Author Topic: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread  (Read 112563 times)

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Offline thegunner100

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #150 on: Sun, 29 December 2013, 08:12:03 »
Good questions:

1. Budget, Id feel comfortable keeping it under 300, but ill consider if something is better, but slightly over that.

2. I feel that my setup has good clarity, but it is difficult for me to tell if there is more to be had.

Since the only amp i've ever tried with the he-400 is the uha-6s mkii, all I can do is give you some suggestions for further research. Schiit magni is generally a good choice for entry level orthos, and perhaps the vali as well. The Lyr is great for orthos as well but it is quite an outdated design and a tad bit more expensive as well. The Asgard 2 is another choice, if you want a warmer sound and use with powered monitors and or IEMs.

The emotiva mini-x a-100 is a very very popular speaker amp for the he-400 but that will require you to get a cable and adapters to use with the amp.  The amp + cable might fit your budget though.

Of course there are the audio-gd products like Sniping mentioned. I only have experience with the nfb-10es2 and the nfb 11.32, but they are both very capable all in one units. The 11.32 or 15.32 would fit your budget very nicely and will also serve as a dac upgrade as well as a amp upgrade.

That's all I can think of for now... Sorry I can't be of much help, without hearing the he-400 on different amps. Perhaps another owner can chime in.
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Offline Pacifist

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #151 on: Fri, 03 January 2014, 22:46:00 »
Do you need a DAC/AMP if 1. Your headphone is good enough or 2. You have a fancy sound card?

Offline Binge

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #152 on: Sat, 04 January 2014, 00:51:06 »
Do you need a DAC/AMP if 1. Your headphone is good enough or 2. You have a fancy sound card?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, no.

No.

Yes.  Yes! No... Yes ------ no.

No.

::EDIT:: Maybe.
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Offline Pacifist

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #153 on: Sat, 04 January 2014, 01:16:52 »
Do you need a DAC/AMP if 1. Your headphone is good enough or 2. You have a fancy sound card?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, no.

No.

Yes.  Yes! No... Yes ------ no.

No.

::EDIT:: Maybe.

But at the very least it will benefit it, right? But not as much.

Offline Binge

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #154 on: Sat, 04 January 2014, 03:44:28 »
Do you need a DAC/AMP if 1. Your headphone is good enough or 2. You have a fancy sound card?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, no.

No.

Yes.  Yes! No... Yes ------ no.

No.

::EDIT:: Maybe.

But at the very least it will benefit it, right? But not as much.

What is it and how are you measuring benefit?  Where did you get information?
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Offline Novus

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #155 on: Sat, 04 January 2014, 05:31:06 »
I replied on the other thread.
Do you need a DAC/AMP if 1. Your headphone is good enough or 2. You have a fancy sound card?
Sorry if wrong thread. This question fits into general headphone issues.

Yes. Any good headphone requires a DAC and AMP to properly drive the signal.
The reason why audiophiles get a DAC is because good headphones pick up interference (motherboard signals etc).
Soundcards generally don't do enough in terms of isolating signals. DACs also just tend to be much better and more expensive.

I would go into this more but I am typing this on my tablet.

I don't think I have posted in this thread before so my current audio gear:
Audio Technica ATH W5000
Sennhesier HD 650
Audio Technical ATH M50

Burson Conductor

Certain DACs are great when paired with certain headphones.
In terms of benefit gained the price range and quality of your headphones will also determine the desired quality (and price) of your DAC. You won't need expensive DACs for sub $200 headphones but you will certainly need an expensive DAC, AMP, and other some audio gizmos if your headphones are very expensive otherwise you won't be able to properly drive that hi fi sound from your expensive headphones.
« Last Edit: Sat, 04 January 2014, 05:43:06 by the1onewolf »

Offline Larken

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #156 on: Sat, 04 January 2014, 05:55:21 »
Do you need a DAC/AMP if 1. Your headphone is good enough or 2. You have a fancy sound card?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, no.

No.

Yes.  Yes! No... Yes ------ no.

No.

::EDIT:: Maybe.

So I'm currently driving a pair of akg q701 and beyerdynamic dt880 250 ohms off an asus essence stx soundcard, which is said to be a pretty decent headphone amp, sans all the noise from inside the computer case. Still, I'm quite satisfied by the performance I'm getting from it so far.

Thinking of getting a Schiit Vali to try out, any opinion on that? I'll be running it from the soundcard -> amp > headphone.
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Offline thegunner100

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #157 on: Sat, 04 January 2014, 06:25:26 »
Someone should just start a guide or a sticky.. or something!
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Offline thegunner100

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #158 on: Sat, 04 January 2014, 06:56:36 »
Do you need a DAC/AMP if 1. Your headphone is good enough or 2. You have a fancy sound card?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, no.

No.

Yes.  Yes! No... Yes ------ no.

No.

::EDIT:: Maybe.

So I'm currently driving a pair of akg q701 and beyerdynamic dt880 250 ohms off an asus essence stx soundcard, which is said to be a pretty decent headphone amp, sans all the noise from inside the computer case. Still, I'm quite satisfied by the performance I'm getting from it so far.

Thinking of getting a Schiit Vali to try out, any opinion on that? I'll be running it from the soundcard -> amp > headphone.

Yep, vali has good synergy with bright headphones like q701 and dt880. Never heard the pairing myself, but I've read lots of positive impressions on the head-fi vali thread.

Do you need a DAC/AMP if 1. Your headphone is good enough or 2. You have a fancy sound card?

1. Depends on what's good enough. If you have a mid-fi headphone like dt880/990, hd600/650, q701, X1, mad dogs, etc etc, it deserves a decent amp and dac.

2. Maybe. Depends on the headphones and what you're looking for.
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Offline Binge

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #159 on: Sat, 04 January 2014, 14:13:08 »
Do you need a DAC/AMP if 1. Your headphone is good enough or 2. You have a fancy sound card?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, no.

No.

Yes.  Yes! No... Yes ------ no.

No.

::EDIT:: Maybe.

So I'm currently driving a pair of akg q701 and beyerdynamic dt880 250 ohms off an asus essence stx soundcard, which is said to be a pretty decent headphone amp, sans all the noise from inside the computer case. Still, I'm quite satisfied by the performance I'm getting from it so far.

Thinking of getting a Schiit Vali to try out, any opinion on that? I'll be running it from the soundcard -> amp > headphone.

The vali has been said to do great things with the Q701.  One thing to be sure is that your sound card has a low noise line-level output.  Please use the line-out if you have it available.  The Vali's noise floor is not very low, and this works well with low sensitivity headphones and orthos.  The Q701's sensitivity is not high enough to notice the noise, but it does not help anything to have a noisy DAC/line level signal.

Hope this helps :)
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Offline stancato9

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #160 on: Sat, 04 January 2014, 16:11:33 »
Do you need a DAC/AMP if 1. Your headphone is good enough or 2. You have a fancy sound card?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, no.

No.

Yes.  Yes! No... Yes ------ no.

No.

::EDIT:: Maybe.

So I'm currently driving a pair of akg q701 and beyerdynamic dt880 250 ohms off an asus essence stx soundcard, which is said to be a pretty decent headphone amp, sans all the noise from inside the computer case. Still, I'm quite satisfied by the performance I'm getting from it so far.

Thinking of getting a Schiit Vali to try out, any opinion on that? I'll be running it from the soundcard -> amp > headphone.

The vali has been said to do great things with the Q701.  One thing to be sure is that your sound card has a low noise line-level output.  Please use the line-out if you have it available.  The Vali's noise floor is not very low, and this works well with low sensitivity headphones and orthos.  The Q701's sensitivity is not high enough to notice the noise, but it does not help anything to have a noisy DAC/line level signal.

Hope this helps :)

I'm using the Q701 with the Magni right now as we speak and it sounds amazing. It would sound great with the Vali too because these are very cold sounding headphones in my opinion.
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Offline digi

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #161 on: Sat, 04 January 2014, 22:10:44 »
delete
« Last Edit: Sat, 04 January 2014, 22:16:02 by digi »

Offline Larken

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #162 on: Sat, 04 January 2014, 22:22:42 »

Yep, vali has good synergy with bright headphones like q701 and dt880. Never heard the pairing myself, but I've read lots of positive impressions on the head-fi vali thread.


The vali has been said to do great things with the Q701.  One thing to be sure is that your sound card has a low noise line-level output.  Please use the line-out if you have it available.  The Vali's noise floor is not very low, and this works well with low sensitivity headphones and orthos.  The Q701's sensitivity is not high enough to notice the noise, but it does not help anything to have a noisy DAC/line level signal.

Hope this helps :)

I'm using the Q701 with the Magni right now as we speak and it sounds amazing. It would sound great with the Vali too because these are very cold sounding headphones in my opinion.

Thanks for all the opinions. I had already been poring over the Vali thread at headfi for the past week, and was more or less set on getting it eventually, but thought it would be good check in here with you experts at geekhack :D

One of the main things that I was hesitant about was that the essence is said to be a great soundcard for headphone usage, and wondered if getting a seperate amp was worth it. Still, the Vali is affordable enough to just give it a whirl, so I'd probably put in an order.

@Binge,

I'm looking at the spec sheet of the soundcard, and it seems like it doesn't have a line level output? I was planning to run a connection using the headphone out to the vali, since the rcas are already being used by my speakers; is this a major concern, or just a small niggle that could probably be ignored? As I understand it (which is based on the cursory reading of a layman), the headphone out on the essence has a pretty low SNR, though the RCA connections would understandably have a cleaner signal.

But it looks like I won't be able to leave both speakers and headphones connected at the same time if I use the RCA connectors > Amp, unless I shell out for something like the Asgard 2/Lyr, or give up on the Schiit and go for the Bravo Ocean (not particularly keen on that).

Copied from the site page.
Analog Output
1 x 6.3 mm jack (1/4") Headphone out
2 x RCA (Un-Balanced)
Analog Input
1 x 6.3 mm jack (1/4") (Line-in/ Mic-in combo)
Digital
1 x S/PDIF out (1 x Optical / Coaxial combo)
1 x Front-Panel Header
1 x Aux in (4-pin header)

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Offline Binge

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #163 on: Sat, 04 January 2014, 23:39:38 »
I just made a DAC this past week, so there was an interesting performance issue that popped up.  If I set the output of this DAC to drive line level it would have significantly better performance, but if I set the output to drive 32 ohm headphones it would not do so well.  I've seen this as a trend with most DAC ICs on the market, so it is safe to assume using a headphone out instead of a line-out signal may adversely affect the audio quality.  This is all something that needs to be tested as you may not be able to perceive the difference.

One option you could do to get both headphone and speakers is to check out the Aune T1.  I have found it to be a great companion with many headphones, and a fun little guy.  He pairs well with the Vali as well :)
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Offline Larken

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #164 on: Sun, 05 January 2014, 05:29:17 »
I just made a DAC this past week, so there was an interesting performance issue that popped up.  If I set the output of this DAC to drive line level it would have significantly better performance, but if I set the output to drive 32 ohm headphones it would not do so well.  I've seen this as a trend with most DAC ICs on the market, so it is safe to assume using a headphone out instead of a line-out signal may adversely affect the audio quality.  This is all something that needs to be tested as you may not be able to perceive the difference.

One option you could do to get both headphone and speakers is to check out the Aune T1.  I have found it to be a great companion with many headphones, and a fun little guy.  He pairs well with the Vali as well :)

The Aune T1 was definitely one of my considered options; though the T1 would render my soundcard pointless with its usb input (hate to waste a good piece of gear).

I'm pretty new to the audio game, so I don't really know what a good amp can do for my music, but I'd like to begin with something simple like the Vali which limits my options, and avoid falling down the rabbit hole of tube rolling (or eventually get both). I'm gonna have to sleep on that a little, but your advice is much appreciated :D
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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #165 on: Mon, 06 January 2014, 21:31:30 »
Ok my laptop absolutely sucks in the sound output department.....I need something to help it out but I don't know what. Although it might just be the fact I'm listening to youtube tracks.....lots of snap, crackle, pop, hiss....

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #166 on: Mon, 06 January 2014, 21:33:32 »
Ok my laptop absolutely sucks in the sound output department.....I need something to help it out but I don't know what. Although it might just be the fact I'm listening to youtube tracks.....lots of snap, crackle, pop, hiss....

I'm going to be producing DAC/amp solutions for laptop and PC here in a bit. :3 may be just the thing you're looking for.
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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #167 on: Mon, 06 January 2014, 21:35:20 »
Ok my laptop absolutely sucks in the sound output department.....I need something to help it out but I don't know what. Although it might just be the fact I'm listening to youtube tracks.....lots of snap, crackle, pop, hiss....

I'm going to be producing DAC/amp solutions for laptop and PC here in a bit. :3 may be just the thing you're looking for.

so your saying I should just start sending you a percentage of my paycheck every two weeks?? :P


Offline Novus

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #168 on: Mon, 06 January 2014, 21:35:27 »
Ok my laptop absolutely sucks in the sound output department.....I need something to help it out but I don't know what. Although it might just be the fact I'm listening to youtube tracks.....lots of snap, crackle, pop, hiss....

Hmm maybe get a portable dac like a Fiio and yea youtube music has terrible compression.

Offline Novus

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #169 on: Mon, 06 January 2014, 21:36:09 »
Ok my laptop absolutely sucks in the sound output department.....I need something to help it out but I don't know what. Although it might just be the fact I'm listening to youtube tracks.....lots of snap, crackle, pop, hiss....

I'm going to be producing DAC/amp solutions for laptop and PC here in a bit. :3 may be just the thing you're looking for.

so your saying I should just start sending you a percentage of my paycheck every two weeks?? :P

Maybe he's offering you a free tester  :p

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #170 on: Mon, 06 January 2014, 21:42:30 »
What could Binge mean???  :))
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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #171 on: Mon, 06 January 2014, 21:56:32 »
Ok my laptop absolutely sucks in the sound output department.....I need something to help it out but I don't know what. Although it might just be the fact I'm listening to youtube tracks.....lots of snap, crackle, pop, hiss....

I'm going to be producing DAC/amp solutions for laptop and PC here in a bit. :3 may be just the thing you're looking for.

so your saying I should just start sending you a percentage of my paycheck every two weeks?? :P

Maybe he's offering you a free tester  :p

If its worth having its worth paying for!! Free doesn't help mad scientist buy groceries :P

Offline Tarzan

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #172 on: Tue, 07 January 2014, 10:47:13 »
I'm looking into an amp/DAC solution primarily for headphone listening, but would like something with pre-amp or amp outputs to drive some desktop speakers.  Has anyone used the Decware products, or the cheaper (!) options from Woo Audio?  I'm leaning towards the Decware Taboo, as it has dual headphone jacks so my son and I can listen without disturbing the household, but I'm open to suggestions.  Would like to try tube amps, which is why I'm looking at models like these.

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #173 on: Tue, 07 January 2014, 10:52:08 »
Ok my laptop absolutely sucks in the sound output department.....I need something to help it out but I don't know what. Although it might just be the fact I'm listening to youtube tracks.....lots of snap, crackle, pop, hiss....

I'm going to be producing DAC/amp solutions for laptop and PC here in a bit. :3 may be just the thing you're looking for.


Will it have low output impedance (<2ohm)? Will it be DIY and cheap? Will it work with no batteries?  :thumb:
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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #174 on: Tue, 07 January 2014, 16:10:13 »
Got a pair of Grado SR80i and a Fiios E11 in the mail today. I know the Grados are low impedance but heard they sound better amped anyway. Might not have gotten the E11 is I didnt have Amazon gift cards from Christmas but, cant hurt to have it. 
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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #175 on: Tue, 07 January 2014, 16:18:08 »
Ok my laptop absolutely sucks in the sound output department.....I need something to help it out but I don't know what. Although it might just be the fact I'm listening to youtube tracks.....lots of snap, crackle, pop, hiss....

I'm going to be producing DAC/amp solutions for laptop and PC here in a bit. :3 may be just the thing you're looking for.

Would it be better to get your DAC or the bravo v2's from md for $50? https://www.massdrop.com/buy/bravo-v2-headphone-amp

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #176 on: Tue, 07 January 2014, 16:31:30 »
Ok my laptop absolutely sucks in the sound output department.....I need something to help it out but I don't know what. Although it might just be the fact I'm listening to youtube tracks.....lots of snap, crackle, pop, hiss....

I'm going to be producing DAC/amp solutions for laptop and PC here in a bit. :3 may be just the thing you're looking for.


Will it have low output impedance (<2ohm)? Will it be DIY and cheap? Will it work with no batteries?  :thumb:

It does not support devices which have an impedance below 16ohms.  It works via usb connection and is powered off of that connection without the use of batteries.

Ok my laptop absolutely sucks in the sound output department.....I need something to help it out but I don't know what. Although it might just be the fact I'm listening to youtube tracks.....lots of snap, crackle, pop, hiss....

I'm going to be producing DAC/amp solutions for laptop and PC here in a bit. :3 may be just the thing you're looking for.

Would it be better to get your DAC or the bravo v2's from md for $50? https://www.massdrop.com/buy/bravo-v2-headphone-amp

Different devices.  The Bravo is an amplifier, and my device is a combination Digital to Analog converter as well as a low power headphone amp.
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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #177 on: Tue, 07 January 2014, 16:34:14 »
Ok my laptop absolutely sucks in the sound output department.....I need something to help it out but I don't know what. Although it might just be the fact I'm listening to youtube tracks.....lots of snap, crackle, pop, hiss....

I'm going to be producing DAC/amp solutions for laptop and PC here in a bit. :3 may be just the thing you're looking for.


Will it have low output impedance (<2ohm)? Will it be DIY and cheap? Will it work with no batteries?  :thumb:

It does not support devices which have an impedance below 16ohms.  It works via usb connection and is powered off of that connection without the use of batteries.

Ok my laptop absolutely sucks in the sound output department.....I need something to help it out but I don't know what. Although it might just be the fact I'm listening to youtube tracks.....lots of snap, crackle, pop, hiss....

I'm going to be producing DAC/amp solutions for laptop and PC here in a bit. :3 may be just the thing you're looking for.

Would it be better to get your DAC or the bravo v2's from md for $50? https://www.massdrop.com/buy/bravo-v2-headphone-amp

Different devices.  The Bravo is an amplifier, and my device is a combination Digital to Analog converter as well as a low power headphone amp.

I think I want one. :D

Offline Asininity

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #178 on: Tue, 07 January 2014, 17:58:17 »
I just got a pair of DT 990 Pro to go with my Aune T1 AMP/DAC.

I'm impressed.

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #179 on: Tue, 07 January 2014, 18:13:34 »
Ok my laptop absolutely sucks in the sound output department.....I need something to help it out but I don't know what. Although it might just be the fact I'm listening to youtube tracks.....lots of snap, crackle, pop, hiss....

I'm going to be producing DAC/amp solutions for laptop and PC here in a bit. :3 may be just the thing you're looking for.


Will it have low output impedance (<2ohm)? Will it be DIY and cheap? Will it work with no batteries?  :thumb:

It does not support devices which have an impedance below 16ohms.  It works via usb connection and is powered off of that connection without the use of batteries.

Ok my laptop absolutely sucks in the sound output department.....I need something to help it out but I don't know what. Although it might just be the fact I'm listening to youtube tracks.....lots of snap, crackle, pop, hiss....

I'm going to be producing DAC/amp solutions for laptop and PC here in a bit. :3 may be just the thing you're looking for.

Would it be better to get your DAC or the bravo v2's from md for $50? https://www.massdrop.com/buy/bravo-v2-headphone-amp

Different devices.  The Bravo is an amplifier, and my device is a combination Digital to Analog converter as well as a low power headphone amp.

looks like you have a buyer!

Offline theeattre

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #180 on: Tue, 07 January 2014, 18:40:27 »
just got the magni/modi stack. using with my nvx xpt100. kind of blown away by the difference it made and the quality for my somewhat limited budget.

Offline Tarzan

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #181 on: Tue, 07 January 2014, 18:47:07 »
Is the Darkvoice 336SE on offer from Massdrop a good deal?  Description says it's suitable for a pre-amp as well as a headphone amp.

Offline Pacifist

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #182 on: Tue, 07 January 2014, 19:37:17 »
just got the magni/modi stack. using with my nvx xpt100. kind of blown away by the difference it made and the quality for my somewhat limited budget.

where did you get them from? I'm looking for a low buget set

Offline Binge

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #183 on: Tue, 07 January 2014, 19:40:32 »
just got the magni/modi stack. using with my nvx xpt100. kind of blown away by the difference it made and the quality for my somewhat limited budget.

where did you get them from? I'm looking for a low buget set

probably from schiit direct.
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Offline theeattre

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #184 on: Tue, 07 January 2014, 19:41:34 »
just got the magni/modi stack. using with my nvx xpt100. kind of blown away by the difference it made and the quality for my somewhat limited budget.

where did you get them from? I'm looking for a low buget set

amazon. should have probably just ordered from schiit directly (magni shipped from amazon, modi/pyst cables shipped from schiit. they came a day apart. but i had a giftcard from amazon, so...). imho 220 is budget in this nutso audiophile world.

Offline Sniping

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #185 on: Tue, 07 January 2014, 21:10:46 »
Not an amp or a dac but has anyone seen the Hifiman stats yet?

The shape looks a bit odd but the wood cups on the 560 looks great.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-57616687-47/hifimans-advanced-headphone-tech-at-ces-2014-improves-sound-quality/
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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #186 on: Tue, 07 January 2014, 21:16:46 »
Not an amp or a dac but has anyone seen the Hifiman stats yet?

The shape looks a bit odd but the wood cups on the 560 looks great.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-57616687-47/hifimans-advanced-headphone-tech-at-ces-2014-improves-sound-quality/

They're still orthos.
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Offline thegunner100

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #188 on: Tue, 07 January 2014, 21:26:50 »

Seems like it'll be ****ty quality like all other chinese products, but it is


That's quite a statement you got there...
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Offline Pacifist

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #189 on: Tue, 07 January 2014, 21:29:40 »

Seems like it'll be ****ty quality like all other chinese products, but it is


That's quite a statement you got there...

Its pretty true. Many chinese manufactures don't prioritize quality, they just want to keep their costs down, its most obvious when they employ really cheap sweatshop workers. They try to keep their cost down so they can compete with better quality but more expensive products.

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #190 on: Tue, 07 January 2014, 21:44:45 »
The audio-gd cases are a bit cheap looking... but the stuff that's inside is definitely not lacking in quality.
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Offline Pacifist

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #191 on: Tue, 07 January 2014, 23:20:49 »
Anybody heard of the chinese company SMSL?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SMSL-FORT-PCM2704-USB-MUSIC-DAC-Sound-card-Headphone-Earphone-Amplifier-/200953220627?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item2ec9bece13

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SMSL-SD-022-mini-DAC-USB-input-coaxial-optical-output-TE7022-24Bit-96K-/200952723608?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item2ec9b73898

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SMSL-SD-793II-DIR9001-PCM1793-OPA2134-Coax-Optical-MINI-DAC-Headphone-Amp-S-/221347331863?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item3389543f17

Seems like it'll be ****ty quality like all other chinese products, but it is

Quote
case is made of pure aluminum, cut by CNC automatic machine tool

I know more reptuable DAC/AMPs are better, but do these outwright suck?

So after doing some research, these are legit, they work, but they're chinese versions of regular components. They are prone to breaking but they know that and the CS is great

Offline meiosis

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #192 on: Tue, 07 January 2014, 23:38:57 »
just got the magni/modi stack. using with my nvx xpt100. kind of blown away by the difference it made and the quality for my somewhat limited budget.

Mine are coming in 12 hours :D (normal time for UPS guy)
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Offline Novus

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #193 on: Wed, 08 January 2014, 00:13:52 »



MONSTER CABLE ANYBODY?
ehehehehehe.

on and don't forget your coat hanger on the way out.

Offline theeattre

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #194 on: Wed, 08 January 2014, 01:23:39 »
just got the magni/modi stack. using with my nvx xpt100. kind of blown away by the difference it made and the quality for my somewhat limited budget.

Mine are coming in 12 hours :D (normal time for UPS guy)

awesome! was impressed with all of the pics but holding them is really something else.

Offline theeattre

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #195 on: Wed, 08 January 2014, 01:34:53 »
love that they're small enough to fit on the base of my monitor. (sorry for the quality. :/ )

Offline zoolzoo

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #196 on: Wed, 08 January 2014, 08:18:15 »
Ive been thinking about DAC's lately.

Im torn between going with Fiio D03k and using my mobo's optical out....or perhaps going with the Schiit modi which is a USB plug and play type of solution. My amp would be a Fiios E11 for the short term and probably a Schiit Magni coming up.

The modi looks cool but I have some reservations about the whole "driver-less plug and play" usb thing. Will I run into any compatibility problems in terms of general computing such as gaming?

The D03k is much cheaper and looks like it would fit my needs quite well. Anyone have any experience with both of these?

[edit] Looking for reviews on the D03K is kind of frustrating. Most of them are people hooking up components to their TVs and old ass legacy receivers, could care less about that. Im wondering more about the performance out of a motherboard TOSlink, into a headphone amp, and into a nice set of headphones for music and gaming.
« Last Edit: Wed, 08 January 2014, 09:18:11 by zoolzoo »
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Offline Tarzan

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #197 on: Wed, 08 January 2014, 10:24:44 »
Ive been thinking about DAC's lately.

Im torn between going with Fiio D03k and using my mobo's optical out....or perhaps going with the Schiit modi which is a USB plug and play type of solution. My amp would be a Fiios E11 for the short term and probably a Schiit Magni coming up.

The modi looks cool but I have some reservations about the whole "driver-less plug and play" usb thing. Will I run into any compatibility problems in terms of general computing such as gaming?

The D03k is much cheaper and looks like it would fit my needs quite well. Anyone have any experience with both of these?

[edit] Looking for reviews on the D03K is kind of frustrating. Most of them are people hooking up components to their TVs and old ass legacy receivers, could care less about that. Im wondering more about the performance out of a motherboard TOSlink, into a headphone amp, and into a nice set of headphones for music and gaming.

I haven't used the Fiio D03K, but I've really enjoyed listening to music using an optical cable from my PC to a Fiio E17 amp/DAC.  I was considering the desktop power amp from Fiio, but the E17 provides plenty of power to drive either the Sennheiser HD598 or the ATH-M50 headphones I have. 

I run a USB cable as well as the optical connection, to keep the E17 charged.  Not sure if the SPDIF cable really gives that much cleaner audio, but it was cheap.

Offline Binge

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #198 on: Wed, 08 January 2014, 12:04:54 »
Anybody heard of the chinese company SMSL?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SMSL-FORT-PCM2704-USB-MUSIC-DAC-Sound-card-Headphone-Earphone-Amplifier-/200953220627?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item2ec9bece13

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SMSL-SD-022-mini-DAC-USB-input-coaxial-optical-output-TE7022-24Bit-96K-/200952723608?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item2ec9b73898

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SMSL-SD-793II-DIR9001-PCM1793-OPA2134-Coax-Optical-MINI-DAC-Headphone-Amp-S-/221347331863?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item3389543f17

Seems like it'll be ****ty quality like all other chinese products, but it is

Quote
case is made of pure aluminum, cut by CNC automatic machine tool

I know more reptuable DAC/AMPs are better, but do these outwright suck?

So after doing some research, these are legit, they work, but they're chinese versions of regular components. They are prone to breaking but they know that and the CS is great

They are advertising legit DACs and USB-interfaces included in their work but there is more work that goes into these devices than just the IC packages on a board.  Ground management and choice of filtering are all things one must consider.  For the price it would not be a bad place to tinker and hear some DACs that are out there, but they may represent only a high percentage of what those DACs can really do.
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Offline Novus

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #199 on: Wed, 08 January 2014, 22:52:17 »
Ive been thinking about DAC's lately.

Im torn between going with Fiio D03k and using my mobo's optical out....or perhaps going with the Schiit modi which is a USB plug and play type of solution. My amp would be a Fiios E11 for the short term and probably a Schiit Magni coming up.

The modi looks cool but I have some reservations about the whole "driver-less plug and play" usb thing. Will I run into any compatibility problems in terms of general computing such as gaming?

The D03k is much cheaper and looks like it would fit my needs quite well. Anyone have any experience with both of these?

[edit] Looking for reviews on the D03K is kind of frustrating. Most of them are people hooking up components to their TVs and old ass legacy receivers, could care less about that. Im wondering more about the performance out of a motherboard TOSlink, into a headphone amp, and into a nice set of headphones for music and gaming.

I don't know much about the Schiit Modi but you should stick with SPDIF over USB (generally speaking).
There's quite a huge debate about this and you'll probably want to read more about this.
These are just my 2 cents and just generalities:
1) Good USB DACs are still very rare
2) You generally want to avoid using USB for DACs under $600 and preferably under 1k.
3) USB always has some degree of jitter. Less jitter on better DACs. (There's a bit more to this).
4) Your DAC needs to support USB asynchronous mode otherwise it will definitely lose out to SPDIF.
5) You need to consider how the USB is powered and routed (on the DAC itself and also from your motherboard to the DAC). This factors into how clean the sound is.
6) USB DACs can also occasionally cause your computer to crash due to driver issues and cause that IRQ less than equal bluescreen. Although this actually depends on the chip (the sabre chip on my DAC was notorious for this issue until they slowly patched it on every DAC that carried this chip)

If it's driver-less plug and play ... it's either really good bang for your buck or it really sucks. I'd vote for the latter.

Again your setup can also heavily preface and/or invalidate these statements.
« Last Edit: Wed, 08 January 2014, 23:01:11 by the1onewolf »