Hey guys. I'm new here. My name's Devin and I'm addicted to audio equipment all of a sudden. Well, I have been my whole life, more or less. Like all of you..
So I've got my first set of good headphones, the Sennheiser HD 600, which I got 6 weeks ago from razordogdeals on ebay. I was very pleased with my Best Offer experience with them which is a first.. I highly recommend them if you're looking for Senns or Beyers..
Anyway, at the moment I'm using a Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 PC speaker/sub setup to power the 600s and while it has enough power (200W total which is alot for PC speakers, 30% volume is enough even for the 600s) I know a quality DAC and then amp is what I really need to have the real HD600 experience. So here is my question to anyone (hopefully) who'll answer it:
I need a reliable DAC with quality sound in the $250-500 range. I'm a programmer and am always on my computer. I don't have a discrete sound card and I'm not interested in one... So I'm interested in a quality desktop USB DAC that (hopefully) I won't have to upgrade for a while so I can focus on upgrading my computer, headpones, amp etc. In other words, I'll want it to work well with potentially multiple solid-state, tube & hybrid amps that I'll want to be trying out with the 600s and other headphones down the road (probably dt880 600s .. maybe some stax and/or grado's.. ). Is this even possible under 500? After a lot of reading I'm leaning toward the Grant Fidelity TubeDAC 11. Or possibly the Maverick D2 or Muisc Streamer II. What are your thoughts on these and others in this price range? I'm mainly focused on sound quality and reliability. Something I can rely on for several years so I can focus more on upgrading my headphones and amps & trying out different combinations. USB is really the only other requirement. I'd rather not use optical or coaxial in... I'd prefer to sidestep my sh*tty realtek sound card altogether.
Also- regarding USB- Am I silly to dismiss the older DAC/amps like the HiFiMAN EF2 and Maverick D1 because they only do 16bit through USB? I don't think I have any 24bit music at the moment but I'm sure it won't be long before I do and it seems like the whole USB situation has been improving quite a bit over the last few years... part of me wants to only look at the newest models that do 192khz but surely I'm getting ahead of myself..
Anyway, I'm appreciative of any thoughts you have on this. I'd imagine a lot of you would recommend a DAC over $500 and that's fine, I'm happy to learn about those too. Maybe I'll just have to give in and get something like the DacMagic Plus. I'm hoping to avoid that and put the difference toward an amp, maybe the Schiit Asgard or a Little Dot MKIII..
Edited by devhen - 5/17/12 at 10:36pm