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Honestly I didn't like this amp. I bought it along side thx00, hd650, and Fidelio x2 to compare to my modded he400i. I honestly preferred all of them without the amp. It seem to take away some of the bass without really giving me anything to try to compensate. I would highly recommend Mayflower amp instead. Just my 2 cents
It's possible your preference is just a touch on the bass-heavy side. I can vouch that I get plenty of nice, tight bass in songs that were mixed for it with this unit. It's very neutral, and that's what a DAC should be.
I read your review prior to my purchase of this unit and at the time I was thinking "man all the review I read regarding this unit are great, so this must be the one off" only to kick myself in the foot and coming back to write this review lol.
So I've tested this both on my E-Mu Teak and TH-X00 Mahogany vs straight off Google Pixel. I have to say I like different things about both BUT for the most party I almost liked it better just straight off the Pixel. It's hard to explain but layering and depth is definitely better using the M3, but I find it accentuate certain frequency too much it start to sound tiny bit unnatural also losing some of the small details. It's like when you crank up contrast in a photo it start to look more "impactful" but at the same time flatten out some of the subtle details. I just feel all the frequencies sounded more balanced and natural off the Pixel (trade off is Pixel is bad with soundstage and layering so it sounded more flat).
But yes I do agree there is less bass off M3 so it could also be preference where I might've liked more bass. Though I'm not sure if it's contribute to the headphone too since E-Mu Teak and TH-X00 Mahogany are both very easy to drive headphone, so maybe there would be a bigger difference on harder to drive headphone.
I've previously tried E10K, Fulla 1, UDAC3 and now the M3 (LOL all the budget DAC/AMP in similar price range). Most of the time it just sounds "different" as oppose to a direct upgrade. Again maybe it's because my headphones are easy to drive (also owned the Denon AH-D2000 prior to all this). I haven't get to try the O2/ODAC or Schiit Stack or Grace M9XX you know the "big boy" league of DAC/AMP yet so maybe at that point it would make a huge difference......????
For now I'm leaning on returning the M3 and just go back to listening straight off my phone since it's the cheapest option, also to be honest there wasn't too many issue with that I just wanted to see if I could make it sound better and end up spending money and going in circles.
I'm not expert in this but this is just my personal experience and hopefully it help others on their purchase. :)
Haven't been following the thread lol. I currently use the Mayflower arc dac/amp. The sound seems clean with no coloration which is what I want from a dac/amp. Also the dsp adds a nice 3ish dB to that bass. I prefer neutral headphones so this adding a bit of bass/body to the sound is really nice if I'm working with something that has detailed bass but not very strong. Not changing the sound per say, but adding some oomph to it. I found I immensely enjoyed hd600 but currently running stax l700 with srm 353x amp through the arc.. Again adding some bass to the l700 which gives some more body to the sound.
Damn I never knew about the ARC dac/amp, but it seems like a really good alternative to O2/ODAC. Yeah maybe I should just stop trying with the budget dac/amp and save up for a nice one.
Would you happen to try your TH-X00 on the ARC dac/amp yet? How is the paring?
Again maybe because TH-X00 is easy to drive but I've struggle to find a good dac/amp around the $100 to sound better than straight off my Google Pixel phone LOL. I even tried iFi Nano iDSD Black Label (suppose to be in the same league as O2/ODAC) but I find it trade certain attributes with other attributes so it's not a direct upgrade.
Haven't had the x00 in a long time but I would be curious tot try th 650 with this one as from my recollection I had preferred the he400i over the 650.as it is right now I prefer hd600 to 400i and even the 660s. I would think that 02/odac should be fine. Main reason got the arc was for the mic passthrough. I have my Pc and ps4 connected with it and don't have to mess with the wires when switching between the 2. Before I had a mess of splitters and Jerry rigging to get the same effect. Zeos on youtube had a cheaper one that basically did the same thing and he seemed to like it. Can't remember what it was called though. Think. I'm. Going to. Sell my stax if I can get a reasonable price and stick with that 600.also have the t8x jubilee on the way
Ahhh okay cool, it's just that I mainly use this setup at work, so open headphone is out of the question for me. But definitely be interested to try the HD600 one day.
I think even O2/ODAC might be overkill for work setup but I guess for the most part that seems like a safe "you can't go wrong" choice it seems lol.
Let me know how it goes when you get the HD58X.