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Weakest link in my chain?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

Long time lurker, timid poster. I’m looking for some advice on improving my setup. At the moment this is my configuration:

External USB hard drive -> 2011 Apple Mac Mini -> iTunes -> Audirvana+ -> no name USB cable -> Olimex USB isolator -> Audinst MX1 DAC -> Hosa RCA to 1/4” interconnects -> Yamaha HS80M active speakers

I also use Audio Technica ATH-A500 direct from the Audinst.

I am considering the following upgrades: Schiit Bifrost Uber ($720AU) + Schiit Magni ($208AU) + Grado SR60i ($120AU).

(1) What do you think is the weak link in my setup?
(2) what sequence do you think I should upgrade in (I.e. Headphones first then DAC+amp)?
(3) Would the Grados be an improvement or sidestep from my current Audio Technicas?

I don’t have any real ‘issues’ with my current setup but would like more clarity and sound stage and boost in overall sonic quality. I don’t want to spend much more than $1,000 total on upgrades. Unfortunately I have recently moved a regional town in Australia and don’t have hifi friends or hifi shops within travelling distance to listen to things first hand so will have to buy blind.

Any advice from those more experienced would be of great assistance in pinpointing the most efficient way of improving my setup.

Many thanks.

Simon Jay
post #2 of 4
Thread Starter 
Oh, and I listen to a lot of different genres including world, concert music, jazz, soft rock, classical guitar but more than anything else I listen to electronic music.... more electro, ambient, space music than bass heavy dance. Hope that helps!
post #3 of 4

Until you receive replies from people having heard some of your current gear, you can read an unqualified opinion:

(1) ATH-A500, followed by Audinst MX1

(2) Headphones first, unless you mainly hear from the speakers

(3) Sidestep. You may perhaps consider more expensive cans & less expensive dac, e.g. Hifiman HE400 + Audio gd NFB-11.32

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks i019791. This is exactly the kind of feedback I'm after. I had started to wonder if getting the Bifrost was over capitalising in my DAC where I mightn't hear it as much compared to other areas of my setup. 


The comment that the SR60is would be a sidestep is very helpful as is the comment that I invest in cans first. Have you go the HE400's. They seem like a cheap way to sample electrostatic headphones. Time to do more reading!


Most of the time music is on in my house, it's through speakers and music is on a lot at my house. The headphones come out when it's time to get immersed. 


Thanks again - very helpful. 


More opinions please! 


Simon Jay. 

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