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Do I need a DAC?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

So I've bought myself a matrix m-stage hpa-2 USB. My plan was to run my laptop (mediamonkey, flac) USB out to the m-stage to my about to arrive he-500s.... By all accounts a swim in the shallow end of the audiophile sea.

I'm a little confused about whether I need a DAC? Matrix do a DAC to complement the Amp, but if I 'roll' my opamp for a better one is a dedicated amp going to make a difference?

Thanks, a confused newbie
post #2 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by GavThomson View Post

Hi All,

So I've bought myself a matrix m-stage hpa-2 USB. My plan was to run my laptop (mediamonkey, flac) USB out to the m-stage to my about to arrive he-500s.... By all accounts a swim in the shallow end of the audiophile sea.

I'm a little confused about whether I need a DAC? Matrix do a DAC to complement the Amp, but if I 'roll' my opamp for a better one is a dedicated amp going to make a difference?

Thanks, a confused newbie

The Matrix m-stage hpa-2 USB has a DAC inside of it already. The usb input on the amp converts the digital signal from your laptop to analog so it can by amplified by your amp. No need to get another DAC :)

 

I would not describe your choice in equipment as a "swim in the shallow end of the audiophile sea". The He-500s are awesome headphones and the Matrix amps are pretty well thought of. You would have to spend a lot more money to see significant improvements, at greatly diminishing returns. You put together a very nice system there!

post #3 of 3

I wouldn't worry too much about getting a separate DAC since that amp has a USB DAC. My Meier Cantate.2 has a USB DAC built around a PCM2702 chip, used by other amps only as a USB receiver (and I did get a cheap DAC-Amp before using the same chip), and I prefer it over a bunch of entry-level CDPs (CD5004, C545, 351C, etc) and even some expensive ones (Apollo). The really good ones that I liked better? The CDT23 and CD50T (which surprisingly don't sound as warm as the Apollo, contrary to what people might assume about tubes) and the CD72, all of which are a ridiculous amount of money that I won't spend on a source unit for now. Either Dr. Meier really did a fantastic job integrating this chip with the power supply, or the CDPs I didn't like really had output stages that colored the sound too much. Or the $$$ IC's the shop was using was actually screwing around with the sound too, compared to one that just comes from one corner of the circuit board.

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