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Desktop DAC for Powered Speakers and Headphones

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hello, 

 

I just purchased the Audioengine D1 DAC w/Headphone Amp because it will serve as a DAC and Volume control for my new JBL LS305 Powerd Speakers, as well as an amp w/volume control for my new Hi-Fi Headhophones (still figuring out which ones to get). 

 

Is there a better DAC/Headphone amp out there that will also work as a volume controller for my speakers in the $150 price range?

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 21
Thread Starter 

I ordered the Schiit Asgard 2 as well as an inexpensive DAC (Behringer UCA 202) and a few headphones (HE 400 and AKG K712 Pro) to try out with them. Not that anyone cares. :) Let me know if you want to know how it works out.

post #3 of 21

Good choice, the asgard 2 is a much nicer constructed amp than the audioengine d1 dac/amp.  Just looking at that audioengine makes me feel sad, I could never keep it, it would always be a temporary stepping stone, unlike the asgard 2.  I have a similar setup with a budget usb powered dac and a nice amp.  

post #4 of 21

Anyone who has already taken the plunge on active studio monitors would do well to at least take a look at the sort of audio interface designed to partner them. $150 is a little bit on the low side but there is still loads of choice. My shortlist at that price would include.

 

Native Instruments Audio 2 http://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/traktor/dj-audio-interfaces/traktor-audio-2-mk2/specifications/

 

Two stereo output channels each with it's own volume control. These channels can be the same or different. Works with phones and tablets too.

 

Focusrite 2i2 http://uk.focusrite.com/usb-audio-interfaces/scarlett-2i2/specifications

 

Again separate volume controls for phones and active speakers. Adds balanced TRS outs for your monitors. Stereo pair in in case you ever want to connect an good microphone, instrument or any line level source. Worth looking at the 2i4 and 6i6 is your budget can stand it.

 

EMU 0404 http://www.creative.com/emu/products/product.aspx?pid=15185

 

Golden oldie now but still excellent and adds optical and co-ax S/PDIF I/O. 

post #5 of 21
The Asgard 2 will power the HE-400 and AKG 712 very nicely once you flick that gain switch. k701smile.gif
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

The Asgard 2 will power the HE-400 and AKG 712 very nicely once you flick that gain switch. k701smile.gif

Yes it does! Took me a few minutes to figure that out - but oh yeah!

post #7 of 21

Yes, the NuForce icon HD is $150 for a limited time as NuForce is having a Summer Clearance sale.

 

Same DAC as the highly regarded HDP, but without the analog and coax/optical inputs.  If all you need is USB this is the absolute best you can do for $150 IMO.

 

http://estore.nuforce.com/summer-clearance-sale/

post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by fallingreason View Post
 

Yes, the NuForce icon HD is $150 for a limited time as NuForce is having a Summer Clearance sale.

 

Same DAC as the highly regarded HDP, but without the analog and coax/optical inputs.  If all you need is USB this is the absolute best you can do for $150 IMO.

 

http://estore.nuforce.com/summer-clearance-sale/

 

OP said he needed it to control the volume on his speakers. HDP means Headphone amp+DAC+Preamp, and if I remember right, the reason why the other model is called HD is because it doesn't have the P functionality, on top of not having the other digital inputs.

 

In any case he got the Asgard2 and a Behringer DAC.

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naugrim View Post

Yes it does! Took me a few minutes to figure that out - but oh yeah!

Now send the D1 back and get a Schiit Modi or an ODAC since you don't need two pre-amps. I have the ODAC paired with the Asgard 2. Sounds great smily_headphones1.gif
Edited by cel4145 - 7/17/14 at 1:16pm
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

OP said he needed it to control the volume on his speakers. HDP means Headphone amp+DAC+Preamp, and if I remember right, the reason why the other model is called HD is because it doesn't have the P functionality, on top of not having the other digital inputs.

In any case he got the Asgard2 and a Behringer DAC.

You are incorrect, it would work because the volume knob controls the analog output. It cannot serve as a standalone preamp because there is no analog input.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by fallingreason View Post


You are incorrect, it would work because the volume knob controls the analog output. It cannot serve as a standalone preamp because there is no analog input.

 

Well that was easy to miss; the product blurb never mentioned it can be used as a preamp to control an amp or active speakers. Demo guy at a store over here also kept using the volume control on the Audioengine A5's he had hooked up to them.

post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 

Now that I have the Asgard 2 setup I'm reticent to return it and get the Icon HD - unless there is a big difference in quality.  Also, I like that the Asgard 2 can be used with or without USB.   Negatives to the Asgard's are the temperature - and I guess the fact I have to use it with a separate DAC.  Also the Asgard puts out a good amount of power - but I don't even know what spec to look at that to compare the two.  HOWEVER, I'm not enjoying looking at the little cheesy DAC on my desktop.  Lol, this is making me schizo.

post #13 of 21
The Icon HD does not have near the power capabilities of the Asgard 2. You can find the specs for each here:
https://www.nuforce.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=26&Itemid=189/#specifications
http://schiit.com/products/asgard-2 (click the specs link)

Get a Modi or ODAC to pair with the Asgard 2. smily_headphones1.gif
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

The Icon HD does not have near the power capabilities of the Asgard 2. You can find the specs for each here:
https://www.nuforce.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=26&Itemid=189/#specifications
http://schiit.com/products/asgard-2 (click the specs link)

Get a Modi or ODAC to pair with the Asgard 2. smily_headphones1.gif

Ya, I'm gonna get a Modi - I love matching sets.

post #15 of 21
I don't see how you can go wrong with that. The Modi and the Asgard 2 is clearly a better setup than the Icon HD smily_headphones1.gif
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