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A few Amp/Dac questions for HD-650

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone.


The more I read, the tiny bit more confused I get. So I currently have my HD650 paired up with FiiO E17, and I don't feel like getting even half the potential out of my headphones. I've read and read - and come to realize that I can't simply find the "right choice" since people like different things.


Budget is around 400$ and I'm trying to get the most out of my HD-650. I've looked up the famous Bottlehead Crack and have some questions about it. Im convinced that it is a brilliant amp for HD650 for the price, but still wondering if I'm up for assembling it. Don't even own the necessary tools to begin with. Also I'd like to know if Speedball upgrade is worth the money (main advantages: quieter = reduces the background noise if I got it right?). And what sort of DAC would be the best suitable for it so that it fits the budget. If I buy the speedball, I don't really have any money left for a dac tho.. Could FiiO E17 do the job, even temporarily? Suggestions for my situation greatly appreciated.


Also looked up NuForce Icon HD (HDP not necessary for me since its only gonna be plugged in my MacBook Pro Retina). So far people have given many compliments to that product as well. Probably the Crack would win with a decent dac. Is E17 decent enough to do this or should I skip the idea of speedball and invest the money for a better dac instead? Hypothetically speaking of course, since I don't know yet what Im gonna buy :)


Other suggestions are welcome, since my knowledge is only based on reading other peoples varying opinions on different products. Many people also seem to just compliment what they have, not being able to truly compare them to anything. Of course this is important as well.


So BIG thanks in advance! I know these threads exist already but these questions weren't all answered. :-) Also most of the provided info I found was from 2 to 5 years old - don't know if that matters, but maybe I've missed something new.


Looking forward hearing what you guys think!

- mikkju-9

post #2 of 3

The Nuforce HDP (or HD) is a great match for the HD650s for your budget range.  I was quite happy with that combo for quite some time.


The Crack is definitely a very good amp, but most people would recommend the Speedball as a necessary upgrade to sound its best.  Your E17 should be a fine DAC to get started with.


Also check out the Schiit Vali.  The few pre-release reviews have been quite good and seems like it would be a good fit for the HD650s.  This would leave you with plenty of money for a DAC like the Modi or even better.


This is a very personal journey.  I think you just need to figure out in your gut what seems right and try it out.  You can always sell what you buy here and try something else (though DIY like the Bottlehead doesn't always retain its value).

post #3 of 3

Remember you can get the speedball upgrade when ever you want.  Personally I would invest in upgrading the stock tubes by just putting in $40ish bucks.  Then worry about the speedball then worrying about upgrading the dac. 

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