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Amp/Dac to pair with Focal Elex?

  1. dematted
    Hello! I am new to the audiophile world and, after much consternation, have decided to purchase a Focal Elex as my upgrade from the Hifiman He4xx. I currently have a Schiit Magni 3 and Schiit modi 2 - will it be worth it to upgrade from this set to bring out the audio qualities of this headphone, or should I save my money for other headphones? I am somewhat interested in buying a Sennheiser Hxx for a more relaxed sound and an AKG 702 for classical music.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
  2. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Maybe get the Topping DX7 Pro, as it comes with dual DAC chips and a balanced headphone jack.
    Assuming your Focal Elex came with a balanced cable or would need to buy a balanced cable.
  3. dematted
    That does look nice, but I think it's a bit out of my price-range. I'm looking for an amp at around the three hundred dollar mark that offers a significant improvement to the Magni 3.
  4. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Schiit Asgard?
  5. dematted
    That's an interesting option! You think it will pair well with the Elex?
  6. Delmetrice
    The Magni should be fine power-wise for now, you'll get the biggest bang for the buck exploring some new cans. If you really want to spend the money (and you will one day regardless), try the SP200 or have some fun with an Archel or Archel 2.
  7. dematted
    Ooh, I just checked out the Archel 2. They look pretty insane. Might have to sell my Magni 3 and buy them. Or maybe the JDS atom...So many options.
  8. Delmetrice
    The Atom is really all you'd ever need for quite a while unless (or until) you wanted to start exploring tubes or whatnot. Right now, try some different headphones (Atom gives you plenty of power for most), and see what you like best!
  9. dematted
    Thanks, I appreciate it :). I'll sell my Magni 3 and go with an Atom. That shouldn't cost me more than 30-40 dollars, so do you have any recommendation for a dac upgrade from the Modi 2 that would noticeably improve the sound? I'm looking, in particular, for something that makes the mid-range of the Focal Elex a bit more prominent.
  10. Delmetrice
    I'll wait for one of the big guys to comment, but I don't find huge (if any) meaningful changes to a headphone's core attributes with different DACs. Is it clean? Yes? Great, I'm in. I've got 2 at any one time for different amps, but it's not really necessary. Amps are a different story, and power matters. If you really wanted to fiddle, you could try tubes (which WILL give you a different headphone quality in some cases), but that's an entirely different conversation.

    Edit: maybe try some EQ?
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
  11. PurpleAngel Contributor
    I would have assumed the Magni 3 was good enough for all your headphones.
    But you seem to be in the mood for an upgraded amp.
  12. dematted
    Fair enough! I've heard around that dacs don't really cause much of a difference as long as you have a decent one, so that does make sense. I don't think I'm quite ready to go into the world of tubes - I want to listen to and really appreciate the sound of the Elex before trying to change it (even if I really do want to change it). I just thought that some upgrades in my Dac/Amp setup might upgrade the sound quality in general without changing the headphone's signature.
  13. PurpleAngel Contributor
    I would have assumed the Magni 3 and Atom were roughly equal.
  14. Delmetrice
    Power? Yes. Noise and detail? No. Magni build quality is hard to beat, though, but not enough to earn it's place back on the desk at work.
  15. dematted
    Okay! I have purchased the JDS labs atom and am in the process of selling my Magni 3. Would there be any reason to sell my Modi 2 and look for a superior day? I'm thinking maybe the Khadas Tone Board, south I don't know if it'll make a notable difference in sound quality.

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