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
- dac2541 demonstrates excellent performance in a small package and a properly designed SMPS is nothing to fear.
- Very low distortion
- Power supply noise spectrum are at or below -160 dBFS in balanced output
- The power supply spectrum residual noise was so low it was necessary to reconfigure y-axis scale low enough to see the noise floor.
- Balanced output Dynamic Range of 126 dB
- Balanced output Cross-talk is dual mono with > 145 dB isolation
- Balanced output Gain Linearity is nearly perfect to -110 dBFS, less than ±1 dB to -130 dBFS
- Exceptionally low jitter
- Single Ended performance is slightly less than Balanced output, as is typical
- Single Ended performance is still exceptional compared to many competitor DAC SE outputs
The Solaris 2020 (the smaller one) is by far the worst of them all. I go back and forth on which of the other 3 I like the best they are all very similar. They each have strengths but I think the og Solaris (gold) wins in the end for me by narrow margins followed closely or perhaps equally by the SE Solaris.
My first impressions were of a very mild V with a slight downward tilt but after a while I’ve settled on neutral with slight bass boost. There is a switch that turns on “atmospheric immersion mode”, which seems to boost the bass a few db’s pretty evenly across the entire low range. While pleasantly done, I prefer the switches in default mode, for the more neutral of the two approaches, but I can see many enjoying the little extra thump and rumble.
The MW200 cables are terminated for use with MMCX micro coaxial IEMs. There is no need to purchase over the ear hooks are these are built into the cable. I guess the downside is if one uses IEMs where the cables drop down. An AKM DAC/amp chip deal feeds the IEMs. I have only have a chance to try the MW200 with Campfire IEMs, known for their super sensitivity. I can happily report that I do not hear any hiss or noise. BTW, the price is a stupid low $120.
From aesthetical perspectives, es1a resembles the legendary Omega (SR-Omega, neither 007 nor 009). I auditioned the original omega many years ago and it was a mind-blowing experience. But the omega was simply unobtainable (rarely showing up in the used market, and NEVER EVER with reasonable prices to my knowledge) and all other stax higher ends weren’t as satisfying as the omega. ES1a’s development seems to be strongly motivated by SR-Omega, and the developer had a good amount of experience in dissecting Omegas and other stax/senn estat products. No wonder I was looking forward to seeing well-cloned Omega with a few modern tweaks.
WARNING: THIS MOD IS NON REVERSIBLE AND WILL PERMANENTLY REPURPOSE YOUR GRADOS
What makes this Soranik IEM kind of special is the sound. The frequency response is agreeable to me, midcentric. Highs are relaxed and not boosted. Bass is extended and present. It many ways, the frequency response is like the Drop Plus, but with a maybe a peak or resonance thing in the midrange that brings out certain vocals. This effect can be lessened with deeper insertion, much like how the MEE Pinnacle P1's 3-4kHz peak can almost be eliminated.
- Fostex T50RP (Drop Fostex T-X0 II)
- iFi Portable Roon Endpoint
- Schiit Sabreius
- Schiit MagnIEM or Geshelli Archel IEM
- Schiit "Multius" and/or affordable NOS
- Soekris DAC with DIY digital filters
- Pi2 Design or Allo Idiot-Proof Ready-To-Go RPi/AES Streamer
- Sennheiser HE90 Resurrection
- Sennheiser "HD850"
- RAAL Requisite Headphone Version of SR1A
Dressed in devilish red, iFi’s new top-of-the-range transportable DAC/headphone amp sports a powerful engine under the hood, expertly tuned to deliver an exhilarating sonic performance
Southport, England – iFi ushers in the New Year with the best battery-powered DAC/headphone amp the company has ever produced – the devilishly brilliant iDSD Diablo. Engineered to sit proudly at the top of iFi’s illustrious range of mobile and transportable devices, the Diablo is built for the purists – the true headphone enthusiasts who crave pure, unadulterated sonic performance.
With dimensions of 166x72x25mm, its size is similar to DAC/amps in iFi’s long-running, transportable micro iDSD series, with a built-in, quick-charge-compatible battery that makes it easy to move from desk to living room to travel bag. Its sleek new design and fiery red finish, however, mark it out as distinctly different.
The scary part is that Topping has not recalled this amp yet and is refusing to cover the cost of destroyed headphones. At this point, I’m glad that I don’t own any of their devices any longer. It’s bad enough that they made an engineering mistake that is making these amps susceptible to failure caused by simple static electricity, but they are now compounding the damage by their non-reaction to this.
- Buy an old tube tester. It would need to be calibrated, and I don't know who are the reputable sellers. Prices varied a lot -- this option is basically a crapshoot.
- Buy an Amplitrex. Good but very expensive -- about $3000.
- Build one. The two primary options I found are the uTracer and the eTracer.