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Need an amp/preamp and possibly a DAC for my HD-580's...

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

So I am finally doing more music listening at my PC and while I've had my Sennheiser HD-580's for a while I never felt the need to get a dedicated amp for them as I didnt use them all that much.  Now that things have changed I am ready to take the plunge into higher fidelity at my PC.

 

So far I just installed windows 7 on my PC so I'm starting from scratch.  My sound card is a Creative X-Fi Xtremegamer. 

 

Im looking for a DAC/AMP/Preamp combo or just an AMP/Preamp (if my xtremegamer is up to the task) to really make my HD580's shine.

 

Wide variety of music including Rock, Pop, Jazz and Big Band, Alternative, Electronic and some Classical.  I guess pretty much everything except Rap and old style country.

 

Only requirement is that it have stereo line outputs as well for use with a 2.1 amplified system I will be building.  And that those outputs are either switchable or turn off when headphones are plugged in.  The Amp will be used as a preamp with the 2.1 amp system so a volume control is required as well.

 

I would like to keep the cost as low as possible and get some good sound.  I'd like to find that "sweetspot" between price/performance.  I figure I can start around the $250-$300 price range for the Amp/Preamp.

 

What do you guys suggest I look toward to start this project??? 

post #2 of 8

Here's a great place to start:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/search.php?search=amp+dac+580

post #3 of 8

Audinst HUD-mx1 sounds like it fits the bill for all of your requirements. It is a great little USB DAC and headphone amp, also has RCA outs to act as a pre-amp. There is a front panel switch to select headphone or line-out operation, and of course the volume control applies to the RCA outs. At $179, it is highly recommended.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

Audinst HUD-mx1 sounds like it fits the bill for all of your requirements. It is a great little USB DAC and headphone amp, also has RCA outs to act as a pre-amp. There is a front panel switch to select headphone or line-out operation, and of course the volume control applies to the RCA outs. At $179, it is highly recommended.


 

I have read about this amp.  Sounds like a good one.  Others I have read about in this price range are the:

 

AUNE HIFIDIY

Maverick Audio D1

Audio GD FUN

Zero

Matrix Mini

and the Audinst MX1 you suggested.

 

If I did all my reading right Im pretty sure all the amps on the list have all the needed features.

 

Which of these is the best fit for the HD580's?
 

post #5 of 8

Well I guess the primary difference between those DACs when used with HD580 is the matter of taste. I know someone did a comparison between Audinst and Audio-gd FUN and Audio-GD FUN was better for the reviewer's taste, but he also said that differences are significant in sound signature rather than one device being clearly better than the other. Audio-GD FUN had significantly better AMP section from what I remember and I am not suprised by it since FUN is much bigger and more expensive.

 

Matrix... I believe it could be better than both but only if you like its 'special' sound. While majority of new DAC/AMPs seems to look for wider soundstage and more detailed (and 'audiophile') sound Mini-i is something different. It has more 'analog' sound. I do not know which version of drivers you have in your HD580, but I heard that the old drivers were darker. If you have the old ones I would not pick Mini- as it is supposed to be dark either.

 

Zero and Maverick? I belive they are slightly worse than all of the above, but I might be wrong. I have to admit that have not heard any of these DAC/AMPsm but I considered all of them myself and have read a lot about them. I would be particularly interested in Audinst since it has very good price/performance ratio and is very compact. It is also capable of 24/96 via USB and not many DACs can 'do' it (for now). It can be also powered via USB if plugged to powerful USB port so you can take it and use it with laptop. It also means less cables at home.

post #6 of 8

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamski View Post

Only requirement is that it have stereo line outputs as well for use with a 2.1 amplified system I will be building.  And that those outputs are either switchable or turn off when headphones are plugged in.  The Amp will be used as a preamp with the 2.1 amp system so a volume control is required as well.

 


I have owned the Aune, and it is very versatile and a good amp/dac for its price. It has plenty of paths for upgrading. But it fails your requirement. The RCA outputs are always on, and they are not affected by the volume control.

 

The Audinst meets your requirements and is reputed to be a very good DAC.

 

The Maverick specifically has a pre-amp function built in.

 

Don't really know that much about the others you listed, except that some focus more on the DAC side, and others more on the amp side.

 

More DAC:

Audinst MX1

Matrix Mini

Zero

 

More amp:

Maverick Audio D1

Audio GD FUN

post #7 of 8

As a beginner, you might want to start small by spending less, which is why I suggest the Audinst. You can add a dedicated amp later on if you get more into the hobby.

 

Most of the other options listed would likey satisfy you as well, so I don't think you can really go wrong here. Just pick one and give it a shot, if you aren't happy sell it on the forum here for a bit less than what you paid, no big loss.

post #8 of 8

"Matrix Mini-i" for 308 is an great deal

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