The Audio-gd Compass (Was: Designing an alternative to the Zero DAC/amp)
Feb 14, 2009 at 10:13 AM Post #2,041 of 7,725

dBs

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 6, 2009
Posts
471
Likes
12
Superb job. Very in depth. Its length is a two part statement; your thoroughness and the versatility of the Compass unit itself.

The only thing I would suggest is to give just a brief sense of what kind of music some of these CDs are. Some you go into great detail that the singer has amazing vocals and such, but Im not certain if the singer has amazing vocals in symphonic metal or a jazz piece =X That would be the only thing I could possibly nit pick about and its only a very small thing, so nothing to concern with, IMHO.

It would be interesting if down the road the Compass had a sister unit that was balanced. That would be a long time down the road but its an intriguing thought to consider.

As it stands now, Im sold, even if I was already sold to begin with XD

You should send this review to one of the audio magazines out there (Ive never read a one honestly =X). With a review like this theyll have to give the Compass a look themselves. Maybe theyd just print your review to save themselves time/money, hahaha.

Once again, epic work!
 
Feb 14, 2009 at 10:35 AM Post #2,042 of 7,725
Joined
Jan 4, 2008
Posts
17,481
Likes
11,822
Location
Fukuoka, Japan
Great work PP.
smily_headphones1.gif


I just wish I had my speaker set-up to test the Compass with, which regrettably I couldn't bring with me to Japan.
 
Feb 14, 2009 at 2:53 PM Post #2,043 of 7,725

mbd2884

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 25, 2005
Posts
2,483
Likes
16
Interesting review PP.

Quite the collection of audio gear for comparison also.
 
Feb 14, 2009 at 3:28 PM Post #2,044 of 7,725

NikZ

New Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 26, 2008
Posts
43
Likes
0
Wow!! very good read. Looking forward to the next part.
 
Feb 14, 2009 at 5:12 PM Post #2,045 of 7,725

Doorknob

Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 8, 2008
Posts
89
Likes
10
Great review Peete.

However I can't find a reference that you used a headphone anywhere in the review. Maybe you just used your speakers throughout the entire testing?

Also I see you have noted that you heard a great change in Compass somewhere in the 240 to 300 hour mark. For me, sometime during the next two days of me owning my Compass, I felt that the trebles were no longer way in the back but with the instruments and after two weeks of burn in, Compass gets a huge, and I mean huge, soundstage change. Its incredibly huge, but at the same time feels very detailed.

Based on your observations it seems to be recommended way to use better cables for this equipment. Currently I have a Volex 17604 mains cable and stock optical cable in use. Hopefully if I can convince my folks to somehow get me a glass optical that would be nice, but it doesn't seem possible now.
 
Feb 14, 2009 at 5:39 PM Post #2,046 of 7,725

haloxt

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Sep 26, 2008
Posts
3,644
Likes
67
Most people seem to be of the opinion that glass optical cable isn't significantly better than plastic optical cable just as long as the plastic isn't total crap. I got 3 different stock optical cables and using them from my iriver h120 to compass, it sounds almost identical to pc+asio+stock usb to compass.
 
Feb 14, 2009 at 5:41 PM Post #2,047 of 7,725

Pricklely Peete

Franken modder
Joined
Feb 17, 2008
Posts
4,188
Likes
26
Thanks again to all for the kind words.

The test CD rotation covers the bases from classical, progressive classic rock, alternative 80's indie, 90's middle eastern/irish folk (Dead can Dance can't really be nailed down to a single genre I find), to 21 st century Metal, and finally some smooth jazz.

If you look up the album tittles that info comes to light but your right I should have included what genre.

Part III I can rectify that shortcoming. It's also in Part III where all the headphone results are contained.

There is more to come. Quite a bit more.

Doorknob the changes occur from 100 hours to 350 hours or so. From what I can tell there hasn't been much change past 350-400 hours or so. Maybe a final smoothing and extension of the highs out to 400 hours. Tyson's prediction or estimate of 400 hours appears to be correct, not that I doubted his advice.



Peete.
 
Feb 14, 2009 at 6:00 PM Post #2,048 of 7,725

Pricklely Peete

Franken modder
Joined
Feb 17, 2008
Posts
4,188
Likes
26
With today's advances in plastics I would agree with haloxt.

The generic glass cable can be had for 25US so it doesn't have to be an expensive purchase, the same plastic based cable should be equally inexpensive.

The TOSLink cable that comes with the Compass is just as good as any of them IMO. So there really is no need to buy another one unless you need one longer than 1M.


Peete.
 
Feb 14, 2009 at 6:02 PM Post #2,049 of 7,725

dBs

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 6, 2009
Posts
471
Likes
12
Quote:

Originally Posted by Doorknob /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Great review Peete.

However I can't find a reference that you used a headphone anywhere in the review. Maybe you just used your speakers throughout the entire testing?

Also I see you have noted that you heard a great change in Compass somewhere in the 240 to 300 hour mark. For me, sometime during the next two days of me owning my Compass, I felt that the trebles were no longer way in the back but with the instruments and after two weeks of burn in, Compass gets a huge, and I mean huge, soundstage change. Its incredibly huge, but at the same time feels very detailed.

Based on your observations it seems to be recommended way to use better cables for this equipment. Currently I have a Volex 17604 mains cable and stock optical cable in use. Hopefully if I can convince my folks to somehow get me a glass optical that would be nice, but it doesn't seem possible now.



Good "Bang for Buck" Glass Toslink Cable? - Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio

This is a post I made in another thread about fiber optic cable. I took a fiber optics class last semester and this is, I think, a good overview of fiber optic cable. I made other replies as well after this one. In my technical opinion, I dont believe a glass/plastic or glass/glass fiber would make any difference in sound quality at all.
 
Feb 14, 2009 at 6:38 PM Post #2,050 of 7,725

haloxt

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Sep 26, 2008
Posts
3,644
Likes
67
Has anyone tried comparing a very bad source to a good one fed into the compass? I got the itch to let a dog chew up one of my optical cables just to see if I can finally hear a difference between my sources.
 
Feb 14, 2009 at 7:00 PM Post #2,051 of 7,725

Shahrose

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 14, 2006
Posts
3,971
Likes
386
Location
Toronto, Canada
Excellent review Pricklely Peete. easily one of the most comprehensive and well written reviews i've read here.
 
Feb 14, 2009 at 7:37 PM Post #2,052 of 7,725

sandchak

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 29, 2008
Posts
970
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pricklely Peete /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Thanks again to all for the kind words.

The test CD rotation covers the bases from classical, progressive classic rock, alternative 80's indie, 90's middle eastern/irish folk (Dead can Dance can't really be nailed down to a single genre I find), to 21 st century Metal, and finally some smooth jazz.

If you look up the album tittles that info comes to light but your right I should have included what genre.

Part III I can rectify that shortcoming. It's also in Part III where all the headphone results are contained.

There is more to come. Quite a bit more.

Peete.



Hi Peete, I just managed to go through the review in its entirety.

You know I could write a bigger post than your review as to why I appreciate you review, but I wouldn’t do that, all I will say is that I have loads of Hifi mags stacked on my table, I am a freak for such mags and I have always enjoyed reading them and staying abreast with the latest technologies, but very seldom have I ever felt the urge of buying a piece of gear based on those reviews, but after reading your review, if I never had a Compass, I would surely go out and get one.

So why would that be? is your review so well written and polished.. NO, on the contrary its raw, its so damn raw that I can see 2 very seasoned ears, a self confessed audio nut, a full time DIY junkie, who is head to toe drowned in audio, and who knows his stuffs, share his views about Compass – Man that’s not the most polished or the best written review I have read, but it’s the truth .. and that is what really matters..

You have my respects..

Thanks.
 
Feb 14, 2009 at 8:47 PM Post #2,053 of 7,725

sennsay

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 16, 2008
Posts
1,093
Likes
406
Location
Palmwoods, Queensland, Australia
And THAT is the difference between the 3 DACs, to me at least. I'd not want either of the other two without being able to audition them, or return them after a few days if they didn't suit my system. And they're sub-£200 products.

Yet I'd give Kingwa 5x as much money without any return capabilities whatsoever. Why? Because he's small enough to care about his reputation. He puts out quality products with no consideration for marketing, magazine promotions, appeal to the internet/gaming generation. He puts out what is - time and time again - top-rate stuff for reasonable money.

CA and MF - I just don't have the same confidence that I'll be getting something top-rate for my money. They're too big to care much for the people spending this level of money - so long as the product gets a half decent review in a big magazine, has aesthetic appeal to the masses, and can be purchased on consumers visiting the high street, then they've got their market.

Different products, different markets. That's what it boils down to at the end of the day.

Kingwa for president!

Apologies if I come across as a fanboy... I'm really not. But to me, there is no comparison between a hard-working small company who put our wants first, and secondly builds the said item before deciding on a price, and a larger company pushing products at a specific price-point, with little care for personal service and little motivation to produce the best possible product.

Happy valentines day!

~Phewl
__________________

Me too! Onya, Phewl, I'm with you on that one, my own dealings with him have been nothing less than exemplary and have I've ordered my own Compass a few days ago.
smily_headphones1.gif
S-Man
 
Feb 14, 2009 at 10:23 PM Post #2,055 of 7,725

sennsay

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 16, 2008
Posts
1,093
Likes
406
Location
Palmwoods, Queensland, Australia
Hey there PP, very well done on all the hard work, mate!! Although I've already ordered my Compass, I'm even more keen than ever to have it arrive in my home!
smily_headphones1.gif
By the sound of it, I don't need to to go to all the hard work of creating a FrankenDac, the Compass will give me virtually everything the FDac can and with a fine amp to boot. Oooo ... that's gotta be 'FI good!
Frankie (FrankenZero) is looking forward to having a brother in da house and does not feel in the least like second best - in anamorphalogical terms.
icon10.gif
He is sounding so damn good with the 'Gated and PIO'd Plinius IIC with KHA II, that his position as Head-Fi DAC is sound; the Compass will go into place in the main system, for the most part.
Looking forward to reading Pt III with KHA II in action. Hmm, KHA III may be the next upgrade soon, to get even more from the new DAC. What a stunning value pair they make!
smily_headphones1.gif


The S-Man grinneth.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top