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post #31 of 286
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for your exceptionally thoughtful answers and suggestions. I think the smartest thing for me to do is to take this incrementally, with the first step being a new DAC. The Chord QB-9 that was mentioned earlier is an intriguing option, as is the Exasound. I will then just use my D7000s as I explore further whether to go with the 009s, the LCD-3, or the HE-6s. Hopefully I'll make it to a meet to audition each of them.

Please feel free to chime in if you have anything further!
post #32 of 286

No problem,

 

On thing to consider is that if you get a DAC with a good headphone amp built in you can sample many headphones like that.

 

I would say that the HD800, HE-500, D7000 and Fostex can be driven sufficiently to judge their character from an amp like that.

 

The HE-500 is pretty similar to the HE-6 in signature.

 

It's maybe even possible to drive the LCD-X like that, I've heard it's the easiest to drive of all the Audeze's.

post #33 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by bahamaman View Post

Thanks again for your exceptionally thoughtful answers and suggestions. I think the smartest thing for me to do is to take this incrementally, with the first step being a new DAC. The Chord QB-9 that was mentioned earlier is an intriguing option, as is the Exasound. I will then just use my D7000s as I explore further whether to go with the 009s, the LCD-3, or the HE-6s. Hopefully I'll make it to a meet to audition each of them.

Please feel free to chime in if you have anything further!

Minor points to fit into your assumptions on the DAC front:

 

1. Ayre QB-9 - Great product. Be sure to read the updated review of the DSD version at the link below. 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/565-ayre-acoustics-qb-9-dsd-dac-review/

 

2. Auralic Vega - Highly regarded newcomer. Also available is the matching Taurus balanced headphone amp. Pricey combination but not unrealistic if your standard is Stax / BHSE. I have not heard this one but would like to.

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/531-auralic-vega-digital-audio-processor-review/

 

3. Minor correction. The Chord product mentioned previously is the Chord Hugo. As noted this is a transportable product that involves a few trade-offs but definitely a worthwhile companion to a summit fi system in my view. 

post #34 of 286

Here's an off the wall super cheap (in audiophile context) first try without much risk.

Try an Oppo BD105 and a good pair of phones (Audeze, Fostex, Hifman, even Senn).

I've got the Oppo and it's a surprisingly refined, non-fatiguing, headphone amp, way above my expectations. 

I've just tried it for standard DVDs and CDs, but it seems like a wonderful DAC.


Edited by rgs9200m - 3/10/14 at 10:52am
post #35 of 286
Thread Starter 
Surfski - I meant Ayre, not Chord. Typing on an iPhone still not ideal! Thanks for the heads up on the Auralic Vega, it looks stupendous and may well be at the top of my DAC list.
post #36 of 286

You could certainly do worse than the Auralic Vega DAC plus their Taurus mkII amp. That combo would play just about any material and drive just about any headphones (except Stax, of course). 

post #37 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by bahamaman View Post

Surfski - I meant Ayre, not Chord. Typing on an iPhone still not ideal! Thanks for the heads up on the Auralic Vega, it looks stupendous and may well be at the top of my DAC list.
I'm hearing a lot about Ayre from my local dealer.
post #38 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by bahamaman View Post
 

I appreciate all the replies!  On the issue of budget, $7500 (for headphones, amp, DAC) is what I would feel comfortable spending.  I could go a touch higher.

 

I've been out of the game too long to have heard the HD800, but the Sennheiser house sound (HD650, for example) isn't exactly my cup of tea.

 

I'll play your silly game.  What would I do?

 

First off, used all the way:

 

Phones

HD600 - $250-300 <- Not sure if you meant you don't like 650's specifically but the 600's are way more balanced and still a top-class can these many years later

LCD-2 rev 2 Rosewood - $800

 

Amp (may not be able to find used here)

Eddie Current Balancing Act or 2a3mk2/4/445 - $4000-6000 (prices based on options otoh)

 

DAC

Perfectwave DAC mk2 - $1800

 

So you've got some money leftover for tubes which you will want to do hours of research on!  A CDP and/or Vinyl Spinner would be a great addition though.


Edited by Mr.Sneis - 3/11/14 at 2:40pm
post #39 of 286

I'm seeing recommendations for Audeze and Sennheiser stuff, so I'll offer my own 2c.

 

I was at a relatively quiet meet in Dallas last summer, and Justin brought his BHSE-SR009 setup. Right next to that setup was his GS-X MKII, connected to the LCD-3 and HD800.

 

I usually like to audition gear with my own music, so he fished out an RCA cable that would let me use the output of my iPhone to feed the BHSE and GS-X.

 

I'm not exaggerating when I say the SR-009 made both sound like toys. Make no mistake, the LCD-3 and HD800 are good phones, but the Stax stuff is just on another plane to my ears. It was really remarkable to hear. 

 

Also connected to the BHSE was the Sennheiser Orpheus. Even that couldn't draw me into the music like the SR-009. It was like taking a dip in the waters of the untouched Lake Minnetokachiwea.

 

In basketball terms, the other phones are the equivalent of a Patrick Ewing, or a Hakeem Olajuwan. The SR-009 is the Michael Jordan of headphones. 

 

I'm a pretty value minded guy, but I decided then and there that I was going to buy that setup as soon as I could.

post #40 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoEars View Post
 

The Blue Hawaii is about 4.5k second hand around here, the SR-009 is around 3k second hand, X-sabre is about 1.1k new.

 

That's 8.6 k.... just FYI.

 

-Good luck finding a second hand BHSE for 4.5k much less ordering one and getting it in less than a year

-Good luck finding a SR-009 for 3k much less ordering one from PriceJapan for $3500ish and being stuck on the wait list for months

 

I know these things because I've tried to accomplish these goals with much frustration and several failures.  Not easy and definitely a waiting game.  Not saying this is not possible but you will definitely have to warm up to somebody for sure!

post #41 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Sneis View Post
 

I'll play your silly game.  What would I do?

 

First off, used all the way:

 

Phones

HD600 - $250-300 <- Not sure if you meant you don't like 650's specifically but the 600's are way more balanced and still a top-class can these many years later

 

I'll second that. People keep underestimating the HD600 and HD650 because they're old and "cheap". Sure - objectively speaking you can find many headphone that are much better with better extension and a flatter response. But for enjoyment they're still right up there. The HD600 does classic and vocal music absolutely beautifully.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post
 

I'm seeing recommendations for Audeze and Sennheiser stuff, so I'll offer my own 2c.

 

I was at a relatively quiet meet in Dallas last summer, and Justin brought his BHSE-SR009 setup. Right next to that setup was his GS-X MKII, connected to the LCD-3 and HD800.

 

I usually like to audition gear with my own music, so he fished out an RCA cable that would let me use the output of my iPhone to feed the BHSE and GS-X.

 

I'm not exaggerating when I say the SR-009 made both sound like toys. Make no mistake, the LCD-3 and HD800 are good phones, but the Stax stuff is just on another plane to my ears. It was really remarkable to hear. 

 

I keep hearing things like this, perhaps some day I'll shell out the big bucks and get a SR-009.

post #42 of 286

"Within in the budget"

 

DAC: $2000

NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC http://nadelectronics.com/products/masters-series/M51-Direct-Digital-DAC

AMP: $3000 (2pcs. x $1500)

Questyle Audio CMA800R http://www.questyleaudio.com/en/plus/view.php?aid=289

 

Headphone: $1500

Sennheiser HD-800, Audeze LCD-X

 

Considerations:

DAC - Exasound e22 DAC http://www.exasound.com/e22DAC/Overview.aspx

DAC - Auralic Vega http://www.auralic.com/en/

AMP - Auralic Taurus Mk II http://www.auralic.com/en/


Edited by m-i-c-k-e-y - 3/12/14 at 1:50am
post #43 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

The Hugo is certainly a nice piece of gear, but it's a big compromise. As good as the sound is, it can't touch a desktop rig that is equal to its price, and it's a little large to be portable, especially with things plugged into it and poking out the sides. Transportable, yes.

 

What particular DAC do you have in mind?

 

The QuteHD was more enjoyable and, IMO, technically more competent than the Eximus DP1. The Hugo is said to be something else entirely (for the better).

 

My take:

Hifiman HE-6

Firstwatt F5 / F1J

AMR DP-777 / Lampizator (w/ preamp).

post #44 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post
 

You could certainly do worse than the Auralic Vega DAC plus their Taurus mkII amp. That combo would play just about any material and drive just about any headphones (except Stax, of course). 


I second that, and would recommend the following:

 

Auralic Vega

SPL Phonitor 2 (amazing crossfeed options)

LCD-3, LCD-X or, should you not like the planars, the AKG K812.

post #45 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoEars View Post

I keep hearing things like this, perhaps some day I'll shell out the big bucks and get a SR-009.

It's not universal that SR-009s are superior. I've heard them several times and while they are good, they aren't something I would buy. Worth audition for sure, but try not to buy blind.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post

What particular DAC do you have in mind?

The QuteHD was more enjoyable and, IMO, technically more competent than the Eximus DP1. The Hugo is said to be something else entirely (for the better).
Many setups are superior including my X-Sabre -> BHA-1 (sold, now upgrading to GS-X) which runs about the same money as the Hugo but blows it away in performance.
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