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Please help me set up my optimum budget system

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone. I've always had a few pairs of headphones kicking around but my circumstances have changed somewhat and I'm now going to be spending quite a lot of time using headphones. Two months ago my favourite and most commonly used headphones were a pair of Sennheiser PX100II's. I've since bought a pair of V-Moda M-100's, FIIO E18 (for use with my Samsung Galaxy Note 3) and my personal game changer, a pair of AKG Q701's.

In all the discussions I read there's always one factor that seems to be virtually uncontrollable - colouration. I don't have a lot of money being in a minimum wage income. I also have a wife (fantastic though she is in all other respects) who just doesn't understand why anyone would want or need anything other than the kind of things that come free with a phone or MP3 player. So money is crucial. Also, I'm in the UK (at least until Scotland's referendum this September 😀) and so don't have quite the same access to the bargains the majority of members here have.

So, colouration. I've decided to go with an O2 amp as it's relatively cheap and I really buy into the ethos. It should be relatively neutral. For my first source I thought it logical to use an ODAC for pretty much the same reasons as led me to the O2. The one caveat I had was that I needed an amp which allowed me to pass-through the signal to my Marantz PM6004 stereo amplifier and then onto my Dali loudspeakers for communal use. The particular O2 I've ordered allows for this.

Here's what I've assembled so far...

82,000 FLAC files

2 x LaCie Porsche 2TB USB3 external hard drives

1 x Apple Mac mini (2012 version USB3)

I x Head'n'Hifi ODAC XL (still en-route)

1x Head'n'Hifi O2 Desktop (still en-route)

1 x Samsung BX 2450 LED monitor (connected to Mac via HDMI)

I do have a couple of questions though.

1a. I have various RCA interconnects kicking around. Do they have as much impact on sound character when used between DAC and amp as they would anywhere else in the system?

1b. If the answer to Q1a is yes are there any RCA cables which are known to be particularly transparent/neutral and available on a limited budget?

Mains power. This is a biggie for me, believe it or not. We live in a 200 years old cottage literally in the sticks. The electrical wiring is variable to say the least. We don't own the cottage as we are tenants on a private shooting estate on which my wife is the gardener. Because of this I'm not about to start rewriting the whole house. Testing monitors last night I discovered that the wall socket I was planning to use was faulty and managed to trip itself twice. So I need to run an extension cable from a socket I do know to be good. Still, I want to use some kind of surge protector to protect my investment. Here's my questions...

2a. Do surge protectors actually work?

2b. Do they have any effect on ultimate sound quality?

3. What have I missed out? I'm bound to have not thought of everything so can you think of anything I could do increase my listening pleasure?

I can't wait for my DAC and amp to arrive. It's gonna be good having a base system that I can possibly upgrade in the future as funds allow but will still sound good today. I have this theory that the best EQ out there is to own multiple sets of headphones and use each according to genre. There are models from Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic & Hifiman on the distant horizon.

Let me hear your thought folks. I need all the help & advice I can get.

Gordon (I was quite a lot younger when I chose the name zorrofox) 😌
post #2 of 2
Thread Starter 
Oops! I have clearly posted this in the wrong section. Can a mod please delete?
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