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The more and more I listen to this DAC/amp, the more I'm loving it. It's precisely how I remembered it when I first heard it (through a reviewer who had his hands on one before its release): it blends in with the rest of the chain, and it doesn't try to be the star of the show. Yet it supports the headphones that's playing through it by providing the detail and the air and let the headphones "do their thing".
I'm playing my TH-900's through it, and it's great with the TH-900. The TH-900 is a darker, richer headphone, so the extra air from the m9xx balances out the TH-900 really well. The TH-900 is also known to be a "sibilant" headphone, but the m9xx being detailed, yet gentle at the same time, lets the TH-900 maintain its energetic treble, without getting too hot or overbearing.
In the end, as mentioned before, this isn't something that's "in your face", where you notice its characteristics immediately. But it's the kind of thing where, at the end of a session, you look back and you realize, "wow, the m9xx did a lot to make the music sound good". Exactly how I remembered it when I first heard this. So good. Soooo goooooooooooooooooodddddddd.
As a Denon D5000 owner, I can't wait to try.
Very accurate description. I'm currently listening to my m9XX with a TH-600 so I've had just about identical impressions as you. At moderate volumes the sibilance becomes just great treble. At my preferred listening volume though the sibilance can still be there in the vocals for me. But that's just how the Fostex cans can be. I'm listening around 60 volume on the m9XX.
Just curious about the m9xx with the TH series... are you listening through bus power or DC? I'm assuming low gain as well, but have you tried high with any of the power combinations? Cheers and thanks!
Majority of the users here have been using it at high power, even with my 62ohm K7XX. Some users are reporting better SQ with High. No reason not to use High.
Thanks for the response, and it makes sense. I wouldn't be surprised if the m9xx has been optimized for high gain/DC power. Has anyone experienced any USB 3.0 related issues, save some of the comments regarding snaps, crackles, and pops. :)
Also, thanks to all of you for pushing the requests to 200.
just to be clear, high power mode doesn't increase gain (with the normal negatives that high gain modes bring out). High power mode simply swings more current to the headphones, and allows it to operate at its highest volume settings (90+) without getting the over current setting.
Ah, okay, this is making much more sense. The m9xx has no adjustable gain functions and the high power mode is all about current. Hence, the elegant volume attenuation solution. Sorry, that probably should have made sense earlier. I'm more accustomed to low/medium/high power directly correlating to higher gain.
Actually, this seems like a really smart approach. And, I now get why there's no reason not to run the device in high power mode.
yeah, it took me a while to really understand how it worked, and then when I finally got it I thought "man, this is freaking genius, why isn't this how they all work?" First noticed it because I was using the same exact volume settings for high and low power mode.
really using only the USB bus power is if you are using the unit portably and have no access to a wall outlet or some method of delivering the higher power to the unit. It sounds good with just USB power, but I'd say only for IEMS. Doesn't quite drive the lower end very well on headphones unless also connected to the outlet. This was very noticeable on my th-600s.
Also to note that the m9xx has no off switch, but seems to need a reset every 3-5 days. For some reason no sound will come out of mine after that period unless I unplug/replug it's AC power. Strange.
Re: sibilance at high volumes, try DAC FILTER modes F2 or F4 and see if that hard edge goes away. The slow/linear phase (F2) or slow/minimum phase (F4) should mellow out the DAC a little bit for you. I prefer F3 myself, but am using a fairly mellow set of HD 650s.
And always, always in high power mode (USB #2 powered).