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How it all works?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello,

Recently getting back into HiFi audio. I originally sold my HD650 headphones but found a great deal today and bought another pair.

 

My Original setup was a Gilmore Lite AMP and dedicated power supply by Head-Amp paired with some HD650 headphones. I always ran into issues with static and popping as the amp was plugged into my sound blaster titanium HD sound card. How do I bypass the sound card with a digital source?

 

My New setup will be

15" Retina MBP

Gilmore Lite AMP + PSU

HD-650 Headphones.

 

I'd rather not plug the AMP into the macbook's headphones port, is there a way to make this connection digital without amplifying the signal twice or causing issues?

Preferably i'd have a USB device that has a Red / White RCA output into the amp.

 

is this what i need?

http://www.amazon.com/Schiit-BIFROST-Upgradable-192-BITPERFECT/dp/B006YWRW36?tag=lifehackeramzn-20&ascsubtag=[referrer|www.google.com[type|link[postId|483393503[asin|B006YWRW36[authorId|5716553178370339807

 

or is there a better option for cheaper?

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by 0V3RC10CK3D View Post
 

Preferably i'd have a USB device that has a Red / White RCA output into the amp.

 

is this what i need?

http://www.amazon.com/Schiit-BIFROST-Upgradable-192-BITPERFECT/dp/B006YWRW36?tag=lifehackeramzn-20&ascsubtag=[referrer|www.google.com[type|link[postId|483393503[asin|B006YWRW36[authorId|5716553178370339807

 

In default configuration the Bifrost has no USB input, it's a $99 extra feature. Schiit made it a separate option because a lot of USB reclocking, etc, technology are still coming out, so chances are next thing you know people might need it for higher resolution or whatever, so they put it in a daughterboard that can be replaced easily.

 

I'd rather order it from Schiit's website. That Amazon page doesn't have a page for the USB version (which isn't the default).

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 0V3RC10CK3D View Post
 

or is there a better option for cheaper?

 

Thanks!

 

1. Schiit Modi
2. JDS Labs ODAC

 

Any cheaper than these and you're gambling on eBay DAC kits. :D

BTW, any USB DAC you decide to go with, do a quickie Google search to make sure there are other people using it with a Mac, unless the product page or the reviews on it say otherwise. Some of these things might not come with Mac drivers that automatically install when hooked up and you'd have to look for them elsewhere.

post #3 of 9
Just so you know the rMBP's headphone port is a dual purpose port. It has both analog out as well as digital optical out (of course you eked a different cable, mini TOSLINK to TOSLINK). So you don't absolutely need to have USB unless you want some features that only USB provides. After all TOSLINK has no software issues to deal with and provides galvanic isolation.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Ah, so I could get the Bifrost without USB and just plug it in with an optical cable?

 

How does this match up with my Gilmore Lite AMP / Power Unit and HD650 headphones? I dont want to put drag racing tires on a civic.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
What about the JDS labs standalone ODAC with RCA outputs vs the Schiit Modi?
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by 0V3RC10CK3D View Post
 

Ah, so I could get the Bifrost without USB and just plug it in with an optical cable?

 

Yes, that's an option (I'm not really familiar with the Retina Macbooks but I suppose it should have it since the previous ones did). If you're confident that you will always use Macs and that Apple would never remove this feature, then order without the USB and get the right cable/adapter. Anyways you can always have Schiit install the USB upgrade later on.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 0V3RC10CK3D View Post
 

How does this match up with my Gilmore Lite AMP / Power Unit and HD650 headphones? I dont want to put drag racing tires on a civic.

 

Gilmore Lite is a fairly transparent amp, so no worries about the amp just adding its own color to what the DAC is producing. The HD650 might smooth out some recordings a bit too much for some people but on my system there's a clear difference between the iPad2 lineout and my amp's USB DAC. Yes I've played around with the volume knob to make sure it's not just gain - the iPad sounds a bit too sharp on some notes - but those who strongly believe in cables might attribute the problem to the signal path going through a cheap 3.5mm to RCA vs going from digital to amplified output without leaving the circuit board.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

So Schiit Modi, Bifrost or JDS Labs ODAC? Tough decision. I dont want to spend more money than I need to.

post #8 of 9

Read up on the comparos; Modi and ODAC are similar in sound but of course some point out a few details, but with the Schiit you save about $50. There are also a few reviews for the Modi vs the Bifrost, and generally, with the price at roughly 30%, the Modi is well over that mark for getting close to the Bifrost.

One other thing to consider though - either Schiit is a close aesthetic match to the Gilmore Lite, but the layout on the ODAC means it can be hidden away behind the amp. It might come down to how you want them organized :D

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Cool. I picked up the Modi

 

New Setup

 

MBP -> Modi -> Gilmore Lite with DPS -> HD650 headhpones.

 

Should be a pretty nice setup once everything shows up. Will being going in my office so i can ignore coworkers better.

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