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DAC/AMP Recommendations

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

EDIT: Ok so I want a dac/amp combo. I can spend around $200ish if it is really worth it. A must for me is a good soundstage, natural sound, and good detail. I don't want any dac/amp that is not good in those regards.

 

Also, I know this thread is old but can some one comment on the O2+ODAC combo versus the Magni/Modi. I between a good black friday deal on the O2 ODAC combo and just buying the Magni/Modi.

 

 

 

Greetings,

 

I currently listen to my audio technica A900Xs from an old Creative Soundblaster Audigy 2 ZS soundcard (mid 2000s). I was fooling around the other day and plugged my headphones into an amp my family uses downstairs to power two old speakers hooked up to a record player. I noticed that even with just sourcing out of my phone the sound was much better than with my computer. This all got me to thinking about my set up and I was wondering with black friday and cyber monday coming around if I might be able to get a good deal on a DAC and an amp.

 

I listen to mostly choral and a capella music, which often involves multiple people singing different parts that overlap in the same frequency ranges. Often times bad headphones have a lot of trouble articulating all these parts at the same time. My current headphones do a very good job at this but when I plugged them into the amp downstairs, I noticed a big difference in sound quality and separation, and that is just a crappy home theater amp (see here) with the music coming from my phone on lossy MP3s! So I guess the kind of DAC or amp I would want would be ones that sound very natural and work well with the human voice, thats why I like the A900Xs so much to begin with.

 

Sorry for all the long paragraphs. If you are still with me, advice would be greatly appreciated. I am looking to maybe spend around $100 but that is not really a maximum or a minimum. I am looking for the price point that would give me the best return on investment.

 

Thanks!


Edited by chili dude96 - 11/28/13 at 3:16pm
post #2 of 32

FiiO E10 external USB-DAC-Amp, $75.

post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

FiiO E10 external USB-DAC-Amp, $75.


The reviews seen to say that it doesn't sound very natural and worsens the soundstage and does not help with the details. Not to mention a dark sound stage Thanks for your suggestion but it appears to be the opposite of what I want. I should also note that a dac or amp does not have to be portable for me. It will just be sitting on my desk.

post #4 of 32

Asus Xonar DG (PCI) sound card, $26.80 and there is a $10 mail in rebate this month.

post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

Asus Xonar DG (PCI) sound card, $26.80 and there is a $10 mail in rebate this month.


Based on the specs I don't think that card would be any better than my current soundcard. It was a decently high end soundcard six years ago.

post #6 of 32

modi and magni combo or Aune T1

post #7 of 32
I agree a magni/modi combo would be a good place to start
post #8 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies guys. I have been thinking about the magni/modi combo but I have a few questions. If I invest that much into a dac/amp how long will it last me until I want to buy a new one? By that I mean how far up the headphone price ladder before I would want to upgrade the dac/amp?

 

Also I don't think the Aune T1 appeals to me. I don't think I want a tube amp.

post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by chili dude96 View Post
 

Based on the specs I don't think that card would be any better than my current sound card. It was a decently high end sound card six years ago.

I believe the Audigy 2 ZX first come out a fair bit longer then 6 years ago, but not a big deal.

 

Asus Xonar DX or D1 sound card, used $60-$65.

Schiit Magni headphone amplifier, $99.

The combo should make the ATH-A900X sound nice.

post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by chili dude96 View Post
 

Thanks for the replies guys. I have been thinking about the Magni/Modi combo but I have a few questions. If I invest that much into a dac/amp how long will it last me until I want to buy a new one? By that I mean how far up the headphone price ladder before I would want to upgrade the dac/amp?

 

Also I don't think the Aune T1 appeals to me. I don't think I want a tube amp.

The Magni/Modi combo could last you for a fair bit of time.

Audio Technica has several higher end headphone that are in the 40-Ohm range.

So you would really have no need to upgrade from the Magni/Modi.

post #11 of 32
Thread Starter 

Sorry I haven't gotten back on this thread until now. I've been away.

 

So anyways, besides the magni/modi combo, are there any other dacs/amps I should look at? I was hoping to maybe get a few names and see if I can snag anything really cheaply on cyber monday or black friday. If not then I would probably get the magni/modi.

post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by chili dude96 View Post
 

Thanks for the replies guys. I have been thinking about the magni/modi combo but I have a few questions. If I invest that much into a dac/amp how long will it last me until I want to buy a new one? By that I mean how far up the headphone price ladder before I would want to upgrade the dac/amp?

 

Also I don't think the Aune T1 appeals to me. I don't think I want a tube amp.

 

Well realistically they should last you for years but the thing is in the headphone (and audiophile world) it is always easy to catch the upgrade bug/fever or you may change headphones etc. At $99 each the modi/magni combo is a great place to start and can last as long as you are happy.

Probably have a tough time finding any good deals on cyber monday as these are niche products that don't appeal to the masses nor are they loss leaders to get you into a store. You can always look in the head-fi classifieds for a deal.

As far as inexpensive alternatives for DAC's I have heard good things about the Behringer UCA 202 which can be had for like $30 or really good things about Stoner Acoustics UD110 which you can get through their facebook page for $50 (not much to look at a shrink wrapped circuit board) . You can also always try a CMOY amp which you can get off ebay for like $30

post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 

What do you guys think of me getting a Fiio E17 for $100? Would that work for me?

post #14 of 32

I think so :)

post #15 of 32
Thread Starter 

But I'm still going back and forth as to whether it is worth the extra money for a schiit stack over the e17....

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