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Affordable DAC/AMP combo recommendations for use with Mac / PC

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

 

Trying to decide between either the NuForce Icon HDP, Apogee Duet 2 or a combo of BiFrost and either Valhalla/Asgaard/Lyr (for use with mainly T1's, but also HD800/700, maybe LCD-2's later down the line). For use out of a Macbook Pro and from time to time my gaming PC too. Help me decide Head.Fi! Very difficult choice, and I'd rather not have to trudge through countless hours of research in to each and ever one of these products. Ultimate goal is sonic quality for the price, not too fussed about size for example.

 

I have an Amazon voucher that I can use with the Apogee or NuForce, and not the Schiit gear, so that's one annoying thing. So the Schiit stuff would have to be fairly better sounding or more powerful for me to take the bite.

 

Thoughts or advice?

 

Thanks

-N-

post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 

Anyone?

post #3 of 12

I would recommend a used Benchmark instead.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 


Could you elaborate? Is this a make of a similar product? Could you possibly provide a link? Many thanks.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by noway View Post

I would recommend a used Benchmark instead.



 

 

post #5 of 12

I am using a 2011 Mac mini with a HRT MSII+ and a Schiit Asgard......love the setup and sound quality. I also own a Adio-GD NFB-12 and am using it on a PC in my office and really like that Dac/Amp combo.

post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naim.F.C View Post


Could you elaborate? Is this a make of a similar product? Could you possibly provide a link? Many thanks.

 



 

 



http://lmgtfy.com/?q=benchmark+audio - First result. There is also a link to it if you look just to the right of this post under "Head-Fi Sponsors".

 

 

I don't know your price range, but I've heard amazing things about the audiolab m-dac, which unfortunately for me is out of my price range and I'm going for a audio-gd NFB-10SE. You'd need to pair the m-dac with a nice amp and there are plenty of options.

 

I have also heard very good things about the NuForce one you mentioned in the OP, but for some reason personally I feel disinclined to like it. I think that's mainly due to the "controversy" over the uDac. 


Edited by Deadeight - 1/5/12 at 11:30am
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadeight View Post



http://lmgtfy.com/?q=benchmark+audio - First result. There is also a link to it if you look just to the right of this post under "Head-Fi Sponsors".

 

 

I don't know your price range, but I've heard amazing things about the audiolab m-dac, which unfortunately for me is out of my price range and I'm going for a audio-gd NFB-10SE. You'd need to pair the m-dac with a nice amp and there are plenty of options.

 

I have also heard very good things about the NuForce one you mentioned in the OP, but for some reason personally I feel disinclined to like it. I think that's mainly due to the "controversy" over the uDac. 


I must say, the DAC1 PRE/HDR certainly looks absolutely stunning, but impressions I've read sport it as being a very neutral or clean sounding amp, with not much action down low. With the T1's or HD800's, I'm not sure I'd want that. Ideally I want an all in one that's a bit more warm or tube like in sound. Not considerably so, but just enough to smoothen the T1 and HD800 a little. It's sort of the ideal balance I'm looking for.

 

post #8 of 12

Bifrost plus Lyr is pretty darn good across a wide range of headphones. I would also recommend you take a look at the Burson 160Ds, the Meier Audio StageDAC and Classic combo and the Littledot DAC1 and Mk6+ combo

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

Feel like my head is about to explode lol. SO many products. Decided I'd prefer to stick to an all in one, mainly to save space but also to save on further cable costs.

 

I've read the Bifrost/Lyr are quite cold or clean sounding. Sort of after a warmer sound.

 

I've narrowed it down to the Audiolab M-DAC and Audio-GD NFB-10SE, unless people have other recommendations. But I have no idea which is better for me...In-built amp and USB quality is important to me though.

post #10 of 12

I don't think the m-dac has an amp. You should check that.

post #11 of 12

Centrance DACport?

 

It runs through USB power so it's entirely portable on your MBP but can be used on your PC too, all without the need for an external power supply. 

 

It's been part of my primary rig for months now and iim completely satisfied with it. 

 

Amazon link here.

post #12 of 12

I can give a nod to the Burson HA 160DS (I have the D, but minus the preamp it's the same unit). For less than a grand it's a hell of an amp and DAC.

The DAC section is not as good as my W4S DAC2 (but that's $1,500 by itself, no amp), but the amp section is better than my Lyr.

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