All in one unit for my desktop with Sennheiser HD 800S - looking for input
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RemedyLane

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Hi all,

Long time member doing mostly reading but I figured it was time to get some input on my choice for a new dac/amp for my 800S.

I've basically narrowed it down to these units:
  • RME ADI-2 DAC
  • Holo Audio Cyan PCM/Amp
  • Moon 230 HAD
  • Ayre Codex
Reading a lot about these units in several forums and reading reviews haven't really helped me decide.
I'm not interested in audio-gd or schiit, so basically the above is where it's at.

My listening source consists of an extensive FLAC library, and only that. No need for DSD or anything like that.

For me, the RME unit has a very attractive price, the Holo unit is also within reach. I'm slightly uncomfortable with the Moon and Ayre prices though.

Does anyone have any experience with these units coupled with 800S?

I also realize that I would need to get some other balanced cables than the ones that comes with the 800S if deciding on the Codex which isn't helping, price wise.

Appreciate any input!
 
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PurpleAngel

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If for some reason there is a brand you do not want to buy, that is cool and have the freedom of choice.
But why are you against buying Audio-GD?
(I'm a big Audio-GD fan)
 
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buke9

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The only unit you listed that I have heard is the Ayre Codex and with a pair of modded HD-800’s and not the S and my Ether-C’s. Both were single ended and thought it was pretty good but has been a while since I’ve heard it though so take in consideration.
 
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SilverEars

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The only unit you listed that I have heard is the Ayre Codex and with a pair of modded HD-800’s and not the S and my Ether-C’s. Both were single ended and thought it was pretty good but has been a while since I’ve heard it though so take in consideration.
I heard the Ayre Codex as well, and it sounded pretty much identical to Gumby.
 
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JamesCanada

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All the above questions are good
I simply have nothing but praise to give the RME-ADI. I got my 800S’s for a steal, so I wanted a nice bang for the buck unit.
I absolutely love it, that does not mean there is not better out there, but for me. This will most probably be my endgame.
Only thing I can see making things better for me is a good tube amp to compliment the whole setup.
Happy shopping!!
 
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buke9

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All the above questions are good
I simply have nothing but praise to give the RME-ADI. I got my 800S’s for a steal, so I wanted a nice bang for the buck unit.
I absolutely love it, that does not mean there is not better out there, but for me. This will most probably be my endgame.
Only thing I can see making things better for me is a good tube amp to compliment the whole setup.
Happy shopping!!
I do like my Amps and Sound Kenzie with my 800’s have yet to try the 800S’s on it yet though but I’m sure I would like it as it also is just sublime with my planars too.
Edit: And the Focal Utopias and Clears.
 
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buke9

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I heard the Ayre Codex as well, and it sounded pretty much identical to Gumby.
Not for sure I follow you heard a dac/amp that sounded like a dac? If you meant the dac portions of them then ok but the Gumby doesn’t have a amp so don’t get what you mean by identical unless you meant the dacs and then what amp was from the Gumby and Ayre that you heard if you don’t mind me asking?
Or did you mean the Gumby was fed to the Ayre also.
 
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RemedyLane

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If for some reason there is a brand you do not want to buy, that is cool and have the freedom of choice.
But why are you against buying Audio-GD?
(I'm a big Audio-GD fan)
Let me just put it this way, after trying several chi-fi units over the years (not head-fi) I've had some really bad experience with both poor QC and RMA handling. I really just want a unit that works. With that said, it's hard to get some info on where the Holo is made.

The only unit you listed that I have heard is the Ayre Codex and with a pair of modded HD-800’s and not the S and my Ether-C’s. Both were single ended and thought it was pretty good but has been a while since I’ve heard it though so take in consideration.
Thanks for the input, appreciated!

Any reason why you are limiting yourself to one device? You're probably ruling out your best options in the process.
You mean as in an all in one unit? If so yeah, limited space. Sure, could probably manage to stack two units on top of each other if they are half width. Maybe you have a suggestion on good combos in the same price range as these units?

All the above questions are good
I simply have nothing but praise to give the RME-ADI. I got my 800S’s for a steal, so I wanted a nice bang for the buck unit.
I absolutely love it, that does not mean there is not better out there, but for me. This will most probably be my endgame.
Only thing I can see making things better for me is a good tube amp to compliment the whole setup.
Happy shopping!!
Thanks man, you know the ADI-2 DAC is probably my favorite candidate right now. How does the amp section handle the 800S'? The unit is very small which is a big plus.
 
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PurpleAngel

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Let me just put it this way, after trying several chi-fi units over the years (not head-fi) I've had some really bad experience with both poor QC and RMA handling. I really just want a unit that works. With that said, it's hard to get some info on where the Holo is made.
What does Chi-Fi and Holo have to do with Audio-GD products?
(just trying to make sense on what your saying).
 
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Tsukuyomi

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with your Sen 800S id say drop some cash on Violectric. they scale super with most good headphones and offer a world of power for any headphone period.
 
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JamesCanada

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Thanks man, you know the ADI-2 DAC is probably my favorite candidate right now. How does the amp section handle the 800S'? The unit is very small which is a big plus.
I'm by no means an expert, so even tho it's probably not pulling 100% out of the 800s's (probably more like 80-90%)
It was more than enough for my needs.
This hobby is all about hearing micro-details and dynamics and so on.
For me, it's enjoying the music I love, and this setup brings me back to those roots.
The fact that you can Dial in your music the way you like it is huge.
Since I have the RME, I've been fallen back in love with my E-MU Teaks.
So, it's up to you... If you want a small versatile unit that can give a lot but not make your 800's shine to their full potential, then go all in.
 
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I have the HD800S, and like the OP have a desktop set-up which is not overly spacious. If you want an all-in-one with enough voltage and overall power + you can add another amp if you ever want to go tube later - my suggestion would be the iFi iDSD. Still my number 1 device for a variety of different headphones. Plus transportable / portable if you ever need it to be.
 
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