Hey guys, I currently use my ASUS Essence STX for both DAC and amp to listen to my music, but I've always been interested in getting a tube amp. Recently I've seen the Bravo Ocean on sale for under $100 and I'm interested in getting it as my first budget tube amp. I currently have a pair of Sennheiser Momentums and Philips Fidelio X1's but am looking into a pair of DT880's (600 Ohms), HE-500's, Ultrasone Pro 900's or a pair of HD650's next (haven't decided, need to try them out). Would the Ocean be a good start considering what I'm looking into? Also, I was going to use the STX as the DAC and to do that I'd obviously use RCA cables, would there be any need for more expensive cables (ie gold plated), or would anything be okay really? Any help would be appreciated, I'm excited about the prospect of my first tube amp! :D
First Tube Amp
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The most cash I would ever spend on cables is Monoprice's "Premium" low cost cables.
The Essence STX can not send Dolby Headphone Surround Sound thru the RCA jacks.
As the STX has to be set to "Speaker" (not "Headphone") for the RCA outputs to function.
So your looking at 2-channel stereo audio for the RCA outputs, which is fine if all your really doing is 2-channel music audio, or watching movies or gaming in 2-channel audio.
You might want to check around with fellow Philips Fidelio users, as the Fidelios are only 30-ohm and some lower costing tube amplifier might not work their best, with 30-Ohm headphones.
If later on you decide you prefer using the tube amplifier with all your headphones, you can sell off the STX and get an Xonar DX or D1 (used $60), you can plug amplifier into the DX/D1 front-line-out jack and be able to use all the Dolby Headphone Surround Sound functions, with the Bravo Ocean.