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Fiio e10, e17, ODAC + 02, iBasso, AudioQuest Dragonfly...sound card and DAC match inquiry

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

edit: sound card and amp inquiry

 

 

Just bought a pair of Senn HD598's...but I am also aware that their bass is pretty light. I have been looking into getting a better setup for when I am home, so portability isn't a factor. 

 

I need some clarification due to some mixed reviews on here that kind of confused me. Originally I planned on getting either the Fiio e9, e10, or e17...I nixed the e9 because someone stated how terrible it was with the 598's and how it ruined the sound quality in several ways. Has anyone else noticed that as a bad combo? 

 

I also saw some high recommendations for AudioQuest Dragonfly, iBasso DZero or D-7, and ODAC + 02...I don't know much when it comes to DAC (other than it converts to analog and improves the quality of the recording), but I understand basics with amps. I read that DAC isn't compatible with Apple, which poses a problem, since my sources are an iPod, MacBook Pro, and iPhone...but then I read some other threads recommending DAC hookups for Apple users. Ha so now I am lost...can someone please help clarify, or possibly simply the DAC and Apple thing?

 

My main question: What combo above is ideal for my Senn's + sound card + amp? Also, which are compatible and optimal for Apple OS + Senn's HD598?

 

The HD598's are low impedance, so I know it doesn't take a lot to power them, but I plan on diversifying my hp collection over time. I just want to bring out as much as possible in the 598's. I am not sure if I should just buy a high quality soundcard, just a high quality amp...or buy BOTH a sound card and amp, but of slightly lesser quality. The threads about 598's seem to go back and forth about what actually does the most and what's actually worth it.

 

I would reeeally appreciate some feedback! This forum is so helpful :) I have a major wish list that never stops building. Haha the more I read on here about different hp style's, the more I want to expand my collection- definitely a new addiction!


Edited by April2Ari - 2/22/13 at 1:56pm
post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 

My hard drive is partitioned with Windows 7...is it easier to run headphone equipment (like amps/sound cards) and software through Windows OS, rather than Apple OS?

 

If nobody has input about the Apple stuff, then could someone possibly provide some feedback about the Senn HD598 + sound card + amp parts of the question (assuming I would be using Windows OS)? I am fairly new to the audiophile world, so I don't feel comfortable making a purchase until I understand some of this better. If I need to provide more of an explanation or word my questions different, please let me know :)

post #3 of 7
DACs are easier to use on Macs :P Not that they're hard to use on Windows, they just sometimes need a driver wile most don't need one for use on a Mac (all of the one's you're looking at are plug and play with either OS). While I don't own the HD 598, I believe any of those would be good options. O2+ODAC might sound a little cold with the HD 598 (again, don't own the Senns) but is pretty much the "best" DAC/amp you mentioned. Fiio E10 is great when you're on a budget. E17 adds the option of going portable. The iBasso is nice for keeping next to your MacBook. And the DragonFly is a great DAC. Obviously the Dragonfly and the O2/ODAC are the most expensive of those, but you'll get the most out of them. You're making the right move on getting a DAC/amp, leaves a lot of room for expandability (you could get a new amp and just use one of the above as a DAC only). It's up to you now biggrin.gif

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wes008 View Post

DACs are easier to use on Macs :P Not that they're hard to use on Windows, they just sometimes need a driver wile most don't need one for use on a Mac (all of the one's you're looking at are plug and play with either OS). While I don't own the HD 598, I believe any of those would be good options. O2+ODAC might sound a little cold with the HD 598 (again, don't own the Senns) but is pretty much the "best" DAC/amp you mentioned. Fiio E10 is great when you're on a budget. E17 adds the option of going portable. The iBasso is nice for keeping next to your MacBook. And the DragonFly is a great DAC. Obviously the Dragonfly and the O2/ODAC are the most expensive of those, but you'll get the most out of them. You're making the right move on getting a DAC/amp, leaves a lot of room for expandability (you could get a new amp and just use one of the above as a DAC only). It's up to you now biggrin.gif

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus

 

@wes...Thank you for clarifying some of that :) I forgot to add that I am also looking at the Schiit Magni/Modi stack. If I went the Fiio route, I would probably pair the e09k + e17 + LOD/L9. Any major differences between the two, regarding sound? Or which of the two you think might pair best with Senn's? My source will either be my MacBook Pro or iPod...however I hope to invest in a better audio source down the road. 

post #5 of 7

Keeping in mind that I don't own the HD 598 (but I know of it's sound signature) I would lean towards the Fiio set if you aren't a fan of treble, and the M/M if you're willing to have a bright sound and overall clarity, detail, and soundstage. The Magni itself is a wonderful amp; it's very transparent and adds no detectable coloration to the music. The Modi, however, feels to be ever so slightly treble-happy. This paired with the HD 598 would brovide a bright sound, which you may not like, although it'll be a gorgeously clear setup. The Fiio are slightly more colored: a bit on the dark side, but it won't destroy the HD 598's sound signature, it's just enough darkness to tame the highs. So, again, it's your preference. If I were you, the ideal setup with that gear for me would actually be Macbook>Fiio E17>Fiio L7>Schiit Magni>Senn HD598. So in that setup, the E17 is acting as the DAC, the L7 is a type of line-out dock for the E17 (it provides no amplification, just a clean signal). So then you get a less-bright DAC than the Modi, but you get the brilliance that is the Magni. And then you can use the E17 as both a DAC and amp for portable applications. 

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Loved your feedback wes! I was just thinking about mixing and matching different brand combos after reading a couple of other threads! Thanks :) 
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by April2Ari View Post
Loved your feedback wes! I was just thinking about mixing and matching different brand combos after reading a couple of other threads! Thanks :) 
*Gasps* Someone likes my recommendations! :D Anytime! beerchug.gif
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