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TaylorD
329
Sep 22, 2018
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Got the X7s and the X1s. I have zero problems with either. The X1s gives a lot of versatility with USB/Opt/Coax inputs, and straight RCA inputs to just use the amp section. However, important to note, the X1s 10th Anniversary Ed. DOES NOT have volume controlled pre-outs, only line-level output.
The other complaint is that the DAC section, the ESS9018K2M is an older chip and some consider the sound, flat. I don't mind it. I personally can't tell too much difference between it and my SDAC, though iirc it does measure worse. That being said, it's a minor gripe considering it will decode DSD128, 32-bit/384-khz PCM over USB.
The X7s while not "truly balanced", because it does not have balanced inputs, is still a cheap entry into balanced territory, and my personal opinion is that the amp sounds fantastic. I've used it mainly with my SDAC and SMSL M6, and it sounds great. Only single ended so far, but it's powered everything I have (including T50's) loud enough for my tastes.
There's other options for a decent dac/amp stack and/or unit, like the Schiit Stack, or the NFB/R2R-11. But this is also a fine choice, and Massdrop's prices are a decent enough discount.
Sep 22, 2018
Mark_M
204
Sep 24, 2018
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Have you tried using the X1S by itself? How good in the amp on it? Is it powerful enough for headphones like the HD 6XX?
Sep 24, 2018
wswsw
8
Sep 24, 2018
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For 6XX it's more than powerful enough, past 12 o'clock most recordings are becoming unpleasantly loud. But I also wonder if there's a noticeable difference in sound quality between x1s and x7s amp, I own only x1s.
Sep 24, 2018
TaylorD
329
Sep 24, 2018
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I have, it is actually able to push Mark III's and the 6XX without much problem. The X1s 10Anne. Ed. Has a more powerful amp than the older X1s.
It's not Class A, but yes. It's good enough. It's sitting solo on my desktop right now.
So yes, the X1s will power 6XX's.
Sep 24, 2018
Mark_M
204
Sep 24, 2018
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Hmm okay thanks. I have the X7S but I think I prefer the “all in one“ solution more.
Sep 24, 2018
TaylorD
329
Sep 24, 2018
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Well, I'd say try both, honestly. If you already have the X7s, hook your X1s up to it and swap between the two. See which sounds better to your ears.
Sep 24, 2018
Mark_M
204
Sep 24, 2018
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yeah I guess so. But I’d be using the same DAC either way. I can’t imagine the sound being much different between the two.
Sep 24, 2018
mindhead1
478
Oct 21, 2018
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You will hear the biggest difference if you use the X7S balanced. I have the X1S/X7S stack and the 6xx and while the X1S amp is very capable IMO it lacks an element of richness/depth/body when compared to the X7S in SE or Balanced mode. In balanced mode the X7S provides a more open sound (wider sound stage) in the 6xx when compared to the SE connection.
As an all in one solution the X1S is a winner. If I knew then what I know now I would get the X7S and a cheaper DAC like a Topping D30 or JDS Labs OL DAC and save a few $. That said, the X1S/X7S stack looks nice in my desk.

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Oct 21, 2018
Mark_M
204
Oct 21, 2018
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Well this is my setup now with my 6XX and 58X. Don't mind the crack on the wall. Sounds great to me. I coloured in the light on the front of the SDAC with black permanent marker cause it was too bright. Anyways gotta find me a balanced cable for my 6XX and 58X. I'm also looking into some closed backs as well such as the Fostex on here. Wonder if I could do balanced with them as they now have a removable cable?
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Oct 21, 2018
mindhead1
478
Oct 21, 2018
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I like that setup with the X7S. I think that’s the way to go with Aune. X1S is great for all in one solution or if you need multiple inputs.
For balanced cables check out https://periaptcables.com/
I bought balanced cables for my 6xx from them and it’s great. I also got an XLR to SE adapter so I don’t have to remove the cable to use with my DarkVoice.
Oct 21, 2018
Mark_M
204
Oct 21, 2018
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I've heard of them. Also Zeos mentioned here about Ursine Cables. But those take awhile to ship. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdgQ3VGP8PU
Oct 21, 2018
TaylorD
329
Oct 21, 2018
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Ursine is good shit. Periapt is as well, and I know they've changed their Y split, but I like that Ursine will do Y's with a simple heat shrink. Minimal weight and profile.
I am currently also using the SDAC with the X7s. To my ears there isn't a major difference, but Class A is still Class A.
Oct 21, 2018
Mark_M
204
Oct 21, 2018
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The problem I have with Ursine is that it's PayPal only which is something I don't use. If I could use normal credit card that would be preferred. But yes Periapt seems to have good stuff as well.
The SDAC with the X7S is certainly a good pair. In the future I'll have to try balanced and see how it goes.
Oct 21, 2018
ethanchan
185
Oct 22, 2018
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Taylor, I have a question for you, I have had people mention that the x7s is not a truly balanced amp when I talk about how much I love the XLR Balanced out sound on it over the trs. My question is this, aside from the inputs what is the difference? I let it get to me so much that I actually purchased a fully balanced dac and amp ( Full Balanced DAC Headphone Amplifier Topping DX7S 2ES9038Q2M 32Bit/768K DSD512 DSD USB Full Balanced DAC Headphone Amplifier) off of Amazon and to be honest, I couldn't hear a difference. I don't know if that is because of the source (Flac files on my pc) or if it was just due to the brand but even the few times I thought I could hear a difference it was so infrequent that I just figured my mind was playing tricks on me. I eventually wound up selling the topping and just keeping the X7S. Now just to be clear, I did not try any other balanced dac and amp, and I did use the topping dac for testing both amps. The topping dac xlr balanced out to the topping amp balanced in and the RCA left and right to the X7S RCA input. Even not being a "Truly Balanced" amp because of the lack of xlr balanced inputs it does do some voodoo that absolutely positively makes it sound as though it is no matter which headphones I put on it. So if you wouldn't mind, could you please explain why this makes a difference, as I have not been able to find anything online that could explain the importance of the xlr balanced input for balanced output to headphones. Thanx much and await your reply with much interest.
Oct 22, 2018
TaylorD
329
Oct 22, 2018
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Okay, so a "balanced" signal is one in which both the left and right channels have their own positive and negative connections. Now, since it starts at the beginning of the signal chain, a DAC whether it has a single chip (like the SDAC-Balanced), or multiple DAC chips per channel, like the Fiio Q1 Mark II, is balanced if it's outputting a balanced signal through it's XLR Outputs. Because the XLR is providing a separate ground for each channel.
http://www.empiricalaudio.com/computer-audio/audio-faqs/balanced-versus-unbalanced
The Aune X7s, as you might have noticed, only has RCA Inputs, which utilize a shared ground. So, in this way, it isn't truly balanced. However, it is performing a phase-split inside of itself, and is splitting the signal that way. Then each channel is run down separate amp stages and out the balanced output.
Now, what balanced can do, is give a greater separation between the channels, and offer a bit more power because each channel is driven independently. The main thing balanced is good for though, is rejecting common-ground noise/interference, which really only becomes an issue over much longer cable runs than between your dac/amp and headphones.
However, the X7s is also a Class-A amplifier. More Info Here: https://www.electronics-tutorials.ws/amplifier/amp_5.html Vs, Class D Amplifiers Here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Class-D_amplifier
More Info Here: https://www.electronics-tutorials.ws/amplifier/amplifier-classes.html


Which may be the attribute that you're noticing a difference when you listen to it.
Now, I'm certainly no expert and there's a bunch of people who know a lot more than I do, and I'd recommend listening to them before me because I'm sure as hell no electrical engineer. But I can tell you I have family that are audio engineers and they've told me that balanced audio doesn't matter over short cable runs, but that was specifically in regards to microphones sending sound back to an interface, and not in regards to amp to headphones. Which it's generally agreed that balanced sounds different to unbalanced. But it isn't always noticeable or important, or else the entire industry would have switched a long time ago. Of course, another cause of issues can be the output stage of the DAC or Amp that you're using, ie not all companies put equal time/effort into R&D over what sounds best. Amplifiers and DACs with comparable specs can vary wildly in their sound quality and signature.
Lastly, take all of this with a grain of salt and definitely do your own research. Good luck though, and if you have any other questions, I'll do what I can to answer and provide sources.
Edited: Formatting
Oct 22, 2018
mindhead1
478
Oct 29, 2018
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I’m considering some Foster Purplehearts myself. To bad they made the cable removable, but with some rare proprietary connection. I’d definitely be interested in picking up balanced cables for these if I got them.
Oct 29, 2018
ethanchan
185
Oct 30, 2018
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I don't know where everyone else gets their custom cables from but I use a company called mimic cables. I have yet to have any issues with them delivering a quality cable. I have one for my lcd 2 closed, my 1 more triple driver and one for my hd6xx. I checked a bunch of places and all of them were much more expensive even when looking at the very basic which is what I got. Hope that helps.
Oct 30, 2018
Interceptor69
12
Mar 7, 2019
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Can u explain the pros and cons of class A other types of amplifiers?
Mar 7, 2019
TaylorD
329
Mar 7, 2019
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I literally did this above, to the best of my abilities with links for further study. https://www.massdrop.com/buy/aune-x1s-32bit-384-dsd128-mini-dac/reviews/2238770 Any implementation can be decent, but it's whether or not the designers actually do good implementations. I think the Aune sounds great. I think the THX 789 sounds great. Different, but great. Edit: Class A is a very linear design in its amplification, but is inefficient (produces a lot of heat). Very general, and implementation of the tech determines overall sound quality, like I mentioned above. I'd read the links and/or watch some videos on the topic.
(Edited)
Mar 7, 2019
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