Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › Objectively "Good" Amps and DACs
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Objectively "Good" Amps and DACs - Page 2

post #16 of 88

i wouldn't write off the the DAC1 as being 'over-kill'.  it has other useful features above and beyond a DAC and HP amp.  if you ever need USB, the Musical Fidelity V-Link is cheap and works like a charm.  Stereophile did measure the V-Link as well.

 

personally, i would find a used non-USB DAC1, net the remaining cash (assuming $1K ceiling), and buy yourself a decent soldering station and take the plunge into DIY.

post #17 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post


About an hour ago I was thinking of that. The basic version is $999, you're right.

 

I don't know, though. I mean, I do want better-than-inaudible specs for peace of mind, but I think a DAC1 might be overkill. Like Shike said, the DacMagic isn't that much worse, and the difference should be inaudible. They both even offer balanced output, if I ever choose to go that route. If I buy/make the DIY-which-must-not-be-named, I'd probably be about $300-400 under budget with the DacMagic or a similar $500ish DAC.

 

And actually, until you mentioned it, I forgot it had a headphone amp built in. It's sounding more tempting by the minute...

 

Now that I've mentioned the subject, is balanced worthwhile? LCD-2's removable cables would make it a relatively painless transition.


Yes, the headphone amp is quite decent, a very low impedance output, very low THD+N, plenty of power (enough to push a HE-6 past safe listening levels). And it is a bit overkill, IMHO, if you were to buy it, it would be more for peace of mind, since there wouldn't be any "hidden" technical flaws.

Any measures of the DacMagic, and isn't the Arcam rDac in the same price range but with better usb?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shike View Post




I've yet to seen a real reason to go with balanced for headphones myself, and I think there's been past discussions about it on this sub-forum worth searching for wink.gif


Balanced is a good option if you plan to purchase studio monitors, most of them have balanced inputs.
Edited by khaos974 - 7/30/11 at 10:11pm
post #18 of 88
Thread Starter 

Quote:
Originally Posted by khaos974 View Post

Yes, the headphone amp is quite decent, a very low impedance output, very low THD+N, plenty of power (enough to push a HE-6 past safe listening levels). And it is a bit overkill, IMHO, if you were to buy it, it would be more for peace of mind, since there wouldn't be any "hidden" technical flaws.

Any measures of the DacMagic, and isn't the Arcam rDac in the same price range but with better usb?


Overkill can't hurt anything but my pocket wink.gif

 

http://www.cambridgeaudio.com/specifications.php?PID=320&Title=Specifications <--- DacMagic

 

The Arcam rDAC is about $480 shipped. The specs look good, but it doesn't seem to offer anything unique and (shallow as this is) I think it looks ugly.

 

I think my motherboard has a coaxial S/PDIF out or something. If not, I could probably just use my uDAC as a USB->S/PDIF converter. Like I said, I don't have much of anything beyond 16/44.1 anyway. So USB input to the new DAC isn't a necessity.

 

I'm just about sold on fishski13's idea. I may have fallen in love with the DAC1.


Edited by Head Injury - 7/30/11 at 10:27pm
post #19 of 88
post #20 of 88
Thread Starter 


This looks interesting too. Comparable measurements for $700. I'm a little wary of Chinese amps and DACs from some of the reviews I've read on build quality. The Yulong D100, for example. Apparently it has a similar DAC to the DAC1 and for just under $500. The Matrix mini-i looks really good for the price too. It's a shame, that was one of the amps I considered a year and a half ago. I should have went for it.

 

At this point, though, I'm sold on the DAC1. What I think I'll do is take advantage of their 30-day trial. If the super-human accuracy blows my mind, I'll keep it just to know I have a tried and true American product backed by extensive measurements and charts (or at the very least I'll buy a used one to save money). If I'm underwhelmed, I'll return it and look into one of the better price/performance combinations (the Quattro, the mini-i, Yulong D100, DacMagic and an amp, etc).

 

I'll see about ordering it tonight (my mom's gonna hate me biggrin.gif). Now the most important question: Black or Silver?

post #21 of 88

I'm really looking forward to building the amp designed by "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named."  I think you will be very happy with the benchmark decision OP, it's probably going to be my desktop all-in-one station once I have the funds.

post #22 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Citan View Post

I'm really looking forward to building the amp designed by "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named."  I think you will be very happy with the benchmark decision OP, it's probably going to be my desktop all-in-one station once I have the funds.



If you buy a Benchmark, why do you need the project amp?

post #23 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post

If you buy a Benchmark, why do you need the project amp?


DIY is fun, and it can be used as a portable amp.

 

It might also handle certain headphones better than the Benchmark's headphone out, like BA IEMs. I don't know.

post #24 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post


DIY is fun, and it can be used as a portable amp.

 

It might also handle certain headphones better than the Benchmark's headphone out, like BA IEMs. I don't know.


Doubtful, the DAC1's headphone out is perfectly acceptable for just about anything.  It's downfall is it isn't portable and it's part of the DAC (lack of using other sources).

 

post #25 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post
 




If you buy a Benchmark, why do you need the project amp?

 

I would probably do it for the fun, even if I had a DAC 1. As my post indicates I don't have the money to buy a DAC 1 so its not an option at this point.  Hopefully the designer of the O2 can make a more feature rich version so that I could forget about the DAC 1 altogether. 

 

post #26 of 88

I'm pretty sure I know what amp you're building, very good choice IMO. As for DACs, Stereophile measured the DACMagic - (http://www.stereophile.com/content/cambridge-audio-azur-dacmagic-da-converter-measurements) - and it excelled on everything apart from USB input - and that wasn't entirely the DAC's fault.

 

EDIT: See you've decided on the Benchmark - like the DACMagic but better! (not that it's audiblebiggrin.gif)

post #27 of 88

Sitting here with my LCD2's with a Lyr and an O2 amp and a HRT ii+ USB Dac listening to Lizzie West...both are great amps...the O2 is totally silent and transparent...the Lyr change personality with tubes.. I like both very much...have a new dac coming...should be interesting...The O2 can be built for $100 or so or assembled for $150 or so...a stellar amp, minimalistic and it performs very well.

 

All the best

Alex

post #28 of 88

If you want a real good headphone amp, get a PS Audio GCHA. Dead silent, detailed and very affordable nowadays...

And if interested in something even better, I have one too many amps and would not mind to sell or trade my PS Audio GCHA with Cullen mods...

 

No matter what was said about it, this thing is gooooooood.. ;-)

post #29 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by karmanfamily View Post

If you want a real good headphone amp, get a PS Audio GCHA. Dead silent, detailed and very affordable nowadays...

And if interested in something even better, I have one too many amps and would not mind to sell or trade my PS Audio GCHA with Cullen mods...

 

No matter what was said about it, this thing is gooooooood.. ;-)

 

Did you not read the thread title ?

 

It is impossible to get measurements on the amp you mention and several of their earlier products measure abysmally !

post #30 of 88

An objectively "good" amp, as I would describe it, is the one in the LME49600 application note. Quite a few commercial and kit designs use variants of it, and the original uses a top-spec (LME49200) op-amp and has a DC servo. Powerful, low distortion, low output impedance,  and devoid of the headaches inherent in discrete semiconductors (which only outperform monolithic chips if you've done some very careful hand-matching.) And not too expensive, either - I think it specs out at $30-$40 in components, and quite a bit less in quantity. 

 

 

LME49600 Headphone Amplifier Evaluation Board User's Guide

 

Same thing with the ODAC. Low jitter, low distortion, low noise, not particularly complicated. 

 

As far as I can tell, the difference between the two is a Corvette -vs.- Porsche thing. The Porsche has better looks, better fit and finish, better feel, better seats, better noise insulation, and a much more storied history than the plastic car from Kentucky. But put them on the Nurburgring, and a $48,000 Corvette can keep pace with Stuttgart toys at twice the price. 

 

Nuforce and Schiit appear to operate under the old-school "fiddle with it until it sounds good" school of audio engineering. This often doesn't produce ideal results, especially with inclement operating conditions, and often omits things like protection circuitry. 

 

I'm not anti-luxury. Far from it, in fact - I'm sorely tempted by some secondhand Audeze LCD2s, which are the first headphones I've ever seen to post results that can seriously compare to high-end loudspeakers. However, while fancy engineering tweaks are still required to make a transducer produce a respectable square wave, a $3 op-amp does it just fine. 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sound Science
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › Objectively "Good" Amps and DACs