Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Is Hifiman EF5 a good upgrade from Asus STX ??
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Is Hifiman EF5 a good upgrade from Asus STX ??

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm thinking to buy a desktop amp to improve the SQ of my STX. I have HE400, and it can sound better.

 is STX > EF5 > HE400 a good idea?? or I should buy a new DAC too.

 

can you recomend any other amp for that?

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 11

Yup, EF5 is a great amp.  I had its EF1 predecessor with my HD650, and it produced a very musical and involving sound.  Could get very euphonious and really show its tube side with the right tube selection.  Soundstage, etc. wasn't so much its strong suit so much as it was just putting out a sound that, *in the right setup*, could really get you not wanting to stop listening to the music.

 

I'd definitely suggest a different DAC if you can.  Just don't go around buying a random DAC based on reviews.  Make DAMN sure the reviews speak to your PERSONAL taste in sound.  For example, I preferred a Valab NOS DAC over an Audio GD DAC 19 DSP (out of production, but it was three times the price and had the lauded PCM1704UK chips).  The DAC19 got rave reviews, but ultimately the people raving about it had different tastes in sound than me.  It was at the point where in a very enjoyable system with the Valab, if I made only the switch to the DAC19 then suddenly I just lost any interest in that setup.  So just make sure you know what kind of sound you're after and don't let rave reviews of other "types of sound" cloud your judgement.  If you're after a musical DAC, then get a musical DAC, and if you're after a resolving one then get a resolving one.  Most people will say DAC doesn't make much of a difference, but IMO a DAC can make the difference between you enjoying your system and utterly hating it, so I wouldn't take it too lightly.


Edited by CountChoculaBot - 7/20/12 at 11:52am
post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by manzana View Post
I'm thinking to buy a desktop amp to improve the SQ of my STX. I have HE400, and it can sound better.

Is STX > EF5 > HE400 a good idea?? or I should buy a new DAC too.

Can you recommend any other amp for that?

The STX comes with a very decent DAC (PCM1792A).

You can try the third party drivers at Brainbit "Unified Xonar Drivers".

 

LME49990 op-amps, for $60 you can replace all three of your stock op-amps.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/DUAL-SOIC-LME49990-DIP8-ADAPTER-/190682726763?pt=US_Amplifier_Parts_Components&hash=item2c6593816b

 

For $60 you can take a shot at improvement.

 

You can always add the Hifiman EF5 at a later date.

Take the time to find a good price on a used one.

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks CountChoculaBot. I share your opinion about the personal taste in sound is the most important thing. Actually I'm looking for the best setup for me and I'll try to do right steps on that way. I've had a short experience on the high fi scene and I use reviews and opinions to pick the right set up.

I really want to get the EF5, and I'll try tubes since I'don't have any experience with them. ¿could you suggest tubes for the EF5?

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank you PurpleAngel. I love my STX, and it is very interesting to upgrade it. Can you describe the diferent to run it with LME49990 op-amps?

I'll try to not spent much money and i'm considering to keep STX DAC for the moment.

post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by manzana View Post

Thank you PurpleAngel. I love my STX, and it is very interesting to upgrade it. Can you describe the different to run it with LME49990 op-amps?

I'll try to not spent much money and I'm considering to keep STX DAC for the moment.

Can't really describe the differences with the LME49990 as I went with AD797BR op-amps myself.

Others that have went with the LME49990 seem to like it.

There is one or two other favored op-amps for the Essence, can't remember their model number.

Try asking about op-amps on "The Xonar Essence STX Q/A tweaking, impressions thread" and "The op-amps thread"

 

 

The Essence STX headphone jack has an impedance of 10-Ohm, which is fine for headphone that are 80-Ohms or higher

and a (minor) negative for headphones under 80-Ohm.

The Hifiman HE-400 headphones are only 38-Ohms, so a headphone amplifier that has an impedance for 4-Ohms or less is preferred.

 

I just bought a used O2 (Objective 2) amp.

Should arrive in a few days, I'll see how will it works hooked up to my STX and lower Ohm (32,40) headphones.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Can't really describe the differences with the LME49990 as I went with AD797BR op-amps myself.

Others that have went with the LME49990 seem to like it.

There is one or two other favored op-amps for the Essence, can't remember their model number.

Try asking about op-amps on "The Xonar Essence STX Q/A tweaking, impressions thread" and "The op-amps thread"

 

 

The Essence STX headphone jack has an impedance of 10-Ohm, which is fine for headphone that are 80-Ohms or higher

and a (minor) negative for headphones under 80-Ohm.

The Hifiman HE-400 headphones are only 38-Ohms, so a headphone amplifier that has an impedance for 4-Ohms or less is preferred.

 

I just bought a used O2 (Objective 2) amp.

Should arrive in a few days, I'll see how will it works hooked up to my STX and lower Ohm (32,40) headphones.

 

Wow!, I didn't know the STX problem with low impedance headphones. That could be the reason why the HM-602 seems to be better than the STX (using the HE-400)

... I'll see your opinion when the O2 has arrived!

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by manzana View Post

 

Wow!, I didn't know the STX problem with low impedance headphones. That could be the reason why the HM-602 seems to be better than the STX (using the HE-400)

... I'll see your opinion when the O2 has arrived!

The STX has a low impedance, for a sound card.

post #9 of 11

I have the EF5 with RCA 12AU7A tubes. Also have a Bifrost DAC with DT990 600ohm and K702.

 

Most of the time i use my DT990s but when i want to feel special i put on the K702 and get immersed in the huge soundstage.

 

While I don't have the STX i'd say the EF5 is a really good upgrade...definitely worth your money. I've also heard good things about the Lyr if that fits your description.

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jono454 View Post

I have the EF5 with RCA 12AU7A tubes. Also have a Bifrost DAC with DT990 600ohm and K702.

 

Most of the time i use my DT990s but when i want to feel special i put on the K702 and get immersed in the huge soundstage.

 

While I don't have the STX i'd say the EF5 is a really good upgrade...definitely worth your money. I've also heard good things about the Lyr if that fits your description.

 

Thanks your reply jono454, tomorrow morning i'll buy the EF5. Surely it is a really good upgrade like you said. On other hand i'm planning to get the HE-500, and EF5 surely drive it very well. And that optión allow to upgrade DAC.

 

Thanks to all.

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by manzana View Post

 

Thanks your reply jono454, tomorrow morning i'll buy the EF5. Surely it is a really good upgrade like you said. On other hand i'm planning to get the HE-500, and EF5 surely drive it very well. And that optión allow to upgrade DAC.

 

Thanks to all.

I've read that the HE-500 and EF-5 were meant to be together. Maybe someday i'll pick up the HE500s myself.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphone Amps (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Is Hifiman EF5 a good upgrade from Asus STX ??