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Clear DAC, fairly cheap

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hello all, 

I'm trying to snag some headphones off of amazon for $200-$300, and I'm trying to find a heaphone amp and DAC combo (don't care if I have to get both individually or if it's an amp with the DAC integrated) that works well without bringing my costs too far above $400. I'm thinking of getting a Q701 or HE-400. Ideally, though I realize I'm shooting for a low price-point, I want something that doesn't impart too much sound of its own, i.e. added warmth, though it wouldn't be the absolute worst if it did a little. Also, I really don't know what kind of inputs/outputs are required and what amps come with, so if you were to let me know what cables it would take to hook the amp and DAC up to my iMac G5, that'd be awesome and you will make my day

post #2 of 11

Audio Technica ATH-AD900x open headphones ($200-$220) are only 40-Ohm and your iMac g5 can easily drive them.

post #3 of 11

Loft of options... For starters the G5 has a TOSLINK optical output.  So that opens up a lot more options than just a USB.  Theres also lossless bluetooth over APT-X, and some of the airport products (I believe) can function as DACs with lossless bit-stream over Wi-fi.  So if you are already running a wifi network around an airport product, *I think*, you already have a serviceable digital=>analog conversion functionality.  But please let others correct me on this last point.

 

There are some, but not many DACs that accept firewire audio interface.  You hear about that a little in recording studio related discussions.

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

well, I guess a good new question is whether or not it would take an amp (as opposed to my iMac's internal amp) to drive q701s. cuz if not, I have more time to make this decision, and may actually want to wait before purchasing one.

Edit: The Q701s have 62 ohms impedance


Edited by coletrain104 - 3/22/14 at 11:54am
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by coletrain104 View Post
 

well, I guess a good new question is whether or not it would take an amp (as opposed to my iMac's internal amp) to drive q701s. cuz if not, I have more time to make this decision, and may actually want to wait before purchasing one.

Edit: The Q701s have 62 ohms impedance

 

The AKG Q701 is listed as 62-Ohm, but it needs a decent amount of voltage to work well (more then the average 62-Ohm headphone).

So you iMac may or may not be able to drive it.

 

You can ask here about what it takes to drive the Q701 headphones.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/582276/q701-appreciation-thread

post #6 of 11

Apple products in general have always placed a high importance on sound quality.  I think its because they cater to the "artrsie-fartsie" crowd (musicians) more so than others. From the original shuffle, all the way to todays products... good/serviceable sonics.  Hardly ever read about an apple device sounding bloated, harsh, grainy, flabby, congested...etc.

 

That being said, your 62 ohm AKG 7xx can be one of the more difficult headphones to power sufficiently.  Its not so much the impedance, but the lack of sensitivity.  They just need more wattage and headroom than other 30-75 ohm headphones, but of course that all depends on how loud you turn it up too.  I once heard another members DIY TELE-rail split 18V Cmoy with a JRC4556 that sounded really good with the K701... no it wasn't an RA1 clone, but the amps builder hand picked every resistor and filter cap.

 

I say... plug the cans into the G5 headphone out and see how you like it. 

post #7 of 11
Not only the Q701s, but the HE-400s also need some juice to drive them.

I'd suggest just getting an amp, and then later on you could get a DAC upgrade if you want. A Schiit Magni or Objective 2 amplifier could be a good choice.

BTW: The Q701 and HE-400 are quite different sounding headphones. Since you mentioned "warmth" in your amp description, I'd probably lean more toward the HE-400.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Not only the Q701s, but the HE-400s also need some juice to drive them.

I'd suggest just getting an amp, and then later on you could get a DAC upgrade if you want. A Schiit Magni or Objective 2 amplifier could be a good choice.

BTW: The Q701 and HE-400 are quite different sounding headphones. Since you mentioned "warmth" in your amp description, I'd probably lean more toward the HE-400.

thanks, that's actually what I thought I'd lean toward, but wasn't sure. also, was trying to say that I didn't want my amp to color the sound of my headphones (since I may want an amp upgrade in the future, but I can see the 'phones being a long-term relationship). Well.... I could get the Magni for $110. If I were to get such an amp, what additional cables would I need to get it plugged in to My Mac?

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by coletrain104 View Post

thanks, that's actually what I thought I'd lean toward, but wasn't sure. also, was trying to say that I didn't want my amp to color the sound of my headphones (since I may want an amp upgrade in the future, but I can see the 'phones being a long-term relationship). Well.... I could get the Magni for $110. If I were to get such an amp, what additional cables would I need to get it plugged in to My Mac?

You have a 3.5 mm headphone out, right? (I don't know Macs) Then a 3.5mm to RCA converter.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

When I plug my headphones into the 3.5mm jack, I get a little bit of white noise. I heard using toslink may fix this, but I don't even see something that looks like a toslink out on my computer. I'm just confused about the whole 'connecting computers to amps to DACs' thing.

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by coletrain104 View Post
 

When I plug my headphones into the 3.5mm jack, I get a little bit of white noise. I heard using toslink may fix this, but I don't even see something that looks like a toslink out on my computer. I'm just confused about the whole 'connecting computers to amps to DACs' thing.

 

If the others are sure it has it, but it doesn't have that square socket with a "door"/flap on it, then it's possible that it outputs through a combo 3.5mm jack, you just need the right kind of cable with the right kind of 3.5mm plug (or adapter). Macbook Pros still have this and I haven't heard of any PC laptops that still do.

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