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Amir's TODO thread

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Thanks amir :) I was trying to say, I don't have a specific product in my mind. Just some value stuff that will help people's funds to go to headphones or other stuff. I should quote Candlesticks since he has mentioned some products. I agree with his thoughts here, in bold.
The most value is going to be in budget DAC and amp products. People who are buying more expensive products that don't have a feature advantage are not going to care how good or bad the measurements are. If a Schiit Mjolnir turns out to measure poorly it's not going to matter beyond credibility to that brand.

My suggestions for products to measure for headphones would be these:

Fiio products. Good value and high portability make them a versatile product for people who just bought their first pair of decent headphones. As Fiio products have line out functionality it makes them a good stepping point to a high power amplifier for any less sensitive headphones they may purchase in the future.
  • Fiio Q1 - Portable. DAC and Amp. Own battery. 1.5Vrms line out. A lot of people want to use a portable DAC/Amp combo with their android smartphone which makes this a better choice than the Fiio E10K.
  • Fiio Q1 MK2 - Not really an upgrade to the Q1. More of a sidegrade with a balanced IEM focus and weaker unbalanced power output that makes it less attractive to people outside of balanced IEM owners. Line out is unbalanced.
  • Fiio Q5 - A lot of different inputs in a portable package. Modular amplifier section that can be swapped.
Other DAC products I'd recommend measuring are:
  • Sabaj DA2 - I think it's the same as the SMSL iDEA but I don't know. It's small, has 2Vrms output, asynchronous, <1Ω output impedance.
  • Sabaj DA3 - It has balanced and unbalanced output. It's small and has an on screen display that shows the sample rate. Only a little more expensive than a Sabaj DA2 but amazingly cheap for a balanced DAC.
For amplifiers I would recommend measuring:
  • Fiio A5 - High power, portable amplifier that isn't that expensive. There needs to be something good in this niche for people who travel away from home a lot or using low sensitivity closed headphones such as T50RP mods.
  • Fiio A3 - Quite cheap. Moderate power output for a portable amplifier.
  • Fiio A1 - Unique in that the inline microphone of the IEM connected will still pass back through to the smartphone.
  • Schiit Magni 3 - Very high power desktop amplifier. Very popular. Wonder if it is actually good.
  • Fiio K5 - The Fiio high power desktop amplifier. Not as high power as Magni 3 but Fiio has better international distribution.
Fiio BTR1 - Small bluetooth DAC and amp. There are many of these kinds of products on the market but all untested. Good to know if it is good for IEM owners who want to detach their IEMS from their smartphone.

After that it becomes about finding better products than listed above at lower price points or have some advantages. Knowing the power draw from the smartphone for portable DACS is also important and these cheap things do that well.
 

drconopoima

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SMSL iDEA from that list has been loaned to me and I hope to review that next.
I agree with @tili, there are people who need to pair their Fiio E10K, OL DAC, Topping D30 budget dacs with any good budget amp to spend the rest on headphones. So, there will be a huge impact if discovering a good budget amp in your reviews.
 
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there are people who need to pair their Fiio E10K, OL DAC, Topping D30 budget amps with any good budget amp to spend the rest on headphones. So, there will be a huge impact if discovering a good budget amp in your reviews.
I do agree with the point here. There are probably a number of people interested in budget amp suggestions. You can only get so far just suggesting an O2 on a budget, or the E10k for those who don't need as much power, on an even tighter budget.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #169
Benchmark DAC3 HGC?
Welcome to the forum. Unfortunately I don't have a DAC3. A forum member here has one and is visiting me in June and he may bring it then.

For now, if there is an explosion of donations, I don't think I will be in a position to purchase it anytime soon.

And yes, it gets superlative reviews including great measurements from stereophile.

I just purchased the RME ADI-2 Pro that is supposed to rival it. We will see how it does.
 

Wombat

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Could we have a break from DAC measurement and go onto Phono preamps and integrated amps? Slip in some headphone amps, too.;)
 
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I'd vote for any or all of these products:
Topping A30 headphone amp
JDS Ol switcher passive preamp
JDS labs Subjective3, 3 band equalizer (very new, very interesting)
magni 3
O2 amp (have one with 1x/3.3x gain, pm me if you need it for review)
Aune X1s 10th anniversary dac/amp
Arcam rHead amp (thanks L0rdGwyn for bringing this up in another thread) http://www.analogueseduction.net/arcam-headphone-amplifiers/ARCAMRHEAD1.html

Most are not on the list, but did not find a suggestion thread and thought this might be it.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #173
Could we have a break from DAC measurement and go onto Phono preamps and integrated amps? Slip in some headphone amps, too.;)
I am getting extreme pressure to measure Topping D50 and a few other bits. Folks know where I live so my life may literally be in danger if I don't test their stuff!!! :D
 

L0rdGwyn

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Holy specs Batman, would be interesting to get one of these bad boys in house for testing:

"Announced at CES 2018, the Massdrop x THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier (THX AAA™) 789 is a linear class-H bipolar amplifier with feed-forward error correction. It’s designed for objectivists who appreciate an incredibly clean, transparent amp—the sought-after “wire with gain” whose amplification is wholly uncolored by a sound of its own. Made in collaboration with THX Ltd., it features the company’s groundbreaking THX AAA and feed-forward topology, which reduce distortion by 20 to 40 dB for realistic, fatigue-free listening. In fact, this bridged-output amp’s performance figures speak for themselves: It’s powerful (2 x 6W at 32 ohms) and quiet (136 dB SNR) with a record-low THD of -140 dB at 300 ohms, 100 mW."

https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-x-thx-aaa-789-linear-amplifier/?mode=guest_open
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #175
Friend just picked that up on Massdrop. Hopefully he will share it with me to test.

Until now I thought Benchmark had an exclusive on that technology but it seems that is not so.
 

Sylafari

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Welcome to the forum. Unfortunately I don't have a DAC3. A forum member here has one and is visiting me in June and he may bring it then.

For now, if there is an explosion of donations, I don't think I will be in a position to purchase it anytime soon.

And yes, it gets superlative reviews including great measurements from stereophile.

I just purchased the RME ADI-2 Pro that is supposed to rival it. We will see how it does.
Just wondering why the ADI 2 Pro instead of the ADI 2 DAC since there is a pretty big price difference between them, Pro is 2x cost. Is it to test the ADC too?
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #177
Just wondering why the ADI 2 Pro instead of the ADI 2 DAC since there is a pretty big price difference between them, Pro is 2x cost. Is it to test the ADC too?
I like to use the ADC function for specialized measurements that my Audio Precision analyzer cannot do. I also like to see if I can get the two to agree and if so, that will provide a path for others to perform measurements and add to our database.
 
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My votes go to:

Schiit Magni 3
Topping D50
Topping NX4 DSD (with the ES9038QM chip)
ifi iDSD Micro Black Label
O2 Amplifier
 
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Amir, thanks a lot for your reviews!

In addition to Topping DACs like D10 it would be interesting to see how Emotiva DC-2 fares (rumored to be shipping in late March, based on either AKM AK4490 or the new AK4497) and whether UDA9038PRO from HiFiMe is going to be any good, considering it's $250 for a ES9038PRO-based product.
 

Wombat

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This DAC thing seems to be an '-ism'.

Look at the measurements and hear what you will. Enough of the rhetoric as others don't have your hearing experience.

Not aimed at individuals.:eek:
 
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