After many years (to be exact, 7 years...), I finally saved up enough money to spoil myself with a serious upgrade to my headphone setup that is way overdue
I have done a bit of research on the forums and asked a friend of mine, which I'll present below.
Looking forward for your advice! After all these years, I honestly CANNOT wait to upgrade my setup... at least to finally get rid of crappy noise-infested transport I have (i.e my PCI-based PC sound card).
I tried to provide as much information as concisely and clear as possible. Apologies if I gave away too many details
- Around ~3000$ (could go a bit more, if I need to buy a new amp)
Quick Equipment History (red = current):
- I owned HD650 back in 2003 connected to a PC via a sound card Terratec DMX Fire 24
- Upgraded setup in 2005 by having a dedicated headphone amps Corda HA-1 Mark II (very old amp, bought for ~280 Euro, released by meire audio probably 2001 if not earlier, this is a linked review)
- Replaced HD650 with HD800 in 2012, on the same setup.. it was a worthwhile extremely noticeable upgrade, despite the excessive EMI noisy PCI-based sound card using analog output to the amp.
Items to be purchased:
- DAC - Most important thing
- USB/[xxx] Digital interface with PC
- [Optional]: Do I need a new amp, or is the Corda good enough for HD800 (at least for now)?
Forum Recommendations from my research:
- What I have seen so far for DAC, most are recommending Violectric V800 or Audio Gd Reference 7.1. A friend of mine who I trust seems to say good things about V800, which seems neutral according to review (my preference).
- with USB[xxx], most seem to recommend hiface2.
- For amp, I'm not sure if I need a new one or not.. so I haven't done any research on this.
Personal Listening Preference:
PC is my primary and only transport (using foobar2000, KS mode) I love the sound to be as close as possible to reality, without any coloring.
I mostly listen to classical music, lots of instrumental string music and eastern music & songs. (I'm not a fan of hard rock or heavy stuff).
Therefore, I love: clean, dynamic, transparent and crisp sounding details.
This is why I loved HD800 much more than HD650; the much-improved soundstage, crisper details, snappier bass (perhaps a little bit less 'full' than HD650? but then again this is given my current setup).
If I have a DAC with usb like V800, do I need a USB digital interface? I read few arguments on asynchronous mode vs. non for USB and how asynchronous is superior, this recommending hiface2. On the other hand, this reviewer mentions USB is already excellent and I could save the $$ for either better DAC or perhaps a new amp... What is your advice on this?
Again, many thanks!! and apologies for excessive details, but I'm really excited that I finally get to spend my savings on this upgrade! I recently got married so my bank account was flattened as you might expect and this is the ONLY thing I can spoil myself with
Note: I will rely on net for my purchases so can't sample any items :(
Edited by recca_cool - 4/21/13 at 4:24pm