Alessandro MS-1 Amp? Denon N7?

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Alessandro MS-1 Amp? Denon N7?

Post by blackers92 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:03 am

Hi Guys

About 3 months ago I purchased my set of Alessandro MS-1s which I love, the sound is incredible! I have ordered some flat pads which have taken months to arrive (will be worth it eventually!)

My question is, I have read so many posts about amping headphones specially MS-1's improve the sound significantly (unamped people claim they only perform at 60%) Personally I think they sound incredible (I use my Iphone 3GS and Acer Laptop, most music is Apple Lossless or 320kbps) neither of my music devices are that good and I notice a massive difference changing between the two with the iPhone sounding much better IMO. I am about to pull the trigger on a Denon N7 Mini Hi Fi system which got me wondering about how it will sound with the headphones. It is a true Hi Fi system that even decodes FLAC format but it doesn't seem to have a built in DAC which I was going to purchase for my PC (a nuForce DAC?)


Basically I want to know if the Denon N7 will push the headphones to their limit?

Cheers

Adam

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Re: Alessandro MS-1 Amp? Denon N7?

Post by Marcus » Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:08 am

The only way to know for sure is to try it out :)
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Re: Alessandro MS-1 Amp? Denon N7?

Post by Drubbing » Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:16 am

blackers92 wrote:My question is, I have read so many posts about amping headphones specially MS-1's improve the sound significantly (unamped people claim they only perform at 60%)
60%? I don't believe that - I think that's people confusing volume with SQ. The MS1 is ridiculously easy to drive and so long as your source is reasonable, will be delivering most, if not all of their potential, unamped. Personally, I never thought amping them made any real difference to the SQ.

Amping might make a difference for you, but I doubt it would be significant.

If the Denon will play digital files - whatever their flavour - it's got an inbuilt DAC.
Last edited by Drubbing on Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Alessandro MS-1 Amp? Denon N7?

Post by Belial » Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:19 am

IME, MS-1s sound no different from my $400 amp/dac than straight from my ipad for phone. I wouldn't expect any audible difference.

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Re: Alessandro MS-1 Amp? Denon N7?

Post by blackers92 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:39 am

Wow this forum has ALOT of activity!

Well this is good to know, would the addition of a USB DAC improve sound quality for my laptop (onboard Realtek on Acer Laptop)?

Once I add a decent pair of speakers to the Denon N7 im probably going to purchase a pair of Grado 325i's, would the N7 be powerful enough to drive them?

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Re: Alessandro MS-1 Amp? Denon N7?

Post by Marcus » Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:45 am

A DAC should improve the sound quality from your laptop, but anything worth buying is going to cost you more than the ms1.
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Re: Alessandro MS-1 Amp? Denon N7?

Post by Drubbing » Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:58 am

Marcus wrote:A DAC should improve the sound quality from your laptop, but anything worth buying is going to cost you more than the ms1.
^ This.

The Denon hifi is an unknown quantity. But bear in mind that it wasn't designed as a headphone set up, so money has been priortised to components as appropriate to its primarily use. Power probably won't be an issue. The DAC quality may be.
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Re: Alessandro MS-1 Amp? Denon N7?

Post by G-rig » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:01 pm

Yeah what Marcus said, the ms-1 will be the cheapest part of the setup, and IME they don't benefit from amping them but a better source may help.
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Re: Alessandro MS-1 Amp? Denon N7?

Post by blackers92 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:25 pm

hmm I was under the impression that Denon sound was high quality (compared to Marantz, Onkyo, Teac Reference, Cambridge etc), I do understand that it is primarily a CD Player/ Media Streamer and that it is not designed primarily for headphones, basically I am after some sort of unit that can play high quality sound through speakers and headphones (when I eventually get a high end set of Grados) . What do you guys use? (within reason, im still in Uni) I understand that most of use use headphone amps, but I have quite an extensive CD collection and would prefer a mini system

Sorry about getting off topic

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Re: Alessandro MS-1 Amp? Denon N7?

Post by G-rig » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:43 pm

I was referring to DAC /source making more of a difference than amping in general, not referring to the mini-system. I'd still expect it to sound better than an iphone so should be OK. Hard to know without hearing, but it isn't cheap crap gear you are talking about so the overall quality should be decent.
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Re: Alessandro MS-1 Amp? Denon N7?

Post by dingostolemyipod » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:52 pm

denon = marantz = onkyo ;)

When it comes to the headphone outs on hifi gear not primarily designed for headphones, the variation is massive, some are terrible, some are half way decent. Very occasionally a headphone out might be exceptionally good (high end preamps mostly). Usually the headphone out is just a cheap circuit thrown in there. Quality is on average about the same as a PMP but a bit more power.
And there is not a lot of correlation between quality of headphone stage to quality of brand, or even price of product.
So in other words you'd need to try it and see.

Also, this denon must "have a built in dac". Anything that accepts digital inputs and outputs analogue must have a DAC(Digital-to-Analogue-Convertor) inside. As for how good it's internal dac is, nfi.

My 2c when it comes to the MS1. These heaphones don't respond massively to better source/amp IME. They sound great from an iphone, but don't get a whole lot better than that. I tried them with a good source and amp and this just made it obvious that the headphones were the "weak link in the chain".
However, this might be a slightly harsh judgement as when i was using them with my iphone i was just listening to music and enjoying it. When i had it hooked up to my good system, i was in an analytical frame of mind so was basically listening for flaws, which were easy to hear on good gear.
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Re: Alessandro MS-1 Amp? Denon N7?

Post by Marcus » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:56 pm

Stop buying equipment in your head and focus more on what you want to achieve :)
Try and have a picture in your head of how your setup will connect to each component - do you want one source, or multiple? Would a DAC be a good purchase instead? What about a DAC with a headphone amp?

Why do you want the SR325? Is it because you really like the MS1 and if you like the MS1 this much the SR325 must be mind blowing? You might find the truth surprising!
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Re: Alessandro MS-1 Amp? Denon N7?

Post by Drubbing » Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:32 pm

Wot Dingo said.

The Denon unit appears to want to do a bit of everything; WiFi/Surround/streaming/CD and hifi. Given it's uses are already diversified, then chances are it does everything competently (you'd hope), without being particularly great at anything. So (as dingo said), the head out becomes the least important thing for them to consider when designing it. Doesn't mean it'll be crap, but unlikely to be great, might even be >20c worth of gear.

With standalone DACs and headphone amps, you've products focussed on doing a small number of things as well as their respective price points allow. Some do it better than others for less, some more.
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Re: Alessandro MS-1 Amp? Denon N7?

Post by blackers92 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:21 pm

Well I am going to purchase the Denon N7 for its streaming capabilities, sound quality and eventually pair it with a set of Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 speakers. Ideally I wanted to purchase something that would be good enough to power higher end headphones but this doesn't seem to be possible (from what I have heard the MS-1s will be fine!). It would be more economically feasible for me to have one unit and eventually be able to plug in some higher end cans (325s lol maybe not?).

And I thought the SR325is were supposed to be incredible! i guess it must just be someones opinion :)

Thanks again for the advice, this forum is much more active than whirlpool and others.

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Re: Alessandro MS-1 Amp? Denon N7?

Post by Drubbing » Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:40 pm

It's incredible anyone can listen to them for any length of time.

I wouldn't be putting any hopes on the Denon being an all in one solution for demanding and higher end phones. It's a jack of all trades sort of product, and not aimed at the headphone market.
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