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Looking for new headphones and Dac/Amp to pair with active speakers. (Alessandro MS Pro +...

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

After a smaller eternity lurking around here I finally took the step and created an account and now, my first post.

I’ve been looking to upgrade my sound system, and I’m having some issues deciding which products to go for. What I need is a Dac/Amp and a pair of headphones.

 

But first I should probably explain the current situation, at the moment I have a pair of HD25’s and the AKG K551, as well as the AKG K518 in the headphone department of which I all plan to sell. I run the M-Audio BX5-D2 speakers and everything’s connected through my FiiO e10. (Well, I have a RIAA and a mixer to plug in my turntable to the setup, but I will sell that of as I head for college next year).

If we start with the headphones, I have been looking into Grados product line , especially the RS2i and the Alessandro headphones. The problem with the Grados headphones is that I’m Swedish and the RS2i is effectively twice as expensive in Sweden as they are in the US. (A combination of a smaller market and a strong Swedish currency). The Issue, I have yet to find a reliable retailer who ships to Sweden.

 

Which made me turn to the Alessandro Music Series Pro, the question is, are they worth it? Any better headphones you would recommend?

A part from the Grados I’ve been looking at the classic HD 600.

 

Oh, and I listen to almost everything except bass heavy electronic pop music. So everything from Elton John to Punk and Metal, as well as a lot of progressive rock (the latter genre probably being the one I’ve listened to the most the last couple of months).

 

To the Dac/Amp section

 

What I need: 3,5mm/6,3mm headphone out (amplified), RCA/XLR out (non-amplified) and a volume knob to control both outputs (not at the same time, obviously).

 

What I want: A good looking, single unit, Vacuum tubes. (Not a requirement)

 

What I’ve found so far is the Audioengine D1 and the Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus. Since I can get the D1 for about a third of the price of the Dacmagic, I have not seen any particularly good reason to go for the Dacmagic, especially since going to D1 route would allow my wallet to buy the Alessandro MS Pro.

Are there any other good solutions that I’ve missed? I’ve spent a lot of time going through the Head Gear pages and innerfidelity.com, but I very well may have missed something.

 

TL:DR

I’m looking for a good pair of open headphones and a Dac/Amp with a non-amplified, volume controlled RCA/XLR out for active speakers and amplified headphone out, also volume controlled. Absolut max price 1000 $, preferably around 800-900, but I have nothing against going a cheaper route if it's better value.(I'm swedish, so prices may differ)


Edited by Johan R - 5/12/14 at 11:09pm
post #2 of 11

Audio-GD NFB-15 external DAC/amp, $250+$20+shipping

http://audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1532/NFB15.32EN.htm

Audio-GD NFB-11 external DAC/Amp, $315+$40+shipping

http://audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB112014/NFB112014EN.htm

 

Both unit's headphone amplifier can drive 99% of the headphones out there (16-Ohm to 600-Ohm).

Both come with USB, optical & coaxial inputs and a dedicated line-output for self-powered speakers.

 

Audio-GD will list the price with the shipper as $100, save on import tax.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

Audio-GD NFB-15 external DAC/amp, $250+$20+shipping

http://audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1532/NFB15.32EN.htm

Audio-GD NFB-11 external DAC/Amp, $315+$40+shipping

http://audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB112014/NFB112014EN.htm

 

Both unit's headphone amplifier can drive 99% of the headphones out there (16-Ohm to 600-Ohm).

Both come with USB, optical & coaxial inputs and a dedicated line-output for self-powered speakers.

 

Audio-GD will list the price with the shipper as $100, save on import tax.

Thanks! Reading up a bit the NFB-11 does seem interesting. But I can't really get a grip on if they accept 230 V (Eurostandard) or if I need a transformator (which could end up with a bit of a humming if I understand it correctly).

 

I will certainly read up on it more.

EDIT: To answer my own question, yes there is a EU version.
Edited by Johan R - 5/13/14 at 2:52am
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Been looking into it a bit more and the more I've been thinking about it, the more I realize the advantage of a unit which does not an external power supply. But maybe there's no choice if you want a more potent Amp?

post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johan R View Post

 

Which made me turn to the Alessandro Music Series Pro, the question is, are they worth it? Any better headphones you would recommend?

A part from the Grados I’ve been looking at the classic HD 600.

 

Re the above comment, i own both the Ms-Pro and HD650 and they are very different.  The Pros are classic Grado up front clear presentation but without the high end harshness regular Grados have, the HD650's on the other hand are laid back, dark and veiled.  Which is best suited for you, only you can decide. Personally i adore the Ms-Pros, and cant stand the HD650's.  I have recently bought a pair of HE-500's which are very close to the Pros, they have better clarity, but lose a bit of the tonality and midrange warmth the Pros had. HD650's just cant compete to them.

 

Other side is the Pros are very easy to drive, and good solid state amp will do well with them. HD series are'nt so easy being 300ohm, and in my opinion need a good tube amp to do them justice.

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

Well, I've been getting more and more into the MS Pro's. If I understand it correctly they are a modified RS1i? Since I obviously cannot listen to the Alessandro headphones, i'll be trying to get an listened of those.

 

So you think that the Audioengine D1 or similar is sufficient for the Pro's? Anything in particular to recommend?

 

 

 

 

General question (to all): If I were to go down the tube route? What's my options and are they any good? I'm having a hard time finding tube amps which works with and volume controls my speakers.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
After some more digging and help from a great member here at head-fi, I took a closer look at the tubemagic dac. Anyone havet any input? If anyone know hos it compares to the Audioengine D1 and the two Audio-GD dac/amps it would be awesome smily_headphones1.gif
post #8 of 11
I have the Tubemagic D1 in one setup in my house. I prefer the sound of the ODAC combined with the O2, although now I use the ODAC with the Schiit Asgard 2 (even better) in my main setup. The Asgard 2 has pre-amp outs.

Based on what I have read about the others, I suspect that the Audio-GDs, the Audioengine D1, and the Tubemagic D1 are probably all performance values relevant to their respective prices--you get what you pay for smily_headphones1.gif
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

The more I read the more I lean towards the Tubemagic, both due to the I/O and the upgrade potential. Probably going to buy the fully upgraded though ($254).

 

Anyone know how the Tubemagic D1 Plus plays with the Alessandro MS Pro's? (or the MS2's if I decide to take the cheaper route)

post #10 of 11
If you are getting a tube upgrade, often cheaper to buy the tube yourself off Ebay. Easy to change them out.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Yeah, offcourse, but I will probably want to opamp aswell, and to be fair, the price difference isn't that big between the standard modell and the fully upgraded one. 

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