- 157 Posts. Joined 6/2012
- Location: EU
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- productASUS Xonar Essence ST Headphone 7.1-Channel Audio Card for Audiophilestagged by System, 7/4/12
- productAudio-gd C-2.2tagged by System, 6/28/12
- productAudio-gd NFB-10tagged by System, 6/28/12
- productBottlehead Smacktagged by System, 7/4/12
- productDenon AH-D5000 Reference Headphonestagged by System, 6/28/12
- productDenon AH-D7000 - Headphonestagged by System, 7/4/12
- categoryDesktop Ampstagged by System, 6/28/12
- categoryHeadphone Amplifierstagged by System, 6/28/12
- productMatrix M-Stagetagged by System, 7/4/12
- productSchiit Audio Bifrost DACtagged by System, 7/4/12More
- productSMSL SD-1955tagged by System, 7/4/12
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- Headphone ImpedanceLast edited: 8/18/12
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- Headphone Impedance
Amp upgrade for AH-D5000
Gear mentioned in this thread:
I've owned the d5k with an Audio gd compass. It was good. I rolled some opamps and suited the sound to my taste. I've used several mid-tier amps with the Denon's and they were all pretty good. The truth is the diminutive e17 makes a good pairing with the d5k. It's nice to have the hardware EQ to tailor the sound to what I want on that day with that material.
But honestly the combo that you've got is pretty darn good. Be careful about chasing that last 5%. It will cost you a small fortune and will only sound...well, 5% better .
My current setup with the d5k is the best that I've had so far. Looks like this:
I have a nice set of IC RCA connecting the amp and dac. And a good optical cable going to the optical out on my pc. Both of these cables are made by Bluejeans. And yes the cables do make a nice improvement here...please don't throw cabbages at me . I think that both sets of cables were $40 shipped. I bought both amp and dac used here and so I'm not in too deep on the money. I have not heard or owned a better setup for low impedance hp's like the d5k. I am no longer chasing another 5%...
I'll add that C2.2 would be nice but I don't that you'd see much improvement. I also looked seriously at the nfb-10se. I ended up not buying it as it was just too pricey at the time. I like Audio GD and believe in the quality of their products.
Best of luck...
Thanks for your input!
I'm thinking now that perhaps the NFB-10SE would be the best alternative. Even if the increase in quality over the Essence ST + M-Stage wouldn't be huge, it would still give me some new options, with balanced operation, and also that it would be possible to use it as a DAC if I get other equipment in the future, such as a tube amp.
I have no issue with the investment in the nfb-10. It's a great product with great features as you've noted. It would be something that you could plan to keep for many years to come. Just don't expect huge improvements in SQ at this point.
If you end up buying it, then pm me and let me know what you think of it with the d5k .
Long time lurker and very recent member here. My current rig consists of the
Do you use the Essence ST's headphone jack or RCA outputs to connect to the Matrix M-Stage?
Do you use Foobar to play your audio files?
Sell off the Essence ST and get the Schiit Bifrost.
Thanks for your reply, PurpleAngel. I do use the RCA output and Foobar. Also, I only use the system to listen to music, no gaming or movies, so I guess I don't actually use or need most of the soundcard's fuctionality.
I listened to the D7000 with the Bottlehead Smack (which uses a transformer, so it works great with low impedance phones). Really a nice combination.
Have you tried the third party drivers, the "Xonar Unified Drivers" at Brainbit?
One possible reason for keeping the Essence ST is the coaxial digital output.
Which I guess is considered the best way of taking a digital audio signal from a computer.
Otherwise you can just used optical or USB digital output from your computer.
On eBay, they sell the SMSL SD-1955 DAC for $105 shipped.
My brain keeps trying to figure out how one gets a better amp. then the Matrix M-stage for 25-Ohm headphone (AH-D5000).
Anyone know what the headphone jack impedance is on the Matrix M-stage?
Thanks. It would be an easy upgrade to keep the Essence ST for its coaxial output, and also keep the M-Stage, and add a better DAC in between. Then I should probably get one that I could keep for a few years, if I one day upgrade beyond the M-Stage and the AH-D5000.
Just curious, have you heard both the ST and Bifrost? Do the Bifrost sound better to you?
- Amp upgrade for AH-D5000
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