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Recommendations: small budget AMP/DAC set up for HE-300/SRH-840

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Good morning all,

 

I'm really enjoying my Hifiman HE-300s, purchased from one of our members here, and am looking for a reasonably priced amp/dac set up ($200 or less) that would pair well with my HE-300s and maybe also my Shure 840s.

 

I would consider both desktop options (Schiit, etc) or portables (Fiios).  Portability or use with a portable player is not a top priority as both my headphones can work reasonably well with portables (Galaxy S4 and Ipod), so I would definitely be fine with strictly a desktop set up to use at home if it produces better results.

 

I don't have a big desktop computer with top of the line gaming/sound components or a fancy media-first laptop; just a business series ultrabook laptop (Lenovo Thinkpad S series).  Probably doesn't have much in the way of a good soundcard, and I don't want to replace it given warranty concerns (already swapped the drive for a SSD and that's all I'm going to do).

 

The laptop does not have a line out, just headphone jack.  I was thinking of amp only, but plugging through the headphone jack isn't optimal, so I figured a combo with DAC would be best.

 

I was looking at the Schiit Modi/Magni combo, but if anyone has alternatives they recommend, I would certainly appreciate it.  The Fiio E18 also looked tempting given its compatibility with the S4.

 

EDIT:  I would also like something that's a bit future proof for my headphone purchases down the road, so if I decide on one of the better Sennheiser models or an ortho, I can still use this set up with decent results.


Edited by newton2105 - 2/25/14 at 9:26am
post #2 of 18
Thread Starter 

BUMP

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

BUMP AGAIN.

 

No opinions?

post #4 of 18
I'd just go Magni Modi combo.
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by newton2105 View Post
 

EDIT:  I would also like something that's a bit future proof for my headphone purchases down the road, so if I decide on one of the better Sennheiser models or an ortho, I can still use this set up with decent results.

 

I don't know how well Magni handles higher impedance models such as HD6x0.

 

So look at the O2+ODAC combo, but it's $280. (You could also get O2 + Modi = $230, but it's more convenient to have it in one small box.)

 

Otherwise, M/M now. Sell Magni later if you need to, and buy O2.

post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post

I don't know how well Magni handles higher impedance models such as HD6x0.

So look at the O2+ODAC combo, but it's $280. (You could also get O2 + Modi = $230, but it's more convenient to have it in one small box.)

Otherwise, M/M now. Sell Magni later if you need to, and buy O2.
The Magni does a fine job of driving even 600 ohm headphones.

Go for a Magni/Modi combo you won't be disappointed.
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byrnie View Post

The Magni does a fine job of driving even 600 ohm headphones.

 

Hmm. Why do you say so?

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I'm really leaning toward Magni/Modi combo.

I had looked at the Bravo audio Ocean as an interesting alternative to the Magni but heard it added a bit of warmth, and the HE-300 is already a bit warm sounding, so I didn't know if that would work out well.

I think I would prefer something a bit more neutral.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

 

I don't know how well Magni handles higher impedance models such as HD6x0.

 

So look at the O2+ODAC combo, but it's $280. (You could also get O2 + Modi = $230, but it's more convenient to have it in one small box.)

 

Otherwise, M/M now. Sell Magni later if you need to, and buy O2.

 

The Magni will have absolutely no trouble with the 300 ohm Sennheisers. I myself use the HD600 with the Vali, which has slightly less power than the Magni. My volume knob is usually at the 8 - 9 o'clock position. Any higher and it will become waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too loud for comfort. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

 

Hmm. Why do you say so?

 

There are quite a few people running the 600 ohm Beyers with the Magni in the Magni thread. It really depends on their own personal listening levels, but I think almost all of them agrees that the Magni is powerful enough.

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips View Post
 

The Magni will have absolutely no trouble with the 300 ohm Sennheisers. I myself use the HD600 with the Vali, which has slightly less power than the Magni. My volume knob is usually at the 8 - 9 o'clock position. Any higher and it will become waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too loud for comfort. 

 

There are quite a few people running the 600 ohm Beyers with the Magni in the Magni thread. It really depends on their own personal listening levels, but I think almost all of them agrees that the Magni is powerful enough.

 

Even if an amp has enough power to make sounds come out of the drivers doesn't mean it that powers the drivers adequately so that the sound is especially good. There could be distortions and problems with differentiating details particularly with complex music using many frequencies and shifts. Many of the owners haven't tried better gear and don't know that.

post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
How about the HE-500? I think that might be my next step up down the road should finances allow.

Can the Magni handle that pair reasonably well?

If not I can always upgrade later. At 99 bucks a piece I would consider the Magni and modi well worth it even if I only got a year or two out of them before trading up.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

 

Hmm. Why do you say so?

Because I can read the specs and find that out.  I've also done a lot of research on these forums about the Magni and O2 :)

 

O2 Specs: 

Max Output (600 Ohms)

88 mW

 

Magni Specs:

Maximum Power, 600 ohms: 130mW RMS per channel

 

^Taken from each of their websites.  

 

So if the O2 can power it then the Magni can do it even more so given the power difference.  Also, it's considered bad form to recommend an amp to someone over another one when you don't know much about the other one.

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

 

Even if an amp has enough power to make sounds come out of the drivers doesn't mean it that powers the drivers adequately so that the sound is especially good. There could be distortions and problems with differentiating details particularly with complex music using many frequencies and shifts. Many of the owners haven't tried better gear and don't know that.

 

Yup I know. I was only talking about the power output of the amps.

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by newton2105 View Post

How about the HE-500? I think that might be my next step up down the road should finances allow.

Can the Magni handle that pair reasonably well?

If not I can always upgrade later. At 99 bucks a piece I would consider the Magni and modi well worth it even if I only got a year or two out of them before trading up.

I'm not sure about that combo, from what I've seen around these forums most people use a stronger amp with that headphone but don't take my word for it.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

 

Even if an amp has enough power to make sounds come out of the drivers doesn't mean it that powers the drivers adequately so that the sound is especially good. There could be distortions and problems with differentiating details particularly with complex music using many frequencies and shifts. Many of the owners haven't tried better gear and don't know that.

Given your first sentence, if that's the case then the O2 would be worse off.  Yet you went ahead anyway and told him to get the O2 when you knew nothing about the Magni.  I realize you're trying to help this guy out but please get more information before making any assumptions :deadhorse:  Sorry if I'm being rough on you.

post #15 of 18

Actually, I listened to it and I wrote that I didn't know because I haven't tried Magni with 600 ohms. I have more experience with O2 in this regard, which is why I could recommend it with confidence. It's also why I bothered to ask, though I got no informed answer.

 

Listening is the only sure way to learn about the machines you're trying to discuss. Thinking and reading are no substitute for an activity that is experiential. You tried to do this on paper, but the test is in your actual experience. Otherwise, you could be talking about something you've worked out in your head--however carefully--that might be inaccurate in relation to the world. This often happens in science.


As to your insulting manner, it doesn't make you look good. Here endeth the lesson.

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