Hello, I joined the forum a while ago, but this is one of my first posts.
I love hi-end audio. Most of my critical and enjoyable listening experience is with two channel home audio—I enjoy a deep and wide soundstage with precise imaging.
Recently I had my hearing tested at Costco and found out that I had no measurable (up to 8kHz) hearing loss and my threshold of hearing was 0dB in both ears!!! I told the Audiologist that was impossible, but he explained the scale is weighted to 0dB. This Audiologist of 30 years claimed that I had the best hearing results he’d ever measured for someone over 20 years old and I’m in my late 40s. I’ve always protected my hearing and do so even today, always keeping hearing protection in my bedroom, office, briefcase, vehicles and jackets—and use hearing protection for feeding my 18-month old baby, vacuuming, mowing the lawn, operating heavy equipment, shooting sports, and sleeping—my wife and baby like white noise in the background—it’s too loud for me.
I celebrated my hearing test results by buying a Benchmark DAC3 HGC for my two channel home audio system—to possibly upgrade/replace my Modwright Oppo 205 universal player, an upgraded Parasound/CEC CD player with old school DAC for CD playback, and Bruce Moore and Pass Labs preamplifiers.
After months of enjoyable and critical listening to all of my owned system components, cables and auditioning of borrowed components, Marantz CD 10 SACD player, ultra hi-end cables, fuses, tube swapping, ripping my SACD collection to DSF files (possibly the most audible and enjoyable upgrade I have done in the last 20 years), etc. I decided that my upgraded Modwright Oppo sounded best for my high resolution two channel home audio preferences and needs.
I then decided to critically listen to in-ear monitors to find the best source and Amplifier combination—Benchmark DAC3 HGC, Oppo 205 headphone jack (doesn’t take advantage of the Modwright tube and external power supply upgrades), Marantz Pro CD player with old school DAC and headphone jack, Bose portable CD player, RadioShack Optimus portable CD player (the “golden one” from years ago), Pioneer Elite Multi Channel Receiver with a nice DAC and headphone jack, two AudioQuest USB DACs, and the Fiio Q1 mkII DAC. I tested with my current IEMs: Westone W3, W80, AudioFly 160 and a BA/Dynamic hybrid model, Shure BA’s (don’t know the model), UE BA’s (don’t know the model), Sennheiser ie800, Q-Jays, Sony Z5, Knowles IEM engineering sample TWFK BA’s, and a few other Mid to Hi-end IEMs.
I was surprised to experience the vast sound signatures with the different types of IEMs, once I had a Reference Source, Reference Source Audio Media (DSF files ripped from my SACDs Sound better than any high resolution files I’ve been able to audition in home) and Amplifier to drive my IEMs.
I then tried the different types, shapes, materials, brands, etc. of ear tips I have collected over the years and found this even more revealing to alter/enhance/limit/mask the sound of each IEM. It was fun and revealing, as previous to this I didn’t have a resolving IEM system to hear all of these wonderful differences. I still need to try more ear tips styles/types with my IEMs, as this is a relatively inexpensive modification.
Now, I want to find a portable DAP with native DSD play back, with a balanced output jack, in the $400-1000 price range to drive my IEMs, not needed to drive high impedance (300+ ohms) headphones.
I had been using the Onkyo DSD enabled app with my iPhone X and the Fiio Q1 mkII, but after A/B-ing it with the Benchmark DAC3 HGC, I wanted more resolution and better imaging.
So, this I why I’m on the forum looking for a DAP and introducing myself today.