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The (new) HD800 Impressions Thread

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by valentinhogea, Feb 10, 2013.
  1. pietcux
    He has to connect unbalanced. The HDVA 600 manual states that the signal then gets balanced inside the input stage.
  2. rutter
    Yea, I think the DAC itself needs to be balanced. Hmmm. This should work with a Loki equalizer though, so that's a plus. Might consider it myself. Is this a smart purchase in 2018?

    So it could still be balanced? o.O
  3. Evshrug
    Ok! Same thing with regards to DACs :)

    Loudness is one attribute of amplification, but as you experienced, there is also a lot of other stuff that’s harder to describe, like that vibrancy, breath, and a “totally opened up” sound that you mentioned.

    Sample rate is also one attribute of digital to analog conversion, but there’s also a lot of other stuff you would have to experience for yourself.

    You know, take care of your budget and recover from spending well on an HDVA 600 first, and I also would probably have upgraded my Amp first, but trying out a Mid-Fi or Hi-Fi DAC at some point would also be worth experiencing some day :)

    The first track “Prism” is pretty interesting! Have you ever listened to experimental soundscape stuff by Amon Tobin or Yosi Horikawa before? Good stuff there too! I love to chill out to some Yosi Horikawa.
    BunnyNamedCraig likes this.
  4. Evshrug
    Yes, the HDVA 600 divides the channels, and then the whole amplification stage is symmetrical (balanced) up until the final output, though the single-ended outputs have an extra stage to convert the circuit.

    The HDV 820 is like this too, with digital, analog balanced, and analog unbalanced inputs. However, the circuit design is different, and there are more balanced outputs. Both will play from balanced and unbalanced outputs at the same time, though! Party trick... literally.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
  5. rutter
    Any reason to buy it over the Questyle CMA400i?
  6. VocaloidDude
    I like Amon Tobin. I'm not familiar with Yosi Horikawa.
  7. pietcux
    I run my HD650/660S balanced from it and it makes a huge difference to unbalanced. Source is the unbalanced line out of my Asus Xonar STX soundcard.
    rutter likes this.
  8. pietcux
    The Questyle CMA400i looks good, you might want to do such a comparison for us. It is made in China, the Sennheiser is made in Germany. This explains part of the price differences. But says nothing about the sound.
    BunnyNamedCraig likes this.
    I think it is same case as when feed hdvd800 by RCA cable. Inside the amp and untill to headphone can be bal., from amp to source is not.
    Bal from source to amp, to headphone is really balance. This path give best sq, easily see the difference
  10. rutter
    Hmmm. The HDVD600 lacks specs about its power output. I've also read it might not be good with low impedance headphones? If the DAC being balanced as well really makes a difference then the CMA400i being two in one should yield better sound, although even balanced vs unbalanced is up in the air according to many. Another thing you'd get with the CMA400i is probably better support with the initial file quality of the music, if I'm getting that correct. The thing is I was impressed by the description of the difference the HDVD600 made in comparison to a Magni 3, which is what I'm currently using too. I'd imagine the 400i making a similar difference yet I have experience with the 600i and was unimpressed. The HDVD600 also seems to be becoming discontinued.
  11. rutter
    What about Mjolnir 2? Why recommend the HDVD600 over it?
  12. Evshrug
    Cool! I love finding new artists, you’ll probably like Horikawa :)

    Sennheiser’s website says you can still use the HDVA 600 with low impedance headphones because it has a 5 stage variable gain factor. There is some debate about the amp’s output impedence with a headphone, engineering stuff like higher output impedence yields better stability but some quite a rule of thumb that your headphone should have 8x the impedence of the amp’s output, while others say that too little amp output impedence sounds overdampened and clinical... but that’s also something you should hear for yourself to make up your own mind. Turn down the gain and be careful with the volume, and at least you won’t hurt your headphones (or ears).

    A balanced amp is still beneficial even if the source is unbalanced, though balanced all the way through would still provide the greatest benefit. I certainly enjoy my HDV 820 through an unbalanced analog feed from my DAP and DSP, but it’s cleaner-sounding through USB and optical input (because the HDV 820 has a well-implemented DAC inside). That could be that the HDV 820’s DAC is better than my DSP and DAP’s DACs, combined with the balanced nature of the HDV 820’s DAC and the short signal path, but I can’t tell from experience because I don’t have the HDV 820’s DAC outside the case and reconfigured to test balanced and unbalanced. I still enjoy gaming with the GSX 1000 connected to the unbalanced input of my HDV 820. I don’t get too hung up on it...

    My HD 800, plus my short aftermarket Pentaconn balanced headphone cable (by Wireworld), into the HDV 820, connected to my Mac running Amarra Luxe 4 (by Sonic Studio), is simply the best sounding setup I have. Took me 9 years since starting on Head-Fi to have everything dialed in like I do now, and the tweaking will never end!
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
  13. Evshrug
    Not that I don’t know, but I literally can’t say.
    BunnyNamedCraig likes this.
  14. VocaloidDude
    What does an expensive DAC actually do? Apparently a DAC changes the signal from a digital to an analog sound. I have no idea what that means considering it's just electricity going through a chord either way.
  15. bosiemoncrieff
    Why don't you go to the introductions/help forum and ask this question there. It's not relevant to the HD800 thread, nor is this thread going to be particularly enlightening to you before you learn more about DACs.
    paradoxper likes this.

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