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Advice - buying a DAC.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hello, I'm a begginer, no real experience with dacs or headphone amps before. I recently bought a pair of Grado sr325is (upgraded from a pair of sr80). I wanted to but a cheap dac to see if it was actually worth the spend, so I bought a fiio e7 (works as dac or simply headphone amp). I listen to music from my laptop (a mid-2009 mbp), now connected via usb to the e7. I was looking for advice as I wanted to upgrade to a better dac. Budgetwise I wanted to spend max around 300-400usd. Any advice/tips??

post #2 of 7

You'll need an amp as well. A DAC alone outputs a line level signal.

For your budget, the O2+ODAC fits the bill, $285 from JDS labs.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

You'll need an amp as well. A DAC alone outputs a line level signal.

For your budget, the O2+ODAC fits the bill, $285 from JDS labs.

great, thanks for the advice! noob question.. line level signal?

post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickyf26 View Post

great, thanks for the advice! noob question.. line level signal?

 

A line-level signal is one that's destined for an amplifier.

 

I agree with the O2+ODAC suggestion.

post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickyf26 View Post

Hello, I'm a begginer, no real experience with dacs or headphone amps before. I recently bought a pair of Grado sr325is (upgraded from a pair of sr80). I wanted to but a cheap dac to see if it was actually worth the spend, so I bought a fiio e7 (works as dac or simply headphone amp). I listen to music from my laptop (a mid-2009 mbp), now connected via usb to the e7. I was looking for advice as I wanted to upgrade to a better dac. Budgetwise I wanted to spend max around 300-400usd. Any advice/tips??

$300-$400 might be over spending, the Audio_GD NFB-12.1 sells for around $215 + shipping.

Might find a used one for even less.

Have you tried using Foobar to play audio files?

post #6 of 7
I was talking to Audio Note about their DAC kits and input options. I was interested in a I2S interface. Brian mentioned he was learning about USB music methods. He was using Musicbee with an ASIO driver (both free). This takes Windows out of the loop and the machine sends packets of info directly to the sound device. Gotta say it sounds pretty good from Foobar/Wasapi.

Anyway, a used DAC will get you more performance than new if you plan on buying a separate hp amp. If you want to stay with a combo unit, you can type in your budget in the search function of the source sales thread with DAC "and" amp. Find options and insert in the appropriate equipment thread for info.
post #7 of 7

I agree with going with the ODAC, have not heard the O2 amp yet.

 

A great amp for Grados is the HeadAmp Gilmore Lite.

They are out of production. They sell for around $250 used.

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