Introducing Overdrive SE

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ketcham

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 162
Re: Introducing Overdrive SE
« Reply #40 on: 26 Jul 2012, 05:30 pm »
Steve,

Any idea why black gates stopped manufacturing caps and with a limited supply left what will replace them and sonically how does that change the dac?  Black gates mods in my bidar makes a world of difference. 

audioengr

Re: Introducing Overdrive SE
« Reply #41 on: 26 Jul 2012, 05:51 pm »
Steve,

Any idea why black gates stopped manufacturing caps and with a limited supply left what will replace them and sonically how does that change the dac?  Black gates mods in my bidar makes a world of difference.

I think it was just a limited market for Black Gates.  They still make caps, but not Black Gates anymore.

I will still be using Black Gates for some digital power and signal applications, but for the ones used in the Overdrive SE analog section I will eventually run out of them.

I believe that a certain Panasonic cap that will replace them will be just as good, maybe even better because it is a larger value.  We will see when we get there.  So far, it is performing well in the Substation.

Steve N.

ketcham

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 162
Re: Introducing Overdrive SE
« Reply #42 on: 27 Jul 2012, 04:26 am »
Are the cutf caps used in place of the black gates in the upgrades or just one portion of the dac and the Panasonic caps will be used as well?

audioengr

Re: Introducing Overdrive SE
« Reply #43 on: 27 Jul 2012, 05:10 am »
Are the cutf caps used in place of the black gates in the upgrades or just one portion of the dac and the Panasonic caps will be used as well?

CUTF caps are used for analog signal coupling, not for power supply.

The Panasonics will replace the Black Gates in the analog section power supplies.

Steve N.

DaveBSC

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 110
Re: Introducing Overdrive SE
« Reply #44 on: 27 Jul 2012, 04:44 pm »
Steve, can you talk a little more about the Final Drive and what it does?

audioengr

Re: Introducing Overdrive SE
« Reply #45 on: 27 Jul 2012, 05:38 pm »
Steve, can you talk a little more about the Final Drive and what it does?

Sure.  You can think of it as a transformer linestage with no volume control, just 2 gain settings: 0dB and +6dB.  There are selectable RCA, XLR1 and XLR2 inputs and RCA and XLR outputs, only on output active at a time.

The Final Drive has the following benefits in ANY system:

1) Galvanically isolates the grounds of the source and amplifiers, breaking that ground-loop
2) Creates a truly balanced electrical signal for balanced amps - solid-state balanced circuits try to do this, but fail
3) Converts RCA to XLR and XLR to RCA so you can bring-in a RCA phono preamp or drive tube amps
4) Allows Home Theater passthrough to the amps

The truly balanced behavior is extremely important.  This guarantees that the + and - signals are identical in amplitude (impossible with SS) and that there is no common-mode or differential DC offset on either of the signals.

Like our other products, we are making this best-of-class, using the latest Finemet transformer technology from Japan, Swiss Elma selection switches with heavy-gold contact plating and pure continuous cast silver wire with cotton insulation. It beats even the most expensive Transformer linestages.

It will have the same casework as the Overdrive SE DAC.

Steve N.

jtwrace

Re: Introducing Overdrive SE
« Reply #46 on: 27 Jul 2012, 05:41 pm »
So it's basically a fancy Jensen Transformer.  Do you actually use the Jensens?

http://www.jensen-transformers.com/index.html

audioengr

Re: Introducing Overdrive SE
« Reply #47 on: 27 Jul 2012, 05:59 pm »
So it's basically a fancy Jensen Transformer.  Do you actually use the Jensens?

http://www.jensen-transformers.com/index.html

Not even close.  Refresh and look at the post above.

Steve N.

goohsm

Re: Introducing Overdrive SE
« Reply #48 on: 4 Oct 2012, 12:46 am »
i was reading User Manual of overdrive SE
and i noticed that it says there is a delay in the power output of RCA outputs
what does this mean exactly?
isn't any kind of delay/latency supposed to be a bad thing?
_______________________________________ ______________
5.3. RCA – Single-ended outputs
The RCA outputs are designed to drive a preamp, amplifier or high-impedance
headphones. These are AC-coupled, so there is a delay in the power output from them
on power-on in order that the DC voltage settle-out.
_______________________________________ _______________________
« Last Edit: 4 Oct 2012, 03:47 am by goohsm »

audioengr

Re: Introducing Overdrive SE
« Reply #49 on: 4 Oct 2012, 05:03 pm »
i was reading User Manual of overdrive SE
and i noticed that it says there is a delay in the power output of RCA outputs
what does this mean exactly?
isn't any kind of delay/latency supposed to be a bad thing?
_______________________________________ ______________
5.3. RCA – Single-ended outputs
The RCA outputs are designed to drive a preamp, amplifier or high-impedance
headphones. These are AC-coupled, so there is a delay in the power output from them
on power-on in order that the DC voltage settle-out.
_______________________________________ _______________________


This is a 2 second delay only on power-up.  It is to protect the downstream electronics (preamps/amps) from glitches.  There is no audible delay in the electronics during playback.

Steve N.

Steve N.

goohsm

Re: Introducing Overdrive SE
« Reply #50 on: 4 Oct 2012, 05:16 pm »
thank you for the answer steve

i have also found this statement
________________________________
7. RCA to Phone-jack Headphone adapter – only high-impedance headphones supported
_________________________________

it seems that headphone amp of overdrive is designed to drive high-impedance headphones
i have low-impedance headphones like grado rs-1, grado hp1000, and several IEM's
would i need a separate headphone amplifier to drive these phones with Overdrive?

audioengr

Re: Introducing Overdrive SE
« Reply #51 on: 4 Oct 2012, 05:39 pm »
thank you for the answer steve

i have also found this statement
________________________________
7. RCA to Phone-jack Headphone adapter – only high-impedance headphones supported
_________________________________

it seems that headphone amp of overdrive is designed to drive high-impedance headphones
i have low-impedance headphones like grado rs-1, grado hp1000, and several IEM's
would i need a separate headphone amplifier to drive these phones with Overdrive?

Yes.  Grados are usually in the 40 ohm range, so the bass would suffer.

Steve N.

goohsm

Re: Introducing Overdrive SE
« Reply #52 on: 4 Oct 2012, 09:30 pm »
Yes.  Grados are usually in the 40 ohm range, so the bass would suffer.

Steve N.

oh man... it's kind of bummer that overdrive can not be one device solution for my grado cans

sorry im not very familiar with audio technology stuff
do you think high impedance resister adapter can be used to drive lower impedance headphones?
or do you just recommend to get a separate headphone amp?

also, could you tell me what it exactly means that the bass would suffer

audioengr

Re: Introducing Overdrive SE
« Reply #53 on: 5 Oct 2012, 04:45 am »
oh man... it's kind of bummer that overdrive can not be one device solution for my grado cans

sorry im not very familiar with audio technology stuff
do you think high impedance resister adapter can be used to drive lower impedance headphones?
or do you just recommend to get a separate headphone amp?

also, could you tell me what it exactly means that the bass would suffer

I recommend a good tube headamp.  The bass will be thin with low-impedance headphones.

Steve N.

Geithainpsaudio

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 2
Overdrive SE
« Reply #54 on: 28 Nov 2012, 08:49 am »
I would like to share with everybody my recent experiences with the new Empirical Audio Overdrive SE

Background:
I have played classical music since age 8 (chamber, solo, orchestra, professional training) and since 2006 I have been on a continuous mission to find and enjoy better and better reproduction. This has resulted in about 5 different systems that all are very high standard. For the purpose of this review I have the configuration:
Speakers: MEG Geithain 803k with stands from same manufacturer (filled with sand) Link: http://me-geithain.de/highend/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=57&Itemid=93&lang=en
Cables DAC-> MEG Geithain: Funk B-120 XLR cables from the extremely honest and skilled house of Thomas Funk, Berlin http://www.funk-tonstudiotechnik.de/B-120-Info.pdf
DAC: Empirical Audio Overdrive SE
PC: Windows 7 64bit
Player: Foobar (newest version)
Comparator DACs: Weiss DAC202 + Clock EmpiricalAudio Pacecar Ultraclock= reference, W4Sound DAC2=good, Benchmark= less so, Aqvox= less so
Current: PS Audio Powerplant10: Link: http://www.psaudio.com/products/power/pw-power-plants/p10-power-plant/
Cables and Power distributors : Furutech

The owner and brain of empirical audio Steve promised a lot on his website, a lot of words. We live in a jungle filled with pseudoscience, real science, facts, myths, figures and havent we read it all. Steve has a mission that is clear, but is it B.S. served to misguide needy audiophiles ? There is an army of suppliers who have this business strategy, yet they just reassemble standard components from the same basic manufacturers and add the superlatives, no more. So what is reality with Overdrive SE?

My philosophy:
Listening is a compounded experience where my non-expert , yet experimental journey has resulted in the following optimization points that determine the overall experience in an audible fashion. many small changes = big experience.
a. Electricity (hence powerplant10 from PSaudio, which created firm, tight, crystal clear kind of sound waves, and you can see the distortion it eliminates on the panel from minute to minute, how cool) also the Furutech cables and distributors are important. ALL FROM ONE SOURCE ! everything powered by P10. Also: checked the phases , another important point, audible.

b. Conversion of digital to audio: here the Overdrive SE comes in
c. Decoupling of LS: Since the Geithain 803Ks have the amazing karitoid properties (see diagram at bottom: http://me-geithain.de/highend/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=57&Itemid=94&lang=en ) there is minimal need for back of LS dampening, bass control etc.  but for example filling the sand into the stands from geithain meant a lot, all energy pouring down in the floor and hitting your ear way before the sound via airways hits you was a very audible improvement
d. Source: music will never be better than recording, resolution etc.

Overdrive SE:

Having optimized the very good WeissDAC202 with the empirical audio Pacecar with Ultraclocks (now not produced anymore apparantly, but very good product) indicated that Steve is producing something the world needs. Steve describes his products to deliver a "smooth", "vinyl like" sound that in an non-upsampled fashion creates a wonderfull experience. For any product to improve the wonderfull DAC202 is an achievement , and the Pacecar clearly brought the sound in the direction of Steves words.

The Overdrive SE is the true embodyment of this direction. Bottom line is that EVERYTHING Steve promised has held true. After many many listening hours, alone and with audio knowledgable friends with deep roots in many camps (electronica, pop, rock, classic etc.) there is no doubt that the Overdrive SE trumps the Weiss DAC202 even with the addition of the pace car. For the technique focused people please see all the measurements of the 2 DACs on their websites, I also believe very much in measurements , in the placebo-effect of the audio field, and of all kinds of illusions and selfdeceptions. So how do I come to this conclusion: The overdrive SE makes Digital music into MUSIC. The difference between a synthesizer from the 80´s (not George Moroder , he is wonderfull artist) cannot be compared to the piano. The piano is an almost organic source of multiple impressions, not only the pure music, but also the sounds from pedals, the handling of the actual "keyboard" etc etc. When listening to the overdrive you simply abandon PLANET DIGITAL and arrive at PLANET MUSIC. I noticed how I simply kept listening , kept listening for so long time, no impatience to hear the next track, almost like you dont want to stop the artist playing, its rude - maybe the degree of reality connects to social reflect of conduct, I dont know, I am just passing this on as an observation, Jitter reduction ? I do not know. Other features that are remarkable: Dynamics, black background (partly helped by the P10 for sure), what Steve calls "Slam" and "Punch", the bass is remarkable "human" with character (think of the drums in hotel california (Eagles), or Love Songs (Diana Krall)). And yes it has this vinyl like quality , but I would say Vinyl Plus, as it has a very pleasant silky yet realistic sound, pretty much like live opera or chansons also have in my experience.
The looks of the overdrive SE in real life is actually very elegant as a piece of modern technology, the aesthetics also matter, so not only is it a small double device but it has the feel of the old Porsches, the silver one that James Dean died in (Link: http://bit.ly/QpoDna) , in the tradition of Braun radios (Link: http://bit.ly/Tmqypq) and so on, its very cool. (it also gets semihot on the top, but that doesnt matter) . The occasional crackle and click when the Overdrive SE changes bit-rate or whatever it does adds to the semi-mechanic industrial feel. I played almost all music on the option "Line Out" as any volume control will represent a resistance/distortion, and in this case it was a small improvement, but still (so the XLR cable goes direct into the Geithain 803K and the mechanical regulator for volume at the back of these active loudspeakers set the point. Very easily workable with foobar where you can regulate output levels pr software). Steves volume control is very good though, compared on par or very similar with Thomas Funks legendary MTX monitor (which also looks cool and has an outrageous remote control with cables, feels like something that can control a nucelar power plant or similar http://www.funk-tonstudiotechnik.de/MTX-MONITOR_V3b-1-Kurzinfo-2-Spaltig-englisch.pdf ). Basically a pre-amp should not be heard and only serve as volume regulator and amalgamation source from various inputs, otherwise avoid if possible.

Result: I have arrived. No more computeraudiophile.com (at least for a while) and all that. Will revisit the audiophile world once something truly new is more availible like DSD or RED.com reaches into audiophile. Now it is about listening, exploring the musical archives, remastering music files (with fun program like http://www.izotope.com/products/audio/rx/ ) and not the least playing live music because: Music is Life.

kyper

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 1
Re: Introducing Overdrive SE
« Reply #55 on: 30 Nov 2012, 08:33 pm »
Geithainpsaudio, I appreciate you review.  A direct comparison between DACs are almost impossible given the limited production and expense of each.  Have you had any experience with EMM DAC2x?  Having heard previous versions of EMM, I find them detailed but sterile.   Not vinyl-like as Steve has been able to achieve.  What were  you thoughts of his DAC with the optional Hynes regulators and CUTF caps?

I appreciate your thoughtful review and must consider his Overdrive a strong contender in my shortlist of options.  Reasonably priced too. 

(People mention the DAC2x has resolved this issue--however no one anywhere has publicly compared the two dacs)

Bob.

Geithainpsaudio

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 2
Re: Introducing Overdrive SE
« Reply #56 on: 2 Dec 2012, 12:21 pm »
1. I have no first hand experience (yet) with the new EMM Dac2x , so dont know. in my experience there is a monumental class effect, that many manufacturers want to hide: example in mind: when the new ESS labs Sabre 9018 chip came out  (http://www.esstech.com/index.php?p=products_DAC) one of the first adapters was Weiss audio with the new DAC202, made it move past the Berkely Audio DAC, join the CASH list etc. then Wyred4S followed and all kinds of manufacturers incl. peach tree followed, sounded all a notch better than before, set a new standard. None of them gave the large part of credit to ESS technologies. Basically audio is about 5-10 key components manufacturers R&D and general adaption of technology developments. Audio manufacturers assemble these parts more or less intelligent, repackage in new design + claims and then sell it with 5x markup or more and still dont get rich. What Steve Nugent does is different, he cuts the chain of markups by manufacturing/reassembling inhouse and selling directly to the fan community. Also his results are achieved by NOT upsampling like 9018 chip and allthough he keeps it secret what chip he uses, I would place the Overdrive SE5 in a different category, as the non-upsampled music sounds wonderfull, rich, also at 44/16b , I thought it was commercial desperation or that Steve was fallen of the waggon of technological development, but its true. In general I have not caught a single over representation (so far), he is a proud manufacturer , but honestly its dramatically undermarketed if you regard his price/quality and novelty factor vs. global market share. Will be interested in EMM but more fore the DSD option, lets see.

2. I ordered the "full monty" no limits version, so it comes with hynes and caps, even though I dont even know what that means. Did not get version without so cannot compare. Again my benchmark , end of the day , is that I keep the music flowing for hours and hours, kind of get sucked into it, isn´t that the ultimate endpoint ?

ccoshm

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 8
Re: Introducing Overdrive SE
« Reply #57 on: 15 Dec 2012, 06:26 am »
I just finished installing my Overdrive SE. WOW I am impressed. I have listened to a previous version of the overdrive, but did not realize how much it could improved my set up until today. I was using an off ramp 4 feeding DAC based on the saber chip. I thought I had an awesome setup. First things first, I ordered my Overdrive with the Hynes Regulators and a short block. I use a Nucleus USB cable and I am using a synergistic research holographic D power chord inherited from my previous DAC. The improvement was in line with the the price I paid for the upgrade and then some. It is easy to justify sound differences arguing any one of the many factors that influence sound and perception - room acoustics, sound memory etc. However when I finally fired the overdrive, I had no doubt whatsoever that this was the real deal. Thank you Steve, once again you have made a huge difference in my love for music.

audioengr

Re: Introducing Overdrive SE
« Reply #58 on: 15 Dec 2012, 06:40 pm »
I just finished installing my Overdrive SE. WOW I am impressed. I have listened to a previous version of the overdrive, but did not realize how much it could improved my set up until today. I was using an off ramp 4 feeding DAC based on the saber chip. I thought I had an awesome setup. First things first, I ordered my Overdrive with the Hynes Regulators and a short block. I use a Nucleus USB cable and I am using a synergistic research holographic D power chord inherited from my previous DAC. The improvement was in line with the the price I paid for the upgrade and then some. It is easy to justify sound differences arguing any one of the many factors that influence sound and perception - room acoustics, sound memory etc. However when I finally fired the overdrive, I had no doubt whatsoever that this was the real deal. Thank you Steve, once again you have made a huge difference in my love for music.

Like most of them, I didnt want to ship this one.  I really enjoyed listening to it, and even had customers over to hear it. 

What computer and playback software are you using with the Overdrive SE?

Steve N.

ccoshm

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 8
Re: Introducing Overdrive SE
« Reply #59 on: 15 Dec 2012, 08:29 pm »
Like most of them, I didnt want to ship this one.  I really enjoyed listening to it, and even had customers over to hear it. 

What computer and playback software are you using with the Overdrive SE?

Steve N.

I am using one of the newer Intel power macs with amarra symphony latest version. For some reason I can not get the recommended version to work on any of my systems.