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DAC for the HE-500/HE-6 under 400 bucks

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Hi guys. Im looking for a DAC to use with the HE-500 (possibly HE-6 in the future)

 

My amp will be the Emotiva mini-X a 100 speaker amp 

 

My sources are Smartphone, PC and PS3

 

My songs are mostly MP3s and some FLACs as well.

 

Would prefer a Solid State amp over tube.

 

Let me know of the alternatives there are!

 

I was looking at the Audio GD DACs so far, but bot quite sure...

 

Thats why I am asking here!
 

Thanks for all your tips!

 

Best regards, Luke

 

EDIT: Also considering the Schiit DACs... let me know your opinions!


Edited by conquerator2 - 10/31/12 at 9:02am
post #2 of 28

Ive heard the HE-6 with a Lyr + Bifrost (and this is the only schiit dac around your price range, if you want USB, it would be $450). Comparing it to much higher end amps/dacs i heard it with, this setup performs excellent. I have also read that this setup is excellent with the HE-500.

 

I haven't heard other DACs in the this price range, but ive read that the Bifrost is probably the best value for money around $400-500. 

I currently use the Bifrost with Lyr to drive my K701s. 

 

I had the opportunity to try the Bifrost with my JBL TL260 speakers, and its vastly superior to the Marantz CD player (not sure of the model, thinking CD6004).

I was comparing The Girl in the Other Room - Diana Krall in FLAC through the Bifrost vs the same CD i have, through the Marantz (since it doens't support external DAC function). 

 

post #3 of 28

The NFB-3.32 fits your budget and has a good USB input (USB-32). The sound is a bit warm and smooth with good bass, good details and good soundstage.

 

I cannot comment on the Bifrost's performances since I don't own it (or have listened to it) but I have a Fostex HP-A3 with the same DAC chip (AKM4390). From what I read about the Bifrost and what I actually hear on the Fostex, the sound signature will be neutral and transparent.

 

I think it is more a matter of sound signature (neutral vs warm+smooth) than pure technicalities. John Darko (digital audio review) actually tested both the NFB-2 and the Bifrost and concluded that they both were excellent value for the money. Maybe you can check the 2 reviews and pick up the one that meets your preferences the most. 

post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks all of you guys!

 

I have actually decided for the NFB 3.32, should be a great pairing with the Emotiva mini-X speaker amp, which has similar sound characteristics, so should have great synergy :)

 

+ it is 100 cheaper than the Bifrost with USB so will go for the Audio GD  this time, I already have one of their product (the NFB-16) and it is great for its price :D

 

Thanks again guys!

post #5 of 28

To much of a thing can lead to disappointing result.

 

My Reference 5.32 and SA-31 do not pair very well, it's too laid back and might be a result of both units having smooth treble.

post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post

To much of a thing can lead to disappointing result.

 

My Reference 5.32 and SA-31 do not pair very well, it's too laid back and might be a result of both units having smooth treble.

Well actually what Audio GD considers "smooth and warm" is just a smirk off the "generally neutral" :)

 

Additionally it has the "flavor" settings, which should help me find the right signature and to that, many others recommended the NFB 3.32 as well :)

 

Now Im just torn between the HE-500 and 5-LE... Ugh

post #7 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by conquerator2 View Post

Well actually what Audio GD considers "smooth and warm" is just a smirk off the "generally neutral" :)

 

Additionally it has the "flavor" settings, which should help me find the right signature and to that, many others recommended the NFB 3.32 as well :)

 

Now Im just torn between the HE-500 and 5-LE... Ugh


HE-500

post #8 of 28

The Reference 5.32 is presented as "dead neutral and monitor" yet it has smooth treble and sound very laid back (if not boring) paired with the SA-31 that has smooth treble too (the same "smooth" from Audio-gd).

 

I'm not telling it WILL sound too dark, I'm just warning you that having 2 unit withs (suposedely) similar sound signature can lead to disappointing results.

 

I can't help but think a Compass 2 would be a better match for the HE-500. You seem to have abandoned the remote control so... :D  

post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 

Yeah well I just need an external DAC... Compass 2, as an all in one is overdoing it for me, as well as over budget :D I already have the NFB-16 to use on the go, so need just a DAC to use with the Emotiva mini as my home rig :)

 

Im open to other suggestions though.

 

The Bifrost may be over budget, but even if it wasnt, it isnt neutral either :D

post #10 of 28

I meant dropping the Emotiva mini and get the Compass as a all-in-one device :D

post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post

I meant dropping the Emotiva mini and get the Compass as a all-in-one device :D

 

Nah... The emotiva will suit them better :D

post #12 of 28

I think the ODAC is a really good paring with HE-500 :)
 

post #13 of 28

Are DACs a must to power the HE-500 and HE-6? 

post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Khagan View Post

Are DACs a must to power the HE-500 and HE-6? 

To power - no. That's not what DACs do. Amps output power, and the latter of the cans is infamous for crazy power requirements.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital-to-analog_converter

post #15 of 28

So DACs would be need if I wanted to use said headphones on a PC?

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