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Lacking Power

MusicJammer

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My first posting.
This website changed my audio world.
Thank You.

(A) I have Dan Clark AEON RT Closed headphones. Downstream is Topping's A90 Discrete Headphone Amp (and Topping's D90SE Amp). At max volume, the A90 provides my headphones with a volume adequate for most days - at a reasonable, listening levels. But, sometimes I come across songs that I want to crank it, but it's already at max. So, the A90 seems to lack the power to drive these hungry headphones louder. I'm not sure of the best way to solve this problem. Suggestions?

(B) If I bought, for example an LA90, what is the problem finding a cable that goes from RCA to 4-pin xlr, so I can drive these headphones directly from an a non-headphone amp's (e.g. an LA90) output? Maybe I can do it with a SMSL SH-9 or THXAAA? Or is this just crazy, stupid, etc.???
 

staticV3

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I'm not sure of the best way to solve this problem. Suggestions?
-For local files, use the ASIO or Wasapi Exclusive API for playback to ensure that you're playing the files at their native volume.

-set your D90SE to 5V in the menu

-set your A90 Discrete to Curve 1 in the menu, as only then you will get the full output

-make sure that your A90 Discrete is set to High gain

-use the A90 Discrete's Balanced headphone output (4pin XLR or 4.4mm Pentaconn)

-for the especially quiet tracks, check their peak amplitude in Software like Audition or Audacity. If they have a peak amplitude considerably below 0dBFS (-15dB or something), then normalize them to -1dBFS or so, export them, and that way you get more volume.

I'm saying all this because with everything set up properly, the A90 Discrete can drive the Aeon RT Closed to about 117dB SPL Peak, which would blow your ears off.

Don't try to solve this with money. Your Amp is more than capable. The issue lies elsewhere.
 

JeffS7444

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Strictly speaking, what your system lacks isn't power per se, but gain. Without sufficient gain, even the most powerful amplifier won't get satisfyingly loud.
 

Dunring

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I have that amp and a D90le, do you have them connected with XLR cables? I wouldn't use RCA at all because it's only half the voltage. Connect them with XLR cables, hold the power button on the DAC when you turn it on, and go into the menu and select 5 volts for output, the default is 4. Then you'll have all the power you could ever wish for.
 

zonk

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I absolutely agree with staticV3. I suppose the "volume curve" setting mentioned by statcV3 will mainly solve the issue, plus high gain setting.

The volume curve functionality was added to the A90D with firmware version V2.3. Here is a link to the information what have changed with firmware version V2.3 (but latest firmware is V2.4):
https://www.tpdz.net/newsinfo/663543.html

Quote from Toppings homepage for V2.3:
"1. Added a new feature allowing 5 different volume curves to select, providing different ranges and steps.
Users can change volume curves by pressing "B" on the remote. The volume curves and the conversion
table is available here. When the curve is changed, the volume will be reset to -80dB."


Here the different volume curves (Curve 1 up to Curve 5):

A90D volume curve.jpg


The graph shows "Curve 1" has highest output. When you press the "B" button on your remote of the A90D, the display shows numbers between 1 and 5. The display should show "1" to get highest output. Additionally you set gain to "high".

The DAC D90SE should be connected via XLR to your A90D. I suppose the 5V setting for the output of the D90SE is not necessary, 4V (default) should be enough.
 
Last edited:
OP
M

MusicJammer

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Holy Funk.
These headphones are now amazing, fuller, more ... not sure what it is....WoW
Thank you especially 'staticV3' -- I did all you said (except unsure about the native files stuff, mostly listen to Tidal these days)
And now these headphones can hurt my ears -- THANK YOU.
Now the level of volume at '60' is what is was before at '99'. And now volume '70' hurts my ears -- AWESOME.
Now I understand the appeal of these headphones.
THANK YOU
Problem Solved - Operator Error

Next step is get a handle on REW software (or something like it)? So I can dial in these headphones.
 

IAtaman

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Next step is get a handle on REW software (or something like it)? So I can dial in these headphones.
REW is short for Room EQ Wizard and is mostly used for room measurements and corrections. But you can also use if for headphone measurements like I do. That would however require additional hardware and a lot of tinkering, and even than it will yield only so much useful information. Luckily there are people who are experts in this field that do these measurements with their proper gear and share the results with us amateurs. One of those people, and probably the most respected, is Oratory1990. He has measurements and EQ suggestions for a lot of headphones. You can find that resource here:


Amir does measure headphones and share measurement results alogn with his EQ recomendations as well. As of now there are 131 measurements in the review index which you can reach from here:


Another very valuable resource for tuning your headphones is the AutoEQ app website, which is much easier to use and therefore would be my first recommendation
 

staticV3

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Next step is get a handle on REW software (or something like it)? So I can dial in these headphones.
No need for REW.

Just install Equalizer APO onto your system, run the Configurator and install it for your D90SE, then restart your PC.

Download the file attached below and put it in C:\Program Files\EqualizerAPO\config.

Open the Editor, click on the Plus symbol and add a Preamp set to -6.5dB.

Add an "Include (Include configuration file)" block, then click on the folder symbol and load the preset .txt file.

It should look like this (different preset in the screenshot):
Screenshot 2023-11-22 161053.jpg

By having the Preamp and PEQ settings in different blocks, you can toggle the EQ on and off without a change in volume.
That way, you can easily compare what the EQ does to the sound and whether you like it or not.

Keep in mind though that this EQ will only be applied to regular system audio. If you use software with an Exclusive mode or with the ASIO or Wasapi Exclusive API, then this will bypass the EQ.

On Foobar, you can have Exclusive mode and EQ by installing the Mathaudio Headphone EQ component: https://mathaudio.com/download.htm

For Mathaudio Headphone EQ to read the preset.txt file properly, you may have to change HSC and LSC to just HS and LS. I have not confirmed this yet.

So try the preset as-is first and compare the frequency response graph of Mathaudio to the one in oratory's PDF: https://www.dropbox.com/s/gbs8m0x6qcvnuhv/Dan Clark Audio Aeon Closed RT.pdf?dl=0

If it looks funny (something doesn't match up), then delete the 'C's in the .txt and try again.
 

Attachments

  • DCA Aeon RT Closed oratory1990 Preset (-6.5dB).txt
    468 bytes · Views: 36
Last edited:

zonk

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No need for REW.

Just install Equalizer APO onto your system, run the Configurator and install it for your D90SE, then restart your PC.

Download the file attached below and put it in C:\Program Files\EqualizerAPO\config.

Open the Editor, click on the Plus symbol and add a Preamp set to -6.5dB.

Add an "Include (Include configuration file)" block, then click on the folder symbol and load the preset .txt file.

It should look like this (different preset in the screenshot):
View attachment 329742

By having the Preamp and PEQ settings in different blocks, you can toggle the EQ on and off without a change in volume.
That way, you can easily compare what the EQ does to the sound and whether you like it or not.

Keep in mind though that this EQ will only be applied to regular system audio. If you use software with an Exclusive mode or with the ASIO or Wasapi Exclusive API, then this will bypass the EQ.

On Foobar, you can have Exclusive mode and EQ by installing the Mathaudio Headphone EQ component: https://mathaudio.com/download.htm

For Mathaudio Headphone EQ to read the preset.txt file properly, you may have to change HSC and LSC to just HS and LS. I have not confirmed this yet.

So try the preset as-is first and compare the frequency response graph of Mathaudio to the one in oratory's PDF: https://www.dropbox.com/s/gbs8m0x6qcvnuhv/Dan Clark Audio Aeon Closed RT.pdf?dl=0

If it looks funny (something doesn't match up), then delete the 'C's in the .txt and try again.

The measurement of oratory1990 shows a preamp setting of -6.5dB.
This can be added as well to the presets file as first line, followed by the frequency settings.

Preamp: -6.5 dB
Filter 1: ON PK Fc 70 Hz Gain -4.4 dB Q 0.25
Filter 2: ON LSC Fc 105 Hz Gain 5.5 dB Q 0.71
.....
 

staticV3

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The measurement of oratory1990 shows a preamp setting of -6.5dB.
This can be added as well to the presets file as first line, followed by the frequency settings.

Preamp: -6.5 dB
Filter 1: ON PK Fc 70 Hz Gain -4.4 dB Q 0.25
Filter 2: ON LSC Fc 105 Hz Gain 5.5 dB Q 0.71
.....
It was intentional:
By having the Preamp and PEQ settings in different blocks, you can toggle the EQ on and off without a change in volume.
That way, you can easily compare what the EQ does to the sound and whether you like it or not.
 
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