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Can someone help me with my setup?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I've got about 3500$ budget, I don't know if that's considered high end or not or if this is the right forum but if it is-

I would like a headphone setup, I've been doing some moderate to at times heavy research and I'm kinda confused on what to buy etc.

I'd like my headphones to be the audez'e LCD2, but I'm confused on which headphone amp and dac I should buy. They should be separate components so I can upgrade separately if I should ever feel the need.

I don't have a preference as far as having a digital or analog setup but I do have interest in having a vinyl setup. From what I've seen the price tag on a good one is out of my reach with my current budget. So maybe digital? I would like to get the very best out of my money and not buy something crappy.

I do listen to music very heavily I would say at least two hours a day when I'm at home. I think it's time to stop relying on YouTube for my music needs and get something that sounds more to my taste. I've been putting this off far too long..

Help/Suggestions please biggrin.gif

Edit- I forgot to include my preferred music genre. I would say I love everything and I go through phases but I mainly listen to all kinds of rock, classic, pop, acoustic, metal, alternative ecetera..
Edited by Duncical - 11/14/11 at 11:18am
post #2 of 21

By all means get the Audeze lcd-2 if you like the sound, and value the opinions of those on here that have them.

Here is a link for you of them with price of $945.00.

 

https://audeze.com/headphones-lcd-2-wooden-box

 

And may I suggest the good workings of the Audio-gd company

with there premier:

 

Neutral flavors Dedicated DAC

       NFB-1 

@ $780.00

or the NFB-9 that is fancier with a remote and volume control for $1390.00

 

 

And their :Preamplifier & Headphone Amplifier

       Master-6

 

 which I have heard and is delightful, especially for the price of $1450.00.

 

I believe that this would be a wonderful combo. One day I would like to see this in my listening set-up,

 

Have Fun.

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions. It's well received.

Im giving serious consideration to the apex peak/volcano and buying a schiit bitfrost for my dac for now and eventually upgrading. Any thoughts?

Also is power conditioning necessary?
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duncical View Post
Also is power conditioning necessary?


Might depend on how old the wiring is in your building.

PG&E will never tell you if there are issues/problems in your area.

Look for a UPS (APC?) backup power supply on sale.

Everything built in to one unit

 

 


Edited by PurpleAngel - 11/14/11 at 7:10pm
post #5 of 21

Top end amps, DACs, etcetera are all built  with quality power supplies, this is a main feature on why they are premium equipment.

You need to help preserve this with a Great UPS supply, with or without battery backup. These will save your precious pieces of equipment, and are very much worth paying for a good one, I usually go with APC UPSes they have never failed me and the batteries last and last even with frequent cycling.

 

So yes power conditioning is , worthwhile, if not necessary.  

 

Wiring in a building, fluorescent lights, high amp motors, all contribute to power flux, but by far it is the ability of the Utility companies ability to foretell peak usage and compensate for irregularities. Not so easily done, that is why it is best to condition your own on-site.

 

My $0.02.

 

 

post #6 of 21

The LCD-2 is an excellent idea, I second this path if you don't want to try out Stax for any reason. 

 

I'd recommend going up the DAC food chain to a Benchmark or Lavry unit.  The LCD-2 is very easy to drive, so more focus can be put on a highly transparent source. 

 

For amplification, the sky's the limit, though I am partial to the Dynalo for the LCD-2.  If solid state isn't your thing, the WA6SE was a great match for them as well. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxtcc View Post

Top end amps, DACs, etcetera are all built  with quality power supplies, this is a main feature on why they are premium equipment.\

 

on the contrary, this is the very reason that you DON'T need power conditioning.  a properly designed power supply will regulate the voltage to ideal even with a ridiculously high/low mains voltage, and will filter out nearly all ripple to an infinitesimal level.

 

while surge protection is the most important thing ever, a surge protector can be purchased for $5

post #7 of 21

Indeed, I did say:
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxtcc View Post

So yes power conditioning is , worthwhile, if not necessary. 



And Yes:


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Doug View Post

while surge protection is the most important thing ever, a surge protector can be purchased for $5



But , for me, with a few thousand invested in equipment I would and do much rather use quality and reliable UPS/ with battery backup( which generally only cost about $100) to be sure that my equipment is safe and that my work or data is not corrupted by a spike surge low voltage or other lines system failure. Small amount of money considering the potential loss.

 

Perhaps for you, you are happy with a $5 surge suppressor , I am not.

 

post #8 of 21

How do you expect to get data loss in your audio system?  :P 

 

 

I couldn't agree with you more, with regard to computers, that a true sine-wave UPS with at least 10 minutes of full-draw battery is critical.  Still, I dont see how that applies to a hi-fi system

post #9 of 21

I would guess a $100 UPS battery back up power supply would have better built in voltage protection and line conditioning over a $5 surge protector.

post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Doug View Post

How do you expect to get data loss in your audio system?  :P 

 

 

I couldn't agree with you more, with regard to computers, that a true sine-wave UPS with at least 10 minutes of full-draw battery is critical.  Still, I dont see how that applies to a hi-fi system



I believe that with all the fluctuation of voltage in todays power grids, resulting in brown outs and even frequent  down times, that it has an effect on the power supplies in all equipment that is electronic or even purely electrical. From motors in my ww equipment to the tubes in my amps, or ic's in my computers , that they are all stressed by fluctuations in the voltage. Therefore to keep them all in top condition I prevent such occurrences via a whole house surge suppressor at the panel, with extra UPS's at my computer , HDTV, routers, and Audio equipment. Okay, maybe you think that is over-kill, but I would prefer to buy my valued and enjoyed equipment once and pay a little extra(which in most cases is less than 2% of the cost) on good UPS's, than risk loosing it to freaks of nature, or poor management of utilities. I think of it as in house insurance, but with a one time cost. Heck, with the APC system UPS's they guarantee to replace anything connected usually of to $10,000.00 anyway, so for $100 I feel secure in the knowledge that I have done my best.  I guess that I am a boots , umbrella , and overcoat kind of guy.  In regards specifically to audio equipment, I feel that I spent good money for that premier power supply, so why would I risk stressing it with major flux, when I can easily reduce that with a UPS.  Then when I hear a hiss or pop, I know that it is the vinyl and time to dust, not a failure in the equipment. 

 

 

Regarding:

"I would guess a $100 UPS battery back up power supply would have better built in voltage protection and line conditioning over a $5 surge protector."

 

I would say that you get what you pay for in UPS's and power supplies.  You can get either with  a good sine wave or not, you need to check the specs on each particular unit really.


Edited by Maxtcc - 11/15/11 at 7:39am
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks el Doug, I do have to leave enough money to buy a cd player or a transport of some kind. I do plan on purchasing an iMac down the line when the new ones release sometime in may or June perhaps. But USB is not a must.

I will be purchasing more headphone down the line as well. The reason I'm considering the apex peak is the rave reviews it's gotten through reputable sources like 6moons and headphonia.

The only dacs that I can afford right now from benchmark is the dac1 and the Lavry Black da10. How do they stack up against the sub 1500 field? In all honesty I think I'd like to keep my dac budget below 1200 but I may be able to stretch it somewhat for something if it's truly worthwhile.
post #12 of 21

Power conditioning is one of those areas like cables, burn-in, and balancing that generates a whole lot of inconclusive controversy in high-end audio. Best not even to go there at all until you get everything else in place. If you're really determined to do something, start by running a dedicated branch from your main junction box and terminate it with a large medical grade isolation transformer. Used ones are cheap on Ebay. 

 

Vinyl can be very rewarding, and at it's best, usually beats even the best digital. However, it's a world in and of itself and demands both money and commitment to do it right. Forget it for now.

 

You'll get a ton of advice here, and most of it will be pretty good, but at the levels you're talking about spending, a lot of personal preference is involved. You really need to hear before you buy.

post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input cooter.

What about the MHDT Labs Stockholm DAC? That would seem to be an interesting pairing with the apex peak. Maybe I'll contact apex hifi and see what he has to say about it.
post #14 of 21

fyi, the absolute best advice I (or anyone else, imo) can give you, is to audition gear before you buy!  go to a local "meet" if possible, or try to find other head-fi'ers in your area who own the gear you are interested in.  one can only glean so much information from written reviews, given not only the subjective nature of audio, but the different preferences of different listeners as well

post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Yea it makes sense to do that, it would be ideal. Any other suggestions on some gear? It will be well received gents.
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