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. This may change if I can sell the Marantz and find a decent cheap pair of active monitors. 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 i5 + 16GB RAM & USB3)
I x Head'n'Hifi ODAC XL (still en-route)
1x Head'n'Hifi O2 Desktop (still en-route)
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?
1c. USB cables. Are they all the same (as I suspect) or is it worth spending more?
2a. Do surge protectors actually work?
2b. Do they have any effect on ultimate sound quality?
Accessing the music. I have up to this point been using the Mac hooked up to a 32" Panasonic TV. I now have to find some other way of interfacing with my music. I own an iPad but for the love of me I can't work out a way to use it to access my music on the Mac that doesn't involve iTunes and therefore exclude my FLAC library. Even if it was possible to use iTunes I doubt that I would, simply because I prefer to just navigate thought th folder structure which I've maintained since day one
3a. Is there a way?
If the answer to 3a is No then I'm looking for a monitor. It will have to be small and preferably use an IPS panel. HP make one for not much money £120 iirc.
3b. 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 thoughts folks. I need all the help & advice I can get.
Gordon (I was quite a lot younger when I chose the name zorrofox) 😌