Dac/Amp recommendations for AKG k7xx and Hifiman He-400i
May 12, 2015 at 2:58 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 19

kunsucious

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Hey guys, so I just purchased the AKG k7xx off massdrop today and I'm planning to buy a He-400i in the near future so I need some help with recommendations. This is my first time buying a dac/amp so I'm looking for something relatively cheap to start with. I listen to a variety of music including EDM, pop, rap, jazz and rock. I'm planning to spend $200. My original plan was to get an Fiio E17k so I can use at home and on the go but I heard that the AKG k7xx is quite picky about the setup. Any pointers? 
 
May 13, 2015 at 5:27 AM Post #3 of 19

money4me247

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if your budget stretches a bit and you really want a portable amp/dac, I would highly recommend the Oppo HA-2. very solid and competitive external amp/dac at its price point.
 
do note that your headphones (akg k7xx & he-400i) are all open, so using it on the go may not work out so well.
 
May 13, 2015 at 10:52 AM Post #4 of 19

cel4145

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I have the HE-400. They are a bit difficult to drive and like a good bit of power. My FiiO E12 does OK with them. I also have the K612 Pros which are a bit more difficult to drive than the K7XX. The E12 does OK with them, too. The E17K would be better than a phone or a tablet, but not as powerful as the E12.

What make/model portable devices do you use on the go?

And I agree with money4me247. Neither the K7XX nor HE-400i would be a good choice for portable use. You want closed headphones for that.
 
May 13, 2015 at 1:42 PM Post #5 of 19

kunsucious

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To be honest, I'm getting pretty torn over whether I should get a portable or desktop dac/amp. Although I don't think I will be wearing these pairs outdoors much, I still like the option to be able to. What would you recommend as a good beginner desktop amp/dac? I've heard good things about the schiit stack but shipping to canada is a hassle.
 
May 13, 2015 at 2:39 PM Post #7 of 19

PurpleAngel

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  To be honest, I'm getting pretty torn over whether I should get a portable or desktop dac/amp. Although I don't think I will be wearing these pairs outdoors much, I still like the option to be able to. What would you recommend as a good beginner desktop amp/dac? I've heard good things about the Schiit stack but shipping to Canada is a hassle.

 
Here is a Bravo Ocean tube headphone amplifier for $90 (used)
http://www.head-fi.org/t/766055/bravo-ocean
 
Hifimediy USB DAC, $57 + shipping ($8?)
http://hifimediy.com/DACs/ready-made-dacs/U2-DAC?sort=p.price&order=ASC&limit=100
 
Here is 3.5mm/RCA cable to connect them, $1.88 + shipping.
http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=102&cp_id=10218&cs_id=1021815&p_id=5596&seq=1&format=2
 
May 13, 2015 at 3:04 PM Post #8 of 19

money4me247

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schiit magni & modi stack and jds o2 amp & odac stack are common start-up desktop stacks around here. if you are looking for a cheaper all-in one semi-portable for use with a laptop (rather than pairing with a smarphone or dap device), there are usb type dac/amp combos like the audioquest dragonfly v1.2. for truly portable dac/amp combos, I think the fiio  line-up and the ha-2 are great for people on a limited budget. cozoy astrapi is another option if you value primarily a small form factor with iPhone/Android support. 
 
May 14, 2015 at 2:11 AM Post #10 of 19

cel4145

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The 5S will require a lightning adapter and some dacs may draw too much power. Learn more about connecting a DAC to your iPhone: http://blog.jdslabs.com/?p=838
 
May 14, 2015 at 4:44 AM Post #12 of 19

money4me247

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the ha-2 and astrapi are optimized for iphone devices fyi. the ha-2 will not draw power from the iphone. the astrapi will, but minimal power draw. just two dac/amps i've been playing with recently. many other great options on the market as well.
 
May 14, 2015 at 12:35 PM Post #14 of 19

cel4145

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Depends on your listening volumes. The E12 has a bit more power than those DAC/amps. So it will drive the K7XX better to louder volumes. The DAC part of the dac/amps would provide you with a bit more refined/accurate sound which might or might not be significant to you since the iPhone 5S already has decent sound. So sort of depends on you.

Since money4me247 already has the K7XX and the HA-2, he could give you a better idea. I'm with you. Waiting for my K7XX after ordering it in the last drop. Once I get it, I could tell you what I think about it and the E12 :)
 
May 14, 2015 at 3:10 PM Post #15 of 19

money4me247

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Depends on your listening volumes. The E12 has a bit more power than those DAC/amps. So it will drive the K7XX better to louder volumes. The DAC part of the dac/amps would provide you with a bit more refined/accurate sound which might or might not be significant to you since the iPhone 5S already has decent sound. So sort of depends on you.

Since money4me247 already has the K7XX and the HA-2, he could give you a better idea. I'm with you. Waiting for my K7XX after ordering it in the last drop. Once I get it, I could tell you what I think about it and the E12
smily_headphones1.gif

@cel4145, Looking forward to your impressions & review on the K7xx!! Hope you like em.
 
@kunsucious, honestly, the amount of benefits between a dac/amp vs just an amp is quite variable among people. Some people claim night-and-day differences, while others think it is more a subtle difference. It is definitely ''beneficial," but the amount of improvements you notice will depend on the quality of the dac chip already in your device. I do greatly enjoy the HA-2 and K7xx pairing, but at the same time, if you are on a limited budget, you will survive without a dac & still enjoy really great sound quality as the headphones & the quality of your source files are the most important determinants of your overall SQ. I have more detailed information about amplifier and dac pairings in my K7xx review (in my signature). hope this info is helpful! cheers.
 

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