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ELE DAC vs MacBook Pro internal DAC - virtually the same SQ?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi all!

 

Recently I have purchased an ELE DAC in hope that I will get some sound improvements. However, I don't hear any significant differences in sound quality comparing to internal DAC of my MBP. My setup is MBP/iTunes -> ELE DAC  -> Beyer DTX 501p. I have tried to play both 256kbit AACs and losesless ALACs. What possibly is wrong? ELE DAC is no good enough, or MBP built-in DAC is very good, or DTX501p haven't got enough resolution, or my ears?? Even tough I don't consider myself a hifi pro but I hear differences between different headphones which make me think this is a technical problem rather than perceptual. So any suggestions would be welcome! 

post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Croftengea View Post
 

Hi all!

 

Recently I have purchased an ELE DAC in hope that I will get some sound improvements. However, I don't hear any significant differences in sound quality comparing to internal DAC of my MBP. My setup is MBP/iTunes -> ELE DAC  -> Beyer DTX 501p. I have tried to play both 256kbit AACs and losesless ALACs. What possibly is wrong? ELE DAC is no good enough, or MBP built-in DAC is very good, or DTX501p haven't got enough resolution, or my ears?? Even tough I don't consider myself a hi-fi pro but I hear differences between different headphones which make me think this is a technical problem rather than perceptual. So any suggestions would be welcome! 

Apple computers are considered to usually come with decent audio hardware (better the stock Win PC audio hardware).

The ELE DAC comes with the PCM2704 DAC chip, which does sound better then the 5 year old Win PC computer that I use my ELE DAC with.

The Beyer DTX 501p headphone are fairly "basic" headphones, I'm guessing they change very little in sound quality no matter how much you amplifiy them.

 

The FiiO E10 USB-DAC-AMP ($75) might give a slight improvement.

As it comes with a better DAC chip (WM8740) and a low impedance headphone amplifier :)

But I'm guessing the best way to improve audio quality is to buy better headphones.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

Apple computers are considered to usually come with decent audio hardware (better the stock Win PC audio hardware).

The ELE DAC comes with the PCM2704 DAC chip, which does sound better then the 5 year old Win PC computer that I use my ELE DAC with.

The Beyer DTX 501p headphone are fairly "basic" headphones, I'm guessing they change very little in sound quality no matter how much you amplifiy them.

 

The FiiO E10 USB-DAC-AMP ($75) might give a slight improvement.

As it comes with a better DAC chip (WM8740) and a low impedance headphone amplifier :)

But I'm guessing the best way to improve audio quality is to buy better headphones.

Thanks for your advice! You are so right - I took a 4 year old Dell notebook and tested it with and without the ELE DAC - the SQ difference is  pretty apparent.

 

As for better headphones - which ones (of the similar form factor) would you recommend as a cost-effective upgrade (so the jump in quality is more or less on par with the price jump)?

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:

As for better headphones - which ones (of the similar form factor) would you recommend as a cost-effective upgrade (so the jump in quality is more or less on par with the price jump)?

Anyone please? I'm considering Philips Fidelio M1. Is it a good upgrade over Beyer DTX 501p? 

post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Croftengea View Post
 

Thanks for your advice! You are so right - I took a 4 year old Dell notebook and tested it with and without the ELE DAC - the SQ difference is  pretty apparent.

 

As for better headphones - which ones (of the similar form factor) would you recommend as a cost-effective upgrade (so the jump in quality is more or less on par with the price jump)?

Listing a budget would be helpful.

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

Listing a budget would be helpful.

200$ at most.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Bump?

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Croftengea View Post
 

200$ at most.

Audio Technica ATH-A900X (closed) or ATH-AD900X (open).

Works with or without headphone amplifier.

Might find some used under $200.

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

Audio Technica ATH-A900X (closed) or ATH-AD900X (open).

Works with or without headphone amplifier.

Might find some used under $200.

Thank you!

post #10 of 11

I just bought some Hifiman Velour ear pads ($10+shipping) for my A900Xs, I liked what they did, the A900Xs sit a lot more firmly.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

I've checked some reviews of A900X on youtube (not too useful for me because most of them japanese) and the main thing I got from them - A900Xs aren't big, they are huge! Actually I was thinking about something more portable. I've read a lot of positive stuff about V-Modas M-80. Are thsese a good upgrade over Beyer DTX 501p?

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