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PROPERLY Deciding On Amp/DAC - Page 2

post #16 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by TStewart422 View Post
So, if I get what you're saying, the Audio-GD Compass should be enough for my amp AND DAC needs for around $300.
It should definitely be enough from what I've read. If you want some other options, you may want to look at:

Behringer DEQ2496 Ultracurve Pro from zZounds.com!

This is a great piece of kit, and in hindsight I wish I would've gotten this instead of the setup I have now. It'll perform similarly to the Compass (both perform well beyond audible limits) but this also comes with an equalizer, which can bring hours and hours of fun by experimenting with different curves to modify the frequency response of your headphones. Headphones are perfect candidates for EQ because of the lack of a room conflating the frequency response of speakers. At any rate, either one will do, I think the Behringer has more bang for your buck in terms of features. However, if you don't ever plan on using EQ, the compass looks nicer and is simpler to operate, which might play a role in your decision.
post #17 of 94
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help! The Compass is smaller and will fit on my desktop perfectly! SO GLAD I found this subforum!
post #18 of 94
^Well, I am indeed happy I bought the DEQ2496. It is an amazing piece of gear.

I use the following configuration:

Laptop - Behringer UCA202 - toslink - DEQ2496 - XLR to RCA - Amp - Headphones

If you get the DEQ + a cheap headphone amp and extremely cheap external sound card (eg: Amazon.com: Behringer U Control UCA202 USB Audio Interface: Electronics) you will have a killer system.

Then if the DEQ features are not enough for you it is extremely useful if you ever plan to build a speaker setup and correct acoustic issues in your room.

Edit: If you go for the compass you will get a nice piece of equipment but the price/performance/utility ratio will not be the same as the DEQ2496. Anyways hope you enjoy it. I have read it has some HUM issues if you plan to use it as a pre-amp, but if you don't then you need not worry.

Edit2: ANyone willing to help me find the millennium HP1 specs?
post #19 of 94
If you really believe amps and DAC's are all the same, then by all means definitely buy something cheap that's reasonably well-made.

If you are somewhat open-minded, however, and want to achieve the best sound for a reasonable price, I would suggest asking a similar question in the Headphone Amps (full size) forum and the Dedicated Source Components forum. You'll probably get a wider range of opinions, less trolling and inflammatory comments, less dogmatism, and more helpful advice (i.e., more people participate in those subforums).
post #20 of 94
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullseye View Post
^Well, I am indeed happy I bought the DEQ2496. It is an amazing piece of gear.

I use the following configuration:

Laptop - Behringer UCA202 - toslink - DEQ2496 - XLR to RCA - Amp - Headphones

If you get the DEQ + a cheap headphone amp and extremely cheap external sound card (eg: Amazon.com: Behringer U Control UCA202 USB Audio Interface: Electronics) you will have a killer system.

Then if the DEQ features are not enough for you it is extremely useful if you ever plan to build a speaker setup and correct acoustic issues in your room.

Edit: If you go for the compass you will get a nice piece of equipment but the price/performance/utility ratio will not be the same as the DEQ2496. Anyways hope you enjoy it. I have read it has some HUM issues if you plan to use it as a pre-amp, but if you don't then you need not worry.

Edit2: ANyone willing to help me find the millennium HP1 specs?
Like I said earlier on, I'm looking for a nice combo that looks good. It needed to fit on my desktop, as well.

The DEQ2496 - $300 + EQ + BALANCED (Is balanced all that great?)
Compass - $350 + Desktop-sized + PRETTY~!
post #21 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by TStewart422 View Post
Like I said earlier on, I'm looking for a nice combo that looks good. It needed to fit on my desktop, as well.

The DEQ2496 - $300 + EQ + BALANCED (Is balanced all that great?)
Compass - $350 + Desktop-sized + PRETTY~!
I'd assume if you went with the DEQ2496 you'd use the optical out of your soundcard, so the balanced operation would only be of value if you ran balanced to your amplifier.

In proaudio, balanced signal paths are a way of reducing noise. For headphone amps, it is a way of doubling power cheaply - four amplifier channels, one to push and one to pull each stereo channel, giving you twice the voltage.
post #22 of 94
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ph0rk View Post
I'd assume if you went with the DEQ2496 you'd use the optical out of your soundcard, so the balanced operation would only be of value if you ran balanced to your amplifier.

In proaudio, balanced signal paths are a way of reducing noise. For headphone amps, it is a way of doubling power cheaply - four amplifier channels, one to push and one to pull each stereo channel, giving you twice the voltage.
Which means that going balanced has no real advantage to me since I'm getting sufficient voltage from the Compass?
post #23 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by TStewart422 View Post
Thanks for the help! The Compass is smaller and will fit on my desktop perfectly! SO GLAD I found this subforum!
Enjoy your gear! I forgot to mention size, but it's a notable concern, especially for desk usage as opposed to on a rack somewhere (I have my amp sitting right on top of my PC case).
post #24 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by TStewart422 View Post
Which means that going balanced has no real advantage to me since I'm getting sufficient voltage from the Compass?
There's really no advantage. There are disadvantages to running balanced as well, such as doubling output impedance. There's probably no real-world impact on the doubled impedance, but there's no point in losing that just to double voltage well beyond your needs.
post #25 of 94
To the OP: The HD650 are 300 ohm impedance and sound better balanced when driven by an amp with 120 ohm output impedance, per the IEC 61938 spec. Grados are much lower impedance, 32 ohm, and prefer to be driven by a low impedance.

Royalcrown: Balanced amplification and balanced drive don't necessarily mean double the output impedance - it depends on the design of the amp. For example, mine has the same output impedance in both the single ended and balanced output versions.
post #26 of 94
Donald: You're absolutely right, I meant to say that going balanced worsens damping factor, not that the amp has a higher output impedance. My mistake. I still do think that the reduced damping factor probably won't do anything audible at the end of the day. I have heard from various engineers (including Elias Gwinn who works for Benchmark and frequents head-fi and other audio forums) that balanced amplifiers double source output, but I don't know enough about how balanced amps work to confidently assert this, and at any rate it wasn't what I meant to say.
post #27 of 94
I find it impossible that any person with reasonable hearing capability cannot distinguish between the sound of the HD650 when driven single ended by a compass and driven balanced by the Phoenix. (blind tested or not)

Moreover, benefits of balanced drive does not require a balanced source if the balanced amp has a phase splitter.

But you guys can carry on.
post #28 of 94
hmmm, no offence, but why is this thread posted here? The amp and/or dac sections of the forum would be a better place.

(not to mention that this is a simple 'what to buy?' thread, which imo, could be answered by the search function + google)
post #29 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald North View Post
To the OP: The HD650 are 300 ohm impedance and sound better balanced when driven by an amp with 120 ohm output impedance, per the IEC 61938 spec. Grados are much lower impedance, 32 ohm, and prefer to be driven by a low impedance.
Mr North, I really dislike when someone like you that has a line of products "Donald North Audio" DNA Donald North Audio on-wall speakers on wall mount speakers bookshelf speakers high efficiency point source dipole loudspeakers vacuum tube SET triode headphone amplifier and an economical interest behind, spits something like "sound better balanced" without giving further explanation. Very little people, not my case, know what the IEC 61938 spec is, and for some who won't bother searching for it will just sound intelligent and will suffice for them. For other people it is not enough

This is the sound science forum, and as such an explanation is always welcome/expected -in most cases-.

From what I know, that comes from a *Mechanical or Electrical Engineer (that has been working on DRC systems and much more -don't know his personal life-), the only "benefit" from going balanced is "doubling available voltage winning 6dB of power". (Which for headphones is not needed, he adds). He speaks about the term "Bridged amplifiers" as seen here:

Bridged and paralleled amplifiers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

To me it makes a lot of sense that some people believe that "balanced configuration" sounds better, because it sounds louder...

Edit: It makes much more sense after you see some comments like haloxt, previous comments from blueyez, etc and all the data that backs up the rest of the "myths" from audio. I might be wrong, he might be wrong, but a lot of things point that he is not...

Something like that is what would have been nice from you to write, Donald North. No hard feelings.

* Don't know how his studies are exactly called in english but his knowledge is quite wide.
post #30 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullseye View Post
To me it makes a lot of sense that some people believe that "balanced configuration" sounds better, because it sounds louder...
Bulleyes, this is an honest question here: Have you heard the HD650 balanced?

I JUST heard it for the first time and although one can argue that it isn't necessarily "better sounding", I can definitely tell you that it sounds different no matter what volume I listen at.

From my experience here: A balanced HD650 sounds nothing like a single ended one.
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