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MDAC first listen (part VII)

Discussion in 'audio' started by ridney, May 10, 2012.

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  1. simonom

    simonom pfm Member

     
  2. Mutsu

    Mutsu pfm Member

    Thanks John, I'll definitely give the matching power amp a try when it is released. However I would still like to try another power amp now and perhaps replacing with the matching one at a later date.

    When you say changing the Digital, do you mean the filter? If so yes, I think I can hear differences in filters, but it's very subtle. I tried A/B testing against these and the Rega also.

    I have seen the Quad Elite Stereo on some online stores and I'd love to give it a try, however no dealers near me stock it. So it would be a bit of a risk to buy.

    I think most of the amps I will be demoing today have less than favourable reviews compared to my Brio-R, but I might be surprised.
     
  3. simonom

    simonom pfm Member

  4. kaydee6

    kaydee6 pfm Member

    John,
    I have encountered a slight crackle while streaming music to my iPad (also occurred when playing music from iPad). The crackle comes and go very fast and music continues. This is very random with different tracks, encountered once in a few hours of listening. It seems like noise from the mains. Could this be a ESS 9018 chip bug or is the power supply susceptible to mains noise created e.g turning on the light bulb?
     
  5. Mutsu

    Mutsu pfm Member

    So I did some testing at my local audio shop today and come to a decision based on my current budget.

    I tested the following combinations:

    Rega Dac -> Rega Brio-R (Current setup)
    Rega Dac -> Cyrus 8 Power Amp
    Rega Dac -> Audiolab 8200P
    MDac -> Rega Brio-R
    MDac -> Cyrus 8 Power Am
    MDac -> Audiolab 8200P
    MDac -> Naim Nait 155XS (Slightly over budget)

    From A/B testing I immediately made a decision I preferred the MDac over the Rega Dac and also found the Brio-R the worst of the pairings with the MDac.

    In the end I decided to go the the Audiolab 8200P which I have at home now and happy with the level of detail being resolved. The only thing lacking could be a little bit of bass compared to my old system. Losing the bass in this instance is fine because the sound is so much better elsewhere it makes up for it, but ultimately I will want to keep a similar sound and use an amp that has a bit more weight in the bass.

    The nait could be an option down the line when budget permits. I liked the sound, but again the bass could be slightly lacking.

    Very happy with the MDac, now the search continues for a power amp to go with it :)

    Another quick observation, the bass doesn't actually seem to be an issue on the 8200P if I put the volume up slightly. Maybe I'm expecting too much at lower volumes?
     
  6. VSS

    VSS Member

    I am using iTunes with M-DAC USB input. If I understand correctly, this has no chance to give me bit-perfect output due to Windows and iTunes internal workings. If so, I would still like at least to test my USB connection by using ASIO driver and player that can use it. Any suggestions for a free player that can do that?

    VSS
     
  7. Carlos68

    Carlos68 pfm Member

    Foobar is free also JRiver media center has a 30 day trial.

    Personally i think JRMC is slightly better and also easier to set up with ASIO (download ASIO4ALL) :)
     
  8. TimR

    TimR pfm Member

    Hi John, About an hour ago I loaded up v0.99 and I will go out on a limb and say yes, I agree that it sounds like the OT filter is now sounding more like the OTXD I'm used to. I must admit, I've never listened much to the OT filter, but under v0.99 going to OT from OTXD immediately sounds more intimate and loses a slight edgyness, which are the qualities I associate with switching to XD. So either they've swapped over, or I've just never listened hard enough to OT before!

    Course, I'm not going to claim to be immune to the power of suggestion, so I'm just praying this isn't an elaborate blind-test concocted by yourself and Dominik :)
     
  9. WAD62

    WAD62 pfm Member

    Hi Mutsu, I wonder if it's your speakers, are they 'reflex', I'm running an old pair of mission 753s (with all the drivers replaced, but that's another story), and they do need a bit of oomph before the bass kicks in properly...

    Or perhaps it is a characteristic of the amp, as I'm running my M-Dac into a pair of audiolab power amps (SX & P 8000 series).

    John, I've upgraded to v99, and after reading this thread have done a little checking between OT and OTXD, I'm erring towards OT at the moment, perhaps a little 'warmer', but if there is a difference it's a gnat's a*se! or just self delusion ;)

    Any release date on v1.0 as yet? :)
     
  10. WAD62

    WAD62 pfm Member

    Or Winamp, although the default settings aren't as good as Foobar's, and it does take a little configuration, but the interface is much nicer IMHO...I suppose it depends on what you're used to...:)

    I'd definitely agree on the ASIO front, as I had some buffer drop out issues with WASAPI (winamp version), but that was on V90 of the firmware...I use an SB receiver as my normal source so haven't bothered trying WASAPI with v99 as yet...
     
  11. janerik

    janerik Apodized

    Hello John,

    I can second Tim's findings with v0.99. Of all the versions though, I keep coming back to v0.90. There is a better sense of ease to the presentation, more analogue-like. The difference with the later versions is not immediately obvious when doing A/B comparisons, but it does show up in long-term listening, when not focusing on the sound. I notice that with v0.99, I can do other things while listening, whereas v0.90 generally draws my attention back to the music, always a good sign ! (In v0.99, I tried both OTXD and OT, but still prefer 0.90).

    BTW, after having gone from v0.90 >> 0.96 >> 0.99 then back to v0.90, the volume-control disable function now works flawlessly in v0.90.

    Best regards,

    Jan
     
  12. Mutsu

    Mutsu pfm Member

    Hi Wad62, I agree it's possible my speakers are now the weak link in my system.

    In listening tests at the shop I didn't really notice any of the amps/dacs demoed sounded light on the bass. I thought the Cyrus 8 sounded quite harsh, I could hear the noise floor more than the other amps, but it still had decent bass with it.

    The speakers I demoed at the store were Rega RS3, initially I thought they they sounded a bit bright, but that was with the Raga Dac/Brio-R (My old setup which I didn't actually think sounded bright on my RX1s), all other combinations I didn't have that feeling. I actually thought they sounded great with the MDac/8200P.

    Could this just be because it's my first time really hearing a quality pair of floorstanding speakers vs my bookshelfs?

    I'm tempted to look at floorstanding speaker options next payday if I can increase the bass and retain the detail I've gained from the MDac/8200.

    The room is small-medium, but as long as the floorstanders aren't too large I think it will be fine (The RS3 were a lot smaller than I expected)
     
  13. Mutsu

    Mutsu pfm Member

    Almost forgot to mention - If reflex means bass port at the back of the unit, then yes they are.

    I've toyed with the Essence One Dac opamps in the past and managed to get quite a bassy sound signature from my speakers. The sound was muddled otherwise however - which ultimately lead me to the path I'm on now...
     
  14. kaydee6

    kaydee6 pfm Member

    BTW, I'm on FW0.90..
     
  15. technobear

    technobear Ursine Audiophile

    The RX1 is not a bass demon. You need the RX2 for that. I suggest comparing the KEF Q300 also as that model is a bit cheaper than the RX2 and may well be enough. I would expect either of these two to outplay floorstanders at this price.

    In the meantime, try moving your RX1's closer to the wall.

    This is however all going rather off topic and I think it might be a good idea for you to start a new thread. You will get lots more ideas that way and we can stick to the MDAC discussions here.
     
  16. WAD62

    WAD62 pfm Member

    Yes that's right they are...your's will be sensitive to rear wall proximity due to the rear port

    R.E. floor standers...mine are, but there're floor standers and floor standers, I know a lot of people who prefer stand mounted ones. For me I like the extra bass weight, but the cabinets need to be very sturdy otherwise they'll add some colouration...
     
  17. misterdog

    misterdog Not the canine kind

    My Celestion A3s weigh 48Kg each!! and have 3 bass drivers. they sound great but I had to reinforce the floor!:p
    They are reckoned to compare with anything up to £5K if you can find any.

    Cant wait to hear what they sound like with MAMP (S)
     
  18. WAD62

    WAD62 pfm Member

    ...thankfully I have a concrete floor ;)
     
  19. Elviz

    Elviz pfm Member

    Btw, I am still not convinced using balanced line attenuation pads in my setup between MDAC and power amp (Hypex nCore) is the best solution. I have now tried 10dB pads from Proletarian Studios and 12dB and 24dB pads from Naiant studio.

    MDAC seems to sound best without any pads. The problem seems to be that greater the pad's attenuation the less transient energy. Especially, the bass just seems to become a bit "woolly" compared to no pads. Maybe there is same/more bass overall, but its energy is all over the place instead of where it should be (imo). Could the pads behave weirdly under high impedance (amp has some 104k) or have somehow problems with efficiency (edit:...when handling transients)?

    After all the magnificent transients are one of the main things to get MDAC. Been testing this playing Infected Mushroom CDs. Good audio transient test material :p. I think i am going to run the DAC a while without pads and see if i notice something (other) lackings in the sound, which i didn't notice with the pads.
     
  20. elnero

    elnero pfm Member

    Right now my M-DAC is used exclusively in a headphone setup. I've just recently switched headphones from the Audez'e LCD-2 to the Audio Technica ATH-W3000ANV and where I quite liked the LCD-2 with the M-DAC's own headphone amp, I'm finding I prefer the W3000's with my vintage Harman Kardon 730 receiver.

    I've been wondering what makes the best sense in regards to setting this up properly. I like having the remote volume functionality so right now I have the 730's pre/main separated so the M-DAC's going into the main amp section bypassing the 730's preamp. My volume level on the M-DAC now seems to be anywhere from -40 to -25. In this situation would it be better to reconnect the pre/mains of the 730, then connect the M-DAC to the Aux input and set a volume level on the 730 that would allow me a higher volume usage on the M-DAC?
     
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