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Dackzy

Before you buy amp and DAC + recommendations.

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Hello!. 

 

Looking for a headphone amp/dac for my computer. I was gonna go with the Schiit stack but they're out of stock and since I'm gonna be traveling to the US in a couple days I can't wait until they get them back. 

 

For headphones I'm currently using a pair of V-Moda Crossfade Wireless 2 (wired). What would you guys recommend that's US$300ish tops? Although after reading @Dackzy 's post about another set of V-Moda's above looks like a Fulla 2 might be more than enough?. 

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2 hours ago, Laucien said:

Hello!. 

 

Looking for a headphone amp/dac for my computer. I was gonna go with the Schiit stack but they're out of stock and since I'm gonna be traveling to the US in a couple days I can't wait until they get them back. 

 

For headphones I'm currently using a pair of V-Moda Crossfade Wireless 2 (wired). What would you guys recommend that's US$300ish tops? Although after reading @Dackzy 's post about another set of V-Moda's above looks like a Fulla 2 might be more than enough?. 

Yes it's more than enough, test it by using a phone app volume tester. If it is 80-85dB that's pretty much the limit of how loud anyone will go before harming themselves.


“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”


 


―  C.S. Lewis  :)

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Posted · Original PosterOP
12 hours ago, Laucien said:

Hello!. 

 

Looking for a headphone amp/dac for my computer. I was gonna go with the Schiit stack but they're out of stock and since I'm gonna be traveling to the US in a couple days I can't wait until they get them back. 

 

For headphones I'm currently using a pair of V-Moda Crossfade Wireless 2 (wired). What would you guys recommend that's US$300ish tops? Although after reading @Dackzy 's post about another set of V-Moda's above looks like a Fulla 2 might be more than enough?. 

well not to be rude or anything, but like your headphones don't really scale that well. So anything above a fulla 2 is TBH kinda waste for them. 


Before you buy amp and dac.  My thoughts on the M50x  Ultimate Ears Reference monitor review I might have a thing for audio...

My main Headphones and IEMs:  K612 pro, HD 25 and Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor, HD 580 with HD 600 grills, Focal Elex

DAC and AMP: Dual PCM63k tube DAC, RME ADI 2 DAC, Cavalli Tube Hybrid

Speakers: Genelec 8040, System Audio SA205

Receiver: Denon AVR-1612

Desktop: R7 1700, GTX 1080  RX 580 8GB and other stuff

Laptop: ThinkPad P50: i7 6820HQ, M2000M. ThinkPad T420s: i7 2640M, NVS 4200M

Feel free to pm me if you have a question for me or quote me. If you want to hear what I have to say about something just tag me.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
7 hours ago, Max_Settings said:

@Dackzy might want to fix this typo.

thanks, it is fixed now


Before you buy amp and dac.  My thoughts on the M50x  Ultimate Ears Reference monitor review I might have a thing for audio...

My main Headphones and IEMs:  K612 pro, HD 25 and Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor, HD 580 with HD 600 grills, Focal Elex

DAC and AMP: Dual PCM63k tube DAC, RME ADI 2 DAC, Cavalli Tube Hybrid

Speakers: Genelec 8040, System Audio SA205

Receiver: Denon AVR-1612

Desktop: R7 1700, GTX 1080  RX 580 8GB and other stuff

Laptop: ThinkPad P50: i7 6820HQ, M2000M. ThinkPad T420s: i7 2640M, NVS 4200M

Feel free to pm me if you have a question for me or quote me. If you want to hear what I have to say about something just tag me.

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Update : I recieved my fulla 2. There is a Huugeeeeeeeeeeee difference with my bt 990 pro plugged without them and with them. Without fulla2, there is no bass and the sound is a bit distorted, with the fulla 2 i can hear the instruments better and the bass is here. So yes, in my case, a DAC was necessary.

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On 2018-02-01 at 7:19 PM, Unknown69 said:

Update : I recieved my fulla 2. There is a Huugeeeeeeeeeeee difference with my bt 990 pro plugged without them and with them. Without fulla2, there is no bass and the sound is a bit distorted, with the fulla 2 i can hear the instruments better and the bass is here. So yes, in my case, a DAC was necessary.

I wanted to get all fancy and go with a couple of little boxes. If my budget was tight, and I had scale back, I suspect the Fulla 2 would suit me just fine. And I’d get a bigger knob to play with... yeah...

 

Glad it worked out for you, @Unknown69 . No schiit.

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What DAC and AMP should i get?? As of right now i have a shiit fulla 2 DAC/AMP combo and im using it for my AKG 7XX. I wanna buy a new and better DAC/AMP combo for my AKG 7XX but also one that i could use on other headphones as I am looking to buy a new headphone in the future specifically the philips fidelio x2. My current budget is 300USD

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3 hours ago, Thatnew guy said:

 

[redacted]

Edited by Guest
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Posted · Original PosterOP
11 hours ago, Thatnew guy said:

What DAC and AMP should i get?? As of right now i have a shiit fulla 2 DAC/AMP combo and im using it for my AKG 7XX. I wanna buy a new and better DAC/AMP combo for my AKG 7XX but also one that i could use on other headphones as I am looking to buy a new headphone in the future specifically the philips fidelio x2. My current budget is 300USD

A schiit modi 2 Uber and magni 3 would be your best option right now. The 300$ and sub range is TBH fairly empty if you want good value, you might be able to find a audio gd nfb 11.28, but I have heard that they have had some quality problems lately. Also on a side note the X2 would at best be a side grade to your 7xx, hell I would call it a slight downgrade. 


Before you buy amp and dac.  My thoughts on the M50x  Ultimate Ears Reference monitor review I might have a thing for audio...

My main Headphones and IEMs:  K612 pro, HD 25 and Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor, HD 580 with HD 600 grills, Focal Elex

DAC and AMP: Dual PCM63k tube DAC, RME ADI 2 DAC, Cavalli Tube Hybrid

Speakers: Genelec 8040, System Audio SA205

Receiver: Denon AVR-1612

Desktop: R7 1700, GTX 1080  RX 580 8GB and other stuff

Laptop: ThinkPad P50: i7 6820HQ, M2000M. ThinkPad T420s: i7 2640M, NVS 4200M

Feel free to pm me if you have a question for me or quote me. If you want to hear what I have to say about something just tag me.

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Hello, I recently bought a Fulla Schiit 2 and after testing it multiple times it just doesn't sound as good against my Asus Z170 Pro Gaming Aura's onboard soundcard (It already sounds fantastic). The bass is weak and it doesn't sound as full. I am using the HD6XX.

Question is, any recommendations for a mid range AMP or DAC, or should I get a combination of both. I want to truly realize it's potential.

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On 2018-04-11 at 12:51 AM, NerdPsycho said:

Hello, I recently bought a Fulla Schiit 2 and after testing it multiple times it just doesn't sound as good against my Asus Z170 Pro Gaming Aura's onboard soundcard (It already sounds fantastic). The bass is weak and it doesn't sound as full. I am using the HD6XX.

Question is, any recommendations for a mid range AMP or DAC, or should I get a combination of both. I want to truly realize it's potential.

Uh oh. Get on the horn with customer support. I’ll ask the (stupidly obvious) questions:

a. Are you using an external power source on your Fulla? I own a Magni3, to avoid power issues (yet your Fulla has a much nicer volume knob [mine is a dinky little twister]). As I understand it, the Fulla can run just with the current from the USB; however, there should be a little port at the back for an external power source (see their FAQ section). 

B. If your source is a PC: go into the sytem tray, select volume, crank it to 100%. Also check your media player’s volume setting. Are all at 100%? Let the Fulla control the output.

C. Check the “playback device” setting hidden in your PC’s volume setting too. Are all the output volume’s at 100%?

D. Disable competing multimedia devices. I’m wondering if your Z170 has commandeered the audio settings?

E. Disable competing completing, embedded audio chips on your motherboard.  My PC was shipped with the ubiquitous RealTek audio drivers (I ended up uninstalling them so that they wouldn’t compete with my Schiit).

 

Let the forum know how it went, @NerdPsycho .

Edited by Guest
Spelling, sheesh.
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On 2018-01-31 at 1:07 AM, Laucien said:

Hello!. 

 

Looking for a headphone amp/dac for my computer. I was gonna go with the Schiit stack but they're out of stock and since I'm gonna be traveling to the US in a couple days I can't wait until they get them back. 

 

For headphones I'm currently using a pair of V-Moda Crossfade Wireless 2 (wired). What would you guys recommend that's US$300ish tops? Although after reading @Dackzy 's post about another set of V-Moda's above looks like a Fulla 2 might be more than enough?. 

You’re in Argentina?! Like me (in Canada), you’ll get punished with USD exchange rates and duties. And common sense tells me you want something that’s portable for the plane trip there/back....

Possible options:

a. Audioquest Dragonfly Red.

b. JDS Labs Element.

c. JDS Labs Objective2+ODAC.

@Laucien , I’m a fanboy of the Schiit Audio product line; however, I understand that you’re restricted by geography and timing. @Max_Settings , would you mind checking my suggestions (and flag any b@llschiit? Thanks, eh.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
On 11/4/2018 at 6:51 AM, NerdPsycho said:

Hello, I recently bought a Fulla Schiit 2 and after testing it multiple times it just doesn't sound as good against my Asus Z170 Pro Gaming Aura's onboard soundcard (It already sounds fantastic). The bass is weak and it doesn't sound as full. I am using the HD6XX.

Question is, any recommendations for a mid range AMP or DAC, or should I get a combination of both. I want to truly realize it's potential.

you absolutely need to use both USBs for the fulla 2 if you want to power HD 6xx with it. It isn't a great amp and DAC for high impedance headphones, but it should be okay.

Something like the monoprice desktop amp is better for high impedance headphones, but it is also awful for low impedance headphones.

 

My guess is that there also is some coloration going on with your onboard that you like


Before you buy amp and dac.  My thoughts on the M50x  Ultimate Ears Reference monitor review I might have a thing for audio...

My main Headphones and IEMs:  K612 pro, HD 25 and Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor, HD 580 with HD 600 grills, Focal Elex

DAC and AMP: Dual PCM63k tube DAC, RME ADI 2 DAC, Cavalli Tube Hybrid

Speakers: Genelec 8040, System Audio SA205

Receiver: Denon AVR-1612

Desktop: R7 1700, GTX 1080  RX 580 8GB and other stuff

Laptop: ThinkPad P50: i7 6820HQ, M2000M. ThinkPad T420s: i7 2640M, NVS 4200M

Feel free to pm me if you have a question for me or quote me. If you want to hear what I have to say about something just tag me.

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On 3/9/2016 at 1:48 AM, Dackzy said:

Okay guys I have seen a lot of people on here is starting to wanting to buy amps and dacs and let me just explain to you guys why you need one and why you don't need one. This is going to be very basic and generalised.

 

Reasons to get a DAC.

 

1. Noise in your sound

2. Your onboard makes the sound warm or cold sounding

3. Over all low quality sound coming from your onboard

4. Can look nice

5. You want more detail and higher audio quality

 

Reasons to NOT get a DAC.

 

1. No noise.

2. No coloring in your onboard.

3. You already have "transparent" sound. ( kinda the same as Nr. 2)

4. Takes up space.

5. You will need to buy an amp.

 

Reasons to get a amp.

 

1. You can't power your headphones. (your headphones don't get loud enough)

2. Your headphones sound muddy only at that pc (kinda the same as Nr. 1)

3. Can look nice.

4. You want to try tube sound. (they get really hot, so do NOT touch them.)

5. You want better audio quality (though keep in mind that if your source is bad then it won't suddenly sound good with a better amp)

6. Less noise

 

Reasons to NOT get a amp.

 

1. You can power your headphones.

2. Takes up space.

 

Most motherboards on the market to day can power 90%-95% of all the headphones on the market. A DAC and amp will not make your headphones a lot better if you already have "transparent" sound and they are powered properly, they can bring out more detail and overall better audio quality, but I wouldn't recommend getting a DAC and amp if you don't have good headphones, I would rather recommend that you save the money and get better headphones, expecially if you are unhappy by the sound you have in your headphones, because no DAC and amp is suddenly going to do any major change the signature of your headphones.

 

Ohm does not say if your headphones are hard to drive or not.

 

You can have 600 Ohm headphones that are easier to drive than 32 Ohm headphones. It is the sensitivity and efficiency that matters the most.

A very quick exsample of this would be the K612 and the HE 560. The K612 has a ohm rating of 120 Ohm and a sensitivity rating of 101 SPL/V, while the HE 560 has a Ohm rating of 45 Ohm and a efficiency rating of 90 SPL/mW. Using a online calculator we get these results, which shows that the HE 560 will need more power than the K612, despite the K612 having a Ohm rating that is almost three times higher than the HE 560's.

I used this website to calculate the power needed http://www.digizoid.com/headphones-power.html

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Hifiman HE 560

hifiman 5602.png

 

AKG K612 pro

k612.png

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

Wnat to know how much power your headphones need and the math behind it? Look here

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Okay let’s explain this a bit more. Headphone drivers have efficiency that is shown as dB/mW or SPL/mW, but they also have a thing called sensitivity which is shown as dB/V or SPL/V, some headphone manufactors will list the sensitivity while others will list the efficiency, so how do you convert dB/mW to dB/V? It is actually really easy.

 

The formula goes like this math 1.png, just remember that multiplying sign is “stronger” than plus or minus, the same goes for dividing sing, so you must multiply and divide before you minus.

 

If you want to make dB/V into then the formula goes like this 

math 2.png

 

Let us take a little example with the DT 770 80 Ohm. They have a efficiency of 96 SPL/mW, so let’s see what that is in SPL/V

math3.png

 

Okay that gives us a sensitivity of about 107 SPL/V, let us see if this is correct

math4.png

Yep it matches up.

 

Now we can calculate how much power they need.

We are going to calculate our desired loudness to be 110dB, why? It is a good middle ground, which has a leeway of about +/- 5dB on either side. Pop music and compressed music has a peak SPL of about 105dB, while high dynamic range audio, like audiophile recordings has 115dB peak.

Let’s get on with the math.

We are first going to look at the calculation using the efficiency

We are first going to calculate the required power in milliwatts and we are again going to use the DT 770 80 ohm.

 

The Formulas goes like this

math5.png

Now let’s put in our numbers

math6.png

 

Let us now find out the milliamps with this formula

math7.png

Now we put our numbers in

math8.png

 

Now let’s find the voltage that we need

math9.png

 

Now we know the voltage, the watt and the ampere we need to get them to play at 110 dB.

 

Let us now make the calculation with sensitivity.

 

We start with the required voltage.

Which we use this formula for

math10.png

We have our sensitivity from before which was about 107 dB/V, so now we just plug our numbers in

math11.png

 

We can now find the required power with this formula

math12.png

This should give about 25 mW, just like what we got when we calculated the required power with efficiency

math13.png

 

Lastly, we have the current aka the milliamps. We are just going to divide the mW with the V

math14.png

And that is how you calculate the required power, volts and current with efficiency and sensitivity.

 

You can also use a website like this one to calculate everything for you.

http://www.digizoid.com/headphones-power.html

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Different explanations (keeping it simple)

  Reveal hidden contents

Noise: you have crakling or some other sound that should not be there.

 

Warm sound: You have more bass and lower mids in your sound when you use your headphones with that pc.

 

Cold sound: You have more treble and less bass in your sound when you use your headphones with that pc.

 

Coloring: Your DAC, amp adds treble/bass/mids.

 

Transparent: your DAC, amp does not add any extra treble/bass/mids to the sound. Nothing is 100% transparent, since everything has its own sound, it can just be a extremely subtle.

 

Tube amp/tube sound: A tube amp generally makes the sound smoother and warmer because it distorts the sound.

 

Going to add more advanced terms soon.

 

 

Before you go buy an amp for some headphones you just orded wait get the headphones and test them with your onboard before you go spend money on a amp.

Before you go buy an DAC amp combo, if you already has transparent sound and you have nothing wrong with your onboard DAC then you will not notice a difference between your onboard and a DAC and if you buy an DAC you will need an amp.

 

Remember sound is not black and white like some people say it is, there are more to sound than just specs.

 

Only look down here if you really need an DAC and amp or just an amp

 

Why get anything else than the cheap products?

  Reveal hidden contents

Okay, we have probably all been looking into some audio gear and seen a price where we just thought "WTF is going on here?". So now let me explain why we have audio gear that cost way over 1000$. This will be simple and VERY general, it is just to give you an idea of why.

 

DISCLAIMER: Just because something cost a lot, doesn't mean it is actually good or anything like that.


First DACs.

When you look at DACs, then you might have come across some that cost 1200$, but why are they better than the 100$ one? A DAC, takes your digital signal and makes it analog, but in the process of the digital signal being transformed into analog and out to your headphone amp or speaker amp it goes through many different components, which all add their own little "touch" to the end signal, each component will add some distortion in some way, which will change the sound a tiny bit or maybe a lot (depending on the part). 

 

The higher end DACs will use higher quality parts which in return means less distortion, but distortion is not everything, it is actually far from everything, let me explain. If you look at specs of a DAC you might see something like ES9018 or AK4490 in your 200$ DAC, but at the same time you might also see them in a DAC that cost 800$, so why is that? Well to put it simply, the implementation of the chip becomes better, which leads to more detail and overall cleaner sound, maybe even a bigger soundstage and better imaging. So the audio quality actually sees a bump. Once you go with the "higher end" DACs you also start to get balanced outputs such as dual 3 pin XLR and multiple inputs, some which you might never have seen before. Only you can say if it is worth it for you to pay maybe upwards of 2300$ for a DAC.

 

I think we covered the reasoning behind higher end DACs, now amps.
When you hear the word amp, you might think that an amp just amplifies a signal up and yes that is the basics of it, but amps also have their own sound, some might bring out some more bass, while others might tame the treble a bit. The cheap amps might have an output impedance of 20 ohms, while a high-end one might be 1 ohm, but why does this matter? the 20-ohm amp wouldn't be able to be used with IEMs without a lot of noise and distortion, while the 1-ohm amp wouldn't have those problems, but that isn't all. If you go through my list of amp recommendations and leave out the tube amps, then the power they give out it cleaner, less colored, don't drown the small details out and so on. You also start to see that some headphone amps get balanced inputs and output.

If you plan to really get into this and want high-end gear, then I would recommend reading up on some terms like: Speed, clarity, macrodynamics, microdynamics and microdetail (some calls this plankton). Though most of them kinda say what they are in their name. Also trust your own ears more than you trust other people and remember to test the actual gear before you buy it. So again the actual audio quality goes up.

 

I think this covers the basics of why we have the very expensive gear. Though I must add that some headphones will show a difference more clearly than others would. The Sennheiser HD 800's are known for being very picky, when it comes to amps and DACs and will show a bigger difference between different DACs and amps than a pair of AD500x's would or something like that, so also take your headphones into consideration when you pick up a new DAC or new amp or both.

What is a DAP? (Digital Audio Player)

  Reveal hidden contents

To put it simply, then a DAP is a high quality MP3 player, but a DAP usually support stuff that is FLAC or higher. You would typically see people with higher quality IEMs or CIEMs (Custom in ear monitors) have some form of a DAP, because they want the high audio quality that they bring to the table, combined with the low output impedance and more power. You would also typically see them used by people that want to test gear in stores or at shows, since they generally offer a higher audio quality than your phone or laptop and they are very portable.

 

There are generally two types of DAPs. 

The first type is a Android based DAP, it allows you to stream music via Wi-Fi and download different apps, it is basically just a phone without a sim tray and 4G, but with much better audio. Though they don't have a lot of CPU power, so don't expect to also play games on them.

 

The Second type is the one that is based on a custom OS, these cannot connect to Wi-Fi and stream Tidal or Spotify, so you are bound to only listen to the music you have on it, some of them do offer bluetooth, so you can stream Tidal or Spotify from your phone to your DAP.

 

Some DAPs also offer the ability to connect to a PC via USB, so you can use it at home as your personal DAC and amp.

 

So if you want higher audio quality on the go, then a DAP is probably what you are looking for.

 

I have used amazon.de and amazon.com for every product that is not from Schiit where I used their own webshop

 

Before looking at tube amps

A tube amp is best with headphones that have a high impedance because it is there they have their power, while a normal solid state amp normally has the most power in the lower ohms. I highly recommend not getting a tube amp for let's say 35 Ohm headphones, but rather a tube hybrid amp which is a mix of a tube and solid state amp, you get the sound of tubes while still having the power in the lower Ohms and having a lower output impedance.

 

My recommendations for desktop amps:

  Reveal hidden contents

Schiit Magni 3 EU= 120€ US= 99$

This is pretty much the go toamp if you have 100$, it can output a whole 2W at 32 Ohm and it has a clean detailed sound and offers great value. It has a low high gain switch on the back where you also find the power on off switch and the stereo RCA input. It can also function as a pre amp for your powered speakers.

 

Schiit Magni 2 Uber (Look used)

This is a Magni 2 with even more power and preout, so you can connect it to some powered speakers and control them with this. The max output goes from 1.2W at 32 Ohm to 1.5W at 3.2 Ohm. It is leaner and more analytical sounding than the new Magni 3.

 

 

Schiit vali 2  (tube hybrid)  EU= 189€ US= 169$

Not much to say about this tube amp, Schiit wanted to make a good cheap tube amp and they did, with a max output of 1000mW at 32 Ohm, this is a damn impressive little tube amp and it is easy to roll tubes with it, since it only has one tube. Disclaimer though, it doesn't get affected too much by the tube.

 

 

Schiit Valhalla 2 (tube amp) EU= 379€ US= 349$

This is another good tube amp from Schiit, it offers great audio quality for the price, it has a maximum output of 180mW at 50 Ohm which is often more than enough, but at 300 Ohm it has a maximum output of 800mW. It is very clean and detailed with good staging. It pairs well with high impedance headphones.

 

Meier Audio Corda Classic EU= 595€ US=575

If you are looking for a very analytical and neutral amp then this is the amp to get, I have yet to hear a single amp under 1200$ that offer this kind of neutrallity. It is made with very high quality parts that you ussually don't see in this budget that often and it offers two inputs, so you can hook it up to two different DACs if you desiere to do so. If this matters to you then you should know it is made by a guy in Germany. Keep in mind that he gives discounts when you come over a certain price and world-wide shipping is included in the price. I wouldn't recommend getting this if you are looking for a warm sound.

10
10
 

 

My recommendations for desktop DACs:

  Reveal hidden contents

Schiit Modi 2 Uber EU= 165€  US= 150$

This is a entry level DAC with USB, Toslink SPDIF and Coaxial inputs, it offers a good quality bump over onboard, but it cannot compete with higher end DACs when it comes to detail and precision, this is for most people all that they need. It can also only connect to one amp at a time via RCA. It has a bit of the "thick" lows that some schiit DACs have. It is a bit clearner sounding than the none Uber model and it also needs a wall outlet unlike the none Uber.

 

Micromega MyDAC EU= 220€  US= 375$

The pricing on this goes up and down. It offers you you three ways to connect it to your PC, you can choose between digital coaxial, optical toslink and USB, but it only has one stereo output. It offers a good soundstage for this price and the overall sound of it is very smooth.

 

Meier Audio Corda DACCORD EU= 645€ US= 705$

Not sure where to start with this one. It is very clean sounding, no added bass (like schiit), no added highs, great separation, amazing blacks, good width and a superb crossfeed filter. I can't really say anything bad about it for the price. It has Coaxial, Optical and USB, so you have a wide range of options when it comes to connecting it to your own system and it has both a fixed output and a variable output, so you can control the volume of powered monitors with it. This is IMO really how a DAC should sound when we hit this price range. Keep in mind that he gives discounts when you come over a certain price and world-wide shipping is included in the price.

 

Rotel RDD-1580 EU= 800€ US= 800$

This is a do it all kind of DAC, it has six inputs which include digital coaxial, optical toslink and USB, plus it has bluetooth so you can stream the music from your phone to it. It hits a good balance between features and sound, while still being made very well. It offers stereo balanced out and unbalanced RCA out.

 

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My recommendations for desktop Combos:

  Reveal hidden contents

Schiit Fulla 2  EU= 99€ US= 99$

Pretty much the best combo you can get for 99$ or 99€, more than powerful for a lot of headphones, while still having high audio quality like the rest of Schiit products. If you don't NEED the power of a Schiit stack, then get this one. It only has a single USB input.

 

Monoprice Desktop Amp EU=?? US= 70-80$

A competitor to the Fulla 2, but you should only use it with high impedance headphones, since the output impedance is 10 ohm, which is pretty high. The performance is solid for its price. It also has Pre out for powered speakers and line out so you can hook it up to a different amp and purely use it as a DAC, though I don't recommend doing this.

 

Audio-GD NFB-11.28

This one is a bit harder to get your hands on, but it is worth it. It has a very transparent sound with a lot of detail and offers a lot of power.

It has USB, optical and coaxial inputs. It just got upgraded with a Sabre 9028, instead of a 9018 and some other small upgrades.

You can buy from them directly here for 330$ (without shipping), if you are in EU then I have found it here for 409€ (without shipping)

 

Dangerous Music Source EU= 1100€ US=800$

Quite a nice combo for the price, with features that some might not need. It offers a very clean sound with a good amount of detail for the price and it is perfect for the guy that wants to control his powered speakers. You have separate controls for headphones and speakers. If you are looking for a combo that can do it all and have the money for this, then give it a look, if you don't need the extra features and so on, then maybe look into some of the separate DACs and amps on this thread.

 

RME ADI-2 Pro EU= 1590€ US= 1999$

This combo is about as good as it gets without spending an very obsene amount of money and even then it would be hard to find one that beats it in terms of detail and neutrallity.

It is a bit weird though with only one balanced headphone output and no unbalanced output. It offers many different features that you can go read up on.

 

RME ADI-2 DAC EU= 1000€ US= 1000$ 

This combo is about as good as it gets without spending an very obsene amount of money and even then it would be hard to find one that beats it in terms of detail and neutrallity.

It has both a normal 6.3mm and a 3.5mm output for headphones and the 3.5mm output is made for IEMs. It offers many different features that you can go read up on. Unlike the Pro model this model doesn't have the ADC part

 

Soekris 1541 Price depends on where you are but generally 1300€+

For the same or about the same price as the Gungnir Multibit you can get this combo and it beats the Gungnir multi in every single aspect except stagning and you also get a fairly good amp. It has different filters that actually change the sound and it has both balanced and unbalanced output to headphones and both balanced and unbalanced pre-output that you can use to hook it up to another amp or to active speakers.

3
 
 

 

My recommendations for small Combos that run on usb only:

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Fiio k1 EU= 50€ US= 40$ (on sale)
Only look at this if you need something really cheap. I would only get this if your onboard is broken.

 

Oppo HA-2 EU= 300€ US= 300$

you can use this one with a phone and it has a build in battery. It is very beautifully made and offers good audio quality for the price especially if you need something on the go.

 

 

My recommendations for DAPs (Digital audio players)

  Reveal hidden contents

Sony NW-A40 series (A45, A46 and A47)

This is for the more budget minded person. This series is great for anyone that want to get better audio quality on the go, but don't want to pay upwards of 500$. They are only unbalanced, but for their price they offer a good amount of detail with a overall natural sound to them.

 

Sony NW-ZX300

The little brother to the WM1A, but don't let that fool you it is a very capable DAP, like its bigger brother the WM1A it also have a unbalanced and a balanced output. It can't compete with the WM1A when it comes to detail and overall audio quality, but for its price it is a amazing DAP with a lot of detail and spacious sound. It also runs Sony's own OS and like its bigger brother it also offers Bluetooth

 

Sony NW-WM1A

Amazing DAP, it offers unbalanced and balanced output to headphones and it is very well known for offering very high audio quality with a lot of detail and is generally looked upon as the go to high end DAP. It does not have Wifi like some other DAPs, but it does have Bluetooth and the OS is not android, but rather Sony's own OS. 

 

Cowon Plenue D

This is one beutiful DAP both in looks and sound. If you want a small DAP for not a lot of money, but still want good audio quality then look no further. It is a very well respected DAP and for a good reason, it doesn't get much better in this price range, but it recently got some tough competistion from Sony's A40 seires. This is however a DAP with a touch screen.

 

I have seen way too many different prices on these DAPs to really set a range, but the Sony DAPs are set up so the cheapest ones are at the top. The Cowon is usually priced pretty similar to a Sony NW-A45.

 

Where do I find schiit in EU?

http://www.schiit-europe.com/

http://schiit.eu.com/   (UK)

 

Lastly if you have interference look at this guide SSL has made.

 

If you have suggestions about gear and explanations.

If you have some gear that you would like to see added then there are 4 options.

 

1. Comment the gear you would like to see added and why or send me a PM, I will then look into it very thoroughly when I have time and if I find it worthy, then it will be added. This option might take the longest.

2. Loan me a unit, I will then test it for a week or two, depending on my workload and if I find it worthy, then it will be added.

3. Buy me the unit, I don't expect anyone to do this, but it is an option. I will again test it for a week or two to see if it is good enough to come on the list or not.

4. Wait for me to find a place where I can test it.

 

If you want a explanation to something, then comment what you would like explained or send me a PM and then I will look into it.

 

FEEL FREE TO ASK ME ANYTHING ABOUT THIS POST

Remember there are no stupid questions, I am here to help.

I hope that this post helped you and cleared some things up for you 

Hello.

Is the Fulla 2 a good combo for HE4XX?

 

What are other/better options with similar price?

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Posted · Original PosterOP
10 hours ago, EcsDeeGeeGee said:

Hello.

Is the Fulla 2 a good combo for HE4XX?

 

What are other/better options with similar price?

I can't think of another 100$ combo with a low output impedance. If you can find a LH Labs Geek Out 1000, then that would be a pretty good unit too.


Before you buy amp and dac.  My thoughts on the M50x  Ultimate Ears Reference monitor review I might have a thing for audio...

My main Headphones and IEMs:  K612 pro, HD 25 and Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor, HD 580 with HD 600 grills, Focal Elex

DAC and AMP: Dual PCM63k tube DAC, RME ADI 2 DAC, Cavalli Tube Hybrid

Speakers: Genelec 8040, System Audio SA205

Receiver: Denon AVR-1612

Desktop: R7 1700, GTX 1080  RX 580 8GB and other stuff

Laptop: ThinkPad P50: i7 6820HQ, M2000M. ThinkPad T420s: i7 2640M, NVS 4200M

Feel free to pm me if you have a question for me or quote me. If you want to hear what I have to say about something just tag me.

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On 5/13/2018 at 11:01 PM, EcsDeeGeeGee said:

Hello.

Is the Fulla 2 a good combo for HE4XX?

 

What are other/better options with similar price?

As much as I'd urge you to pick up a more powerful (and versatile) headphone amplifier like a Schiit Magni3, and then use your source's DAC (or pick up a Schiit Modi), @Dackzy 's right on the money. Re: LH Labs Geek Out 1000. It looks like an oversized Dragonfly. It costs ~$248 Canadian on the amazon dot ca website. Just my 2 cents...

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Posted · Original PosterOP
11 hours ago, InvertedEar said:

If I may ask, how powerful are the RME ADI-2's? Like, can they drive an HE-5?

the ADI 2 DAC can output about 1.2W at 32 ohm per channel, about the same for the ADI 2 Pro in unbalanced mode and then about double that in balanced mode. Looking at HE 5 measurements from innerfidelity then HE-5 wants 4.65mW at 31 ohm. So just from specs then they both can drive HE-5


Before you buy amp and dac.  My thoughts on the M50x  Ultimate Ears Reference monitor review I might have a thing for audio...

My main Headphones and IEMs:  K612 pro, HD 25 and Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor, HD 580 with HD 600 grills, Focal Elex

DAC and AMP: Dual PCM63k tube DAC, RME ADI 2 DAC, Cavalli Tube Hybrid

Speakers: Genelec 8040, System Audio SA205

Receiver: Denon AVR-1612

Desktop: R7 1700, GTX 1080  RX 580 8GB and other stuff

Laptop: ThinkPad P50: i7 6820HQ, M2000M. ThinkPad T420s: i7 2640M, NVS 4200M

Feel free to pm me if you have a question for me or quote me. If you want to hear what I have to say about something just tag me.

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14 hours ago, Dackzy said:

the ADI 2 DAC can output about 1.2W at 32 ohm per channel, about the same for the ADI 2 Pro in unbalanced mode and then about double that in balanced mode. Looking at HE 5 measurements from innerfidelity then HE-5 wants 4.65mW at 31 ohm. So just from specs then they both can drive HE-5

I see. Thank you very much. And yeah, I thought the ADI 2 outputs 1.5w per channel at 32 ohms.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
4 hours ago, InvertedEar said:

I see. Thank you very much. And yeah, I thought the ADI 2 outputs 1.5w per channel at 32 ohms.

That's their max output, but at 32ohm they write 1.2W. Actually  it looks like it might be able to do 1.5W at 32ohm, the THD just goes from 0.0003% to 0.001%


Before you buy amp and dac.  My thoughts on the M50x  Ultimate Ears Reference monitor review I might have a thing for audio...

My main Headphones and IEMs:  K612 pro, HD 25 and Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor, HD 580 with HD 600 grills, Focal Elex

DAC and AMP: Dual PCM63k tube DAC, RME ADI 2 DAC, Cavalli Tube Hybrid

Speakers: Genelec 8040, System Audio SA205

Receiver: Denon AVR-1612

Desktop: R7 1700, GTX 1080  RX 580 8GB and other stuff

Laptop: ThinkPad P50: i7 6820HQ, M2000M. ThinkPad T420s: i7 2640M, NVS 4200M

Feel free to pm me if you have a question for me or quote me. If you want to hear what I have to say about something just tag me.

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3 hours ago, Dackzy said:

That's their max output, but at 32ohm they write 1.2W. Actually  it looks like it might be able to do 1.5W at 32ohm, the THD just goes from 0.0003% to 0.001%

I know this is an unfair comparison, but in terms of amp and dac performance and outside of features, how clean is the NFB11.28 vs the RME ADI-2?

I know it kinda went off topic, its just sheer curiosity. Plus I'm kinda tired of asking in headphone discords as everytime I ask for a more detailed answer when it came to those two... they just say "this is shit, get that one instead" and they rarely articulate properly. I would name names of those discord servers, but yeah...

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Posted · Original PosterOP
9 hours ago, InvertedEar said:

I know this is an unfair comparison, but in terms of amp and dac performance and outside of features, how clean is the NFB11.28 vs the RME ADI-2?

I know it kinda went off topic, its just sheer curiosity. Plus I'm kinda tired of asking in headphone discords as everytime I ask for a more detailed answer when it came to those two... they just say "this is shit, get that one instead" and they rarely articulate properly. I would name names of those discord servers, but yeah...

well first of there is a ADI 2, ADI 2 DAC and a ADI 2 Pro. I know that you are probably refering to the DAC and the Pro.

 

A lot of the people that like a warm sound and really just your average "audiophile" tends to say that the DAC and pro is too clean, which I don't personally agree with, but I am also into a very clean sound.

 

It isn't really a fair competition between the NFB 11 and a DAC or the Pro, because they are worlds apart in how clean and detailed they are. The NFB 11 has a warm and overall smooth sound, while the DAC/Pro is flat and precise. 

 

If you want something that is very detailed, clean and presice, then there is no doubt that the DAC/Pro wins without a sweat. The amp part is holding the DAC part a tad back, but it is still a good amp. All of this also makes it a fairly unforgiving combo, but a pretty amazing combo if you are into that sound or make music.

 

If you want a warm sound that is forgiving and something that can power basically all headphones, then NFB 11. But it has some issues, like the potentiometers that seem to break fairly fast and it has some "glare" and it does sound compressed compared to higher end combos.

 

Then again you are comparing a entry/mid range combo to a fairly high end combo.

 

Also if you meant the ADI 2 and not the DAC or Pro model, then you need to buy a seperate amp for it, because the amp that is build into the origional ADI 2 has a insanely high output impedance and is unsutable for any planar headphone.


Before you buy amp and dac.  My thoughts on the M50x  Ultimate Ears Reference monitor review I might have a thing for audio...

My main Headphones and IEMs:  K612 pro, HD 25 and Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor, HD 580 with HD 600 grills, Focal Elex

DAC and AMP: Dual PCM63k tube DAC, RME ADI 2 DAC, Cavalli Tube Hybrid

Speakers: Genelec 8040, System Audio SA205

Receiver: Denon AVR-1612

Desktop: R7 1700, GTX 1080  RX 580 8GB and other stuff

Laptop: ThinkPad P50: i7 6820HQ, M2000M. ThinkPad T420s: i7 2640M, NVS 4200M

Feel free to pm me if you have a question for me or quote me. If you want to hear what I have to say about something just tag me.

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8 hours ago, Dackzy said:

well first of there is a ADI 2, ADI 2 DAC and a ADI 2 Pro. I know that you are probably refering to the DAC and the Pro.

 

A lot of the people that like a warm sound and really just your average "audiophile" tends to say that the DAC and pro is too clean, which I don't personally agree with, but I am also into a very clean sound.

 

It isn't really a fair competition between the NFB 11 and a DAC or the Pro, because they are worlds apart in how clean and detailed they are. The NFB 11 has a warm and overall smooth sound, while the DAC/Pro is flat and precise. 

 

If you want something that is very detailed, clean and presice, then there is no doubt that the DAC/Pro wins without a sweat. The amp part is holding the DAC part a tad back, but it is still a good amp. All of this also makes it a fairly unforgiving combo, but a pretty amazing combo if you are into that sound or make music.

 

If you want a warm sound that is forgiving and something that can power basically all headphones, then NFB 11. But it has some issues, like the potentiometers that seem to break fairly fast and it has some "glare" and it does sound compressed compared to higher end combos.

 

Then again you are comparing a entry/mid range combo to a fairly high end combo.

 

Also if you meant the ADI 2 and not the DAC or Pro model, then you need to buy a seperate amp for it, because the amp that is build into the origional ADI 2 has a insanely high output impedance and is unsutable for any planar headphone.

Well, I was referring to the DAC/Pro version, which I failed to clarify because I just found out there is an ADI-2 version without the Pro/DAC in the name (and is big). But yeah, I wanted a very neutral amp because I've noticed on the Schiit Stack, Jotunheim, and at some point even the O2/ODAC and EL DAC and EL Amp, there's still some color and I like one that's flat as possible since I do a bit of mixing on the side and I like playing with EQ alot for casual listening. Then I heard the NFB11.28 is a neutral amp and later on the RME ADI-2 DAC and Pro and wanted a comparison between the two on how far the gap is.

 

Thank you for the clarification since now I know what to get. And yeah, I was just using the HE-4 as reference on if it can power it, but I don't really own one. I own an HD800S (which, even before reading this thread and the other thread, I know it can even be driven loud on a Schiit Stack, or probably on something weaker), I know, arguably overpriced, a used HD800 and Superdupont Resonator mod would've saved me more money, but its neutral enough. And come to think of it, the ADI-2 DAC or Pro would save me a little bit more sanity since I also just found out it technically can be used as an interface if connected to an RME interface with TotalMix FX via ADAT (which, correct me if I'm wrong, isn't it just optical?).

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Posted · Original PosterOP
On 24/5/2018 at 4:38 AM, InvertedEar said:

Well, I was referring to the DAC/Pro version, which I failed to clarify because I just found out there is an ADI-2 version without the Pro/DAC in the name (and is big). But yeah, I wanted a very neutral amp because I've noticed on the Schiit Stack, Jotunheim, and at some point even the O2/ODAC and EL DAC and EL Amp, there's still some color and I like one that's flat as possible since I do a bit of mixing on the side and I like playing with EQ alot for casual listening. Then I heard the NFB11.28 is a neutral amp and later on the RME ADI-2 DAC and Pro and wanted a comparison between the two on how far the gap is.

 

Thank you for the clarification since now I know what to get. And yeah, I was just using the HE-4 as reference on if it can power it, but I don't really own one. I own an HD800S (which, even before reading this thread and the other thread, I know it can even be driven loud on a Schiit Stack, or probably on something weaker), I know, arguably overpriced, a used HD800 and Superdupont Resonator mod would've saved me more money, but its neutral enough. And come to think of it, the ADI-2 DAC or Pro would save me a little bit more sanity since I also just found out it technically can be used as an interface if connected to an RME interface with TotalMix FX via ADAT (which, correct me if I'm wrong, isn't it just optical?).

I wouldn't call the NFB 11.28 neutral, it defiantly has some warmth to it

I have tried the HD 800 both with and without the Superdupont mod with my ADI 2 DAC and they play really nicely together, it is quite amazing.

RME recommends that you use the USB port on their devices.

 

Also if you need a ADC, then get the Pro model, since the DAC doesn't have that.


Before you buy amp and dac.  My thoughts on the M50x  Ultimate Ears Reference monitor review I might have a thing for audio...

My main Headphones and IEMs:  K612 pro, HD 25 and Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor, HD 580 with HD 600 grills, Focal Elex

DAC and AMP: Dual PCM63k tube DAC, RME ADI 2 DAC, Cavalli Tube Hybrid

Speakers: Genelec 8040, System Audio SA205

Receiver: Denon AVR-1612

Desktop: R7 1700, GTX 1080  RX 580 8GB and other stuff

Laptop: ThinkPad P50: i7 6820HQ, M2000M. ThinkPad T420s: i7 2640M, NVS 4200M

Feel free to pm me if you have a question for me or quote me. If you want to hear what I have to say about something just tag me.

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