The All Purpose Advice Thread

Discussion in 'Advice Threads' started by purr1n, Sep 26, 2015.

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  1. New Reformation

    New Reformation Facebook Friend

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    Oh, I definitely have had the Vali 2 on my short list, and I know that is a house favorite. My principle concern is that it might be more rolled off at the extremes than the Asgard 2 would be. @Marvey has indicated that he thinks the Vali 2 and Asgard 2 are tonally similar options, but with the Asgard 2 being a bit more aggressive (Sounds pretty attractive to me...). The Asgard 2 was released like three years ago (!), but it's in that price range where you could just get the Vali 2 for less money, or really go all in and get the Joti. Both of those amps have loads more hype and exposure, but I'm left wondering if they are genuinely superior as budget or high-fidelity options.

    Additionally, Schiit publicly said last year that they were not updating their stage 2 amps (IE Valhalla 2 > Valhalla 3) in 2016. Well, it's 2017 and I am almost hesitant to pick up an Asgard 2, for fear of it being the end of its life cycle. Not a huge deal either way, but it's something that sticks in your brain.

    Independent of the exact amp, what do you think of the upgrade path I am lining up for myself?
     
  2. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

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    I don't see anything really wrong with your upgrade path. I think you made the right choice in forgoing the portable route if you only have a small budget. Some might say go Multibit but while I like Modi Multibit, I really think Schiit's Multibit DACs start with Bifrost Multibit, which is out of your price range. Modi 2 Uber should be quite competent with whatever you decide to pair with it.

    On amps, I'm not a Schiit head, but really do believe that they offer the best bang for the buck. I would take Vali 2 over Project Ember, Liquid Carbon, and maybe even Jot. There is something that it does so right, or should I say it doesn't really do anything wrong. Every other Schiit amp I've heard had some sort of little quirk, something that would not immediately be noticeable but would always be there, nagging.

    I wish there were more reasonably priced amps and DACs out there that performed as well as Schiit products. There might be, and I just haven't heard them but the consensus here is largely the same.
     
  3. aufmerksam

    aufmerksam Friend

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    In part this is a response to the earlier call for impressions on asgard 2 with 650, in part it is in response to the above. First, psalmanazar is a special case when it comes to treble fuckery. I believe what he has written and do not doubt it is true for his own purposes, but he has tinnitus/high frequency hearing issues which he has written about at length. You may have similar issues, so I can't say "disregard psal" but his regular advice about asgard 2 being the least treble fucked needs to be read in that context. Second, I must admit that I really liked the valhalla 2, though I do understand your comments about the sometimes "dry" treble. For me, a little bit of tube rolling, plus the original SBAF mod on the 650 (coin mod and removal of rear damping) was very, very good. Third, I was going through it in my mind and it turns out I have owned at one point or another every schiit amp except the Lyrs and the Valis. I feel a little lame typing that out.

    So, with all that said I would not recommend an asgard 2 for the 650. If you did not like the dryness of the valhalla 2, the asgard 2 will not be exciting by comparison. It is a great amp, especially for the price. It is a solid all-rounder, especially for the price. But in terms of synergies, it doesn't do anything special for the 650. Giving the vali 2 a shot would be pretty easy, since the price is low to begin with, and you could either return it or resell it for not too much loss. I currently use the jotunheim, which I actually like a lot, although the treble has a tiny bit more bite to it on the 650, compared to the valhalla 2. Undo-ing the coin mod (I removed the cut foam disc and put AKG foam discs over the whole earcup baffle) has taken care of this for me. The jotunheim is also pretty cheap and will have good resale value since it is generally in demand. I bet you could sell it at HF for something between $25-50 less than retail and get a bite. The other big benefit of the jotunhiem is it can do a LOT. SE to Bal, Bal to SE, speaker preamp, gobs of current at low impedence, gobs of voltage at high impedence...

    As for dacs. I agree with @cskippy's statement about Modi Multibit not making as much sense if you go with vali2. I would lean toward modi 2u if that was your likely amp. But, I think Modi Multibit into jotunheim sounded pretty good. To the extent Modi Multibit is bit warmer and a bit mushier and a bit less extended than say a Gungnir Multibit, the jot balances that out.

    Hope that all makes sense.
     
  4. kida

    kida New

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    Hi guys

    I've been reading through the forum for an answer everyday for a week, but havent yet found what i'm looking for. Guess it wouldnt hurt if i ask here and might also get valuable insight toward my choice. Sorry in advance if this has been answered before somewhere on the forum.

    Background, I'm from Bangkok, so some gears are hard to get locally. I tried to make a decision that hit right on the spot of my problem, as to not waste valuable resource as I did starting this hobby. I'll order gears straight from US as needed. Gears from EU will be a bit rough.

    After following SBAF for a while (incl. time without registering), I decided to get zx2 and andromeda. I love the combination so much that listening to my desktop set (with pc) feels a bit too laid back in comparison. I'm running odac > project ember ii (ge 6dj8) > hd650.
    Question is, how do i go about upgrading my desktop chain for a sound/tone closer to zx2 + andromeda? What I feel is missing the most is a bit more impact from the bass (which ge 6dj8 helps over 6n6p but not to the point of satisfaction). I'm satisfied with the overall tone of the hd650, though a bit more soundstage and separation will be nice, and a tad bit brighter is ok.
    ps. I've ordered Modi Multibit and it's in transit to me, if it'd be any help. Budget around $1000 to modify the chain.
     
  5. philipmorgan

    philipmorgan Member of the month

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    @kida have you considered the Jot? It seems close to what you're looking for.
     
  6. kida

    kida New

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    I am.
    I actually read most of the Jotunheim thread, lol. Just being cautious of the lack of soundstage as many people mentioned on the Jot. For schiit gears, I'm looking at Jot and Val2, but don't think Val2 would have enough slam either?
    In reality, I'd love to audition the gear as I did with andromeda (against a whole lot of other uiem/ciem), but it's not an option here for schiit gears (or most other brands recommended here).
     
  7. winders

    winders boomer

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    Actually, I think there is such a small improvement with Bifrost Multibit over Modi Multibit I would have a hard time saying that the Schiit multibit DAC line really starts with Bifrost Multibit. I would argue that, from a value perspective, the line goes like this:

    Modi Multibit > Gungnir Multibit > Yggdrasil

    Bifrost Multibit to me is not a great value when you compare it to Modi Multibit.

    Also, I had a Vali 2 and used it with a Modi Multibit and thought it was great a great combination. I used my Modi Multibit with my Lyr 2 as well. Also a great combination. The Lyr 2 is a clear step up from the Vali 2. But the Vali 2 was no slouch. It reacted well to tube rolling too.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
  8. Dino

    Dino Friend

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    @kida,

    I have never heard zx2 + andromeda. So I am going by "What I feel is missing the most is a bit more impact from the bass..." and "I'm satisfied with the overall tone of the hd650, though a bit more soundstage and separation will be nice, and a tad bit brighter is ok."

    Is your HD650 stock? It sounds like the HD650M mod might accomplish some/all aspects of the sound you are looking for. I am not hearing this on my HD650M, but quite a few people and Marv's measurements of his HD650M lead me to believe that elevated bass is common. I hear a more soundstage and separation on mine. I don't hear additional brightness but I do hear more detail in the highs. Here is a link to @zonto 's excellent guide to this mod:
    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...ennheiser-hd650-m-compendium.3188/#post-94648

    I have never heard the HD650KISS mod. It looks like it reduces bass, in general, compared to the HD650M mod. But later in the thread, there is discussion on tuning the bass output with how deeply one inserts the foam into the magnet hole. So, it might work. Here is the link:
    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/hd650-kiss-mod.3440/

    (Hopefully getting Second Skin Damplifier Pro or Dynamat Extreme delivered to Bangkok is not a problem, if you decide to try one of these. These mods can look kind of intimidating but it is easier than it looks once one starts actually doing it. Also, note that neither mod is reversible.)

    If it is sub-bass you are looking for, the Garage1217 Project Kameleon is designed to add that to a HD650. I have never heard one but I do find it interesting. I cannot find much on the internet about it and what I do find quickly goes into discussion of Sonarworks and other digital eq or that it is too expensive. We have a thread here, but it never really went anywhere. The closest I have found to a listening impression is on head-fi and cannot vouch for this guy. It is designed for a stock HD650 and I don't know how it will work with a modded HD650. (I have both stock HD650 and HD650M. I am curious about this equalizer. If I keep feeling like this I will get one someday.) Anyway, I thought I'd put it out there as a possibility.
    http://www.garage1217.com/garage1217_diy_tube_headphone_amplifiers_019.htm

    Project Kameleon Dock with pass-through power cable - for use with G1217 amplifiers $200

    (or if you want to keep your options open if you decide to get a amp that is not a Garage1217 and continue using the Kameleon.)

    Project Kameleon Dock with dedicated power supply - for use with non G1217 amplifiers $230 (It also works with Garage1217 amps.)

    Garage1217's Project Kameleon Dock module description: Sennheiser HD650, new (silver driver, new pads) version (extends subbass) $40
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
  9. kida

    kida New

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    @Dino

    Thanks for the advice!
    I'm pretty new with the hobby and haven't dabbled into modding yet.
    I went through the thread though and the thought of giving it a go did come across my mind
    (also making DIY amp like T3 or Crack is interesting, though I have no electronics soldering experience)
    Sourcing the damping materials needed shouldn't be of concern. I'll find a way, probably starting from asking car hifi shop locally.
    As for Project Kameleon, I'll try sending Jeremy a mail regarding its detail. He mentioned it when I bought Ember2 from him.

    I'm not sure if my wording is right on describing the sound as I am pretty new to this and considered myself a green ear.
    I know I really like Andromeda + zx2 sound.
    When I am home listening to my desktop chain, it's obvious the bass impact is just not there compared to iem chain I take outside.
    There might be some other combined traits of the sound that I don't know I missed.
    Hopefully, a member with andromeda + zx2 can chime in.
    With my limited time researching and trying out gears, I consider recommendation here only second to self auditioning and even then, being green, my ears can sometime deceive me. - -'
    Happened before with DAP purchase before I ended up with zx2.
    Thanks!
     
  10. k4rstar

    k4rstar Britney fan club president

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    @kida I owned the ZX2 + Andromeda and now run the HD650 as my daily driver. You can't get similar bass extension out of the 650 driver, even with mods and EQ, it's just not possible. The best you can do is get an amp with balls, grip and slam like the Mjolnir 2 and don't mind that the sub bass isn't all there. If bass quality is a concern I'd shoot for the Bifrost 4490 or Uber over the Modi Multibit.

    You're correct in assuming the Jotunheim won't have the stage you want and the Valhalla won't have the dynamics you want (it's macro-dynamically strained and will likely struggle even more than the hybrid Ember here). Used Mjo2 + used DS Bifrost + good pair of tubes to help with stage and tone should be doable on $1000 but may be rough if outside the US. T3 is a good alternative to the Mjo2 but you'll have a hard time sourcing one as they don't sell the kits anymore.

    Good luck.
     
  11. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    I found a sound card with coax that is reasonably inexpensive SEDNA - SE-PCIE-SC-10 https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0183ELUTY?psc=1
    Has anyone even heard about this card or used it? I started with Asus Essence but it did not work with Dell motherboard and had to send it back, now I use Gustard U12 but still looking for something less expensive than Lynx.
     
  12. kida

    kida New

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    @k4rstar

    Thank you for the clear answer. Exactly what I am looking for.
    Seems like I might be asking for the impossible out of the HD650.
    Nevertheless, would getting a new mjo2 and feeding it with Modi Multibit be sufficient for grip, slam, and dynamics?
    That much would probably make music much more enjoyable for me. What tubes do you suggest for soundstage?
    Lastly, with my current chain, do you think getting another pair of headphones an easier path to all this?
     
  13. k4rstar

    k4rstar Britney fan club president

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    Yep, it's important to take things one step at a time with a larger budget. You already ordered the Modi Multibit and that by itself will be a large upgrade over the ODAC, give it a listen and go from there. It's a little mid-centric but you could certainly do worse. Can't really compare the HD650 to the Andromeda, apples to oranges and all that; but it can get a lot better than what you have now.
    Not a Mjo2 owner, lots of good suggestions in the thread we have on it. WE396A and other 5670 equivalents come recommended for improving the stage depth, but require adapters (cheap, $10-15 on eBay).
    Better to set yourself up with a amp/DAC that will work well with anything and then begin auditioning if you aren't happy with the 650s still. I'm not sure what the hi-fi game is like in Thailand but hopefully big names like HD800/Hifiman/Audeze are available at stores. Just my opinion.
     
  14. kida

    kida New

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    You've been a lot of help. I've set my goal toward moving up to the mjo2.
    Will try to find used here or a new black one, if schiit ever have that option (every gear on my desktop is black)..... or T3 if I can source a used 230v one.
    As for the headphones, we do have shop that have HD800, Hifiman, and Audeze for audition. Just not with the highly recommended amps on SBAF (no Schiit, no EC, no Feliks). They mainly carry Woo, Violectric, Bakoon, Stax for the hi-end stuffs. Out of the list of headphones, however, I can loan a HD800 of a close friend of mine to test with my chain, so that is probably the most likely option as headphones go if I ever decide to move up.
    Thank you for all the advice and recommendation @k4rstar !
     
  15. Delayeed

    Delayeed Facebook Friend

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    1. Yeah as long as your running your headphones from the balanced output, SE severely lacks in those categories (in comparison)

    2. Tubes don't affect soundstage that much but Philips SQ tubes give the MJ2 some depth and a very 3D experience that I haven't heard with lower tier tubes, costly but worth it if you can find a good pair for ~150$. My exp is lacking in tube rolling, but the MJ2 sounds very big and and wide with any of them. It's the nature of the amp.
     
  16. Dackzy

    Dackzy New

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    anyone know if the Holo Audio - Spring DAC Level 1 RED Label or Holo Audio - Spring DAC Level 2 RED Label is any good? I am kinda looking into good R2R DACs with balanced out.
     
  17. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    That card appears to use a single rate crystal instead of having dedicated crystals for both fundamental timebases (44.1 KHz and 48 KHz). There is no apparent electrical isolation either (i.e. no transformer on the S/PDIF output).

    Both of these things are bad.
     
  18. brencho

    brencho Friend

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    @kida i think everything has been covered by @k4rstar that kind amigo. I just wanted to confirm that the WE 396a tubes with adapters really help out the depth of soundstage. I've been using them for a while now, and I purchased them from @philipmorgan who had them in there for the same reason.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
  19. kida

    kida New

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    @Delayeed @brencho
    Thank you for the extra confirmation, guys! Really do seem like mjo2 is the best choice for me. :)
    Time to find one or be tempted if schiit makes a black one available.
     
  20. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    If you're sure you like non-oversampling (NOS) DACs, which do sound rather different to oversampling models, then the Holo Audio units are very competitive. In fact, at least in my experience, you have to move up to the level of Metrum Pavane (which I've NOT heard with the latest DAC modules) to meat/beat the Spring DAC. And even then it's mostly a matter of preference.

    However, for most people, I expect the Schitt Gungnir MB is going to be a better fit.

    As an owner of both Yggdrasil and the Level 3 (KTE) Holo Audio Spring DAC, when it came to upgrade my office DAC, I went with a Gungnir MB over a L1 Spring DAC. That's despite my general enjoyment of NOS designs and my endorsement of the Level 3 version of the Spring DAC.

    To get the best out of the Holo Audio Spring DAC you want to feed it via I2S. That means using something like the Singxer SU-1 as a DDC if you're coming off a computer. I would not, personally, use the Spring DAC via it's USB inputs; if that was my only option, I'd buy something else. And using the Spring DAC in OS mode defeats the purpose of buying one ... if that's what you're going to do then you're wasting your money (in my opinion).

    For me, running the Spring DAC in any mode other than NOS via I2S makes it pointless.

    Thus, the realistic comparison, for me, becomes:

    Schiit Gungnir MB ($1,249) vs. Spring DAC L1 ($1,499) + Singxer SU-1 ($399).
    or:

    $1,249 vs. $1,798.
     
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