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DAC/Amp suggestions needed - All details included !!!!

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi All,

 

This is a both Headphone AMP as well as a DAC recommendation thread. I will start with all the details first:

 

  • Current Headphones - Beyerdynamic DT 990 (600 ohm)
  • Music I listen to - Trance (lots of trance), New Age, instrumentals, chillout
  • Current monitors - Swan t200b active monitors
  • Current source - Foobar 2000 -> X-fi forte -> direct headphone out for headphones / Analog out for Swan speakers.
  • Budget - 1000 $ for both dac and amp

 

History:

 

I was earlier using the Audio-GD compass dac with the headphones (as a dac and amp combo). It sounded good. However, i got an Onkyo AV receiver and that also drove the headphones quite similar to the compass dac. Even the x-fi forte seemed to be quite close to the compass and hence i sold the compass. Now after a year, i have moved the receiver to a different room and i am using only the forte to drive the headphones and the swans and i feel its time to invest a good Dac/Amp again. I also plan on getting a Tesla T1 down the line (or the new Tesla T90).

 

Current options:

 

After doing some research and reading a quite a bit I have narrowed down to the following:

 

  1. Nuforce DAC 100 - new unit, not many reviews. But i like the convenience of a single unit. It also has pre-outs to drive my swan monitors.
  2. CEntrance DACMini - amazing reviews. I want to know how this will compare against the new DAC-100. Or rather, how will the new DAC-100 compare against this well established unit.
  3. Schiit Bifrost with Lyr or Asgard - Only issue with bifrost/asgard combo is that there is no RCA out to drive my monitors. I can only drive my headphones in that case. Maybe RCA splitters will resolve this issue, but not sure. LYR has additional RCA output, but not sure if it will act as a pre amp to the active monitors or not.

 

 

Audio-gd compass DAC that I had did have pre-outs. I was able to drive both the monitors and the headphones with the compass. But I want to try a different brand this time. Not in favor of audio-gd this time.

 

Please help me in figuring out which path should i take:

 

  1. Get something out of the choices mentioned above?
  2. Get something else, that is not yet mentioned in the choices?
  3. Don't get anything - x-fi forte is more than enough?

 

 

Please help me fellow headfiers ... :)


Edited by ashishkushwaha - 11/7/12 at 10:16pm
post #2 of 19
Thread Starter 
BUMP !!! any kind of help will be appreciated frown.gif ...
post #3 of 19

Hi ashishkushwaha,

I'll go with option 3. biggrin.gif  You may be interested in looking into our DACmini. I personally use it to listen to trance with DT990 250 ohm all the time and they sound excellent together. The bass is nice and tight and the tiny bit of high end that DT's add keeps the melodies nice and colorful. It can also be used as a preamp using the analog RCA outputs.

 

Here is a review from 6moons Audio:

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/centrance/1.html

 

Shoot me a pm if you have any questions!

 

-Kenny

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
^ Thanks ... i was in fact researching the DACMini today (after the original post) and it indeed looked promising. I had several questions around the DACMini CX:
  1. How will it drive the Tesla T1 in future if i do get them.
  2. I even liked the Audeze LC2 and might get them instead of the T1. How will they pair up with the DACMini?

I won't be upgrading the headphones soon. But might upgrade in 6 months or so. I just want the DAC/AMP i get to be bit future proof.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Edited the first post a bit. Now it has 3 distinct choices. I know that the Schiit combo is awesome (from all the reviews). Just need to know how this combo is compared to the DACMini and the new DAC-100. DACMini and DAC-100 look/feel so similar, it will really help if someone can compare the two.
post #6 of 19

We have tesla t1 and LCD 2 to test our products here in the office. They both sound fantastic and there is plenty of drive with DACmini. I would say the LCD's are a bit better for electronic music because of a very thick bass heavy sound. The t1's have a smooth natural sound that is excellent with classical music.

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

^ Thanks a lot. I wish there was a way i could just compare the DACMini and the DAC-100 (audition myself). I am more in favor of a single component (than two components like Schiit). So its mainly down to DACMini and DAC-100 (both are in my budget).

 

I wish anyone will post a review/comparison of the 2. Damn! do i miss having an audition place in Houston :( .... 

post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

I got impatient and just ordered the following after researching around on the forums:

 

1. Audeze LCD-2

2. DacMini

 

Hopefully, I will be much more happier than my existing DT990 with the X-Fi Forte. Thanks!

post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashishkushwaha View Post

I got impatient and just ordered the following after researching around on the forums:

 

1. Audeze LCD-2

2. DacMini

 

Hopefully, I will be much more happier than my existing DT990 with the X-Fi Forte. Thanks!

 

That looks like a really nice setup. I hope you'll post a comparison of the LCD-2 and DT 990. I'm still a big fan of the '990, but I'm fighting the urge to spend another $700 (HiFiMan HE-500) to $1,000 (LCD-2) on yet another pair of headphones.

 

The DACMini CX is one I've had my eye on, too. I just received an O2+ODAC combo today, and I'm hoping it cures that infection.

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 

^ I will post a comparison. But I am really not that big a "Critical Listener". I will just post what my amateur ears can make out :) ... Also feel free to shoot me a PM in case of any queries.

 

I have to wait 3-6 days for shipping and then for around 50-100 hrs burn in :( ... can't wait .. can't wait 

post #11 of 19

As for the original question, I have posted my impressions of the DAC-100 here http://www.head-fi.org/t/615533/nuforce-dac-100-news and I compared it to the DACmini with a few headphones.  The DACmini is better with my HD600, M-100, HF-2, LA7000, LCD-2 and HE-500, plus all of my IEM.  So your choice of the DACmini and LCD-2 was the right one.  The DAC-100 is my preferred SS amp for 300 ohm HD800 and it might be a good choice for DT990 600 ohm, but I'd only be making a guess since I've never tried the DT990 600 ohm. 

 

Both of these units have amps with enough enough voltage swing to drive 600 ohm headphones, but I just don't know how their sound signature will pair with the Beyer 990.  The T1 were driven well with the DACmini, and less fatiguing than the HD800, but I haven't tried the T1 with DAC-100 since I don't own the T1.  Overall, the DACmini is more versatile if you want to use IEM and low impedance or high impedance headphones.

post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
^ Thanks .. that really helps smily_headphones1.gif ... I will drive the triple fi 10 also from time to time. So seems like a decent choice. In fact, i purchased the LCD-2 and the DacMini after reading your impressions in that thread smily_headphones1.gif ... Thanks a lot !!!
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
I got both the products today ... thanks a lot everyone. They sound really amazing. Here are some pics that i took today smily_headphones1.gif ....

SsRZy.jpg
aP3I1.jpg
EdzG2.jpg
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t5VH5.jpg
9bcE6.jpg
hHiAV.jpg
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post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashishkushwaha View Post

I got both the products today ... thanks a lot everyone. They sound really amazing. Here are some pics that i took today smily_headphones1.gif ....


EdzG2.jpg


9bcE6.jpg





 

 

Now your journey is complete, abandon head-fi before it's too late!

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashishkushwaha View Post

I got both the products today ... thanks a lot everyone. They sound really amazing. Here are some pics that i took today smily_headphones1.gif ....

DACmini CS photo (Click to show)

SsRZy.jpg

 

 

LCD-2 photo (Click to show)

wKpLg.jpg

 

 

How am I supposed to live with my setup after seeing those images?


Edited by HamilcarBarca - 11/13/12 at 10:40pm
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