Pass Labs XVR-1 vs. DEQX HDP-3 - diyAudio
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Old 8th May 2012, 08:08 PM   #1
SashaV is offline SashaV  Canada
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Default Pass Labs XVR-1 vs. DEQX HDP-3

Does anyone have any experience with both of these crossovers?
If AD on DEQX is not used, which one would in your opinion perform better job and remain more transparent?
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Old 4th June 2012, 05:56 PM   #2
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Haven't used either (yet), but they are going to be very different considering one is analog and one is digital.

Feature-wise it seems the Pass Labs can't touch the DEQX. It doesn't seem to offer room correction, as robust a frequency correction or parametric EQ, phase correction, etc. I'd imagine the extra money goes into more 'transparent' components. If we assume the Pass Labs price is reasonable then clearly the DEQX is skimping on the components somewhere in order to squeeze the extra features in for less.

The closest I could think of was this individual who made an active speaker using top-of-the-line drivers. He started with a Bryston analog active crossover, and switched to DEQX later. I believe he preferred the DEQX a great deal, but I can't remember exactly and the forums in Dutch.
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Old 8th June 2012, 02:46 AM   #3
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My bad. the individual I was referring to is also a member here. His experiences: High-end 3-way active Avalon look-alike

Short of it: DEQX>Bryston active crossover by a lot.

I'm currently finishing a similar speaker to the one he built (8" eton woofer, c79 midrange, same c12 tweeter) and the DEQX seems most appealing to me. The ceramic drivers offer extremely piston like behavior in their usable frequency range, but apparently have significant audible issues outside of it. This means a 96db/octave slope could be very useful for these drivers. Point being the specific application you plan to use the crossover for can make a difference in which one is better.
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Old 8th June 2012, 11:57 AM   #4
SashaV is offline SashaV  Canada
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Thank you, if you take DEQX route please post your impressions and methodology you used to arrive to the best performance.
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Old 26th August 2012, 06:06 PM   #5
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Way late to the game here but I finished my monkey coffins and have been playing around with them.

The DEQX did things for me that the Pass Labs simply wouldn't have been able to do. Beyond correcting the phase/frequency, my woofer measured less efficient than I believed it should (still looking into that) and the DEQX was able to level correct it with the rest of the speaker.

I have measured it several times in a room that is probably too small for such a task, doing my best to deaden reflections. The software gives you a fairly good idea of how well your measurements fare and lets you select when to cutoff the reflections. By measuring each driver independently I was able to test what it might sound like when not properly corrected for phase/group delay at the crossover, and it was noticeably flatter sounding, which is pretty in-line with what people find with that correction.

EQing is also something that would be hard to live without now. It is nice to be able to switch profiles on the fly if a recording has too little bass or too much. It is enough to make me think a lot of differences between similar quality speakers could pretty much be eliminated by +/-1-3db parametric EQs here and there.

The difference between sources is also pretty apparent to me. I switched from a Pioneer to a Marantz receiver (both recent models, ~$1k each), and with the Pioneer the sound was much better focused between the speakers. This is exemplified on static noise, which has the effect of being only centered between the speakers on the Pioneer but more dispersed on the Marantz. I wouldn't have expected a difference on either of these receivers pre-outs. (analog pre-out of the receiver to the analog input on the DEQX)

Using a digital coax straight from a $50 blu-ray player to the DEQX sounds noticeably better to me and makes either receiver sound less focused and a little dull. My non-audio-nut friend heard the same thing, despite not being able to audibly identify moving treatments from the side walls to a bass trap in the back wall.

Finally, my Rega P3 going from a phono preamp to the analog ins on the DEQX sounds a little less detailed and focused than straight digital in, but has much more analog texture/body and spatial cues.

None of them really gets me to where I want my system to sound, but I'm mentioning it to illustrate a few points: The quality of the source seems to make a reasonable impact (and if you're trying to get that last 5-10% this impact may be pretty big). Neither the ADC nor the DAC in the DEQX seem to be the weak points in my chain. A lot of analog defenders may claim these conversions kill the life of the sound, and while I am not nearly experienced enough to make a definitive claim I am more likely to side with the digital camps motto that analog lovers just like the sound of certain distortions that tubes and turntables create.

I am currently working on restoring a Lenco turntable, and hopefully this gives me all the analog quality I could want.
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Old 9th October 2012, 04:47 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by superapplekid View Post
. . . Neither the ADC nor the DAC in the DEQX seem to be the weak points in my chain. . .
And I second what superappelkid said about the DEQX in general and especially about the ADC/DAC conversion of analogue signals.

In the beginning, I was using a modified XM9 3-way crossover actively crossing Apogee Duetta Signatures (2-way active) with Graz MRT ribbons and a pair (stereo) of Rythmik/GR Research subs. After many listening sessions, crossover point trials, speaker repositioning, using REW, I thought that I had it all dialed-in, with the subs integrated nicely, and sounding as good as it going to get, which was pretty darn good, I decided to give the DEQX Express try to replace the XM9.

I'm new to all of this DSP stuff so for me the was somewhat of learning curve. So with that, after a few hours of planning and about four-hours of setup - measuring, configuring, uploading, having the software tell me that I had a driver or a group of frequencies out of phase (and the DEQX will automatically correct the condition), and so forth - I was finally ready to sit down and take a listen. And let me tell you, I was absolutely knocked out of my seat with the profound difference of going to the DEQX. It was literally like they had hauled everything that I owned and replaced everything with stuff costing many times as much what I had. The subs were now integrated so well, that I didn't realize that it could be so good. In fact, after the DEQX calibration, the sound is totally better from bottom to top and had much more impact than before . . . I could go on and on but I won't. I will say that it wasn't one of those deals were you replace a piece of equipment or something and say to yourself, "Yea, I *think* sounds a little better . . . " For me, going to the DEQX was not incremental, it really put the sound over the top.

OK, that was how it sounded listening using a digital source which is a Logitech Transporter connected to the DEQX via AES/EBU. My biggest fear now was that my analog source would be degraded due to the A-to-D, D-to-A conversion; however, after much listening, if the sound from my VPI HW19 MkIV/SAMA/SDS/ET2/AT33PTG/Threshold phono/pre was degraded, I sure didn't notice it. If there is an degradation, the benefits of the DEQX sure outweigh and shortcomings.

So again, I concur with everything that superapplekid said about the DEQX.
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Old 26th April 2013, 11:59 PM   #7
sfan is offline sfan  United States
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OK, that was how it sounded listening using a digital source which is a Logitech Transporter connected to the DEQX via AES/EBU. My biggest fear now was that my analog source would be degraded due to the A-to-D, D-to-A conversion; however, after much listening, if the sound from my VPI HW19 MkIV/SAMA/SDS/ET2/AT33PTG/Threshold phono/pre was degraded, I sure didn't notice it. If there is an degradation, the benefits of the DEQX sure outweigh and shortcomings.

From the tune you put here, I got an impression that you are not convinced on analog side of DEQX impact. You reported shocking improvement on digital. What about analog?

-Siqi
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Old 27th January 2014, 10:01 PM   #8
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Hi Sigi, sorry for the delayed answer, but I can honestly say that now after owing the Express for well over a year now that it does a great job with the analog signal fed directly from my preamp.

It does so well of a job for that matter, that I found it to be quite easy to hear the differences between different SUTs, phono cables, preamps, and preamp mods and tubes. I'm sure that the HDP-4 will do all of this slightly better, and I would say that the same would be true for the HDP-3 or even the Express with proper modifications, but am I ready to plunk down $4k on a new HDP-4? No, not right now.

My feeling now is, especially after going from the basic generic Berringer mic calibration kit to the Earthworks M23 kit, that the key to really getting the most out of any DEQX really is in the setup. If you don't get your setup at least in the ballpark, which is really not difficult as is time consuming, any DEQX no matter what model or level of mods, will be disappointing at best with any source. As much time as I've spent with getting my DEQX dialed-in and as good as it sounds now, I honestly think that there is still a another 10% to 20% left to be extracted through setup. At $400, maybe the DEQXexpert setup service would turn out to be the best audio money ever spent by many DEQX owners. I may have to give it a try myself.

It sounds crazy with all the A-to-D, D-to-A conversion, I still highly recommend the DEQX HDP for processing your favorite analog source.
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Old 30th January 2014, 05:26 AM   #9
jasdiy is offline jasdiy  New Zealand
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Hi folks
I use the HDP3 active crossover room correction etc. If you do get a Deqx I cant recommend more strongly you use the DEQXspert service - one of their people gives you a hand (over the internet) setting everything up - bloody great service. Doesnt stop you with tinkering as much as you like later but it does move you 90% towards the final setup in a few hours not a few weeks.

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Old 31st January 2014, 09:28 PM   #10
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I cant imagine investing over 5k in audio equipment without having some sort of DSP correction/EQ. I will be purchasing the HP4 in the near future.
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