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SONCOZ SGA-1 Review (Headphone Amplifier)

Ben1987

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The screen itself is obviously third party, there are no shortage of value options of all kinds.
The UI and electronic circuit of the screen are designed by ourselves, and the plastic mold and the assembly and testing of the screen module are provided by our cooperating OEM. Audio products have different needs for screens, and customized screens are the most optimized solution to meet our design choices.
 

PeteL

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The UI and electronic circuit of the screen are designed by ourselves, and the plastic mold and the assembly and testing of the screen module are provided by our cooperating OEM. Audio products have different needs for screens, and customized screens are the most optimized solution to meet our design choices.
Thanks, but sorry what does designing electronic circuit of the screen means? Me what I mean designing a screen, I mean there are at least 60 000 individual RGB microscopic LED on this screen, the Engineers that designed the screen are the experts that elaborated the process to choose the right ones and figured out the process to put them together and make the screen. Is Soncoz on the business of doing that? Even Apple don't design their screens, there must be a subtlety I don't get. You design what's on the screen, but the screen itself?
 

mslim

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It's a nice looking piece of gear with great features but too bad about the delayed response when taking commands and the low current output. Perhaps $650.00 is a bit optimistic.

Doesn't look like the firmware is upgradable so you'll have to live with this. Hard to justify this over the Schitt Magnius (esp if you're in the USA) if one is buying this for the balanced output.
 

Labjr

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Products in $100 price range will outperform this. Seems like a some so-so design choices were made. Relay stepped attenuators are trending now.
 

gvl

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I am not sure what this question mean, but no audio equipment manufacturer in its right mind would design a LED (or other technology) screen

It's an unusual display which is a departure from LEDs sticking out through the front panel or an off the shelf O/LED display, that's all.
 

Tks

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Never heard of this company, and too $$$ for my wallet (especially as there are cheaper, more performant alternatives).

They actually put out what was at the time (still is if I recall) one of the best performing DACs on the market. Really special at the time. Also the designer (Ben) was one of the parties responsible for rectifying and coming up with the solution to ESS's spectacular blunder known as the ESS Hump. To this day I'm not sure they've notified anyone on how to precisely deal with this garbage design of theirs that has manifested in many DACs released even in the latest offerings.

At the same time they also put out an aluminum enclosed balanced DAC for an extremely low cost, basically unheard of at the time for the purported performance specs that little guy was aiming for.

SO yeah, that's the basic gist of who they are as a company. Relatively new, but certainly have the brains for audio products. There's not much wrong with this Amp, it's just competition has become so insanely stiff, amps need to be perfect on paper basically at this point, while also bringing their twist to the market (like an interactive display as you see here, which was basically unheard of a year ago and prior). Power on low impedance devices seems to be the only verifiable issue of practical consideration. Everything else seems okay enough.
 

TK750

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They actually put out what was at the time (still is if I recall) one of the best performing DACs on the market. Really special at the time. Also the designer (Ben) was one of the parties responsible for rectifying and coming up with the solution to ESS's spectacular blunder known as the ESS Hump. To this day I'm not sure they've notified anyone on how to precisely deal with this garbage design of theirs that has manifested in many DACs released even in the latest offerings.

I was hoping someone would bring this up, it seems that the fix degraded some of the measurements of the DAC, as those that have been measured post fix have measured worse (granted I have only seen two off the top of my head). I'm not saying to the extent that it would be particularly noticeable but something I imagine people would like to be aware of nonetheless. If anyone in the US was willing to send one and Amir was willing to check the measurements, it would be interesting to verify this (I don't live in the US).
 

GWolfman

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They actually put out what was at the time (still is if I recall) one of the best performing DACs on the market. Really special at the time. Also the designer (Ben) was one of the parties responsible for rectifying and coming up with the solution to ESS's spectacular blunder known as the ESS Hump. To this day I'm not sure they've notified anyone on how to precisely deal with this garbage design of theirs that has manifested in many DACs released even in the latest offerings.

At the same time they also put out an aluminum enclosed balanced DAC for an extremely low cost, basically unheard of at the time for the purported performance specs that little guy was aiming for.

SO yeah, that's the basic gist of who they are as a company. Relatively new, but certainly have the brains for audio products. There's not much wrong with this Amp, it's just competition has become so insanely stiff, amps need to be perfect on paper basically at this point, while also bringing their twist to the market (like an interactive display as you see here, which was basically unheard of a year ago and prior). Power on low impedance devices seems to be the only verifiable issue of practical consideration. Everything else seems okay enough.
Thanks for educating me & providing me some history around the product and company.
 

Lupin

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I can't see how this can be recommended.

Performance is mediocre at best. Kinda shady that it takes almost 8 volts to get to the numbers marketed by the manufacturer, at the standard XLR 4V it's just bad. Low impedance output is simply bad for a desktop grade headphones AMP in 2021. Only thing it has going for it it the digital volume control and the channel balance that it offers. The cherry on top of the ice cream they stick a 650 dollar price tag on it... hard pass.

Why use the better SE numbers to determine the ranking in the graph?
People who have a SE only output DAC, which are usually on the cheaper side, are not really in the market for a 650 dollar "SE" headphones AMP.

From what I read in all these threads people who are thinking about buying a E30 DAC or something are almost always thinking about pairing it with a L30 or something similar. I have at least heard nobody thinking about buying an E30 DAC to pair it with an A90 AMP.
 

Jimbob54

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@amirm I'm assuming this has low output impedance but I don't see it in the review text. Be a double shame to find out its challenged by low impedance cans for power and be double impaired with a relatively high output impedance too.
 

Atanasi

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I have at least heard nobody thinking about buying an E30 DAC to pair it with an A90 AMP.
I did it the other way around: I had an E30 and bought an A90 later without buying a new DAC at that time, so I used A90 with E30.
 

Labjr

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I don't see the volume control chip as a plus. Judging by the lack of interest in this thread, it seems this product isn't going to be very popular.
 

Lupin

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https://www.l7audiolab.com/f/smsl-ho200/

I wonder how much SMSL will price this...... I also don't quite 'get' SMSL head amps line-up.....

The competition is crazy....
Well at least it measures a lot better than the Soncoz without the need of 8V trickery.
Do i see an micro USB-B port on the back.. wonder what that is for.
 

dfuller

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The power supply must be linear given the voltage switch.
Not necessarily - it could be switching, just with passive or no PFC.
 

Atanasi

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Relay stepped attenuators are trending now.
To be fair, I think if I am going to purchase another amplifier anytime soon, it would probably be one with an analog stepped attenuator. That's one of the only features my current devices lack.
 
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