I really wanted to get my Valab DAC fixed, but the way things are going I can pretty much write it off as dead
So I am off to look for a new DAC to bring my headphones out of retirement. Been a while since I last turned my headphone amp on or ever visited head-fi, most definitely sure there have been a good number of FOTMs and whatnot. Time to ask around to bring me up me speed.
The reason I sought a TDA154x NOS solution was because I thought that would fit my preference for soft, easy, relaxed mid-centric sound (for the lack of better term), but I am always open to experimenting with something newer and better. I do seem to have a certain aversion for something that champions "detail" or "speed" by the means of accentuated highs and lean body. The trouble is, I need to be selective with somewhat limited disposable income at hand. Since I live so far away from everyone else, I can't possibly go to the meets or have other means of auditioning the equipment - will have to do my best with research before committing to purchase.
My go-to phones still are HD650, which to my knowledge, are known to be very "different" (or better) in balanced operation. Thus far all my gear were single ended and had me dreaming of going balanced with the likes of β22 one day. Now might be that moment, seeing how there are some Chinese units that combine DAC/amp in a relatively affordable package, and I just happen to need a new DAC anyway.
Yet I am not completely abandoning the SE prospect, after all I liked it well enough to keep it all this time. Whichever that gets the job done better, ya know? At first I was thinking something along the line of Yulong DA8, going by the reviews anyway. Not sure which model to look at for a balanced setup, but it will need to include an amp or otherwise it would be an additional expense incurred. I am guessing something from Audio-gd might fit the bill? Dangerous Music Source maybe? Something that is.... well, lush, a tad euphoric if you will, easy and airy. Not all that concerned about neutrality as long as coloring isn't over the top and it is a fun listen.
Projected budget is around $1000 max for everything, lower would obviously be better (as always). I understand that might be a bit lacking for a balanced setup. Still, won't hurt to ask huh?
Other wants or needs:
- If SE, amp isn't needed but the DAC needs to play nice with my amps (SP PPX3, Schiit Lyr)
- would be a plus if my other phones like it too! (H5LE, HD580, t50rp, D7000, AD2000, maybe K701 - might get rid of this guy soon)
- not particularly picky about IO options, though I prefer USB as long as it works well enough
- 220V power input option, otherwise I will have to use a transformer
I am not looking to get the definitive answer in one sitting, would be nice if you could at least point me in the right direction.
Edited by MikoLayer - 3/9/14 at 6:26am