High End Audiophile Thread Part 2

Discussion in 'Soundcards, Speakers HiFI & File formats' started by vbetts, Sep 24, 2018.

  1. bballfreak6

    bballfreak6 Ancient Guru

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    Hey guys would love to get some opinions:

    Currently rocking a Creative ZxR sound card in my system along with Alessandro MS-Pro-e headphones and JBL 305P II speakers; is something like the SMSL M300MKII a worthy upgrade from the ZxR? Also would I be better off going with the M500 (which seems to be older) or the M300MKII if I can pick them up for about the same price?

    Also with the M300MKII how would I plug the headphones into the DAC as I can't seem to see a headphone port in the images; I also have a JDS lab O2 amp if that makes any difference.

    Thanks!
     
  2. mezball

    mezball Master Guru

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    The SMSL M300MKII is a DAC only, which means you would have to purchased an separate headphone amp or use your JDS to power the headphones. The SMSL M500 is a DAC/amp combo, which should power your headphones since they have a
    SPL lmV @ 100, and nominal impedance of 32 Ohms. As for which DAC is better the AKM,or ESS, that is subjective at best. Hope that helps.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2021
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  3. bballfreak6

    bballfreak6 Ancient Guru

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    Thanks for that! If I end up with the M300MKII I plan to use the XLR output for the 305's therefore would I get something like RCA to 3.5mm cable to plug it into the JDS amp? Also purely on sound quality alone is it worth going to the M500 (I assume it's the higher end)?
     
  4. mezball

    mezball Master Guru

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    By the looks of the specs for the JDS, it accepts 3.5mm or RCA as inputs. I would just go with some RCA to RCA connection. Unless you do not have a JDS the has the RCA inputs, then you would have to use RCA to 3.5mm. I mentioned earlier, which DAC is better is subjective, especially at the price points you selected. Myself, I like ESS dacs, or Burr Brown's, not to crazy for the AKM, although I have only tried the lower AKM models from Schiit, and Topping.
     
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  5. bballfreak6

    bballfreak6 Ancient Guru

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    Hey thanks I appreciate that. Would love to see others chime in especially in regards to going from the ZxR to either the M300MKII or M500. What about gaming side of things?
     
  6. mezball

    mezball Master Guru

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    I do not use my PC to listen to my music, that I use a dedicated digital player, DAC, and amp for. But I do game, and use internal sound card. I recently upgraded from the Sound Blaster Z, to the AE-7, and this was a much better experience to me. I was hearing sounds much better then with the Z.
     
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  7. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

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    I currently use a SMSL M300 MKII + FX-Audio TUBE-01 buffer preamp with some Voskhod 6J1P-EV tubes + Schiit Asgard 3 to drive some Monolith M1070. I use an iFi iDefender3.0 dongle to isolate USB power from the PC to feed the M300, due to noisy PC power. The M300 DAC lacks an isolation circuit.
     
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  8. bballfreak6

    bballfreak6 Ancient Guru

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    Thanks for that; so you think the M300 MKII is worthwhile upgrade compared to the ZxR?
     
  9. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

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    The DAC in it is an AK4497, which is a flagship DAC from AKM. It has AKM's signature smooth sound, and the DAC has 7 different filters to select from. Supports Balanced and SE out. You will need an amp too, as it's just a DAC with Line-Out.

    I've reviewed Creative cards for a long time, and it's not even a contest. The unit was designed to compete with Topping's D70 DAC for less than 1/2 the price. ($239 vs $599) The performance vs price is really astounding.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2021
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  10. bballfreak6

    bballfreak6 Ancient Guru

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    Thanks very much. I think I will have to look into getting the M300 MKII! I already have a JDS Lab O2 amp so I am covered there (not that the MS-Pro really needs an amp to drive) and my JBL's are active monitors. So something like this https://addictedtoaudio.com.au/products/ifi-idefender-usb-ground-isolator would be sufficient to deal with ground loop noise you think? Also how do you find the setup for gaming?
     

  11. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

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    The M300 is self powered, so the iDefender+ will work to isolate the DAC from any PC noise it's power may introduce. No need to connect power to the iDefender+, just use the dongle as is.

    I find my setup great for gaming, tho I am still tweaking the M1070. Next to do is experimenting with EQ. I use Waves NX or Redscape for my 7.1 gaming, and if the game supports Atmos of DTS:X streams, I'll use the matching Windows Sonic plug-in. I have a desk mic for chat.
     
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  12. OnnA

    OnnA Ancient Guru

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    I have KZ ZSX Terminator (with copper-ofc cable) and im happy with them.
    Price performance is on point :D:eek:



     
    Last edited: May 13, 2021
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  13. HK-1

    HK-1 Master Guru

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    @ OnnA Wow, I also want one thank you for the info :p:)
     
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  14. OnnA

    OnnA Ancient Guru

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    Here more KZ

     
  15. mikeysg

    mikeysg Ancient Guru

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    Hey, I have the KZ ZS10 Pro as well! Like the reviewer had said, great bass (thanks to its DD) and clear mids and highs (all BA's). I have the CCA C16 as well, but the one I like above these two is the Tri Audio i3 (Planar mag + 8mm DD + BA combo sounds very open, wide soundstage, good separation, nice imaging, kickbutt bass, just the best sounding to my old ears. But, when the music gets kinda busy, it does seem to grapple somewhat at reproducing the sound.

    Opinion formed via usage with Cayin N5iiS and my phones with iBasso DC02 with Spotify, FLAC and DSD tracks.
     
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  16. OnnA

    OnnA Ancient Guru

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  17. TimmyP

    TimmyP Master Guru

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    Still using an HDA\Auzentech Digital-X Mystique DDL card from 2005 in my Ryzen system. Sounds miles better than my mobo with modded DDL driver. True 5.1 still exists in pretty much everything natively (regarding games).

    Anyone who doesn't use multichannel positional audio is missing out.
     
  18. Astyanax

    Astyanax Ancient Guru

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    I can't even find info on what this card is.

    oh... Cmedia, thats a no from me.
     
  19. TimmyP

    TimmyP Master Guru

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    Sucks for you. Cmedia was top when this card was made.

    *PS. It was the first add in board for DDL that started the DDL soundcard boom in the 2000s. Had it paired with an nforce3 since Nvidia killed off Soundstorm back at that time.
     
  20. Astyanax

    Astyanax Ancient Guru

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    Err, I have historical evidence in both tech support and forum claimage to the opposite.
     

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