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Head-Fi Buying Guide (Portable Amps, DACs, & DAPs)
Last edited: 11/28/16
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fiio x5 e12 combo
Gear mentioned in this thread:
I think we're the ones not getting what you mean.
You're using the Fiio X5 as a source and DAC, with the fiio e12 working as the amp.
You're wondering wether a desktop amp, used instead of the Fiio e12, would make the X5 sound better ? As said, that depends on the amp.
Or do you mean using the fiio x5+ the fiio e12+ a desktop amp ? That would just be reamping the signal and would result in distortion, and generally worse results.
For what it's worth:
I use a fiio X5 and fiio e12 at the office, and the same fiio x5 plugged into a schiit bitfrost dac and an asgard 2 amp. I have never tried using it plugged directly to the asgard only, but the sound is definitely better in all fronts.
This means, of course, that i'm not using the e12 at home, but instead the asgard2.
Depends on the amps, but i would say so.
Going back to my example, i notice a significant improvement from using the x5 into the bitfrost dac into the fiio e12 (X5 as source -> bitfrost DAC - > e12 amp) to using the X5->Bitfrost -> Asgard 2.
I got to try it out since my asgard arrived after the bitfrost.
If you search in this forum you'll find a lot of reviews and impressions on the asgard 2, which are all very positive. It is also well within your price bracket ( $249 new http://schiit.com/products/asgard-2 ), and you can often find them for sale on the forum's trade section.
It is also important, however, to consider what headphones you'll be driving (using) with the amp. Different headphones have different power requirements and signatures that can be complimented with specific amps.
The asgard 2, compared to the asgard 1, has a nice addition in the form of a low/hi gain switch, like the ones on the fiio e12 and the x5. This means you can use it with a wide range of headphones, from IEM's to full orthos.
What headphones are you planning on using ?
Regarding my setup. The fiio x5 has a very good DAC and amp on its own, but just like you use an external amp for better sound or more power ( in your case, the E12), you can also use an external DAC for better overall sound and detail.
Think of it like going from the X3 to the X5. It sounds better and more detailed because it has a better DAC. What I'm doing is taking it further by using an even better DAC than the x5's, externally.
But you can obviously just use the x5 and the external amp. Personally I can recommend the Asgard for the he-400s as a clear upgrade from the e12
Remember you'll need a 3.5mm to 2xRCA cable to connect to the X5. This is because the Asgard takes RCA in instead of the single 3.5mm jack of the fiio e12.
I got the he400's used, so I won't be changing for a while. I would like to get a pair of Audeze lcd2, probably next year.
And I think the changes in the 400i are mostly regarding comfort and weight. I'm not sure it would be worth the upgrade.
The new 560, though, looks tasty.
The issue of cables has long discussions and no general consensus.
While i'm not a big believer of expensive digital cables, i do think analog cables (like this) benefit from higher quality components and build. I'd say go for a short cable of decent quality. Being shorter will make it cheaper, and i wouldnt spend more than $50 on said cable.
Schiit themselves sell interconnect cables to connect their dacs and amps for 20$ a pair, which sound good and are well built.
They don't sell the cable you need, but it's an indicator of the kind of price for which you can get decent cables.
You'll find plenty of people disagreeing with me and vouching for much more expensive cables.
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