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amp+dac in under 250$ for grado sr225i

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hi,

Im want to buy dac+amp for my grado sr225i as i told in the other trade, the price has gone more then twice the original and heres the finnal competitors:

1. nuforce udac+ little dot i+= 250$

2. mavrick d1=250$

3.audinst mx1=180$

4. asus essence stx= 160$

5. second handed ibasso d10= 200$.

 

I just dont know wich one to chosse, the combo of the udac +little dot i+ and the maverick are abit pricey to me but i can handle it.

The one looking the best to me right now is the audinst mx1, its not to priecy and looks not that bad.

The asus look interesting too, how does it stand next to the audinst as amp and as dac?

Wich one is the best sounding, the udac and the little dot or the mavrick?

 

Sorry for my poor english, tips will be appreciated!

post #2 of 18

 

I have not heard any of the other amps you mentioned in your thread except the Nuforce uDAC and D10.  

 

But, if you don't need portable then the uDAC feeding the RCA out into the HiFiMan EF2 would be a great budget rig, as Grados have good synergy with tube hybrid amps.  And the EF2 is good with a wide variety of headphones, including portable IEM, Grado, Ultrasone, Denon and Sennheiser.  The EF2 can sound noticeably better with upgraded tubes ($20-40 a set), but the stock ones still sound very nice.  

 

The uDAC is a definite upgrade as a source over the built-in DAC of the EF2, even though the EF2 is still better than the built-in audio of my Macbook pro. The uDAC via RCA out is very close to the performance of the D4's DAC and Pico DAC-only.  And, when you don't have time to warm up the EF2 amp for 20 minutes, the uDAC will still drive the SR-225 and other phones well, without needing to plug it into the wall.

 

While I have much better and costly rigs at home, I could be happy listening to the uDAC > EF2 for a long time.

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your answer,

currnly i cant afford both udac and hf2, would you recommend me to buy the udac first and then to add money to the hf2 or to buy the hf2 first and then the udac?

post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMG View Post


Thank you for your answer,



currnly i cant afford both udac and hf2, would you recommend me to buy the udac first and then to add money to the hf2 or to buy the hf2 first and then the udac?





Just to be clear, I'm talking about the head-direct EF2 amp which goes for $169, not the HF2 headphones. If you cant afford the $169 amp + $99 uDac then get the EF2 first and get the upgraded DAC later to feed into the EF2.
post #5 of 18

I was considering the exact same things as you about a week back, so here's what I decided-

I'll get a Musiland Monitor02 US right now as a DAC as it is supposed to be significantly better than the uDAC and costs a bit more than the uDAC too.

Since Grados do not benefit all that much from amping, I will get the more expensive Matrix M Stage amp much later when I get higher impedance cans. the LD1+ works well ONLY with low impedance cans, while the matrix works well with all.

post #6 of 18

I have had the Maverick, Audinst and µDAC and I'd say, get...

 

...the µDAC, if your budget is very limited. Even the µDAC will drive your Grados without problems and in a few months you'll perhaps have enough money for a dedicated desktop amp.

 

... the Maverick if you like the idea of a tube pre-out and don't mind that it doesn't support bit perfect WASAPI/Kernel Streaming for 16/44.1 under Windows. (perhaps that did change in the meantime?!) And it's probably the most versatile but also the biggest out of the three.

 

... the Audinst if you want to keep it small. It uses a similar headphone amp as AMB's Mini³ - which is a very good (portable) amp. And it works like a charme, at least under Windows. For me the Audinst delivered the best "over all performance".

 

Everyone of those three is well worth the asked price - expecially the µDAC and the Audinst. At this moment, the Audinst is probably the best "fire & forget" solution out there, at least in my opinion.

 

regards.

bearmann

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 

i dont understand the problem in the udac, im using windows 7 and 90% of my music is flac-apple losseless and is see its sample rate= 44.100kHz and sample size=16bit, the connection will be usb and the music player is itunes or winamp will it make a problem?

and what does WASAPI/Kernel  means?


Edited by TheMG - 7/14/10 at 10:16am
post #8 of 18

There is now problem with the µDAC... ???

 

WASAPI and kernel streaming are alternative modes in Windows to access the soundcard / DAC exclusively and to circumvent the Windows Kernel Mixer (which resamples every audio stream to 48KHz).

Have a look at the wikipedia for further information.

 

regards.

bearmann

post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMG View Post

i dont understand the problem in the udac, im using windows 7 and 90% of my music is flac-apple losseless and is see its sample rate= 44.100kHz and sample size=16bit, the connection will be usb and the music player is itunes or winamp will it make a problem?

and what does WASAPI/Kernel  means?


I don't understand what you are saying, what problem are you talking about?  The uDAC doesn't have a problem, but windows can degrade the sound if it goes through the operating system's sound mixer.  So, there are ways out there to bypass the Windows OS sound mixer.  See below.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bearmann View Post

There is now problem with the µDAC... ???

 

WASAPI and kernel streaming are alternative modes in Windows to access the soundcard / DAC exclusively and to circumvent the Windows Kernel Mixer (which resamples every audio stream to 48KHz).

Have a look at the wikipedia for further information.

 

regards.

bearmann

post #10 of 18

IMO go with the Asus STX. Better VFM.

post #11 of 18

Sorry, double post

post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

Sorry, I ment the mavrick d1: "on't mind that it doesn't support bit perfect WASAPI/Kernel Streaming for 16/44.1 under Windows."

post #13 of 18

Well,

you can't use Kernel Streaming or WASAPI with the Maverick - as far as I know! (Have a look at the thread about the Maverick)

If you don't care about bit perfect audio output, then there shouldn't be any problem for you with the Maverick. It's still a good dac/amp combo and well worth the asked price.

 

Have a further look into WASAPI and Windows Kernel Mixer resampling, to judge for your own, whether or not you want bit perfect audio or not...

 

regards.

bearmann

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by bearmann View Post

Well,

you can't use Kernel Streaming or WASAPI with the Maverick - as far as I know! (Have a look at the thread about the Maverick)

 


I know WASAPI can be used, I've done it. Problem is that the USB seems to only do 16/48. Drivers can allow other data but the DAC doesn't "click" to change sample rate. Me and other users are convinced that's all it does. I would imagine that if you upsample everything to 48khz and used WASAPI that you would be getting close to bit-perfect if not fully bit-perfect. Any other format (especially higher) and you're not. I've purchased a Teralink X2 to use with the Maverick D1, it should make for a pleasant experience especially with the improvement that the SUN HDAM and WE 396A provide that I plan to get sometime soon (said to beat $500 DAC's).

post #15 of 18

@ _Spanky_

 

You're right, didn't make myself clear. WASAPI is working with the Maverick if you resample everything to 48KHz. But (for me) the whole point about WASAPI is the ability to circumvent the 48KHz resampling of the Windows Kernel Mixer. So resampling your audio stream in order to use WASAPI just seems wrong... at least for me. (especially when resampling from 44.1 to 48, which obviously isn't a multiple of 44.1)

So IMHO using the Maverick with WASAPI / Kernel Streaming is futile because of the necessary software resampling - at least for the majority of your Audio-CD data.

 

regards.

bearmann

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