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Step up from the Nuforce HDP

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 

 

So i'm playing with idea of taking a step up from the Nuforce HDP and i was just looking for some advice. What really would be a worth while upgrade?

I was looking at these: 

HeadRoom Desktop Amp/DAC

Burson Audio Ha-160D
I could also keep the HDP and use it as a DAC and just get a new amp but i do not know how to just use the DAC function

I would be using this Amp/DAC with my D7000's, HD650's, and possibly some T1's

I'm also open to suggestions so just let me know what you think.

My budget would be from around 800$-1500$ depending on how a couple of things go for me.

Oh also I have never used a tube amp so i have no idea how they work so just keep that in mind.

 

post #2 of 56

Subscribed 

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I'm curious about amp/DAC combos for a future HD6X0 purchase. I was considering the Nuforce to start with...

post #3 of 56
Thread Starter 

Bump

post #4 of 56

I always thought to myself that if I were to upgrade from the HDP I'd go with an Audio GD dac19 + c2 amp combo.  I heard the dac19/c2 combo and was impressed but I wasn't impressed enough to spend double the price of the HDP on it.  I think if I were to truly upgrade from the HDP I'd have to go with a balanced dac/amp like the Audio GD NFB-10.  Then again you'd have to go balanced but I feel for an actual worthwhile upgrade from the HDP you'd need to go that route.  Then again that's just my opinion but keep in mind I was one of the first adopters of the HDP with a Denon headphone and so far it's been doing great (Actually so great that I haven't felt the need to upgrade). 

 

Also the NFB-10 is around $780-850 depending on which version you choose.  With shipping and balance re-termination costs you'd be looking at around $900-1000. 

post #5 of 56
Thread Starter 

What exactly is the process to balance re-terminate, is it just a cable replacement?

post #6 of 56

It's not even a cable replacement but you just cut off your single ended 1/4th inch plug and solder on a balance connector.  You live in portland so you can try hitting up ALO audio / 32 ohm to see how much they charge.  Actually if you do could you send me a PM on how much they're asking? I'm actually kind of interested in doing it now but will have to wait for the funds to arrive.

post #7 of 56

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bubbacritz View Post

What exactly is the process to balance re-terminate, is it just a cable replacement?

Answer: you could re-terminate by soldering yourself (agd's instructionsor you can buy a balanced cable (for the 650s at least, not sure if the d7k has a detachable cable).
 

Soldering it yourself is much cheaper, it's just $30 for agd's kit.

post #8 of 56
Thread Starter 

So is a balanced connection just inherently better sounding than just a standard 1/4 jack? And are there anymore recommendations out there?

post #9 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbacritz View Post

 

So i'm playing with idea of taking a step up from the Nuforce HDP and i was just looking for some advice. What really would be a worth while upgrade?

I was looking at these: 

HeadRoom Desktop Amp/DAC

Burson Audio Ha-160D
I could also keep the HDP and use it as a DAC and just get a new amp but i do not know how to just use the DAC function

I would be using this Amp/DAC with my D7000's, HD650's, and possibly some T1's

I'm also open to suggestions so just let me know what you think.

My budget would be from around 800$-1500$ depending on how a couple of things go for me.

Oh also I have never used a tube amp so i have no idea how they work so just keep that in mind.

 

To use the HDP as DAC you just connect a pair of cables from the rear RCA outs to the RCA ins of your new amp. Using a tube amp isn't really any different, except you usually have to insert the tubes into their sockets when you get it (they just press in once you line the pins up). Well you might want to give it 20 minutes or so to warm up after you turn it on  to sound it's best too.
 

post #10 of 56
Thread Starter 

Sometimes this place really bothers me, i'm really feeling the upgrade itch hard now :/

Any other suggestions?

post #11 of 56

Buy it, try it, if you don't like then return it or resell it.  The fact is that you'll never know until you try it =)

 

Simple as that man.

post #12 of 56

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bubbacritz View Post

So is a balanced connection just inherently better sounding than just a standard 1/4 jack "(SE)"? And are there anymore recommendations out there?

There are a few people who prefer SE to balanced (finding SE more natural compared to the details resolved with balanced) but from what I gather, balanced set-ups are generally more desirable.  See headroom's FAQ on balanced headphones.  Balanced set-ups are normally very expensive (since they're basically 2 amplifiers), sometimes it's advised around Head-fi that when your budget for a balanced set-up is only around $1K, you may get better sound out of a $1K SE amplifier.  That said, you can still set yourself up with an entry level balanced rig with your budget, with one of the little dot balanced tube amps + balanced dac (Streamer Pro?) or a combo like the above mentioned NFB-10.

 

If you stay SE, you may as well continue using the HDP as a DAC & try out a nice SE tube amplifier like the (Woo Audio) WA6 SE or one of the Little Dot tube amps (or Burson HA160).  As far as using a tube amplifier, it's used the same way you'd connect a solid state amplifier.  

 

Have you considered DIY?  Or commissioning DIY?  A Bijou (tube) or Beta22 (SS, top of the line SS)?  

 

The best thing to do, probably, is find out when the next meet is in your area, find out what kind of gear will be there & check it out.

post #13 of 56
Thread Starter 

That woo audio amp looks pretty nice, is the power supply and the amp a package deal?

post #14 of 56

I owned a really modded WA6 and I liked my HDP headphone out more than it.  Think of it this way, what are the weaknesses of a Denon? Most people say that the bass could be a bit more controlled and that's exactly what a solid state amp does.  When you add a tube amp you do get an increase in sound stage but it smears the bass all throughout the spectrum.  I'm not sure if that's the sound you're looking for but I'd think twice before buying a tube amp especially if you own a Denon. 

post #15 of 56

rolleyes.gif  

 

Then I guess you'll have to go balanced if you want anything more than a marginal upgrade.

 

The upgrade bug bit me hard two weeks ago.  I was scouring Head-fi for impressions on SE amps, dacs & entry-level balanced gear with a budget similar to yours.  I would peg my gear (Audio GD Fun) in the same "tier" as your HDP.  Well after a week of reading I could only conclude that anything SE would only be a marginal improvement.  I will probably build a Buffalo 32 & B22 or get the NFB10ES, which utilizes a top of the line dac chip, the ES9018, & is balanced to boot.  .

 

To answer your question, yes, I believe the power supply unit is included in the Woo WA6-SE.

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