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Quality DAC for DT 880 and Little Dot MK III (< $450)

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

 

I recently bought a pair of DT 880 (600Ohm) headphones and a LittleDot MK III tube amp to go with them, and I was looking for a nice DAC to complete my setup. Any suggestions?

 

I'm a relatively new audiophile and although I've been doing research for a few months, I haven't picked a standout DAC yet that would complete my rig. I really just don't want to sell short my new beyer headphones or little dot amp in any way. I assume that means getting a nice DAC, but I would consider sound cards an option as well (STX?).

 

I was ready to pull the trigger on a Zero DAC after reading Penchum's review, but I thought it best to get some head-fi advice first as I've also heard of their reliability issues.

 

All of my music will be FLAC files served from my computer via S/PDIF or USB. I don't really have a budget in mind, but I don't think I'd go with anything more expensive than the Cambridge DacMagic, and honestly that is pushing it.

 

I've considered DACs across a wide range of price points:

 

Fiio D3 ~30

Fiio E10 ~80

NuForce uDAC2 ~130

Zero DAC ~150

Little Dot DAC_I ~300

Beresford TC-7520SEG Caiman ~ 325

Music Fidelity V-DAC MKII ~350

Cambridge Audio DacMagic ~ 430

 

I assume that these are not my only choices, just the few that I am aware of and have looked into (I welcome new suggestions). The main thing I want is a quality DAC (or sound card I suppose) to use as a source to my new tube amp and 600 Ohm headphones.

 

Thanks for any help!

post #2 of 11

From what I've read, the V-DAC is smooth, slightly warm, and musical.  That should pair well with the DT880s because they are slightly dry and lean to the analytical side of things.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vs17 View Post

 

 

I've considered DACs across a wide range of price points:

 

Fiio D3 ~30

Fiio E10 ~80

NuForce uDAC2 ~130

Zero DAC ~150

Little Dot DAC_I ~300

Beresford TC-7520SEG Caiman ~ 325

Music Fidelity V-DAC MKII ~350

Cambridge Audio DacMagic ~ 430

 



 

post #3 of 11

I would suggest ibasso D7, it goes quite well with my ld mk2.

post #4 of 11

Yulong D100 is another suggestion(not recommendation), it seems very nice for the price as well. It can be had on audiophilechina for $429 + 50 for shipping. My personal recommendation is the good old DACport LX with the Reserves interconnets package. The Cambridge Audio DACs have been rather well regarded and since they are popular, I have gotten a chance to try it out for a while and is well worth the money as well. 

 

If you want to get the E10, you may want to wait for the better E17 which will be out to the public this month. Though not my recommendation(E10, since I have only brief impressions), the E17 should be a more competent DAC(which supposedly is an E10 with more features and improvements).

 

However if you feel those are too expensive, the line-out of the STX is pretty damn competent and will beat even the E10 and uDAC 2 on most fronts.

post #5 of 11
Keces dacs are also worth considering in my view. You might also scan the FS forums for a deal on an opus.

Sent from my ADR6400L using Tapatalk
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

I think I've narrowed my choices to the Little Dot DAC_I, Cambridge Audio DacMagic, and the Music Fidelity V-DAC II. Any thoughts on that matchup from owners? 

 

Of course, these are all more than I was originally planning on spending, but I cant justify putting even $150 into a possibly unreliable product (Zero DAC). It somehow feels wrong to spend more on the DAC than the headphone or amp, but I realize it would be a nice investment for the future...

post #7 of 11

The DacMagic is said to be dry and clinical.  Since you have a tube amp, it won't be as much of a problem, but not many people like the DacMagic DT880 combo because their synergy exacerbates dryness and treble.  I guess it all depends on how much your tube amp warms things up.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vs17 View Post

I think I've narrowed my choices to the Little Dot DAC_I, Cambridge Audio DacMagic, and the Music Fidelity V-DAC II. Any thoughts on that matchup from owners? 

 

Of course, these are all more than I was originally planning on spending, but I cant justify putting even $150 into a possibly unreliable product (Zero DAC). It somehow feels wrong to spend more on the DAC than the headphone or amp, but I realize it would be a nice investment for the future...



 

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Quote:

Originally Posted by hodgjy View Post

The DacMagic is said to be dry and clinical.  Since you have a tube amp, it won't be as much of a problem, but not many people like the DacMagic DT880 combo because their synergy exacerbates dryness and treble.  I guess it all depends on how much your tube amp warms things up.


Can anyone with this combination (DacMagic & DT 880) comment on the sound? I would like to avoid any harshness in the treble area, but this claim was not something I personally had come across in my reading about the DacMagic and DT880.

 

Still open to purchase suggestions.

 

post #9 of 11

vs17, how do you like the mkIII w/the 880s?  I'm in the market for a new amp and am considering that one to go with my 880s.

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by captainbrendo View Post

vs17, how do you like the mkIII w/the 880s?  I'm in the market for a new amp and am considering that one to go with my 880s.

 

I'll tell you once my mkIII arrives. I've been staring at the 880s in a box on my desk for the last 3 weeks while I decided on an amp to properly drive them. It's currently en-route from Hong Kong, so I'll hopefully have some feedback for you sometime next week.

 

 

Still waffling on a DAC purchase though... is the DacMagic still king for the under $400 price range?

 

Until I do decide, I'll be using the line out from my desktop and laptop, z5500 headphone out, and line out dock from my ipod. Not ideal solutions, but I'm assuming they will do for now to let me enjoy the 880s and mkIII.

 

 

post #11 of 11

I'm going to revive this, currently have dt 880 600ohm was thinking about getting the LD mkIII but would need a DAC the one I currently have its an AMP/DAC combo not sure it will suffice as there is no DAC pass through without the headphone amp. What are some 2014 options if any different 

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