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How much improvement will a dac provide for your portable rig?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I was wondering if a dac would significantly improve my portable listening experience.  I am currently using a 160 gig ipod classic with a Triad Audio L3 amp and SR-71 amp.  I switch between my Ultrasone Edition 8 and my Beyerdynamics 990DT premium headphones.  My music genre is pretty spread out.  All my music is encoded 320kpps and lossless.I am considering to buy a Fostex Hp-p1 or Cyber Algorhythm solo. Any advice would be appreciated. 

post #2 of 13

Why are you carting kit like that around for 'portable' use ? I suspect you mean 'transportable' - even then, I wouldn't want to be in the cubicle next to you with those phones on your head.

post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiltman View Post

I was wondering if a dac would significantly improve my portable listening experience.  I am currently using a 160 gig ipod classic with a Triad Audio L3 amp and SR-71 amp.  I switch between my Ultrasone Edition 8 and my Beyerdynamics 990DT premium headphones.  My music genre is pretty spread out.  All my music is encoded 320kpps and lossless.I am considering to buy a Fostex Hp-p1 or Cyber Algorhythm solo. Any advice would be appreciated. 


I will echo advice I just gave in an other thread: audition if possible.  If it makes a positive improvement for you then sure, go ahead.

 

I am auditioning a GoVibe Porta Tube +; a small tube amp with a DAC built in (supposedly it's a 24/96 DAC but I cannot confirm this).  I let my girlfriend plug her IPod Nano into it via the Nano's USB out and use my HE-500s.  She refuses to give it back and is smiling like the Joker, and I'm genuinely concerned that I may have to pry it from her hands. So for me, the changes in sound quality are real, noticeable and positive.  

 

However, I have some real concerns abut this, such as there is no website for GoVibe, there is zero supporting documentation supplied with the unit and I know nothing about the reliability for this brand.  

 

So, I weigh my/our enjoyment vs. my questions.  But until I have a reason to not like this, I will likely end up buying this.  It really does sound great.  But that is my taste and preferences.  I encourage you, as much as possible, to try different options and make your choice based on your tastes and preferences.

 

Since the GoVibe + already has an amp built in, this may not be suitable for your situation. But if the Cypher, or something like it, offers a similar functionality and results to suit your taste, you may find it is well worth your purchase.

 

post #4 of 13

Your wallet will hate you more than your ears will love you. 

post #5 of 13

I have the Fostex and I think it is an excellent Dac and very good amp. It also gives you the option of not having to carry another amp. I haven't heard the Algorythm but the reviewer at Headphonia says the Fostex is noticeably better. The Fostex will improve your listening experience substantially.

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Where should i buy the Fostex amp?  Who has the best pricing?

post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negakinu View Post

Your wallet will hate you more than your ears will love you. 



Finally, wise words from someone with more kit than Jesus.  rolleyes.gif

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post



Finally, wise words from someone with more kit than Jesus.  rolleyes.gif



Who's Jezus? ;)

post #9 of 13

I'm very happy with the sound of iPod Classic 160gb > Fostex HP-P1 > Lisa III

 

I think the Fostex DAC is a very big upgrade from the iPods DAC

 

The amp section of the Fostex is less impressive and it does not compete with top portable amps. But it's handy. besides I've found good synergy with headphones a little on the neutral or bright side (Yuin G1A, ER4)

 

The sound of the Fostex DAC is very smooth and detailed. I love it. The amp is also smooth but a little bit veiled as well (compared to iQube, Lisa III). And not so powerful when it comes to drive high impedance cans.

 

I had a review model, and at first I didn't want it, as it could not compete with iQube and Lisa III, and I didn't want to carry around a 3-piece rig. But that's what I do now. At home I carry 3 pieces, on the road I often settle with Fostex' amp...


Edited by librarian - 11/8/11 at 12:33am
post #10 of 13

I used to have a RSA Tomawahk for my Sure IEMs (which at the time I believe was the Ec4).  When I compared the RSA with an analog input from a computer or iPod with lossless format, to having the same source but digital (USB) to a HeadRoom micro DAC (cirrus chip) then to the RSA, there was certainly a difference in fine resolution/focus of the sound.  But, the overall sound signature was the same (sounded like Sure IEMs coming out of an RSA amp).  For some people, that difference would not have been important, whereas for others it would have been a key difference.

 

The advice to audition is wise (from smeckles above).  I have definitely heard DAC/Amp combos that I would NEVER purchase having now heard them.  (In fact, there are some units I wouldn't use if offered for free!)  Also, there are DAC --> amp combinations that I have listened to that just didn't provide enough of what I consider to be an "incidental" upgrade to justify the price.  Sure, I could discern the difference if I was listening deliberately, but would not have missed the slight improvement when listening casually or incidentally.

 

Hope you can make it to a "meet" and try some things out with your own cans, amp, and music that you are already familiar with.  NOTHING beats that. 

 

Where in the US are you located?

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the input.  I'm disappointed to hear that the amp portion of the fostex does not compare to my other amps.  I wish I could audition the amp before purchase however where I live I don't know of any stores that would carry it.  

post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiltman View Post

Thanks for all the input.  I'm disappointed to hear that the amp portion of the fostex does not compare to my other amps.  I wish I could audition the amp before purchase however where I live I don't know of any stores that would carry it.  



Didn't mean to be too hard on the amp section. It's allright. Today I use it with my new Sony MDR-Z1000 and it's wonderful... Mostly with the hard to drive cans, you'll need something else, and the line out of the Fostex is great! 

 

post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by librarian View Post

I'm very happy with the sound of iPod Classic 160gb > Fostex HP-P1 > Lisa III

I think the Fostex DAC is a very big upgrade from the iPods DAC

The amp section of the Fostex is less impressive and it does not compete with top portable amps. But it's handy. besides I've found good synergy with headphones a little on the neutral or bright side (Yuin G1A, ER4)

The sound of the Fostex DAC is very smooth and detailed. I love it. The amp is also smooth but a little bit veiled as well (compared to iQube, Lisa III). And not so powerful when it comes to drive high impedance cans.

I had a review model, and at first I didn't want it, as it could not compete with iQube and Lisa III, and I didn't want to carry around a 3-piece rig. But that's what I do now. At home I carry 3 pieces, on the road I often settle with Fostex' amp...

Does Fostex improve the sound stage ?
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