When to replace equipment?
Jan 15, 2013 at 5:11 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 5

Geminist

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Hello All
 
Happy new year!
 
Just a quick background, my current setup is:
 
Foobar (Win-PC) -> EMU1616M -> Corda Headfive -> W1000X
 
I have had the EMU and Corda for over 6 years now.  
 
Now, over the last year or so, I've noticed that I have to turn the volume nob to maximum on the headfive to get to my normal listening level.  I've checked the sound output on my computer, and nothing has changed.  
 
I initially thought it was the amp, so I swapped it out with a Schiit Valhala and I had to turn the volume nob to maximum as well.  It's quite clear now that the problem lies somewhere.  I suspect it's the EMU but unfortunately I haven't thought of a way to test this out.  
 
Now my question is, I've been listening on this setup over the last six years for at least a couple of hours everyday, so I've worked them pretty hard.  Is 6 years about right for me to replace my setup?  Or has anyone else got any ideas?
 
Many thanks. 
 
Jan 15, 2013 at 6:45 PM Post #2 of 5

NA Blur

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With your tests is seems quite possible that the EMU1616M is having either a power issue ( bias voltage on an Op-amp ) or the output stage feeding your headphone amp has low voltage.
 
Depending on what you need for interconnects you could bypass the DAC for now and just amp the sound coming out of your PC / portable device.  If the volume on the Corda is more than adequate at a lesser setting then you know the output from the EMU is low.
 
I typically only upgrade if I have a glaring absence in my gear such as lacking a bass heavy headphone, bright headphone, neutral headphone, or noisy audio train.  If you like your setup why change it.  "Upgrading" is just going to cost you money and may not give you better results.
 
Depending on your budget you could always give the Headroom Ultra Desktop Amp/DAC a try.  It is one of my favorite pieces of gear.
 
Jan 15, 2013 at 7:06 PM Post #3 of 5

Geminist

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Thanks for the reply.
 
Yes I'm a bit reluctant to upgrade unless I have to.  I have a habit of using something to destruction before replacing them :D I just thought 6 years is a reasonable amount of use I've got out of the setup.  
 
It didn't occur to me so what I'll do is test out the amp on (bypass DAC) and see if it works.  I have my EMU 1616m connected to speakers and a Marantz amp as well, and I'm having the same problem with volume.
 
Jan 15, 2013 at 9:59 PM Post #4 of 5

yage

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Quote:
Thanks for the reply.
 
Yes I'm a bit reluctant to upgrade unless I have to.  I have a habit of using something to destruction before replacing them :D I just thought 6 years is a reasonable amount of use I've got out of the setup.  
 
It didn't occur to me so what I'll do is test out the amp on (bypass DAC) and see if it works.  I have my EMU 1616m connected to speakers and a Marantz amp as well, and I'm having the same problem with volume.

 


Have you tried hooking your amp up to a regular CD player? If this occurs with different amps / sources, maybe you should get your hearing checked...
 
Jan 16, 2013 at 8:00 AM Post #5 of 5

Geminist

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Quote:
 


Have you tried hooking your amp up to a regular CD player? If this occurs with different amps / sources, maybe you should get your hearing checked...

 
Thanks, I've not done this as funny as it may sound, I don't have a dedicated CD player.  I buy CDs but rip them as FLAC onto my PC.  
 
I'll try hooking the amp with my laptop and see how this goes.  
 
Also thanks on the note re hearing.  I've actually thought about this but ruled it out as I've not had to adjust the volume on my TV or my portable, and I've always prided myself in caring for my ears by avoiding places with very loud music.  
 

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