The all new Continental Dual Mono

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by kb, Mar 26, 2015.
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  1. seedubchris
    The double amping is precisely what I'm worried about. What's the point in taking the clean signal from the AK320 and cranking it to the max(reducing battery life) and then reamping with the cdm.? What really happens when the "line out" option is selected in the 320 menue? Does anything really change or is it just wide open? This is the one thing I am not pleased about with my new ak 320 is the "appearance " on paper that it has a dedicated line out when in fact it's just the headphone out turned up 100% . The balanced out from the xlr's on the cradle are even tied to the headphone out level. No real gain there other than changing the connector type. What a useless gimmic . I can just order a set of trrs to xlrs and saved the money or even solder up a set my self .I think that is very misleading but I know this is the wrong place to vent about this. It does beg the question then ,what is the best gainstaging for this set up. Maybe it's no better or even worse for headroom to have the output cranked from the ak or dap? Maybe it's better to go 50/50 on the input to volume out of the cdm? Anyone have any experience trying different staging to the input? This had me looking around for a dap with a "real" dedicated out and not a "pseudo " line out. The onkyo DX-1a might have one but I can't tell again from just the adds. They all hide the dirty details behind flowery descriptions and let you find out the hard way.
    I'm really liking the sound of the cdm with the mullards but finding the right way to integrate it into my system is proving to be a little challenging . I wish it had more resolving dacs then the choice would be obvious. I would then go digital in (preferably spdif) but no joy there either. Maybe I'm just making a big deal out of nothing because it does sound good paired with the ak but I just know there is more resolution to be had with a proper source feed from dap. Anyone have any ideas who makes a portable dap with this feature that sounds good? I got my wallet out !
     
  2. vlach
    You bring up some very good points and i actually feel better knowing you couldn't tell the headphone out apart from the line out dock. Maybe I'm not missing much by not having a true line out afterall. And i agree the headphone out, even maxed out is ultra clean. Thanks for your feedback!
     
  3. bflat
    Unless you are an amp designer yourself, I would not take what you may have heard or read as an absolute. There are many great products that don't follow the status quo. Bottom line is try it out. When the owner of ALO uses his personal AK380 line out with CDM and the fact that they sell a cable specifically for this, I think that's a pretty safe bet that the results sound damn good. Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture and not so much into the weeds of measurements and theory.
     
  4. seedubchris
    Excellent advice for sure. I just had a discussion with someone at Alo about the best way to go about all of this and he said the best way was to use the mini USB out of the ak to the USB in to the alo cdm. This way the dual Wolfson dacs could be employed and render a balanced output for my iem's. Now the question is where to get a mini USB to mini USB cable ? I doubt it's possible to use a usb2 to mini USB adapter or it's a crap shoot as to wheather it would work or not. He said ak makes the cable but I have never seen that anywhere. Alo doesn't make it It stands to reason the the best way to experience the cdm in full balanced output would be to go into the internal dac. This is the full cdm recipie any way. Now I just need to find the cabling and determine if my cdm has the mod already that allows for this type of USB to USB hookup. Guess I will just have to order the cables and try it out one
    solution at a time . I sure hope the balanced out helps increase the power to the point that it will power my audeze LCD-xc's.at this stage the se sounds awful. It might be futile to think the cdm can power those cans at all and I will need to get into a Scitt mjolinarr or questyle etc...
    I know this has been said but am I correct in assuming the only way to get a balanced output from the cdm is by either going balanced in or using the USB in? Thanks
     
  5. vlach
    This is just my opinion but i feel the CDM DAC is just ok while the amp really shines. I feel the other way around about my AK120ii after experimenting with all the different combinations. I think the dual dac implementarion in the AK is superior therefore i wouldn't recommend bypassing that stage and reduce the player to a transport-only platform. But, I'm sure you will find out for yourself.

    Edit: All tests were conducted SE.
     
  6. bflat
    From your AK320 to CDM, you want to get a Micro USB to Micro USB "OTG" cable. NOT Mini USB. There are numerous OTG cables on Amazon to pick from. However, if your CDM does not have the "R" mod, I'm pretty sure AK DAPs will not work. You should have plenty of power from the CDM balanced output for your LCD-XC, even in low gain. Personally I still think you will get better results just using your AK320 balanced line out as it has dual AKM4490 DACs and femto clocks.

    On your last question, you still get balanced output with unbalanced input on the CDM, but the volume will be considerably lower unless you get a DAC that can output more than 2V. I used a Chord Mojo at 3V with the CDM and it also sounded great.
     
  7. haiku
    Nope. I have the Moon Audio Silver Dragon Mini OTG. Works fine, but sounds meh....
     
  8. haiku
    This is not an issue for many high enders in Japan and China. There the people are happily doing double, triple, quadruple or more amping, to achieve the sound quality they desire. I think it´s part of the beauty of this hobby, but if it is stress for others, they should just not do it. My 2 Cents.
     
  9. haiku
    That´s no surprise, when you use the stock tubes or the others ALO sells. The sad truth is, they all don´t sound very good. I have special customized vintage tubes, which cost me a fortune, but with those I can hear differences between IC and headphone cables very clearly.
     
  10. haiku
    That´s right. The AK Daps up to the AK380 can really benefit from adding the CDM. My SP1000Cu doesn´t need an amp. It´s a masterpiece in itself, sonically and optically.
     
  11. vlach
    Are you sure this applies to all AK DAPs? My 120ii is on the latest FW 1.35 from Oct 2017 and the USB Connection menu has (2) options; MTP or DAC but no USB digital audio.
     
  12. bflat
    I believe the update came with FW 1.34 so it should be there for you. If you see a "USB Audio" option in setup then you have it. Under that option you can select DSD as PCM or DoP. As to how you get it working, I personally have not tried it. It could be as easy as just connect the OTG cable.
     
  13. vlach

    Sadly that is not the case for the 120ii, there is no 'USB audio' option. :frowning2:
     
  14. bflat
    Bummer, I have only personally seen AK240 working and thought it's the same platform and firmware as the AK100 ii and AK120 ii.
     
  15. vlach
    Looks like my best option is to get a Chord Mojo, connect via optical and then line out to CDM, a triple stack affair...
     
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