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ODAC+O2 or Dacport LX+E11/cMoy for HE-400?

Poll Results: What should I pair with my HE-400s?

 
  • 70% (29)
    ODAC+O2
  • 9% (4)
    DACport LX+E11/cMoy
  • 19% (8)
    Something else (must total to < $300)
41 Total Votes  
post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Hello folks,

 

I've narrowed down my search for a DAC+amplifier for my brand new HE-400s to the following options:

  1. (JDS Labs) ODAC+O2
  2. DACport LX + [(Fiio) E11 OR JDS Labs cMoy]

 

I can get either combination for just less than $300.

 

Which option would you recommend? I'm hearing mixed reviews about ODAC and O2... some people love both, some people think the ODAC can be screechy and fatiguing and the O2 lacks bass impact, among other things.

 

I think it's generally accepted that the DACport LX is superior to the ODAC. However, if I get that, I have less than $100 for an amp. Out of $100 amps, I gather that the E11 and cMoy are best, but I can't decide which has better synergy with the HE-400.

 

The O2 is probably better than the E11 or cMoy, but I can't afford that if I get the DACport, and I'm not sure if the HE-400 (being a low-impedance headphone) would even benefit from the additional amping power of the O2 over the E11.

 

Other suggestions are welcome as well, but the budget is $300!

 

Thanks!


Edited by Atriya - 11/8/12 at 2:13pm
post #2 of 26

The ODAC and O2 is objectively measured to be a great amp.  I have listened to the combo and my only gripe was the mild channel imbalance at extremely low volumes.  This of course has a fix.

 

I would not hesitate going with the ODAC and O2 combo and anyone who says otherwise has not read the complete measurements page or has not listened to it.  It is an extremely transparent system.  If the bass is not what one wants it to be it is not the amp causing the issue.

post #3 of 26

There's a pretty big divide in the HE400 owners thread, where some stand by the HE400 + O2 combo vehemently, while others denounce it claiming they don't synergize well and O2 brings out bad traits that HE400s have, due to the amp's high level of transparency.

post #4 of 26

Nothing against the O2, but there is so much debate on it that I am not sure why people bother. I skipped it and just went for the Schiit Asgard at the time, I think it's pretty similar, but not portable. Used it can be had for only a little more than the O2. 

post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RushNerd View Post

Nothing against the O2, but there is so much debate on it that I am not sure why people bother. I skipped it and just went for the Schiit Asgard at the time, I think it's pretty similar, but not portable. Used it can be had for only a little more than the O2. 

 

I'd do this if I could, but I can't have a DAC + Asgard for less than $300.

post #6 of 26

I'm one of the crazy folks who believe that these aren't picky at all with amps. If you've got enough volume you're good to go IMO unless the amp  is drastically colored in a bad way or just poorly engineered in general. The O2 is a well made, neutral amp with enough power so it should work great.

post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atriya View Post

 

I'd do this if I could, but I can't have a DAC + Asgard for less than $300.

My essense ST card (which is my dac) was $160 on amazon and the asgard was $185 used. That is $45 over budget, but you might not want a soundcard solution anyway.

post #8 of 26

Yeah if you've got a box computer the ST(X) is a good option. It's got a DAC as good as most external DACs that are twice its price and an amp about as powerful as an Asgard. Dead neutral too.

 

It's generally better with >80Ohm dynamic headphones due to its 10Ohm output impedance, but planar magnetics don't care.


Edited by chewy4 - 11/8/12 at 3:29pm
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

Yeah if you've got a box computer the ST(X) is a good option. It's got a DAC as good as most external DACs that are twice its price and an amp about as powerful as an Asgard. Dead neutral too.

 

It's generally better with >80Ohm dynamic headphones due to its 10Ohm output impedance, but planar magnetics don't care.

 

I'll be using a laptop, so a sound-card is not what I'm looking for.

post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by NA Blur View Post

The ODAC and O2 is objectively measured to be a great amp.  I have listened to the combo and my only gripe was the mild channel imbalance at extremely low volumes.  This of course has a fix.

 

I would not hesitate going with the ODAC and O2 combo and anyone who says otherwise has not read the complete measurements page or has not listened to it.  It is an extremely transparent system.  If the bass is not what one wants it to be it is not the amp causing the issue.

 

+1 (except for channel imbalance)

 

OTOH, even if you, I, and the O2+ODAC's designer all desire neutral, transparent equipment, some simply don't. There are quite a number of listeners here who prefer a "warm" sound and want the amplifier to deliver it. The more informed -- in my opinion of what informed means -- specifically request information about warm amplifiers.

 

I, too, recommend the ODAC+O2 combo, but some just won't like it (for good reasons or bad.)

post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HamilcarBarca View Post

 

+1 (except for channel imbalance)

 

OTOH, even if you, I, and the O2+ODAC's designer all desire neutral, transparent equipment, some simply don't. There are quite a number of listeners here who prefer a "warm" sound and want the amplifier to deliver it. The more informed -- in my opinion of what informed means -- specifically request information about warm amplifiers.

 

I, too, recommend the ODAC+O2 combo, but some just won't like it (for good reasons or bad.)

 

Thanks. So far, there have been some recommendations for the ODAC+O2. That's fine, but could someone comment on the DACportLX+E11/cMoy combination and / or compare it to ODAC+O2?

post #12 of 26

If the headphones faults are revealed by a transparent amp I do not think it is the amps fault.  If the 02 makes the HE-400 sound poor than perhaps the HE-400 sounds poor.  Having to color the sound is just as likely to satisfy a user as changing to a different headphone.  I guess you could color the sound with a colored amp, but an EQ may be a much easier and less expensive option.

post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by NA Blur View Post

If the headphones faults are revealed by a transparent amp I do not think it is the amps fault.  If the 02 makes the HE-400 sound poor than perhaps the HE-400 sounds poor.

popcorn.gif

post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by NA Blur View Post

If the headphones faults are revealed by a transparent amp I do not think it is the amps fault.  If the 02 makes the HE-400 sound poor than perhaps the HE-400 sounds poor.  Having to color the sound is just as likely to satisfy a user as changing to a different headphone.  I guess you could color the sound with a colored amp, but an EQ may be a much easier and less expensive option.

 

I agree, except I'd make that first statement even stronger: It's not the amp's fault.

 

My point, if you were replying to my post, is simply that there's no point in arguing with people who believe in or practice 'pairing' to achieve 'synergy'. What I want is great sound and, beyond the ones buying status symbols, most of them do, too. I think they're basically clueless. They probably think the same of me.


Edited by HamilcarBarca - 11/8/12 at 5:47pm
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 

I'm just worried that some reviews, such as this one:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/626615/centrance-dacport-lx-vs-ibasso-db2-boomslang-2-vs-jds-labs-objective-dac

 

say that the ODAC has problems such as this:

 

Quote:
the highly resolving, otherwise very neutral and transparent Objective DAC throws little fits from time to time that are very annoying. This momentary aberrant behavior seems to occur whenever there's a particularly loud high frequency signal during an instant of high-complexity, where the DAC has a lot of work to do to sort everything out.  It's as if the ODAC just gives up, momentarily, and renders those instantaneous high frequencies like two blocks of styrofoam being rubbed together - to produce a very short in duration, but very loud distortion of information that the LX and the PB2 have no difficulty rendering cleanly.
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