Discussion: Mid-Fi DAC/Amp Comb Units (Grace, Schiit, iFi, LH, JDS, etc.)

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

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  1. Will

    Will Massdrop

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    How about stream-of-consciousness as you go and clean up at the end? That seems like it'd be best if it's not too much work.

    I sent out a unit looking for honest opinions, I hope that's what we get to see.

    Something to note, the Element is a stationary desktop system. The case is 6" square and it has to be powered via an external AC supply.

    Functionality is similar in that they both have a DAC, an Amp, and a USB controller. Totally different circuit architectures on all fronts, per my earlier post in this thread.

    Should make for an exciting comparison, but given the m9XX is meant to compete in both the transportable and desktop sides, why not add some other contenders to the field? GOV2 seems worth keeping in there, but if nobody cares about it then w/e.

    If you're open to broadening the scope of the comparison, I can probably provide more gear on loan. Manufacturers have to send us a sample of any product they want to list on MD, the gear piles up pretty quick, and we're pretty well indexed on ~$500 DAC/Amps. PS Audio Sprout comes to mind, any other ideas?
     
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  2. maikuirock

    maikuirock Friend

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    I agree with Will. Keep the GOV2 in the loop :)
     
  3. TheFighter

    TheFighter Rando

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  4. JayC

    JayC Resident Crash Test Dummy

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    Matrix audio M-stage? So many chinese options - Aune X1/X1s/T1

    I cant think of any tube options (T1 excluded, but its not a tube amp anyway) at this price point, if anyone else can think of something..?
     
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  5. keanex

    keanex Martian Bounty Hunter - Friend

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    I have an mstage hpa-3u I rather like. Smooth with a hint of warmth overall. From memory it reminded me of a Modi+Asgard 2.
     
  6. joch

    joch Friend

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    Will the Grace (or any of the others , eg Schiit) be tested as DACs feeding into a "better" amp?
     
  7. BioniclePhile

    BioniclePhile The Terminal Man - Friend

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    Why not include the Fulla in the portable DAC/amp thread?
     
  8. JayC

    JayC Resident Crash Test Dummy

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    probably not in this thread. read the title and description, its not the aim here :)
     
  9. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Great idea. At end at, a complete organized summary in PDF format.

    FWIW, I'd love to include more, but these get very difficult to do after 5-6.
     
  10. Griffon

    Griffon 2nd biggest asshole on SBAF

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    The form factor is in another league. And TBH Fulla is a bit coarse.
     
  11. imackler

    imackler Key Lime Pie Infected Aberdeen Wings Spy

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    Or into the dac/amp chart of acceptableness.
     
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  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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  13. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    Thanks for this thread. It will be great, and it's off to a good start. Exceptionally good? No. But decent. Pretty good in fact. And far from bad.

    :)

    One thing that is very useful when comparing is to note the differences, and how useful they are. If all these system offered the same feature set then the choice would be relatively easy. The challenge is to determine how they compare with features they have in common, and how useful the differentiating features are. With that in mind, the cross feed is actually a rather big feature, especially for us Mac/iTunes users, since there is no cross feed option in iTunes without add-on ps that add serious complexity and stability issues. Once you feel comfortable with the grace, it would be helpful to hear a more in depth analysis on the cross feed, especially with older music like Abbey Road.

    Again, thanks for taking this on.
     
  14. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I'll be sure to take a closer listen to the crossfeed feature on the Grace and report back. It's not the best sounding unit, but it's not bad sounding and closer to the best than it is to the worst.
     
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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  16. Kwangsun

    Kwangsun Rando

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    So I'd like to know if you'd recommend the m9xx for its price of 500. Or do you think there are better options out there?
     
  17. imackler

    imackler Key Lime Pie Infected Aberdeen Wings Spy

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    Just curious, did you think about including the Magni/Modi 2 as compared to or in addition to the Uber? I haven't been able to find many comparisons. Are the Magni/Modi 2 clearly a step behind the Uber (not sure if you've compared them) or would you expect the non-uber version to measure similarly to the uber version? I'm not sure if they're different enough to be both included, but Schiit seems committed to selling both.
     
  18. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    interestingly enough, at least one reviewed commented that the m9xx doesn't sount that good with the HD650, but sound much better with a variety of other headphones. http://www.head-fi.org/products/grace-design-m9xx-compact-usb-dac-with-integrated-headphone-amp
    see avitron142's review.

    He also commented he didn't think it sounded very good with the HE400S, but it sounded very good with the HE400i, as well as a number of other headphones.

    It's a pretty through review, as well as comparison to the u-DAC-2, the DACPort Slim, and the Tralucent DacAmp One.
     
  19. JewBear

    JewBear Almost "Made"

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    Not purrin, but to my ears, the Modi 2 and 2 Uber sounded identical. Not sure about the Magni though.
     
  20. Kwangsun

    Kwangsun Rando

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    I got a trophy point! yay! what is it!?
     
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