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Thursday, September 5, 2013

GEEK vs. the Others, v2

Before you get into the nitty-gritty, I want to restate that the two competitors to which we compare Geek are very good products.  I'm not publishing the following measurements to break them down, rather to compare so that you, if you're not one of the lucky ones who have actually heard Geek, may try to figure out what it sounds like.

Okay, here goes.

Testing Environment: Audio Precision APx525 high bandwidth setting (90K range).  Each product was tested on the same Macbook pro (running on battery), with the same software (Audacity) using the same cable, and at the same location within 20 minutes of each other.

To be fair, we only used a sampling rate of 96 kHz for each device under test because that's as high as one of them can go.

AudioQuest Dragonfly
Calculated output impedance: 5.9Ω





Maximum Output Voltage




Signal to Noise Ratio


Total Harmonic Distortion plus Noise Ratio



Fast Fourier Transform Spectrum Monitor at Maximum Voltage Output


 
Fast Fourier Transform Spectrum Monitor at -20 dB Voltage Output from Maximum







Meridian Explorer
 Calculated output impedance: 4.7Ω



 
Maximum Output Voltage






Signal to Noise Ratio




 
Total Harmonic Distortion plus Noise Ratio




Fast Fourier Transform Spectrum Monitor at Maximum Voltage Output



Fast Fourier Transform Spectrum Monitor at -20 dB Voltage Output from Maximum


Geek
 Calculated output impedance: 0.47Ω





Maximum Output Voltage



Signal to Noise Ratio















Total Harmonic Distortion plus Noise Ratio



Fast Fourier Transform Spectrum Monitor at Maximum Voltage Output



Fast Fourier Transform Spectrum Monitor at -20 dB Voltage Output from Maximum



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16 comments:

  1. Solid #'s! I can't wait to listen!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Gavin,

    Congratulations on the superb numbers. I am guessing from the output voltage that these are the numbers for the super duper geek. Any major differences in the numbers with the other 2 versions?
    Also, Larry mentioned in one of the posts that he would be measuring the power output of all 3 geeks at different loads. Any progress with that?
    I would also like to thank your entire team for getting us this much access to your development process with the right combination of geeky specs and accessible information.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice but the THD for the dragonfly is pretty awful and it's hard to imagine something wasn't right. What was the load impedance of the AP? The spray of high harmonics makes me think of clipping but the spectrum is similar at -20dB.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @ Slacker:

    Yes. The testing sample is Super-Duper Geek. And power output of 3 geeks (maximum will reach at 16 Ohm) are
    450mW, 720mW and 1000mW. Of course, the final numbers maybe will change a bit before production. I will test more.

    Thanks a lot for your support.

    Larry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Could you post some output numbers at different impedance levels? In my case, I'm interested in 300 ohms.

      Delete
  5. @ Mike:

    This dragonfly THD too high puzzle me as well. But I quick checked over internet, one highly regarded reviewer seems got the similar result.
    I even lower to -20dB to make the THD better... Seems still some clipping there.

    Sonic wise, funny thing is: I slightly prefer Dragonfly than Explorer. Explorer is really soft sounded but too less powerful on my HD800. Of course, this is my subjective feedback. So we only publish the direct test numbers from Audio Precision.

    The load for 3 test samples are the same: 600Ohm.

    Cheers,

    Larry

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Larry, which Geek is the best compromise if using the HD800 and low impedance IEMs like my Shure IEMs? There's no gain switch right?
    For HD800 not enough power is a shame but the potential buzz or hiss with low impedance phones is even more annoying.

    And whats the best Geek if just listening with the HD800's alone?

    Congrats on a great product- can't wait to review it!

    James

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi, James

    For your situation, I think Super Geek should fit both. Geek's SNR is considerable good enough for your IEM.
    And Super Geek is still power enough for HD800.

    Sadly, I only have quite a lot of HD series but only own one IEM long time ago. Could not test now...

    Larry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ack, I just saw this. How underpowered do you think the regular GEEK will be for the HD800? I still have more powerful amps, but if this thing is good enough, I could further streamline my setup.

      I was a bit worried about the whole "losing bits" when digitally attenuating so I wanted the least amount of power for my IEMs, and thought the regular would still be ok for the HD800.

      Will I be ok or should I start a massive begging campaign to send you more money for a Super?

      Delete
    2. I got the similar situation. Have a HD800, some IEM and thinking of travelling with the notebook with a Geek. I am afraid of the that "losing bits" on the HD800 and basically gave up the use of Geek with the HD800. If the Super Geek can handle both nicely that I really would like to upgrade to that.

      Delete
  8. Hi Larry, Thanks for your advice. Ordered. James

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dragonfly has a known design issue where only 0 to 60 of the 64 steps volume is actually being used.
    If you use any volume settings between 61-64 then it starts distorting.
    For example on a Mac, volume setting above 80% caused severe distortion on the Dragonfly.
    I think Stereophile had the full measurements and a comment from the developer to explain the problem.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi,

    Quick question: how does Geek compare to the Objective DAC (a.k.a. ODAC, see here: http://nwavguy.blogspot.co.il/2012/04/odac-released.html)?

    Here are its measurements (source: )
    Freq. Response 10hz-19,000hz 24/44 = +/- 0.1 dB
    THD+N 100hz 0dBFS = 0.0029%
    THD+N 20hz -1dBFS = 0.003%
    THD+N 10Khz -1dBFS = 0.003%
    IMD CCIF 19/20 Khz -3dBFS = 0.0011%
    IMD SMPTE -1dBFS = 0.0004%
    Noise A-Weighted dBu 24/44 --102.8dBu
    Dynamic Range -60dBFS A-Weighted = --111.1dBr
    Linearity Error -90dBFS 24/44 = 0.0dB
    Crosstalk 0dBFS Line Out 100K = --93.5 dB
    Maximum Output Line Out 100K = 2.0Vrms

    The designer also ran a USB Jitter test using the Prism dScope's J-Test and got excellent results (see here: http://i.imgur.com/vxYIh7m.png). How does the Geek fair on the J-Test?

    Thanks,

    John

    ReplyDelete
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  13. For us non-electrical engineering layman types, is there any chance you could briefly summarize the meaning of the comparative graphs above?

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