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Help me choose an amp! HIFIMAN EF-2A or Schiit Modi+Vali or WA7? OR something else?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, I'm not really new here as I've been a member for quite some time but I've recently got reinvigorated in to the headphone space again.  Anyway, I've recently been considering getting a DAC/Amp to use with my mac.  I want to get something somewhat compact and small so that it doesn't take up a ton of real estate on my desk.  Right now cost really isn't much of an issue but I want to try to keep it less than $1000 and of course the cheaper the better... so long as it meets my needs and sounds better than the output from the mac (and my B&W mm-1's).

 

Anyway... here are some details on what I'd want to use the amp for:

 

  1. Listening to music from iTunes as the source
  2. Watching movies
  3. Watching TV through my local slingbox

 

I'm not true audiophile but I do appreciate good quality sound...  Also, I'd like to get a tube amp... mainly because I've never had one and am curious about them.

 

Most of the time I'd probably be using the DAC/Amp with my Philips Fidelio X1's or Beyerdynamic COP's and in the future I'd look to possibly get the HD800 or LCD2.

 

The DAC/Amps that I've been considering are below:

 

  1. HIFIMAN EF-2A
  2. Schiit Modi + Vali
  3. Woo Audio WA7
  4. Vmoda Vamp Verza
  5. Fostex HP-P1

 

My question is that considering that I'm new to DAC's/Amp's, would it be better for me to start with the HIFIMAN EF-2A or comparable Schiit for not much more OR would I be better off in the long run if I waited and saved up money for the WA7?  Also, I'm wondering if I'd be able to tell an appreciable difference between the 3 options?  Or would any of them be so much better than the output of my mac that I'd most likely be happy with any of the 3 options?

 

Thanks in advance!!!

 

 

::EDIT::

Added some portable options as well... wondering also if any of you would advise against getting portable options to use at home?  I am considering those as well since they would seem to give me some more versatility to be able to use them on the road with my IEM's.


Edited by tangfj - 1/21/14 at 9:06pm
post #2 of 9

all the dac/amps you listed would probably deliver better sound quality than onboard soundcard of mac.....

 

Audio GD 15.32 is really bang for buck (http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1532/NFB15.32EN.htm, http://www.head-fi.org/t/648386/audio-gd-nfb-15-32-delivery-impression-thread). This one would cost about 255 US$ + shipping

you can also look at Audio GD 11.32 (http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1132/NFB11.32EN.htm, http://www.head-fi.org/t/624517/audio-gd-nfb-11-32-delivery-impression-thread). 11.32 uses two different chips (ES 9018) for dac and it is 65 us$ more than 15.32. This one with tcxo upgrade costs about 339 us$ + shipping.

Moreover, both 15.32 and 11.32 have the same amp circuit. They can deliver more output power than that of WA7.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubinstein View Post
 

all the dac/amps you listed would probably deliver better sound quality than onboard soundcard of mac.....

 

Audio GD 15.32 is really bang for buck (http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1532/NFB15.32EN.htm, http://www.head-fi.org/t/648386/audio-gd-nfb-15-32-delivery-impression-thread). This one would cost about 255 US$ + shipping

you can also look at Audio GD 11.32 (http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1132/NFB11.32EN.htm, http://www.head-fi.org/t/624517/audio-gd-nfb-11-32-delivery-impression-thread). 11.32 uses two different chips (ES 9018) for dac and it is 65 us$ more than 15.32. This one with tcxo upgrade costs about 339 us$ + shipping.

Moreover, both 15.32 and 11.32 have the same amp circuit. They can deliver more output power than that of WA7.

 

Are there any US sources to buy Audio GD products?  I ask because I can get both the EF-2A and WA7 stateside... though it's not necessarily a hard requirement for me it does make it much easier for returns and support (if necessary).

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Added some portable options to my original post to see how people think they'd stack up against the desktop DAC/Amp's I've listed...

post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by tangfj View Post
 

 

Are there any US sources to buy Audio GD products?  I ask because I can get both the EF-2A and WA7 stateside... though it's not necessarily a hard requirement for me it does make it much easier for returns and support (if necessary).


There are few distributors in Europe. However, I am not sure about the distributors in the US. I ordered my 11.32 directly to Audio GD. The order was placed on Monday early morning and I received the 11.32 on Friday at 3 pm.

I do not see why one may want to return 15.32 or 11.32. I am very much pleased with the sound quality of my HE 400 and K240 mk ii when paired with 11.32.

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by tangfj View Post
 

Added some portable options to my original post to see how people think they'd stack up against the desktop DAC/Amp's I've listed...

 

why do you need a portable dac/amp for summit fi headphone such as, HD 880 :blink:

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubinstein View Post
 

 

why do you need a portable dac/amp for summit fi headphone such as, HD 880 :blink:

 

I don't need a portable for my cans but it was more of an afterthought for my IEM's (senn ie800 and shure se846).  If a portable could drive both my cans and my IEM's then it may be worth it for me to get a portable vs a desktop DAC/Amp...

post #8 of 9

bump

post #9 of 9

I'm new here so please excuse me if I don't post correctly? I have 2 tube headphone Amps, the little bear & the Shiit Vali.

I like them both & got the tube upgrade for the Bear. They both make the bass stronger & punchier with the slight Tube sound.

I'll just leave it at that, & answer questions if asked. Thanks guys

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