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Noob Question about DAC and Amps

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

So I recently decided to get into this Hi-Fi thing. It started with just ripping high quality music, but I realized I needed to dig deeper for true audio nirvana. So I recently got a pair of HiFiman HE-400's and I have a Bottlehead S.E.X w/ C4S on the way. So my question now is do DACs and Amps have pairing issues or can I use any ol' DAC with my amp and expect it to sound great? I'm looking for something under $200 with USB and preferably 24/192. I've been looking at the QNKTC – AB-1.2 USB DAC which for $170 looks pretty sweet. Are DAC's all that different? Looking at a lot of DAC spectrum charts it seems they're all flat with a little fall off at the extreme high frequencies. Most emphasis seems to be placed on the amp and hp rather than the source, which leads to believe with the set up I have whether I get the Schiit Modi, JDS O2, or any other DAC as long as I have the bit-rate, depth, and connections I want it doesn't really matter. In this case just USB and RCA out will work for me.

 

I hope someone can help me out, I already feel I've gone too deep by getting the S.E.X amp, but I'm hoping it will all work out in the end :)

post #2 of 7

Not EVERY 'ol DAC will sound EXACTLY the same. However, I have found that past the ODAC, there are negligible, if any, improvements in quality to be gained--even with several hundred thousand dollar setups I have heard*. I don't see anything wrong with the QNKTC--if you like its looks, go for it.

 

*Not in meet conditions; Several guys I know have such setups and have kindly allowed me to audition them. 

post #3 of 7

I just wanted to add that you may or may not be able to tell a difference between 196/24 and 44.1/16...I would advise just Googling such a test and trying for yourself. 

post #4 of 7

Yep, you can use pretty much any DAC with your amp. There are no matching issues in terms of technical specs (unlike matching amps and headphones, say). Different DACs can have somewhat different characters, but the better DACs in the same price range will be at a similar level in overall sound quality, plus or minus individual preferences.  Both of the DACs you've mentioned have groups of ardent fans, so you can't really go wrong. I've seen people say that the can't even tell the difference between the Modi and the Bifrost. 

I have the HE-400 as well and I use it with an HRT Music Streamer 2, which I got for $180 two years ago. I'm quite happy with it. 

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post I've seen people say that the can't even tell the difference between the Modi and the Bifrost. 
 

 

That's what I assumed considering even Schiit said the only reason you'd really need the bifrost is for the ability to upgrade/connections other than USB.

 

In a spark of genius I forgot my laptop has an S/PDIF connector on the audio panel. So I think Im going to trial the Fiio D03K since its a drop in the bucket and has 192/24. The mini jack on my computer is a little wonky so if the S/PDIF is the same Ill just jump to USB with little loss. Thanks for the help!

post #6 of 7
Tell us how it goes.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
well it all turned out alright. I have my pc to the fiio d03k to the S.E.X amp w/ C4S upgrade to HE-400s. I listened to my 24/192 daft punk and wow, what an experience. I think I might start saving for a pair of LCD-2s now
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