Author Topic: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread  (Read 91223 times)

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Offline vun

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #350 on: Fri, 20 June 2014, 09:07:55 »
Got in on the Q701 drop, even with shipping and VAT it'll still be like 50-60% cheaper than buying them here in Norway. Now I just need to find a decent amp for them that won't break my wallet. I was thinking FiiO since I've heard good things about those and they sell them in a store that's like 5 mins from here.

Plan is to get an O2, although I want to build one myself after I've got an amp that I can use so that I won't be amp-less if I **** it up. I'm thinking FiiO because even after being replaced I could still use it as a portable amp instead of leaving it to gather dust.

Also considering the Bravo that's on massdrop atm since it's quite cheap, but I'm concerned about powering it as I assume it uses a US plug, not sure how easy it would be to get it working here.

So, any suggestions? I'd prefer something I don't have to import as that'll have 25% VAT + handling fees slapped on it, but FiiO is pretty much the only decent brand you can get in stores here. Should I just go with that(if so, which models should I be looking at), or are there some that are worth importing?

I'm a bit fuzzy on the hifi area but shouldn't one need a proper soundcard too for the amp if used on a PC?

I've already got a soundcard that does the job well enough.
Anyway I went and got the FiiO E12. It's a bit pricier than what I was planning to get when I went to the store, but I'm happy with the purchase.
Although right now it's connected to a ****ty USB soundcard for a headset since I can't find a cable that will reach the back of my PC from the top of my desk.

Ah, I was gonna recommend ESI Juli@, I've liked it. How does it connect to the soundcard? USB or RCA?

The E12 is a portable headphone amp, so it only connects via 3.5mm jack. It's got a USB port but that's only used for charging. Nothing fancy, but it does the job fine until I can be bothered with a proper setup and will keep being useful as a portable amp after that.

I think my proper soundcard might be dead tho, so there's that.

Offline katushkin

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #351 on: Fri, 20 June 2014, 23:16:30 »
I'm tempted to get an amp to make my setup look a bit cleaner. But I only have some ATH M50s, and I have no idea where to start when it comes to tubes/DACs/amps.
Can we get them to build the Alps ten feet higher and get Cherry to pay for it?
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Offline Acknown3

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #352 on: Sat, 21 June 2014, 00:22:54 »
Just got an Asgard 2. HUGE improvement from my Aune T1 with an Amperex 7308 OG. It sounds less warm in the mids, but there's so much more detail!

Congrats! I has an asgard 2 as well and its lovely!

What are you using for DAC? I would love to try the Asgard. Schiit products are bang for buck but too bad the Australian distributor marks the price up 100%. Pretty much all the value is lost.
I'm using a Modi simply because I didn't feel comfortable dropping $400+ on the Bifrost. It stacks rather nicely on top of the A2, just barely (a millimeter or two) over the top grill.
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Offline blackbox

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #353 on: Sat, 21 June 2014, 05:36:11 »
Just got an Asgard 2. HUGE improvement from my Aune T1 with an Amperex 7308 OG. It sounds less warm in the mids, but there's so much more detail!

Congrats! I has an asgard 2 as well and its lovely!

What are you using for DAC? I would love to try the Asgard. Schiit products are bang for buck but too bad the Australian distributor marks the price up 100%. Pretty much all the value is lost.
I'm using a Modi simply because I didn't feel comfortable dropping $400+ on the Asgard. It stacks rather nicely on top of the A2, just barely (a millimeter or two) over the top grill.

Did you mean bifrost when you mentioned the DAC? Nice that it stacks so well.
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Offline Protato_Tubby

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #354 on: Tue, 15 July 2014, 16:04:03 »
I have a pair of Koss PortaPro in the post! They should arrive tomorrow! :D
I have quite a lot of hair on my head so I'm a little bit worried about getting my hair caught in the headband but other wise I think I'll be fine - Plus I could just get a shorter haircut for 7.

                
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Offline Protato_Tubby

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #355 on: Tue, 15 July 2014, 16:06:44 »
Wait - wrong thread.

                
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Offline RickyJ

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #356 on: Sun, 09 November 2014, 00:21:28 »
*not quite necro* This post is a copy of what I posted on Head-Fi (my first post).

Today I upgraded the caps in my Aune T1.  In my searches through the Head-Fi thread I've seen some questions about what the stock caps actually are.

Here's what my stock caps were:
Main primary power supply caps (C35, C36): Lelon RXW-series 3300uF 25V (datasheet PDF) - decent specs, but too high capacitance to measure with my LCR to confirm
Secondary caps (C55, C56): Panasonic FC-series 330uF 35V (datasheet PDF) - good caps, measure low-ESR in my LCR
Amp board rail voltage caps (C51, C59): Nichicon VR-series 470uF 25V (datasheet PDF) - good caps, measure low-ESR in my LCR
Amp board coupling caps (C32, C52): Elna RJ3-series 100uF 25V (datasheet PDF) - good caps for GP usage

As for the red film caps, things got a bit interesting.

Caps marked u1J63: (C33/34/53/54, amp C50/58) 0.1uF 63V 5%, appear to be Wima MKS-2 series, but terrible ESR measurements! (all 6 tested the same)
100Hz: 27.3 ohms

1KHz: 6.8 ohms

10KHz: 1.59 ohms

100KHZ: 0.36 ohm


Caps marked 1uK63: (C16/46/47) 1uF 63V 10%, likely Wima MKS-2 series, ESR tests fine
100Hz: 1.7 ohms

1KHz: 0.58 ohms

10KHz: 0.15 ohms

100KHz: 0.04 ohms


The caps marked as Wima 0.47uF 100V seem to be proper 5% MKS-2 series and ESR tests are in line with the smaller MKS-2 0.47uF 63V 5% caps I got, so I left them in.

I followed the PDF guide from Mikoss (on Head-Fi) for replacements (much thanks!) of the electrolytics.  For the Wimas I used MKP-2 for the 0.1uF and MKS-2 for the 1uF (no 1uF MKP-2's).  All caps received extra insulation with Kapton tape where they contact any other components (C56 got more as it almost touches the tube socket leads).

Wima MKP-2 0.1uF 100V 5%: Huge improvement!
100Hz: 0.4 ohms

1KHz: 0.19 ohms

10KHz: 0.02 ohms

100KHz: 0.02 ohms


Wima MKS-2 1uF 63V 5%: - similar measurements as the smaller original caps, but benefit from 5% tolerance
100Hz: 2.1 ohms

1KHz: 0.61 ohms

10KHz: 0.15 ohms

100KHz: 0.04 ohms


Stock pcbs and new caps: Elna Silmic II for secondary power supply and amp board, Panasonic FR for primary power supply filtering, Wima MKP-2/MKS-2 film caps where needed


Primary caps:


Hey, where's the Wimas!: so much more room for the Silmics though


Wimas moved to other side of pcb: plenty of room for all


Main pcb done: not bad!


Amp pcb done:



Assembled component side: had to trim the RCA board's jumper wire connectors to clear the caps


Assembled socket side: looks like it was meant to be!


I had to further attach the RCA wiring with Kapton tape so the bottom lid would close properly.

I still need to run this thing to allow the caps to settle, but so far it's quite nice.  I dropped my gain from 6dB to 0dB, as it was a bit harsh.  Stock 6922EH works well, but I want better!
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Offline feizor

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #357 on: Sun, 09 November 2014, 03:13:28 »
How long does it take to run in these new caps? Keen to see the improvements!

Offline RickyJ

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #358 on: Sun, 09 November 2014, 11:57:49 »
About 24 hours or so from what I've read.  I've only got 8 hours on them so far, it's hard to do a back to back comparison when it took so long to do the swap.  I haven't seen anyone touch the Wimas before, but I'm glad I did!  In total I was probably 4-5 hours, but a lot of that was measurement, documentation, and doing final fitment of the Silmics (and modifying the RCA jumper connectors).

Right now, raspy voices still have a bit of an edge.  It was much more pronounced at the 6dB gain I was set at before with the new caps at 0 hours.  I'm not an audiophile with a bunch of testing tracks and fancy vocabulary, but I do try to hear differences.
Cherry: Race with reds and green backlighting, lubed and stickered; Poker X with ghetto-greens (clear springs), Vortex plate, PBT, stickers; Leopold Tenkeyless with browns; Adesso AKP-220B keypad with ergo-clears, lubed and stickered, Cherry doubleshots
Alps: Nan Tan KB-6251EA with complicated blues; Siig Minitouch with complicated blues

Offline blackbox

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #359 on: Mon, 10 November 2014, 08:43:54 »
Very nice mod. Have done some condensator swaps earlier and for me it has been a huge upgrade. Ofc it really depends on the difrence between the old and new caps and what the caps are used for.
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Offline RickyJ

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #360 on: Mon, 10 November 2014, 13:58:19 »
Apart from the 0.1uF film caps, none of mine tested bad from a narrow ESR point of view.  I wish I tested the Dissipation Factor (% of signal dissipated into the dielectric) before the new caps went in, but I do have a pair of 100uF Silmic II's that I didn't use and can compare to the Elna RJ3's that came out (same uF/volt ratings).  Dissipation Factor is usually rated at 120Hz and naturally increases non-linearly with frequency, but in audio coupling caps (which these Elna RJ3's are acting as) a high DF can reduce the output at audible frequencies so I tested higher.  Typical max acceptable limits for DF are 0.25 at 120Hz, and 0.4 at 1KHz.  ESR in coupling capacitors is also very important as the ideal capacitor is no capacitor (but that pesky DC won't allow us not to have one), so the lower the ESR we can get the better.  The other electrolytics used are for power and voltage rails, so high-freq DF isn't as important.

Elna RJ3 100uF 25V (stock coupling capacitors on amp board; both caps measured very close in DF):
100Hz: 1.23 ohm ESR, 0.076 DF
1KHz: 0.825 ohm ESR, 0.489 DF
10KHz: 0.748 ohm ESR, 3.53 DF
100KHz: 0.658 ohm ESR, 17.37 DF

Elna Silmic II 100uF 25V:
100Hz: 0.68 ohm ESR, 0.046 DF
1KHz: 0.282 ohm ESR, 0.17 DF
10KHz: 0.228 ohm ESR, 1.24 DF
100KHz: 0.208 ohm ESR, 8.47 DF

From a purely ESR point of view, the stock Elna RJ3 is in line with the general purpose cap it was meant to be.  Not horrible ESR, but for audio we can certainly strive for better and the Silmic II delivers.

Moving on to the Dissipation Factor, however... Starting with 1KHz, we can see from the DF that the stock Elna RJ3 is already uncomfortable and gives the sense that it will rise too quickly inside the audible range.  Moving on up to 10KHz tells us how well the cap will behave in the middle of our audible range, and the stock cap has decided that we don't need 3.5% of it.  The Silmic II dissipates almost a third of the stock cap at 10KHz, so there's very clearly an improvement where we'll hear it.  100KHz is clearly 5x our audible range, but it helps to give the impression of how the cap does from 10-20KHz, and the stock cap isn't great.

I have a used Rubycon YXG (high ripple long life, otherwise basic) 100uF 25V that I pulled from a random board that has a DF of 0.84 at 10KHz, so the stock Elna RJ3 can suck it (I have many other used general-purpose-ish caps that have better DF than this Elna RJ3 at all frequencies).

As for burn-in, at about 18 hours I could increase the gain back up to 6dB and have less harshness than 8 hours at 0dB gain.  I'm at 30 hours now, at 6dB gain which works well with my DT990Pro 250-ohms, and things have settled very nicely.  I clearly need a better tube than the stock 6922EH, but the sound is silky smooth and instruments have nice placement.
Cherry: Race with reds and green backlighting, lubed and stickered; Poker X with ghetto-greens (clear springs), Vortex plate, PBT, stickers; Leopold Tenkeyless with browns; Adesso AKP-220B keypad with ergo-clears, lubed and stickered, Cherry doubleshots
Alps: Nan Tan KB-6251EA with complicated blues; Siig Minitouch with complicated blues

Offline katushkin

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #361 on: Mon, 17 November 2014, 19:04:30 »
So would a Vali/Loki combination work as well as a Modi/Magni combination? I'm looking to get a good setup for both speakers and headphones, and I am looking for some advice. (I have no idea what DSD is)
Can we get them to build the Alps ten feet higher and get Cherry to pay for it?
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Offline tjcaustin

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #362 on: Mon, 17 November 2014, 19:22:24 »
So would a Vali/Loki combination work as well as a Modi/Magni combination? I'm looking to get a good setup for both speakers and headphones, and I am looking for some advice. (I have no idea what DSD is)

If you don't know DSD, don't get a loki, that's all it does.  Vali is, roughly, a tube version of the magni so you'd get either the magni or vali and modi.  If you had or were going to get DSD, then you'd add the loki.  The loki is their jab at dsd, which is the current gen version of the super hi fidelity format that about 12 people really care about and no one else will support.  So superCD, dvd audio, mini disk and etc.

Offline katushkin

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #363 on: Mon, 17 November 2014, 19:45:50 »
So would a Vali/Loki combination work as well as a Modi/Magni combination? I'm looking to get a good setup for both speakers and headphones, and I am looking for some advice. (I have no idea what DSD is)

If you don't know DSD, don't get a loki, that's all it does.  Vali is, roughly, a tube version of the magni so you'd get either the magni or vali and modi.  If you had or were going to get DSD, then you'd add the loki.  The loki is their jab at dsd, which is the current gen version of the super hi fidelity format that about 12 people really care about and no one else will support.  So superCD, dvd audio, mini disk and etc.

Wow, Minidisk eh? Thanks, that does help improve my very limited knowledge about these things :) Are they ok for speaker output as well or just headphones?
Can we get them to build the Alps ten feet higher and get Cherry to pay for it?
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Offline tjcaustin

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #364 on: Mon, 17 November 2014, 19:48:46 »
So would a Vali/Loki combination work as well as a Modi/Magni combination? I'm looking to get a good setup for both speakers and headphones, and I am looking for some advice. (I have no idea what DSD is)

If you don't know DSD, don't get a loki, that's all it does.  Vali is, roughly, a tube version of the magni so you'd get either the magni or vali and modi.  If you had or were going to get DSD, then you'd add the loki.  The loki is their jab at dsd, which is the current gen version of the super hi fidelity format that about 12 people really care about and no one else will support.  So superCD, dvd audio, mini disk and etc.

Wow, Minidisk eh? Thanks, that does help improve my very limited knowledge about these things :) Are they ok for speaker output as well or just headphones?

They're ok to preamp a set of powered speakers, but not to be the amp for a set of passive speakers, no.

Offline katushkin

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #365 on: Mon, 17 November 2014, 20:01:51 »
Wow, Minidisk eh? Thanks, that does help improve my very limited knowledge about these things :) Are they ok for speaker output as well or just headphones?

They're ok to preamp a set of powered speakers, but not to be the amp for a set of passive speakers, no.

Sweet. That's what I've got at the moment, a set of 5:1 speakers, just need to get a 5mm jack adapter for the cable and I shall be good to go :)
Can we get them to build the Alps ten feet higher and get Cherry to pay for it?
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Offline noisyturtle

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #366 on: Mon, 17 November 2014, 21:39:52 »
I have a pair of Koss PortaPro in the post! They should arrive tomorrow! :D
I have quite a lot of hair on my head so I'm a little bit worried about getting my hair caught in the headband but other wise I think I'll be fine - Plus I could just get a shorter haircut for �7.



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Offline The Mad Professor

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #367 on: Fri, 21 November 2014, 10:24:30 »
Okay, I need a recommendation.

I have ordered a pair of DT880s from Massdrop and I would like to purchase a portable amp and DAC for them. My budget is $400-$500 for the two. Which ones should I get to provide the best bang for my buck?


Note: I have ordered the 250 Ohm, but I can easily upgrade it to the 600 Ohm pair if necessary.
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Offline Binge

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #368 on: Fri, 21 November 2014, 10:42:05 »
Okay, I need a recommendation.

I have ordered a pair of DT880s from Massdrop and I would like to purchase a portable amp and DAC for them. My budget is $400-$500 for the two. Which ones should I get to provide the best bang for my buck?


Note: I have ordered the 250 Ohm, but I can easily upgrade it to the 600 Ohm pair if necessary.

JDS labs C5D.  It is a wonderful little box, and I've used 880s on it before.
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Offline cmadrid

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #369 on: Thu, 26 February 2015, 16:12:46 »
I'm thinking I might go for a Magni 2 + Modi 2  'uber' stack.. when I a chance

Offline tjcaustin

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #370 on: Thu, 26 February 2015, 20:55:22 »
I'm thinking I might go for a Magni 2 + Modi 2  'uber' stack.. when I a chance

Coming from someone with one for the last month, you won't go wrong.

Offline The Mad Professor

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #371 on: Fri, 27 February 2015, 08:47:31 »
Okay, I have a Schiit Magni, and it powers my Polk Audio Buckles very nicely. However, it doesn't provide good volume for my DT-880 600-Ohms. I was thinking of upgrading to the Magni 2 Uber, but I wonder if I would be better off going up to the Schiit Asgard 2... Any thoughts?
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Offline cmadrid

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #372 on: Fri, 27 February 2015, 08:52:29 »
Shoot an email to the folks over at Schiit, they seem to be super helpful and nice

Offline The Mad Professor

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #373 on: Fri, 27 February 2015, 09:05:28 »
Shoot an email to the folks over at Schiit, they seem to be super helpful and nice

I would, but they have an automatic bias in this discussion, as it's their revenue in discussion. I'm fairly certain that they would give me the correct answer based on the information provided, but there will always be lingering doubts.
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Offline cmadrid

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #374 on: Sat, 28 February 2015, 11:24:58 »
Shoot an email to the folks over at Schiit, they seem to be super helpful and nice

I would, but they have an automatic bias in this discussion, as it's their revenue in discussion. I'm fairly certain that they would give me the correct answer based on the information provided, but there will always be lingering doubts.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/746128/the-schiitstorm-next-gen-magni-2-and-modi-2-family/1695


Lots of talk about them over there..  I don't think Schiit would lie to get a few extra bucks tho.

Offline Smasher816

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #375 on: Sat, 04 April 2015, 16:19:19 »
I was playing around with my audio settings in linux (got a new mic), and was curious what the max bitrate on my modi was. Just learned that they have a new magni/modi 2 - although I guess I am behind the curve there.

The modi 2 doesn't seem very different, just a higher bitrate that won't be used. The modi 2 uber looks great if you need many connectors, but I am happy with usb for now so I think I will keep the modi 1. What really interests me is the Magni 2 as it adds the much needed gain switch. Right now I don't take the volume over 30% with my 250Ohm DT 770's for fear of deafening myself, at 100% volume they could be speakers for the room. I don't think I will need the extra power the uber provides as the magni 1 is already too powerful, and I don't have a use for preamping at the moment.

So, of the new releases what I really want is the magni 2. I would buy the new stack but I don't want to put down another $200 when my current stack works fine and their won't be a large audio improvement. With that in mind, would anyone consider buying my stack at a reduced price? You get a decent and cheap stack for even cheaper, and I can grab the new stack without too much of a loss :thumb: I would also be up for just trading the magni/magni2 as the modi1 is fine for my needs. Thanks.

I guess I should make a thread in the classified if there is interest?

Offline sems

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #376 on: Sun, 22 January 2017, 08:51:02 »
Does Geekhack folks love daps?

Offline MandrewDavis

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #377 on: Tue, 24 January 2017, 16:21:08 »
.
« Last Edit: Mon, 23 April 2018, 20:03:11 by MandrewDavis »
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Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #378 on: Mon, 23 April 2018, 16:49:14 »
What's  the current good and cheap DAC/Amp combo?

Would be used with computer at a desk most likely with sennheiser HD598.

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Offline davkol

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #379 on: Mon, 23 April 2018, 17:00:30 »
HD 558 Anything goes.

_Some_ extra amp might help with the impedance spike, but that's about it.

I'm more concerned about getting an external *sound card* that can both power vintage headphones _and_ work with a cheap consumer mic (or a mid-fi headset).

Everyone seems to recommend Focusrite Scarlett, but it's geared towards big-ass mics that I don't need in the office. A 3.5mm jack for a mic is present basically only on cheap consumer grade stuff (C-Media dongles, I have one) or external Asus Xonar, but those are a pita driver-wise (still better than Creative though).

Offline portbaron

  • Posts: 151
Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #380 on: Wed, 02 May 2018, 14:43:53 »
I got a JDS Labs Element and am happy with it. It's one piece, clean look, and can have custom laser etching of whatever image you want on the top, because A E S T H E T I C S.
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Offline pr0ximity

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #381 on: Wed, 02 May 2018, 16:38:02 »
Dragonfly Black seems to be commonly recommended for a small USB DAC+Amp combo power moderate-level cans. Pretty badass form factor, IMO.

Shiit Magni 3 + Modi 2 Uber or a O2 Amp + DAC are the step-up run-of-the-mill for something higher impedance or lower sensitivity that you want to plug into a wall.

Beyond that, you probably shouldn't need many recommendations, you should be auditioning stuff in person.

Offline yuppie

  • Posts: 185
Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #382 on: Wed, 02 May 2018, 16:41:40 »
I've been running the ifi Micro iDSD for quite some time and love it.

Offline dubious

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #383 on: Wed, 02 May 2018, 17:33:19 »
Schitt Fulla 2 is a really good all-in-one, dac/amp combo for the price. I really like mine (and all schitt's stuff)

schitt magni 2 + modi 2 is really popular as well and recommended almost everywhere.

Zeos has a good list on reddit of introductory setups.

Offline Tactile

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #384 on: Wed, 02 May 2018, 17:52:03 »
I've had a JDS Labs stack for about a year. OL DAC, Objective2 headphone amp, and OL Switcher driving Grado SR225e headphones and PreSonus Eris E4.5 speakers.

It all sounds great to me but someone who can hear better than me (just about anyone) might think it sounds horrible.

Offline PadawanGeek

  • Posts: 543
Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #385 on: Sun, 06 May 2018, 11:07:52 »
I've been running the ifi Micro iDSD for quite some time and love it.
I have the iFi Micro iDSD Black Label, iFi DAC combo's are hardly mentioned in the few forums I got to, as well as the Nano iDSD and use it once in a while. I also have the Fostex HPA4 and a Gustard H10 + X12 stack....yes, I'm something of a hoarder.... :-[
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Offline goodman247

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Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #386 on: Thu, 31 May 2018, 22:33:06 »
I have a Topping DX7, this bad boy's size is great and can basically handle almost all the headphones with a nice balance sound.


Offline floatingskull

  • Posts: 21
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: Headphone Amp/DAC Thread
« Reply #388 on: Thu, 07 June 2018, 13:15:56 »
I have the iFi AUDIO Micro IDSD Black Label and after testing against many other nice amp/dac combos, this really has the best price to audio quality ratio I can find. Also has a ton of nice features and a big battery for portability.

Good review here: