best $200 upgrade for my grado setup
Jan 5, 2009 at 3:08 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

az2123

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Hey guys,

Long time reader, first time poster here.

I currently listen to SR80s paired with a PenguinAmp Caffeine and cheap Headstage USB DAC cable. I'm thinking about replacing my set-up with SR225s (~$150 used) and a PA2V2 ($60 new). Is this the best way to spend my $200?

The way I see it, I have 3 ways to upgrade
1. Buy a SR225 and a PA2V2 (and sell my existing setup)
2. Buy a SR325i (~$200 used) and don't sell my PenguinAmp
3. Don't sell my SR80s and buy a more expensive amp (Mini^3, LD I+, etc.) and/or DAC

Keep in mind that I mainly listen to rock (off my laptop), I love the Grado sound, and the amp has to have a line-in input if I'm not getting a new DAC.

I think option 1 is the best since PA2V2 is proven to have good synergy with the Grados, and SR-225 is considered to have best bang for the buck in the Grado line (other than the SR-60s). What do you guys think?
 
Jan 5, 2009 at 5:00 AM Post #3 of 15

themanbeast

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After listening to the 325i, I absolutely have to recommend those if you like the grado sound. I first got them after owning the sr-80, and it simply blows them away in every respect, and don't need extreme amplification to do so.

iirc, you don't really need great amplification to make grados shine, it helps a bit but I would think you would notice a lot more with a headphone upgrade versus the amp option. I personally have used both my sr-80 and my 325i with a Zero, zero to a Darkvoice 336i, and just out of my x-fi, and there wasnt a huge difference between the 3 at all.

Also, not to promote myself or anything, but I'm currently selling my pair because I've recently gotten an RS-1 and dont listen to them anymore. So there are some available right now if you are looking, I'm sure i'm not the only one.
 
Jan 5, 2009 at 5:46 AM Post #4 of 15

tintin47

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x2 for the mini^3. I just got finished my CK2III, and after hearing that and an M^3, I am in love with amb labs. Great amps for the price. it will do great things for your grados.
 
Jan 5, 2009 at 6:27 AM Post #8 of 15

compuryan

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I say get the SR225, then focus on a better source, then lastly a better amp. The Grados can still sound quite good without an amp or with a cheap one due to their low impedance.
 
Jan 5, 2009 at 6:59 AM Post #9 of 15

az2123

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By source do you mean my computer? I mainly listen to mp3s (192-320 kbps) through Foobar2000 configured with ASIO.

Sorry to sound so noob, but how could I improve my source? (I guess I should re-download my music in FLAC...)
 
Jan 5, 2009 at 8:01 AM Post #13 of 15

skeptic

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Quote:

Originally Posted by az2123 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
So, basically, replace my USB DAC with a good soundcard? Would upgrading my DAC yield the same result for the same $$$ ?


I would avoid internal sound cards like the plague, and look at this as a piece by piece project. Start with the phones, and then look at amp and DAC upgrades (or USB DAC/amp combos) later on when you've got the room in your budget.

A good entry level component DAC will blow the pants off just about any internal soundcard on the market.
 
Jan 5, 2009 at 8:25 AM Post #14 of 15

bowraboy

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Quote:

Originally Posted by skeptic /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Start with the phones, and then look at amp and DAC upgrades (or USB DAC/amp combos) later on when you've got the room in your budget.



I think that's the best advice you're going to get here.
 

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