Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Torq, Jul 27, 2017.
@brencho What about Vali2 (with a nice tube)? Good value and small.
I've definitely considered that too (and even the Vali 1 haha). Maybe a geek out. Hopefully I'll just try out a few of these things when I have the phones to see how it all goes. I'm all for small and cheap if it works!
I've had the 1541 for a little while, but I've had a difficult time summing up my impressions in a good manner. Since I was mentioned I decided make a list of quick impressions.
I do like the PMx2 with the headphone output of the dac 1541. It’s my favorite all in one experience out of the few dac/amp combos I have tried, but I'll admit I don’t have a lot experience with external amplification. I haven’t had the opportunity to listen to any of the solid-state favorites I've read about. I like pairing the dac with the Sonett 2, but you can still hear all the good aspects out of the 1541 headphone output. It could be that PMx2 plays nice with solid state gear. I feel that the 1541 headphone output does bass, rumble, and impact/bump better than my Sonett 2.
On neutrality. I’m not 100% sure what neutral is, but the PMx2 are more neutral than the Ether C flow I owned before it, and the 1541 is more neutral than the Modibit. Bass notes are definitely present. I don’t know if it is a dac emphasis, or if a lot of modern recordings have bass boosted high.
One of the things that drove me to buy the dac1541 was the mention of black back ground, and it is a noticeable feature of the dac. I like how instruments decay into the background. On the other side there are times where I notice vocals echo unnaturally long.
I didn’t hear much difference between the stock filters other than being able to distinguish the Soft filter from the other three filters. I spent most of my time with the mixed, and soft filter before going to diy filters.
I went ahead and changed out the stock filters with the diy community filters one of which is a NOS filter. NOS isn’t what I expected it to be. I notice that transients don’t extend as far, and the overall treble presentation gets taken down a notch. It’s different, but the character of the dac doesn’t change. It's really interesting, and not too difficult to do (Just make sure not connect the 5V header if using a rpi cable).
Can anyone with a dac1541 try both single ended and balanced outputs? I am using the usb input.
For my Eve Studio Monitors and Sub, the presentation from both are quite a bit different. I prefer the single ended output compared to the balanced.
Single ended has a smoother tonality, while being less harsh in the treble. The bigger difference is the soundstage. It is less wide, but is deeper and better layered. I can listen with a linear "red" filter instead of always being on the soft butterworth filter.
Balanced is more detailed but the soundstage is wider and flatter with a more forward sound. Everything feels a bit more sharpened, and nuances are highlighted, but the sound is harsher. I actually like the staging of the single ended better and I find it more the less the same in detail retreival.
I'll be staying on single ended for now for the time being. I didn't see @atomicbob 's measurements prefering the SE over the Bal. Wondering if its just my gear synergy or if there is an audible difference.
Thanks to @JoshMorr, I recently had the opportunity to listen to the dac1541 for a couple of nights (he really appreciates it when you send nude selfies and I suggest everyone PM him a few). Most of my music is metal, grunge, and blues with some pop and hip-hop thrown in for seasoning. A Lynx E22 was connected to the AES input of the Soekris to drive HD650 and HD800 headphones. A Pass HPA-1 headamp and a Matrix X-Sabre Pro DAC were used for comparisons. To check stage and imaging, the dac1541 was briefly connected to a laptop USB source and FW J2 amp driving OB speakers. After comparing the different filters, I settled on the linear phase (red) option.
The internal headamp is sufficient for its purpose as a desktop combo unit, but did not match the potential of the DAC itself. I found it flat and lacking dynamics across the frequency range as well as notably claustrophobic. This was unexpected, as the DAC and headamp both utilize the same amplification circuit (although with slightly different parameters for the headphone output). The Pass HPA-1 was more lively and open with better separation.
@Hands noted that the dac1541 “almost sounds like a good Sabre DAC, but with some balls”. He must have an excellent memory, or heard a good Sabre very recently, because that’s the same way I’d describe the comparison with the Matrix X-Sabre Pro. The Soekris unit hit with slightly more impact and presented smoother R2R treble. The Matrix unit is somewhat faster with a better defined stage and more precise imaging. I haven’t heard the Gumby to which this unit is frequently compared, but did own a Yggy for over a year. Both these DACs are cleaner and clearer with blacker backgrounds while lacking the mid-bass bloat and bleed that seems to be a characteristic of the upper-tier Schiit DACs. However, neither is as resolving as the Yggy and both lack its dynamic punch. Each present a more realistic stage, I found the Yggy’s stage to be narrow and deep - like a rock show in a hallway. Regardless of price, I’d choose this DAC over a Yggy and, considering price, I’d choose it over the X-Sabre Pro. This is a very good over-sampling DAC and anyone considering options in its price range should give it a hard look.
Who is wanting in on the Soekris 1541 group buy (if that's still on @soekris ). I'm able to put my amount down either next Friday (15th) or the Monday (18th) after.
I wanted to kick off the list for this. I'll include people I talk to on discord and such.
I can most likely wire the necessary money to Soekris after everyone's funds come in (we'll work that out on PMs later this week.)
I'd be down for a dac1321 if that's allowed. I don't care about a discount on it, I just don't want to pay the high shipping and paypal fees as it adds about $100 to the cost.
After some PMs on here and Discord, and talking to pork while about this, I'm going to put out two lists for group buys. I'm also going to reach out to @soekris over PMs to discuss some more details sometime today. Either way, here's what I'm thinking: one group buy soon, then another in February. This means we will have to find 10 people for these (unless I can pull off a Christmas miracle.) If there's not enough for a February one by the time I'd do the December one, I'll just roll everyone into that February one and buy mine at full price and still handle the group buy (as I'm an impatient bastard and I don't have a dac/amp at the moment.) The February one is for the individuals waiting to hear it or waiting on some other factors before they pull the trigger.
Anyway, here's the lists so far:
December Group Buy (Confirm by the 15th; Money-by-date 17th)
@porkfriedpork (could go either way depending on which buy needs it)
@yaluen (could go either way depending on which buy needs it)
Possible Group Buyers (need to confirm by December 15th)
@dmckean44 (need to confirm a 1321 in the group buy is fine)
@captkirk (possibility, will confirm before cut-off)
@RedFuneral (possibility, depends if dac1321/1421 gets an okay from soekris)
February Group Buy (Confirm by date pending; Money-by-date pending)
Ho lee fuk (From Discord)
@Mystic (Pending on his impressions; going to hear mine)
Snake (From Aornic Reviews Discord)
@CCXR594 (Pending confirmation)
I'll keep updating this list, unless it would be smarter to make this its own thread. Just PM me if you want on or off the list. I'll be coordinating with the headphones discords (New Headphones, Aornic Reviews, ect; excluding Zeos Discord) on this as well.
Separate names with a comma.