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VFRBOB
2017-09-19, 04:31
I woke up early this morning, couldn't get back to sleep so I decided to listen to a few tunes on the headphones (Grado 325s) before work. Downstairs I have Simaudio Mind 180 streamer connected to a Benchmark HDR DAC as part of my main setup. Also connected is a second hand Duet that I recently purchased. For fun I decided to compare the two streamers back to back. Switching between the two I'm darned if these 53 year old ears can tell any difference, I was surprised, especially since the Simaudio cost $1000 and my second hand Duet cost me $90.

iPhone
2017-09-19, 09:18
I woke up early this morning, couldn't get back to sleep so I decided to listen to a few tunes on the headphones (Grado 325s) before work. Downstairs I have Simaudio Mind 180 streamer connected to a Benchmark HDR DAC as part of my main setup. Also connected is a second hand Duet that I recently purchased. For fun I decided to compare the two streamers back to back. Switching between the two I'm darned if these 53 year old ears can tell any difference, I was surprised, especially since the Simaudio cost $1000 and my second hand Duet cost me $90.

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Nice Headphones plus great Streamer and DAC in your main system. "Surprised", I would be Upset not surprised if a $90 Duet sounded as good as $2000 worth of Simaudio Streamer/Benchmark DAC! But you most likely didn't buy the Simaudio/Benchmark combo just to listen via headphones. The great thing is that Sean Adams and Company didn't go cheap in the DAC depart. The Duet Receiver uses the WolfsonŽ 24-bit WM8501 chip set and by using all DC except at the wall wart, tons of money didn't need to be spent on the power supply like the Benchmark unit had to. Don't get me wrong, Benchmark didn't go cheap anywhere which is why they are $1895 today! But really in the big picture of things, the WolfsonŽ 24-bit WM8501 chip set and a decent low noise Op Amp to drive the headphones is going to sound about the same as any other DAC well into the $10K range. Most of the time, nobody is going to hear any real difference unless they are using a $10K DAC driving a high end dedicated tube headphone amp. The way you were basically listening, the only thing different was the DAC and their output stage where again Slim Devices didn't go cheap because why spend money on a great DAC Chip if the analog out circuit is cheap or sucks audio wise?

The only thing I have listened to that really blows away a 10K DAC with Tube Headphone Amp is the Ayre Codex! The Codex is amazing with a set of true balanced headphones!
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Julf
2017-09-19, 10:23
Most of the time, nobody is going to hear any real difference unless they are using a $10K DAC driving a high end dedicated tube headphone amp.

And even then, the difference they will be hearing would be due to the tube stage. Great if that is the kind of sound you like.

Mnyb
2017-09-19, 15:18
I say it's the expected result .

One of these may be nominally much better but both surpass human hearing abilities with a wide margin .
And if the headphones can be driven without stressing any of them .
And not to bizarre designs so both are very close to the source material .

If you get really exotic and expensive high end it migth very well sound much "different" but not for a good reason :)

iPhone
2017-09-19, 19:13
And even then, the difference they will be hearing would be due to the tube stage. Great if that is the kind of sound you like.
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I enjoy tube pre-amps and tube headphone amps (and even tube phono stages), but again, the Ayre Codex with true balanced TRS two line headphones blows away everything! I brought a Cisco router, my Touch with a 256GB USB Thumb Drive to my Ayre Dealer and hid them on the floor under the end table the Arye Codex was sitting on. Connected to a pair of Grado GS2000E TRS headphones making it look like the Codex was still hooked up to the very expensive equipment in the in wall equipment rack behind the end table. I used iPeng on my iPhone to control the song selection from the Touch. The audio blew everybody away that listened to them.

The Fully Balanced Zero Feedback path for every single circuit in the audio path, makes the headphone amp in the Codex truly the best headphone amp I have ever listened to.
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cfuttrup
2017-09-26, 11:31
I have a Duet. You should try to listen to something challenging. When I listen to Jennifer Warnes, Famous Blue Raincoat, there are some tracks with fine bells ringing at high frequency. The Duet cannot reproduce the sound, it sounds more like a quenching sound. I don't know if it's the digital or the analog part of the Duet which does this.

Julf
2017-09-27, 01:49
I have a Duet. You should try to listen to something challenging. When I listen to Jennifer Warnes, Famous Blue Raincoat, there are some tracks with fine bells ringing at high frequency. The Duet cannot reproduce the sound, it sounds more like a quenching sound. I don't know if it's the digital or the analog part of the Duet which does this.

What does the rest of your chain consist of? What are you comparing against?

iPhone
2017-09-27, 09:50
I have a Duet. You should try to listen to something challenging. When I listen to Jennifer Warnes, Famous Blue Raincoat, there are some tracks with fine bells ringing at high frequency. The Duet cannot reproduce the sound, it sounds more like a quenching sound. I don't know if it's the digital or the analog part of the Duet which does this.
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Big Question: Is your Volume at maximum in LMS and on the Duet, to prevent bit limiting?

The chimes and triangles are perfect on Joan of Arc from Famous Blue Raincoat by Jennifer Warnes when using my Receiver as the source with my main system (as long as the volume on the Receiver (Duet) is at maximum and I use my pre-amp to control volume levels) and are easily recognized, clear, and clean when using the Duet (Receiver) with a pair of Audio Engine A5+ powered speakers! Check to make sure the Volume is a Max on the Receiver.