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New to Headphones, bought LCD-3, need amp and DAC (maybe)

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 



I'm new to using headphones for sound other than portable SE-530's


Previously I had a home theater with Revel Ultima2 speakers, acoustically treated room, and JL subs.  Unfortunately I'm selling my house and packed everything up. My point in prefacing this is I'm no stranger to good sound, which brings me to headphones now that I'll be apartment or condo living for a while.


This brings me to my current situation.  I'm completely new to this.


I bought LCD-3's based on the amount of appreciation they seem to get.  I'm currently powering them through a computer only.  I've heard, and feel, that they need an amp.


I know there's lots of amp recommendations on here, but I just don't have time to sort through all of them.  I am looking to spend 1 to 2k to bring out the full potential of these.  I think they sound good, but the experience is nowhere near the Revel set up I'm used to.


Also, can I play flacs through my computer to the amp?


Should I get a DAC as well, and what's a good recommendation?

Thanks for reading,



post #2 of 11

Let me be the first to recommend the Schiit Gungnir (DAC)/Mjolnir (amp) stack. Goes with the LCD-3s like chocolate syrup and ice cream, or gin and tonic, or, well, you get the idea. And well within your budget.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'll look into this. Thanks.


So is this the only and best option for the LCD-3 then?

post #4 of 11

Well, this is recommended by Jude as a good combination with the LCD-2. I'm not too sure if it is similar to the LCD-3 in terms of SQ. It could be a good thing to check out.


post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hopefully keep bumping for a few more suggestions

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

So I bought the Gungnir and Mjolnir combo.


The amp made a lot of difference since they were totally underpowered.  I used that about a week before receiving the DAC.  After receiving the DAC, I honestly can't say I hear much difference.  I don't think I'm hugely convinced that a DAC is that necessary.

post #7 of 11
Nah, I tend to agree. That's head-fi. Don't even get me started on cables :-)
Congratulation, nice you enjoy! Think you should have got a Stax setup personally ;-) or perhaps just be satisfied with a simple hd800 serup with a nice amp and dac....
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

I can't really hear any difference.  If it's anything then there's a slight boost in the upper mid/ lower treble, which counters the sound of the LCD's signature anyway.  Oh well, live and learn.

post #9 of 11
Yup - I agree - I've never understood why some people say replacing their DAC caused a night & day difference. That hasn't been my experience. I'm not claiming their is no difference, and certainly if your PC puts complete garbage out the headphone jack, then there will be improvement - but other than that situation, I certainly wouldn't expect anything significant. I sure as heck wouldn't spend thousands for an "audiophile" DAC - unless you just want it because it looks cool. Just more proof that I lack the qualifications to join the "golden eared club".
post #10 of 11

I feel pretty content with my 400$ DAC, which I got pretty darn cheap. I lent the audio-gd sa1.32 some time ago and I didn't hear a difference that I felt I could stand by, for example in a blind test. Yeah sure, I perceived the sa1.32 as slightly better and just different on some point but the madness must stop somewhere.

No, a decent DAC and then focus on headphones and an adequate amplifier (which surely does a difference). Cables and the like.. Just no.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm not an Electrical Engineer (Mechanical here), but I did read a 30 year EE's opinion on measurements of "expensive" cables versus normal and his statement was there is none.  I've never seen the data though.  I know I've never heard a difference personally.


I won't be buying into DAC's anymore.  My old man told me when I got into this young that the speakers were the most important part of the audio chain.  To this day, I can't prove that theory wrong.  The rest is pretty small changes (if any), as long as the transducer is getting enough power.

Edited by JNlN - 11/22/13 at 9:08pm
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