So I will be getting a pair of Grado 325is at the end of the month which will be solely used for listening to rock/metal. Now, my current setup is a pair of A900's powered by a Xonar STX which is used for gaming and music. Now, what I want to do is simply make a separate setup near my bed so I can relax and listen to music while reading or something. I did make a thread earlier about weather or not to pair up an amp with my sound card, and I learned not to go ahead and do it. But this is a different setup that I have my heart set on.
I have been eyeballing the Schiit Valhalla for a little over a week now, and all the reviews I've read are saying its great. And I have read a lot of people saying that a tube amp will pair up very nicely with the Grado's. This is planned to be a work in progress setup over the next few months. Ultimately, I want to have my laptop (playing FLAC) as the source that will be tucked away in a descrete location while the amp is next to my bed. I understand that I will need to acquire a DAC though for this to work. But in the mean time, if I do purchase the Schiit I would be running RCA cables from the STX to the amp.
Now, would the STX work as a pre-amp for the Schiit as well as a DAC? Or should I just hold out and buy both the amp and a DAC at the same time? Not to sure where to start with DACs since I am still very new to this (I've looked at the Fiio products, but I want a dedicated desktop DAC if at all possible, been looking at the Bitfrost).
I have also been looking at the Hi-Fi Man EF2A to kill two birds with one stone. But I would rather invest the money into something of higher quality at all possible and the Schiit products seem to be up there.
Budget wise I would like to keep this in the $300-$400 range, still fairly entry level due to funding reasons. Like I said before, I would have no problem buying a DAC a few months down the road, especially if pairing the amp with the STX will work well.