Chord Dave vs. DAC-V1

analogmusic posted:

 the headphone output of DAVE is extremely good, performance is off the charts.

I have recently returned to headphone listening this past fall after a 15 year absence.  I returned to headfi.com after last patrolling those forums in 2003/04 - my have things changed! 

On headfi.com the Dave is universally acknowledged as the pinnacle of the DAC/headphone amp world.  It is the equivalent of the 552 for headphone users.

thijazi posted:

I have been trying to find out what are the factory-default settings for the Chord Dave, and cannot seem to locate this info anywhere, keen to know what is the default HF Filter setting and what is the default Phase setting... Anyone here?

my copy of the manual says this:

HF Filter On or Off – This turns on a sharp high frequency cutoff filter set at 60kHz. This filter bandwidth limits higher sample rate recordings to reduce noise shaper noise from the ADC. You may find that the noise will degrade the sound quality by increasing noise floor modulation as the out of bandwidth noise causes intermodulation distortion with the wanted audio signal in the analogue electronics. By activating the HF Filter it is likely that you will hear a positive effect upon the resulting sound quality.

Phase Pos or Neg – You can optimise the absolute signal phase on the analogue outputs to positive or negative.

If I recall correctly the menu gives simple choices of on or off for each. But if you mean how is it set up when first received from the factory, I'm afraid I can't remember -phase probably positive, but filter less obvious - and either is guesswork.

Um. From memory (and that's more sieve-like by the day) it was: DAC mode, Filter off and Phase positive defaults. I have it set to Pre-Amp mode (volume set to -13db - better integration with the rest of the inputs to the 552), Filter on, Phase positive (though in the case of the last two the difference was probably in my head).

Hi Gary, interesting that you have the Dave set to Pre-Amp, I have mine set to DAC-Mode in order to avoid having to preamp at the same signal path, I would have thought that with the NAC552 on your rack you wouldn't want anything else messing with the audio before it.... Can yo elaborate more on the better integration with the rest of the 552 inputs that you mentioned in your post?

Thanks

thijazi posted:

Hi Gary, interesting that you have the Dave set to Pre-Amp, I have mine set to DAC-Mode in order to avoid having to preamp at the same signal path, I would have thought that with the NAC552 on your rack you wouldn't want anything else messing with the audio before it.... Can yo elaborate more on the better integration with the rest of the 552 inputs that you mentioned in your post?

Thanks

As Ali says, this mode doesn't have any negative effect. In fact, balancing the input volume sounds better to me than DAC mode, which is much higher than CD, NAT01 etc., levels. See also Hugo.

So by balancing the input volume you are setting the dave into "Digital-Pre" mode and the volume at -13db? What do you base the volume level setting on to determine if it was correctly balanced? I will try this out today. I read somewhere that having two volume controls in the signal path is detrimental to sound quality so naturally assumed as the 552 was a superior pre that it would handle volume in a better way to... You learn something new every day with this hobby!

Well what do you know, the NAC552 is dead again (or half dead!), I got it back after having to send it to the UK to be fixed for the muted right channel only for it to work fine for less than a week and then tonight again, same issue, right channel is dead... I understood that the last time there was a fault in one of the mute-relays, seems the problem is bigger than that...

Pretty disappointing knowing the amount of money this box commands, I would have expected a bit more on the reliability side.

Now I have to arrange to have it sent back to the UK again and wait another month and a half before I can get it back...

Grrrrrrr.........

That is one big dissapointment

a 20k amp that is not a new product going back and forth to uk!

if Naim have a good customer care they will exchange it with a new one pronto and take back the problematic unit

this level of customer care is part of 20k invoice when you fail twice

thijazi posted:

What I found interesting is that the Dave is always louder than the DAC-V1 (I set both to use the NAC volume control bypassing the DAC's own volume control)..

Cheers,

And this alone, in the opinion of many who see things (also) from a scientific point of view, would be enough to justify your impression that the Dave is somehow 'better'. Higher sound pressure always manages to convey an impression of quality.

Try to find a way to have better matching volumes. Just a suggestion.

Cheers.

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