Author Topic: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread  (Read 112603 times)

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Offline tjcaustin

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Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« on: Sun, 01 September 2013, 04:57:50 »
So there's a headphone thread, let's talk about amps and DACs a bit, too.

And by talk, I mean we'll start with a scenario to discuss:

Headphones used: JH13pro, HE400, HE500, HD600 and k701

Music: Ecclectic mix of everything in flac

Most of the time, a Fiio x3 is used for music transport/amping.  What's the sub $500 recommendation for an amp while using this as DAC (I'm going to eliminate the o2 for a couple of personal choice based reasons)? 

Asgard 2 for the low/high gain switch? 

Are there others that would make a better sound at a similar or better price? 

My personal feeling are as long as the power is clean and enough for the end devices being used, DACs might matter more than the amplifier.  And to that...

Say that we're still around that $500 range?  More or less lie about the budget and pick up a DAC-it (cheapest found $350) and say that Asgard 2 mentioned before to bring us to the total of $600 which is in the range of 500?  Do we go for the stack and go Asgard 2 with a Bifrost with USB upgrade and hit $700?

Are there better, non-tube based, options?  (Again, personal reasons)

Honestly, I keep waffling between just picking up an Asgard 2 to power everything and use the DAC in the X3 or get a dedicated "sitting" DAC to go with the "sitting" amp and bounce between the DAC-it and Bifrost with upgrades.

I don't intend for this to be a one-shot and die, either.  I'd like this to jump off into discussions about amps/dacs in general and why you chose what you use.

 ----

Personal reasons for no objective anything: I don't agree with NWAVGUY's business practices and how he finagled the numbers he did out of the Objective stuff (both amp and DAC).  Therefore, I don't want to talk about circulating money based on his designs.  Others can expand their opinions on it as I know dorkvader and mkawa have similar opinions to me and jwaz is completely opposed to them.  They're mine and that's kinda it.

Personal reasons for no tube stuff:  A lot less serious here, but I live in Texas and it's quite hot.  My A/C is also not the most brilliant and struggles to keep up with what little heat output I do have in electronics, so there's that.  Also, I know if I start with tube amps, I'll be elbow deep in tubes to roll before I realize what I did.  That's not to say they have no place in the thread, just no place in this first discussion as they won't be considered.

Alrighty guys, let's get this show on the road.
« Last Edit: Sun, 01 September 2013, 05:00:12 by tjcaustin »

Offline vun

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 01 September 2013, 10:09:53 »
Pardon me if this is slightly off-topic, but could anyone enlighten me on the facts about what NWAvGuy did wrong? From what I've read I quite like his efforts to make sure that facts are presented accurately and whatnot.
Genuinely curious, because from what I've seen so far the o2 and odac both seem like some of the best options out there, but I've mostly just seen one side to this, so I'd be interested in hearing the rest of the story.

Offline tjcaustin

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 01 September 2013, 13:34:57 »
Pardon me if this is slightly off-topic, but could anyone enlighten me on the facts about what NWAvGuy did wrong? From what I've read I quite like his efforts to make sure that facts are presented accurately and whatnot.
Genuinely curious, because from what I've seen so far the o2 and odac both seem like some of the best options out there, but I've mostly just seen one side to this, so I'd be interested in hearing the rest of the story.

Not off topic at all to me.  I would let kawa or dv weigh in at this point so it doesn't seem like I'm just railing against the guy. 

Also, the cheap schiit combo (magni/modi) has a similar sound, matches better and can be had for cheaper to a similar price. Depending of course on if you go diy on the o2 and what kind of a used deal you can get on the magni/modi.  It also supports a company I'm slowly starting to like more and more as I research their stuff.

Offline vun

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 01 September 2013, 13:49:36 »
Pardon me if this is slightly off-topic, but could anyone enlighten me on the facts about what NWAvGuy did wrong? From what I've read I quite like his efforts to make sure that facts are presented accurately and whatnot.
Genuinely curious, because from what I've seen so far the o2 and odac both seem like some of the best options out there, but I've mostly just seen one side to this, so I'd be interested in hearing the rest of the story.

Not off topic at all to me.  I would let kawa or dv weigh in at this point so it doesn't seem like I'm just railing against the guy. 

Also, the cheap schiit combo (magni/modi) has a similar sound, matches better and can be had for cheaper to a similar price. Depending of course on if you go diy on the o2 and what kind of a used deal you can get on the magni/modi.  It also supports a company I'm slowly starting to like more and more as I research their stuff.

I dunno much about the different companies as I'm not really into audio gear all that much(yet), but I do remember there being an incident with Schiit where one of their amps were nearly breaking headphones or something, and it took excessive complaining and ruckus to get them to admit that it was an issue, at first they just said everything was fine and as it should be. Like I said, there might be more to this than I know, but that doesn't really look like a good thing to me.

edit: don't take it the wrong way, I'm not looking to bash on anyone here, I'm just interested in audio gear even if I don't really have much myself yet, and would like to get more into it. Considering how normal sighted tests are in the audio business, I'm interested in seeing the picture painted when the actual facts are laid out.
« Last Edit: Sun, 01 September 2013, 13:53:35 by vun »

Offline HoffmanMyster

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 01 September 2013, 13:55:36 »
Pardon me if this is slightly off-topic, but could anyone enlighten me on the facts about what NWAvGuy did wrong? From what I've read I quite like his efforts to make sure that facts are presented accurately and whatnot.
Genuinely curious, because from what I've seen so far the o2 and odac both seem like some of the best options out there, but I've mostly just seen one side to this, so I'd be interested in hearing the rest of the story.

Not off topic at all to me.  I would let kawa or dv weigh in at this point so it doesn't seem like I'm just railing against the guy. 

I'm also very curious about this.  I've heard mention of it in passing, but never an entire story as to why people dislike the guy or his products.  Do you just dislike him, or his products too?

Offline tjcaustin

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #5 on: Sun, 01 September 2013, 14:02:05 »
Pardon me if this is slightly off-topic, but could anyone enlighten me on the facts about what NWAvGuy did wrong? From what I've read I quite like his efforts to make sure that facts are presented accurately and whatnot.
Genuinely curious, because from what I've seen so far the o2 and odac both seem like some of the best options out there, but I've mostly just seen one side to this, so I'd be interested in hearing the rest of the story.

Not off topic at all to me.  I would let kawa or dv weigh in at this point so it doesn't seem like I'm just railing against the guy. 

Also, the cheap schiit combo (magni/modi) has a similar sound, matches better and can be had for cheaper to a similar price. Depending of course on if you go diy on the o2 and what kind of a used deal you can get on the magni/modi.  It also supports a company I'm slowly starting to like more and more as I research their stuff.

I dunno much about the different companies as I'm not really into audio gear all that much(yet), but I do remember there being an incident with Schiit where one of their amps were nearly breaking headphones or something, and it took excessive complaining and ruckus to get them to admit that it was an issue, at first they just said everything was fine and as it should be. Like I said, there might be more to this than I know, but that doesn't really look like a good thing to me.

I only know the side of that as told by nwavguy myself, so I take the "excessive complaining" and whatnot with a grain of salt considering they did offer a repair (or even a return option, if I remember correctly) once the turn off issue came out.  Keep in mind that was also just over 3 years ago and it's been the only bump in the road that I've been able to find.

Pardon me if this is slightly off-topic, but could anyone enlighten me on the facts about what NWAvGuy did wrong? From what I've read I quite like his efforts to make sure that facts are presented accurately and whatnot.
Genuinely curious, because from what I've seen so far the o2 and odac both seem like some of the best options out there, but I've mostly just seen one side to this, so I'd be interested in hearing the rest of the story.

Not off topic at all to me.  I would let kawa or dv weigh in at this point so it doesn't seem like I'm just railing against the guy. 

I'm also very curious about this.  I've heard mention of it in passing, but never an entire story as to why people dislike the guy or his products.  Do you just dislike him, or his products too?

I don't know enough about him personally to make a judgement, but from what DV and mkawa have told me, it sounds like he's one of those that I wouldn't get along with.

I love the idea of his product(who doesn't like open source DIY) and at one point had planned to build one myself until I had a discussion with mkawa about how he got the math to work and how fine of a razor's edge everything seemed to be running on. 

I also think the DAC is a touch overpriced and that's something I can't DIY because of the chipset involved.

This seems super wishy-washy now, but I don't know if dislike is the right word for why I vetoed them in my quest for amping solutions or if it's more wanting to hear non-O2/ODAC options, in full disclosure.

Offline damorgue

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #6 on: Sun, 01 September 2013, 14:25:29 »
I have had huge issues with the microphone input of my Essence STX. The output from it was great though. I did want to fix the whole input issue for a while though, and leaned towards replacing it since I was unable to find a fix. I recently built the O2+ODAC which imo sounds very similar to the STX with the intent of replacing the STX so I am curious about these thoughts on the Objective combo. It is a DAC+amplifier, so it won't help me with the ADC end which is the one I had problems with, but since it is separate it allows me to select a solution there which the STX didn't. Anyways, I have yet to decide if I should keep the STX or the O2+ODAC and what to do about the ADC problem so curious about what you mentioned on it.

To clarify the input issues:
-I have yet to find a mic which doesn't require mic boost to reach decent sound levels.
-My mobo's mic input has a low SNR, and  mic boost which increases the noise to unbearable levels.
-The STX has fantastic SNR and the noise is pretty quiet even when mic boost is turned on. An issue with a different type of noise does however occur as it pics of some HEAVY interference from the GPU. The frequency of this interference is directly linked with the amount of frames per second pushed by the GPU. Examples of this Xonar issue
-I have tried every solution I could find except switching MOBO, PSU, GPU, solder caps to the STX's power connector, create/extend EMI shield and I would rather not mod the card or rebuild a majority of the rig, although I have considered it for the past year.

There are people who achieve decent sound input from $3 USB sound cards with random mics so that is where I am headed. They aren't great, but they sure surpass the STX in that regard. Sort of leaning towards a cheapo input solution+STX or cheapo input solution+O2+ODAC.

That became way more extensive than I intended. Thoughts on O2+ODAC could sway me into keeping the STX instead and selling the O2+ODAC with a decent profit since I built it myself for far less than a pre-built one costs.

Offline AKIMbO

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #7 on: Sun, 01 September 2013, 14:39:14 »
I'm interested to see what others are using too.  I'm currently eyeing a lyr and bifrost stack or vallhalla and bifrost stack.
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Offline Halverson

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #8 on: Sun, 01 September 2013, 15:00:48 »
Currently using just my xonar essence stx. But after trying my buddies aune amp/DAC I decided to start stepping up my audio gear.
Just bought the bottlehead crack/speedball kit from massdrop. Also planning on building the pupDAC.

Offline tjcaustin

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #9 on: Sun, 01 September 2013, 17:13:59 »
Another option I'm thinking about is to use the IEMs with the x3 and then get something dedicated for the HE/HD phones like the emotiva mini x a100 and either a bifrost or dac-it to pair with it.

Dunno if that will be what I decide, but it's got some great recommendations as the he500s seem to excel with that amp.

Offline tjcaustin

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #10 on: Mon, 02 September 2013, 12:48:32 »
To update:

I decided that I didn't need a desktop amp to drive my JH13pros as they're drove just fine off of the x3 I have and got a modi/magni stack from company that might trigger the adult language sensor.

So consider question one to be hypothetical only now.  Pics and impressions soon.

Offline TheFlyingRaccoon

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #11 on: Mon, 02 September 2013, 13:28:14 »
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Offline damorgue

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 02 September 2013, 14:07:28 »
Show Image


I was thinking of making mine red with black face plate but finally ended up deciding all black. Yours look more distinguished and unique with the colours you chose.

Are the holes in the front plate countersunk? Looking nice other than those screws which bug me a bit.

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 02 September 2013, 14:35:08 »
I've had the chance to use a CMoy, a Fiio e10, and a Fiio e17. I liked the CMoy and Fiio e17 the most. My thoughts on the CMoy were recorded in a review. I really enjoyed the e17 but I only had a few days to try it out (Thank you TJ) and I didn't get a chance to write a review.

I recently got my hands on a Cavalli CTH amplifier (Thank you gopanthersgo1) and I'm really looking forward to trying it. When it's finally built, I'll post a review.
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Offline TheFlyingRaccoon

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 02 September 2013, 14:37:49 »
I was thinking of making mine red with black face plate but finally ended up deciding all black. Yours look more distinguished and unique with the colours you chose.

Are the holes in the front plate countersunk? Looking nice other than those screws which bug me a bit.

Thanks, I really like the anodized blue. The front plate has nothing done to it, it's the standard one from JDS labs. And I agree, the screws kinda mess up the look. I think I might buy black ones.
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Offline Moosecraft

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #15 on: Mon, 02 September 2013, 15:39:04 »
Chiming in a bit here.

First of all I think Schiit audio have a great line of products and they have really earned their praises. Even though I haven't heard their flagship Mjolnir/Gungnir in a proper combo I haven't been disappointed in any of their products.

About nvawguy, he is generally not liked among head-fi members because they think he takes audio far to objective. Since audio is a very subjective hobby with everything being different for each individual most people were outraged when he claimed his 100 $ amp was just as good as their 1500 $ amps because they measured the same. As a result he was banned on head-fi and is now like their voldemort (lol).

Personally I think there is both an objective and a subjective side to audio, much like user Purrin from head-fi. He also runs his own forum called changstar.com which doesn't have the "head-fi hypetrains".

Finally damorgue, the biggest flaw of the objective combo is that the odac requires more power than a normal usb port can give, so unless you get a powered usb hub its not a wonder its hardly better than yout stx.
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Offline Doltoid

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #16 on: Mon, 02 September 2013, 15:44:03 »
Pardon me if this is slightly off-topic, but could anyone enlighten me on the facts about what NWAvGuy did wrong? From what I've read I quite like his efforts to make sure that facts are presented accurately and whatnot.
Genuinely curious, because from what I've seen so far the o2 and odac both seem like some of the best options out there, but I've mostly just seen one side to this, so I'd be interested in hearing the rest of the story.

So-called self-proclaimed audiophiles hate logic as it brings too much reality into the equation for their vacuum tube saturated brains to handle.
« Last Edit: Mon, 02 September 2013, 15:50:27 by Doltoid »

Offline vun

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #17 on: Mon, 02 September 2013, 15:51:49 »
Chiming in a bit here.

First of all I think Schiit audio have a great line of products and they have really earned their praises. Even though I haven't heard their flagship Mjolnir/Gungnir in a proper combo I haven't been disappointed in any of their products.

About nvawguy, he is generally not liked among head-fi members because they think he takes audio far to objective. Since audio is a very subjective hobby with everything being different for each individual most people were outraged when he claimed his 100 $ amp was just as good as their 1500 $ amps because they measured the same. As a result he was banned on head-fi and is now like their voldemort (lol).

Personally I think there is both an objective and a subjective side to audio, much like user Purrin from head-fi. He also runs his own forum called changstar.com which doesn't have the "head-fi hypetrains".

Finally damorgue, the biggest flaw of the objective combo is that the odac requires more power than a normal usb port can give, so unless you get a powered usb hub its not a wonder its hardly better than yout stx.


Fair enough, I will agree that he does seem a bit over-zealous, but the point that it's hard to claim that hifi gear is good when it doesn't really measure well still seems like a good point to me. Obviously going by measurements alone is silly, but it's also silly to disregard the fact that your expectations and desires can skew reality somewhat, so having measurements will help you determine if what you're buying is made to the high quality specs the manufacturer claims. And in audio gear it's often a significant amount of money being thrown around, so designing by ear and then just slapping on the measurements they think are correct is not appropriate practice. And of course nothing is stopping you from buying the gear you want, if you like the sound of product X the best despite knowing its drawbacks, why not go for it?

Although he also makes a fair point that oftentimes you can get the sound you're after by getting the most objective equipment you can and then colouring the sound the way you want with an equalizer, although I can see how that will make it harder to justify buying more gear, which is what the hobby is all about for many.

Offline Moosecraft

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #18 on: Mon, 02 September 2013, 15:58:04 »
I totally agree, because going by measurements takes out the subjective factor it is often more help when looking for headphones unless its a reviewer who has reviewed a lot of stuff that you have heard yourself and you have found yourself agreeing with said reviewer on lost occasions. However in the end its a subjective hobby and something that measures perfectly might sound awful to you.
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Offline vun

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #19 on: Mon, 02 September 2013, 16:00:29 »
I totally agree, because going by measurements takes out the subjective factor it is often more help when looking for headphones unless its a reviewer who has reviewed a lot of stuff that you have heard yourself and you have found yourself agreeing with said reviewer on lost occasions. However in the end its a subjective hobby and something that measures perfectly might sound awful to you.

True, but like I said, if it measures perfect then there should (in theory, from what I understand) be no problem with just using a good equalizer, such as the fb2k equalizer, to make it sound like you want to, as from what I have seen it has no impact on sound quality at all.

Offline damorgue

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #20 on: Mon, 02 September 2013, 16:42:27 »
One thing I have noticed is that the most transparent and objective setups tend to cause fatigue in my case. Too much detail and fast rise and fall of sound, while technically good and accurate, strains the ears and I am unable to listen to it for as long as a technically less accurate setup. Although I like it, if I want to listen for extended periods of time, the better setups aren't as suitable. This is more complex than just an equalizer which changes volume on frequency bands, but rather for instance a faster rise and fall of pressure waves and similar factors which I am unaware of which make the sound more straining.

Offline pandather

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #21 on: Mon, 02 September 2013, 23:57:41 »
I've had the chance to use a CMoy, a Fiio e10, and a Fiio e17. I liked the CMoy and Fiio e17 the most. My thoughts on the CMoy were recorded in a review. I really enjoyed the e17 but I only had a few days to try it out (Thank you TJ) and I didn't get a chance to write a review.

I recently got my hands on a Cavalli CTH amplifier (Thank you gopanthersgo1) and I'm really looking forward to trying it. When it's finally built, I'll post a review.
no problem man!  also, on the subject, I'd say the magni wou
d be my favorite for the price, or, actually this super special un released beta amp ultra portable type thingy.

Offline Parak

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #22 on: Tue, 03 September 2013, 00:30:54 »
I'm personally all for subjectivity as far as end chain devices (speakers, headphones, etc) go - those can definitely shape the sound differently for different tastes, and not even to mention the minor things like wearing comfort and aesthetics. However even before nwavguy came along, I was and still am a strict proponent of the scientific method where it comes to anything before that in that chain. His work just further drove the point home, I think. It's significantly simpler to ABX source components than it is to headphones for example. It has always frustrated me seeing the lack of such standards in audio, and how companies prey upon the lack of rigorous standards with ludicrous claims and equally ludicrous prices.

To that end, I find it a little sad and ironic that there are claims to monetary or other business infidelity (whether factual or not) being lobbed into the nwavguy camp, all the while we have multithousand dollar devices with silly markups over the actual component cost and extremely questionable sound quality difference over vanilla onboard when ABXed, being awarded top rewards in magazines and crowed over on forums as the cure for cancer.
« Last Edit: Tue, 03 September 2013, 00:32:48 by Parak »

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #23 on: Tue, 10 September 2013, 15:42:18 »
HAPPY TJ?!?!?

this market is a mess, by the way. build a classic jung multi-loop design with a good OPA and buffer at the center and just be done with it.

to all the brilliant friends who have left us, and all the students who climb on their shoulders.

Offline tjcaustin

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #24 on: Tue, 10 September 2013, 16:27:40 »
HAPPY TJ?!?!?

this market is a mess, by the way. build a classic jung multi-loop design with a good OPA and buffer at the center and just be done with it.

Quite.

Offline davkol

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #25 on: Wed, 11 September 2013, 14:26:01 »
I just want to leave a small warning here. If you're using GNU/Linux and want a better, but still portable soundcard for your laptop, beware of Asus Xonar U3. There's some (supposedly fixed, but not really) bug in ALSA that makes the headphones output ridiculously loud. In case you're using PulseAudio, sound is muted unless you hit something like 23/100, and then it just explodes, leaving you nearly deaf. It should be fixed by applying a patch that should do something to SPDIF, I haven't tried that yet though. There's a similar issue in MS Windows [Vista] out of the box, I had to install official drivers.

Offline domoaligato

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #26 on: Wed, 11 September 2013, 14:56:08 »
I have a set of ath-ad700's with a mixamp. works really well but currently looking at getting a soundblaster z soundcard.
I actually have a discussion thread open on another site about my setup and requirements.
http://www.head-fi.org/t/681067/fps-gaming-realtek-alc892-optical-mixamp-2013-ad700

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #27 on: Wed, 11 September 2013, 15:00:27 »
either way I still want to hire you to sleeve my mic cable and headphones cables together :D
I am only finalizing the rest of my setup first.

the modmic is amazing btw.

Offline demik

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #28 on: Thu, 12 September 2013, 23:23:22 »
alright gentlemen, here is the deal.

i like bass. my speakers are crapping out so i think i want to go headphone exclusive with the option of adding some monitors later on.

right now i have this:


but i want a nice desktop amp/dac so i can use my fiio e17 at work with (hopefully) some SE215.

so, looking at a set up at around 500. the cheaper the better.
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Offline tjcaustin

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #29 on: Fri, 13 September 2013, 00:15:04 »
Now that I've used it a fair amount, there's no hesitation with recommending the modi/magni combo.  $200 and you're finished.

'

Plus, look at that combo. 

From there, if you're looking something that will drive powered speakers later and headphones now, I think the e09k dock is extremely solid and you can just use your e17 with it and save some cash that way.  I know massdrop has them from time to time, but they're easily attained from a few different places.

Offline demik

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #30 on: Fri, 13 September 2013, 00:20:45 »
200 i can do
No, he’s not around. How that sound to ya? Jot it down.

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #31 on: Fri, 13 September 2013, 00:27:48 »
Now that I've used it a fair amount, there's no hesitation with recommending the modi/magni combo.  $200 and you're finished.

Show Image
'

Plus, look at that combo. 

From there, if you're looking something that will drive powered speakers later and headphones now, I think the e09k dock is extremely solid and you can just use your e17 with it and save some cash that way.  I know massdrop has them from time to time, but they're easily attained from a few different places.

Holy cow, that thing is beautiful... When I finally decide on a headphone, I'm definitely going to have to save up for that thing...

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #32 on: Sat, 14 September 2013, 10:00:08 »
As this is advertised as an general Headphone Amp/DAC Thread. I can recommend the O2 ODAC Combo for everyone. 130€ including tax, case, faceplate and shipping in Europe, if you are ok with soldering it yourself, drilling the back and have an old (with transformer) 12V-15V DC or AC wall psu laying around. A steal for that good combo, portable and in one case. If you are ok with two enclosures you can even save 40€ by using the uca202 line out instead of the odac.

If you don't like nwavguy thats fine, he doesn't make any money on that. Just don't want to use his designs, because defending his views on design and angering head-fi, sounds stupid to me.

I simply would not put any trust in Shiits engineering capabilities after the incident. That was a rookie mistake and they even tried to talk it down. Also all that voodoo class a jazz on their site is a big no to me. I don't visit doctors who advertise ion treatment etc., why should I buy products advertising voodoo?

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #33 on: Sat, 14 September 2013, 14:13:33 »
As this is advertised as an general Headphone Amp/DAC Thread. I can recommend the O2 ODAC Combo for everyone. 130€ including tax, case, faceplate and shipping in Europe, if you are ok with soldering it yourself, drilling the back and have an old (with transformer) 12V-15V DC or AC wall psu laying around. A steal for that good combo, portable and in one case. If you are ok with two enclosures you can even save 40€ by using the uca202 line out instead of the odac.

I think Head n' Hifi sells them in EU for that amount, and there is no need to drill anything and you get a transformer with it. You can even select the colour of your choice for each part of the case and you get a selection of resistors to choose gain as well.

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #34 on: Sun, 15 September 2013, 05:26:36 »
For that amount you don't get a transformer with it iirc. And you have to drill the back for the ODAC inputs. If you are ok with sacrificing the battery option you can also use a backplate for not even 5€, if you want to put the ODAC below the batteries and the PCB you need to drill it yourself afaik.

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #35 on: Sun, 15 September 2013, 07:00:00 »
I got mine from there and you do get a transformer along with multiple back plates.

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #36 on: Sun, 15 September 2013, 08:21:52 »
Pssst, I am currently selling my Little dot MK IV SE and peachtree dacit on head-fi if anyone is interested! I am upgrading to a audio-gd nfb10-es2, which I will be receiving tomorrow!

I've tried both the modi and the odac and they are both really great dacs for their prices. I actually haven't tried either the magni or the o2 amps, but they are recommended quite often on head-fi. I prefer tube amps when using high impedance headphones though. The little dot mk iii and mk IV SE are great options for tube amps, with many tube rolling options to tweak the sound. For the even more budget oriented people, I recommend the hifimediy dac and its variations (they even have an android version!)

I can wholeheartly recommend the uha-6s mkii w/ ADA4627 as a portable/transportable amp. Modded with -12db, the uha6s can drive both my UERMs and hd600s, as well as other headphones that I have tried with it. Its dac section is mediocre, but is at least better than onboard sound. I can also recommend the headstage arrow for those lookling for an ultra portable amp with great features to use with their daps. I am actually also selling my headstage arrow 4g on head-fi.

I don't like the asgard 2. It runs very hot. perhaps even hotter than my little dot mk IV SE did during the summer. I bought it and returned it within schiit's 2 week policy. I tested it out with the hd600, hd650, t70, and UERMs. WIth the UERMs, the asgard 2 was quite bright even after some burn in time. While it did a decent job driving the hd600 and hd650, it didn't do as well as my little dot mk iv se did. The soundstage and instrument seperation were not as good. The bass was also not as impactful or deep with the little dot.
« Last Edit: Sun, 15 September 2013, 08:28:09 by thegunner100 »
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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #37 on: Sun, 15 September 2013, 08:31:58 »
Depending on what you order. That was the order of my brother (I had a case lying around, so I did not need it):

O2 Headphone Amplifier Parts only Kit   O2 Headphone Amplifier Parts only Kit
KIT-O2-PARTS
20.98€

Objective DAC (ODAC) - board only Version   Objective DAC (ODAC) - board only Version
OBJ-DAC-board
80.77€

O2 Headphone Amplifier PCB   O2 Headphone Amplifier PCB
PCB-O2-V2.1-RED
4.00€

Case 108 x 84 x 30   Case 108 x 84 x 30
HNH-10080
9.66€

O2 Front Panel   O2 Front Panel
PANEL-O2-FRONT
4.00€

Total:   119.41€ (about $160)

You can take the full kit with batteries, drilled backplate and psu for about 18€ more. But as I wanted to put the ODAC under the O2 (for the possibility of battery use and ODAC in the same case) I could not use the backplate, I had a 12V DC psu and batteries laying around so I did not need that too (with a bit of soldering to make the dc psu an ac one).

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #38 on: Sun, 15 September 2013, 19:53:26 »
I wanted to share that my purchase of a soundblaster Zx soundcard was well worth it.
Sounds in CS:GO and CSS now have perfect positioning and have never sounded better.
ATH-AD700 + Soundblaster Z = Amazing FPS Gaming!

Sure it is not on the level of the stuff you guys are discussing but it improved my gameplay 10x

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #39 on: Sun, 15 September 2013, 20:06:35 »
I wanted to share that my purchase of a soundblaster Zx soundcard was well worth it.
Sounds in CS:GO and CSS now have perfect positioning and have never sounded better.
ATH-AD700 + Soundblaster Z = Amazing FPS Gaming!

Sure it is not on the level of the stuff you guys are discussing but it improved my gameplay 10x

I remember talking to you about all this about tw weeks back but holy crap! I nevet knew it'd make that much improvement! I will look forward to discussing this with you on mumble sometime :)

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #40 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 18:30:41 »
I got a used asgard/bifrost over the weekend.  It's good stuff.  Drives these hd600 I got rather well.  Hopefully it does the same with the other pairs I have coming.

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #41 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 18:34:30 »
I got a used asgard/bifrost over the weekend.  It's good stuff.  Drives these hd600 I got rather well.  Hopefully it does the same with the other pairs I have coming.

How much did you pay for it? Bro, you need to go balanced with the hd600s.
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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #42 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 18:50:51 »
I got a used asgard/bifrost over the weekend.  It's good stuff.  Drives these hd600 I got rather well.  Hopefully it does the same with the other pairs I have coming.

How much did you pay for it? Bro, you need to go balanced with the hd600s.

$400 shipped for the whole set up.  I have the parts coming to make a balanced cable.

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #43 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 19:02:41 »
What balanced amp/dac are you planning to get in the future? I can't recommend the audio-gd stuff enough, they're ridiculous for the price. The NFB-10ES2 "unveiled" my hd600s, so to say.
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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #44 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 19:24:04 »
What balanced amp/dac are you planning to get in the future? I can't recommend the audio-gd stuff enough, they're ridiculous for the price. The NFB-10ES2 "unveiled" my hd600s, so to say.

I'm a reasonably big fan of the schiit stuff, but not sure I want to get a mjolnir.  audio-gd is on the list, though. As is the gs-x, something from ALO or the bryson bha-1.

I'm also contemplating getting into the tube game, but not entirely sold on that idea. 

Oh, had I not stumbled on this bifrost/asgard, I was thinking about getting your dacIT, too.

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #45 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 19:52:47 »
Anyone has experience with the Audioengine D1 DAC and Integrated Amplifier? It's on sale on massdrop at 120$ and I wanted to know if it would b a good choice as a basic but good dac/amp to use with my computer. I never used good headphones or dac/amp and got the soundmagic hp100 coming and I am looking into a dac/amp but don't want to ruin myself either so if this is a good choice (and seems like it by the 3 reviews I just read) then it could be very interesting for me. I am not expecting the best sound ever, but a good upgrade from my computer output!

 
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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #46 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 19:57:06 »
For me, if I were to get something like that, I'd want it to also be portable as well.  Like the fiio e17.  And then, if you wanted later, you can expand it with the e09k dock and make it even better.   Other than that, it seems like a decent experience

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #47 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 20:08:51 »
For me, if I were to get something like that, I'd want it to also be portable as well.  Like the fiio e17.  And then, if you wanted later, you can expand it with the e09k dock and make it even better.   Other than that, it seems like a decent experience

Thx for the answer. The portability is really not an issue for me. I would either use it at home with my computer, or at job with my laptop. I use my car to go to the job, so no point to use it on the way!
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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #48 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 20:09:43 »
For me, if I were to get something like that, I'd want it to also be portable as well.  Like the fiio e17.  And then, if you wanted later, you can expand it with the e09k dock and make it even better.   Other than that, it seems like a decent experience

Thx for the answer. The portability is really not an issue for me. I would either use it at home with my computer, or at job with my laptop. I use my car to go to the job, so no point to use it on the way!

Then, I'd say try it and see.  The secondhand market on stuff like that is strong, so not like you can't flip if you don't like it.

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #49 on: Mon, 30 September 2013, 14:23:07 »