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2012 Best DAC & AMP for Sennheiser HD650

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

I am planning to upgrade to more serious listening. For headphones I have always been big fan of Sennheisers hence finalised on HD650. Looking forward to use the cans for


Use 1 - On chair entertainment

  Source : Apple MacBook Pro

  Amp : ??

  DAC : ??

  Headphone : Sennheiser HD650


Use 2 - Little mobile in-home entertainment

  Source : Apple iPod touch

  Amp : ??

  DAC : ??

  Headphone : Sennheiser HD650


I read lot of discussions and articles to choose the best of Amp & DAC to fit the 2 uses. I have around £200.00 to £300.00 to invest on best Amp + DAC. Waiting for response. Thanks :)

post #2 of 28

No personal experience, but the headfonia guys seem to like the Bottlehead Crack amp with the HD650's quite a lot:  http://www.headfonia.com/bottlehead-crack-otl-addiction/

post #3 of 28

the Nuforce iCon iDo, Fiio E17 + E9, Nuforce iCon HDP, Matrix Mini i and iBasso D7 are pretty good sounding for the price will power the HD650 well.

post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks Mutnat. I tried finding ways to get these amp in UK. Which doesn't look straight forward. Do you know any alternative?


Thanks Zarim for your suggestions. I was reading another discussion on head-fi @


There wasn't any conclusion on the best amp + dac combination.

Other head-fier preferred money spending on AMP rather on DAC. What is your opinion? Apart from

1. NuForce iCon iDo

2. Fiio E17 + E9

3. NuForce iCon HDP

4. Matrix mini

5. iBasso D7


What do you suggest about schiit asgard? Is it advisable to just buy Asgard without investing on DAC?

post #5 of 28

I've got an asgard paired with my HD650. My setup is currently onboard MOBO soundcard -> asgard->hd650. 

In terms of the amp performance, it does make a hell lot of different than just running it through my pc's audio jack. I dont have first hand experience on a dac tho, planning to get a bifrost but open to suggestions.

post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 

Well, after some research I think either of below should help Senn hd650 sound it's best in the price range of under £400.


1. NuForce Icon HDP

2. Maverick AudionTubemagic D1


Really confused between the two; hence looking for headfiers to share some experience here.

post #7 of 28

Go with the TubeMagic since you have way more features. And it is made for the HD650, in fact they always use the HD650 to test the amp!

And for portable, PA2V2, CMoyBB or Graham Slee Voyager

post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks JuanseAmador for your suggestion. :)

post #9 of 28
Originally Posted by rajivranjan View Post

Thanks JuanseAmador for your suggestion. :)

You're welcome

post #10 of 28

I personally think the Schiit Bifrost and Asgard make one hell of a combo. Shoot, that combo could probably drive 600ohm cans easily!

post #11 of 28

Just on paper, and for the price of the Icon HDP, the Asus Xonar One looks interesting too.

post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 

Sunninho I have a laptop as my source of digital files and planning to take USB output to drive the DAC and Headphone amp. Xonar will not help me there. Do you suggest "NuForce Icon HDP" is better than "Schiit Bifrost and Asgard together" ? 


BTW I have bought Sennheiser HD650 and am really amazed with the quality of sound being produced. Currently I playing songs directly from iPod straight to HD650. I'm sure if I bring in a DAC+Headamp combo in between; will bring a new dimension to the sound to these 300 ohm cans. What say?

post #13 of 28

From what I understand, and forgive me for not having tried any of them and going only from specs, the HDP and Xonar both require A/C power as they are not "portable" amps that run solely on battery power.  It seems, though, based on popularity and reviews that the Icon HDP is the way to go when compared with the Asus Xonar Essence One. 


As for portability, if you're planning on using an iPod a lot, I'd just go with the Schiit Bitfrost/Asgard combo.  From your considered list, that's probably the best all-in-one solution for both PC and iPod.

post #14 of 28

I have the NuForce icon HDP and the Asgard as well as a Valhalla. I don't have the hd650 though but the hd598. The Asgard and HDP will both open new soundscapes on your headphones, richer, roomier, fuller sound.

I mostly use the HDP as DAC connected to the Asgard.

Whatever way you are going, it will be an improvement. The HDP is closest to being sort of portable, compared to the Schiits, which are certainly no devices you want to travel with. However even the HDP will need a power socket.

I am very happy with both of them, but if you ask me for a recommendation it would be Bifrost with Asgard. That combo is future proof and amazing bang for your buck. I doubt you would ever need anything else as, they are the perfect companions for Senns.

post #15 of 28


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