Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › DACor DAC/AMP to use with my GRADO GR10 in ear headphones. (This is my first post)!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

DACor DAC/AMP to use with my GRADO GR10 in ear headphones. (This is my first post)!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi Headf-Fi people! This is my first post! :)

My name is Sylvain, from Montréal, Canada. I'm an happy french Canadian, so some language mistakes could occur. 

 

I'm fairly new in the market for high quality music gear and quality. It's about time! Since last month, I bought Sennheiser "Momentum" for my home and the Grado "GR10" for my workplace. I like the Momentum a lot, but like the cleaner sound from the Grado a little better. 

 

Since I listen music about 3 to 6 hours a day at my job, I'm looking for a high quality dac or dac/amp for the Grado GR10. It's to use with a PC "HP Z800 workstation" to play some mp3 and flac music from the hard drive through JRiver audio player. So...it's gonna be plugged in the USB output almost 100% of time. I mainly listen instrumental music (piano, video game, soundtracks, jazz, bands like Art of Noise-Mike Oldfield-Paco De Lucia, Brian Eno). There is some old rock music too (Genesis-Frank Zappa-Rush-Bob Dylan-The Police-CCR). 

 

It's have been 2 weeks since I lost too much time reading reviews and stuff, there is too much candidates, it's drive me crazy, can't decide, so i'm here. ;)

 

The things I would like to have to match the Grado GR10: 

#1 - Remove hiss sound, have a dark background. 

#2 - Have a small bass boost (or should I only use the equalizer?). 

#3 - Not too big, can be portable, or not.

#4 - Budget is between 300 & 600$.

 

I know these headphones don't need so much amplification, so looking mostly for a very good dac (an very good dac/amp combo would not hurt for sure)! The candidates I found: 

- Fostex HP-A4

- ALO Audio "The Island" or "The International"

 - IFi "iDAC" with "iUSB Power"

- JDSLabs "O2" or "CE5"

- Schiit Audio “Bifrost” 

- Ray Samuel Audio "The Predator"

- Wait for the Geek desktop DAC/AMP by Light Harmonics?

 

Or any tube amp/dac combo? 

 

Other famous newbies questions: 

1- The eternal debate: Is 16bit/44 good enough or 24/192 is a must have?

2- Cables, do they really make a difference?

3- Can those Grado GR10 can be balanced with a balanced cable?

 

Can you help me decide? Thanks!  


Edited by jackyzen - 2/2/14 at 7:00pm
post #2 of 10
Balanced IEMs? Don't waste your money.

Are you getting some hiss with your current set-up? My concern is that the GR10 are pretty efficient and if the amp has too much gain, you might have worse hiss issues than you have now.

I don't have direct experience with products in this price range that would be appropriate for IEMs, so I can't really make good suggestion.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for response billybob_jvc,

Yes i can hear some noise at low volume. I don't have any setup for now, i'm plugged in the headphone output of the PC. This is why i'm looking for something to take care of that. 

post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackyzen View Post
 

Thanks for response billybob_jvc,

Yes i can hear some noise at low volume. I don't have any setup for now, i'm plugged in the headphone output of the PC. This is why i'm looking for something to take care of that. 

Honestly you can spend a lot of money or a little

 

I had a his issue with my headphones out of my Laptops Sound out I used 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-UCA202-Audio-Interface/dp/B000KW2YEI

 

That dac, in combination with an amp. 

 

You could also try something like the JDS Labs C5D, it's very small the C5D and sounds nice. You can ofc spend more money but if this is your first purchase, I'd start small and save the rest of your money for upgrading to something nicer when you get the urge! I find I enjoy... doing things in stages. Start low and work your way up! With audio it's good to train you ears for what to listen to, dacs espically. A nicer DAC should sound better, but you need to know what to listen for, to dertimine if it's better

 

that said, to get rid of your Hiss, you can go low budget with a JDS Labs C5D or the Beringer UAC 202, the UAC 202 needs an external amp hooked up to it though [the headphone out is... not good] but it's $30, you can get something like a Fiio E11 for an amp, 

 

where as the JDS labs C5D is about $250 and is ready to go without any thing else. Both are rather small! 

 

You could also shoot for the middle, and get your self a Fiio E07k [$70 ish] which should be on par with the UAC 202, and MAYBE a smidge less... "nice sounding" as the JDS Labs C5D 

 

either way enjoy the new headphones :3 

post #5 of 10
Another way to dip your toe in the water is with a Fiio E10. It's a USB DAC and amp for ~$80.
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

Another way to dip your toe in the water is with a Fiio E10. It's a USB DAC and amp for ~$80.

Yea that's another good one,

 

OH also 16bit 44hrz is refrance, anything above that is... moot as far as "audio quality" is concerned. It's what you would call "snake oil" some swear by it, some swear at the mention of it. So that's a decision you'll have to make for your self. But in mY honest opionion. 16bit 44hrz is plenty, 

 

The other concern though is mastering, if a 16bit Release and a 24bit release have different masters, then things get complicated

 

but TECHNICALLY 16bit is plenty, ofc music is more complicated... or rather the recording, mastering and disperasal of music is more complicated so you can deicede that for your self :3

 

I also own a few 24bit Albums my self... mostly... for the joy of being able to say "I listen Dave Brubeck in 24bit ONLY" *snooty face* *snooty face* I guess it's like a... mental thing. If I REALLY like an Album I'll get it in 24bit just as a way to remind myself how awesome I think it is. 

 

In my mind if it's WORTH the extra storage space it must be EPIC, and if it's EPIC then I can shall sacrifice my Hard Drive space in honor of it's epicness! 

 

But I think that SUPER HD 192bit crap is a waste of time, 24bit/96kHrz if your feeling frisky, and 16bit 44kHrz if your feeling logical

 

if your getting 192kHrz music [I forget what bit rate that is... 32 most likely] then... well I think your a sucker :3 or rather you more of a Sucker than me!  BUT if being a SUPER sucker makes you SUPER happy then dig it

 

TLDR 16bit 44kHrz is Refrance, anything beyound that is conjecture and speculation for you to decide upon your self 

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

I didn't know the existence of the Fiio E10,  it could be a good option too, i will check it out. 

 

For the music quality, I believe too that beyond 16/44 is speculation, but I would feel safer to have an 24/96 DAC. ;)

 

Those Grado GR10 don't really need big amplification, they are very sensitive. I'm a little peaky because I want something to fit with these Grado IEM, don't plan to use the DAC/AMP with other headphones. Since I listen 80% of time my music at my job (between 3-5 hours), i want something good, small and discreet that I would leave on my desk, within my budget. 

 

In a perfect world :ksc75smile: I would love to not buy multiple devices to tcheck if there are good enough, I would like to buy the perfect match at first! I know, I know...there is always some compromises...since i'm a newbie in audio gear, it surely sound like the student who want to be the master in the first day of school!

 

Thanks for helping me in my quest guys.

post #8 of 10
The nice thing about the E10 is that it also has a line-out, so you can still use it as your USB DAC even after you get a $5000 tube amp... tongue.gif
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

 $5000 tube amp... tongue.gif

 

Well...I not that rich!

The first time I had seen those amp with tubes (not a long time ago), it had made me dreaming, those things are so beautiful, even cheaper ones! I gonna have some one day for home, but now, I don't need them on my desk at my workplace, it would be too much. I could pass for someone who just listen to music and don't work hard...well...I don't really work that hard anyway, but don't tell them :tongue:. Even if i've read that tube are a good match for Grado headphones, I will pass this time. 


Edited by jackyzen - 2/2/14 at 7:00pm
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

At last...I have chosen! A brand new Aune T1 tube dac/amp it's on his way for a new home. Its my first purchase for an dac/amp, so I hope it's gonna be great! It should be fun too to try different tubes. Now, I must read the 306 pages on the main thread of the Aune T1! :etysmile:

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › DACor DAC/AMP to use with my GRADO GR10 in ear headphones. (This is my first post)!