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CEntrance Hifi-M8 V2 Review (DAC and headphone amplifier)

radioman

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I dropped it off earlier today. It is due on Monday to you I think because of the holidays this week.

What audio analyzer do you have by the way? How did you get the number for THD+N that you have on your site?
Thank you for sending the piece. Looking forward to checking it out.

We use AP. We will spell out the exact measurement procedure shortly. We have recommendations for measuring the cool side and the hot side, complete with levels and impedances. We will also give you an explanation for the operation of the product.

For example, the digital volume control chip exceeds the DAC on THD, but not on noise. Before you say this was a bad decision, it was a conscious choice to deliver a perfectly tracking level knob (customer-requested convenience) and we knew we were doing that at the expense of ultra-low THD, which was not #1 priority for our customers. The #1 request was actually pitch-black noise floor with IEMs, which we in fact delivered. The useful output range is uVolts to 20V p-p, which is quite hard to deliver in a battery powered piece (and definitely not with an analog pot due to tracking errors).

We try to stay customer-focused. We crowd sourced the feature set and delivered what was requested of us via the surveys. We chose utility over specmanship. This may not be a popular choice among the purists, but it is what was requested. We will show you soon what that means in practice.

I had no cell service all day and I know the engineers are extremely busy with holiday deadlines, but I pushed them via DM today to develop the replies to you (just plots plus bullet points, nothing major). I know they spent time characterizing the circuits for you at my request. That is coming soon and should we not make it by Thursday due to the short week, it will definitely be available next week (I will be back in Chicago this Friday to personally make this happen).
 
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AudioSceptic

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I just want to see their data. :cool: It's something that would take them literally a minute to send on (since they're unwilling to post), but somehow it's become a major drawn-out process.
Yeah, that's a bit weird, isn't it? That's why I asked if they were "locked away somewhere". ;-)
 
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Yes because you're adding signal processing to your audio.
Yes, I need this processing as otherwise, my left ear would get only the left channel signal and the same goes for the right ear-signal. Which does not match the real-world experience of listening to live music or a pair of speakers. Headphones listening without any kind of crossfeed tech is a limited experience in many ways yet our brains manage to draw a musical scene with imaginary instrument spots, depth, width etc., and different devices provide different scene characteristics. While binaural DSP fixes this problem it will not measure well frequency-wise. :rolleyes:

There is no such difference, at least if both devices measure below any audible limits.
I beg to differ.

To all other responders - please read my disclaimer above carefully. I understand that you are hungry to spill your knowledge on someone who is not on your side of the argument but I ain't no bucket for your rants. I am not accusing you of having your opinion, I advise you to follow.

Absurd comments that I am a victim of the marketing thugs can be ignored as the only times in my life I bought some audio devices without listening to them personally first were the THX 789 and Topping E30 - both highly recommended on this site and both mediocre in the ability to convey real-life musical experiences compared to similarly priced products (some of the latter are placed very low in Amir's tables :)).
 
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AudioSceptic

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Yes, I need this processing as otherwise, my left ear would get only the left channel signal and the same goes for the right ear-signal. Which does not match the real-world experience of listening to live music or a pair of speakers. Headphones listening without any kind of crossfeed tech is a limited experience in many ways yet our brains manage to draw a musical scene with imaginary instrument spots, depth, width etc., and different devices provide different scene characteristics. While binaural DSP fixes this problem it will not measure well frequency-wise. :rolleyes:

I beg to differ.

To all other responders - please read my disclaimer above carefully. I understand that you are hungry to spill your knowledge on someone who is not on your side of the argument but I ain't no bucket for your rants. I am not accusing you of having your opinion, I advise you to follow.

Absurd comments that I am a victim of the marketing thugs can be ignored as the only times in my life I bought any audio devices without listening to them personally first were the THX 789 and Topping E30 - both highly recommended on this site and both mediocre in the ability to convey real-life musical experiences compared to similarly priced products (some of the latter are placed very low in Amir's tables :)).
I hope you were able to sell the 789 and E30 at little loss. It's really annoying to buy something on the basis of a review and find that you just can't live with it!
 
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I hope you were able to sell the 789 and E30 at little loss. It's really annoying to buy something on the basis of a review and find that you just can't live with it!
THX went away easily due to its hyped status. And life with it was not miserable at all as I had little experience with other gear at the time and thought that its sound was quite good. Until I learned otherwise)

E30 is still with me as I have bought it recently and had no time to find a worthy alternative. I hope it sells quick thanks to Amir's efforts)
 
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Billy Budapest

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Yes, you. And yes when you start a post quoting someone with "I gotta respond", and then go off on a rant, then yes that is a rant. And also, making the comments in your post without knowing the whole story is the definition of being ill informed. So I'm done with this.
I think you completely misunderstood my post. I still don’t know why you think it was a “rant” and what particularly you think was “ill informed.” But yeah, I’m done with this too.
 

radioman

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Guys can you get any more off-topic? Make a new thread if that's what you want to talk about. IIRC, this is about the CEntrance.
These are the charged times. Passions abound. We acknowledge that everything is not about us. Meantime, happy to stay the course and progress towards resolution.

What remains to be done:

- Evaluate the tested unit coming back from Amir (ETA Monday).
- If discrepancies are found, send a new unit to Amir for re-evaluation.
- Send Amir a product description and measurement recommendations based on how we designed the product and who we designed it for.

Where we expect improvement:

- Noise performance, especially on the "cool side".
- Distortion performance (overload at high SPL).
- Driver installation experience.
- Other items also possible as we evaluate the sample from Amir.
- Hopefully some healing for the pink feline. It suffers too much for the sake of science.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the US and looking forward to more info on the main topic next week.
 
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Veri

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These are the charged times. Passions abound. We acknowledge that everything is not about us. Meantime, happy to stay the course and progress towards resolution.

What remains to be done:

- Evaluate the tested unit coming back from Amir (ETA Monday).
- If discrepancies are found, send a new unit to Amir for re-evaluation.
- Send Amir a product description and measurement recommendations based on how we designed the product and who we designed it for.
Sounds like a plan ;)
 
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These are the charged times. Passions abound. We acknowledge that everything is not about us. Meantime, happy to stay the course and progress towards resolution.

What remains to be done:

- Evaluate the tested unit coming back from Amir (ETA Monday).
- If discrepancies are found, send a new unit to Amir for re-evaluation.
- Send Amir a product description and measurement recommendations based on how we designed the product and who we designed it for.

Where we expect improvement:

- Noise performance, especially on the "cool side".
- Distortion performance (overload at high SPL).
- Driver installation experience.
- Other items also possible as we evaluate the sample from Amir.
- Hopefully some healing for the pink feline. It suffers too much for the sake of science.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the US and looking forward to more info on the main topic next week.
So... no changes are expected on SINAD nor power, right?
 

Billy Budapest

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So... no changes are expected on SINAD nor power, right?
I think “hot side” vs “cold side,” battery power vs USB power, single ended vs balanced, and all of those in different combinations could affect the SINAD and power measurements.
 

radioman

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So... no changes are expected on SINAD nor power, right?
TBD. Distortion, noise and power are expected to improve.

EDIT: Having said that I would caution against expecting this to show "Best-tested THD ever".

As we have explained, the strength of this product is in pitch-black noise floor with balanced armature IEMs, the output power handling capability, the number of simultaneous outputs for comparing headphones (including two balanced and two unbalanced outputs), battery life, USB-C power, balanced Bluetooth sound quality, calibrated meters that show you how loud your music is mastered, and other portable-oriented features. If the above listed things are not important to you and instead you are solely looking for best achievable THD, you may be happier with other products. We might as well be clear about that so as to avoid unrealistic expectations.
 
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PeteL

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Well thanks a lot. :( You want us tbut your o listen to your listening tests but put no value on mine? I am a trained listener. A mechanic can often tell instantly what is wrong with your engine by listening to it. But with no training, you cannot, no matter how long you listen. My training allows me to hear artifacts that you may not at all be able to hear -- but someone else may.
With all respect Amir, you can't have it both way, Every audio gear reviewer out there are trained listeners, but people don't come here for subjective evaluations. Doing listening test after having done measurments is the very definition of expectation bias, sorry, you know that. I am not saying they are not valid, but your training is not a rigorous validation. you say yourself "This is why the protocol for proper listening tests calls for many iterations to make sure the variability is dialed out". Your listening tests don't follow this. I appreciate them, I give "some" value to them, I read them and they are likely mostly right, but I do appreciate that they are kept to a short paragraph, that's not what this site is about. Now, for anecdote, and yes, it is anecdotal, not science. Way way back when I was a (poor) college student, maybe not a trained listener, but certainly already interested in audio, I was a big fan of NAD gear, I remember going to a party where the sound system was hidden in a cabinet. I was talking to the host and said, we are listening to a NAD right? Of course we where, why, because I had been living with NAD gear for years. I wouldn't have been able to identify any other sound system but I had a long time relation with NAD. I am a trained listener too, and hey there are many audio professionals in this community, and I honestly don't think that in a blind test I could identify reliably which sounds better between a 0.05 and a 0.02 THD, but I can certainly hear the difference between a classic NAD and a Classic Yamaha.

edit: As pointed out, the certainty of this is unproven, it's anecdotal.
 
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SIY

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I am a trained listener too, and hey there are many audio professionals in this community, and I honestly don't think that in a blind test I could identify reliably which sounds better between a 0.05 and a 0.02 THD, but I can certainly hear the difference between a classic NAD and a Classic Yamaha.
Looking forward to your DBT results.

Every audio gear reviewer out there are trained listeners
No, this is absolutely not the case.
 

PeteL

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Looking forward to your DBT results.
Anecdotal I said, but are you trying to say that the exemple I gave was just pure luck? since we are in a science based place, what would be the probability of this?
 

SIY

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Anecdotal I said, but are you trying to say that the exemple I gave was just pure luck? since we are in a science based place, what would be the probability of this?
No, I didn't. There's a lot of possibilities, not just "I can nail it through the innate skill of my hearing" and "Pure lucky guess." But this is OT. If you want to make sonic claims about other equipment than the CEntrance and dissect the variables, a different thread might be appropriate.
 
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