Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Beginners guide to Dacs and Amps? (where to find)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Beginners guide to Dacs and Amps? (where to find)

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I apologize for asking a question I am sure has been asked before but I am looking to get the most out of my new HD600 and I am sure my E11 is not enough. I am trying to research dacs and amps to determine what to make an informed decision but I haven't been able to find a beginners' guide. I tried the search function and google but clearly I am choosing the word key word! Thanks for any help.

 

post #2 of 13

How much is your budget and if need portable DAC/AMPs for desktop use with quality sound then iBasso D7 is great buy.

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks I know this is dangerous but I am deciding on my budget. I want to make an informed decision. What kind of stats should I be looking for to drive my HD600s? What are the factors to consider? I understand that there is a different between solid state and tube amps but that is pretty much the extent of my knowledge.

 

Edit: How would the D7 compare to the O2 amp and cheapish amp?


Edited by theberkin8or - 3/18/12 at 5:18pm
post #4 of 13

It depends on how loud you want to listen.  HD 600 is nominally 300 ohms so pretty much every amp is going to either be limited by voltage running it, or have enough power.  InnerFidelity data has them about 98 dB SPL / 1 mW (which is 103 dB SPL / 1 V).  For a level of a pretty loud 110 dB SPL, you're looking at something that can output 2.3V rms into 300 ohms, and do so cleanly (or do so with some added distortion / warmth to your liking, if that's your thing).  That's actually within the abilities of the FiiO E11, which can get to about 2.7V.  FiiO E11 behavior into high impedance headphones is pretty good actually, better in most of the traditional audio benchmarks than a lot of audiophile gear out there.  If you listen to mainly well-recorded classical music with a very wide dynamic range and want to listen to it pretty loud, then you'd want something more powerful than that.  

 

The high impedance means that most amps should have no trouble except unless if they're weak and can't run them loud enough for your tastes.

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

So does that mean a DAC is my bottle neck on SQ?

post #6 of 13
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Llloyd View Post

http://centrance.com/products/dacmini/cx/



I am confused. Are you saying that is what I should be looking at? Until I really understand what I am getting for the money, I am going to have to limit my budget to <400USD for DAC+AMP (less is better of course :-) )

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by theberkin8or View Post

So does that mean a DAC is my bottle neck on SQ?


It could be the DAC, depending on what you're using, but it also could be the music files (poor mastering), your ears, or the headphones.  In general after a certain point, you're better off finding better music than better gear (gear that's not new headphones); once you have a reasonable DAC and a headphone amp to your liking that can power your headphones, there's not really big improvements to be had.

 

Starting off the OP with "getting the most out of" X is not particularly the best way to phrase it if you'd rather not spend a lot of money.  You can always do better, and you may sometimes or often do audibly better.

 

If for some reason you wanted to spend up to your budget limit, CEntrance DACport should be very good and fit in at $400.  The integrated headphone output is slightly more powerful than the E11 so also enough.

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the reasoned reply! You are exactly right-- I am not looking to max out my sound. I am just hoping to get the level that I am really just thinking about the music and not worrying if the highs have been clips.

 

I love my rockboxed- Sansa clip. What would it take to get a USB DAC of similar quality (and of course utilize the soundstage of the HD600)? Is the HRT Music Streamer II or the DAC of the iBassio D7 of similar quality?

 

Currently I am just using the E11 out the headphone jack of my M-Audio 40 speakers which are attached to a integrated realtek chip on my  motherboard. I also hope to be able to use this occasionally with my X61 tablet think pad.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post


It could be the DAC, depending on what you're using, but it also could be the music files (poor mastering), your ears, or the headphones.  In general after a certain point, you're better off finding better music than better gear (gear that's not new headphones); once you have a reasonable DAC and a headphone amp to your liking that can power your headphones, there's not really big improvements to be had.

 

Starting off the OP with "getting the most out of" X is not particularly the best way to phrase it if you'd rather not spend a lot of money.  You can always do better, and you may sometimes or often do audibly better.

 

If for some reason you wanted to spend up to your budget limit, CEntrance DACport should be very good and fit in at $400.  The integrated headphone output is slightly more powerful than the E11 so also enough.



 


Edited by theberkin8or - 3/19/12 at 4:51am
post #10 of 13

I think there's some cheap options that should be about as good as a Clip as a DAC, like the Creative X-Fi Go (don't worry, you can use OS native UAC1 drivers and not have to use any Creative bloatware).  Certainly a HRT Music Streamer II would be better, and maybe for the iBasso D7.

 

If you want to ditch the E11 and not have to keep charging it until you actually use it as a portable, a E10 is very slightly less powerful but has comparable amp performance and a DAC that's surely better than the one on the Clip.

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks again. You have been really helpful. I decided to go for the Music Streamer with the E11 for now because I would rather overkill a little bit than wonder if I am missing out. Hopefully this will stave off upgraditis for a bit. :-D

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

HOLY!

 

Well the e11 certainly has enough pure volume with the e11-> HD600.

 

Should I be using high or low gain? Is low gain always better if you don't need extra volume?

post #13 of 13

you should use the lowest gain setting that achieves the volume level you want.

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) › Beginners guide to Dacs and Amps? (where to find)