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**AMP/DAC for he400**

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for an amp/dac combo to go with the he400. Budget is about $300. The tiny fiio e10 does okay but doesn't have much volume even on high gain. There are lot's of choices out there, but I'm looking for something that has good synergy with the planar's.

 

thanks...

post #2 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

I'm looking for an amp/dac combo to go with the he400. Budget is about $300. The tiny fiio e10 does okay but doesn't have much volume even on high gain. There are lot's of choices out there, but I'm looking for something that has good synergy with the planar's.

 

thanks...

 

You just had to go and set a budget under my recommendation didn't you? tongue.gif  That even puts it under the Headroom Micro once I try it out ($350.)  For $250 there's Asgard.  It's know to work with HE-400, probably well, with the volume up a bit.  It won't be as refined as Lyr, but it's still a good option to consider.  But that won't help you with DAC.  

 

uDAC is popular, but from the measurements I wouldn't recommend it.

 

Cambridge DacMagic + is just outside the price range too.  It's very colored, but popular.

 

That's a really tough price range for the combo.  Have you considered E17 + E9?  It's probably the only complete DAC/Amp under $300 I can think of.

post #3 of 36
Thread Starter 

e17 is amp and dac right?

post #4 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

e17 is amp and dac right?


It's an amp and DAC but it's not the most powerful amp or probably the most refined.  That's why it has a docking port to dock into an E9 for the "home configuration."  I would imagine E17 by itself is not much better than your E10.  But it's a decent portable amp that's also a DAC to dock with the E9 for a little more power and finesse running on the mains.

 

It's no DAC1 or Eximus, but it's probably a more than fair compromise at the price point. It's an op-amp, not a FET, and a lot of people mod it with an op-amp upgrade, but it is an amp & USB DAC for under $300, and one of the more popular ones at that with a rechargable portable amp as a bonus.   It's only a USB DAC though so if you need S/PDIF, that's a bad route.

 

Arguably, on paper, uDAC should be better, but their measurements are horrid.

 

post #5 of 36
Thread Starter 
post #6 of 36

I'm not familiar with the brand or the product, so I can't help you much there.  Your sig indicates you have one of their products, so you may be able to comment more than I.  A fully Chinese import that appears to be more than Fiio, for less money than Fiio, which is also a fully Chinese import gives me a moment of hesitation, and most of the commentary on the device seem to be commenting on the function as a DAC more than as an amp, so I'm not sure what to make of it.

 

On the surface, it's discrete FET, 2ohm output impedance, Wolfson chipset, and attractive.  On paper it all seems like a good deal.  But I'm wondering what the catch has to be at that price.  If there is no catch, and if you like the quality of your existing product from them, it's probably a good deal!

post #7 of 36
Thread Starter 

There's a huge thread here about that product. Some love it...some don't. I'm willing to give it a shot I guess.

post #8 of 36

I've owned the NFB-12 and consider it a very good starter unit. It puts out over 2 watts into the HE 400 and can drive most dynamics and high efficiency orthos. If it breaks within the first year, Audio GD will cover the cost of shipping both ways for warranty service. In my opinion, both the dac and amp sections are better than the e7/e9 combo (the amplifier has 3-4x the power swing of the e9 and the dac has 2 Wolfson chips that are higher end versions of the single chip in the e7).

 

How does it sound? I think it's slightly rolled off at both ends and could use faster dynamics, but in the grand scheme of things, it's pretty tough to beat for $200. Keep in mind that I'm comparing it to it's big brother the NFB-10SE and a Burson HA-160D, which cost 2.5 and 4.5 times as much, respectively.

 

Long thread on the NFB-12 here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/524263/audio-gd-nfb-12


Edited by steve2151 - 4/17/12 at 8:44pm
post #9 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

There's a huge thread here about that product. Some love it...some don't. I'm willing to give it a shot I guess.



With the comments above that sounds like a pretty good endorsement for the price range.  I always get skeptical of combined amp/dac units.   Even the $1000 Benchmark DAC1, widely praised as one of the single best DACs ever built, rack-mountable, intended for studio use comes with a built in headamp.   A headamp that's considered mediocre but adequate if needed. 

 

But what they're offering at that price is certainly good on paper.  They'd have to really botch the circuitry for a discrete setup to not beat the op-amp E9.

post #10 of 36
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the help. I'm going to give it chance. I believe that this will ship direct from China so that should be interesting!!

post #11 of 36
Thread Starter 

Okay, so I came across this:

 

 

Yulong D100 DAC/amp

There is a used one just about in my price range. Any good?

post #12 of 36
Thread Starter 

Still undecided. Anybody own the Yulong d100?

post #13 of 36

Here is a review http://www.head-fi.org/t/499562/review-yulong-d100-dac-amp-reference-quality-with-a-reasonable-price

Its suppose to be an excellent dac/amp for the price. I hopefully will be buying one soon.
 

post #14 of 36

I'll be selling my Schiit Valhalla soon and as a return customer could offer it at $300 shipped. (Shipping is very high on heavy amplifiers, so it's actually a decent deal.)

 

Shoot me a pm if you're interested. I won't need to sell it for probably a month, so let me know if you become interested. ;)

post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by netbususer View Post

I'll be selling my Schiit Valhalla soon and as a return customer could offer it at $300 shipped. (Shipping is very high on heavy amplifiers, so it's actually a decent deal.)

 

Shoot me a pm if you're interested. I won't need to sell it for probably a month, so let me know if you become interested. ;)


 

Valhalla's supposedly an awesome amp for high impedance headphones and a warm tubey sound, but it's a very bad choice for HE-400.   From Schiit's own Valhalla FAQ:

 

 

Quote:
Can Valhalla drive my orthodynamic headphones?
Being polite: not a chance. Although Valhalla can deliver large voltages into high-impedance headphones, it cannot supply the current needed for low-efficiency, low-impedance orthodynamic headphones. If you have Audeze or HiFiMan headphones, look at Lyr. LCD-2s, HE-400s, and HE-500s are also efficient enough to be used with Asgard, if you’d like an all-solid-state option.

 

The same applies to AKG 70x which has similar load requirements to orthos for some unknown reason.

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