Originally Posted by Doubting
Hi people, hope you can help me with this one
I have the following gear:
Computer with sort of acceptable sound card (creative xfi music)
Rotel rb991 200 watt power amp
At the moment I use my headphones barely as I have to dive under the desk to plug em into the back of my pc. My speakers I use often and I love them; however, I am currently losing loads of quality due to the soundcard and cabling. So I would like to get new gear, preferably 1 device, that will serve as a DAC, pre-amp (to my Rotel) and headphone amp.
I was advised, in a hifi-store, that the Cambridge dacmagic plus will do the work for me. This is no cheap labour at 600 euro, though. It seems there remains a sort of barrier between the speaker hifi world and headphone hifi world. I was hoping that you guys might be able to give advise on what options the headphone amps bring and how they compare to the dacmagic plus ( wolfson 8740 chip).
I am especially interested in the tubemagic d1, which seems very popular around here and much more affordable than the cambridge.
Ok first off, skip the soundcard option, your much better off going in your original direction of an all in one dac/amp/preamp.
Secondly, skip the Maverick D1. I owned one for about 6 months. There are far better options out there for the money. The D1 is pretty unimpressive imo. Steer clear.
Your better off with something like the Matrix mini. This is a balanced DAC Which uses 2x AD1955 dac chips which imo is a great chip. It's really musical and has a nice headphone amp. Also you have your balanced xlr out if you ever want to go for a balanced amp - which is recommend as you can build a pretty nice system on it.
You have your pre/amp and you also have a 24/96 usb to spdif convert inbuilt if you ever need a decent coax signal.
Next up I would recommend the Audio-gd nfb-10.32. Now this is a wicked little unit. Dual flagship wolfson dac's WM8741, 32bit usb (just released) and most importantly a fully balanced dac with a fully balanced amp - and the preamp & remote to boot. This thing has everything and sounds pretty killer imo. It is imo the best value unit on the market atm for around $5-600 for a do-it-all. It's also got gobs of power.
I would recommend the Yulong D100 mk2 & especially the Yulong D18 but they don't have a preamp, so they're out if u need that.
Lastly, & the Matrix Quattro. This is a really nice balanced dac with a great single ended amp, pre amp, remote etc. Basically a hi-end Matrix mini with a line-in so you can also use it as a stand alone head amp if you want.
So depends what you want to spend. If your talking about a single unit, the nfb-10 is amazing with it's balanced amp. I would go that. If your going to add a dedicated balanced amp, then you have more options, especially if the amp has a pre-amp out's.
There are some amazing buy now days at that price point so your in luck. I learn't the hard way - actually it was pretty fun.
Best of luck and let me know if u have any questions.