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Need some help making a decison...

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I am very new to all this high end audiophile stuff but I eagerly want to become part of the community. I have about 15% hearing loss in each ear and I know that there is a world of sound around me that everyone gets to experience but me. I spend a gross amount of time at my PC and would like to take this time to provide myself with a listening experience that I have never known. I am tired of listening to my 45.00 Game Com headset with tape on them with my Sound Blaster Audigy 2 sound card from my pc being the sound source. It's time for me to experience sound the way it's meant to be experienced. There are 2 things holding me back.


1. Budget

2. Lack of esoteric knowledge in audio equipment.


I am by no means a high roller with thousands to spend on a first time set up. I would like to spend 800.00 or less and the closer to less we get the better. But at the same time I do not want to throw away good money on mediocre equipment that I will only want to replace in a year. I am looking to get a AMP, DAC and CANS. Right at this moment I am hunting for a good AMP and CANS and will save up for the DAC unless you guys can lead me to the promise land. I am willing to pay up to 300.00 per part, DAC, AMP and CANS..I know that I will have to pick my own CANS and that's fine so I will move on to the other stuff.




I am looking at 3 AMPS but open to ALLLLL suggestions..


Bellari Rolls A540 235.00 shipped

Project Sunrise II 200.00 for the DIY kit or 265.00 for the assembled piece.

Maverick Audio A1 Tube Magic 200.00 for the lower model and 285.00 for upper end model.



Maverick Audio D2 199.99 lower end model 250.00 higher end model


I have read good things about all items.. Rolls had little said about it but I like the HIGH gains and impendence and the fact it's made in the USA, so things like warranty and support I would assume would be easier and better. Maverick stuff looks great and has many options but ships from China with 1 POC. The project Sunrise has amazing quality reviews and to be honest, I don't know the specs off hand. The Project Sunrise throws me for a loop because I love doing things myself and I love learning. I love working with my hands. However, I do not have any electronics experience, so would spending 200.00 on a kit and another 100.00 on supplies to put it together be worth it in the end for me? I don't want to fook up a 300.00 investment. I just do not know what to do.. The sunrise reviews are great but I'm not sold on how it looks. The Maverick Audio stuff looks great but I'm not sold on what people think of it and the service I could potentially get if there is a problem. And the Rolls, well it just doesn't look very beefy inside and the outside has too much writing on it and is very plain. SIGH.....


Help me out guys... Please... I have honestly been sitting on this for almost a year I want to hear what everyone else hears.  No hearing aid jokes please, you can bust those out on me in 35 years.

post #2 of 5

$800 is certainly enough to get a decent setup. I'd recommend also looking at DAC/amp combos, as this may be a more effective way of spending your money: you could get a decent unit for around $300 and have $500 left for headphone shopping.


DIY kits are probably better left to people who have some experience with putting that together. You need to assume that whatever you build is not going to work right away (especially if you don't have the experience) and some troubleshooting may be involved. Are you confident you will be able to identify the issues? If you compare this to assembling a PC from parts, it's an order of magnitude more complex.


Before we go to the specific recommendations, it would be good to know more about the nature of your hearing loss, as this could be important in determining what will work best for you: is it related to a specific frequency range, perception of loudness, hearing some background noises? Sorry if this is overstepping your privacy boundaries, but it's meant with the best of intentions.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

I don't know what I am not hearing since I can't hear it. I know that I need more volume than the average person. You could stand next to me and speak to me but if I'm not paying attention I won't hear you. If im in the other room my GF can ask me something and I know shes talking and I can make out most words but I always end up yelling at her for trying to talk to me through walls. But her and her father can hold a conversation at half the volume and double the distance with many ambiant noises, it baffles me.


So what are your reccomondations?

post #4 of 5

The Bellari Rolls doesn't look too impressive. My concerns would be around the output impedance, which at 16 ohm is too high for many popular headphones. S/N ratio of 80 dB is pretty low too.


If you look at the Maverick Audio range, check also the D1 as it includes a DAC/amp combo, while D2 is just a DAC, albeit a higher quality one. The D1 amp seems more capable than the Rolls, but I'm not too impressed with it's USB interface (coax and optical are OK). Since it has analog inputs as well, you could always add a higher quality external DAC later on if you decide you need one.


I know that your preferences are for US-based products, but your dollar would stretch much further if you consider imports. I was totally impressed seeing what can be sourced from China these days: very smart designs, some of the best specifications I have seen, fantastic build quality and all at quite affordable prices. If you're prepared to go down this path, then I'd recommend having a look at the followung:


Yulong D100 for around $440

Audio-gd NFB-5.32 for $380 (plus shipping)


Either of them will deliver performance far superior to the ones you quoted, and would work well with pretty much any headphone. Note that both are DAC/amp combos, so  they should fit within your budget.

post #5 of 5

What Kind of music do you listen to, that affects the headphone choosing bit. As to the DAC and amp part, I second PleasantSounds DAC/amp combo suggestion. There's tons off DAC/amps on the used section of this website too.

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