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Author Topic: Go Vibe Dac mini review  (Read 19593 times)
Singapura
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« on: March 31, 2008, 07:14:38 AM »

Last Sunday I received a Go Vibe DAC (thanks Wilson  Grin) and off course immediately had to run it through its paces. First thing that stands out is how small this DAC is Shocked. It looks like a miniature version of a Xin SMIII which is to say it's built like a tank. It's made of black eloxated aluminium which makes it a bit susceptible to finger prints. There are only two connectors, one USB mini and one headphone jack. No volume knob, no charging jack just the basics. A led indicates if the DAC is idle (green) or working (red). The device comes in a small velvet bag with a cord so you can wear it around your neck. A USB to mini USB cable is included.

My plan is to use this DAC with my Kohjinsha SA1F00A, a small UMPC running Windows XP. I connected it to one of the two USB ports and plugged in my Shure E500's. Windows XP recognised the GoVibe as "USB speakers" which is a bit strange but I haven't been able to change that. Unfortunately that's as far as I could get because the sound that came out of my IEM's was horribly distorted. I've tried disabling the internal soundcard, reinstalling drivers and installed ASIO drivers but nothing helped. For the moment the Kohjinsha is out  Sad

Good thing I still have my desktop PC although that beast is a bit less portable  Wink The connection there went a lot smoother. Vista recognised the DAC correctly as a USB Burr Brown (Onkyo) DAC. I quick test revealed that there was nothing wrong with the GoVibe, sound came though crystal clear.

On with the test. Because there is no impedance switch and no volume knob all adjustments are made on the computer. There's quite a bit of hiss when the DAC is idle which could be because my E500's are so sensitive. With a pair of cans that are less sensitive (I tried the GoVibe with iGrado's for a few minutes) there shouldn't be any problems. The most important part of course is the quality of the sound it produces and it's here that the DAC started to shine. The GoVibe DAC puts the music on a whole new level! Highs are incredible detailed, mids are well defined and lows are nice and crisp. It puts my iPod-AE2 combo to shame. All music I played through the DAC came out very clean as if I had opened a (dirty) window. Even with the high levels of hiss it was a joy to listen to the choirs in Lord of the Rings and Mozart's requiem. The E500's are very good at reproducing percussion and the GoVibe gives them a lot of extra kick. The soundstage is huge and placement of each instrument is very precise. I'm a sucker for details and the GoVibe gives them in spades. I just might sell my Soundblaster SX although that external card is more versatile.

Conclusion: good things come in small packages, this DAC is certainly worth it's price.  I hope that my Kohjinsha will be friends with the GoVibe soon, it just might be I found my next portable music solution!

Some "borrowed" pics:



« Last Edit: March 31, 2008, 11:22:45 AM by Singapura » Logged

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direcow
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« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2008, 10:22:15 AM »

so you used the DAC as an amp?
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chesterqw
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« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2008, 10:37:00 AM »

"this thread is useless without pics"

good review but no pictures Sad

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direcow
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« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2008, 10:48:19 AM »

"this thread is useless without pics"

good review but no pictures Sad



haha we know how it looks like...
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blip
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« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2008, 11:18:56 AM »

"this thread is useless without pics"

good review but no pictures Sad



Not my review, but since I'm bored enough...


View of DAC out of case, with 50c coin for size comparison


View of the front end with LED and 1/8" output


View of the back end with the USD input and the PCM 2702 DAC chip.


View of the bottom of the PCB with the SMD components
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Singapura
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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2008, 11:20:04 AM »

Nice! I didn't open mine (yet).
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squall343
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« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2008, 11:41:12 AM »

Nice picture

The dac is pretty small

Look like it is even smaller than the petite(anyone can confirm?)

Also it does not have the rechargable battery like the petite

So how does this compare to the petite usb dac?

Or is it the same sound quality?
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blip
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« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2008, 11:51:11 AM »

I'm quite sure it's smaller than the Petite, since it's just the DAC section (of the Petite Amp+DAC)

It doesn't have batteries 'because it's used connected to the computer (by USB) to supply both the data and power.

I believe it should be similar, but otherwise can't really comment since I haven't heard the Petite.
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oneneo
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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2008, 12:44:00 PM »

I was planning to write a mini user instructions cum review, but I guess Singapura beat me to it.   Wink

Before I bought it I had loads of questions regarding the installation/operational aspect of this cutie, but unfortunately found none here at jaben.net, nor elsewhere on the internet.  Then I decided to just take the plunge anyway, even though I had no time to test it at Jaben, having spent the better part of my visit auditioning IEMs.

Nice pix by blip.  But does it void the warranty ?  Huh? Grin

Well, some of my questions were answered above while others I managed to find answers myself.  For the benefit of those who've got the same questions, here are the Qs&As:

Q :  Can I connect my headphone directly to the DAC?

A :  Yes, provided your headphone is of low impendance such as between 16ohm to 150ohm.  Anything higher your output will be too soft and you will have to use a head amp.

Q :  Since there is no volume control on the DAC, how do I control the volume?

A:   Volume control will be via the PC's volume control.  Yes it works, I tried it.

Q :  What type of DAC chip does it use?

A :  I believe it uses the Burr-Brown 2702 stereo chip, as confirmed by the PC installation.  It is capable of 44.1 khz and 48 khz streams with 16-bit word length.  You will probably see 44.1khz with CD playback or mp3 and 48khz with DVDs.

Well, just my 2 cts.  Enjoy!
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lauph
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« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2008, 01:55:59 PM »

The device comes in a small velvet bag with a cord so you can wear it around your neck.

Er.. Why would i want to wear a DAC around my neck?
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Life is enjoy!
chesterqw
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« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2008, 02:14:49 PM »

woah...now i can see how small it really is...

i got an idea why you wear an AMP on your neck but not sure about a DAC...
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ahfrost
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« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2008, 04:12:58 PM »

The device comes in a small velvet bag with a cord so you can wear it around your neck.

Er.. Why would i want to wear a DAC around my neck?

haha Cheesy Cheesy
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guttergod
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« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2008, 09:24:40 PM »

i got an idea why you wear an AMP on your neck but not sure about a DAC...
I can see that happening actually... Sitting in a bus/train/car with my laptop.
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HP: AKG (K240 Studio, K240 Monitor, K24P), Sennheiser (HD435, PXC250)
IEM: Crossroads MylarOne (X3i, SVi), Sennheiser CX400
Amp: Storm-3, Crossroads Pro Amp
Mixer: American DJ XDM-221, Behringer DJX 400
SC: TerraTec EWX 24/96

It's really not that much is it?
guttergod
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« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2008, 09:29:12 PM »

My plan is to use this DAC with my Kohjinsha SA1F00A, a small UMPC running Windows XP. I connected it to one of the two USB ports and plugged in my Shure E500's. Windows XP recognised the GoVibe as "USB speakers" which is a bit strange but I haven't been able to change that. Unfortunately that's as far as I could get because the sound that came out of my IEM's was horribly distorted. I've tried disabling the internal soundcard, reinstalling drivers and installed ASIO drivers but nothing helped. For the moment the Kohjinsha is out  Sad
It may sound weird to you, but it can actually be caused by your USB chipset. Just because it says "usb" it doesn't mean it's compatible with everything. There are atleast 3 different USB2 specs, so in worst case you need to buy a usb addon card which follows a different standard to get it to work.

Here's a bit of something about the issue...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Host_controller_interface
« Last Edit: March 31, 2008, 09:50:27 PM by guttergod » Logged

HP: AKG (K240 Studio, K240 Monitor, K24P), Sennheiser (HD435, PXC250)
IEM: Crossroads MylarOne (X3i, SVi), Sennheiser CX400
Amp: Storm-3, Crossroads Pro Amp
Mixer: American DJ XDM-221, Behringer DJX 400
SC: TerraTec EWX 24/96

It's really not that much is it?
Singapura
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Posts: 497


Bacon Salt afficionado


« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2008, 12:12:33 PM »

Quote
so in worst case you need to buy a usb addon card which follows a different standard to get it to work.

And how am I to plug in this card? Through the USB jack?  Cheesy This is about the smallest laptop you can get so it wouldn't make much sense plugging in a DAC through an extra card or add-on.
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