Ask It: Grace m902 amp and DAC

Tom Martin -- Tue, 01/19/2010 - 17:10

I just got the Grace m902 in for review. This is a headphone amp and a DAC in a compact package. MSRP is $1695. Since I'm starting the review process, feel free to ask question for the next few weeks.


Twangbar (not verified) -- Sun, 01/31/2010 - 08:38

Will you be reviewing the unit in the role of a preamplifier as well as a headphone amp?

Tom Martin -- Sun, 01/31/2010 - 18:00

If you mean using it to drive a conventional power amp and speakers, no I wasn't planning that (though maybe I should?). One limitation as a preamp is that each source must have a different input type. Meaning you can have one single ended source, one balanced, one S/PDIF etc.

I was going to cover the DAC portion as well as the headphone amp.

CEO and Editorial Director, Nextscreen LLC

Steven Stone -- Mon, 02/01/2010 - 10:07

I've used the 902 to drive two single-ended devices (amp and subwoofer) with no issues using a pair of XLR to RCA adapters.

I had one in house at the same time as a Benchmark DAC. You should definitely try it as a preamp.

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound,, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

Twangbar (not verified) -- Sun, 01/31/2010 - 21:52

It is true what you say, but I think it's a very good combintation with two analog inputs and mutliple (4) digital inputs. Remember too that the balanced input can be used single ended as well with a simple adapter.
I look forward to your review!

Tom Martin -- Mon, 02/01/2010 - 09:48

Your point about being able to accomodate two single ended analog sources via adapters is a good one. Thanks.

CEO and Editorial Director, Nextscreen LLC

Tom Martin -- Mon, 02/01/2010 - 11:17

Two votes is enough for me. Preamp it is!

CEO and Editorial Director, Nextscreen LLC

JeffK -- Thu, 02/11/2010 - 12:25

 I have one that I bought to use as a DAC/Headphone amp. I was feeding it with a Wadia i170 and using HD800 phones. This combo was not a good match at all. At first I thought it was the HD800's but when played on other headphone amps, DNA and a older Singlepower (yes I know) they sound great but very bright and harsh with the Grace. It worked better with a CD as the source and also the Sony Qualias were a better match. 
Actually I still have it sitting unused if anyone wants to buy it!


paxpaul (not verified) -- Mon, 02/15/2010 - 11:57

JeffK: I may be interested in your Grace 902. How do I contact you?

JeffK -- Mon, 02/15/2010 - 12:13

you can reach me at: jfkbike [at] verizon [dot] net


Joe Joe (not verified) -- Thu, 02/11/2010 - 20:56

 Things to test:
1.  Have they improved the jitter rejection, especially on usb
2. How does the digital volume control work with 24 bit files, is it dropping bits?

Twangbar (not verified) -- Sun, 03/07/2010 - 11:22

Joe Joe - If you look at the literature for the m902, it states that the volume control is analog - not digital.

Cheers -- Mon, 07/19/2010 - 11:12

If you want to use it with a computer, note that it only supports sampling rates up to 48 kHz/16bits. That's more like trailing edge. The Benchmark DAC1 suite supports up to 96 kHz/24 bits.

Vade Forrester

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