Best Sounding DAC for HD800
Aug 14, 2012 at 1:45 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 22

danik97

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Good day. I'm serching for a new DAC to replace my Schiit Bifrost.
 
I can spend for new gear 1500-1700$. A character of sounding wants a slightly warm without shiny highs. But also detailed with good dynamics.
 
 
What can you me advice? 
 
Aug 18, 2012 at 12:27 PM Post #2 of 22

Monkee

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I've got to say, if you're talking unbalanced HD800's, the I love the Musical Fidelity M1 DAC+HPA combination, while the M1HPA on-board DAC punches above it's weight, in a pinch!
 
The M1 DAC+HPA is something where I keep looking at $2500 gear and auditioning it, and thinking "I prefer what I've got", even with K702's, but with HD800's it really shines - it's like the amp was made for them.
 
With balanced HD800's, there are other options! Lovely expensiver options that I know nothing about.
 
Aug 21, 2012 at 11:31 AM Post #4 of 22

Oderi

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You could add the Violectric V800 to your list of DACs to check out. Haven't heard any DACs from these price ranges myself but I've heard nothing but praise for the Violectric. It might well be on my shopping list once I, well, can afford it.
 
Aug 22, 2012 at 11:32 AM Post #6 of 22

danik97

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Thank you for advice, guys. I'm also looked at Woo Audio and V800 and in the end my choice has stopped on NAD.
I will place an order on one in September once will come back to home.
 
Aug 23, 2012 at 11:13 PM Post #7 of 22

sphinxvc

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There's a lot of good stuff on the market at that price range.  W4S DAC2 is the usual auto-recommend, but it's flavor of the month status seems to be waning.  The NAD M51 seems to be up and coming in popularity but I would wait for others to adopt before buying.  You could wait for the Gungnir, or whatever it's called from Schiit.  Wait for reviews of it, I mean.  There are a couple of $2K+ units that will show up used at the top end of your price range.  The PWD.  There's the Anedio DACs.  There's the Audio-GD Ref. 7.1.
 
When I was shopping for a top-end DAC I was looking at 3 things mainly.  1) Resolution/PSU quality  2) All-analog volume control  3)  Good clocking technology for maximum jitter reduction.  (Basically, you don't want a jittery DAC, or else you'll have to deal with that later)
 
Hope that helps you benchmark some DACs.
 
Aug 24, 2012 at 11:55 AM Post #8 of 22

sphinxvc

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Also, there's no such thing as a good DAC for the HD800.  What you want is a transparent DAC, simple and plain.  Having a DAC lean one way or another is another way of saying it's inaccurate.  Or think of it this way...if you were a painter, it would be like starting every painting with a dirty canvas, as opposed to a clean slate.  Anyway, most units you're looking at it in the upper echelon are clean slates, like it or not.
 
Good luck.
 
Aug 25, 2012 at 1:49 PM Post #10 of 22

RedBull

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There's only one solution => Audio Gd Reference 7.1!  
biggrin.gif

I have never heard any DAC that I like more than this, regardless of price and it's only a hair away from your budget.
 
Aug 27, 2012 at 5:23 AM Post #12 of 22

TwoEars

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Quote:
Can never go wrong with the Benchmark DAC1 HDR


Actually you can - Benchmark has very aggressive leading edges / hyper-detailed / bordering on harsh / bit on the bright side of the spectrum.
 
Not the best match for HD800 which already is super-unforging and a bit bright.
 
I've never heard it but from what I've read I think the Audio-GD 7.1 should be superb match since it's very smooth, dynamic and just a tiny bit warm. Should match well with the HD800.
 
Nov 26, 2012 at 7:49 AM Post #13 of 22

econparanoia

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Quote:
There's only one solution => Audio Gd Reference 7.1!  
biggrin.gif

I have never heard any DAC that I like more than this, regardless of price and it's only a hair away from your budget.

I'm also considering buying a Reference 7.1 (or Master 7) to pair with my HD800s. A quick question: to get good synergy, do I have to get an Audio gd amp to match an Audio gd DAC? Any comments on Audio gd Reference 7.1 (or Master 7)/Bryston BHA-1 combo with HD800? 
 
Nov 26, 2012 at 1:41 PM Post #14 of 22

Baxide

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Quote:
 A character of sounding wants a slightly warm without shiny highs. But also detailed with good dynamics.  

The HD800 is hard to get sounding warm. I only managed to get mine to sound warm by trying out a valve/tube headamp. I have not yet heard a DAC with proper headphones output for the HD800. In my opinion the HD800 is a lot more demanding than any other headphone I have ever heard or owned. 
 
Nov 26, 2012 at 11:50 PM Post #15 of 22

burnspbesq

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There are plenty of used QB-9s around for $1700-$2000. A month ago, you could have had mine, but it's in Taiwan now.
 

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