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Newbie Looking for Guidance

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
OK, so I've spent the last week or so browsing and reading any even seemingly useful information I could get my hands on around here, and I think I've made some decisions about what I'm looking to get. Currently I'm thinking about:

Source: PC*
DAC: Zero
Amp: LD MKIII
Cans: Alessandro MS1s

I'm pretty set on the cans, so it's really on the rest of the setup I'm looking for any tips, pointers, etc. Would I be better off forgoing the Zero and getting a superior sound card, i.e. an Asus Xonar Essence (I chose my current setup as I prefer to keep software out of the equation as much as possible)? Is there a headphone amp that would be a better match for the MS1s?

For budget, I'm not looking to spend more than $200 (shipping excluded) on any one thing. As for musical tastes, I mostly listen to folk, blues, rock, punk, metal, etc. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated!


*Asus M3A79-T Mobo w/ ADI AD2000B audio chip (which is apparently the same as the AD1989B).
post #2 of 18
I believe it does not make sense to spend to much for amplification in this case. The MS1 is easy to drive, and does not have so much resolution that you should be able to hear differneces between the amps. The Zero should definitely be enough.
post #3 of 18
Doesn't the Zero have only optical/coax inputs? Does your mobo have those outputs, or are you going to use USB->digital audio adapter?
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddie78 View Post
I believe it does not make sense to spend to much for amplification in this case. The MS1 is easy to drive, and does not have so much resolution that you should be able to hear differneces between the amps. The Zero should definitely be enough.
Well, the reason for the amp was twofold: firstly, because I've read some things about tubes that really made me want to give them a spin, and secondly, because if I really like the MS1s, I'll almost definitely upgrade to the MSPs.

But I might leave the MKIII out for now anyway, then add it in the future if I feel the sound needs a little something extra.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post
Doesn't the Zero have only optical/coax inputs? Does your mobo have those outputs, or are you going to use USB->digital audio adapter?
My mobo has both optical and coax outputs. Having a USB option as well would be nice just to do some comparison tests against SPDIF, but I'm not terribly worried about it. Though if someone were to suggest a worthy alternative to the Zero which included a USB input, I would certainly be inclined to consider it.
post #5 of 18
Maybe you should consider the Audio GD Compass. It is over $200 dollars but it has a good Dac and a good Amp. It also has an output if you ever choose to buy an amp if and when you upgrade cans.
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mow_the_hawk View Post
Maybe you should consider the Audio GD Compass. It is over $200 dollars but it has a good Dac and a good Amp. It also has an output if you ever choose to buy an amp if and when you upgrade cans.
yep, getting an amp/dac will be much better value than getting them seperately.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hmm...are there any good tube amp/dacs? I just really have my heart set on tubes.
post #8 of 18
I'd leave tubes for amplification and not the output stage of a DAC. You'd be much better off buying a good dac and a separate headamp (with shiney glowing tubes).
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigTony View Post
I'd leave tubes for amplification and not the output stage of a DAC. You'd be much better off buying a good dac and a separate headamp (with shiney glowing tubes).
Well in that case, how do you feel about a Zero DAC paired with a Little Dot MKIII?
post #10 of 18
The effects that amps have on your sound is very overrated, as a newbie I recommend you not to care about amps and just get your entry-level headphone, a good entry level DAC and worry about the amps when you get a headphone worth getting a good amp for.

And for your information, the STX is far superior to the Zero DAC.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scytheavatar View Post
And for your information, the STX is far superior to the Zero DAC.
STX? You mean the Xonar Essence STX?
post #12 of 18
yes, Xonar Essence STX

if you really like the tubed grado sound, go with what you've originaly selected, nothing is wrong with it

the Xonar might replace the Zero quite nicely (and I'd suggest doing that, if it were me) although I wouldn't get the STX if your'e getting the LD, grab the Xonar D2 or D2X (PCI or PCIe, get whats compatable) and go from there to your tubed amp and hp's


one thing, if you're going with grado's, you might wanna wait a day or two, and look at the new "i" re-released grado's (like SR-125i or SR-225i, even SR-80i), they changed enclosures and drivers, so it might be worth waiting to read more about
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
What's the reason for taking the D2/X over the STX?

And yeah, now that I've seen the new Grados, I think I'll probably wait until I see more reviews for those before I make my final purchase.
post #14 of 18
if you're buying the little dot hp amp, why spend extra money on the STX just to get the built in hp amp, when the D2/X is going to give you 99.9% of the sound quality, just sans that hp amp, and save you like $50
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Ah, well on newegg.com, the STX ($199) is only $20 more than the D2, and the same price as the D2X. Is there someplace I could get it for less?

EDIT: Excluding a $35 mail-in-rebate on the D2.
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