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Alpha Dog - best Schiit amp/DAC for my situation?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

 

I'm looking for some guidance on what Schiit setup would drive the Alpha Dogs appropriately.

 

I'm pretty set on buying Alpha Dogs because they are just about the max price I'm able to afford, and have all the features that fit my situation perfectly (closed, high-quality, comfortable for long-term listening, all-around great reviews). However, I have not actually heard them yet, just fyi.

 

So far in my research, it appears Schiit products might make a great match for the Alpha Dogs. In Jude's video review of the Alpha Dogs, he says he uses the Mjolnir for some initial listening and it drives 'em very well. I feel like this solidifies my theory that Schiit products match well with the AD. And, I like the look and price of Schiit products.

 

I'm willing to save up and shell out $750 for a Mjolnir if it's a better "fit" to bring out the potential in the Alpha Dogs. I'd go ahead and simply buy the Asgard 2 (and Modi) because they are priced very well, but I can't help but wonder... am I not getting the "full experience" from the Alpha Dogs with Asgard 2/Modi? This question may bug me every time I listen, haha.

 

(Not knowing anything about tube amps and not having heard them, I feel unsafe getting a tube amp, fyi.)

 

Now, being new to the high-end headphone world and understanding DAC specs and stats about as much as I understand why my wife needs so many pairs of shoes... what DAC should I consider? If you guys think Asgard 2 is the right amp for my situation, will I benefit from Bifrost, or would Modi also do the trick?

Conversely, if you believe Mjolnir is the way to go considering I can afford it, would Bifrost allow "full potential" or should I consider Gungnir?

 

 

My situation:

- Listening from laptop WAV files (or high-quality MP3 downloads for Trance)

- Music choice - Trance and Hard Rock, mostly. My Hard Rock band examples: Theory of a Deadman, Hoobastank, Evanescence.

- I'll mostly be working on my computer while listening, in my Study. Closed headphones allow me to block any sound my 5- and 2-year old crazy boys make while my wife keeps her eye on them, haha.

- I don't blast my music (any more), so I want a high-quality sound at low to mid volumes.

- My budget for amp + DAC could max out and get the Mjolnir and Gungnir, but I'd really prefer not to pay for features that just aren't necessary for my situation. So, $1,500 at absolute max, but it would rock to spend a half that or less if it's possible.

 

 

I don't plan on upgrading anything (headphones, gear, etc.) in the next 5-10 years, so getting something that's "upgradeable" isn't a feature that I'm concerned with. I just want to get the most out of the Alpha Dogs but not go unnecessarily overboard with gear.

 

Also, is there anything else I'm not taking into consideration?

 

Thanks a ton in advance! And thanks Jude for this awesome site!!

 

Brad

post #2 of 21
Undoubtedly, the more expensive Schiit equipment will sound a bit better. Whether or not that difference is significant enough to justify the cost, only you can answer that question. But keep in mind that electronics provide smaller and smaller incremental upgrades in SQ as you go up in price.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks, cel4145. Being a noob that probably can't appreciate the quality of a Mjolnir, I guess I'll consider the Asgard 2.

 

Now - would a Bifrost be a good DAC to pair with the Alpha Dogs + Asgard 2? Or is Modi just fine?

post #4 of 21

Audio-GD NFB 11.32, DAC/Amp, $340+ shipping.

Comes with USB and S/PDIF (optical & coaxial) inputs.

http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1132/NFB11.32EN.htm

post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain Ninja View Post

Thanks, cel4145. Being a noob that probably can't appreciate the quality of a Mjolnir, I guess I'll consider the Asgard 2.

Now - would a Bifrost be a good DAC to pair with the Alpha Dogs + Asgard 2? Or is Modi just fine?

I have the Asgard 2 and the ODAC. The ODAC and the Modi are often described as equivalent in SQ by many people who own both. The ODAC is very resolving, and I would expect the Modi to be as well (I have not heard it). Of course, the Bifrost is going to be better than the Modi. One thing thing is that the Bifrost and Asgard 2 will stack well, so there's that visual aesthetic to consider as well.
post #6 of 21

To give you a different perspective (DIY). The grubDAC is the Modis equal in every way, and can easily be concealed inside the case of the asgard 2. For a sleek simple, and inexpensive route this would be my recommendation. Or even step up to the pupdac as it would fit nicely as well. If you want plug and play I would say go midlevel. Bifrost/Asgard 2 

post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvrk10256 View Post

To give you a different perspective (DIY). The grubDAC is the Modis equal in every way, and can easily be concealed inside the case of the asgard 2. For a sleek simple, and inexpensive route this would be my recommendation. Or even step up to the pupdac as it would fit nicely as well. If you want plug and play I would say go midlevel. Bifrost/Asgard 2 

Is that a good idea to put a DAC inside the Asgard 2 case? The Asgard 2 gets very hot. Plus, wouldn't that potentially void his warranty to open up the case and install a DAC inside?
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


Is that a good idea to put a DAC inside the Asgard 2 case? The Asgard 2 gets very hot. Plus, wouldn't that potentially void his warranty to open up the case and install a DAC inside?

No idea on warranty. I buy most of my stuff second hand and do what I want with it. As far as heat is concerned I wouldn't worry about it too much. the grub/pup are quality items, and do not produce much heat themselves. They should be able to stand it without issue, especially if you are smart about it. Also especially the grub is small enough to make it into an inline module so no one sees it, depending on where you put it. 

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvrk10256 View Post

No idea on warranty. I buy most of my stuff second hand and do what I want with it. As far as heat is concerned I wouldn't worry about it too much. the grub/pup are quality items, and do not produce much heat themselves. They should be able to stand it without issue, especially if you are smart about it. Also especially the grub is small enough to make it into an inline module so no one sees it, depending on where you put it. 

I disagree. I own the Asgard 2, and I'm telling you it gets really hot. Try one. I wouldn't put anything inside of it unless it was clearly toleranced for the amount of heat build up. Excessive heat is the easiest way to shorten the life of electronics. Given that you say the grup/pop does not produce much heat (so why would they design for it?), seems a risk to me to suggest that someone ELSE do this to their equipment.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


I disagree. I own the Asgard 2, and I'm telling you it gets really hot. Try one. I wouldn't put anything inside of it unless it was clearly toleranced for the amount of heat build up. Excessive heat is the easiest way to shorten the life of electronics. Given that you say the grup/pop does not produce much heat (so why would they design for it?), seems a risk to me to suggest that someone ELSE do this to their equipment.

just because it does not produce significant heat itself does not imply that the components are in any sort of danger. I have put a couple of grub dacs into high temp environments (embedded into tube amps) without any issue. 

 

Source: Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering. + lots of DIY experience. 

 

I am listing this as a possible alternative. Depends on what OP wants *shrugs*

post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvrk10256 View Post

just because it does not produce significant heat itself does not imply that the components are in any sort of danger. I have put a couple of grub dacs into high temp environments (embedded into tube amps) without any issue. 

Source: Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering. + lots of DIY experience. 

I am listing this as a possible alternative. Depends on what OP wants *shrugs*

Then as an engineer, you are aware that knowing tolerances vs. guessing something will be safe based on some anecdotal experience are not the same thing.

Source: BA in Computer Science, 15 years DIY building and troubleshooting PC builds where heat is always a potential problem to consider, and 20 years in the audio hobby hearing many stories of heat problems with audio electronics.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Then as an engineer, you are aware that knowing tolerances vs. guessing something will be safe based on some anecdotal experience are not the same thing.

Source: BA in Computer Science, 15 years DIY building and troubleshooting PC builds where heat is always a potential problem to consider, and 20 years in the audio hobby hearing many stories of heat problems with audio electronics.

Nothing anecdotal on my side . Look up the definition of that word because 20 years of stories is exactly anecdotal. Take a look at the SPEC sheet for the chips on there. They are all rated for a wide temp range. However like I said its up to OP if he even wants to do DIY.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvrk10256 View Post

Nothing anecdotal on my side . Look up the definition of that word because 20 years of stories is exactly anecdotal. Take a look at the SPEC sheet for the chips on there. They are all rated for a wide temp range. However like I said its up to OP if he even wants to do DIY.

Oh come on. If you are a good engineer, you should know that heat is always a valid concern--it's not an "anecdotal" thing. It's an important design principle to take into consideration. So I'm done. I'm sure the OP got my point just fine. I don't need to look at spec sheets.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Oh come on. If you are a good engineer, you should know that heat is always a valid concern--it's not an "anecdotal" thing. It's an important design principle to take into consideration. So I'm done. I'm sure the OP got my point just fine. I don't need to look at spec sheets.

Not something you ever hear from "real" engineer.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

 One thing thing is that the Bifrost and Asgard 2 will stack well, so there's that visual aesthetic to consider as well.

I guess "What is on the outside counts"?:gs1000smile:


Edited by PurpleAngel - 11/12/13 at 11:43am
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