Originally Posted by sebastiancounts
First off, thanks for the reply. you seem to know what you're talking about so i would like to throw some more info at you if you do not mind, i made sure to do plenty of research before i resorted to asking the forums. I came across the Nu Force HDP, and a few other less expensive alternatives. the thing is, when my tax returns came, the end of the interminable wait to buy the lcd-2's was here. when i first started researching, the HDP was my first choice, it seems like a great combo, and is pretty sleek, but i don't think it will match the lcd-2's as well as the LYR. The order of upgrades that people have recommended seems to be Headphones>amp/dac>source. If i get the streamer II, it'l' be a little less of a wait time to purchase a DAC/amp, but I want these lcd-2's to perform near there fullest. Although my life revolves around music, I am a student so justifying spending more that 1k on the DAC/amp would be tough. So i guess my overall question would be, do you think the bifrost (or any higher end DAC) is worth the longer wait and the extra cash?
First off, anything good is worth the wait, those units are probably built by the guys who sell them, so I can understand being someone who makes stuff myself to sell. I'm thinking just for the looks alone the Bifrost is worth it. The information regarding the HRT II is deliciously vague, it just has a solid track record of amazing value for money... I can't guarantee that it'll be better than the Schiit Bifrost as I'm not a fan of upgrading my DAC since I have a hard time hearing the differences between most DAC's after a certain quality level. I'm not even saying that just because I can't afford it and I have sour grapes, I've used a Benchmark DAC1 and it doesn't even stack up again my Matrix Mini-i DAC/amp coupled with my M-stage and it was supposed to be a game ender. It definitely doesn't outdo the Cambridge MagicDAC either for me.
Based on my limited experience:
HRT MS2 (well hmm... it's damn good, and it doesn't come with crap you don't need)
Matrix Mini-i (comes with a remote too!), and then get an amp later if you feel you want to buy more stuff (we all do, just admit you're not after sound quality ahahah). The HDP does not beat this combined with a good amp, but when coupled with a Musical Fidelity XCAN V3, it's mega awesome.
NuForce HDP (oddly very good even compared to top-tier stuff, then again $449 should really buy you everything these days), you could slap an $800 price tag on this and I'd probably believe you. It doesn't have the amp section to push HD650's (few amps with under 250mw/channel really can) where I'd like, but still damn good
Portable DAC's (lol)
Is the Bifrost better than those? I dunno dude I have my RS-2's plugged into my HDP right now and I don't know if it's because the DAC is that good or it's a combination of the DAC and the amp section. Both are quite good and I'd be happy settling with this for the long run. It's hard to imagine stuff thats better.
The Bifrost isn't really even that expensive as far as DAC's go to be quite honest. $349 for that thing doesn't look so bad, but yeah theres a reason I don't have one and it's that I have a hard time believing you get that much more with DAC upgrades. I'm actually after their Valhalla right now haha.
My friend on here Alghazanth (look him up) is super loaded and he had like all the flagship headphones at one point in time, his amp to date is still the HDP. Definitely run it in optical instead of USB though, it's loads better.
By the way, I consider your source as important as your DAC and I don't even consider both of those as important as headphone choice lol. After the Matrix Mini-i / Matrix M-Stage combo, I don't think I'll ever buy anything that isn't a tube amp.
Sorry I'm kinda rambling but I hope you got something out of that.