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Help decide DAP vs DAC for HE400 and Vali

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Here's my situation. I just got the hifiman HE 400 and Vali and want to add a dac. Was going to to get Modi but the problem is that I never listen to music through a computer or laptop. I only listen with my ipod/iphone/iPad.
I want to further increase my sound quality if possible by adding a dac. Do you think I would get a better sound by buying a cheap Sansa clip and adding a dac to that? The dacs that work with ipod/ipone etc are kind of expensive from what I've seen.
What about diymod my iphone video!
Any thoughts about what they think is the best option?
Maybe costs less than about $200
Edited by Halonoonan - 1/18/14 at 9:50pm
post #2 of 6
You can't bypass the DAC in the iphone/ipod without doing very complicated HW modifications. That's the bad news. The good news is that you really don't have to bypass the DAC - the internal iphone/ipod DAC works well. In the older iPhone 4 & iPods, you can use a line-out dock cable to bypass the internal amp and hook the line-out directly to your Vali. I really don't know how the newer iphone 5 works - does it have the equivalent of lineout capability?
post #3 of 6
I want to correct what I said here - because I completely overlooked the *one* product that *can* allow you to bypass the ipod/iphone DAC: The Cypher Labs AlgoRhythm Solo (CLAS):

This device is pretty ingenious. It has a USB connection, and it is able to access the Apple device's mass storage file system. So, the music file is fed directly from the Apple's storage to the external DAC's USB port.

As far as I know, no one else can do this amazing feat. Exclusivity is expensive - the CLAS starts at $450 and does NOT include a headphone amp - it outputs only line-out. There is also a model with a DAC/Amp combo, for a wallet blistering $800...
Edited by billybob_jcv - 1/19/14 at 8:51pm
post #4 of 6
Wow I should have just stayed completely away from this topic - because I need to once again correct what I said. There are other devices that can provide this capability:


I'm not perfect, I'm just free...
post #5 of 6

You can only pull digital out of the iphone 5, no LO. 

post #6 of 6
The HRT iStreamer can take digital from portable Apple devices as well. Not sure about which models exactly, but it's a lot cheaper than the options that have been already mentioned.

Purely IMO, you would have more and likely better options if you changed your listening habits and used a computer. You are already stuck indoors next to an outlet to use the Vali. What's the point of using a portable source device with a desktop amp?
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