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Cans/Amp/DAC combo, $500 Budget

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone!

 

I'm looking for a Amp/DAC and some headphones within a $500 budget. This would be my first step into the world of hi-fi, so explanations on why the setup you chose is good would be cool too! Also, to give some more information:

 

- Looking for a warm,lush,somewhat dark sound signature.

 

- $500 is my budget, but suggest whatever is also around that price range in case I can get a good deal on something.

 

- Closed headphones would be nice, but open is fine too.

 

- I'll be listening to these from my desktop computer.

 

- I mainly listen to electronic music (metal/hip-hop occasionally) so decent bass would be nice.

 

If you need more info, please ask! Thank you in advance to anyone that replies


Edited by saga440 - 12/19/13 at 4:50am
post #2 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by saga440 View Post
 

I'm looking for a Amp/DAC and some headphones within a $500 budget. This would be my first step into the world of hi-fi, so explanations on why the setup you chose is good would be cool too! Also, to give some more information:

- Looking for a warm,lush,somewhat dark sound signature.

- $500 is my budget, but suggest whatever is also around that price range in case I can get a good deal on something.

- Closed headphones would be nice, but open is fine too.

- I'll be listening to these from my desktop computer.

- I mainly listen to edm (metal/hip-hop occasionally) so decent bass would be nice.

If you need more info, please ask! Thank you in advance to anyone that replies

Assuming this is mostly for music, then gaming or movies.

 

Schiit Magni/Modi, DAC/Amp, $200+tax/shipping

Audio technica ATH-A900X (closed) headphones, $220+tax/shipping

Hifiman Velour ear pads, $10 plus shipping.

 

You should be able to get better prices if you buy used.

post #3 of 22

Warm, lush, dark.... well, the answer is HD598, which is open aire headphones. Closed alternative would be NAD Viso HP50, but it costs a lot more than HD598 (yes, closed equivalent of open aire headphones in terms of sound quality is usually more expensive)

 

You have two choices for Amp/DAC combo:

 

JDS's Objective2 amp + ODAC

Schiit's Magni/Modi

 

JDS's will cost you about 270 bucks while Schiit's one will cost you 190 bucks. With Schiit properly have RCA ports and 1/4 inch headphone output jack, I'd say Schiit's is better deal.

post #4 of 22

My budget setup is HE400 ($300 during black friday) + Bravo V3 tube amp ($65 on sale) + Stoner Acoustic's U110v2 DAC ($53).

 

If you are patient, you can find a lot of gear on sale. I would recommend spending most of your budget on the headphones because your headphones & source files makes the biggest impact on the sound quality. Pairing your headphones w/ the right DAC/amp can really improve your sound, but it's more about finding the right set rather than throwing more money down.

 

Also, in my personal opinion, DAC/amps is really more about fine tuning your sound signature so you get that last 10% boost rather than experiencing a huge jump in sound quality. So I personally never understand it when people recommend dac/amp set-ups that are more than 50% of the price of your headphones. Instead of spending that $200-400 on a dac/amp, you can legit jump up from a mid-fi $400 pair of headphones to a hi-fi set (Audeze LCD-2 was sub-$800 recently).

 

You start experiencing diminishing returns for headphones once you hit $300-400 and amps/dac around $200.

 

Good luck.


Edited by money4me247 - 12/16/13 at 1:55am
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

Has anyone tried the Focal Spirit One's? Would they be any good? I'm still looking around, haven't found anything that's gotten me really excited yet. I also forgot to mention that I have the ATH-AD700's for gaming. I like their comfort level, but I think I want to buy from another manufacturer to try something new.


Edited by saga440 - 12/19/13 at 4:55am
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by saga440 View Post
 

Has anyone tried the Focal Spirit One's? Would they be any good? I'm still looking around, haven't found anything that's gotten me really excited yet. I also forgot to mention that I have the ATH-AD700's for gaming. I like their comfort level, but I think I want to buy from another manufacturer to try something new.

There are some Used HE 400's on Head Fi atm. But the HE 400 is on the bright side

 

So I'd try for a Fiddello X1 Schiit Modi and [Magni or Vali] 

 

I would how ever invest in about $200 for a Dac and Amp to get teh best out of your Headphones 

 

Actually, here's an idea. Go for a Mr Speakers Mad Dog, $300 you can find a used on here on head fi for about $225. Get that and a Schiit Modi and Magni for about $220 +Shipping

 

The Mad dog has a very nice warm lush sound to it, and very good isolation! It's a top notch closed headphone. And I think the Schiit Stack would be very ideal to drive it with actually! It would make a nice contrast to your AD 700

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/694059/mad-dog-v3-2-w-alpha-pads-chicago-250

http://www.head-fi.org/t/686129/maddogs-3-2-with-carrying-case

 

There are two Mr Speakers Mad Dog Revision 3.2 for $250! 

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the help mshenay! So, would you recommend the Mad Dog's? I've seen some people on here who really love them and some people who hate them (saying that they're just overpriced headphones with mods you could easily do yourself). Also, I saw they were heavy, so i'm not sure if they would work for extended periods of time.


Edited by saga440 - 12/19/13 at 12:46pm
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by saga440 View Post
 

Thanks for the help mshenay! So, would you recommend the Mad Dog's? I've seen some people on here who really love them and some people who hate them (saying that they're just overpriced headphones with mods you could easily do yourself). Also, I saw they were heavy, so i'm not sure if they would work for extended periods of time.

I think they are great! I owned them for a week, and I like BRIGHT headphones, which the mad dogs are not. So they where not my cup of tea HOW EVER, I found them to be very good non the less!  I can recognize and accept the quality that they offer, and not like the sound signiture. If you want something a little warm the Mad Dog is a very good way to go! And the Mad Dogs are not heavy, the Alpha Dog how ever [msrp $600]  is a little heavier. So the Mad Dog should not have any weight problems like it's upgrade'd brother the Alpha dog, that and I found my Mad Dog to be very comfy... I take that back is  was the MOST COMFRORTABLE closed can I've owned to date! But that is due to those Alpha Pads... those Alpha Pads are dreamy! 

post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 

Cool! Thanks for the info. Also, I was wondering if anyone could say anything about the Aune T1, I was curious if it was a dac + amp or just a dac, and if good enough to drive $200-300 cans.

post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by saga440 View Post
 

Cool! Thanks for the info. Also, I was wondering if anyone could say anything about the Aune T1, I was curious if it was a dac + amp or just a dac, and if good enough to drive $200-300 cans.

It's a good little entry level tube amp. It is a DAC + AMP. Check out that thread for more information.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/633006/aune-t1-usb-tube-dac-amp-discussion-thread-see-first-post-for-faq

post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by saga440 View Post
 

Cool! Thanks for the info. Also, I was wondering if anyone could say anything about the Aune T1, I was curious if it was a dac + amp or just a dac, and if good enough to drive $200-300 cans.

it's a tube dac (dac powered by tube) + a SS amp. very interesting combo. usually tube set-ups are tube amps not dacs.

post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by saga440 View Post
 

Cool! Thanks for the info. Also, I was wondering if anyone could say anything about the Aune T1, I was curious if it was a dac + amp or just a dac, and if good enough to drive $200-300 cans.

it's a tube dac (dac powered by tube) + a SS amp. very interesting combo. usually tube set-ups are tube amps not dacs.


It's because tubes are inherently more noise-prone that they can't be used in DACs.  Don't get me wrong - I love tubes and support pretty much only tube amps.  It's just that when it comes to a "tube" DAC, they're faking it.  The tube is a voltage gain amplifier applied to the output of a voltage-output DAC chip, the TI PCM1793.  It's pretty much the only way a tube can work with a DAC - as a voltage gain amplifier on the output of the DAC. It's also why the Aune T1 has a headphone output connection.

 

It may very well be that the voltage output amplifier of the DAC in the Aune T1 circuit is a tube-hybrid arrangement - meaning that the final output is SS, but the tube provides the gain.

 

Bottom line, when you see a "DAC" with a "tube," look closely. ;)

post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
I've decided to change my mind and look at open headphones now. I think this will give me a higher chance of finding something I like (warm,lush) for edm listening. So, now I'm looking for headphones around ~$350 that could driven with an Aune T1. I really appreciate all the help so far, thanks everyone.
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post
 

It's because tubes are inherently more noise-prone that they can't be used in DACs.  Don't get me wrong - I love tubes and support pretty much only tube amps.  It's just that when it comes to a "tube" DAC, they're faking it.  The tube is a voltage gain amplifier applied to the output of a voltage-output DAC chip, the TI PCM1793.  It's pretty much the only way a tube can work with a DAC - as a voltage gain amplifier on the output of the DAC. It's also why the Aune T1 has a headphone output connection.

 

It may very well be that the voltage output amplifier of the DAC in the Aune T1 circuit is a tube-hybrid arrangement - meaning that the final output is SS, but the tube provides the gain.

 

Bottom line, when you see a "DAC" with a "tube," look closely. ;)

I'm guessing what you mean in layman terms is that it is a ss dac + tube buffer + ss amp?

post #15 of 22

Fiedlio X1 should be ideal :3 

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