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Woo Audio 3 + Meier Stagedac, best bang-for-the-buck in the price range?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I have done some reading, and found that both of these products received good reviews, and had features that I like. My budget, unfortunately, is a bit smaller than I would have liked, so my max would be around $1200 for a DAC and an amplifier. Ideally, I would like to keep it under $1000, but I realize that head-fi isn't the best way to save my wallet. ;)

 

I like the fact that the Stagedac can also function as a preamp, in case I choose to use it with a speaker setup, and I also think I would enjoy the crossfeed settings very much, along with the significantly superior digital to analog conversion. I also had a chance to try my HD595s with a Woo Audio 6 earlier this year at a headphone meet, and found the pairing to be quite pleasant.

 

I realize it might be a bit silly to spend $1200 in electronics for a pair of $200 headphones, but I am trying to avoid a piecemeal upgrade path (for example, purchasing a 0404 USB, then upgrading later, instead of doing it 'right' the first time). If I ever did choose to upgrade my headphones, however, I very much enjoyed the sound of the HD650s when I demo'd them. I have used the HD595s with a ZERO DAC/amp in the past, which I sold due to the persistent smell of rubber coming from the unit, if that provides any insight in to the audio 'jump forward' I am attempting to make.

 

Essentially, I'm hoping for some alternate suggestions that might bring my audio expenditures under control, and failing that, advice on how well the Stagedac and the Woo Audio 3 will pair up. I would like to apologize in advance for my poor English, and, additionally, offer my thanks in advance to anyone who chooses to help!
 

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post #2 of 8

hmm... being OTL I'm not sure how the Woo Audio 3 will do with the low-impedence HD595, and it might sound different from the Woo6 because of their different designs (Woo6 is transformer coupled). Whilst the HD595 do like a good amp from my experience (but that was some time ago and I was less aware of placebo then) the improvement is not that huge and I think you should wait until your next headphone upgrade from worrying about amps.

post #3 of 8

If you're using the HD595 then you can honestly get away with any cheap amp/dac like the hifiman ef2.  I will tell you first hand that you won't notice too much of a difference on a HD595 with a nice amp as the headphones don't require too much power to drive in the first place. 

 

Then again you do have HD800's listed in your signature but it would be easier to help if you listed what headphones you have.

post #4 of 8

The 3+ is fine but you have to warm it up for at least 1 and a 1/2 to 2 hours before it will do any low impedance headphones. I warm up, listen to my 580's for a while then my MS-2's. Been doing it for a while now.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Alright, I figured that my potential choices in amplification might be a bit overkill for an HD595. I will do some research on the hifiman ef2, but are there any other 'cheaper' amps I should be looking at? Also, is there any point in pairing a Stagedac with HD595s, or will I just be throwing money away?

 

Just for reference, Poetik, I only have the HD595s; the HD800s in my avatar were just the one I picked due to how beautiful they looked. ;)

post #6 of 8

well... there is a dearth of good feedback on the site regarding the stagedac.

and i'm not sure why.  could have something to do with the dac19 being "all the rage" in that price range...

 

but, i can say without a doubt that the stagedac is fantastic. 

 

other than the T1s, it's the best purchase i've made in head-fi. 

 

and, btw, you can't go wrong with woo amps.  they don't make no junk. 

 

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks TheWuss, good to hear that it is a solid performer. I have heard about the DAC19, and read quite a few reviews, but I am quite excited about the fact that the Stagedac can be used as a preamp. I didn't mention this in the original post, but I also intend to use my DAC choice with a pair of older bookshelf speakers I have lying around. I also have a pretty decent power amplifier, too, but I have no DAC or preamp, so my purchase can (I hope) serve a double purpose. Now I just need to determine if the Stagedac is worth the extra $200 over the DAC19, especially considering I would need to purchase a preamp too if I got the DAC19.

post #8 of 8

also, the stagedac has a wonderful crossfeed circuit.  i've enjoyed it immensely.

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