Comparison of Mid-Fi DAC/Amp Combination Units (Grace, Schiit, iFi, LH, JDS, etc.)

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by purr1n, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. kirayamato

    kirayamato Friend

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    @purrin magni 2 uber or vali for the hd800?
     
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    That's a tough one. The Magni 2U > Magni 2 >> Magni 1. I'd go Vali for the 8 ohms output Z. I prefer the HD800s from amps with output Z from 2 to 20 ohms.
     
  3. kirayamato

    kirayamato Friend

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    @purrin is there noticeable noise in the vali and also does it have enough amp to produce loud enough music with the hd800? thanks
     
  4. Jas0n

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    Thanks for the excellent comparison purrin.

    Quick question - what volume levels did you find you have to reach on the LED panel of the m9xx for comfortable and loud listening experience? I've recently recieved the unit and find that I am constantly hanging in the 90s to get adequate loud volume for listening. Been using the DT880 250ohm and K7xx.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  5. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Vali is microphone and not recommended with efficient cans or IEMs. HD800 works great with Vali.

    Usually between 70 and 80 with HD650s. Toward the 80.
     
  6. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    @purrin
    What filter setting did you use for the Grace m9XX? The default F1 is what AKM describes as "powerful sound" (whatever that means) one while the "original sound" is F2 and these primarily effect the soundstage. I'll have a chance to AB the Grace with my Schiits this weekend and am curious since the Grace uses the more featured, more expensive DAC chip and the Modi and Bifrost clearly use an "original sound" AKM filter.

    AKM4396 vs AK4490 but of course implementation matters the most and Grace's settings would cause pain, suffering, and frustration on reddit. The same as Modi 2 U vs Bifrost and the Modi 2U is the cut-down Bifrost killer.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015
  7. Ormia

    Ormia New

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    @purrin

    In your evaluation of the m9xx, was it able to drive your he560 adequately?
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    I used F1.

    No. Too soft.
     
  9. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    You should try it on F2. On F2, the soundstage sounds very much like the Schiits to me, with instrumental separation being slightly inferior due to the bass bloom and delicate treble. F1 just made everything sound like "headphones" and didn't help HF nastiness (not clipping) on overly compressed masters that much at all for me; it actually just put the nastiness in front of my face. I haven't tried the minimum phase filters yet.
     
  10. Poleepkwa

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    Have there been rumours of the Modi/Magni 3 yet?
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2016
  11. Decomo

    Decomo Almost "Made"

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    I just found this website and joined. I am impressed how much information on this website. I only knew head-fi.org upon now and great to find similar website. I read this thread and a bit confused. Among those mid-fi dac/amp combo, which one is the best one? If I understood correctly, M9xx is the best among them in terms of build quality and sound quality?
     
  12. Enigmatic

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    If you check Post #7 it pretty much sums it all in terms of sound quality. The next post describes tonal signature. You'd need to sit down and decide what works best for your tastes, gear, and listening setting.

    Don't forget to introduce yourself here as well: http://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/new-members-introduce-yourself.17/
     
  13. Decomo

    Decomo Almost "Made"

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    Thank you very much. I checked #7 and it is a graph summarize them all. If I understood the chart correctly, MMU exceeds all the others pretty much all measures. Have I understood this correctly?

    Yep. I will introduce myself on the link. Thank you for guiding me on it. :)
     
  14. Decomo

    Decomo Almost "Made"

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    Is Chord Mojo better than those Mid-Tier Amp/Dac introduced here? I am keen to purchase either Mojo or M9xx and not sure if it is good choice after reading impression on M9xx here. Anyone can share their impression or feedback? Thank you.
     
  15. Boops

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    You will have better luck getting an answer to this question in the "All Purpose Advice Thread" here:
    http://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/the-all-purpose-advice-thread.19/
     
  16. Decomo

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  17. Decomo

    Decomo Almost "Made"

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    I was curious 4 Dac filters that M9xx hence asked Grace Design directly and got below response.
    +++Quote+++
    The main difference is linear phase (F1, F2) vs minimum phase (F3, F4). Linear phase filters don't have any phase shift, but they have pre-ringing. The fast roll off (F1) has more pre-ringing and post-ringing than slow roll off (F2).

    The minimum phase filters eliminate the pre-ringing so they sound more natural, but there is slight phase shift introduced in the higher frequencies and there is more post-ringing in the fast roll off (F3) filter. The slow roll off minimum phase filter (F4) eliminates pre-ringing and has about one cycle of post ringing. F4 is my personal favorite filter as it is the most natural sounding. Choosing which filter is right for you depends on your playback system and personal preference. Here is a very good read on the filters:https://www.ayre.com/white_papers/Ayre_MP_White_Paper.pdf
    +++Unquote+++
    It seems that F4 is recommended if natural sounding is the most important.
     
  18. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    I tend to disagree. I dislike minimum phase filters as I feel they sound the least natural. I don't know why. Maybe it's the phase shift. I've always found the lack of pre-ringing argument semi-lame for the following reasons:
    1. Lack of pyschoacoustic testing. Yes, it may sound different, but more natural or better is questionable.
    2. The argument that post ringing is less obtrustive than pre-ringing (pre-echo) because pre-ringing is unnatural in the real world seems semi-bullshit because in the real world, both pre and post ringing would likely be masked by signal. Music waveforms don't look like impulse responses. There is shit before and after transients in actual music.
    3. This line of argument conveniently leaves out effects of phase shift in the higher frequencies.
    As far the as Ayre whitepaper, and I have nothing against Ayre because they make good sounding DACs, that's a marketing document for people who believe in audiophoolistricstry. Their dumbass whitepaper shows off how awesome the impulse response of their minimum phase apodizing slow roll off filter looks like while conveniently failing to plot the phase shift and omitting the fact that there is frequency roll off at the top end of the audio band.

    Bottom line is that it's different, not better, and a filter won't elevate a DAC to another level.

    Also, don't believe in manufacturer supplied sciency shit. Most of that garbage is actually based on real science, but unfortunately, unscrupulous marketing people will have tailored the narrative accordingly to put their company's product in the most positive light. Think of it as advertising, playing to the hopes and fears of geeky and nerdy audiophiles who would actually be susceptible to that shit. I mean, heck, Coke didn't exactly bring peace to the world.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2016
  19. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    ^
    The AKM minimum phase filters don't sound very good and make the inner warmth and bloom of the AK4490 ridiculous. The DACport Slim used one of them.

    Grace overestimated the typical "personal audio enthusiast" and gave some professional considerations they shouldn't have instead of taking the correct Apple, approach of picking the best one (F2 I think was what I thought was the best linear phase filter and the one Grace described as sounding the best with good recordings but I don't feel like finding my older posts. Bad recordings deserve to sound like bad recordings.) and telling everyone who disagrees to go f**k themselves like Steve Jobs.
     
  20. Decomo

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    Thank you. Great to hear both manufacturer and consumer sides to make better decision and understanding. :) I actually purchased M9xx before joining this thread yesterday and it is already on its way. If I knew this website exists, I might not pull the trigger. :( It looks like price to performance of M9xx is not good and I may have to sell it off and get something else.
     

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