This is good to know @Ian2001, I have tried to engage with my two local HiFi shops, I get the feeling that they are too busy to bother with me! Nice problem to have I suppose.
One thing which generally puts me off taking the next step is the absence of DSP, both for headphone use and for room correction. Whilst DSP may not be the last word in High Fidelity, my room is not the last word in acoustic perfection either and whilst room treatment is not on the cards, subtle DSP might be.
Thanks Clare, I had heard that Roon offers DSP for room correction and I guess it is suitable for headphone EQ. too. I am however not persuaded to buy into Roon at this time in part due to the additional cost but also the need for another ‘computer’ running all the time to host it.
I do like the idea of being able to run DSP room correction from what I would recognise as a piece of HiFi hardware.
DSP hardware will be working hard compared to something like a UPnP server, or possibly a streaming board, so I strongly suspect that it’s best decoupled from the HiFi system if you run it at all. Running Roon as a network server achieves this.
FWIW Naim said that they looked at built in DSP during the development of the 272 and decided against it due to the effects on sound quality.
You can buy an intel nuc kit pretty cheap and setup a roon rock server. Once done, it’s pretty much forget about it. And if ever need to reset can even just do that thru the app. And the Naim has worked flawlessly just using wireless with it. Just moved unit to another part of the house and was good to go in under a minute. When I had the Chord Dave and Mscaler, would spend over a half hour trying to reconnect everything.
DSP chips are dedicated hardware that can do this without (hardly) any strain, they won’t need to be working hard.
Roon however will have to do DSP in software which will strain the device significantly more, and it will likely also be more lossy than a hardware DSP solution. Any DSP will have an effect on audio quality, but the Roon approach certainly not less than the hardware approach, and potentially more.
The 272 has a DSP chip built in, but it’s not user adjustable:
I agree. There are several headphone DSP presets built into Roon, but for Audeze headphones only if I am correct. For room correction Roon is perfectly usable. I am running a so called convolution filter myself in Roon with very good results. I use a Mac Mini as Roon server, but others have reported good results running Roon on their NAS device.
AutoEq available on GitHub provide a wealth of DSP settings and filterz for headphones that have been measured to different standards. All these can be used in any app that has parametic EQ or you can download the filters to use in a convolution engine such as Roon or Hqplayer. I have several and use them but not all the time. Roon gives my easy access to switch them on and off on any given device I am using the headphones on.
Yet another piece of WHF idiosyncrasy, IMO. They compare the Headphone edition with the original Atom with a range of headphones, presumably using the headphone output of the original and find the Atom HE outperforms the original. Quelle surprise, the headphone output of my Atom is hardly its most stellar feature. Or are they comparing it with Atom + speakers, in which case how to make that a fair and reasonably objective comparison?
I’m still hoping for a “proper” review of Atom HE + active speakers – I might even be in that market myself.
Yes, they compare Atom HE vs Atom for headphone listening - an ideal comparison for someone trying to understand the difference between the two systems.
If you read again, you’ll see they also compare Atom HE vs Atom when used as a streaming pre-amp into their reference power amp and speakers. That clearly shows the uplift in pre-amp performance the new design offers - whether you’re using it with active speakers or with power amp/speakers.
Well, actually I did read that, but found it hard to take seriously the idea that there will be lots of people wanting to feed the Atom HE into a £36k amplifier and £10k speakers. Perhaps they are contemplating an entry into the “ultimate mullet” competition.
Had the HE version been available when I got my Atom last year I’d have been very tempted to combine it with something like Acoustic Every AE1s for my office system. I’d probably have gone on to buy a good set of phones, Focal even. A different use case, of course, but IMO more useful to a potential purchaser than WHF’s.
I found the review reassuring. I have an Atom HE on order and will use it connected to a NAP250, which I hope will be better than my current set up (UQ2, nDAC, SN1, HC), with less boxes. We’ll see how that sounds, but I also got the HE for its headphone capabilities.
Yes I did read that review a little time ago. It was why I would have considered AtomHE/AE1 when I was in the market. My point was simply that I just find WHF’s reviewing methodology does not inspire me with confidence in their judgements and putting Atom in front of £35,000+ of gear was an example of why. Probably I’m alone in my view of WHF, so time to wrap up this thread diversion I think and get back to enjoying our various Atoms.