Sapphire V4 impressions

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Arun Kumar, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. Arun Kumar

    Arun Kumar Friend

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    To make my preference clear, I like a warm (tending darkish) sound. If the sound is too bright and especially etchy I find it too painful.

    I tried the V3 version of Sapphire during the previous Chennai meet in Jan. The Sapphire was a bit thin sounding to my taste. Though it had excellent dynamics, the thinness made the amp unappealing to me.

    This time Karthik had brought the V4. Here are the combinations I tried and my brief impressions
    • Geek Out 2A: The V3 thinness was gone but sound had taken on a metallic characteristic which was a downer
    • Fiio X5ii gen as dac: The metallic sheen went away but this time there was digital etchyness. There was slight thinness to the sound and it was fatiguing. Vocals were the worst.
    • Modded GDA-700: The digital sound signature had come down quite a bit; a trace of it was still there which was obvious when I listening to find flaws. I could definitely live with this combo though.
    • RME Adi2-DAC: RME's dac is very very competent and the sapphire has excellent synergy with it. The combo was detailed and extremely fast and had over 9000 level imaging in the 800s (with no thinness)
    • Gungnir Multibit Gen2: Once again pretty detailed. We pit it against the BW to do a shoot-out. To me, the BW's bass was a bit more textured and had a warmer sound than the Sapphire. The BW's vocals I thought was a little bit forward than the Sapphire. I preferred the BW because I like warmth. The rest of the gang preferred the Sapphire.
    So do I like the Sapphire? Without a doubt. To me the only -ve that I found was it was a fraction bass light with all the dacs. Honestly, it could be because of my previous experience with the Matrix and my current (well, technically Koth's) Liquid Carbon too.

    The LC, though a decent amp, isn't neutral. It's as if the LC coats music with a very thick syrup of warmth, which hides flaws in music (even low res) quite well, which is not a bad deal. The Sapphire doesn't attempt to do that. It gives exactly what is there in the music file. Being a tiny bit (may be 0.5-2db) bass light could be its character, but it's made me question the rest of the amps I have heard.

    Am I going to order the Sapphire immediately? I am tempted to; given the price and the performance. But my current dac (Fiio X5ii) is too flawed for me to use with the Sapphire. And the RME + Sapphire is out of my budget at the moment. An analogy I can think of is pouncing on a really good deal on the 800 when all that is available is a bunch of 256kbps mp3 files. Having said that, the sapphire will obviously be the top contender once I get a good dac.

    Kudos to Karthik ( @uniqusrname ), on building a killer diy amp. I'm looking forward the next diy amp you build.

    PS: I am moving my Sapphire impression from the chennai meet up thread to its own thread
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  2. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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  3. marflao

    marflao Facebook Friend

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    So from DAC perspective only you would prefer the RME over the GO2A?
     
  4. Arun Kumar

    Arun Kumar Friend

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  5. Arun Kumar

    Arun Kumar Friend

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    Rme is a must better dac than the GO2A. The concensus was it sounded like a neutral r2r dac
     
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