I gave the Susvara a good listen last night with the HTT2, definitely 4-5 hours, and stayed up a bit too late enjoying the sound!
Here are some initial thoughts on the HTT2.
I was surprised how far I had to turn up the volume with the Susvara, I thought there would be more power/gain than there is (and yes I was on the High gain setting.) I am using the XLR outputs on the rear via an adapter as well. Interesting.
The HTT2 doesn’t have the same grip on the drivers, especially in the low end, as a good speaker amp with the Susvara. HOWEVER the HTT2 still works well with the Susvara, about on par with the iFi Pro iCAN in terms of power and grip on the Susvaras hard to power drivers. The thing is, I haven’t heard the Susvara sound as “good”, as clear, and as detailed, as I am hearing it with the HTT2 due to the superb DAC and lack of adding additional components in the chain to drive the headphones.
Compared to the DAVE direct output, there is no contest with the Susvara. With headphones that are easier to drive, the DAVE is definitely still the way to go, should you have the funds available and don’t mind spending that much on a single piece of gear. I think for hard to drive headphones, as you don’t have to put an amp in front of the HTT2, it is a better idea than the DAVE. At half the price, that is an attractive proposition.
As I was waiting for my HTT2 to arrive, I was using the iFi iDSD BL into a cheap Marantz speaker amplifier to drive the Susvara as I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a temporary set up. This set up had better control of the drivers, especially in the low end when playing difficult complex sub bass patterns in electronic music, BUT with regards to every other metric, the HTT2 absolutely smokes this previous set up. The iFi Micro iDSD BL set up sounded so thick and warm, and was missing those last details that high(er) end set ups bring to the table. The HTT2 is much brighter than the iDSD to Marantz set up, but it is not sibilant (thank god.) The clarity and detail from the HTT2 is superb, and I have only heard better from the DAVE while I still owned it.
The minimal loss of “authority” in terms of driving the Susvara with the HTT2 vs. a speaker amplifier is absolutely worth the trade off for the extra clarity, detail and texture the HTT2 brings to the table.
Regarding the comparison of the HTT2 to the DAVE in terms of DAC performance, not driving the Susvara, I will do my best from memory.
The DAVE is smoother in the treble, a tiny bit less warm and thick sounding than the HTT2, and it also brings more detail to the table. As Jude said in his original video about the HTT2, “The DAVE is still the flagship and sounds the part.” I agree with this.
However, you should go for the HTT2 IF
If you own hard to drive headphones (Abyss, Susvara, HE6se etc…) you should definitely purchase the HTT2 over the DAVE, unless you can afford a very transparent speaker amplifier to put in front of the DAVE. I couldn’t afford to own the DAVE, an amp like the Etude, and the Susvara and Abyss, so I chose to sell the DAVE and purchase the HTT2. I am still very happy with this decision.
You do not want to spend DAVE levels of money on a DAC/Headphone amp, and would prefer to allocate more money towards your headphones etc…
You want a cool big lighty up marble to control the volume.
The HTT2 is a superb all in one device. There truly isn’t much it can’t do. Drive speakers? Sure. Drive low efficiency headphones to sensitive IEMs? Sure no problemo. Want a superb DAC? Sure, here you go. Want to use the MScaler as well? Great! It will work seamlessly.
The HTT2 is an all around performer. It does not have the ultimate DAC quality of the DAVE, no. It makes that trade off to be what I would consider one of the best, and flexible all in one headphone source components in existence for half the price of the DAVE. Two thumbs up from me