Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Best DAC for ATH-M50
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Best DAC for ATH-M50

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

Hi all.

I'm a 'new audiophile' and bought an ATH-M50 that I wan't to use with my laptop.

It has an onboard realtek that just can't power the m50s.

 

So what DAC should I buy to get full benefits from my headphone?

It can be any price range. But again, I don't wan't anything too high-end, I just want a DAC capable of getting 100% of my M50s.

 

Thanks.

post #2 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by bodosko View Post

Hi all.

I'm a 'new audiophile' and bought an ATH-M50 that I wan't to use with my laptop.

It has an onboard realtek that just can't power the m50s.

 

So what DAC should I buy to get full benefits from my headphone?

It can be any price range. But again, I don't wan't anything too high-end, I just want a DAC capable of getting 100% of my M50s.

 

Thanks.


I don't know about M50s, but generally speaking the Audio-GD NFB-12 is a popular amp/DAC around these parts that is both cheap and good quality. It costs $200 without shipping, and it should run you M50s just fine.

I presume you want an amp/DAC, as just having a DAC would hardly do anything, since you'd need an amp to power the DAC's signal and sent it to your headphones.
Alternatively you can buy a separate DAC and a separate AMP, but that would not be the best thing to do at a low budget. That is assuming you have a low budget; If you'd be willing to spend $500-600 it might just be an entirely different story.

And as a second question I'd like to ask whether you are willing to solder your own? Takes some time, but can be cheaper (and more fun) if you have the required equipment (good multimeter, soldering iron, soldering wire). But do note that the equipment could easily surpass $100 by itself.

And finally: Welcome to Head-Fi. We're sorry about your wallet.
post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 

I was thinking to get a Fiio E7, because I can use it with my iPhone too. And I saw good reviews about it.

My doubt was if it can really run my M50s at 100%.

But if you are saying that a DAC without an amp would hardly do anything. I guess the E7 is out of questioning.

 

I was looking this NFB-12... Does it need to connect to power, or just USB?

This is very importante because I will be using it mainly on my notebook, so another cord conected to power isnt very useful.

 

About soldering my own DAC, I don't know if its a good idea, since I don't know much about this kind of stuff. i just a beginner in audiophile world :D

 

I'm planning to spend what will cost to get full benefit of my M50s. I don't plan to upgrade my headphones. So I think max $200 is good... Lower is better :D

Is there any DAC+amp that does not require it to be connected to power, and can run my M50s 100%?

 

Thanks.

post #4 of 33

If by 100%, you mean volume. The E7 will drive the m50 to unbearable levels.  The E7 is both amp and DAC. It works as both when hooked up to a computer via USB, and works as amp only when hooked up to a ipod.

 

Other >$200 Amp/DACs to look into:

Leckerton UHA-4

Headroom Total Bithead

iBasso D2+

 

These are some of the more popular ones. You can always look at the classifieds here on head-fi and save some money.


Edited by Radioking59 - 6/14/11 at 7:51pm
post #5 of 33
Thread Starter 

Thanks Radioking59.

When I say 100%, I mean I want a DAC that my headphone will get its highest quality, volume, feeling, soundstage, effets ... for music.

So my doubt still remains. With the E7 will I be satisfied, or can my headphone get much more quality and etc with these other DACs?

 

Because if my headphone will sound the same with E7 or these others, there is no reason to buy them.

 

Thanks again.

post #6 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by bodosko View Post

Thanks Radioking59.

When I say 100%, I mean I want a DAC that my headphone will get its highest quality, volume, feeling, soundstage, effets ... for music.

So my doubt still remains. With the E7 will I be satisfied, or can my headphone get much more quality and etc with these other DACs?

 

Because if my headphone will sound the same with E7 or these others, there is no reason to buy them.

 

Thanks again.

It will sound distinctly different with each amplifier. However, in order to get the 100% you propose you might need to spend $1000's and only be at 99%.
What I think you need is a satisfactory amp/DAC for the M50's, one that increases the sound quality the most for a given price. Because if you would have a lot of money to spend, the first advice would be to buy a better headphone above anything else.

I think the FiiO E7 would be adequate for your system. I have heard a lot of good things about FiiO's products, and they are fairly popular in the budget range around these parts.

What you might also look into is the E7/E9 combination. But of course you can always first buy an E7 and later buy an E9 as an upgrade. Pick your poison, I'd say.
post #7 of 33
Thread Starter 

Thanks Tilpo.

Just a curiosity. I have a Xonar DG in my desktop, I like how my headphones sound in it.

Do you think the E7 will sound close to that or better?

 

For the price I would say E7 will sound better, because my Xonar DG costed only $30.


Edited by bodosko - 6/15/11 at 9:30am
post #8 of 33
A Xonar DG is not bad for it's price. But it's no where near hi-fi.
An E7 is (tight) budget hi-fi. It will without doubt sound better. Whether you find this upgrade worth the money is hard to predict, as it changes from person to person. Some people buy hi-fi and realize they don't find the increase in sound quality justifiable, and sell their equipment right after buying. But note that this happens rarely.
Personally I'd say that the E7 sounds singificantly better than a Xonar DG (I had a DG but it broke down very quickly), and hence I find it definitely worth the money. But how much of an upgrade it is should be determined by you, as it is a very subjective thing.

And even if you don't think the upgrade is worth the money, you can always sell it on the For Sale/For Trade forums, with little loss.
post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tilpo View Post

A Xonar DG is not bad for it's price. But it's no where near hi-fi.
Output Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted) (Front-out) :
105 dB
Input Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted) :
103 dB
Output THD+N at 1kHz (Front-out) :
<0.0025 %(-92 dB)
Input THD+N at 1kHz :
<0.0022 %(-93 dB)

 
Actually this is High Fidelity and in fact vastly superior to several highly lauded boutique products popular around here , or did you have some other meaning for hi fi wink.gif

 

 

post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_charles View Post

Output Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted) (Front-out) :
105 dB
Input Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted) :
103 dB
Output THD+N at 1kHz (Front-out) :
<0.0025 %(-92 dB)
Input THD+N at 1kHz :
<0.0022 %(-93 dB)

Actually this is High Fidelity and in fact vastly superior to several highly lauded boutique products popular around here , or did you have some other meaning for hi fi wink.gif
I laughed when I read this. Good post.

If only those numbers actually said something about the sound quality. But specs don't mean a lot, something that in theory is perfect can still sound terrible. I don't think S/N is very important anyway. There is no way you will hear 80dB at normal listening levels, so let alone 105dB. And more importantly, the Audio-GD NFB-12, for example, has a S/N of 118db. Which is: 19.9 times as good!
10^(11.8-10.5)

I guess hi-fi has nothing to do with sound quality; the quantity of hi-fi is measured by the amount of money spent and can be calculated like this:
Code:
hi-fi = ln(M)^2, where M = the total amount of money spent on a single rig
This makes my rig have about 46 hi-fi! tongue.gif

More important; in order to achieve audio nirvana and ascend to sonic heaven you need to have a hi-fi of at least 100.
This means you need to spend at least : $22,026.47
Edited by Tilpo - 6/15/11 at 11:56am
post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tilpo View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_charles View Post

Output Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted) (Front-out) :
105 dB
Input Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted) :
103 dB
Output THD+N at 1kHz (Front-out) :
<0.0025 %(-92 dB)
Input THD+N at 1kHz :
<0.0022 %(-93 dB)

Actually this is High Fidelity and in fact vastly superior to several highly lauded boutique products popular around here , or did you have some other meaning for hi fi wink.gif



I laughed when I read this. Good post.

If only those numbers actually said something about the sound quality. But specs don't mean a lot, something that in theory is perfect can still sound terrible. I don't think S/N is very important anyway.

 

I disagree, but in a friendly manner, when I went digital in 1984 my first experience of CD was hearing the very quiet opening bars of Georg  Solti /CSO doing Mahler 1 on a humble 14 bit Marantz CD63, the utter lack of background noise was in sharp contrast to my pristine vinyl copy on my Rega, that said anything better than 89db is pretty quiet and not terribly intrusive...but we know that at high enough playback levels that even CD standard noise is audible.

 

There is no way you will hear 80dB at normal listening levels, so let alone 105dB. And more importantly, the Audio-GD NFB-12, for example, has a S/N of 118db. Which is: 19.9 times as good!
10^(11.8-10.5)
 

 

Not quite, the Audio-GD bunch (not who I was referring to btw) spec for the DAC chip not the whole circuit, when it has been tested it comes out a good deal poorer, but that is by the by

 

 


I guess hi-fi has nothing to do with sound quality; the quantity of hi-fi is measured by the amount of money spent and can be calculated like this:

Code:
ln(M)^2, where M = the total amount of money spent on a single rig

This makes my rig have about 46 hi-fi! tongue.gif

More important; in order to achieve audio nirvana and ascend to sonic heaven you need to have a hi-fi of at least 100.
This means you need to spend at least : $22,026.47

 

LOL - I'll stick with my merely objectively high fidelity gear , if I could just stop buying headphones ....

 



 

post #12 of 33
What I meant is that specs only describe the device, they bear only a small significance to the actual sound quality. The best way to evaluate the fidelity of the audio devices is by listening carefully and comparing it to other devices. Although that is the part where placebo can take place, but then again, finding 180 dB S/N significantly better than 160 dB S/N, even though the difference will not be audible, is very similar to a placebo.
post #13 of 33
Nick: Are those measurements from the manufacturer? Will that card measure as well in all computers? How do those measurements help the OP understand which device will be best?

More useful for the OP I can say from experience that whatever he buys won't make a significant difference with cheap headphones, so derailing this thread with numbers that the OP doesn't understand only serves to fulfill your obsession with these things. Think about it. smily_headphones1.gif
post #14 of 33
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the info, Tilpo.

I think I'm gonna start with the E7, because I can use it with pocket players too.

 

As I don't plan to upgrade my headphone for a while, I think this setup is good for me by now.

post #15 of 33

One more thing I don't think has been mentioned. The E7 shines with high bit-rate music. Anything less than 192kbps will be noticeable. If you do not have or plan on getting quality files, I have a feeling you will be disappointed with the E7.

 

Make sure you buy a Line Out Dock(LOD) for your ipod with any amp you buy. Either the FiiO L3 or L9 will work great and are cheap. This allows you to bypass the ipod's internal amp and get the best signal to your external amp.


Edited by Radioking59 - 6/15/11 at 9:45pm
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Best DAC for ATH-M50