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DAC/Amp for connecting Oppo BDP-103 to Grado SR225s.

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I've read many threads describing some great products. But many posts either deal with playing iPod or computer based mp3's, and many, many more do not even describe the "ecosystem." I'll be listening mostly to HD Tracks 192/24 downloads, SACD, XRCD24, and maybe some CD or lossless files. I'm a newbie, but I would think that a DAC/Amp that sounds good with mp3's played through an iPod or computer may not sound as great in my environment. So I'm looking for recommendations from people with systems more in line with mine.
post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 
By "systems more in line with mine," I didn't necessarily mean Oppo-based systems. Just not computer/iPod systems.

At the same time,being a newbie, I'm open to explanations as to why a DAC/amp combo that drives a computer/iPod system would work equally well in mine. But I'd appreciate explanations based on some kind of actual experience, rather than just on theory or conjecture.
post #3 of 8

In my humble opinion you have a really good source. I have a BDP 70, 83 and 105. The 105 is closer to your 103. Main differences are the lack of a dedicated dual dac 2 channel optimized output, a PC to USB DAC, a decent solid state Headphone amp for low sensitivity phones and balanced outputs. I can't remember if the 103 has digital coax and optica ours.. You can hook up a USB hard drive or flash drive with flac and wav files, have the 103 digitize to analog and output to the HDMI or RCA outputs. There are  a lot of SACD, HDTracks , and others, DVD and BluRay concerts, music disks that you can play to output to a headphone amp via rca cables. I personally have 3 tube headphone amps and one solid state one. I am on the tube side of the war between tubes and solid state so take my recommendations with a grain of salt. You have many options open to you for various headphone amps (solid state and tube) to playback your highrez music through headphones. This can be an expensive hobby/addiction but when you find one you like you are done...maybe.

 

Don't forget, there are may forums for various headphones, portable headphone amps and full desktop amps. Then throw in cables, power conditioning and ...Well you get the picture. Enjoy the trip. Some may disagree, but a good source is a nice place to start.

 

Good Luck in your travels to find the system you like the best. I have settled on the Schiit Lyr headphone amp/preamp and numerous headphones/tube combinations. I too listed to HDTracks, SACD, HD Audio and other high end formats. Some are great and some suck. It's all about the journey. If you decide to go tube amps, well...join the crowd.

 

Enjoy.....

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
I am quite happy with my source, and I already have a USB drive to listen to my flac files. My problem is that the RCA outs are already occupied driving my stereo (a Conrad Johnson pre-amp, so I'm on the tube side too).I also have Grado phones that I'm happy with for now. What I need help with is specifically what headphone DAC/amp would work in this environment.I need the DAC because the RCA's are being used on the CJ. It's my understanding that the Lyr does not have a DAC compnent. Since I have some space constraints, I'm looking for a combo unit. If you have recommendations in this direction they'd be much appreciated.
post #5 of 8
Don't know how long you've had the 103, but if it's within its return period you may want to consider upgrading to the 105 and solving your dilemma with a near reference level one-box solution. FWIW, in many ways, the HP amp in the 105 is better than my Corda Concerto and Violectric V200. Good luck.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Doesn't anyone have a good recommendation for a DAC/Amp to use with my 103 and 225s? FWIW, I listen to acoustic jazz.

post #7 of 8

I have the 103 also.  I'm very happy w/ my Schiit Bifrost DAC, and Schiit Vali headphone amp.  

 

BTW, you can use splitters so you can output signal (already DAC'ed to analog by the 103) into your headphone amp, without having to unplug  your connection to the CJ.  If you did it that way, you don't need a separate DAC.

 

In my experience and direct comparisons between the 103 and the Bifrost, playing hi-res files, and regular CD's, I have a very slight preference for the Schitt, but the differences are slight and subtle.

post #8 of 8

jocar37,

 

I too am a newbie, and I will be of no use with the computer audio....because I'm learning there as well. I was in a very similar situation as you are. I decided on purchasing an Onkyo C-7030 over the Oppo BDP-103 and the Marantz CD-5004, mostly due to value for price and the fact that I wasn't going to use the on board DAC. Instead I purchased a Maverick Audio TubeMagic D2 DAC w/ OPA627 OpAmp & NOS GE5670W tube upgrades, after trying and/or considering some fine units from Fii0, Schiit, Emotiva, and Topping. Headphones are Sennheiser HD558 and Grado SR80i.

 

In addition to terrific reviews and very reasonable price, I liked that the Maverick has a full variety of inputs (USB, BNC coax, coax digital, and optical digital), and it also has a vacuum tube pre-amp output stage in addition to the normal solid-state audio output. With the Maverick I use the analog normal to drive the output to a Bob Latino VTA ST-120 tube amp for my Thiel speakers, and I use the the tube pre-out to drive a Schiit Magni headphone amp. I particularly like that the tube pre-out softens digital tendencies, and of course I never have to change cables!

 

I have just gotten through the equipment break in stage (critical with this many tubes), but I will admit that in 30 years of very high end audio I have gotten more involved with the music that is provided to my ears. Headphone use is relatively new to me, but I am captivated by the way the Maverick/Schiit combination can deliver open, detailed, wide, quick paced, music over a wide range of media. Mids and trebles are detailed in every way, and the lows are punchy and more than adequate....but bass freaks and techno fans may need to look elsewhere. I was confused how sound stage could be present from a pair of headphones, yet there it is. My only difficulty is that on very rare occasions, and I cannot put my finger on it or describe it well, a small void or opening appears in the stage. A minor annoyance, and I'm sure it will be resolved with some cable swap or tube roll or such.

 

Prior to changing out my equipment, I really did not enjoy the Grado headphones for much more than short periods of listening, all of the cliché's.....fun, bright, uncomfortable, fatiguing were true for me. I found myself reaching for the HD558s for all but a quickie with the Grados. Now all that has changed, I find myself enjoying both headphones much more; I now find them "different" from each other, not one better than the other.

 

Not sure if my experience is helpful for you, and sorry I'm not very good at the "audiophile" verbiage.

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