GEEK OUT: World's Best USB DAC! $169 ! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 09-24-2013, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
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The Kickstarter campaign for Geek recently ended, and it was so successfully that they want to keep the the momentum going. They are allowing people to pre-order the GEEK OUT for $199 for a limited time (then it will go to it's regular price of $249). In addition, until Friday, September 27th, if you use the coupon code iamageeksfriend, they will take an additional $30 off the current price.

GEEK OUT is available in a variety of colors and mW ratings:
450mW for <100 ohm impedance
720mW for 100-300 ohm impedance
1000mW for >300 ohm impedance

GEEK OUT has been featured on Good Day Sacramento, allthingsUSB, and mentioned all over the internet.

GEEK OUT (aka GEEK) was created by the folks at Light Harmonic, who brought us the Da Vinci DAC. The performance of GEEK OUT is incredible. Check out their blog to see specs and comparisons with some of the leading USB DACS (AudioQuest Dragonfly and Meridian Explorer)

It's an incredible product, and a fantastic price!

On checkout, I'd appreciate if you mentioned my name (Sean Hull) so I can earn a free high res album from 2L

Sean Hull

Denon 3808ci | PS3 80Gb | Harmony One | Toshiba XA2 | Samsung 61" PN60E6500EF | HTPC with HDMI

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post #2 of 11 Old 10-11-2013, 11:10 AM
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I haven't thrown enough money at my system yet, so this is intriguing. However, I am not familiar with this sort of product, or the usage case. I have various headphones, and use the Denon AH-D600 for music, with an Android phone, a PC, Mac, but mainly a Denon AVR-X4000 receiver. The headphones sound great with all of these. How do I know if I need the Geek Out? I realize it converts digital to analog, and replaces the sound card (I think), but what difference do you hear?

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post #3 of 11 Old 10-29-2013, 02:28 AM - Thread Starter
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To answer your question, yes the Geek Out could replace your sound card, and sound 10x better, AND 5x louder while doing it.

You may want to check out their new product. The Geek Out was geared more towards the PC since it was USB only, but the Geek Pulse is more versatile.
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1497013/geek-pulse-the-high-definition-dac-and-headphone-amplifier-249

As far as how it sounds. Gavin (the creator) gave me a pretty good analogy. Listen to some of your favorite music with the earbuds that come with an iPod. Now go out and spend $150 on a decent sent from Shure, Ultimate Ears (now Logitech) or the like. Listen to the same music using the new headphones/earbuds. The sounds are clearer, more defined, blend better in your ears, and you can pick up things you hadn't before. I actually have an old pair of UE earbuds, and the "holy crap" moment for me was when I was listening to Bon Jovi song that I had heard 100+ times before, and I picked out another guitar line in part of the song that I had NEVER heard before!

The Geek Pulse will be about as close to a Da Vinci DAC as you will be able to get without spending thousands of dollars! biggrin.gif

I have ordered two (Geek Pulse), one for my desktop PC, and another for my entertainment setup.

Sean Hull

Denon 3808ci | PS3 80Gb | Harmony One | Toshiba XA2 | Samsung 61" PN60E6500EF | HTPC with HDMI

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post #4 of 11 Old 10-29-2013, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Dizzy49 View Post


As far as how it sounds. Gavin (the creator) gave me a pretty good analogy. Listen to some of your favorite music with the earbuds that come with an iPod. Now go out and spend $150 on a decent sent from Shure, Ultimate Ears (now Logitech) or the like. Listen to the same music using the new headphones/earbuds. The sounds are clearer, more defined, blend better in your ears, and you can pick up things you hadn't before. I actually have an old pair of UE earbuds, and the "holy crap" moment for me was when I was listening to Bon Jovi song that I had heard 100+ times before, and I picked out another guitar line in part of the song that I had NEVER heard before!

The above is IME a highly questionable comparison.

The technical quality of transducers and DACs are almost in different universes. The nonlinear distortion in speakers and headphones is from to 100 to 1000 times worse than even cheap DACs. The frequency response variations are a little closer, but can still be from 50 to 100 times worse in the transducers. Therefore comparing sound quality improvements due to better transducers to sound quality improvements due to DACs is inherently misleading.

As I understand it, this forum is supposed to be about hot deals on established products, not to promote hyperbolic metaphors and the introduction of new products with questionable benefits.
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-29-2013, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
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This forum is for pointing out great deals, regardless of how established the product may be. This site deals a lot with cutting edge products that by their nature are not established...

As far as my comparison, I was trying to put things in an easy to understand way. Your explanation of nonlinear distortion made no sense to me personally, and so if I had asked about the difference in sounds quality, your statement would have been of little use to me.

The bottom line here is that a little research never hurts, and if you are getting opinions, get multiple perspectives. arnyk may believe that DACs offer questionable benefits, but others believe that spending $30k on them is worth every cent.

As far as the Hot Deals... This thread was started when you could get a Geek Out at $170 vs the $250 retail. That's a good deal. The Geek Pulse is available for $249 vs $500 retail... Also a good deal..
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

The above is IME a highly questionable comparison.

The technical quality of transducers and DACs are almost in different universes. The nonlinear distortion in speakers and headphones is from to 100 to 1000 times worse than even cheap DACs. The frequency response variations are a little closer, but can still be from 50 to 100 times worse in the transducers. Therefore comparing sound quality improvements due to better transducers to sound quality improvements due to DACs is inherently misleading.

As I understand it, this forum is supposed to be about hot deals on established products, not to promote hyperbolic metaphors and the introduction of new products with questionable benefits.

Sean Hull

Denon 3808ci | PS3 80Gb | Harmony One | Toshiba XA2 | Samsung 61" PN60E6500EF | HTPC with HDMI

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post #6 of 11 Old 10-29-2013, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Dizzy49 View Post

On checkout, I'd appreciate if you mentioned my name (Sean Hull) so I can earn a free high res album from 2L

UGH. At least you copped to the self-promotion unlike those aholes who come around posting about that retractable tv mount.

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post #7 of 11 Old 10-30-2013, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Dizzy49 View Post

This forum is for pointing out great deals, regardless of how established the product may be. This site deals a lot with cutting edge products that by their nature are not established...

Letsee. $169 (introductory offer/$249 (proposed regular net price)

I don't consider 32% discount on a unproven product to be a great deal. Look at the great deals that are often mentioned here, and they involve larger discounts - such as 50%. or more for proven products.
Quote:
As far as my comparison, I was trying to put things in an easy to understand way.

But it is false and misleading.
Quote:
Your explanation of nonlinear distortion made no sense to me personally, and so if I had asked about the difference in sounds quality, your statement would have been of little use to me.

I gave the same explanation in another forum and a number of people quickly made sense of it. So the explanation is capable of being understood by many people who post at AVS.

Is the problem with the explanation, or is the problem with you?

It seems to have evolved that your exuberance for this product is driven by an opportunity for personal gain. If I offer you money, will you suddenly "understand" my explanation? ;-)

My explanation does depend on a certain amount of technical understanding of audio. Apparently you lack that level of understanding. How do I educate you to a knowlege level that will make the explanation understandable to you?
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The bottom line here is that a little research never hurts, and if you are getting opinions, get multiple perspectives.

You seem to be resistant to doing research or trying to understand opinions that don't promise you in-pocket personal profit. I give you what many find to be a fairly understandable technical explanation and you dismiss on the grounds that it is useless to you. Well yes, my explanation won't directly put money in your pocket. It won't even get you a discount on a new audio toy? Does that make it wrong?
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arnyk may believe that DACs offer questionable benefits, but others believe that spending $30k on them is worth every cent.

Now you are misstating my position in this matter. I believe that DACs can provide very useful benefits. In a digital media system, no DAC no sound!

It is my position that you don't have to pay $30,000 to get the best possible sound quality out of a DAC, and have a very convincing way to demonstrate this. I set up a comparison between a $30 DAC and a $100, $300, $3,000 or even a $30,000 DAC in an audio system provided by the person who advocates the $30,000 DAC. I ask them to play the recordings of their choosing. I provide them with a switch that allows them to freely switch back and forth between the two DACs and listen comfortably as long as they want to. I ask them to reliably tell the difference between the DACs solely by means of sound quality. I can count on them to fail because I have done this many times and they always fail. I can count on them to fail because I know some things about the sensitivity of the human ear and I know what kind of differences people can and cannot hear.

I have done a little research! ;-)
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As far as the Hot Deals... This thread was started when you could get a Geek Out at $170 vs the $250 retail. That's a good deal. The Geek Pulse is available for $249 vs $500 retail... Also a good deal..

it appears that you may personally profit if people follow up on this deal. I claim that were the possibility for profit were removed, your enthusiasm might be far less.

BTW you say that this new product is "...the worlds best DAC...." I understand that there are better products. For example any USB DAC based on the ESS 3018 would outperform it by quite a bit, at least on the test bench. The Wyred4sound DAC2 is such a product. You appear to be making a false claim in order to obtain personal profit.
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post #8 of 11 Old 10-30-2013, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, that was a whole lot of effort put into a post for a deal that is no longer valid... Why? To put me in my place?
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I don't consider 32% discount on a unproven product to be a great deal.
That's a matter of opinion. Also many of the products featured in the Hot Deals have inflated MSRP. $319 for a Dennon receiver with a MSRP of $999, but avg Street Price of $499. I would compare the $500 to $320 for value savings. Also, many (NOT ALL) products featured in this thread are older products, last year's models, close out deals, etc.
For the Geek products, the MSRP will be what they are selling at, and therefor the Street Price and a valid comparison. *I* felt it was a noteworthy deal on a new product.
Again, a difference of opinion, and not worth continuing discussion about.
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As far as my comparison, I was trying to put things in an easy to understand way.

But it is false and misleading.
While the technical aspects of it may not be accurate, that is what I did. I compared the same song from my computer using Apple earbuds, and my UE earbuds. Then I used the Apple earbuds to listen to the same track from the computer, and then used the Median USB DAC. I heard what I heard, you can't tell me I'm wrong because you say so. The USB DAC made the sounds clearer, and I was able to pick out things that I could not directly from my computer audio. I apologize if I am not as technically inclined as you, and am unable to point out all the other factors that may have also accounted for the difference in audio, but to put it simply, the USB DAC made the sound better. I don't care why, and I don't need to understand all the technicalities behind it.
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I gave the same explanation in another forum and a number of people quickly made sense of it. So the explanation is capable of being understood by many people who post at AVS.

Is the problem with the explanation, or is the problem with you?
I have absolutely no doubt that many people in the AVS community could understand it. *I* could not, and I would not argue that the problem is me. While there are many technically inclined people in the AVS community, there are many people such as myself that are less inclined, but equally enthusiastic. My personal forte is movies, not audio, but I appreciate great sounding audio, and I know that great audio can change an entire viewing experience.

Quote:
It seems to have evolved that your exuberance for this product is driven by an opportunity for personal gain. If I offer you money, will you suddenly "understand" my explanation? ;-)
You do understand that the "personal gain" was an album right. Not hundreds of dollars, but a single HD recording. As Jerry pointed out, I stated in the thread that there was something for me to gain, but it was optional.
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My explanation does depend on a certain amount of technical understanding of audio. Apparently you lack that level of understanding. How do I educate you to a knowlege level that will make the explanation understandable to you?
If you have some audio mechanics for Dummies link, I'm willing to give it a try. My brother is an electrical engineer, and he has tried to explain many things to me in the past that fly over my head, and I have never been able to grasp them. But, to be blunt, it's probably not worth the effort on me.
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it appears that you may personally profit if people follow up on this deal. I claim that were the possibility for profit were removed, your enthusiasm might be far less.
Not true. I posted in the Amps section while the project was ongoing to try to get people interested in the product. There was *NO* incentive for me to do so. I have backed many KS projects, and shared them with communities I felt might be interested or benefit from them. This particular project was very well managed, and the engineers listened to the backers and made improvements to the product as the project progressed. I felt that the project, and the team deserved some help. That was it. No rewards for me, no money, no recording, no nothing! Sometimes I just run across something, or someone that I believe in and want to share, and that was the case here. It was only AFTER the project ended that they added the album incentive.

This deal is over, so most of the points here are moot.
I will admit that I do not understand all of the technical workings of a DAC, and I do not care to right now. When my budget can handle much more expensive toys, then I will do my research before I purchase (as I recommend anyone do).

Sean Hull

Denon 3808ci | PS3 80Gb | Harmony One | Toshiba XA2 | Samsung 61" PN60E6500EF | HTPC with HDMI

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post #9 of 11 Old 10-30-2013, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
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BTW you say that this new product is "...the worlds best DAC...." I understand that there are better products. For example any USB DAC based on the ESS 3018 would outperform it by quite a bit, at least on the test bench. The Wyred4sound DAC2 is such a product.
Warning: This is me being a smartass...
When I visited New York, I saw dozens of "New York's Best ____" in pizza shops, coffee houses etc. Yeah, it was a marketing ploy to pull attention...

Now for the realistic view of things. You compared a $200 USB DAC to a $1500 Stand Alone DAC (No solely USB). Of course the DAC2 is going to be better! That's like comparing a top of the line Honda (a very good performing car in it's segment and price point) to a Lamborghini or Ferrari.
The comparison I linked to did side-by-side comparisons with several of the leading USB DACs on the market (within a price point, I think it was Sub $400). THEN they improved upon the product even further after those comparisons.

So I guess to be 100% accurate I should have said something like, "The World's Best USB DAC Under $400".

Sean Hull

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post #10 of 11 Old 10-30-2013, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Dizzy49 View Post

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As far as my comparison, I was trying to put things in an easy to understand way.

But it is false and misleading.
While the technical aspects of it may not be accurate, that is what I did. I compared the same song from my computer using Apple earbuds, and my UE earbuds. Then I used the Apple earbuds to listen to the same track from the computer, and then used the Median USB DAC. I heard what I heard, you can't tell me I'm wrong because you say so.

You may be over confident. You may be in error. You may not know how to properly evaluate certain kinds of equipment. Lots of people are, and then a little fact-checking tells the more likely story.

One thing you don't seem to understand that is well known here and other places where knowledgeable people post is that people don't necessarily hear what they think they heard. It is well known that people have biases that shade their perceptions of things that tend to sound similar. They think they hear differences, but when biases are taken care of with carefully done listening tests, they go away. It is also well known that there are limitations to the ability of human ears to hear small differences.

In particular, certain kinds of audio gear are commonly perfected enough that a high percentage of all components of that kind are impossible to tell apart with a listening test. Once they get to a certain quality level, nobody can hear the difference. Nobody. This has been established repeatedly with carefully done listening tests. DACs are an example of equipment were the differences are small enough that when people think they hear differences related to them, they are actually responding to their biases, not actual audible differences.
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The USB DAC made the sounds clearer, and I was able to pick out things that I could not directly from my computer audio.

So you think. It is likely that since you admit your lack of expertise, you are misinterpreting the limited information that is available to you. You are hardly the first person who says those things, and when biases are removed from the evaluation they are often found to disappear.
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I apologize if I am not as technically inclined as you, and am unable to point out all the other factors that may have also accounted for the difference in audio,

They probably don't exist, and that is actually fairly easy to determine.
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but to put it simply, the USB DAC made the sound better.

That perception is likely to be the result of things you don't seem to understand.
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I don't care why, and I don't need to understand all the technicalities behind it.

So you don't care that you might have been making decisions based on your biases and flawed listening tests?

If you are that careless, then why should a knowledgeable person listen to your sales pitch?
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I gave the same explanation in another forum and a number of people quickly made sense of it. So the explanation is capable of being understood by many people who post at AVS.

Is the problem with the explanation, or is the problem with you?

I have absolutely no doubt that many people in the AVS community could understand it. *I* could not, and I would not argue that the problem is me.

Of course, it is common for people who lack certain valuable knowledge to not understand its value to them and other people.
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While there are many technically inclined people in the AVS community, there are many people such as myself that are less inclined, but equally enthusiastic. My personal forte is movies, not audio, but I appreciate great sounding audio, and I know that great audio can change an entire viewing experience.

I agree that great audio is a valuable improvement to an A/V experience, but a perception of great audio that is actually no different is no help at all.
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It seems to have evolved that your exuberance for this product is driven by an opportunity for personal gain. If I offer you money, will you suddenly "understand" my explanation? ;-)

You do understand that the "personal gain" was an album right. Not hundreds of dollars, but a single HD recording. As Jerry pointed out, I stated in the thread that there was something for me to gain, but it was optional.

There are many kinds of personal gain. If a lack of knowledge and a cheap product caused you to make false claims and spam this conference, then the discussion changes to one of how cheaply you can be influenced.
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This deal is over, so most of the points here are moot.

No they are not moot. The issue of claims that were likely false, based on a lack of understanding of audio remains because you seem unwilling to educate yourself.
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I will admit that I do not understand all of the technical workings of a DAC, and I do not care to right now.

If you want to be able to make influential comments about DACs, it would be good for you to understand relevant things about them that you seem to currently not know.
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When my budget can handle much more expensive toys, then I will do my research before I purchase (as I recommend anyone do).

That's just it. Gathering more knowledge about what matters and what doesn't can enable you to have better sound without wasting money on the emperor's new DAC.
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post #11 of 11 Old 10-30-2013, 08:35 PM
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Dizzy49

I wouldent dismiss what Arny says him and I were in a long discussion of file formats and hearing perceptions( I thought I knew what I did not) I was persistent but wrong he was persistent and right, he urged me to do some independent research and some tests on my own having since done that as it turns out my former positions were based on misinformation , bias and a lack of knowledge . I'm still learning a lot not a simple subject .
luckily I have a DAW (digital audio workstation ) and some studio gear also Google and such that I can check some things out that I read about and was able to further educate myself some.

I'm not a degreed engineer PhD. , or otherwise certified audio industry professional but I have been an enthusiast for ~40 yrs also have been screwing around and working with computers,dos,windows Unix ,linux for over 28 yrs. You can learn a lot from Army he taught me a few things and encouraged me to learn some things I otherwise would never know . When discussing DACs ADC 's op amps,processors etc. I can read a mfr data sheet and reasonably understand it to a point and Like Arny says many specifications we see today on ordinary consumer gear are inaudible.

As far as non linear distortion it's not that hard to imagine.
Much harder to understand it at Arny's level though .

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