StarWarder t1_jburh20 wrote

I'd also like to learn more about the specifics of this process. When Pine Tree buys these assets from CMP... who sets the price of these assets? Also, aren't interest rates on debt at extremely high levels right now? Does that affect the numbers?


StarWarder t1_jaeytuc wrote

Imagine a subscription tier that instead allows you to pick to whom a percentage of your subscription goes. Let’s say the majority would still be the old model tied to number of listens but some amount you get to control regardless of listening frequency. That would be cool. And on top of that control maybe you get a few special features or perks nobody else gets. I’d pay for that.


StarWarder t1_ja9ppsa wrote

I’m confused at the pricing- something used is that much? When looking at the official Audeze distributor in the UK, , the price is 1149 brand new? There is a creator package (get that one) and the premium which comes with a balanced cable (unnecessary for the efficient-to-drive LCDX) and a case (which shouldn’t cost 550 pounds).

I would investigate why their prices are like that


StarWarder t1_ja9anw1 wrote

My take on the X is that it’s technically very adept. Moreso than the LCD2. The bass is amazing. Timbre is not as natural as a HiFiman or OG Clear mostly because of the decrease in the high mid/upper treble but a lot of people like the Audeze House Sound. The sound is massive and opaque. I don’t like delicate or whispy sound as much. The whole thing is a lot of fun to listen to.

Just make sure to get the 2021 version or later if you decide to go with an X. They tuned it better after 2021


StarWarder t1_ja7mxfr wrote

I agree, I don’t think most of these engineers or store owners are doing anything malicious. I think most of them really believe what they’re selling which I don’t know is better or worse lol.

Something you might consider to try to get access to more demos is go to CanJam. They have one in London this summer.

It is great fun and a bargain at what you have access to in one weekend.


StarWarder t1_ja4gxiw wrote

It can be hard! Unfortunately, this hobby is filled with snake oil. There are a cadre of companies and people who claim that there is a difference in sound between something like a Chord Mojo with Chord's proprietary filter and discrete circuit output stage compared to something like a Schiit Heresy/Modi which is an op-amp based "clinical" sounding amp paired with an analytical AKM (now ESS) chip.

Well I wanted to get to the bottom of this myself so I purchased a switcher and I compared my Schiit Heresy and my Chord Mojo. I staggered the playback times from two different sources but the same track by two seconds. This is a correction for the first mistake people make when trying to conduct a test like this... they try to time the playback exactly... Well if you do that, when you initiate the switch, you're not listening to the guitar strum you just heard, you're listening to the next one... obviously. So you aren't ever comparing apples to apples. It's actually beneficial to stagger the playback slightly and examine the exact same cymbal hits, the same strums, the same reverb trails.

I took this so seriously, I had my hearing tested at an audiologist beforehand at a not insignificant cost to me (American healthcare and all). My hearing sensitivity is perfect. I can also hear up to 18kHz.

After all this, I have never heard a difference in this test or other tests and I've never heard a difference between a DCS Bartok and anything else 1/10 the price.

Solid state electronics (barring particularly terribly designed ones like the Stellar or ones with high output impedance) are all audibly identical and anyone who claims otherwise is selling snake oil... and in fact this may be 90% of audiophile stores considering their business model and collective livelihoods depend on folks believing there is a difference. Keep in mind that you can purchase a speaker cable that costs $125,000.

Now of course, if you want to get into the rabbit hole of tubes and play with harmonic distortion to get a warmer, less precise, but possibly more relaxing or pleasing sound, that's a thing a lot of people enjoy doing. But for now, I'd focus on just getting a DAC that is well measuring, useful, and one that is affordable enough to reserve your capital for the part of the system that actually matters with real, measurable, and audible differences- the headphones.

Going to go by US prices for a second but if you had purchased an LCD2 Classic for 800$ and a Stellar for 2150$, that would be a total spend of 2950$. That puts you into flagship range for headphones. And if I had 2950$ laying around, I kid you not, I would just buy a Utopia and plug that right into my 9$ Apple Lightning Dongle and sleep very well at night knowing I had better sound than all the people who bought an HD800s and a Burson Conductor or something.


StarWarder t1_ja3bnac wrote

The PS Audio Stellar is infamously one of the worst DACs ever measured at ASR. It miraculously scored a SINAD of 58 which is 41dB lower than an Apple USB-C dongle which achieved 99dB at a price point of 9$. The performance is so bad, it is within human audibility in the details (or loss of details) which is really saying something.

I recommend not paying attention to price as any indicator at all about quality. In fact, I wonder if there's even a reverse correlation between price and performance in the audiophile space. For example check out the TotalDac d16. It is also one of the worst performing DACs measured at a cool 14,000$.

Meanwhile, at the time it was measured, the Topping E50 achieved a SINAD of 121dB, the 6th best measuring DAC in the database and is undoubtably one of the best performing DACs in the world. It can be purchased now for around 200$.

If you really want to get a DAC that has many features and looks fancy, get an RME ADI2. At least that DAC has built-in EQ, perfectly digitally matched volume, a remote, crossfeed, firmware updates, and more. It measures excellently and it integrated perfectly in a speaker/headphone dual use system. RME's products have been time tested for decades and are used in professional mixing and mastering studios around the world. It costs around 1000-1300$ but at least you'd know you're getting your money's worth.

Or if you really want to prioritize aesthetics and have a budget to spend, get a Schiit Ragnarok for 1500$ and it can power speakers as well as send full speaker power through the headphone jacks. Pair it with one of the best performing DACs in the world, the Schiit Modius, for 230$ and call it a day.


StarWarder t1_j9x5lsk wrote

For the vast majority of headphones, the Mojo 2 will directly power them with plenty of headroom. The Mojo 1 is slightly more powerful and will power all headphones including my Susvara, infamously the hardest to drive headphone.

In fact, an amp can only decrease the fidelity of the chain. Since the Mojo has its own full powered and digitally adjustable output stage, you should indeed just use that directly.

I could see the argument that since the Mojo 2 can’t power a Susvara or HE6 with much headroom, they’d want to put an amp in the chain in case someone walks in with one of these but still…


StarWarder t1_j9wbljb wrote

I have to reiterate my opinion on amps/DACs which is that, to date, nobody I’m aware of has ever been able to tell the difference between two well measuring solid state chains in a blind test.

The only reason I have a Mojo instead of a cheaper portable amp is because at the time, it was the only portable amp powerful enough to run a Susvara and I live at work half the year. (Now there’s the Ifi Diablo but that thing just looks ridiculous).

It’s nice to not have to buy a whole separate setup and just place it on my desk if I need to.

In fact, its pretty cool to carry a full hifi chain with you in a Mojo. You can leave it on your desk, take it outside, take it to work, take it on vacation, etc etc.

As far as the look. The full aluminum body is pretty solid imo. And the tiny rubber feet are surprisingly grippy. But yes they did change the buttons in the Mojo 2. I complained directly to Rob Watts about that one. The Mojo 1 has beautiful glass spheres for buttons. The Mojo 2’s buttons are much less satisfying to handle.

And yes, the whole input side of the DAC is a nightmare. I think Chord knows this. When I asked about this, Rob said he had too many USB-C connectors fail on him. I think the reason is entirely because they wanted it to be backwards compatible with the Poly.

As far as the headphones- LCD2 is great. Have you tried the LCDX yet?


StarWarder t1_j9w744s wrote

I have a Mojo 1. Incredible amp. One of my favorite features is the color coded volume. The fact that you know what volume you’re listening at consistently is a huge advantage vs a potentiometer/knob because that way you know that 1. You’re not turning it up over time and risking hearing damage and 2. you ensure that comparisons are volume matched.


StarWarder t1_j9w5dkp wrote

Stuff like this kind of reminds me of CanJam NY 2022. I was at the Sendy table (or a vendor that was representing Sendy indirectly) and I noticed that the pads were installed literally backwards. I pointed this out and the same guy who is literally selling multi thousand dollar amps (I think they were Cayins) claiming that there is an audible difference between this amp and other amps then said “well if we’re going to get picky about the pads….”

Pads are like half the tuning of a headphone. Unbelievable to hear bullshit snake oil come out of the vendor one second and the next tell me I’m anal for wanting the asymmetrical pads in the correct orientation. Shit like this is why audiophiles get a bad rap.

The nicest people at CanJam were definitely Meze. They just seemed happy to be there and they helped everyone else


StarWarder t1_j9pxj3x wrote

This. I have both Focal speakers and headphones. The headphones are more precise and detailed. Even the Utopia I had before sounded better than the same price point speakers Focal offers. But I but much of that comes down to room treatment and listening position. And figuring all that out is a nightmare


StarWarder t1_j8zwfgf wrote

I’ve never owned an Abyss but I do think the 1266 is worth owning for someone who can afford a second flagship headphone. (The first should be an honest flagship like an LCD, HiFiman or Focal). Despite the fact that the 1266 measures poorly in virtually every way, it really is a headphone that defies measurements. For some reason, it’s still one of the most detailed headphones I’ve heard. Maybe it’s the transients or something. And of course they are one of the only headphones ever made to specifically take advantage of an air channel to give you massive dynamic bass that is unmatched. If you throw on tracks that already sound huge like Futurerave, it sounds like you’re at Tomorrowland. It’s the ultimate EDM headphone.

The Diana I just never understood. The price is shocking for what sounds like to me a closed back headphone with middling everything. I’d pay 300$ for it. Even then I might still opt for a used r70x.


StarWarder t1_j68zn0c wrote

I like a lot of headphones but here are five of note:

  1. Susvara - If I could characterize this headphone tonally, it would be as a symbol- the Yin Yang. Befitting considering it’s heritage. This headphone is perfectly balanced. And as such, I believe HiFiman created the most timbre accurate headphone I’ve heard. The Susvara is the only headphone I’ve listened to that crosses the uncanny valley completely from reproduction to believability and because of this, it’s performance is more than the sum of it’s parts. If I had one gripe, it would be that the imaging isn’t as precise as a Focal. Though this does lends a certain etherealness to it that is arguably just as interesting as perfect imaging.

  2. Focal Utopia (OG, I haven’t heard the new one yet) - The best imaging headphone I’ve heard. Approached perfection in many ways but never crossed the valley because of Focal’s house sound. This is Focal’s best headphone and strikes the best balance in their lineup.

  3. Abyss AB-1266 - Perhaps the most fun you can have without taking your clothes off. It’s like hiring a world class prostitute. None of this is natural, but it’s fucking great.

  4. Focal Clear Mg - I agree with OP. This headphone is dynamic incarnate. It’s more dynamic than the Utopia. At some point it felt like kick drums would punch a hole straight through my eardrum, in a good way. Considered this might have been my endgame for awhile but ultimately the mids are fucked- particularly male vocals. I did find out the weird tonality does lend itself to reproducing the timbre of water perfectly for some reason. Still the best rendition of Yosi’s Fluid that I’ve heard so far. Combined with Focal’s best-in-the-world imaging, it does it better than the Susvara.

  5. KSC75 - Minus the sub bass, tonally amazing. Also the soundstage is just shocking- goes way past the headphones somehow. I feel like this headphone grounds us in a world of ever escalating prices. I never get tired of listening to these and still do often.