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Suggestions on next upgrade. Budget ~$300

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hey there everyone, new to the forum. I've been reading for a while now but never posted. 

Anyway, I'm having trouble deciding on my next upgrade.

My setup is as follows:

Source: computer with 320kbps mp3's and a growing collection of FLAC's
DAC: Onboard, ASUS Xonar DG, or Schiit Modi
Amp: had a Vali, broke, sent it back for asgard 2 (haven't ordered it yet)
Cans: Audio Technica ATH-AD700's
Also, have a pair of mirage m190is's powered by a Lepai 2020.

I mostly looking to upgrade my headphone experience. I am debating between getting a Schiit Asgard 2, garage 1217 Project Ember, or Mr. Speaker's Mad Dogs. 

For an amp, I would really like a pre-amp out for the speakers, thus A2 and PE. When I had vali it started thinking that I'm not quite sure the AD700's have the clarity and detail I'm looking for. They also picked up some tube noise, which I guess sensitive cans do. But from my readings, the first upgrade should usually be the headphones. 

My DAC-I can return the Modi as well, as i'm still in the 15 day period, and I wasn't too flattered by the Xonar DG over my onboard. (Realtek ALC892)

I'm just wondering what would produce the "best" sound. I understand it's largely a matter of preference, but am I most likely better off returning the Modi and Getting the Mad Dog's and a cheap amp to drive them? or would modi, asgard 2, and the AD700's likely sound better? 

Any opinions or input here would be greatly appreciated.
Edited by pkryan - 2/28/14 at 10:31am
post #2 of 8

To me the ATH-AD700 offer great detail, but they lack bass.

 

You could return everything you can and get the Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z sound card, $75

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102054

It comes with separate line-output (to Lepai) for your speakers and a amplified headphone output jack.

You can then spend the rest of your budget for headphones.

post #3 of 8

I recommend ZMF over Mad Dogs, much more musical.

post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

I recommend ZMF over Mad Dogs, much more musical.

Could you please post your impression of the ZMF vs the MDs? Thks..


Edited by richbass - 3/4/14 at 2:25am
post #5 of 8
Headphones will always give you the best bang for your buck based on sound quality. If you are happy with your AD700 and you just want to get more out of them, then I would suggest getting the Asgard 2.
post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by richbass View Post
 

Could you please post your impression of the ZMF vs the MDs? Thks..

 

Mad Dog is uniformly both dark sounding and somewhat laid back. It delivers when it comes to bass, but seems to me more one trick.

 

ZMF is more of a work of art. The different ranges really stand out but not in an unintegrated way. The treble is surprisingly extended but gentle. Nothing is overdone.

 

Overall, I would characterize Mad Dog as smooth and ZMF as musicianly and focused.

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

 

Mad Dog is uniformly both dark sounding and somewhat laid back. It delivers when it comes to bass, but seems to me more one trick.

 

ZMF is more of a work of art. The different ranges really stand out but not in an unintegrated way. The treble is surprisingly extended but gentle. Nothing is overdone.

 

Overall, I would characterize Mad Dog as smooth and ZMF as musicianly and focused.


Which one has more bass?

post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by richbass View Post
 


Which one has more bass?

 

Good question. I'm not sure. Ask @grizzlybeast.

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