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Moving from speakers to headphones only (HD800) - to DAC or not to DAC.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I know that this is yet another thread about DAC/AMP-combos, but hey - that's why we're all here, to argue about these matters right? :)

 

OK, so here goes. I'm taking the plunge into headphones-only; thus getting rid of the speakers and amp.

 

My listening is 50% portable with iBasso DX + Phonak Audéo PFE-232 and 50% in office with Linn Unidisk SC + Linn Majik 2100 + Linn Katan.

The amp and speakers are now gone. I have digitalized my cd's for backup but my intention is not to give up on the cd's, its just that when I'm in office working, it's easier to maneuver the collection through Web-Gizmo (JRiver) without loosing concentration on work. Once I start fiddling with Cd's, I get lost and ends up sitting on the floor going through album covers etc.

 

So I'm getting a pair of new headphones since selling my AKG-702 which I got tired of wearing for longer periods, and after weeks and weeks of listening its come down to; Sennheiser HD-800, Grado GS-1000i or Hifiman HE-6. They're about the same pricerange, sound different but very very good all of them. I guess it's just a matter of taste and amp-match.

 

For amplification I'm going to use Schitt Lyr or perhaps Woo Wa6 however I don't know if compared to the Lyr it's justifying the higher price?

 

Finally, for my main question. I'm planning to use the Unidisk as CD/SACD-transport but also as DAC for the music that I have on my computer using toslink/spdif to get the music into the Unidisk -> Amp -> Headphones. It's bitperfect since Jriver just outputs what I tell it to output so no limitations there, but I've not done this before - would it be better to (sigh!) get rid of the Unidisk and invest in a dedicated DAC once and for all. If I get the urge to play cd's I can just play them through the computer.

 

TO summarize:

1. Keep the Unidisk as DAC and CD/SACD-transport?

2. Schitt Lyr or Woo Wa6 for the mentioned headphones. What match is the best?

 

 

Thanks!


Edited by Aktersnurra - 12/13/13 at 1:23am
post #2 of 12

  Your Linn Unidisc should be a pretty good source. I would hold onto that and get a decent amp. I've heard the Schiit Lyr but not the Woo audio. As for the headphones, try as many as you can before you decide. I thought I was going to end up with LCD-2's but found that I liked the 702 anniversaries more after a few trials.

Also keep in mind that the HE-6 is more power hungry than the other 2 you mentioned.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by defguy View Post
 

  Your Linn Unidisc should be a pretty good source. I would hold onto that and get a decent amp. I've heard the Schiit Lyr but not the Woo audio. As for the headphones, try as many as you can before you decide. I thought I was going to end up with LCD-2's but found that I liked the 702 anniversaries more after a few trials.

Also keep in mind that the HE-6 is more power hungry than the other 2 you mentioned.

Thanks for your answer!

 

I've now taken another step towards complete portability. I took a leap of faith and bought me a Ray Samuels SR-71B to use with the DX50 and I've sold the unidisk, which leaves me with a pretty nice portable setup;

iBasso DX50 -> LineOut -> SR-71B -> Phonak Audéo PFE-232. It's just as good as I want it to be. For a portable IEM-setup I've reached my goal, which feels great.

The DX50 DAC chip is actually very good and for me it's better than the one in Unidisk SC, when paired with a proper amp. I was so please to hear what the phonaks could do!

 

Now, for work I can't use the IEM's a full day, so I'm still looking for that full size pair of headphones.

 

With iBasso DX50 - SR-71B, what would you guys recommend?? I'm planning to go balanced since this is what the SR-71B was made for, but suddenly it's getting even harder to decide. I can't demo HD800 with the RSO-connections since nobody has that sort of cable up for demo in Sweden.

 

I'm gonna have to need your help here.

 

The HD800 with a balanced cable from moon audio is $1,714.95

The HE-6 with a matching cable from moon audio is  $1,574.00

 

However, I could also go for the HE-500 with a moon audio cable which is only  $974.00

 

That's quite a big difference. I'm looking for sort of an end game here, but really - is the HD-800 and HE-6 that much better balanced from the setup that I have that it motivates the extra $600-$700?

 

What do you say head-fiers?

post #4 of 12
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/geek-pulse-a-digital-audio-awesomifier-for-your-desktop

Pre order a fully upgraded geek pulse. Includes fully balanced dac and headamp, femto clock, linear power supply and an audiophile usb cable. Decodes DSD natively- unheard of for the crowdfunded price. Last chance to get one on the followup indiegogo campaign.
post #5 of 12
Can you get any of those 3 phones on approval? I love my HD800'S but don't have your portable front end. I play mine mainly through either DX100 C4 or AK100 and have no complaints. The HE6 has a phenomenal reputation for good sound too. I have not had the pleasure of listening to it.
I will also say it will take many hours of listening to truly appreciate what you do finally end up with and you have narrowed your choice to 3 very good phones. Do you listen at high volumes and what do you listen to mainly rock, classical, jazz? I am a rock fan but I have a collection ranging through acoustic folk 60s synth pop heavy metal classical AOR anything goes. I have no need to reach for another phone whatever comes on and whatever mood I'm in.
The word of warning I would give about buying the HE500 without audition and not on approval is you will always wonder what the other 2 options sounded like and upgradeitis will eventually scratch away at your soul....
Email moon audio and see whether they can offer the 2 top ones for you to try. Then try both the HE6 and HD800's. Can these 2 justify a $700 difference? No.
But are they endgame? My thread says yes. I'm thinking if you're considering spending $1600 the HE500 may not be endgame.
One more thing; have you considered buying either phone through the classifieds on this forum? You will get much better value for money that way and the headphones will still be the same
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeanidea View Post

Can you get any of those 3 phones on approval? I love my HD800'S but don't have your portable front end. I play mine mainly through either DX100 C4 or AK100 and have no complaints. The HE6 has a phenomenal reputation for good sound too. I have not had the pleasure of listening to it.
I will also say it will take many hours of listening to truly appreciate what you do finally end up with and you have narrowed your choice to 3 very good phones. Do you listen at high volumes and what do you listen to mainly rock, classical, jazz? I am a rock fan but I have a collection ranging through acoustic folk 60s synth pop heavy metal classical AOR anything goes. I have no need to reach for another phone whatever comes on and whatever mood I'm in.
The word of warning I would give about buying the HE500 without audition and not on approval is you will always wonder what the other 2 options sounded like and upgradeitis will eventually scratch away at your soul....
Email moon audio and see whether they can offer the 2 top ones for you to try. Then try both the HE6 and HD800's. Can these 2 justify a $700 difference? No.
But are they endgame? My thread says yes. I'm thinking if you're considering spending $1600 the HE500 may not be endgame.
One more thing; have you considered buying either phone through the classifieds on this forum? You will get much better value for money that way and the headphones will still be the same

 

Hehehe, love it! I'm gonna start with the HD800 and see what happens. I don't like heavy phones so the HE-6 might have that as a con. Soundstage is really my thing, and as long as the recording's good, and I know it's good - then my choice of headphone must reflect that.

post #7 of 12
Soundstage is what the HD800's excell at. They are that and so much more. Hope to see you on my end game thread in a years time
post #8 of 12
I would've thought the sr71b would be a fine amp to try on the HD800's to start with. It'll go well loud enough.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
To start with? What are you saying, really? wink.gif
post #10 of 12
:-)
I've not tried the SR71B with the HD800's so hence I said see how you go. I'm sure the combo will be great. You've nothing to lose by trying it. How far up is your volume for running your pfe232s?
I wouldn't get rid of them either I'm sure they'll be a good complement to your over ears in situations when you want to listen to music without sound leakage.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeanidea View Post

:-)
I've not tried the SR71B with the HD800's so hence I said see how you go. I'm sure the combo will be great. You've nothing to lose by trying it. How far up is your volume for running your pfe232s?
I wouldn't get rid of them either I'm sure they'll be a good complement to your over ears in situations when you want to listen to music without sound leakage.


Well I'm running  the SR71B in lowest gain and about 12:00-1:00 on the volume pod is about where I listen, and that's very loud but still some to go. That is, for a modern "loud" record.

For better recordings (for example James Tayors Gorilla on Audio Fidelity) I'm at about 2:00-2:30

So there's enough power. I'm pretty sure I could drive the HE-6 if going balanced and with high gain on the SR71B.

 

Regarding the HE-6 with SR71B, Ray Samuels himself told me to; "get a balanced cable for the HE-6 and see what that amp can do"... so I'm a bit tempted, however I'm a little hesitant regarding the weight of HE-6

 

Also, as I've heard and read, the HD800 is the king of soundstage which I love.

post #12 of 12
The HD800's would work at 6 o'clock in low gain based on that I'd say. Low gain I prefer to mid and high gain its a less harsh sound. I'd try to avoid using gain if you need to narrow your choice
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