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Amp/Dac for Denon AH-D2000 (now with initial thoughts!)

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Morning all,


Just purchased a Denon AH-D2000, primarily for use with my Macbook Pro and am currently using it directly with the headphone output on the notebook. While I am pleased with the Denon's performance in general, I am also understanding how it needs to be amped to get the best out of it (i.e. driving it too hard now makes the bass sound loose and uncontrolled while trebles get shrill).


Hence...I am looking for a good entry level amp/dac combo. I am currently considering the Fiio E7 and iBasso D2 (Boa), though they do not necessarily have to be portable. If the difference between the Fiio E7 and iBasso D2 isn't enormous, I would prefer to save the money and get the E7, but what are people's opinion in general on this matter?


Many thanks!



post #2 of 10

The NuForce Icon Mobile has good synergy with the D2000s...and it's cheap.

post #3 of 10

I can help you search, too...


amp D2000

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Excellent. Looks like the Nuforce Icon Mobile matches well with D2000's low-end...unless anyone else has another recommendation?


Many thanks!

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

One other question before I decide...I have heard good things about the NuForce Icon but did a search and did not find anything about how well it interacted with the Denon D2000? Would it be considered a noticeable improvement, or am I better saving my money and going with the Icon Mobile (or outright saving my money and going for a measurably more expensive desktop amp/dac)?

post #6 of 10

I have the d2000 with an E7, I like what I hear from the E7 and d2000 combo.  I say whatever you do get an amp for the d2000, in my opinion the d2000 needs an amp.  Whatever one you can afford, without an amp the d2000 sounds little, slightly hollow, bass is distance and not tight, and overall sounds are slightly slow.


From other member comment, I read the icon mobile sounds nice with the d2000 also.  I'm not very experience with amps at all, but I do know that I like what I hear from what the E7 does for the D2000.  hope this helps as I wish someone would of told me this earlier as I was disappointed with what the d2000 has to offer before I bought an amp.  Without an amp, I didn't think the d2000 is really worth the price, with an amp i am more satisfied with my purchase.


I hope someone can chime in the difference between a more powerful amp such as the E9 vs. a cheaper amp such as the icon mobile and E7 can do for the d2000 or any more powerful amp.


  Oh, I guess I should also say that I like the E7 for the bass boost although I only use bass boost 1.  I'm somewhat of a minor basshead.  I think the bass boost feature is some sort of EQ as it changes the sound signature a little as you go up the different level and that is why I stick with bass boost level one as it only changes a little bit.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks soundeffect, I agree with the above and good to know the E7 is a good option. I've burned the Denons in for about 15 hours now, but am sure an amp/dac would do wonders for it. Between the Fiio E7 and the Nuforce Icon/Icon Mobile, the consensus seems to be that the Nuforce's brighter sounding amp will match well with the Denon's recessed mids and deep lows. The only remaining question is, from a cost perspective whether the Icon Mobile is sufficient for the purposes of driving the Denon or if the Icon Desktop will be a noticeable improvement given the additional cost...


Basically looking for the sweet spot in terms of cost/performance.

post #8 of 10

    I'm also curious what the Nuforce brighter sounding amp will do for d2000.  The Nuforce mobile was one of my option when I was in the hunt for an amp.  I ended up choosing the E7 for it's dac capability and bass boost, although the bass boost wasn't necessary once I received the amp.  I do appreciate the bass boost option though.  I think you will find out that once the d2000 is paired with an amp, the mids moves forward plus other benefits. 


  Keep us posted on what you decision will be and what you find out especially if you go for the desktop route.  I curious to find out if the d2000 can still gain more benefits.  Even though I find the little E7 is already pretty darn good which I'm sure the icon mobile probable would do the same.

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Now that I have paired the Denon d2000s with the Nuforce Icon Mobile (with close to 100 hours of use), I feel like I can make a few observations. I have set the gain to (+) for "full-size headphones", with the volume at about 50 - 60% (depending on the song). All songs are iTunes downloads (256kb AAC).


- the bass is measurably tighter and better controlled. Most of the flubbiness that was apparent w/o the amp is gone.

- the Nuforce IM's bright sounding nature definitely suits the d2000s. The generally recessed mids are more pronounced, and to be precise, better integrated with the lows and highs.


The IM provides a noticeable improvement to what are the d2000s greatest strength: musicality. Recommended for those on a budget.


Of course, this begs the question if there are other amp/dac combos that could obtain even better performance out of these great cans. Also, I have read a bit about the markl mod, but was more curious whether there are any performance gains from ONLY getting the plastic shells replaced with wood cups? It is also an aesthetic issue: the right earcup has a small but annoying scuff mark.


Happy to answer any questions!

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Wood cups recommended? Bueller? ;)

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