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Ultra Desktop Amp + Audioengine A5

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I am just wondering if anyone is using a similar setup to this below or has any recommendations for the following setup:

 

 

PC > WAV > Ultra Desktop Amp (via Kimper Kable USB) > HD650's (Cardas) & Audioengine A5's



I am looking to keep my costs under $2K including the amp and desktop speakers, I already have the HD650's and Cardas cable. I switch off between headphones and desktop speakers sometimes so that's why I'm looking to get both. Is anyone using the Audioengine P4's with an amp?

 

 

 

Thanks!

 

 

post #2 of 9

I have an almost identical setup...

 

Sounds good to me! Course, my experience is limited to HeadRoom's product so I can't really rock the boat. But I really have no desire to further my setup at this point. The Ultra runs you $1600 I believe and you're basically ready to rock n roll. You have the option of upgrading the power supply, but to me its not necessary.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your input! With your Ultra Desktop you don't have any issues with the bass without the power supply? Is your bass muddy or tight and controlled?

post #4 of 9

I've honestly never tried the amp without the DPS, and I got rid of my Astrodyne PS when I sold my regular desktop. I know that Aimlink has an Ultra as well and he can't tell a difference between the DPS and the Astrodyne. So I wouldn't really worry about it.

 

Bass is very tight, not muddy at all. The other day for fun I tried listening with just my Bithead, then went on and just plugged into my PC with no amp at all. With the Bithead the biggest thing I noticed was a complete lack of imaging and soundstage(compared with the Ultra), terms that I wasn't really familiar with firsthand until I was presented with a good example of what they were (when they weren't there!). And things just weren't as focused all around; bass, mids, treble, all of it. With no amp it was just not gonna cut it.

post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paganini Alfredo View Post

I've honestly never tried the amp without the DPS, and I got rid of my Astrodyne PS when I sold my regular desktop. I know that Aimlink has an Ultra as well and he can't tell a difference between the DPS and the Astrodyne. So I wouldn't really worry about it.

 

Bass is very tight, not muddy at all. The other day for fun I tried listening with just my Bithead, then went on and just plugged into my PC with no amp at all. With the Bithead the biggest thing I noticed was a complete lack of imaging and soundstage(compared with the Ultra), terms that I wasn't really familiar with firsthand until I was presented with a good example of what they were (when they weren't there!). And things just weren't as focused all around; bass, mids, treble, all of it. With no amp it was just not gonna cut it.


I did a cursory check of my Ultra Desktop without the DPS.  I couldn't tell a difference.  I wouldn't wish to make a comprehensive claim about this however since like comparing lossless and lossy files, you'll find it easy to tell a difference, while on other occasions you'll not be able to.  It all depends on the music.  Be that as it may, if the DPS does make a difference, it shouldn't be by much and it's again, a matter of diminishing returns and if you wish to get that extra bit of performance out of your setup.  I would certainly endorse it for my HD800's.  

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by sw98 View Post

Hi,

 

I am just wondering if anyone is using a similar setup to this below or has any recommendations for the following setup:

 

 

PC > WAV > Ultra Desktop Amp (via Kimper Kable USB) > HD650's (Cardas) & Audioengine A5's



I am looking to keep my costs under $2K including the amp and desktop speakers, I already have the HD650's and Cardas cable. . . .

 

 

I have and use: PC > HRDU (w/ DPS) > HD650 (w/ Cardas). For me, the DPS makes a difference. The HD650 in this setup is slightly veiled. The greatest advantage is the small footprint and the wide range of inputs.

 

I guess the tipping point is whether or not you're going to want better. If you do, then the next step would be the BUDA and UDAC and balanced cables for your HD650.

 

If you can find additional funds, you may want to bypass the SE setup and go straight to the balanced package with the DPS. It costs more now, but it may be cheaper in the long run.

 

The veil from the HD650 will disappear. The UDAC-BUDA combo is significantly better than the SE counterpart.

 

Looking to possible future upgrades, you may want to bypass the UDAC and get a balanced DAC with both RCA and XLR outs. This way, when you're ready, you can buy a better balanced amp (they usually come with a dual power supply unit) later on.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:

Looking to possible future upgrades, you may want to bypass the UDAC and get a balanced DAC with both RCA and XLR outs. This way, when you're ready, you can buy a better balanced amp (they usually come with a dual power supply unit) later on.

 

Would the Benchmark DAC1 USB + BUDA be a good combo?

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by sw98 View Post

 

 

Would the Benchmark DAC1 USB + BUDA be a good combo?


I've never tried the Benchmark DAC1 USB. However, from what I've read, it may be in the same class as the UDAC. You might want to do a Head-Fi search on balanced DACs. There are quite a few good ones that may actually cost less than the UDAC/DAC1. I use the Digital Link III (stock), and it costs around $700. But as I said, there are many out there.

post #9 of 9

I just sold a DLIII for $480 - you can find lots of used ones in the ~$500 range these days. At that price point, it's a terrific value, and I would think it would serve somebody very well if looking to lift the veil on the 650s (it's extremely transparent).

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