs are DACs. I went for the odac because it was fitting in the same box as the O2 and took less space. no other reason really. the main differences you will get are the maximum voltage output they have, and if plugged into USB, how well they handle it(some being very sensitive to the USB noises from the computer, others having limits when it comes to high sample rate, others needing a specific driver to work...) but else, even a cheap DAC can sound real good.
    portable stuff are obviously the cool stuff in practice, but they usually have less power than desktop stuff for obvious reason. they often also have lower overall specs.
    and about good measurements, some stuff measure pretty well, but with a given load only. so when plugged into an IEM they wouldn't be as good as when plugged into a 50ohm headphone. if you wish to use non portable headphones, going portable isn't really a great idea. the X3 is one of the most powerful DAP you can hope to get, a great many others will not have enough power to drive the hd650 loud. so you go back to needing an amp ^_^.
    now about the O2, most of the tests nwavguy conducted where done using a hd650, so it's really not a problem of power. there is no doubt that the O2 is ok to drive the hd650 pretty darn loud.
    as I said I'm pretty loud(more than I ever actually use) with the knob at 12 o clock and gain 1X .
    the O2 has default low gain at 2.5X so if fed by a 2V DAC, that's up to 5V, that's about 117db into a hd650. I don't know how loud imackler listens to music, but my guts are telling me it should be enough ^_^.
    so the problem is obviously what's feeding the O2 and not the O2 itself. and also the user mistaking the gain setting for a volume knob [​IMG]. as at least for the O2, the gain value should be set to compensate for a DAC being too weak. and not really to increase loudness into a headphone.
    using the FIIO X3's LO that's 1.7V going into the O2, with the 2.5X gain that's a maximum of 113db. so even that would be good to drive the HD650, and in fact we could get close to 112db using the X3 alone.
    for the cayin I could never find max power output into 300 or 600ohm. having a super power at low impedance doesn't actually mean it will also be powerful into high impedance. I suspect it is, but I'm at a point in my audio life, if a manufacturer can't give me the values I need, I look somewhere else.
    I insist on this because I have a real life example with me. the fiio X1 and my leckerton amp. at low impedance the X1 is actually more powerful, but at 300ohm the leckerton is now the clear winner. that's why I ask for specs into several loads so often like an old ranting granny.
    imackler likes this.
  12. gikigill
    People have tried the Cayin C5 including me with the 650 and the MadDogs, SZ2000 and other planars. It happily powered the 650 and can overdrive pretty much everything dynamic.
  13. krismusic Contributor
    Ha ha! That is toe curling! :)
  14. limpidglitch
    Won't the X3 also work as a USB DAC? 
    If you've already got one, you can't really beat that for price.
  15. maverickronin
    If you're looking for a portable DAC/amp combo I'm a big fan of my Leckerton UHA-4.  It's super clean with the HD650s though you might find the the volume a bit limited.  The UHA-6S MKII and UHA760 will give give you more volume and have upgraded DAC sections as well.  I haven't head them myself though.
    I haven't kept up on DAPs much.  I'm still using a Clip Zip
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