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REVIEW: Grant Fidelity TubeDAC-11 - Page 19

post #271 of 273

I'm looking to upgrade from a Zero, which serves both as a DAC for my Bx5As powered speakers and Denon 2000s headphones. Will this be meaningfully different?

 

This line in the review caught my eye:

"As is usually the case with all in one type machines, there is a gain to be had by adding a stand-aloneheadphone amp."

 

Isn't this device as standalone a headphone amp as can be? Does my zero have a standalone amp?

 

Thanks.

post #272 of 273

it's anything but a "stand alone" (dedicated) hp amp. in fact it's a DAC with the added benefit of preamp functionality with multiple I/O.

the headphone amp is an "add-on" that was done for convenience and to complete the picture of the td11 as a multifunctional "swiss army knife" to be placed and used in various configurations in different systems. the cost was kept down on the unit in part by NOT creating it to be a high end headphone amp. the headphone out certainly works and although not horrible,  is not nearly as refined in it's output as good single function, free standing hp amps. the sound taken from the tube out especially (because you can improve and tune the sound by swapping out tubes), and to nearly the same degree in the non tubed output section (dac out and line out I think they're called?)  and when delivered to a good hp amp is exceptional for the price point, and very, very good, at any price point (especially when an spdif splitter is added in front of the dac). the headphone out will drive many headphones, but they will not sound as good as when the signal is fed to a good dedicated hp amp, and there are many headphones that it will simply not adequately drive.  

    

post #273 of 273

If you figure $350 for the TD-11 and another $350 for a standalone hp amp and interconnects, then that's adding up fast.  Surely a one-box solution can be had that will deliver at least equivalent digital conversion and meaningfully better headphone performance for less than $700. How about the Emotiva Stealth DC-1 for $500, or the HiFiMan EF-100 for the same?  

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