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My recommendation for best <$1,000 rig

Poll Results: Is V-DAC MK II + Schiit Valhalla + HD 650 the best <$1,000 rig?

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post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I am not a frequent poster here, though I have been reading along for over six years.  I listen to a broad variety of music from hip hop, to classic rock, to EDM, to jazz, and everything in between.  After a few false starts, I have finally assembled what I believe is the best sub-$1,000 rig.  Let me know where you think I could have done better or have room to upgrade.  Or if you agree that I've hit the nail on the head, let's hear that too and maybe others can just buy the same and cut to the chase (but then again, what's the fun in that).


Musical Fidelity V-DAC MK II ($249 Amazon)

Schiit Valhalla ($349 Direct)

Sennheiser HD 650 ($380 Amazon)

Total: $978 before taxes and shipping and interconnects


CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 85

Edited by nickofall - 12/1/13 at 1:19pm
post #2 of 4

This isn't a bad set up at all. You'd probably be happy with it. A few thoughts though. The Musical Fidelity is an older DAC, and you might be able to find something better for the money. Have you thought about the Schiit Modi or the JDS ODAC?

A lot of people have said that the Bottlehead Crack is the best amp for the HD-650. It's a tube amp in about the same price range, but it's DIY and costs extra to have them build it for you. Or you could maybe find it used. The Modi and ODAC are a good bit cheaper than the V-DAC -- IMO, I'd think about one of those two DACs and using the money you saved on the DAC to get a Crack instead. 

The HD-650 is a classic, hard to go wrong there. 

Just to play devil's advocate, here's what I'd probably recommend for a $1,000 system if I hadn't read your choices:

Hifiman HE-500


Schiit Modi and Emotiva Mini-X A-100 (plus adapter cable for $40)


Audio GD NFB-11.32

These are both solid state amps though. I'm guessing you want tubes? 

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Interesting thoughts.  Thanks!  I'll definitely check out the gear you mention, but yes, I did want a tube amp.


Also, for the record, I have the Musical Fidelity V-DAC MK II, which came out last year, not the older one.  It was reviewed in Stereophile in August 2012.

post #4 of 4

hiya, have you considered HE 400? 100 $ off until cyber monday.


You could also consider audio gd 15.32 (they differ from 11.32 in DAC chip, but I have heard that there would not be much difference between 11.32 and 15.32).

My suggestion would be HE 500 + audio gd 15.32

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