Hi. I haven't been around the audiophile / head-fi scene in about 10 yrs and just getting back into it. The usual home theater stuff has been a constant but just getting back into 2-channel and, particularly, headphones. I've unboxed some old gear and have cobbled together a system but it needs work. Need some advice on first steps. Here's what I have going on right now.
sources: CAL Delta CD transport (balanced cable out), Macbook Pro (Moshi Toslink cable out)
de-jitter, etc: Meridian 518 (coax digital out)
DAC: Meridian 565 (straightwire RCA's line out)
amp: old Sony receiver (using it just for headphone out)
headphones: Sennheiser HD-580, Grado SR60i
I like the 518 (fun to play with) and it acts as a digital source selector (up to 4 digital sources -- balanced, optical, coax, coax). The 565 is only being used for its DAC and it's pretty old, although it is 20bit DAC and a decent one at that. I definitely need a headphone amp and want to keep amp and dac separate so I can keep the 518 in line. I'll play with different headphones as I go but really like open Sennheisers so 600 is likely in my future.
Need recommendations on good headphone amps and separate DACs (preferably with balanced input). Want to keep budget for both below $600. Also wondering if I need USB on the DAC because Toslink from the Macbook seems to be pretty good. Don't know much about USB vs Toslink, so advice here would also help.
Anyway, reading head-fi forums for the past few weeks has been great. People are passionate about their music and their gear and I need to tap into that expertise. Hopefully I'll be able to offer some of my own after a while. Thanks!