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Amp/DAC for the LCD-X --- just to nail it, I already did my research

Poll Results: Which amp/DAC?

 
  • 23% (6)
    Burson Conductor
  • 3% (1)
    Burson Soloist + Arcam irDAC
  • 15% (4)
    Burson Soloist + Schiit Bifrost Über
  • 42% (11)
    Schiit Gungnir/Mjolnir
  • 15% (4)
    ... something else (please specify in your post)
26 Total Votes  
post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I just ordered the LCD-X and I need a proper amp & DAC for it. After quite a lot of research here's what I came up with:

 

  • Burson Conductor

 

From what I gather it is one of, if not, the best all-in-one package in this price segment. Yet I read that the DAC is not up to the same lofty quality as the amp part. Which leads to...

 

  • Burson Soloist + Arcam irDAC

or

  • Burson Soloist + Schiit Bifrost Über

 

Both DAC seem to be outstanding performers for their respective price. As I read so many positive reviews of the Conductor/Soloist I think, as of writing, I would prefer to go for one of those three options. Yet, as you may have guessed, there is (at least) one more...

 

  • Schiit Gungnir/Mjolnir

 

Would have the benefit of balanced out for the LCD-X, which some people seem to prefer. The downside is that it would only work with an adapter with my other headphones, such as the HE-400 and the SR125. And I'm not sure this would be such a great match for either of those 'phones.

 

So, you may have guessed my budget by now: 1500 - 2000 Euros max. And yes, that's Euros. So, unfortunately there is no way I'm going to import from the US or China thanks to taxes and customs fees. Which takes the WA7 out of the equation as I cannot seem to find any retailers in the EU.

 

Any recommendations or comments?

 

Thanks a lot in advance.

 

Cheers

post #2 of 21

I have been looking for a hp amp for LCD-2's. The soloist seems to be the top pick of most reviewers who have had the opportunity to compare. I also looked into the Schiit Lyr, but from what i have read and heard the 'tubeness' of the Lyr doesn't work so well...it seems having a really detailed solid state pairs nicely with the dark, smooth presentation of the Audeze cans. In that line of thinking I am hoping my Cambridge Audio Dacmagic plus will drive them well...then I won't even have to buy a new amp.

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 

I was looking at the Lyr as well, as I am a tube fan myself. But the tube sound, as you said, wouldn't go well with the dark Audeze signature. Thus, I think, my current favourite of the above would be the Soloist (SL, if feasible; and given that the Conductor SL was chosen for the Burson/Audeze Loanee program it should be) + the Arcam irDAC, which is known for two things: 1. punching above its price and 2. detail and clarity. 

post #4 of 21
WNCrk8

It looks like that a used amp will be needed

post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 

Why is that?

post #6 of 21
yeah, if my DM+ doesn't cut the mustard as a headphone amp the soloist sl is clear choice for me and I'll just use the dacmagic+ as a dac for it
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

So, to sum it up:

 

The Soloist seems to be the top pick for many people.

 

The Soloist SL is supposed to have enough power and essentially the same sound quality as his big brother. As I currently have no intention of giving in to upgraditis after this (I know, I know...) I guess I would be happy with the SL. Especially given the fact that the X are so far more efficient compared to the 3.

 

The poll at the top seems to slightly favour the Schiit G/M combo over the Soloist + Bifrost one.

 

What is the best combo now, considering the following?

 

  • Currently no purchase of other high-end headphones planned (no need to buy an amp which could possibly offer an upgrade path later)
  • No desire to go balanced (especially as it would mean I have to buy an adapter for my other headphones)
  • Main goal is going for as much clarity, transparency, texture on the X as possible without falling off the edge into brightness (which should not be too much of a problem, since most DAC/amp combos that would cause that are too expensive anyway)
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 

.


Edited by perplekks45 - 1/8/14 at 1:25am
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 

.


Edited by perplekks45 - 1/8/14 at 1:25am
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

.


Edited by perplekks45 - 1/8/14 at 1:25am
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

Sorry for that. Using IE at work does have its moments... maybe it's time to start working.


Edited by perplekks45 - 1/8/14 at 1:26am
post #12 of 21

Yeah if you already have the LCD-x  I would say go for the Soloist/biifrost combo. The Audeze phones seem to be very amp-picky so go with something that has been reported to be a great combo, rather than take an untested combo. I'm looking at upgrading my HD595 with a pair of planar magnetic cans and was originally looking at the LCD-2 but I also want to buy the Antique Sound Labs  MG-Head OTL32 DT Preamp . Since the Audeze don't seem to work well with tubes, I'm looking at the Hifiman He-500 - much better with tubes!

post #13 of 21
From your list, I'd suggest the Schiit M&G combo. It's a substantial upgrade from the Bifrost/Burson.

The Gungnir > WA22 is my favorite combo with the LCD-X, though.
post #14 of 21
Oh, but you cannot use an adaptor to listen to SE headphones. You can get balanced cables for your HE-400's, but you would have to get your Grados recabled.
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 

That's good to know, thanks.

 

Recabling the Grado would not be my highest priority, given that I'm in Germany and would most likely have to send them abroad for it. The cable for the HiFiMAN seems to be quite a good option, though.

 

Cheers!

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