I was about to post this in the Compass 2 impressions thread but according to the welcome pm I received, this is here I should post. So I hope this is correct ...
I currently have this setup : Source : Asus Xonar Essence STX > Amp : Bravo Ocean > Headphones : Audio Technica A900. I loved the warmth given by the Bravo (using a NOS tube Raytheon Baldwin 1962 black short plates) but I would get rid of it in order to upgrade. I would keep the Xonar for the dolby headphones capability, the sound in games, etc ... Apparently this is still a good transport to an external DAC.
I am looking for a big upgrade under 500€/680$ with an external DAC+amp. I was thinking of Audio-GD Compass 2 or NFB 11.32 / 15.32. I am currently leaning toward the more expensive Compass because of the upgradability. BUT is this relevant ? I mean : by the time the next DAC chips will make a huge difference, will the rest of the device still worth to upgrade ? This is my main concern. I am ready to spend an extra 300$ but only if it is really worth it.
I heard the Compass 2 also has a better headphone amp than the NFB 11.32 / 15.32 but the ATH A900 are easy to drive (the Bravo still improved the sound so it does not mean a crappy headphone out is acceptable). So maybe the NFB 11.32 or 15.32 would be enough of an upgrade to get a "wow effect" after the Xonar Essence STX ?
What do you think ?
Edited by Muka-Sensei - 11/15/13 at 4:30am