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Help with Upgrading from Hifimediy Sabre DAC

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I recently upgraded my headphones to the DT 880 and my amp to the Vali.  It now seems to me that the Hifimediy Sabre DAC is the weak link in my setup.  I definitely do not want to spend more than $150.  Although 90% of the use would be with a USB input from my laptop, something that has an optical input would be great.  Are there any DACs in my price range that provide a clear upgrade over the Hifimediy Sabre?

post #2 of 25

The schiit modi is a clear upgrade over the hifimediy. 

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

I have considered the Modi in the past, but other people have said it is not much of an upgrade.  Any other opinions on the Modi vs. the Sabre?

post #4 of 25

i agree that the logically upgrade would be the schiit modi for your set-up. however, there's no need to upgrade if you are happy with what you are currently hearing.

post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbenrfan99 View Post
 

I have considered the Modi in the past, but other people have said it is not much of an upgrade.  Any other opinions on the Modi vs. the Sabre?

Personal Opinion Disclaimer: I think you are fine w/ your current DAC and you don't have a need to upgrade. To get a noticeable jump in quality, you probably have to look at the $400+ DACs and even then, I am skeptical of the amount of sonic improvement you'll get. (I don't think it's worth it to spend your money in improving your DAC... your money goes farther upgrading your headphones).

post #6 of 25

An upgrade in headphones would be expensive too. If you like the way your headphones sound, then upgrading your dac is the way to go. The vali scales very well with dacs and sounds like **** when combined with the hd800 + vali. That being said, while the modi will be an upgrade, if you can hold off and save a bit more money for a mid range dac, then it will be a better investment.

post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thegunner100 View Post
 

An upgrade in headphones would be expensive too. If you like the way your headphones sound, then upgrading your dac is the way to go. The vali scales very well with dacs and sounds like **** when combined with the hd800 + vali. That being said, while the modi will be an upgrade, if you can hold off and save a bit more money for a mid range dac, then it will be a better investment.

I'm a full-time student and will be for at least the next 3.5 years.  I can't really save money for a more expensive DAC.  My options are either to stay with the Hifimediy Sabre or get another DAC for $150 or less.

post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by thegunner100 View Post
 

An upgrade in headphones would be expensive too. If you like the way your headphones sound, then upgrading your dac is the way to go. The vali scales very well with dacs and sounds like **** when combined with the hd800 + vali. That being said, while the modi will be an upgrade, if you can hold off and save a bit more money for a mid range dac, then it will be a better investment.

I hear that sennheisers are extremely picking and need to be paired w/ the "correct" DAC/amp. lol. OP has a beyer, so that shouldn't be that big of a problem.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbenrfan99 View Post
 

I'm a full-time student and will be for at least the next 3.5 years.  I can't really save money for a more expensive DAC.  My options are either to stay with the Hifimediy Sabre or get another DAC for $150 or less.

The sonic upgrade from HMD sabre to any dac in the $150 price range is very slight IMO as the HMD sabre already has an amazing performance:price ratio. A lot of the dacs in that price range use equivalent or worse dac chips, so I would personally save the $150. While the modi is a "clear upgrade," the sound improvements would not be very noticeable.

 

Spend the extra $150 on beer or books lol.

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post
 

I hear that sennheisers are extremely picking and need to be paired w/ the "correct" DAC/amp. lol. OP has a beyer, so that shouldn't be that big of a problem.

 

The sonic upgrade from HMD sabre to any dac in the $150 price range is very slight IMO as the HMD sabre already has an amazing performance:price ratio. A lot of the dacs in that price range use equivalent or worse dac chips, so I would personally save the $150. While the modi is a "clear upgrade," the sound improvements would not be very noticeable.

 

Spend the extra $150 on beer or books lol.

 

I disagree... the hd600/650 are not picky at all, but the hd800 is. The hd800s are so picky because they are so damn transparent. They will reveal whatever ****ty gear you might have (AKA, the hifimediy). The dac chip is not the most important part of the dac. The PSUs and analog sections are more important. The modi also provides async usb, whereas the original hifimediy does not. 

 

Go for the modi. If you don't find that it provided enough of a sonic improvement, return it.

post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by thegunner100 View Post
 

I disagree... the hd600/650 are not picky at all, but the hd800 is. The hd800s are so picky because they are so damn transparent. They will reveal whatever ****ty gear you might have (AKA, the hifimediy). The dac chip is not the most important part of the dac. The PSUs and analog sections are more important. The modi also provides async usb, whereas the original hifimediy does not. 

 

Go for the modi. If you don't find that it provided enough of a sonic improvement, return it.

mmm... new hifimediy has async usb. i was talking about the HD800 being picky b/c that's the headphones you brought up. sure, if you have $1,500 headphones you might be able to hear the differences between a $60 dac vs a more expensive dac... but OP has a sub-$300 pair of headphones... doesn't make sense to me for OP to spend more than 50% of the headphone price on the dac/amp since headphones are what is most important in determining sound quality afterall. after quickly skimming your profile, it seems that you are not bound by the same budget concerns as OP and me w/ all your expensive gear, so I don't know if your suggestions would be the best course of action for the more budget-minded. also, i don't think that the suggestions based on experience from a super-high-end luxury pair of $1,500 headphones would be the applicable for a mid-fi $300 pair of headphones.

 

I would strongly suggest AGAINST buying the modi just to test it out because you will lose $15 restocking fee + S&H costs both ways. It's better to go to a meet & demo a Modi vs your current DAC to see if you notice an appreciable difference that you personally feel is worth the money. Or read comparison reviews & see what people have to say about the upgrade.

Quote:
 Return Policy Unlike our other DACs, Modi is so affordable we can’t offer the same 15-day, 5% satisfaction guarantee. But if you don’t like your Modi, you can still send it back for a refund, minus 15% restocking fee, within 15 days of receiving your amp.

http://schiit.com/products/modi

 

Honestly, if you are currently satisfied with your sound & don't notice any major flaws, just keep your current set-up & enjoy your music! No point upgrading for the sake of upgrading if you are perfectly happy with your current set-up & are on a budget.


Edited by money4me247 - 12/18/13 at 5:20am
post #11 of 25

I have a pair of hd600s as well, which is arguably the same league as the dt880. I'll have my friend come over with his modi another day so that I can do some more direct comparisons, using the hd600s. To me, the modi doesn't do anything "wrong" for it's price w/ the hd600, hd800, and UERMs, but the hifimediy just sounds flat out bad to me.

 

Ultimately, it is up to the OP whether or not it will be worth it for him.

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by thegunner100 View Post
 

I have a pair of hd600s as well, which is arguably the same league as the dt880. I'll have my friend come over with his modi another day so that I can do some more direct comparisons, using the hd600s. To me, the modi doesn't do anything "wrong" for it's price w/ the hd600, hd800, and UERMs, but the hifimediy just sounds flat out bad to me.

 

Ultimately, it is up to the OP whether or not it will be worth it for him.

A man who is used to $1,500 steaks + $600 seasoning can probably tell the difference between $60 vs $100 seasoning, and would obviously scoff at the idea of using $60 seasoning. However, a man who recently went from McDonald's to $300 steaks probably won't be able to taste the difference between the seasonings at all. It doesn't make any sense to buy really expensive seasoning for a cheap steak. (...btw the steaks are your headphones & the seasoning is the DACs :tongue:)

 

It's a matter of perspective. You obviously have extensive experience in very hi-fi audiophile products, so your perception of quality is different. You may prefer the modi over the hifimediy even for the hd600 d/t your exposure to more high-quality gear, while other people may say that the hifimediy is comparable to the modi.


Edited by money4me247 - 12/18/13 at 6:02am
post #13 of 25

I had a HifimeDIY DAC, I now have a $500 Audio-GD unit.    I havent A/Bed them directly, but the improvement is fairly minor and more along the lines of something I'd pick up if I was listening critically to the sound, as opposed to the music.

 

I for one wouldnt dream of saying one DAC sounds like c**p while another sounds a lot better.   The difference simply isnt that huge.   IMO.

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by vkalia View Post
 

I had a HifimeDIY DAC, I now have a $500 Audio-GD unit.    I havent A/Bed them directly, but the improvement is fairly minor and more along the lines of something I'd pick up if I was listening critically to the sound, as opposed to the music.

 

I for one wouldnt dream of saying one DAC sounds like c**p while another sounds a lot better.   The difference simply isnt that huge.   IMO.

The better your amp and headphones, the more of a difference you will notice.

 

YMMV, IMO, caveat emptor, etc etc.

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by thegunner100 View Post

The better your amp and headphones, the more of a difference you will notice.

 

YMMV, IMO, caveat emptor, etc etc.

 



Well, I have a custom 2A3 amp, and some pretty good amp/DAC combos (Audio-GD, Alo Pan Am. CLAS -R/Alo Conti V3) feeding LCD 2.2s, HE-500s and Fostex TH600s and I've auditioned more expensive gear before settling on this. I'll still stand by what I wrote.

As you said, YMMV, etc. etc.
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