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Proton USB DAC and rock music


chuuey
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hey guys, i am looking at getting the Proton USB dac and i will be mainly listening to rock music like Grand Funk, Yes, Deep Purple, now i was wondering if anyone has any experience using this dac with this king of genre? I actually went to listen to it in one of the stores here, but they have a jazz optimized room and equipment there with tube preamps etc, which didn't really produce much of a heavy sound on my type of music, I just want to know if this will be a good choice? Thanks :)

 

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Chuuey,

 

Rock on... I don't listen to that crap. Mostly 80 Punk stuff for me. Just remember if you use the line output into your system don't take it past about 95% as it will clip on the line. But on the headphones feel free to take it all the way to 11!

 

Thanks

Gordon

 

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One idea is return to the dealer with a pair of righteous headphones, thereby bypassing their amplification and speakers. So if you've got some 'phones which are already great for rock, that might be a good test.

 

 

 

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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well I've been reading about DACs off and on for a few months. I Bought a Mac Mini and started loading my CDs. Then had financial distractions. I almost bought a Lavry DA11 after hearing a DA10. With more time researching I have a huge headache and new numbers and terminology. UGH!

 

Now I"m looking at the Proton because I do believe in time higher bitrates will prevail. The Proton looks to be a good price to get in and not be limited by Redbook standards. Still I'm not sure, as I know no one else or heard anything else in DACs.

 

My equipment is now an LFD integrated, Naim CDX2 and Rega P5 TT.

 

ah what to do? where to find a dealer, I read lots of reviews but don't know dealers.

 

City of Lost Angels

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Right, Carlsbad can't be far. Audio Revelation handles Origin Live, the Magicos, Berkely Alpha Dac, the complete Benchmark line and lot's of other good stuff.

 

But call them about the Proton first... as I don't see it on their website. The do have the Brick and the Cosecant.

 

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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yeah, I had an email back from them. I'll have to figure out a trip down there, my parents are 2/3 way down in Dana Pt. so I can stop on the way to or back. So what does the Proton do that just plugging in headphones into the computer doesn't do?

 

Years ago I took graphics classes and we edited music files and had to use Sennheiser to catch the details. I'm also really curious about the sound difference between 16/44 and 24/96 on my stereo. I'm amazed the Beatles reissues didn't come out also in the higher format. That would have been easy to do and created a ground swell for that medium. But I'm sure they'll have another reissue down the line. I've not bought any yet. I also think I'm going to have to go back and re-rip the 2 dozen CDs from Lossless to Aiff.

 

mud

 

City of Lost Angels

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I think you'll find that most stand-alone DACs will sound better (better quality of sound, less noise, more depth, better sense of presence, better stereo image, pacing etc.) compared to the default sound card in your computer. In addition to the quality of the DAC, there are sound-related factors in how the DAC circuit interfaces to your computer via USB, Firewire, Toslink, and so on. Some interfaces are supported by custom drivers and some use the standard drivers installed on your computer. And, for example, not all USB interfaces are implemented in the same way. I suspect that this factor is what made the Proton pop up on your audition list in the first place.

 

Regardless of bit depth/sample rate, a good quality DAC will get you closer to what you're hearing with your current source components. The default sound card may be fine for casual listening -- but I doubt that you'd compare it well to your NAIM CD player.

 

There's another step up when you can get good recordings at a higher sample rate -- assuming that they are good recordings to begin with. For example, you might be interested in Wes Phillips' review (of the Ayre QB-9) in the Oct Stereophile. In that review, he takes several paragraphs to describe his reaction to 24/96 source files.

 

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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I figured these higher end components give more. I remember the teacher on one software siad after it is all done you expand the file with this button for maximum impact and then downsize it to send off to the company. Yet I"ve been reading about the loudness wars and hear it on many rock CDs. They leave no headroom and it makes the soft passages more aggressive. I do go to Disney Hall for classical music and really enjoy those performances. Nothing like 8 double basses drubbing away and going from complete silence to 100+ creating a climax.

 

I'm sure at 24/96 they pay attention to this and many other details.

 

Last night I watched Wall-e with a friend and at the end Peter Gabriel had a song with a chior. That's made me think about blueray into the DAC also. Oh so much to research. Read this AM on here about the cables, very enlightening.

 

I"ve been taken with Naim for 10 years tho now have an LFD integrated. I seem to like that hand built British sound. Tho LFD is minimalist to the core with just RCA inputs. Naim is coming out with a DAC soon and there are many different inputs in the back so it can tke more than one source. Only DAC I've heard was a Lavry DA10. Quite exciting in detail. I need to rip in AIFF or WAV. That means redoing 30 or so CDs on my Mini which is sitting on my shelf.

 

City of Lost Angels

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I have a couple of DGG recordings done in Disney Hall and catching a concert there is high on my list of activities next time I'm in L.A. The first thing that comes to mind when I hear recordings of this venue is... Technicolor Sound!

 

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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yes the hall is incredible, I sit behind the orchestra with a friend because we like to watch the conductors and the percussionists who do little , and BIG, things. Also the Balcony seats at top back of hall have incredible cohesive sound. Another recording that was done there is Los Lobos, The Town and The City. I really enjoy playing that, good songs. I"m sure there are others out there. One New Years I took friends to see Lyle Lovett, great time without the large band, his backing group was great.

 

I understand that many recordings of concerts have been played on KUSC. And I was there for one of the 3 nights Salonen recorded The Rite of Spring and Night on Bald mountian, the original version which ends at satans feast, no sof bells of morning and Ave Maria. Talk about dark...

 

g

 

City of Lost Angels

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Exactly the Rite of Spring / Night on Bald Mountain that I was listening to. Lovely.

 

So top balcony, back of the hall (2nd balcony?) are good seats then? Maybe one could go, hear wonderful sound, and not break the bank? One hopes so. :-)

 

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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balcony seats are around $45, the section below balcony is about $60 I think it's called Terrace, Sides are Orchestra East and West, closer to the orchestra but the sound is also wonderful anywhere you sit.

 

http://www.laphil.com/

 

for seating below but no prices of individual tickets. click on the chart and it brings up a pic of your view

 

http://www.laphil.com/tickets/seating-chart.cfm

 

I went to the Tristan Project, video by Bill Viola and Salonen conducting, it was spectacular sound. I"ve never had chills and thrills like that. End of each act was a standing ovation, well worth my measly $50. I really have enjoyed Salonen as a conductor the Phil sounds so great with him. Very precise and clean sound.

 

Back to DACs, I think I'll hold off hearing one till Naim comes out with theirs. Since I have had Naim kit before I know they make good stuff.

 

City of Lost Angels

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Flatmap - with your Proton and AKG K-702 - what USB cable do you use, and did you upgrade the headphone cable for your AKG K-702s? Is there anything else you use or have setup with current system? I am looking at getting both the Proton and the AKG K-702 (from Headphone). Thanks in advance.

 

Custom Music Server, i7-3770T with Core Audio Filtered ATX Cables, Win 8, J River Media 17 with JPLAY, USB 1TB, Nuforce IA7 V2 Upgrade Co Signature modified, TimePortal Interconnects, MIT Magnum powercord, Wireworld Silver Starlight USB, Northstar DAC32, upgraded by the Upgrade Company, RSL 3600 Studio Monitors

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mudman, thanks for that info on Disney Hall seating. The next time I'm scheduled to go to LA, I'm definitely calling in advance to get tickets. I listen regularly to the Salonen Rite of Spring recording -- how cool that you were there in person. Definitely he was a good match with the LA Phil.

 

steveinusa, currently I'm using stock cables on the K-702. Likewise I use the Belkin gold USB cable that came with Proton. I may check out different USB cables at some point, but don't have any experience to report at this point.

 

I'm sure you know that the AKGs are not everyone's cup of tea. However, the AKG presentation was exactly what I was looking for: clear, spacious, immediate. Also, for my head shape, these are terrifically comfortable as they are completely off the pinna. I have other headphones, but for my tastes I find that I always go to the K-702's. They do take a very long time to break in, so be prepared for that.

 

On the topic of break-in, my headphones were mostly settled in by the time I got the Proton. I followed Gordon's advice to just adhere to my normal listening pattern, and not have the unit running constantly. So listening on and off, I'm guessing that it took something like 200 hours of listening time to completely come on song. Well, you need at least that much time for the K-702s... :-)

 

I'm very satisfied with this combination.

 

edit: I'm not doing anything special. I'm not using any other hardware. I just make sure (on my mac) to have audio midi setup set to the right sample rate before launching iTunes. (And then going back and forth, relaunching at each sample rate change. Ugh!)

 

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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