I know these two amps are in different price leagues but is the Woo Audio worth the extra money? Currently the MK III can be had for about $225 and the Woo Audio 3 for $495 plus shipping. I am using a set of beyer dt770's and wondering if I should get the Woo Audio 3 or if the Little Dot MK III would suffice for music listening and gaming on the pc. I have a sound card with decent dacs already so dont need a dac. I have never heard a tube amp before but what people describe them as, sounds like what i want to hear out of a set of headphones. I just dont know if shelling out the $500 is worth it. I also plan on one day upgrading my dt770's to some darth's. Thanks
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- Headphone ImpedanceEdited on 8/18/12
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Little Dot MK III VS Woo Audio 3
Head-Fi's Best Sellers
I bought my LD MKIV SE from a guy who also owned the WA3 (or at least compared them). He said the WA3 was a bit more musical but that they were comparable.
FWIW I compared the MKIII and MKIV SE at a meet and me and the other guy both agreed they are not that different. I didn't really listen that good to the differences but the other guy did and said that the MKIV SE was only slightly better in terms of resolution.
Seeing the huge difference in price the MKIII would be the sensible choice. The WA3 would be better but it's also a lot more expensive. If you however feel that money is well spent on a better amp, get the WA3. :-)
That's quite a strange collection of gear, can't say I love it, can't say I don't like it either. Bass-head much?
I would really consider upgrading your source... unless you have a REALLY killer soundcard...
Xonar HDAV 1.3 is based on the PCB1796 DAC chip with LM4562 output stage, quite decent, but it's still just a sound card. I'm all for sound cards, to a certain degree, but after a point, external DACs all the way. I specifically like older DACs that used to be $1500 retail that now sell for ~ $350.
As for not wanting to pay shipping prices from China, just add it to the price of the product and look at what you're getting for the combined price. Also, I don't know if audio manufacturers let you return items just because you don't like them... For that, I'd consider just buying used, off the forum.
So basically what your saying is that my soundcard is decent and i would need to spend around the $250ish and up range for better dacs? I mean i have thought about external usb dacs but im already spending all this money on gear that another dac might be a little much but maybe in the future. I could always sell it and buy a usb dac. The company Schiit which i bought the Asgard from acutaly states their 15 day satisfaction guaranteed policy saying they understand that everyone is not able to go and test out their gear with other parts and for whatever reason you dont like it just give them a call and get a ra # thats why i went with this one just to see how it is. Any specific usb or pci dacs that come to mind? Just some famous ones or well known ones for the $150-$200 ish range? or are those on par with what i have?
Thanks again i really appreciate the feedback guys.
When entering Hi-fi audio, its important to leave PCI sound cards behind. The inside of a computer is an extremely electronically noisy environment, and that can mess with the digital audio signal that your dac is sending. That is one major reason why external DAC's are superior. Sure, some PCI cards offer shielding over their components, but its still not ideal.
I'd recommend going for used equipment. If you can find the Musical Fidelity V-DAC (MSRP = $300) used for your price point, that'd be a great place to start.
If your not down to go used (which is understandable for a wary first time hi-fi buyer) I'd recommend buying a portable DAC. NuForce uDac2 is great for the money. The E-mu 0404 also has a pretty good DAC, but its meant more for pro audio which means it will give you a generally flat frequency response. It may not be the last word in musicality, but it offers a plethora of input and output options for $200
All you need is a good USB 2.0 built-in port or expansion card on your computer. Then a NuForce Icon uDAC-2 DAC come with sole USB input for digital audio interface. The uDAC-2 DAC seems to has good built-in jitter reduction feature which is critical in minimizing distortion caused by timing inconsistency (biggest concern in transmission of digital audio data). Yes do not waste anymore money on expensive sound card with analog audio outputs no matter how good sound card vendors have stated in their marketing material. There is no way sound card can beat external DAC in term of sound quality, better still you can change your computer and operating system without affecting operation of external DAC (sound card needs proper driver to work).
In future when money permit for upgrade, find a good USB-to-SPDIF converter such as brands like HiFace, Audiophilleo to cut down jitter further and to provide a good SPDIF coaxial port as better digital audio interface for better external DAC models than the NuForce Icon uDAC-2 (many good conventional DAC models do not have USB interface, or come with sub-standard USB interface).
By the way Little Dot MK3 and Woo Audio 3 are tube amplifiers which have quite different sound signature from solid-state amplifier such as Schiit Asgard. Which to use depends on your purpose, headphone and music genre. I have auditioned Asgard (solid-state) and Valhalla (tube) at the same store and decided to buy Valhalla for my HD600 headphone and music genres. Both amplifiers are from The Schiit company.
- Little Dot MK III VS Woo Audio 3
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