Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Advice needed -- starter amp and dac separates
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Advice needed -- starter amp and dac separates

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

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!

 

Marty

 

 

post #2 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by nymarty View Post
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!

 

Marty

 

 


What kind of sound signature do you like? A good safe choice for a DAC might be a Schiit Bifrost. You can order it without the USB card since your Mac has a digital out. As far as USB vs. Toslink goes, a good USB implementation can sound just as good as a Toslink connection. But use Toslink when you can cause it's has accepts a 24/192 signal (not that it really matters in most cases). Also, I've seen some reports of shotty Toslink outs on Macs so that might affect your sound.

 

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply. I like a dynamic, but clean, sound and hoping to get a little more bass from the 580's. I've been reading a lot about e Bifrost, but also looking at a DAC from Emotiva. It's only $249 but I've read mixed reviews. Anybody using Emotiva's DAC? As for amps, was thinking about Schiit Asgard but also looking af Bottlehead amps. Anything else I should look at in that general price range? Originally I was thinking of using an old McCormack micro amp and adding resistors to the outputs but don't want to blow out the headphones or my ears.
post #4 of 4

Since your 580s have 300 ohms of impedance, tube OTL amps might what you're looking for.  The Woo 3 and the Bottlehead crack both use the 6AS7 family as their power tube.  You could look into either one of these amps and put in any of these power tubes for great bass and clean dynamics: Sylvania 7236, Tung-sol 7236, or Tung-sol 5998. Of the batch, the Sylvania is probably the cleanest, most "solid state" sounding with very good bass and fast dynamics.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nymarty View Post

Thanks for the reply. I like a dynamic, but clean, sound and hoping to get a little more bass from the 580's.


 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphone Amps (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Advice needed -- starter amp and dac separates