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SPL Phonitor X Review (DAC & Headphone Amp)

respice finem

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I don’t think SPL will be replying, and it’s a pity, even the dac it’s below average...
The right reaction IMHO would be to send another sample for comparison, ASR is important enough for this. And if the "sins" are confirmed, bite the bullet and improve. You need years to build your image as a manufacturer, but it can be gone quite fast, sic transit gloria Mundi...
 

mermayer

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Comparing it to the RME, the RME is simpler by looks but offers the same or even more comfortable functionality with its new configurable remote. What it doesn't offer is the certain "retro flair".

I hate retro. Half my life in the former GDR i was surrounded by retro.
It is now the 21st century and i love large displays on the devices. All of my amateur radios have large touch displays.
 
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Martin

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The right reaction IMHO would be to send another sample for comparison, ASR is important enough for this. And if the "sins" are confirmed, bite the bullet and improve. You need years to build your image as a manufacturer, but it can be gone quite fast, sic transit gloria Mundi...

Agreed - this unit has their supposedly super-duper DAC768xs module. It may be broken - it certainly falls short of all their stated specs (starting on page 30): https://spl.audio/wp-content/uploads/Phonitor_x_2003_BA_EN.pdf
 

respice finem

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I hate retro. Half my life in the former GDR i was surrounded by retro.
It is now the 21st century and i love large displays on the devices. All of amateur radios have large touch displays.
Having lived in the East block half of my life too, I don't hate retro but I dont need it either. If I want a "real" display for my audio I got one from foobar2000 on my 55" TV, up to 160 bands if I want to see that many, but 80 is enough. :)
 
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UNow42

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Yes, RME is subject to the same taxes, but I think their production costs are lower, due to their different philosophy - functionality being largely "chip-based" and solid but simple "form follows function" hardware, probably partly wave-soldered boards etc
There is an expensive housing and a HiFi-like linear power supply but even with the old school parts on the PCB (no SMD on the main board) I expect that they do wave soldering. That is standard for decades.
It looks a bit as if SPL is using their pro gear reputation to go into the HiFi market.
 

Vini darko

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Does what it says on the facplate. Delivers hearing damage spl with high impedance loads. Seems a bit over priced for the privilege though o_O planar owners have to suck eggs I guess.
 

m8o

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Have no idea when it was I read the performance didn't match the asthetics; or where, but I'm guessing it was on Head-fi. It's not all shills and fanboys there. But you do need to watch out for that, and look at someone's past post history to help determine credibility. Even still, w/o objectivity like this, ya just don't know. ... now we know.
 

temps

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I took my SPL 2Control out of my system due to poor noise performance. My monitors would never go into standby, it was so bad. It's off to be refurbished now but I don't see it myself using it again. I did like the crossfeed a lot, though.

I can't agree on SPL build quality. This is one of the only products I've ever had break on me. A couple bad pots, the volume knob refused to stay tight on the pot, and the front lighting crapped out a couple years ago.

It is very, very pretty though.
 

respice finem

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Well, second rate build quality combined with a high price tag is a recipe for future disaster... But after my expensive coffee machine (Miele) "died" recently, half a year after warranty expired, I'm not very surprised. Repair possible, but economically nonsense, gave it away as a "parts donor". The washer/dryer from the same company runs like hell for 15 years now. Success makes people lazy, I guess.
 
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Spocko

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Well, second rate build quality combined with a high price tag is a recipe for future disaster... But after my expensive coffee machine (Miele) "died" half a year after warranty expired, hardly surprising. Success makes lazy, I guess.
And that's why they painted it red - sadly, this may be enough to sway many buyers.
 

Tks

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Well that is very, very disappointing... :facepalm: I've got to stop letting shiny red things catch my eye. :oops: I purchased it in red because it was the only color they had that was refurbished; I prefer silver. (Really, I do.) It saved me about $800 over new but turned out ot be a bad decision anyway...

I'm going to contact both the seller and SPL and point them to this review and ask for comment. This unit is either still broken or poorly designed. In any case it is not a keeper.

Thanks Amir for the very quick turn around. I wanted it to measure well so badly but alas it was not meant to be. I guess in this price range Benchmark and RME really are it.


Martin

If you are in the market for products well made at this price. Dont forget Matrix Audio. In my book, no one produces higher quality cases in that price range with performamce of course that is better than both RME and Benchmark. Taking a look at the CNC work of the innards of the DAC that Amir reviewed (and at the time was the best performing) I was in shock to see how much finishing of a fat piece of metal there was. No stampped metal or sheet metal at all. And it looks like what I imagined the future of devices should look like, but still "home theater enough" not to look like some overdone cyberpunk looking nonsense.
 

respice finem

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#72: I've been contemplating this against the RME, thankfully bought the RME, but if I would have bought the SPL, it would be the black one, perhaps i've seen too much red in my life :D
 

maverickronin

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A shame something with a nice looking hardware crossfeed implementation bites the dust.
 

Tks

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I had high expectations. SPL is in the pro world supposed to sell the best equipments: from EQ to compressors they are supposed to be best in class (like Maselec in the US). A 4 bands stereo EQ is around 4k$.

View attachment 117174
I think if we dug into the pro world properly, we would see how little demanding Pro's actually are from manufacturers in terms of performance. I think all they care about is passable performance, and someone always picking up the phone when they call for potential warranty claims (or devices simply that keep reliability high enough to not need warranty work ever really).

I dont for a moment believe any of these companies that havent been tested, actually perform as well as their presence in Pro industries would have one believe.
 

Spocko

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I think if we dug into the pro world properly, we would see how little demanding Pro's actually are from manufacturers in terms of performance. I think all they care about is passable performance, and someone always picking up the phone when they call for potential warranty claims (or devices simply that keep reliability high enough to not need warranty work ever really).

I dont for a moment believe any of these companies that havent been tested, actually perform as well as their presence in Pro industries would have one believe.
Purely my opinion here but I suspect that since the pro industry is accustomed to analog equipment and all the distortion and limitations that come with analog, their tolerance for these minute distortion artifacts is carried over as digital equipment began replacing analog equipment - ultimately, as long as the digital equipment is no worse than the analog equipment, what does it matter?
 

Tks

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Purely my opinion here but I suspect that since the pro industry is accustomed to analog equipment and all the distortion and limitations that come with analog, their tolerance for these minute distortion artifacts is carried over as digital equipment began replacing analog equipment - ultimately, as long as the digital equipment is no worse than the analog equipment, what does it matter?
It doesn't in that case. And with consoles being reduced to digital, and the amount of actual devices in a chain bring reduced, there is less of a performance impact. People producing music these days dont really need a server rooms worth of hardware to get music out the door. That helps mitigate the amount of work in post to clean up any potential problems with distortion.

Noise, most dont care about even if its high, especially with music that has dynamic range compressed, youre never going to hear it anyway. As for classical, theres not much that requires running the music through compressors and equalizers a million times, so devices that would contribute to any problems, are not really employed anyway, as to preserve the lower noise floor such music usually requires.

Dont get me wrong, even if all devices were as good as the pre amp mode like this SPL, we would be fine. What I insinuate was if it were barely clearing CD quality, once you start stacking a bunch of devices in the editing chain, you may run into issues with performance starting to matter. Not so much in the digital realm anymore thankfully though.
 

pozz

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Hmm.

To the depths we descend.

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