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Should I get an Amp or DAC first?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi all!

I got a few questions actually.  I have had my AKG K702s for around a week and have been listening to FLACs sent from my PCs TOSLINK connection to my Onkyo TX-SR606 @ 192KHz/ 24bit.  Now with that, the Onkyo obviously uses its built-in DAC and amp.

I am wanting to get a headphone amp and DAC, these are my options.

Burson HA-160D Headphone Amplifier with DAC and Pre-Amp

Self-explanatory really.  A Burson HA-160 headphone amp that comes with a DAC and Pre-Amp.  I can get that for $1,099.

I was wondering if I would get better quality from buying the HA-160 seperatly and then get the DA-160.  I read into it and the DA-160 is a better DAC then the one that comes with the HA-160D.  "After taking into account feedback and many more valuable suggestions from the audiophile community, we have developed the DA-160, which is fully discrete, more refined in sound, with better compatibility and Connectivity."

It is essentially based on the DAC inside the HA-160D but supposedly better.  That would mean that I would be looking at $850 for the DAC and $619 for the amp.  A total of $1,469, it will be a matter of, is it worth the extra $370 which is what the AKGs cost me!

Now, the only reason I would go for the seperate DAC and amp is to have upgradeability and not to mention it is easier to pay for one component at a time. 

So to the final question, if I go for seperate DAC and amp, should I buy the amp first and use the RCA outs on the TX-SR606 which has some decent specs.  SnR is 106dB (measured with the standard from the IHF) and freq response is 5Hz-100KHz +1dB -3dB.

I am thinking that the headphone amp will make a larger difference then the DAC and using the TX-SR606.  What do you guys think?  Seperate amp first, then DAC, or take both out with the HA-160D?

 

post #2 of 8

If you can wait till the end of the year, you may want to consider the Schiit "Minimalist" DAC and Solid State Amp. That is going to be a fully balanced set up so it has the potential to outstrip the Burson, especially in the DAC as the Schiit guys are real DAC experts. Or, if you can really wait, by the first quarter of next year, we should be seeing their "statement" DAC and Amp and this pair should definietly be superior to the Burson.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Oh, I can wait!  I got a few other things to waste money on and this has been on the back of my mind for the past week and I just wanted to get some opinions on it =)

post #4 of 8

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dyl1dyl View Post

If you can wait till the end of the year, you may want to consider the Schiit "Minimalist" DAC and Solid State Amp. That is going to be a fully balanced set up so it has the potential to outstrip the Burson, especially in the DAC as the Schiit guys are real DAC experts. Or, if you can really wait, by the first quarter of next year, we should be seeing their "statement" DAC and Amp and this pair should definietly be superior to the Burson.


I'm about to pull the trigger on the Asgard when I read this. What is this Minimalist and statement? Are they DAC and Amp hybrid? That might be what I'm looking for

 

post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuahogary View Post

 


I'm about to pull the trigger on the Asgard when I read this. What is this Minimalist and statement? Are they DAC and Amp hybrid? That might be what I'm looking for

 


They are separate components that Schiit audio will be releasing later this year and first quarter next year respectively. The "minimalist" dac and amp will be out by this year and it they will both be fully balanced and almost certainly superior to the Asgard.
post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by K93George View Post

Oh, I can wait!  I got a few other things to waste money on and this has been on the back of my mind for the past week and I just wanted to get some opinions on it =)


Cool dude, if you can wait then you should compare them when they are both out with your headphones and see which you prefer.
post #7 of 8

IMO its a personal choice. Some people like to use separates, others not. I've been reading good things about how AKG's pair with Burson. 

post #8 of 8

I've been struggling with choices like this for the past month.  If I had the money today (still need to save and sell some stuff), I'd buy the 160D.  Why?

 

Plain and simple, I like the options it gives you.  I can use it as a preamp for my active monitors (the beautiful NHT M-00s), I can use it for my D2000s (buying LCD 2s next year), I can also use the other inputs for things like my xbox 360 or if I with, other DACs (in case I want to switch it up a bit in the future).

 

I think all the inputs and flexibility have made this a winner.  I'm not a fan of stepped attenuators, but I can learn to love it.

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