Thursday, November 14, 2013

Asus Essence One Muses Edition Impressions

Asus Essence One Muses Edition Impressions
PC – USB – Asus Essence One Muses – Project Ember – AVI ADM 9RS / Sennheiser HD 650
PC – SPDIF – AVI ADM 9RS via Internal DAC
Asus STX – Project Ember – AVI ADM 9RS / Sennheiser HD 650
The Muses Edition is a huge improvement over the other two setups above.
Pros over AVI DAC / STX DAC: (Also, AVI DAC >>> STX DAC)
Way more articulate, not even close, a night and day difference
Far more spacious, wider, deeper, taller
Far more natural and lively without being bright
Far more rich, detailed as well as lush
Immerses you in the music and makes you want to dance, unlike the other setups which are more analytical but not as good in the above ways.
Imaging is much better
Dynamics are better
Cons over AVI DAC:
Not as transparent or clean
I prefer the Muses to the AVI dac by a huge shot, not even a comparison, especially for the mids and sound stage and because it actually sounds like music with emotion and depth!
With HD 650:
It feels as if the music is floating around my head rather than just sitting over there.
Imaging and dynamics are better as I said above.
Melting delicious sound presentation
More balanced yet better all around
Above pros as well
No cons over STX DAC
Not tried much, just for a few seconds. Sounded very good, but not in the same league as the DAC. My Ember sounded slightly better but I haven’t tried the amp much anyway! So can’t really say…
It doesn’t sound sterile or dead like the other setups. It sounds like music and real, something which immerses you.
The AVI DAC is very good, but not in the same league as this DAC (though it is more transparent and cleaner).
This DAC sounds rich and lush while being powerful and articulate.
The bass isn’t as prominent as the AVI DAC which isn’t bass heavy either.
I never got the WOW effect, not even when I went from Aktimates to AVI ADM, or from Bravo to Ember, and both above are night and day upgrades. But this upgrade gave me the WOW effect that was I missing all along. Now my setup feels complete and truly end game without any upgrade itch in me. Don’t get me wrong, AVI ADM and HD 650 and Project Ember are all excellent at their price points and work exceptionally, but I was probably missing the Source I needed and this Source brings out the best within all my devices/setup and makes them really sing.
With Muses, HD 650 sounds like a flagship headphone, not as detailed as the HD 800, but definitely truly end game and the sound presentation is to die for!

Monday, November 4, 2013

ADM AVI 9RS Mini Review

ADM AVI 9RS Mini Review
ADM AVI 9RS on custom desktop stands
Surround and sub duty by Swan M50W 2.1
DAC / Preamp Setup 1 : Asus STX, Project Ember by
DAC Setup 2 : AVI Built in DAC
Aktimate Micro Asus STX Swan M50W Project Ember
Aktimate Mini+ Asus STX Swan M50W
Swan H5 Asus STX Swan M50W
Sennheiser HD 650 Project Ember Asus STX
Sennheiser HD 598 iPad 3 iPhone 4s
HD 650 has been properly amped by Project Ember which is an amp comparable to Schiit Lyr, Graham Slee, Lehmann BCL etc. I have also tried it with Beta22, so I know how HD 650 sounds.
I still believe that HD 650 are awesome headphones, just that AVI is a step up from them, while still a step below HD 800.
Initially, I was disappointed not having heard any speakers for the last few days except my Sennheiser HD 650 setup. But now that the speakers are slightly burned in, I am used to it and tried my HD 650 setup again, I can easily say that ADM AVI 9RS trumps my HD 650 setup. I don’t even want to compare it to Aktimates because they seem unlistenable after hearing to AVIs for a few days.
Don’t get me wrong, from a value for money perspective, Aktimates are still the best there is, but if you can afford ADM AVI then there isn’t much of a contest really.
After listening for a while on my AVIs I went back to my HD 598s and they sounded muddy and distorted in comparison. And they used to seem like heaven compared to my Aktimates. They were a huge step up from my Aktimates and now they are nearly unlistenable.
HD 650 is still much better than HD 598 now, which I didn’t appreciate as much earlier. HD 650 is comparable to AVIs but AVIs are better in many respects and often by a significant margin, so you can perhaps call them LCD2 territory. As AVIs aren’t as resolving of details as HD 800. I have listened to both HD 800 and LCDs properly amped.
I still believe that HD 650 are awesome headphones, just that AVI is a step up from them, while still a step below HD 800.
HD 650 and AVI both are mid centric setups. AVI has clearer mids by some margin I guess. However, HD 650 has thicker vocals. I would give this one to AVI.
HD 650 has more bass, but AVI has tighter and sharper bass. Both are very good but again AVI is more audiophile like.
Both are very good, but AVI seems at least as good if not better.
AVI is clearer and sharper here, HD 650 is more natural but sounds muddy in comparison.
AVI is better than anything I have heard before for stereo, including HD 650.
AVI is a step up. As transparent as it gets. Though I don’t find HD 650 veiled either with my amp, but AVI is just better.
AVI is wider, deeper and taller.
Not even a contest, AVI hands down.
AVI wins.
AVI is cleaner, clearer, more transparent though not sure whether it is more resolving or not, perhaps about equal, the two of them, not sure though.
HD 650 is excellent but AVI is just better but both are very listenable :)
I still believe that HD 650 are awesome headphones, just that AVI is a step up from them, while still a step below HD 800.
HD 650 is better than cinema grade sound I would say, but AVI takes it a bit further with being more refined.
I have only tried with my Preamp so far.
With the inbuilt DAC (and not my preamp): It sounds slightly cleaner, but slightly less lively. Though the two are very close. However, without inbuilt DAC/without preamp, it doesn’t sound as good as I described it above, then it sounds a step below the above description.
And AVIs are not analytical at all, they are musical, perhaps not as much as HD 650, not sure about it, but definitely very musical and resolving, very transparent as well.
Thank You


In short, HD 650 and AVI ADM9RS are very close to each other in overall performance with AVI may be being a bit better overall, in several aspects that too. But both are very comparable.

HD 650 is definitely lusher, sweeter and more musical though. Though there are lots of place where AVIs are very close or better than them :)

I prefer to listen to AVI over HD 650 unlike with Aktimates where I never listened to them and spent time only with HD 650 :D