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  1. #1
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Emotiva Big Ego question

    Has any one here heard the Emotiva Big Ego DAC?

    I am thinking about buying one for my son for his birthday to replace his Dragon Fly 1.0 DAC. He will be using it mostly in his 2ch rig (Parasound A21, PASS LABS DIY B-1 preamp, PSB B6 speakers) as opposed to headphones. By the way, the Dragon Fly with the AQ Jitterbug sounds remarkably very good.The reviews are positive and one guy on HeadFi compared it favorably to his Schiit Bifrost Multibit DAC.

    Here is his review-

    "Emotiva Big Ego OR Schiit Bifrost Multibit -> Project Ember II OR iFi iCAN Micro -> JVC HP-DX1000 OR Aurisonics Kicker
    Indistinguishable on almost all recordings. I used an RCA switcher to swap back and forth instantly for listening tests. I can distinguish more of a difference between the filter modes on Emotiva Big Ego than between the Emotiva Big Ego (in position 1) and Bifrost Multibit.

    It's important to note that this gear is not as resolving as it could be, so I also tested...

    Emotiva Big Ego OR Schiit Bifrost Multibit OR Audio-GD Reference 5 -> Audio-GD Roc -> Sennheiser HD650
    This setup is great for testing because the Roc has a bunch of inputs and you can just turn the knob between them.

    It's also the only setup I have that I can distinguish between the various DACs. Of the 3, I prefer the Reference 5 slightly. It's the warmest and most liquid of the three.

    The Schiit Bifrost Multibit is slightly behind the Reference 5, and the Emotiva Big Ego is slightly behind that.

    That said, on some recordings I slightly prefer the Big Ego to the Bimby. The Bimby is slightly more organic and detailed than the Big Ego with this setup, but the Big Ego keeps up and occasionally exceeds the Bimby to my ears.

    Emotiva Big Ego vs. AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2 -> Anything or Nothing
    Emotiva hands down. Much more pleasant to listen to than the AudioQuest.

    Summary
    The fact that it even comes close to the Schiit Bifrost Multibit is astonishing for the price. Combined with its compact size, filter options, and the ability to play up to 384kHz, the Big Ego is absurd. Emotiva deserves a hit with the Big Ego.

    Unless you have extremely resolving gear after the Big Ego, it's virtually indistinguishable from the Schiit.

    They're also having a sitewide sale right now so you can get it for $179, so I'd jump on it if you have the chance."
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
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    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
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  2. #2
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    I went to the site, but didn't see a sale and the Big Ego is still at $219. Did I miss something?

  3. #3
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bfalls View Post
    I went to the site, but didn't see a sale and the Big Ego is still at $219. Did I miss something?
    Nope, that review was an old review and that was a sale price. I am going to see if there is a Memorial day sale. Otherwise I will buy it for the $219. It should be a nice step up from the Dragon Fly for my son.

    It is pretty remarkable that these new DAC's in small packages can sound so good. It will be interesting to see if the AQ Jitterbug works with the Big Ego and improves the sound as much as it does for the Dragon Fly. If not, then I will eventually get him a Regen for another occasion.

    I will post a review on the Big Ego in 3 weeks as his Bday is June 16th.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  4. #4
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    I have been very impressed as well with some of these new Dacs that are coming out for phones and computers. I bought a little Fiio K1 for my Dell XPS 13 that I use all the time and listen to my headphones on to improve the sound since I have never heard a stock computer of any brand sound good out of the headphone output. This little $40 unit sounds great for the money. I have friends that have the Dragonfly and love it, I haven't personally talked to any of them on to if they have tried the jitterbug but I could see how it could work. Have you heard what PS Audio is doing now? They are working on a system of taking the USB signal out of the computer and putting it through a network switch and changing it to Ethernet cables and then putting it back to USB to go into the DAC. From what they are saying the process of the switch taking the digital 1's and 0's and putting them into packets for the Ethernet system takes all the noise and jitter out of the music signal. I haven't heard from anyone how well this works but they are saying that it is better than the Jitterbug and even the Regen. Sound interesting.

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  5. #5
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    If portability or compactness are important issues, it's good to realized that the are a variety of very competent compact devices out there nowadays.

    But that tiny, USB-bus powered devices must have certain limitations. For one thing, the "full sized", self-powered DAC have the potential (at least) to have superior analog sections -- and no DAC is better than its analog section. Tiny, bus-powered devices must rely on op amps for their analog sections. Also, with tiny devices there is less scope for including higher-end USB asynchronous receivers or multiple DAC chips or such amenities as multiple DAC chips. And obviously the provision for multiple digital inputs isn't likely.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Harely, the PSA Direct Stream DSD DAC is supposed to sound its best through Ethernet. Of course, it cost's another $800 for the Ethernet Network Card option. A friend of mine has this and it does sound better.

    It looks like Emotiva is not going to run a Memorial day sale. Guess I will have to pay full price.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  7. #7
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    Yeah some times the money output needed for the smallest things like a Ethernet card on the PS Audio make it hard to add it to the system when that $800 could go to other things that might make more of a difference

    Marantz SR5008(HT)
    Nu Force P8 Preamp (2 channel)
    Pass Labs X150.5(2 channel)
    Adcom 545 mk2 power amp(rear channel amp)
    Spatial Audio M3 Turbo S Mains Speakers
    Dayton 8" HO custom sealed subwoofer(2 channel)
    Yamaha NS-c444 center channel
    Emotiva ERD-1 surround speakers
    JBL e250p subwoofer highly modified
    Samsung 46" LED TV
    OPPO BDP-83 blue ray/multi format player
    ps-audio NuWave dac (2 channel)
    Dell I660 music server running fidelizer windows 8 audio optimizer
    PS Audio Quintet power center



  8. #8
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Well the Big Ego is going to have to wait till Christmas. My son wanted a remote volume pot for the Pass B1 preamp that we built last fall. So I ended up buying a high end TKD remote volume pot from Hi Fi Collective in England to replace the cheap Blue Alps pot. It cost $190 with shipping. It includes the pot, motor, board with the IR sensor and the remote control. We are going to install it tomorrow. It should be a nice improvement in sound with a little more clarity, resolution and detail.

    Interestingly I was looking at the Primaluna Dialogue preamp and they advertise that it has a high end volume pot called the Blue Alps. What a bunch of rubbish. The Blue Alps cost $15 at Parts Connexion.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  9. #9
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    Well the Big Ego is going to have to wait till Christmas. My son wanted a remote volume pot for the Pass B1 preamp that we built last fall. So I ended up buying a high end TKD remote volume pot from Hi Fi Collective in England to replace the cheap Blue Alps pot. It cost $190 with shipping. It includes the pot, motor, board with the IR sensor and the remote control. We are going to install it tomorrow. It should be a nice improvement in sound with a little more clarity, resolution and detail.

    Interestingly I was looking at the Primaluna Dialogue preamp and they advertise that it has a high end volume pot called the Blue Alps. What a bunch of rubbish. The Blue Alps cost $15 at Parts Connexion.
    From what I gather the Alps Blue Beauty is a well-regarded pot of its type, i.e. metalized plastic -- not to say that it's the best necessarily. But it's not fair to compare the manual Alps pot with the complete TKD remote system. The fair comparison is the he motorized Alps pot and motorized TKD pot, respectively 37.00 and 68.50 at Hi Fi Collective.

    There is a loose connection between price and performance. Priced as raw components, many high-performance op amps, DACs, etc., are remarkably cheap.

  10. #10
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    From what I gather the Alps Blue Beauty is a well-regarded pot of its type, i.e. metalized plastic -- not to say that it's the best necessarily. But it's not fair to compare the manual Alps pot with the complete TKD remote system. The fair comparison is the he motorized Alps pot and motorized TKD pot, respectively 37.00 and 68.50 at Hi Fi Collective.

    There is a loose connection between price and performance. Priced as raw components, many high-performance op amps, DACs, etc., are remarkably cheap.


    I hear what you are saying, but the TKD manual volume pot is $92 U.S. by itself and the Alps is $16. And I can tell you that the build quality is more substantial with the TKD. Whether that equates to better sound remains to be seen but from the reviews that I have read and people I have corresponded with the step up in sound is noticeable.

    Primaluna is playing with words when they make the statement that the blue alps cost 10x's more than a simple chip that they could have used.
    Last edited by blackraven; 06-29-2016 at 01:29 PM.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  11. #11
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    I hear what you are saying, but the TKD manual volume pot is $92 U.S. by itself and the Alps is $16. And I can tell you that the build quality is more substantial with the TKD. Whether that equates to better sound remains to be seen but from the reviews that I have read and people I have corresponded with the step up in sound is noticeable.

    Primaluna is playing with words when they say make the statement that the blue alps cost 10x's more than a simple chip that they could have used.
    Ha! That would make PL's alternative a $1.60 chip; not too hard to believe the Alps is better than that.

    BTW, I've used the Alps in a passive preamp consisting of nothing but the Alps Blue and i/o connectors. It sounded good but I can't vouch that there's nothing better.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Well, we installed the TKD remote volume pot and the first words out of my son's mouth were more texture and bass. We both noticed more detail and a cleaner sound. It was well worth the purchase. Too bad I bought it before Brexit. I would have saved about $40 with the change in the exchange rate.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  13. #13
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    Well, we installed the TKD remote volume pot and the first words out of my son's mouth were more texture and bass. We both noticed more detail and a cleaner sound. It was well worth the purchase. Too bad I bought it before Brexit. I would have saved about $40 with the change in the exchange rate.
    Congrats on the sound improvement -- and on the remote control. I would certainly hate to do without that.

    Re. the exchange rate change, now you can grasp how Canadian residents feel with the C$ worth about US$0.75 today vs. 2011 when it was a parity.

  14. #14
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I received my used Emotiva Big Ego DAC today and I am impressed. I bought it for my son to replace his Dragonfly 1.0 that he was using in his 2 channel rig. It is very smooth and analog sounding. There is no grain or edginess to it like the DF. It leans to the warm side. It has an very nice liquid mid range. It has more detail and is more musical than the DF. The textures are more palpable. It is clearly a nice step up. It sounds even better with the AQ Jitterbug. I am going to try it with my Regen later in the week. We are using the crappy usb cable that came with it. I am going to order an AQ Cinnamon mini usb to usb cable along with an AQ Golden Gate mini RCA to RCA cable.

    The rest of the system is my old Parasound A21, Pass Labs B-1 passive preamp/buffer that I built and PSB B6 speakers. Music Player is Bug Head Infinity Blade version 6.88.
    Last edited by blackraven; 11-05-2016 at 08:18 AM.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  15. #15
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    Interesting, maybe Emo is improving. I have their first CDP, it was better overall than a slightly more expensive NAD, in my opinion, I wouldn't describe my CDP sound as "warm".

    On another note, I wonder which remaining member will have the last post on this site.

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