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Audio Technica ATH-AD700 DAC help

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi.  I've owned these headphones for a while now and although I have been impressed with them (they're the first "real" cans I have owned), I don't think they are operating at their full potential.  For one thing, I just don't hear the incredible soundstage that people talk about in reference to them.  It's ok, but much less than I expected.  Also, I have gathered from the forums that "lossless" files are the only way to go for good music reproduction, but I can't hear any difference between 128MB mp3's and FLAC audio files played through my laptop.

 

The only other parameter seems to be my source.  I am considering several DAC/headphone amps to see if that would improve things, including the Maverick Audio TubeMagic DAC D1/Xiangsheng DAC-01A, Audio-GD Sparrow or NFB-12, or even the NuForce Icon uDAC2.  Are there other good DAC/amps in this price range to consider?  How do these compare?  Most importantly, how much difference could getting a DAC have on the sound quality I'm hearing from my AT's?

 

Thanks

post #2 of 8

The uDAC should be a good pairing. It sounds slightly warm and elevated in the bottom end and lower mids, which is exactly where I found the AD700 to be a bit lacking. Depending on how good your source is now you may or may not see a huge difference.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks, CFabian.  My source is my laptop and a Toshiba DVD player.  Isn't true that if you're using a DAC the "source" pretty much boils down to the quality of the audio file?  Does it make a difference whether the digital signal is taken from a stand-alone CD or DVD player, DAP, or a USB out on a laptop?

 

Do you think the DAC would help widen the soundstage?

 

David

post #4 of 8

The soundstage with the AD700s are huge and I doubt ANY amp would improve them that much. Unless theirs something seriously wrong with your source, I honestly dont think your soundstage is gonna get any bigger.

 

and if the soundstage on the AD700s arent enough for you I dont know what to tell ya besides you might wanna  invest in an actual speaker system..

post #5 of 8

If you're looking for an upgrade, might I suggest looking into new headphones, rather than a DAC? The Ad700 are great headphones, but I absolutely love my Ad900s more than the Ad700s in every aspect, even unamped/no DAC other than onboard. They are currently $200 on Amazon, which is a fantastic deal, and you could recoup some of the money by selling your Ad700 on here for roughly $70.

post #6 of 8

sell em to me

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by mzda23 View Post

Hi.  I've owned these headphones for a while now and although I have been impressed with them (they're the first "real" cans I have owned), I don't think they are operating at their full potential.  For one thing, I just don't hear the incredible soundstage that people talk about in reference to them.  It's ok, but much less than I expected.  Also, I have gathered from the forums that "lossless" files are the only way to go for good music reproduction, but I can't hear any difference between 128MB mp3's and FLAC audio files played through my laptop.

 

The only other parameter seems to be my source.  I am considering several DAC/headphone amps to see if that would improve things, including the Maverick Audio TubeMagic DAC D1/Xiangsheng DAC-01A, Audio-GD Sparrow or NFB-12, or even the NuForce Icon uDAC2.  Are there other good DAC/amps in this price range to consider?  How do these compare?  Most importantly, how much difference could getting a DAC have on the sound quality I'm hearing from my AT's?

 

Thanks


I'll be honest, I was thinking the same thing until I broke the bad boys in and messed with the EQ settings until I found a fit for the SOUND I was looking for.  I'm wearing them now and the soundstage is MASSIVE unamped coming from a Dell M1530 laptop SIGMATEL soundcard.  I am obviously using FLAC to listen to music now but the people above me are correct, with a massive soundstage that these offer an amp won't do too much unless you go slightly higher end on that.

 

Maybe switch to VLC player for your music, it's got a very good EQ with double passes.

post #8 of 8

I've used the ATH-AD700 with the NuForce Icon uDAC2.  It's a good combo.  It will definitely be an improvement over your laptop.

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