Dac/ Amp stack recommendation.
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JLMartel

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Hello.

After much research and being new to the personal Audio game, I decided to go with a headphone that has a more neutral sound signature. For this I choose the Sennheiser HD 660s. I have not purchased them yet. I will be using the HD 660s as the headphone that I compare all of my future headphone purchase to. ( Yes, I'm already planning to buy more headphones).

Here is where I am stuck. The amp/ Dac.
This will be a desk set up.
I would prefer a stack, but I might be open to an all in one
I have a 500-1000$ Canadian paso budget.
I listen to Blues, Jazz, Instrumental, Rock, Metal, Classical
I game.
I've looked at JDS labs El stack, Schiit stack, IFI, SMSL... I've gone threw so many review and I'm just confusing my self more and more. What I would Like is recommendations and why you think this would make a good amp. I would like to learn what makes a good headphone amp so maybe in the future I can return the favor and help others who are stuck as I am.

Thank you for your help.
 
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PurpleAngel

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AudioGD NFB-11 will drive practically anything without distortion and noise (unless your source has some kind of problem) so in case you don't like the HD660, barring very low sensitivity planars and electrostats, you can use this to drive those and make your decision listening to practically what the headphones will sound like on any other decent amp (some of the others either being more expensive or not have as much clean power).
 
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ProtegeManiac

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Would it be worth upgrading to the NFB 28.38 to get the balanced?
If you don't have to end up eating instant noodles for a few weeks to get the NFB-28 and cables for all your headphones, then sure, get that.
 
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buke9

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What’s wrong with instant noodles ; )
Balanced is fine but make sure your headphones can do balanced and there will be additional cost of new cables so something else to consider but hey I like instant noodles.
 
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starence

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I've always avoided AGD products because of their size, maybe that's not a problem for you though. If you prefer something more compact, I would consider a micro iDSD BL. You might be able to find a deal on a used one.
 
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If you want desktop gear you should avoid getting stuff with internal batteries.
 
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ProtegeManiac

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What’s wrong with instant noodles ; )
Sodium content in the spice pack. it's not even just the sodium volume, also the taste. Most of them are too salty, and even people are shocked by how much shoyu tare I use in my home made ramen (7.5:2:0.5 ratio, 0.5 chicken oil or pork lard).
 
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ProtegeManiac

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I'm Celiac's. I'll make due with rice with chilly peper, garlic and a squeeze of lime.
Well it's not just the only thing, but a figure of speech for "gonna eat cheap food for weeks." The instant example is rooted in this street racer in SoCal who ate nothing but instant noodles for over a year just to save up for a turbo upgrade.
 
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JLMartel

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Well it's not just the only thing, but a figure of speech for "gonna eat cheap food for weeks." The instant example is rooted in this street racer in SoCal who ate nothing but instant noodles for over a year just to save up for a turbo upgrade.
I know. I was being flippant.

Now to perform a little necromancy and resurrect this thread. I could buy the Cayin iha & iDac-6 for about 1600. It's tempting, it's a nicer looking unit than the Audio gd product but it's significantly more expensive. Does the Cayin perform better than the audiogd to justify a 800$ bump? I also read that Dacs are getting better continuously so spending a large amount of money on Dac is a bit of a waste. Would that be an accurate statement?
 
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ProtegeManiac

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I know. I was being flippant.

Now to perform a little necromancy and resurrect this thread. I could buy the Cayin iha & iDac-6 for about 1600. It's tempting, it's a nicer looking unit than the Audio gd product but it's significantly more expensive. Does the Cayin perform better than the audiogd to justify a 800$ bump? I also read that Dacs are getting better continuously so spending a large amount of money on Dac is a bit of a waste. Would that be an accurate statement?
I wouldn't bet on it sounding $800 better but if you feel like it might be I won't stop you (just don't quote me thinking I meant that it will, because diminishing returns is a thing).

Also for DACs much of what you'd hear that's different tend to come from how well designed the analogue output stage is. Very rarely is it easily attributable to the output measured right out of just the DAC chip.
 
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yanaginagi

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The Audio gd amps are great and for the dac you can try the aune s6 or nuwave dac.

But before that I recommend you instead of the hd660, the hd600/650/700 or dt1990pro in my opinion is way better than 660...
 
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JLMartel

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The Audio gd amps are great and for the dac you can try the aune s6 or nuwave dac.

But before that I recommend you instead of the hd660, the hd600/650/700 or dt1990pro in my opinion is way better than 660...
Okay, could you elaborate as to why you prefer those headphones over the 660s? I did do a fair bit of research and it seems to be an even split, some people love the 660s to the point of selling their 600 others are sorely disappointed with the 660s.

I was looking at the 600 and 1990pros. The reason I'm less likely to buy the 1990s is because I don't have the option of putting a balanced cable on them (I'm all about options). The 600 are still on the table and a bit cheaper than the 660s but they are ugly as crap. Pardon my language. Sound will always trump appearance but the difference seems to be a matter of opinion.
 
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