Amp and DAC for my ultrasones
Sep 14, 2009 at 5:22 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3


100+ Head-Fier
Jul 9, 2006
Hey guys!

First post in a while. I'm currently looking to take the next step into hi-fi, and thats adding some steps in between my Macbook Pro and my Ultrasone HFI-700s.

As a poor college student, my budget is limited. I'm looking to spend somewhere in the range of $300-$500 for both and Amp and a DAC. A combo is also acceptable. I would defiantly prefer tubes, but if theres a SS that will blow away tubes in this range, I'd defiantly be interested. I'm really looking to curb some of the sibilance on these babys, I love the fact that they are revealing, but on many recordings stuff like high hats can be very fatiguing. That, and some more dynamics would be nice.

The DAC is going to have to be 24/96, because I listen to a lot of vinyl in this format.

If what I'm asking for is unreasonable with this budget, what should I get first, amp or DAC? I'm pretty happy with my MBPs built in DAC, but because I only have an amplified headphone out would it be worth it too re-ampifly the signal coming out of that?
Sep 16, 2009 at 12:30 PM Post #3 of 3
Jan 4, 2008
Fukuoka, Japan
I wouldn't try amping your MBP out. This was my very first mistake -- the result was worthless until I got a decent DAC. A good DAC with decent HP amp in your range is the Apogee Duet, especially second-hand. However, I felt with some headphones that are very bright it's a bit harsh. If you want to tame highs, the Audio-gd Compass is both op-amp roll-able and has "soft" settings which very gently roll off the extreme highs gently. Both the Duet and Compass are very reasonable DACs for future purchases too.

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