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Amp/DAC for Fidelio X1?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm getting a Fidelio X1 and I was wondering if I should get an amp/DAC for it and if so which one. I'll be using it with my Macbook Pro (late 2011 model) for watching TV series or movies at home.

 

I was recommended to get the FiiO E10 but how much of a difference would this make compared to driving the headphones through the Macbook Pro? What about other low cost DAC/amps like the FiiO E17, will there be a big difference in sound quality compared to the E10?

 

Any recommedations?


Edited by PTom - 10/25/13 at 9:16am
post #2 of 11

FiiO E10 and FiiO E17 both use the same WD8740 DAC chip.

 

This used Audio-GD NFB-11.32 DAC/amp uses dual DAC chips, $265

http://www.head-fi.org/t/686519/audio-gd-nfb-11-32-upgraded-tcxo-and-usb-chip-options-installed

post #3 of 11
I recommend to get the Fiio X3, the new firmware supports usb dac/amp and u can also use it as a portable music player
-another x1 owner
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm not looking to spend too much. I checked the prices of the FiiO DAC/amps mentioned so far:

 

E10: £60

E17: £100

X3: £160

 

I'm not looking for portability just sound quality or rather best improvement in sounds quality per dollar spent compared to the integrated audio in my Macbook pro.

 

My budget is somewhere around $100 range (£60) but might be willing to go slightly higher ($150) if the product has really good value for money.

 

However, if a budget amp/DAC will give minimal improvements in sound quality then I rather wait till I can afford a decent one.

 

Any suggestions?


Edited by PTom - 10/26/13 at 12:16am
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Any thoughts?

post #6 of 11

Congrats from a fellow new Fidelio X1 owner. :)  Waiting for mine to arrive in a few days.


Edited by KarlAgathon - 10/28/13 at 8:07pm
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

So mine finally arrived yesterday. Still haven't decided if I'm going to get a DAC/amp for it. 

 

Anyway I hooked up the Fidelio X1 to my Macbook Pro and they do really sound good but I wasn't blown away. I watched a bluray movie and the headphones basically made me feel like I was at the cinema. The speech wasn't as crystal clear as I was expecting, slightly muffled in my opinion but maybe my expectations were too high after reading all the reviews. Or it could be that a DAC/amp will improve this??

 

I've been searching the forums extensively about the actual sound quality improvements of a DAC/amp over say directly hooking headphones up to a macbook pro and it seems that there are a lot of contradictory opinions. Some people say that headphones sound much better others say they can't hear any difference and others that there is a difference but it's not night and day.

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by PTom View Post
 

So mine finally arrived yesterday. Still haven't decided if I'm going to get a DAC/amp for it. 

 

Anyway I hooked up the Fidelio X1 to my Macbook Pro and they do really sound good but I wasn't blown away. I watched a Blu-ray movie and the headphones basically made me feel like I was at the cinema. The speech wasn't as crystal clear as I was expecting, slightly muffled in my opinion but maybe my expectations were too high after reading all the reviews. Or it could be that a DAC/amp will improve this??

 

I've been searching the forums extensively about the actual sound quality improvements of a DAC/amp over say directly hooking headphones up to a Macbook pro and it seems that there are a lot of contradictory opinions. Some people say that headphones sound much better others say they can't hear any difference and others that there is a difference but it's not night and day.

Audio quality improvement will depend on your budget for a DAC/Amp.

I would say to just get the FiiO E10 for now, later on you could sell it off if you felt like upgrading.

I would guess the E10's DAC chip (WM8740) is at least a little better then the Mac's DAC chip.

Also the E10's amplifier has a very low output impedance, like 1-Ohm, which should help at least a little with audio quality, for 30-Ohm headphones, like the Philips.

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

Audio quality improvement will depend on your budget for a DAC/Amp.

I would say to just get the FiiO E10 for now, later on you could sell it off if you felt like upgrading.

I would guess the E10's DAC chip (WM8740) is at least a little better then the Mac's DAC chip.

Also the E10's amplifier has a very low output impedance, like 1-Ohm, which should help at least a little with audio quality, for 30-Ohm headphones, like the Philips.

I was going to get the E10 but there were 2 different owners who commented in the Fidelio X1 review section that it didn't sound great with them. Precisely that it sounded a bit muddy and dark.

 

From my research I read that the E17 has similar hardware to the E10 so that will probably also not be great with the Fidelio.

 

So if I'm going to buy a DAC/amp it'd probably only be worth getting something at a higher price range. Based on comments I've read and availability in the UK, the choices would then be the EHP O2D (£190), HRT Microstreamer (£180) or Audioquest Dragonfly (£170). A Fidelio X1 user did also mention that these headphones sounded good with the Denon PMA 720 E (£200).

 

So the options are basically between driving it through the Macbook pro or possibly getting one of the above (leaning toward the EHP O2D) but not sure it's worth spending close to 1.5 x the cost of the headphones on a DAC/amp, especially since I have no idea the extent of the likely improvements in sound quality if any.

post #10 of 11

Off hand, I would go for the EPH-02 (190 GBP)

 

Or for a few dollar (pounds) more, get the Audio-GD NFB-15.32

I bought mine last week, it comes with S/PDIF (optical &coaxial) inputs, as well as USB

With S/PDIF you can connect it to more then just your computer.

Dual WM8741 DAC chips, musical and smooth.

I paid 185 pounds ($297) and that includes TXCO upgrade and shipping to California (from Hong Kong).

http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1532/NFB15.32EN.htm

post #11 of 11

delete pls


Edited by SaLX - 11/1/13 at 9:25pm
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