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Nuforce µDAC 2 for AKG K 272 HD a good idea?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

So I've had my lovely AKG K 272 HD for about an year now and have enjoyed them all the time. Still, I suspect I'm not enjoying them to their full extent, as my source is a Realtek AC'97 chipset on a cheap laptop. They do get loud, but I suppose I'm not wrong if I say that the amount of juice that the headphones suck from the headphone jack isn't the only thing that accounts for great eargasms. My source needs an upgrade. Since the cans are easy to drive power-wise (91dB/mW, 55 Ω) I'm planning on starting with just the Nuforce µDAC 2 as both DAC and amp. The last time I felt an easily audible difference in sound was when I changed from the same Realtek chipset to an Asus Xonar DX-XD (sold that whole system, now stuck with laptop). The Audio Pro Stage 44 speakers opened a new world to me then. I heard faint instruments that didn't exist on the same files earlier, felt punchier explosions, and had much more life in human voices. Should I be noticing about he same things with this change to a decent source, perhaps even a better 'amp', or am I just dreaming when I think my headphones are 'bottlenecked' on my current hobo set-up?

Thanks!


Edited by pocketrocket - 9/23/10 at 1:46am
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 

I just found out about the Little Dot Q, on paper it sounds awesome, but I read they have some noise issues because of the DAC.

 

Little Dot Q

 

Littledot.net:

 

The Little Dot Q is a hybrid vacuum tube pre-stage (6n16d), transistor output stage (BC818/BC808 and MC33078) headphone amplifier with USB DAC (Burr-Brown PCM2704)

 

It doesn't have anything else than a 3.5mm headphone jack and DC in, so I suppose it's using the tube to amplify the headphone jack although it doesn't sound like it. Why do I feel like I'd be better off with a Nuforce µDAC 2 and getting a Little Dot MK II or III later as to future proof my set, because I might get more difficult to drive speakers like K 702 later on?
 


Edited by pocketrocket - 9/23/10 at 8:15am
post #3 of 10

i've read the dac has so little volume it's not even worth it, ur probably better off without it....

it would depend on your budget really, but from your udac and LD MKII/III, it think your budget can go up to the level of the NuForce HDP? i just got mine and really recommend it... do some reading on it, if you read the trend on it, one of the head-fiers mentioned the dac alone is in the $400+ class, also the amp is also in the $400+ class.... and they're added together for only $449, so it's pretty much future proof since the dac is so good, i don't see a reason in upgrading the dac...


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pocketrocket View Post

I just found out about the Little Dot Q, on paper it sounds awesome, but I read they have some noise issues because of the DAC.

 

Little Dot Q

 

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

I'd rather gradually get from mid-fi to hi-fi, try to find the sweet spot. I already like my AKG K 272 HD pretty much, and I have other things to invest on so I cannot possibly stretch from $100 to $450

post #5 of 10

O.... so u mean getting the udac now then maybe going LD MK II/III in the future?

my vote would be the udac... it's quiet small it hardly takes any space, you can move it around in the house without burning your hand on the tube.... if u ever get an upgrade in amp the udac will probably be useful while the LDQ will basically be useless with little resale value....
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pocketrocket View Post

I'd rather gradually get from mid-fi to hi-fi, try to find the sweet spot. I already like my AKG K 272 HD pretty much, and I have other things to invest on so I cannot possibly stretch from $100 to $450

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

 

Figured as much. I hope I get a decent uDAC 2 and won't notice the hissing issue some have had. Besides, the Q looks like a toy after the initial cute-factor. 

Thanks!


Edited by pocketrocket - 9/27/10 at 9:15pm
post #7 of 10

Glad to help...

 

From the reviews the amp section is not bad.... just that it won't suit your needs due to the crappy dac. The dac was added in at the last moment if what people say are true.... the indeed (which i'm using) or the bravo on ebay is much cheaper (if you bid on $0.01 auctions, you can probably get it for $40) and sounds great but it doesn't have a built in dac.... sounds even better than my Meier Aria which cost $200+.

 

I would recommend getting a second hand one if you can to save money, and you'll be sure there's nothing wrong with it....
 

Best of luck

Quote:
Originally Posted by pocketrocket View Post

 

Figured as much. I hope I get a decent uDAC 2 and won't notice the hissing issue some have had. Besides, the Q looks like a toy after the initial cute-factor. 

Thanks!

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

I'll keep an eye on my local hi-fi forum for second hand tube amps. Thanks for the Bravo tip, they look great for the price and ship internationally too! Will seriously have to consider one instead of a Little Dot MK II or the such. I'll try to keep my pants on and accept the uDAC 2 as my only 'can opener' as of now " class="bbcode_smiley" height="" src="http://files.head-fi.org/images/smilies//biggrin.gif" title="biggrin.gif" width="" />
I can already see the piles of tube amps, tubes and different headphones and pieces of DIY silver wire everywhere.. 

*creates an eBay account to auction for the Bravo V3*

a month later edit: I got the Indeed G2 for $48 which has been said to be of higher quality than the Bravo V2 (furthermore, it was strongly implied that the V3 is a joke due to the built in low quality equalizer). I have a bit of buyers remorse because for the same money I've bought the Indeed G2 and the FiiO E7 I could've bought a NuForce uDAC 2 but didn't because people were giving me the hissy scare with the weird rumors (which have been solved a good while ago, and I've heard the original uDAC 1, it was really awesome, noticeably better than the FiiO E7 which isn't a bad product by itself)


Edited by pocketrocket - 10/29/10 at 11:56pm
post #9 of 10
I own the NuForce uDAC (first edition) and the LD Q. I use them both, the uDAC driving the LD Q which in turn drives my AKG K172HD cans, or alternatively my Pioneer A109 MOSFET Class A amp driving a set of KEF 303 Series II matched pair speakers. The Pioneer is set to "direct" so it essentially functions as a simple amp with only volume control, bypassing bass, treble, loudness and balance circuits.

I use the LD Q as an amplifier only. I think the NuForce uDAC a little low on volume produced. The DAC in the LD Q is a total failure. The volume is far too low. It is supposed to get a revision, but as of today I have not seen LD sell/ship the new version with improved DAC. As an amplifier on the other hand it is superb. All in all I am very happy with this setup. The next step will be to replace the Pioneer A109 with a Topping TP60 T-Class (Tripath 2020) amp next month.

The uDAC has MUCH better dynamics, wider soundstage, and better frequency range than any Realtek on-board chipset. I use an ASRock Atom 330 or an EMTEC N200 media streamer as source, both have Realtek chip sets, but better ones than the AC 97 which is one of the worst sound chips ever produced.

Will you hear an improvement with the uDAC / LDQ? YES you certainly will. Better soundstage, sound definition. MUCH better bass. It is a very big improvement well worth the money. You can hear this both with the headphones and with speakers. I think the LD Q is worth the money as an amplifier. It improves on the uDAC's sound.FWIW, my uDAC 1 does not have any hiss/noise, nor does the sound drop out on one side with low volume. The combination uDAC + LD Q produces a superb sound with deep bass, very wide sound stage, brilliant highs and a completely black background.

I would go for a uDAC 2 with LD Mk III and a Class T amp to drive my speakers if I had to buy new now. I would probably go for new speakers with high sesibility (>90 dBA/W/m) as well, so I could go for a low-power T-Amp model

I think uDAC2 -> LD Mk3 -> Topping TP21 -> HLLY MT-3 set or headphones would be a great combination for a small room or desktop setup. The HLLY MT-3 speakers use a great driver from HiVi. Being a single driver speaker (Breitband) they avoid a lot of phase-shifting problems due to cross-over filters, and having high sensibility means you can go for the low-power TP21 T-Class amp and still get enough sound volume. Most of these items can be found cheap on eBay.

If you are not a fan of tube sound, you could skip the LD Mk III. From what I read the Tripath T-Amps already sound like good tube amps.
Edited by MaXMhZ - 12/7/10 at 5:19am
post #10 of 10

Can the NF udac2 as stand alone amp drive the Senn HD650 ? If so, how good ?

 

I am looking for a temporary budget HPamp so I can collect a few more cans before I seriously look at some hi-end HP amps.  There is always room for upgrading later. Thank you.

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