Super Best Audio Friends
The evolution of the original irreverent and irrelevant and non-authoritative site for headphone measurements, i.e. frequency response graphs, CSD waterfall plots, subjective gear reviews. Too objective for subjectivists; too subjective for objectivists
I will keep the subjective impressions short. While the OG Andromeda (without much tweaking and from a near zero ohm source) has a slight V-shape, the Andromeda 2020 is a dark sounding IEM. Actually quite a bit darker than the measurements below would indicate. The highs up top do sound a bit more refined, but I am not sure if this is via the tweaks since the OG Andromeda (applied to Solaris), or a function of the FR differences (more lows and less highs).
I'll start first with how it sounds and keep it short and sweet. The first thing I noticed about the Phono3 is how clear and free of veil it sounded compared to practically all other phonostage unless they were super high-end or special custom jobs designed for a specific use case. iFi says the Phono3 is direct coupled design, and it certainly sounds like it. Most phono stages will have several caps in the signal path, even disregarding the caps...
These latest discussions are why I am super hesitant about getting folks into TTs. It's going down the rabbit hole that either leads to wonderful or severely messed-up results. It's Lucy in Sky with Diamonds and Are You Experienced. You have absolutely no idea what kind of trip it's going to be.
ON VINTAGE OR USED GEAR
ALL TOO EASY TO SAY VINYL IS AWESOME
FREE IMPROVEMENTS - 10000 ADJUSTMENTS
IMPERMANENCE AND OTHER CRAP
The quick takeaway is that the Motu Ultralite mk4 is the bees-knees best-thing-since-sliced-bread at an affordable price point of $700. It does everything we can possibly imagine and more. It serves as an excellent DAC for the price point.
- Employs es9016s 8 channel DAC
- Excellent performance, especially considering price and size
- Dynamic Range > 130 dB This surprised me as Motu specifies 120 dB
- Gain Linearity tight to -110 dBFS then less than ± 1 dB to -130 dBFS
- Channel Crosstalk is exceptionally low with separation > 145 dB Bal and > 128 SE
- Possibly highest performance / price ratio pro audio interface existing at the time of this post
- Has earned duty in my pro audio setup replacing RME Fireface UC for most lab and studio functions
I didn't think this possible, but from the Modius' balanced outs, this Velvet Sound stuff is no longer. Or at least none of the disadvantages of the Velvet Sound (murky lows, recessed mids, soft attacks, raised last octave) but with all its advantages (resolution and expansive soundstage). Holy cow, this actually sounds like the older Modi 2 or other AKM4399, 4495 based DACs with the crisp attacks, evident mids, more palatable highs, bass textures, punchy bass even! After what seems like years, it's so nice hearing the E and A notes on a guitar not sound as they've been processed through a blender.
THD+N (db) vs Amplitude (dbFS) at 1kHz. GRN = SE, RED = BAL
Take the Sennheiser HD650, but correct all its shortcomings, make it into an IEM and we get the Ara. The Ara retains the HD650's slightly thick lows and mid-bass emphasis, but removes the veil, extends the bass fully to 20Hz, and brings about super articulation that only a BA driver can achieve. Other defining characteristics of the HD650, such as narrow emphasis in the upper mids that gives that a bit of smack and edge, and its sedate and smooth highs, are present. In terms of IEMs, I don't know how many of you guys remember the Orion (which was another one of my favorites and one I recently recommended to a friend with a modest budget) - but another way to look at the Ara is to see it as souped up Orion. Like super-souped up.