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Can someone tell me what's the point of these "HD" players? You can play uncompressed and FLAC on my phones. As for DSD, the measily selection of available tracks for downloading is a huge turnoff. What's the advantage of one of these vs carrying a portable dac/amp along with your phone?
The point? Sound. A dedicated audio player, if designed correctly, will have a number of sound quality advantages over any cell phone. Without presuming to describe these differences without having heard this player myself, they result from better DAC chips, better/cleaner power supply to the DAC, better analog DAC output stage, better amplification stage (not just more volts, but higher capacitance and ability to push higher impedance and lower sensitivity loads) and better circuitry shielding and isolation to prevent crosstalk and RF interference/noise. This particular DAP also offers balanced headphone connection, which, if your headphones support it, provides a "cleaner" signal between the driver and the amplifier by having a dedicated completed circuit for each driver, instead of a common ground. I think this is a fully balanced design, which means that each of the 2 DAC chips are dedicated to each channel, and there should be 4 separate amplifier circuits, 2 for each channel for more effortless, lower distortion power for harder to drive headphones.
Whether or not these improvements over your cell phone matter to you, and whether you have headphones that can make these worthwhile is another question.
apple earpod vs 1000usd earphone. same purpose, produce some sound. You get the drift?
Respectfully - your comment indicates you have absolutely no experience of quality headphones. I may have thought the same myself a few years ago. now, with experience... Lets just say there is a world of extraordinary magic out there that is invisible until you start to listen to real quality :)
i know, thats why i'm on massdrop. buying things i dont need. LOL
He mentioned using a phone with a portable dac/amp(via OTG). And you said the only improvement would be the dac/amp, so if you have a great portable dac/amp already, there is not improvements to be had in buying this. The ONLY improvement may be SIZE I guess. FOR THE SAME EXACT PRICE, I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF THE SOUND QUALITY IS BETTER THAN THE GRACE M9XX. For me, I would guess that a phone(and OTG cable) with the M9XX would give noticeably better quality than this, and both are portable, but it would be around twice the size. So I guess the only question would be, what is more important size or quality. For me, I would throw the M9XX and my phone in a small drawstring back bag and take the better quality - for the price.
Sure. But I was describing the general differences between this player and a phone. And how many phones can output a balanced signal to a portable balanced amp?
Actually there are hundreds of DSD albums available to download. Depending on style of music you like and your budget you can build a substantial library of DSD files. Only one source like Native DSD has more than 900 albums in their catalog and it is growing every week.
I have now probably 60 -70 albums of hi-resolution recordings and DSD files comprise about 25% of it. Not all records benefit from DSD format and one needs to carefully consider what to buy in regular 24bit hi-res and what in DSD as many records available in both.
Well I guess, but this doesn't replace a phone, so everyone would have a phone on them either way, correct? So people would carry a phone and this, or a phone(with OTG cable) and a portable dac/amp, and the two setups could provide exactly the same thing. The balanced output comes from the DAC/amp, so with an OTG cable, it would not matter if the phone's dac/amp has balanced outputs, only if the portable dac/amp has balanced outputs. The only point being - There is no difference between this product(and carrying a phone seperately), and a phone w portable dac/amp. And if you are going to carry a phone anyway, spending $500 on a great portable dac/amp(M9XX for example) would probably get you better quality in the end than buying this and carrying your phone separately. M9XX is a bit big, but there are smaller dac/amps for $500 that would likely outperform this product as well. That said, it's a neat device, and with it you could talk on your phone while not interrupting your music, but for pure portable quality per $ spent, I'd get another M9XX.
Apples to oranges. The GRACE, while maybe great, is not really a truly portable DAC/AMP as it lacks a battery. I don't know how far you'd get powering the thing off of your cell phone if it were even that feasible. It's also not balanced, is it? There's just not that many options in portable (ie, with battery) DAC/AMP combos that are also balanced and nothing that I know of for the price of the Opus. Plus, I think you can use the Opus as DAC/AMP with your phone, bypassing its DAP (this functionality was supposed to be implemented, anyway). Does it sound as good as the GRACE? Well, the amplifier is definitely not as powerful as the GRACE when it's plugged in, but otherwise? For portable scenarios? How do you know?
Edit: If Opus did release a balanced battery powered DAC/AMP with these specs (without the DAP functionality or LDC screen) for ~$100 less than this, I agree, that would be a very interesting product at that price point. But that is not the GRACE.
I use the m9xx with an external USB battery for portable use, and in the car plugged in(to the cig lighter, etc with ground loop eliminator). It's a vast improvement over any other dac I've owned.
This is my thought. I carry a Chord Mojo with me. I have a feeling the Mojo has a better Dac and Amp. The iPhone has a better UI and I have to carry it anyway. The only thing my combo can't do is DSD (on the phone) and the quantity of those across music genre is quite low. I'm not doubting this being useful. It does seem nice to have an all in one package. I guess this is a nice device for those who want an all in one package and don't care to get a higher quality portable dac/amp and who don't mind using both their phones and a DAP.
One day I purchased like two dozen adapters & adapter cables. I'm pretty sure I have that one. What it does is power the device at the other end of the otg cable. Meaning it does not provide power to the phone that is the source of the bitstream, but to the DAC it is streaming to.
That only powers the dac/amp, there is no device yet that will charge the phone while using OTG(except for QI wireless charging). I think there may be one for the USB3 connector on the Samsung Galaxy 5(because it's essentially 2 USBs in 1) that will charge the phone while using OTG, but I can't confirm that.
No it wouldn't, not of the specs indicate that this is a true balanced design with 4 amps. Yeah it might configured as such with the DACs, but all the disclosed differences between SE and balanced are less than negligible. Of course no power outputs[balanced] or even the Amps brand or model number were disclosed. So yes again the question is valid why this device is better than a phone and a decent DAC/amp, like the Fiio E18 [sorry don't care for DSD]? Not a whole lot in a practical real world!
You are correct that the manufacturer has not been forthcoming about the amplifier topology. However, the diagram they have on their website indicates that the balanced and unbalanced amplification is handled by separately (though, this isn't as clear as it could be). There is also some support that balanced and unbalanced DAC output stage is handled differently, given that the balanced output is rated at 330mW at 16 Ohm, while the unbalanced is rated at 275 mW at 16 Ohm.
On the other hand, having a balanced DAC setup (as indicated by dual DAC chips, and in the manufacturer diagrams on their website) being forced through unbalanced amplification stage (ie, only 1 amplifier circuit per channel instead of 2 per channel), then having it fed to a balanced output would be kind of useless, bordering on misleading.