Best upgrade to my system for $100-$200
Nov 8, 2008 at 10:27 PM Post #16 of 28

Moocher

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I went with the Leckerton UHA-3 (DAC + amp) to use both with my MacBook via USB and on the go with an iPod via dock. It's a little $190 under-the-radar unit, and I like it because I'm just too cheap to spend more and I think the sound is great. I make no claims to audiophilia. Do a search if you are interested. You can also visit their website at Leckerton Audio - Purchase.

Mooch
 
Nov 9, 2008 at 7:59 PM Post #17 of 28

blynch1

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Man that e-mu 0404 has so much stuff I would never use. I would think there would be a usb dac without all that extra stuff that would be better/cheaper, but after reading up on it it looks like the e-mu 0404 is highly regarded as a dac.

I guess I just need to get the 0404 and a lunch box 2, but that is way over my bugget. If I get the e-mu 0404 will it drive my sr225s pretty well until I get around to getting the lunch box?
 
Nov 9, 2008 at 10:48 PM Post #19 of 28

blynch1

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After doing more research on the 0404, the 0202 caught my eye and now I'm just trying to decide which of these two to buy.

What I understand is that the 0404 has a slightly better headphone amp and a different dac than the 0202. jilgiljongiljing's review of the two makes me think that my sr225s would be better suited with the sound signature of dac in the 0202. If anyone has tried this combination, or 0404 with the sr225s, feel free to add your thoughts on it.

The main thing keeping me from pulling the trigger on the 0202 is that it is usb powered instead of wall powered. I have no idea how much this affects sound quality, but I assume discrete power supply is better.

The 0202 would be half the price of the 0404 ($75 vs. $150). So I will probably get the 0202 unless someone can convince me that extra $75 for the 0404 is worth it.

A emu 0202 usb and a Little Dot I+ would actually fall within my original budget at ~$190, but I think I will hold off on the amp and get something a little nicer later.

edit:
jilgiljongiljing's review (found it very helpful for anyone looking at 0202 and 0404) http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f46/em...mpared-301835/
 
Nov 10, 2008 at 3:57 AM Post #20 of 28

chobint

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are you trying to find the best overall solution for right now? or are you looking for a good stepping stone for future upgrades?

It sounds like you plan to eventually spend $400 in the long run? I tend to be of the opinion that you should budget for the total $xxx dollars you intend to spend, and try to get the best thing out that total $xxx. In hindsight, I can say that if I was limited to 400$ for my system, I would have built my Buffalo DAC to drive my headphones direcly. As much as I love my Bijou, it sounded terrible via my USB sound card (noisy), and I believe my Buffalo sounds better than a $200 DAC + $200 amp (that is pure speculation). I would say find a DAC that is worthy of amplification, then get an amp later. I think most DAC's are loud enough to drive headphones, but maybe someone will correct me on that. Also this may not neccesarily be true for all USB powered DAC's, but I found that amping my USB powered DAC transmitted all the noise from the computers power supply and it was very unpleasant.

To add to the all-in-one solution list, the zero DAC/Amp seems wildly popular and can be found under 200$ on ebay. It doubles as an DAC and an amp, so if you decide to go toob later you can bypass the amp part and just use it as a DAC. That's my 2c, good luck on your purchase.
 
Nov 10, 2008 at 4:26 AM Post #21 of 28

blynch1

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I'm planning on buying a dac now and an amp down the line aways, with the total hopefully being under $300.

The zero DAC/amp seems like a good choice if I was looking to spend $150 total, but I think that the emu 0202 and 0404 are better DACs(correct me if I am wrong) and I should be able to get a better amp as well.

My tentative upgrade path right now is emu 0202 now for around $75. Then get a lunch box II or other tube amp close to $200 later. Or I could go with a emu 0404 now, and get a cheaper amp later (little dot I+ maybe), or hold off on an amp till I decide to increase the budget.
-so I still need to decide between the 0202 and the 0404
 
Nov 10, 2008 at 5:04 AM Post #23 of 28

chobint

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sunseeker888 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Look for a line conditioner. Panamax and Furman both have sexy, durable, reliable units for around 200. Just a thought. Nice system, BTW!


lol, I think the wires might have gotten crossed here somewhere?

Anyway, hopefully the usb powered EMU stuff sounds clean when amped. On the idea of "wouldn't simpler be a better value", there are some fully assembled alien DAC's for sale on the forums for under $80. They are about as simple as it gets, but I have no idea how they compare to EMU stuff.

EDIT: Quote:

Originally Posted by Happy Camper /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I found that out by replacing my 12 yr old dac with a new one...


You got a new DAC? What did you decide on?
 
Nov 10, 2008 at 5:10 AM Post #24 of 28

blynch1

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"hopefully the usb powered EMU stuff sounds clean when amped"
Chobint, that is something I'd like to find out, because the 0404 model is not usb powered while the 0202 is usb powered. If the 0202 does not sound clean when amped I would definately fork over the extra $75 for the 0404 for the a/c power supply. However, the comparisons I've read failed to mention any potential negatives from usb power on the 0202.
 
Nov 10, 2008 at 5:15 AM Post #25 of 28

Happy Camper

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Quote:

Originally Posted by chobint /img/forum/go_quote.gif
EDIT:

You got a new DAC? What did you decide on?



Misleading, sorry. Using sixerfan's NM24 and Ab_sr's RA Opus 21 cdp in place of my Sigma II at our meet let me see just how much difference a source makes.
 
Nov 11, 2008 at 9:17 AM Post #27 of 28

chobint

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Happy Camper /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Misleading, sorry. Using sixerfan's NM24 and Ab_sr's RA Opus 21 cdp in place of my Sigma II at our meet let me see just how much difference a source makes.


Ah gotcha. Ya that Opus was pretty schweet, but 8x the cost of my DACd
biggrin.gif


To the OP: I stumbled upon this today on the DIY forums, where I dwell primarily
tongue.gif
, you might find it useful. AMB, probably one of the most respected names in DIY, seemed to have some pretty nice things to say about the 0404 and has test results for it and other USB/Firewire products. Link: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f6/emu...nished-297141/
 
Nov 12, 2008 at 12:13 AM Post #28 of 28

blynch1

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I decided to trade in my SR225 for D2000. The grados were giving me unacceptable listening fatigue even at reasonable volume levels. I am also looking for more bass and a bigger sound stage. The grados feel very condensed.

I am also going to go ahead and get the e-mu 0404. This should drive the d2000s fine for now and I will look into getting a discrete amp in a few months.

Thanks for all the input!
 

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