Originally Posted by B-Dawk20
Like I said, some people just feel it unnecessary and I don't mind that at all. The only thing I can undeniably say is there is much less room for regret for what I go after. Some people will feel very little desire to move beyond low-midfi stuff like Imperial(I think it was him...) who cared not to move up beyond that. Others will move up rather quickly and so on, but it's just much less room to be unsatisfied with your purchase. That and me personally, I wanted to be able to get all the nuances of the price range while remaining less biased from hearing high end stuff. I personally know I'd have to constantly watch myself and dissociate from the urge to dismiss all low end equipment. But now I don't think I'd ever be able not to appreciate a porta pro or a PX100 for what they are because I've spent time in that range. My audio journey is one that I feel encompasses the full spectrum a lot more albeit slower of a climb.
That and you don't have to necessarily climb like I do either. You can start low and jump much higher and I'd still be fine with that. I just don't think one should go there without training their ear a bit first, just my personal belief. I especially...wholeheartedly believe this is true for DACs and amps. I am still of little hands on knowledge on them. Have a tough time telling them apart too...mostly because I don't have very revealing headphones and need others to test out synergy and the like. Like I know the D1 so far has just not been a good match with certain headphones. The T1, D7000, and K701 come to mind so far.
But back to my main point, I feel especially in hybrid's case where he has other things to buy, he should lower his audio budget and grow more before he jumps anywhere else. A bang for your buck hybrid amp and some lowfi/entry level cans will satisfy him I'd think.
Fair enough. It is true that higher fidelity phones may not really provide any additional benefit to those who don't care as much. It is indeed a good thing to start low, but I was just arguing it isn't necessary. Going lower fidelity first is safer in terms of money, but total spending is lower if you jump to higher mid-fi immediately. Pick your poison is what I'd say.
In the case of going B-dawk's route I would still recommend the NFB-12, but then with a lower fidelity headphone. Other amp/DAC's that don't have audible noise/distortion may be the D1 and FiiO's stuff. FiiO has a huge disadvantage that as far as I know pretty much all their amp/DAC units do not have a whole lot of power, which may cause problem with some headphones. I don't know much about the D1.
I don't have a lot of knowledge of the sub $300-350 spectrum, so I can't really recommend something myself.
My solution to differences in amps is to deny their existence. I simply choose to believe that differences between decent SS amps do not exist, and even if they do, they aren't going to be big.
In DAC's the difference is going to be even smaller than with amps.