I'm finally getting serious about my music again and want to upgrade the quality of the experience. I don't have a huge budget at this point but I want to do the best I can with what I have to spend. I'm already searching for some new headphones in the <$250 range to replace my beat up Sony v600's from the 90's. I'm starting to look at the other areas of the system to see if I need to do anything. That's where the question about a different amp/dac comes in.
Back in 2005 I got a Squeezebox v3 and converted all my CD's to FLAC using EAC. The reason I got the Squeezebox at the time was that it came highly recommended as a streaming device because of the ability to handle FLAC and also because it had a decent built-in DAC. I've been very happy with the performance of it so far but a lot has changed in the digital audio world since 2005 so I want to see if it's really worth it to upgrade or not. Here’s how my system is configured currently:
Source:Squeezebox v3 streamed from computer
Integrated Amp: Cambridge Audio Azur 540a
I currently have the audio from the Squeezebox going to the amp via RCA cables. I plug the headphones into the amp. This works fine unless someone else wants to watch the TV, which is also connected to the amp. So, to be able to listen to music while someone else is using the TV I need to have a separate headphone amp. Since I’m doing that I’m thinking I might as well upgrade the signal path by getting a better DAC that can connect to the Squeezebox digitally. I don’t know which headphones I’ll end up with so I’d like to have an amp that can drive pretty much anything within reason.
My budget for the amp/dac would be an additional $250 on top of the headphones. I’ve read a few threads and there are so many options that it’s overwhelming! I really like the look and design of the Schiit Magni/Modi combo but it doesn’t have digital inputs for the DAC, which I’m assuming I will need if I want to upgrade the Squeezebox’s DAC.
So, given my modest budget and requirements, what amp/dac combos should I be considering/researching?
Any feedback greatly appreciated!
Edited by ruleof72 - 2/21/13 at 11:32am