Upgrade opamps in Asus Xonar Essence One DAC - advice needed? - Page 2 - diyAudio
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Old 28th November 2012, 08:57 AM   #11
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Default Op Amps tried so far

Hi Guys

I have been playing around with different Op Amp combo's in my XEO for the last few weeks and thought I'd share some of my findings:

I started out by getting more LM4562's So I removed all the 5532's and replaced them all with the 4562's and then also replaced the XLR and RCA ones with LME49860's...this was already a major improvement over the stock setup, much warmer sound, more punchy and controlled bass, wider soundstage...general improvements throughout!

I then got my hands on some LME49720HA, the HA are TO-99 amps, but you can fir them by bending the pins slightly to fit the PDIP config, they are a definite improvement over both the 4562's and the 49860 in any of the slots, and they are highly recommended especially considering the price in comparison with some of the other chips out there. I continued to swap around between those chips in different combinations, and even tried it with all LME49720HA, the sound is a lot better than the stock setup, and considering that you can get these from around $5 they are definitely a good buy.

I then also got two OPA2107, and I have to say that the combination between them and the LME49720HA are a really good sounding setup, currently I have mine configured using

4 X LME49720HA for the I/V
2 X OPA2107 for the Low Pass
2 X LME49720HA for the XLR buffer(what I am mostly using)

I am using a balanced set of Senn HD650, and a balanced set of Beyer DT880(600Ohm) and this setup is really the best I've had so far. Good Tight bass on both, clean clear midrange, and nice warm highs, and the soundstage is as good as I've had it with both sets of headphones.

I am currently waiting for more OPA2107's to arrive, and also have ordered a pair of OPA2111's will post an update once I've played around with them as well.
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Old 29th November 2012, 11:15 AM   #12
bcmbob is offline bcmbob  United States
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Hey Oliver, I'm interested in what comes after the XEO. Are you feeding a power amp or listening through earphones?
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Old 29th November 2012, 11:40 AM   #13
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Hi Bob

At the moment I'm only using it as a portable headphone amp, but I have balanced my headphones, and I am using the XLR outputs, I must say that it does a great job, especially after rolling the opamps. One thing I need to mention is that I am using the BeyerDynamic DT880 600Ohm cans, and these can be a problem to drive properly, and the XEO does it with ease.

I'm planning on building two poweramps probably next year, which I will also drive from the XLR's, I have some decent speakers at home, but my amp gave up earlier this year...so till then it's all cans for me!
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Old 29th November 2012, 12:36 PM   #14
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olivermpo View Post
.............. One thing I need to mention is that I am using the BeyerDynamic DT880 600Ohm cans, and these can be a problem to drive properly,..................
What's the problem you have found?
Insufficient voltage drive, or something else?
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Old 29th November 2012, 12:54 PM   #15
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They will work with pretty much anything(including Ipods), but they sound horrible when the device does not have enough power to drive them. However when they do get enough power they are really a joy to listen to!
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Old 29th November 2012, 01:29 PM   #16
bcmbob is offline bcmbob  United States
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Thanks, both the Xonar and the headphones are very impressive. It will be interesting to hear about the results when combined with a good amp. Pleas let us know when you get close to that phase. I've been close to pulling the trigger on the purchase of a Xonar unit of some type for over a year. These posts may just push me to give it a try.

Edit: Did you DIY the balancing of your phones or use a commercial unit?
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Last edited by bcmbob; 29th November 2012 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 29th November 2012, 01:40 PM   #17
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DIY'd both...got some Mogami Cable on th DT880's and the stock Sennheiser Cable is already quad, just had to replace the TRS connector with two XLR's...I can honestly say if you can get the Xonar at a good price it is one of the best buy's especially for the fact that if you don't like the why it sounds you have a whole slew of option as far as Opamp combinations go, and then add the fact that is balanced as well, and supports 192khz, etc etc, it's definitely worth it!
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Old 29th November 2012, 01:45 PM   #18
bcmbob is offline bcmbob  United States
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Old 30th November 2012, 05:02 PM   #19
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olivermpo View Post
................... when the device does not have enough power to drive ................
What does this mean?
Are you talking about a lack of amperes or a lack of volts or a lack of watts?
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Old 1st December 2012, 04:03 PM   #20
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I like the idea of using op-amps in parallel for DAC output. For example a pair of stereo op-amps run as a pair of mono parallel amplifiers. There's lower noise and greater linearity when driving heavier loads, such as headphones. I think the "sound of" plentiful current headroom is a lovely upgrade. The silver output jack on the M-Audio Revo that Ostripper likes, does have this form of plentiful current headroom.

A DAC equipped like this won't be needing an added buffer, and thus an extraneous stage is eliminated. It may still need a preamp due to low voltage.
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