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Entry Level Rig (HELP)

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hello, I'm just an entry-level audiophile that prefers good-quality music. Currently I own a Sennheiser HD555, and I would want to invest in an entry-level rig.

 

After extensive research that also fit a student's budget I have come up with 4 feasible options:

1) Purchase an Audinst HUD-MX1 DAC/Amp ~$180

2) Purchase Music Streamer II (DAC) & Schiit Asgard (Amp) ~$400

3) Purchase Little Dot DAC_II DAC-2 DACII DAC / Headphone Amplifier ~$260 

4) Purchase iBasso DAC/Amp (D2+, D4, or D10)

And in about half a year, I might upgrade my headphone to Sennheiser HD598 or HD600 or future updates to HD6XX

 

Given the above conditions, which path should I choose? I want the best value from the money spent...as I am tight on budget. Will the DAC/Amp combo drive HD600 well? Any other advices and suggestions are welcome! Thanks!


Edited by SACD01 - 11/12/10 at 11:32pm
post #2 of 17

my first amp/dac was the ibasso d4, served me well until i got the itch to upgrade- don't think  you can beat it for the money. don't know how it will power the hd6xxx, i'm sure if you search you can find some useful info.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Help! More advice and suggestions please!

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

There's 80 views but only 1 person posted? I thought this was a community that helps others...Please provide input! Thanks.

post #5 of 17
Relax. There are lots of people here but sometimes a thread needs to sit and stew for a bit before people chip in.

Heck, I spent a day at the office, came home to deal with a needy (and quite spoiled) cat, ate, and am now settling in with a few pints at my favorite bar.

I haven't heard the stuff you listed. But I can tell you that no matter what you buy, you'll be trapped in mid-fi purgatory if you keep the HD-555. I know you've read good reviews and probably enjoy them, but you've heard that saying about a sow's ear.

Go ahead and buy a used HD-600 for around $200. You'll enjoy it, even now. Then find a suitable amp and worry about the source later. Aside from recording quality, headphones make the most difference.

The next step is finding an amp that powers them well. There are some reasonably affordable solid state amps that are terrific with the HD-600. They are a far better value than tube amps that cost the same. Tubes are more expensive to do right due to their power supplies. You'll either have to pay more for similar quality or build one yourself.

Don't worry too much about the source. Digital is awfully good today, even the inexpensive stuff. A $50 DVD player will give you good quality - use the one you probably already have. The "source first" thing was a marketing strategy by Linn around 40 years ago. There was some truth to it back then, but digital didn't exist. Also, keep in mind that the same guy who promoted "source first" used to believe that an undriven driver in a room would ruin sound quality. No joke. It was a sin to have a speaker in a room that wasn't playing music. So take that claim with appropriate caution.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post

I can tell you that no matter what you buy, you'll be trapped in mid-fi purgatory if you keep the HD-555. I know you've read good reviews and probably enjoy them, but you've heard that saying about a sow's ear.

 

Uncle Erik speaks the truth, and its a truth that isn't well received by many on this forum. Things get even more heated when someone dares to mention that the HD595 isnt in the same league as the 600/650. 

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by SACD01 View Post

There's 80 views but only 1 person posted? I thought this was a community that helps others...Please provide input! Thanks.

 

As UE said, relax - this isnt a Call Centre in Mumbai. There are several long-time posters here who have fielded literally thousands of requests from people like yourself, and I believe that there is an extensive FAQ for newcomers. FOTM DAC/amps such as those you listed come and go - we all came here wild-eyed and enthusiastic, but it doesnt take long to see a pattern. Take your time.

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

Sorry for my impatience. Not trying to be rude in anyway, but in the original post I stated I WILL get a better headphone, just not right now. I do not have unlimited amount of cash. Since this is in the portable amp section, and the question being which DAC/amp is better, I am asking which dac/amp is recommended at the budget mentioned, and which has the most value for the amount of money spent, NOT if I should get a better headphone. However, THANK YOU for giving some advices. I really appreciate it since it's a sign this thread is not dead.

Now, back to my original question:

After further research, I have eliminated 1 more choice, and my final 3 plans are either getting the Audinst HUD MX1 or the iBasso D2+, or should I get the dedicated DAC and amp mentioned in original post. I'm not sure if the Audinst HUD MX1 can drive a better headphone, for example a HD600, if it can, I think I will go with the Audinst. 

So....if anyone has experience with the above 3, please, please, please provide some input. Thanks in advance. 

post #9 of 17

Get an ibasso D2+,a pair of SR80i's and have some fun for a few months.You will upgrade whatever you get,might just as well have some reasonably priced fun to start with.biggrin.gif

post #10 of 17

This I like.  I vote for this option.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wallace View Post

Get an ibasso D2+,a pair of SR80i's and have some fun for a few months.You will upgrade whatever you get,might just as well have some reasonably priced fun to start with.biggrin.gif

post #11 of 17

Haven't heard any of the DAC/ amps you posted, but if you are looking for an amp that can drive the HD 600 go for the Icon HDP ( DAC, S/PDIF DAC, headphone-amp + preamp out). It's great value for money and I think you won't regret it. Needs some time to burn in, but the sound is just amazing. I like the combo of HDP + HD600, but it depends on the music you are  listening to and of course on the source. Acoustic rock and classical is great with the HD600 imo, harder stuff ( rock, metal ) sometimes doesn't sound that good.

If you like a neutral and natural well-balanced sound you won't be disappointed with the HD600 normal_smile%20.gif

post #12 of 17

Another good entry headphone amp and dac combo is the Audio-gd Sparrow.  I really like mind, very neutral.

post #13 of 17

Go with the audinst, it will be able to drive most anything you will be looking into buying. Check out headfonia.com for reviews, he agrees with me and rates the Audinst as their number 1 all-in-one budget solution for DAC + amp. I am considering it or the Streamer II +, but I already have an arrow, so for me a "slightly" better DAC would be prefered over the all-in-one audinst.

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies! They're really helpful. 

Sooo...I think I will either get Audinst OR Nuforce Icon HDP. However, I do not have the budget for the Icon HDP, so I have to wait. frown.gif

The question is, which one offers more value? Does the $450 Icon HDP worth $270 more than the Audinst? 

Thanks again! Appreciate more feedbacks!

post #15 of 17

I would go for the Audioengine D1, I currently own the CEntrance Dacport which is very good but overpriced in my opnion, and tried the Furutech ADL GT40. Finally decided to go for the D1, and it sounds fantastic.

My source is a toshiba laptop + foobar 2000 with both redbook and 24/96 files.

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