Hi all. I'm new to the forums so be gentle to a kind soul.. :)
My original setup is/was a MacBook Pro with a USB 2.0 connection to a CA DacMagic Plus driving a pair of HD 650s.
I'm not an audiophile by my own definition, but I enjoy quality sound. I generally spend 2 to 3 hours a day plugged in and was happy with the setup above. I listen to pretty much everything. Opera to techno. I use qobuz for HD streaming and CDs ripped to FLAC. I'll also use Spotify for labels qobuz hasn't licensed, but I'm more and more a FLAC snob.
That said, thanks to this f'ing site (grin), I recently started looking for an upgrade. The short version is that I came home with an HDVA 600. What a delightful little box. Completely transformed my listening experience. I did demo the HD 800, which was fantastic in the showroom, but decided to put my money into the amp. Reading quite a few posts here, I think the amp was the right choice.
However, now I have a bit of upgrade-itis. I'm wondering whether changing out the DAC would give me a discernibly improved experience. I honestly bought the CA on more of a whim than considered decision (unlike the amp). I'm not particularly unhappy with it. In fact, I was quite impressed with it when I first plugged it in. It was far superior to a direct connection into the Mac. My issue is that, having heard what a quality amp has done for me, I'm questioning my DAC. Reading yet more posts here, the CA isn't at the pentacle of DACs, but its in the top 25%.
For the record, I did consider the DAC prior to purchasing the 600. My thinking at the time was that the CA made the added DAC in the HDVA 800 unnecessary... Even if I needed a DAC, I'm more inclined toward dedicated components than integrated.
So, would appreciate opinions on the DAC. My budget isn't limitless, but I have a bit coming back from the FED still... BTW - Feel free to opine on the 600 and 650 vs 800 if you feel compelled... :)