Spec's look good, killer price.
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I don't know if you saw Emotiva's forum but there is a Preamp/DAC section where there are lots of discussions about the XDA-1.
My guess about how it will sound is that it will sound like the Emotiva ERC-1 CDP. Which a lot of people say good things about.
The e-mail I got from Emotiva said they are taking pre-orders on it now & it will ship on 12-1-2010.
agree with buconero that it looks like alot of product for small $$$; though i think peachtree decco/nova, which includes a power amp, still have the edge--they're more all-inclusive portable devices which everyone (except hard-core old guys like us) seem to crave. my kudos to emotiva--they have a very smart business model, which enables them to deliver good stuff at low prices.
I think the XDA-1's remote beats the pants right off the Decco's remote, if that means anything to anyone (it does to me). I also found this webpage:
It shows some correspondence with "Lonnie," an Emotiva guy, who reveals some of the design topology and process, some pictures, etc. Interesting read.
I have signed up for the opportunity to purchase one. If I get my hands on one I will try running USB audio into it from my Alienware XP 64-bit laptop and report what I hear.
You know, the one thing it really is missing are some fixed outputs, so you could upgrade to a really nice pre-amp. Like maybe this McCormack...:
Is there no way to simple use the XDA-1 just as a DAC?
But at the price, and considering Emotiva's in-home trial, its too tempting to resist for me. Its a shame there is no upgrade path tho.
Just saw the XDA-1 at RMAF, Emotiva folks told me that if you crank up the volume on this unit all the way up, the volume pot basically turns off and the outputs can be considered fixed, not variable, so it is possible to use this unit just as a DAC, and upgrade to a high-end pre later on. I will confirm this tomorrow. They said the units were "on the water" right now, and will ship in mid- to late-November. I spent about 20 minutes playing various CDs I know really well on their Emotiva system, which featured all Emotiva gear, including speakers. They were bi-amping each speaker with an XPA-1, total of four XPA's. They DAC'd their ERC-1 with the XDA-1. I thought the sound was limited a bit by the speakers, which I felt were a little weak in the mid-range, those frequencies felt pushed back a little.
The XDA-1's digital volume control moves at half-increments, so they got that part right. They could not answer for me whether the XDA's USB input was asynchronus or not. Wrong Emotiva people in the room, too many analog guys.
Thanks for clearing that up, Jimangie, I was kind of confused about that one. I did not make it back into the room to confirm their comments regarding using the XDA-1 strictly as a DAC. Do you know how you set the unit to zero attenuation? It does not seem like the display has much room for any kind of menu comments. Have you seen an XDA-1 manual?
UPDATE: The email arrived that annouced my opportunity to purchase an XDA-1, but I decided not to buy it. I thought I could use the XDA as a pre- and as a source, if I could pipe sound into it from my laptop, but with all the techno garbage I'd have to deal with (audio over USB, iTunes vs FooBAR vs XP64, low hard drive space, driver conflicts, bleh), I'd have to update my OS or buy a new laptop to use as a music server. In the end, if I don't get shot down by tech conflicts, I'll have spent enough to have bought a pre-/CDP, if not in $$$ than certainly in time. I'll DAC the CDP I buy later. Keeping it simple for now.
It is a variable output DAC. For those that want to use it as a DAC only, leave it at the default "80" setting, which is full output.
I have been using the XDA-1 directly into my Bryston 4Bsst with excellent results.
First impressions are: extreme clairity and excellent dynamics, both micro and macro
Longer term listening opens it up considerably, top to bottom.
Feeding it with my OPPO 83 via s/pdif coax, sounds better to me than OPPO's dac. Speakers are B&W802D's FWIW .
I agree with Highendool! I am running it directly into my XPA-2 and it sounds just fantastic. After the first two days
of owning it, I thought it was the worst Dac/Pre I ever heard
and had my return number issued and was ready to send it back. And after a few day's it started to sound better, and now a few weeks later it sounds superb! Glad I gave it some time, it is a great piece, and a steal at it's price. My last DAC was a Dac Magic and I like this better.
Have had the XDA-1 for less than a week. My Sony DVD feeds it via Tosklink cable and the DAC runs via RCA connectors into my DIY Hypex ST180 Amp running into my DIY SEAS 2-way monitors. For a $249 unit I am very impressed by the sound quality. I will try with balanced conncections when I get cables next week. Emotiva on their website indicates that the XDA-1 volume control is digital, and thus is not lossless, so anything less than full volume results in the lose of some bits and one must presume some musical detail. I cannot get close to 80 withouth blowing my walls out from a volume perspective, but at about 65 on the volume meter. it sounds pretty damn good. Eventually I will have a Pass DIY B1 Buffer/preamp and run the Emotiva at full output. For $249 (got mine never used from a gent on Ebay for $200) the Emotiva clearly demonstrates how far digital has come in recent years and how much you now can get for your money. Doubt you can find a better deal than the Emotiva for 249 clams. Recommended.