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DAC around the 150$ budget

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

Which DAC would you recommend for connecting to little dot II >> Grado Magnum cans in the budget limit mentioned in the subject?

 

Thanks

post #2 of 13

Perhaps you could get what i'm planning to buy, the Schitt Modi DAC. It's $100 for the DAC, and $20 for the cables.

 

Did you buy any other tubes for your little dot 2+? Any other OP amps to tweak the sound of the amp to your preference? 

post #3 of 13

you can try the hud-mx1 or mx2, or the odac by jds labs. they are all pretty good dacs at this price

post #4 of 13
If you're willing to go used, you can find some nice deals in the Used section. For example this ODAC.
Edited by gevorg - 9/28/13 at 9:37pm
post #5 of 13

There's a DAC where I've enjoyed the sound of very much with my Grado RS1i, PS-500 and Magnum X headphones.  Though, it is hard for me to give a full recommendation at the time due to a few items of concern.  The DAC is the Fiio E10.

 

Concerns:

 

1) Noise.  When you pause your playback source (e.g. - Foobar) you can hear a light "ssssss" sound that I wish it didn't exhibit.  I've tried many USB cables to see if this could be resolved.  I even purchased a new Thermaltake power supply for my computer and thought the sound issue might be resolved. *  Though, it really wasn't.  I've even ran my computer with an adapter to lift the ground in the event the noise was created by a ground loop.  Again, not much luck.

 

2) The 3.5mm female connectors.  These connectors exist on both the headphone out section where you can use the headphones without a separate power amp; and, the second 3.5mm output, which is a line out and permits you to use the E10 strictly as a DAC to run to your power amp.

 

To me, these issues are a bit saddening.  The DAC itself, though, was capable of providing some excellent sound with the Grado signature headphones.  Clean percussion, clean strings, etc.  I was quite amazed by such performance in a DAC at that price level.  Really.

 

So, the question that comes to mind is, why did I post this response if it wasn't a solid recommendation?  Well, I wanted to share how good it can sound - due to great potential.  But, I felt that the noise issue when no music is playing was a concern of mine, as well as the very cheap 3.5mm female jacks.  If those two issues could be remedied, I feel this would be a super steal at $65.00 or so.

 

As to other DACs - e.g. - Modi, oDAC, etc., I would ensure that you have the capability to potentially hear them first before making a leap.  I've read about some people making comments on the sound signature.  In fact, on member, TMRaven did a review on the O2 amp / oDAC combo and the Schiit Modi / Magni combo.  His review was short and sweet.  He said to buy the Modi / Magni combination.  I've had the Modi / Magni stack before and held onto it for a few weeks but sold them off since the sound was a bit "thin" to me.  Again, just my view, but I've been in this game a long time and tend to try and be as objective as I can.

 

I think all too often, people will recommend items that they currently own.  But, it should all come down to what our ears and what we can appreciate.  Just for me to tell you that product "x" is very good, doesn't mean it's 100% right for you, or what you may want to hear from your music system.

 

Research carefully.  Buy carefully.  Enjoy and Good Luck!

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

I have the Fiio E10, it's missing details & clarity with the little dot (for my taste).

The Modi sounds like a good deal before the shipping rates for my country - 45$ shipping rate for a 100$ equipment is quite a deal breaker for me.

post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyalcat View Post
 

I have the Fiio E10, it's missing details & clarity with the little dot (for my taste).

The Modi sounds like a good deal before the shipping rates for my country - 45$ shipping rate for a 100$ equipment is quite a deal breaker for me.

 

Hi,

 

Have you noticed the sound that I mentioned with the E10 and the USB hookup?  Also, if you've noted some items with the clarity with regards to the Fiio E10, you also have to consider that you're running a tube amp.  I'm not sure which tubes you are running, but those could have an impact on the clarity too.

 

As to the $45.00 shipping, is that the cost for ordering a new Modi Schiit?  If so, then Schiit, that could be a bit cost prohibitive, especially if you have to pay import duties, too.  Are you able to find one on the forum from a member selling one and willing to ship internationally?

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

Regarding finding a Modi in this forum from one that willing to ship internationally - it's a long shut.

Regarding the his sound - I haven't noticed/hear any.

Regarding the little dot - I had much much more details with the previous sound card I had (may he rest in peace).

post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyalcat View Post
 

Regarding finding a Modi in this forum from one that willing to ship internationally - it's a long shut.

Regarding the his sound - I haven't noticed/hear any.

Regarding the little dot - I had much much more details with the previous sound card I had (may he rest in peace).

 

Correct.  That is why I thought that the tubes in the Little Dot II might be toning down some of the clarity you seek.  Possibly, moving to a solid state amp and keeping the Fiio E10 could be an option too.  Do you have a friend with a separate solid state headphone amp that you could use?  It would be worth a try to see how you like the sound of a solid state amp with the Fiio E10.  I'm not trying to push the E10 idea too far, but realizing the Little Dot II that is in the picture, I think the tubes might be quite a limiting factor in your scenario.  Then again, tube swapping or tube "rolling" isn't always cheap either, which is why I suggesting trying a solid state amp and the E10 to see what you hear as a base line.

 

Also, have you tried any other DACs at all with the Little Dot II ?

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

The Fiio E10 is quit dark in sound, I like my little dot but as a tube amp it would be better to connect it to a neutral/bright DAC.

I only heard the little dot with the Fiio & before that with m-audio audiophile 2496. The m-audio was just better in everyway I can think of.

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyalcat View Post
 

Hi,

 

Which DAC would you recommend for connecting to little dot II >> Grado Magnum cans in the budget limit mentioned in the subject?

 

Thanks

If you wan't a brighter, more detailed sound do two things.

 

Swap your tubes for these, they are detailed and have great treble.

 

 GE JAN5654W  (The GE JAN5654W are cheap :wink:) 

 Sylvania Gold Brand 5654    

 

Next you can change your OP amp, for something more detailed, such as the LME49990MA/NOPB.

From what I have heard, it is one of the most detailed and clear OP amps out there.

 

If you you follow these steps once you get your Modi or ODAC, you should have the sound you need.


Edited by Sony Slave - 9/29/13 at 7:47am
post #12 of 13

I heard my AH D7000s through my friends Modi DAC and I was very impressed with the sound for that small an investment.

post #13 of 13

I've also seen the ODAC recommended by many others in this forum.  Since I had only heard the O2 amp, I clearly couldn't comment on the ODAC, which is based on the ESS Sabre chip.  However, today, I was able to bring in an O2 / ODAC combo and I'm using it today and tonight with my Magnum X-based headphones.  It is crazy good with the sound output and really pairs well with the Magnum headphones.  But, since I have the combo unit, I can't use just the ODAC where I could pair it with my Little Dot I+ amp to provide some impressions on that particular combination.

 

There's also another good DAC that I've also just added to my collection and is really good when paired with the Little Dot I+ amp.  It is the Pico DAC from HeadAmp.  That DAC is a DAC that is sold for $299 from HeadAmp.  There is one listed on this forum for $150 (silver model, with a scratch on the front), which is the cheapest I've ever seen that DAC being sold for.  I'm not sure if the seller would ship internationally, but might be worth a try.

 

I've had the Schiit Modi / Magni in the past and used the combo for a few weeks with my Sennheiser HD-600 headphones and a few others, too.  Honestly, the combo didn't impress me too much.  I ended up selling it as I was using another combination of amp and DAC that I felt was better.  I opted for the Muse Mini DAC which I found on Ebay for some crazy price like $45.00 shipped from China.  I haven't heard one recently, so I can't comment on the pairing with the Little Dot I+ amp.  However, tomorrow, the Muse DAC that I ordered is based on a Philips DAC chipset and has been reviewed by members here as quite good.  That DAC runs about $55.00 shipped here in the U.S. from a vendor located in the U.S.  That DAC will arrive for me tomorrow and I'll be able to provide impressions.

 

But, getting back to my original premise, the Pico DAC is really a nice "top shelf" DAC constructed of a very nice quality of aluminum with a leather sleeve to protect it.

 

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