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
- 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.
What's disturbing is that the Modi 3 uses the AKM4490, which is only a -112db part! Schiit is actually getting superior results with a far inferior chip (the 4490 is two levels down from the 4497), and only a single chip! Never mind my subjective impressions where I felt the D70 sounded cooler, more "digital", and less resolving than the Modi 3. Scientifically speaking, if you believe in the idea of SINAD being the major indicator of sound quality, you are much better off with Modi 3 at $99. It's not that the D70 is bad; however, bottom line is that that Schiit saves you from overpriced Chinese designed and Chinese made gear.
- Employs es9038q2m IC contrasted with es9038pro used in Matrix XSP
- Decent performance, especially considering price and size, but don't expect a giant killer
- Dynamic Range > 125 dB on USB ASIO input, rather impressive for a microcontroller shield product
- Gain Linearity tight to -110 dBFS then less than ± 1 dB to -130 dBFS on USB ASIO input
- While less than ± 0.1 dB there is an odd ripple in the frequency response
- Measurement behavior hard to predict or extrapolate from one measurement to another - some odd behavior and interactions.
- However, steady state distortion measurements too low to make a difference or tell us anything that we can correlate to human subjective perception.
- Roll off on the high end starts gradually at 10kHz and is down -4db at 20kHz. Hard to say if people can hear this. I think I can.
- "Preamp" should still be treated as digital attenuation where we still want to keep the attenuation to a minimum.
Take a look at the driver diaphragm. Sure it's not "nano" meter scale material (and that's probably a good thing when it comes to durability); however, take a look at how fine the traces are! That's Japanese manufacturing at its best. (Fostex was the OEM).
Here’s a link to a great way to help.
Here’s also a direct link to the USA based Musicares paypal donate page. The other link is better because it’s matched $ for $ by Spotify and is global but CC only. https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/6808
Every single member on this forum should donate or walk the plank. Thank you. I miss all of you dorks.
These remind me a lot more of the HP1000 I heard years ago than they do the SR60s I owned even more years ago (many more years). They are brighter and more aggressive than the HP1000. Less dark and warm overall. But they have more of the sense of refinement I remember from those, whereas the SR60s were grating and rough.