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First DAC purchase: HeadAmp Pico DAC vs Little Dot DAC 1 vs others?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I recently bought a pair of AKG K702 headphones and now need a DAC and amp to go with them.  As far as amps go, I'm considering the amps from Schiit Audio, but I'll wait on more impressions for the Asgard and wait until the Valhalla comes out to make that decision.  In the meantime, I have a 15-year-old Sony receiver that I can plug a DAC into as a temporary measure.

 

So, I'll be running Apple Lossless through foobar2000 with WASAPI output, mostly acoustic jazz ripped from CDs.  I can't find many reviews of the Pico DAC only and no comparisons between it and the Little Dot DAC 1.  If anyone has heard both, perhaps they could shed some light on the differences.  I'm looking for something that's maybe a little above entry-level, since I know if I get the cheapest I will just be curious and need to upgrade almost immediately.  So I'd like something that punches above its weight and that will be a significant difference to my laptop headphone out.  I'm sure most outboard DACs would be a big improvement, nevertheless, it would be good if the DAC could scale well if I decide to upgrade the amp to something from Woo Audio or a GS-1, for example (though I understand I might have to upgrade the DAC a few years down the road anyway).  My budget is about $400 maximum, including shipping and taxes.  Thanks for your help.

 

Edit:  I forgot to mention I need USB input on the DAC.


Edited by Lester Mobley - 6/24/10 at 7:57pm
post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 

I'm also considering the V-Dac.  Any thoughts?

post #3 of 14

From what I've read I'd say Pico, but they all seem to be okay choices.

post #4 of 14

I think you should consider Gamma 1 or 2 too.

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

How about a uDac?  That seems like a great bang-for-the-buck, and I read somewhere that it compared favourably to the pico!

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Wow, there are too many choices!

 

Now, I am considering three tentative options:

uDac + Schiit amp TBD

nuforce HDP

Audio-gd Fun

 

I seem to read rave reviews of all of these products and it's hard to sort out the flavour of the month from genuinely good products.  Oh well, I suppose that's the nature of the beast.  I'm presently leaning towards the first option for various reasons, though I would welcome any opinions on the matter.

post #7 of 14

Anyone else want to chime in with their experiences on the two DACs listed in the title? I'm interested in knowing how the Headamp Pico DAC stacks up against the Little Dot DAC-1. 

post #8 of 14

I had both the DAC-1 and Pico Amp+DAC...  I preferred the Pico as a DAC.  The DAC is USB powered and tiny as well (i.e. convenient) whereas the DAC-1 is quite large - bigger than the LD MK3...  I also didn't really care for the DAC-1 input selector...  If you're okay with USB only I'd say go for the Pico....

 

Drew

 

P.S. I also think the Pico sounds better than the uDAC (which I also own), both as a DAC and as an amp.  The HDP has a comparable DAC and better amp than the Pico...

 

P.P.S. I didn't really care for the Asgard with my K701s, HDP does a better job...


Edited by drews - 7/14/10 at 8:21pm
post #9 of 14

Hey Drews,

Thanks for your reply. I'm not really concerned with anything besides sound quality at the moment. That being said, did you like the Pico as a DAC more than the DAC-1 because of the things you mentioned or because of the sound quality?

post #10 of 14

I thought the Pico sounded better than the DAC-1 (which is still a fine DAC)...

post #11 of 14

I'm also curious about the Little Dot DAC - 1.

post #12 of 14

I just noticed that the Pico DAC is on sale for $279...  DAC-1 is $315 shipped I believe...  If I didn't just buy an Apogee Duet I'd order one...

post #13 of 14

Get a TubeMagic D1 and mod it, using a K701 myself, I'd recommend it any day and you'd probably save money on the amp too. Obviously, nobody besides me hasn't had a listen to the Skyline yet, so those are just my 0.02$.

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your help, drews.  I was actually thinking of the Schiit Valhalla since I'd heard about the poor match of the Asgard and K701/2.  And I was just about ready to buy a uDAC and wait to upgrade to a better DAC in a year or two, maybe the one I expect Schiit to come out with or the Arcam rDAC, but this sale on the Pico is tempting.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drews View Post

I just noticed that the Pico DAC is on sale for $279...  DAC-1 is $315 shipped I believe...  If I didn't just buy an Apogee Duet I'd order one...

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