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Best Amp/DAC combo unit for under $400 - Page 2

post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by backwardsname View Post
Well, I ended up getting the HeadRoom Micro Amp and DAC separately. I went $300 over budget, but I'm really happy with it so far. I've only received the DAC (the amp arrives tomorrow), but it's made a huge improvement over both my sound card and my Icon Mobile. The clarity and imaging are significantly improved, and everything sounds just a bit warmer. Bass is more powerful, but no less controlled.

Ultimately, I looked around and nearly everything else was going to be a much more complicated ordering process -- I'm sure there are plenty of nice amps and DACs made by individuals and more obscure shops, but there's something to be said for the professionalism and ease-of-use that HeadRoom offers. Big enough to have things in stock ahead of time, take credit cards, and offer reasonable shipping rates, but small enough to take my calls during the ordering process and get back to my emails within minutes, often times. The quality of service was really great.

I'm very excited to hear what happens tomorrow when I can pair it with the Micro amp.

A quick question: do DACs have burn-in? I know amps do, and obviously headphones, so I sort of assumed that DACs also experience burn-in, but I'm not entirely sure.
So, what do you think about them now that you have both?

I still have my Micro DAC/Amp combo, and it is the main DAC/Amp for my bedside rig which I feed from either an iRiver H140 via optical or a Sony D-EJ2000 portable CD via optical. I also often feed the Micro DAC into my modded Stax SR-001 in ear amp/phones. I used to alternate between the Micro Amp and Meier Headfive or Travagans Red with upgraded opamps for the bedside amp, but haven't used those others in a while.
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
So, what do you think about them now that you have both?

I still have my Micro DAC/Amp combo, and it is the main DAC/Amp for my bedside rig which I feed from either an iRiver H140 via optical or a Sony D-EJ2000 portable CD via optical. I also often feed the Micro DAC into my modded Stax SR-001 in ear amp/phones. I used to alternate between the Micro Amp and Meier Headfive or Travagans Red with upgraded opamps for the bedside amp, but haven't used those others in a while.
Well, I really enjoyed the combo with my D2000s, and my boss's D5000s. The clarity and detail were much improved, bass was significantly more powerful (if maybe less controlled than I would prefer), imaging was substantially improved, and the whole thing had just a lovely, fun, musical sound to it.

I just couldn't shake the feeling that there was a sort of veiled sound, though. I think this is in part due to going between the D2000 and the D5000 and back again (the D5k is definitely more open-sounding than the D2k), but ultimately I found myself wanting more. However, given the pricetag, it's an excellent set-up, and I decided to go back to HeadRoom to upgrade, and just purchased the Ultra Micro stack which arrived yesterday.

So now I'm $850 (including cables) over budget, but there's a reason the motto here is "sorry about your wallet," right?

And, I have to say, it was worth every penny. The Ultra Micro stack has significantly tighter bass, much greater detail/articulation, greatly improved soundstage, and much less recessed, much lusher mids.

So I guess now I can go back to focusing on buying headphones again, and try to get my hands on some HD 650s for comparison.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by backwardsname View Post
Well, I really enjoyed the combo with my D2000s, and my boss's D5000s. The clarity and detail were much improved, bass was significantly more powerful (if maybe less controlled than I would prefer), imaging was substantially improved, and the whole thing had just a lovely, fun, musical sound to it.

I just couldn't shake the feeling that there was a sort of veiled sound, though. I think this is in part due to going between the D2000 and the D5000 and back again (the D5k is definitely more open-sounding than the D2k), but ultimately I found myself wanting more. However, given the pricetag, it's an excellent set-up, and I decided to go back to HeadRoom to upgrade, and just purchased the Ultra Micro stack which arrived yesterday.

So now I'm $850 (including cables) over budget, but there's a reason the motto here is "sorry about your wallet," right?

And, I have to say, it was worth every penny. The Ultra Micro stack has significantly tighter bass, much greater detail/articulation, greatly improved soundstage, and much less recessed, much lusher mids.

So I guess now I can go back to focusing on buying headphones again, and try to get my hands on some HD 650s for comparison.
For me the upgrade from the Micro Stack was my maxed Woo WA6 with all the fixings and Apogee mini-DAC, but I kept the Micro Stack for my bedside rig rather than sell it once my upgrade arrived.
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
For me the upgrade from the Micro Stack was my maxed Woo WA6 with all the fixings and Apogee mini-DAC, but I kept the Micro Stack for my bedside rig rather than sell it once my upgrade arrived.
Unfortunately I had to sell my old stack in order to pay for this one, but my boss was very eager to grab them off me, and he was willing to pay nearly full-price for 'em.

I'd like to get into tubes at some point, for comparison, but I think for the moment my focus is going to be on headphones themselves. At the end of the day, that's still where I hear the biggest difference.
post #20 of 22
Glad to hear you liked the Micro Stack with Denons, as I'm about to order it to accompany my AuzenTech HTHD and D5000s.

And like you I plan to pick up more headphones after, most likely going to start with K702s or DT880s though, as I have always wanted a pair of both (well, K701s, but K702s style is nicer and of course the 1/8 inch plug is better since I'll have the micro amp).

Let us know what you think of the HD650s with the Ultra Micro stack, if you decide to purchase a pair.
post #21 of 22
Just got the Nu Force Icon Mobile. Not burned in yet but much better than my Headroom Total Bithead. Much quieter, more detailed sound (not harsh or edgy). deeper, wider soundstage than my old Creative Soundblaster Audigy 2S laptop card. Noise floor apparently much lower than previous options with much less "hash" at higher volumes. And this with old Koss KSC75's!

Acquiring new headphones soon, maybe Grado SR 60's or Sennheiser448's. Any thoughts , recommendations?

Appreciate it.

Musical tastes: Jazz, R&B, Fusion (Jazz/Metal), Acoustic (CSNY, Michael Hedges, Keith Jarrett, Tuck Andress, etc.) Regarding R&B: Strongly recommend "The 76 Degrees West Band" & Marcel & The Truth ("Hopes Too High", "Symbols")
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrpetemd View Post
Just got the Nu Force Icon Mobile. Not burned in yet but much better than my Headroom Total Bithead. Much quieter, more detailed sound (not harsh or edgy). deeper, wider soundstage than my old Creative Soundblaster Audigy 2S laptop card. Noise floor apparently much lower than previous options with much less "hash" at higher volumes. And this with old Koss KSC75's!

Acquiring new headphones soon, maybe Grado SR 60's or Sennheiser448's. Any thoughts , recommendations?

Appreciate it.

Musical tastes: Jazz, R&B, Fusion (Jazz/Metal), Acoustic (CSNY, Michael Hedges, Keith Jarrett, Tuck Andress, etc.) Regarding R&B: Strongly recommend "The 76 Degrees West Band" & Marcel & The Truth ("Hopes Too High", "Symbols")
I like the D2000 with the Icon Mobile, as they pair nicely together.
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