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Desktop amp/DAC advice please - Page 2

post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45 View Post

After further input from i019791 and fabio-fi I am now looking at the following possibilities: (NOTE: I would still prefer a tube amp!)

 

  • Lake People G109-S (410 Euros) (LINK) [prices change when you change language due to VAT]
  • Lake People G109-P (459 Euros) (LINK) [prices change when you change language due to VAT]
  • Audio-gd NFB-3.2 (339 Euros) (LINK)
  • Audio-gd NFB-5.32 (369 Euros) (LINK
  • Burson Audio Soloist SL (599 Euros) (LINK)
  • Schiit Bifrost with USB (449 Euros) (LINK)
  • Schiit Lyr (449 Euros) (LINK)

 

Possible DAC are the Audio-gd & the Bifrost. Which combination of those would be the best? Or are there any other combinations I missed?

 

I am still leaning towards the Schiit solution because it would give me my tube amp (tube rolling is more than a gimmick) and I have to admit I do dig the looks. Well, I have to sell this stuff to my girlfriend as well. That's a nice weekend trip to London for two right there. 

You could:

Cross out the G109-P, as the extra xlr inputs will not add to the sound

Replace Audio gd NFB-3.2 with Audio gd NFB-3.33 (they differ significantly - check their specs)

If dac+amp combos are of real interest to you, replace Audio gd NFB-5.32 with Audio gd Compass 2 or Audio gd NFB-10.32

post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by i019791 View Post

You could:

Cross out the G109-P, as the extra xlr inputs will not add to the sound

 

Agreed, just had it in the list because it could come in handy for future upgrades.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by i019791 View Post

Replace Audio gd NFB-3.2 with Audio gd NFB-3.33 (they differ significantly - check their specs)

If dac+amp combos are of real interest to you, replace Audio gd NFB-5.32 with Audio gd Compass 2 or Audio gd NFB-10.32

 

Could do that, if I could find it within the EU.

So far I have found two distributors: Audiophonics and Inter Projekt. Both don't have the 3.33 on offer.

 

Buying it in China will most likely blow up the price and take several weeks. Price would be the bigger issue: 349 USD on their homepage, 53 USD for shipping. Let's just assume that DHL is not willing to break the law and avoid customs + VAT for me, shall we? That's a whopping 30+% on top of the price. 

 

Add to that the fact that in case of any issues I would have to get in contact with China directly, which can be difficult because of language and time difference. Don't even mention the hassle and cost of shipping should it come to that.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by i019791 View Post

If dac+amp combos are of real interest to you, replace Audio gd NFB-5.32 with Audio gd Compass 2 or Audio gd NFB-10.32

 

My idea was to use the 5.32 as DAC. I am not really interested in combos because of the limited upgradability. Then again, if the 5.32/10.32/Compass amp part could be bypassed later on when I get an external amp... would save me some money now.

But I know that I would want to go bigger later on anyway. Especially when I upgrade my headphones to LCDs or HE-500.

 

 

post #18 of 26

I guess you could ask the Audio gd distributors for NFB-3.33. It will take some time for them to deliver, of course.

A problem with some combos is that you cannot be sure which part (amp or dac) you would like to by pass later. I had found the amp part of NFB-10 superb, but could not by pass the dac. In this light, the Audio gd Compass 2 seems a better option, as you can by pass either.

post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 

I did my reading on the Compass 2 now. Well impressed so far.

But I am a rather lazy person and would not want to have to buy modules later, that could probably maybe improve the sound. 

And then I read this in the Compass2 impression thread:


Quote:
Originally Posted by ninjikiran View Post

My ranking in SQ

 

1. Bifrost, perfect dac imo.  It doesnt add, doesn't subtract.  Its not sibilant, its not anything bad.

2. NFB-2 - Basically the bifrost, but warmer cutting off some higher registers. 

3. Compass 2  -  In the sabre config it is slightly sibilant.  Pairs well with my LCD-2 but has trouble with my less warm headphones.

 

But the Compass 2 still sounds good, and has utility,  Its a damn powerful headphone amp, has a robust USB input and options to change things around. Its hard to find such a robust Dac/Amp that functions so well, only other real options is to buy multiple boxes.

Now, this leads me back to the Bifrost as DAC. Pairing it with either the Lyr, Soloist SL or Lake People G109-S.

Remember, tube is preferred for its warmth. 

 

Just in case you were wondering what music I would listen to with the setup: post-dubstep (James Blake, Eskmo, ...), rock-related (SoaD, Godsmack, Jack White, White Stripes, Nine Inch Nails, ....), progressive rock (Bloc Party mainly), electronic (Crystal Castles, Boys Noize, Justice, SebastiAn, ...), Johnny Cash, some rap, some pop-ish kinda stuff (Bat for Lashes, Kele, Adele, ...), the odd jazz recording, some Michael Buble (live only, don't like his pop albums), ... more...

 

//edit: quote box is somehow not properly displayed, changed text to italic for quoted passage. [Mod Edit: Fixed it for you.]

post #20 of 26
Quote:

progressive rock (Bloc Party mainly)

Yeeah bro there were some pretty sick sweeps in that last Bloc Party album.


Edited by wilcaz - 4/26/13 at 8:01am
post #21 of 26
My Lyr pushes my HE5LE no issues, sounds fantastic. I bought a WA6 because the rectifier tubes drew me in, but, It just doesn't have the sheer power like the Lyr. I MIGHT pick up a Soloist SL to test, and then decide between that and the Lyr. I love my lyr, it's just, the soundstage isn't quite as big as ive heard on other combos. And the noise floor is high, but other than that, it's perfect. I have some $40 Electro Harmonix tubes that sound fantastic, and I have a few other pairs. Rolling is fun, and tubes are addicting to look at, especially the woo, so I'm torn as well.
post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DutchGFX View Post

My Lyr pushes my HE5LE no issues, sounds fantastic. I bought a WA6 because the rectifier tubes drew me in, but, It just doesn't have the sheer power like the Lyr. I MIGHT pick up a Soloist SL to test, and then decide between that and the Lyr. I love my lyr, it's just, the soundstage isn't quite as big as ive heard on other combos. And the noise floor is high, but other than that, it's perfect. I have some $40 Electro Harmonix tubes that sound fantastic, and I have a few other pairs. Rolling is fun, and tubes are addicting to look at, especially the woo, so I'm torn as well.

I keep hearing many positive things about the Lyr and the SL, which does not make it easier to decide which one to buy.

If I wanted to go for looks alone I guess it would be the WA7 topping my list. Alas, I cannot find a distributor in Europe.

 

A comparison between Lyr and SL using the Bifrost as DAC would be amazingly useful. 

 

Still reading and contemplating.

post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45 View Post

I keep hearing many positive things about the Lyr and the SL, which does not make it easier to decide which one to buy.
If I wanted to go for looks alone I guess it would be the WA7 topping my list. Alas, I cannot find a distributor in Europe.

A comparison between Lyr and SL using the Bifrost as DAC would be amazingly useful. 

Still reading and contemplating.
[/quote

I have a WA6 I bought cause it looks so cool, but it just doesn't push the my cans enough, I have to max our volume, it's only got about 1/4th the power HiFiMan recommends. so I'm in search of a soloist or a 6SE
post #24 of 26
Thread Starter 

All the Woo Audio stuff is off the list for just not being available other than directly from Jack, which is ridiculously overpriced after you have German taxes/customs on top. Instead of 1.1k$ it would cost me something like 1.5k$ were I to buy a WA7 from the US.

 

Looks like it will boil down to two options:

 

  • Audio-gd Compass 2
  1. cheaper option (500 Euros)
  2. possible upgrade paths (add DAC or add amp while bypassing the corresponding part in the Compass)

 

  • Schiit Bifrost + either Lyr or SL
  1. more expensive (900 [Lyr] - 1050 [SL] Euros)
  2. better sound (?)
  3. easiest upgrade paths
  4. better looks (to make the girlfriend look upon it more leniently when it's here)
  5. for Lyr: tubes and the rolling of those

 

I am leaning towards option #2, being a little reluctant of buying the SL over the Lyr. But, if anybody out there made the comparison of HiFiMANs (or similar) on this setup, please enlighten me.

post #25 of 26

The WA7 I would say is worth $1.5k. If anything, it is under-priced.

 

I reckon between your choices the more expensive ones will be a solid jump in sound quality, so it comes down to how much you want to spend (and, if applies, be taxed).

post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 

Since I got royally screwed over by the German state recently for a few thousand Euros, I am pretty much completely unwilling to part with any money on taxes. ;)

 

That was my understanding as well, a proper jump in quality for around double the price of the Compass. But is the WA7 really worth another few hundred Euros? 

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