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dalethorn's picture
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RE: Arcam rpac. Quick review

I'm not exactly sure how any particular DAC operates (in spite of any claims by the mfr. or users), but I set my computer to output 24 bits and 96 khz through the USB and let the DAC adjust automatically. I'll be darned if I'm going to manually change settings for each track. My Dragonfly changes to the appropriate color for the data rate of each track, so I assume Dragonfly knows what to do vis-a-vis 16 or 24 bits.

AKG K812/K712, Beyer T1/T90 Jubilee/DT1350, v-moda M100/XS, Beyer A200p/v-moda Verza/Microstreamer DAC/amps, Portaphile Micro/PA2V2 amps.

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RE: Arcam rpac. Quick review

OneBoxSystem wrote:

I'm wondering if you should set the bit depth to the recording, i.e. CD would be 44.1? Any higher resolution may be lost, or does it not matter? I've also been reading about WASAPI vs. Direct Sound via iTunes and wondered which one you guys use, if you use iTunes of course. If not, is foobar any good? Thank you.

Ah OK I get what you mean now. WASAPI* will allow bit-perfect audio transfer to your DAC. This will make sure that the completely un-altered digital audio stream of your music, and nothing else, makes it's way to the DAC. This means that no windows audio filters are applied and no other audio (Windows bleeps or YouTube videos or anything) will be played. This also means that the bit depth and sample rates will remain intact (be un-altered). So with WASAPI enabled there will be no need to change the bit depth or sample rates in your operating system, they will dynamically change when you play the audio. 

* (Foobar also has 'ASIO' or 'Kernal Streaming' bit-perfect modes (plugins), but WASAPI is the newest and best though)

If you don't use one of the bit-perfect audio transfer methods (mentioned above) and you play anything above 16/44.1 (CD Quality) then Windows will down-sample it back down to CD quality when it sends it to the DAC (This is the Windows default setting). You can change Windows to 24/96 if you want but then all the CD quality files that you play will be up-sampled to 24/96, which is not ideal.

I hear that getting bit-perfect audio with iTunes on Windows is a pain. It seems that since iTunes 10.5 Quicktime is no longer integrated and this has broken WASAPI / bit-perfect support. This is not true if you're running iTunes on a MAC of course, so like usual they are just screwing people over that don't 'conform'. Which is also why iTunes also doesn't support FLAC - pure evil!

Foobar's WASAPI works fine but JRiver's is slightly better but is going to cost you. I use both, Foobar is fine if you don't want to pay, it looks a little bland compared to iTunes / JRiver so it depends if that matters to you.

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RE: Arcam rpac. Quick review

Dale and Quad. thanks very much for this. Can I ask how to set the ASIO in foobar please? Also, very interested in which headphones you guys would recommend with the rPac and a Vivid Technologies V1 (great machine). In the past I've had Grado SR125s, too brash for me; Senn HD600s - overpriced; ATH M50, not enough detail. However, I love my AKG 450s but wanted a full size, over ear with the same presentation and bass. Any thoughts gratefully received. 

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RE: Arcam rpac. Quick review

You're welcome OneBoxSystem. You know what, I think Dale will throw in a recommendation for the SoundMAGIC HP100, from what he says about it that seems like a contender for your next headphone. I haven't heard it yet but should get to review it soon so if you're patient I will report back, but there are a few reviews of that one floating about. I wonder if one of the older Beyerdynamic might suit you. Since you mention detail I might recommend the AKG K701 but that might also be a bit brash for you.

As for ASIO, wouldn't you rather try WASAPI? or are you on Win XP? The latter is downloadable as a plugin from the foobar website, I would link you but I'm on my tablet.

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RE: Arcam rpac. Quick review

OneBoxSystem wrote:
Dale and Quad. thanks very much for this. Can I ask how to set the ASIO in foobar please? Also, very interested in which headphones you guys would recommend with the rPac and a Vivid Technologies V1 (great machine). In the past I've had Grado SR125s, too brash for me; Senn HD600s - overpriced; ATH M50, not enough detail. However, I love my AKG 450s but wanted a full size, over ear with the same presentation and bass. Any thoughts gratefully received. 

On the headphone, since you mentioned not enough detail with the M50 and that you enjoyed the K450 (which, like the M50, is soft in the treble for the most part), I'm thinking no to the HP100, which goes to the opposite end (bright) of the tone curve. So what's a good upgrade from the two you mentioned? My first thought is the Senn Amperior, or possibly (not sure) the HD25-1-II which I haven't heard. The Amperior is on-ear, but it's the right sound I think. The v-moda M80 is leaner, so not as good a comparison to what you mentioned, and it's also on-ear but not in the way of the Amperior, which I much prefer. If you have big ££££, the Beyer T5p looks interesting to me. Down lower on the price scale, the GMP 8.35D has a friendly, warm and slightly dark sound, but it's ugly to look at.

I tried ASIO with Foobar2000 a hundred different ways, to no avail. Now I use WASAPI (event) with all my DACs.

AKG K812/K712, Beyer T1/T90 Jubilee/DT1350, v-moda M100/XS, Beyer A200p/v-moda Verza/Microstreamer DAC/amps, Portaphile Micro/PA2V2 amps.

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RE: Arcam rpac. Quick review

Thanks again. I will try that plug in. Food for thought on those headphones. I will report in once I've decided. Can I throw in the mix the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro; 250 Ohm?

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RE: Arcam rpac. Quick review

OneBoxSystem wrote:

Thanks again. I will try that plug in. Food for thought on those headphones. I will report in once I've decided. Can I throw in the mix the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro; 250 Ohm?


 

Yeah you might like that one, I have two friends who swear by them, although one has the 80 Ohm and the other has the 600 Ohm. I really like my DT880, it's semi open and a brighter presentation than the 770 but sharper details and with a better soundstage. 

The Sennheiser HD25-1 II was OK to me but the VModa M80 had nicer bass texture and was less harsh sounding, I'm not sure if the m80 is different enough over the m50 that you dislike and both are on-ear type.

One more thing: you say the Sennheiser HD600 is overpriced, but I saw it on Amazon for £210 recently, is that still too much?

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RE: Arcam rpac. Quick review

I used to have the Senn HD600 and wasn't too enamoured to be honest, even in full hifi set up. I'm now using a PC based system 95% of the time and would stretch to £200 or so, if it justified the difference. I read that the DT770 80 Ohm has more bass and is less bright, which may suit as you say.....can be got for £120 or so too. Might be worth a punt....on ear or even open fine as long as they don't leak too much.

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RE: Arcam rpac. Quick review

Any more ideas for headphones for me please? Smile

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RE: Arcam rpac. Quick review

OneBoxSystem wrote:
Any more ideas for headphones for me please? Smile

I've been through so many of the low-cost headphones I've given up on all but a couple. The ATH M50 is the bottom of the good list I think, and the Beyer DT770 somewhere close to that but a more intense sound where the M50 is more laid back. Moving up, the v-moda M80 is more neutral, but on-ear in a fit not everyone will like. Moving up some more, the Philips L1 is great, and the extra-strong bass responds very well to tuning as desired. Then the Sennheiser Amperior is the crown jewel here - the best of all these with none of the downsides. It's on-ear, but feels pretty good to me and has good isolation. The Grado PS500 is more expensive, but also smoother and just a spectacular musical headphone.

Edit: The new Philips X1 looks very promising.

AKG K812/K712, Beyer T1/T90 Jubilee/DT1350, v-moda M100/XS, Beyer A200p/v-moda Verza/Microstreamer DAC/amps, Portaphile Micro/PA2V2 amps.

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RE: Arcam rpac. Quick review

Thanks Dale. In between my post and yours I bought a pair of DT770s (80 Ohm version). £119. I'll report in here for both the rPac and my Vivid V1 on another system. Smile

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RE: Arcam rpac. Quick review

Well, the DT 770s arrived.

Lovely and comfortable, tend to warm which suits me, nice bass, nice treble, slightly warmer mids. Sound great out of the box. However, even at 80 Ohms through the rPac they're way too quiet for me, especially on older tracks with a generally lower volume. I am quite shocked by the difference in volume from the K450s at 32 Ohms. Adding a touch of preamp to iTunes just distorts and volume check just lowers the floor. Both a no no. Surprisingly, sound through web pages, for example BBC News in iPlayer appears louder.

I'm going to return and possibly buy the 32 Ohm version which is more expensive, but apparently less refined. It is £38 more so is it worth turning to something else easier to drive but similar presentation and over ear or little leakage? Any further thoughts appreciated please. Also, does SPL make that much difference alongside impedance? The LE 32 Ohms are 96 dB (same as 80 Ohm) vs my K450s at 126 dB. Calling Dale and Quad..... Smile

 

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RE: Arcam rpac. Quick review

It's good you got an extended listening to the 770. Based on posts I see here and at Hifiheadphones and maybe other sites too, the 770 is enormously popular. Although Beyer is apparently continuing to make them, I'm very sure I read on their Facebook site several months ago that they were going to discontinue them.

In any case, and even though it's on-ear, I love the Senn Amperior and think it's the kind of sound you'd love.

Aside from that, thinking of things that are in the line of what you mentioned, I come up short on sound for any number of reasons. I heard a Logitech UE6000 last night at the Apple store, and thought it sounded very good, but don't really have a handle on it yet. Getting a sound like the Amperior or Beyer DT770 isn't easy. I'm afraid from what I've heard of the Philips X1 it will be bright and overly bassy. So I'm going to get either the UE6000, or the UE9000 (I think) and see if either of those will do what the Amperior does in a circumaural headphone. I bought the UE4000 which is excellent, but on-ear and also not a strong bass.

AKG K812/K712, Beyer T1/T90 Jubilee/DT1350, v-moda M100/XS, Beyer A200p/v-moda Verza/Microstreamer DAC/amps, Portaphile Micro/PA2V2 amps.

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RE: Arcam rpac. Quick review

Thanks dale, any thoughts on the SPL please? How close are the Sennheiser HD 25-1 IIs to the Amperior, considering it's an extra £100 or so here?

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RE: Arcam rpac. Quick review

OneBoxSystem wrote:
Thanks dale, any thoughts on the SPL please? How close are the Sennheiser HD 25-1 IIs to the Amperior, considering it's an extra £100 or so here?

The Amperior is a very efficient headphone. Easily driven from DACs like the Dragonfly. But here's some pure guesswork: The experts say the HD25-1-II is very similar or nearly the same. But I don't trust 'nearly' in this case for a particular reason. When my wife and I tried it out in the store we were immediately wowed by the sound. That's a rare thing for either of us, especially at less than £500 or so, so knowing that even sample-to-sample variations can make a difference in the sub-£150 range, my instinct says play it safe and get the Amperior if deciding between the two. I wouldn't want to give up one decibel of anything the Amperior does.

AKG K812/K712, Beyer T1/T90 Jubilee/DT1350, v-moda M100/XS, Beyer A200p/v-moda Verza/Microstreamer DAC/amps, Portaphile Micro/PA2V2 amps.

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