DAC and amp recommendations, friends!
May 2, 2015 at 12:47 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

Royal Amethyst

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Hello, yes it's me again, but this time Schiit is actually getting done, so bear with me.
 
So I just bought a pair of Sennheiser HD 600s to eventually replace my HD 598s. Not an enormous upgrade, but I have a long term plan. Eventually, I want to save up a lot of money and pair my HD 600's with something like the Beyerdynamic T1 Tesla. That way I'll have a true audiophile headset paired with a neutral little brother. This should solve my issue of wanting a headphone that is accurate and neutral (HD 600) with one that sounds amazing and is versatile for classical, opera, rock, punk, metal, electronic and games (T1) with the right setup.
 
So now I need to find a DAC/amp combo to drive them. Currently with an Essence STX, but I'm looking at some Schiit stacks. I've heard that the Modi 2/Magni 2 Uber stack is unbeatable in its price-range, but it seems like it would be a bit underwhelming to try to drive Beyerdnamic's flagship with Schiit's entry-level stack. Ideally, I'd want the Bifrost/Valhalla 2 stack, but that's running over $800 by itself, and I anticipate being poor after buying a T1.
 
Incidentally, should I be suspicious of a $800 used T1 on Amazon from a newer seller? All recommendations appreciated, thanks!
 
May 2, 2015 at 12:58 AM Post #2 of 7

PurpleAngel

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I replaced my Essence STX with the Audio-GD NFB-15.32, $270 + shipping ($45).
Dual WM8741 DAC chips :)
USB, optical, coaxial inputs:)
Amplifier with lots of power :)
http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1532/NFB15.32EN.htm
 
If you get an external DAC/amp with an S/PDIF (optical or coaxial) input,
You can sell off the STX and just use a lower costing Xonar DG/DGX ($25-$35) sound card, or even a Sound Blaster Z (OEM).
 
I would not buy something from a seller that does not have a lot of feedback (like a new seller).
 
May 2, 2015 at 1:12 AM Post #3 of 7

Royal Amethyst

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  I replaced my Essence STX with the Audio-GD NFB-15.32, $270 + shipping ($45).
Dual WM8741 DAC chips :)
USB, optical, coaxial inputs:)
Amplifier with lots of power :)
http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1532/NFB15.32EN.htm

 
I definitely take your word for it on that DAC/amp's quality because of your reputation here, but I kind of like Schiit's stuff. They're the only manufacturer I really put any effort into reading up on because of their laid-back, forward attitude on their products, and they seem to have a great reputation, too. Do you think the Audio-GD NFB-15.32 for only ~$300 will be better than a Valhalla 2 and Bifrost stack? Or superior specifically for the HD 600 and the T1?
 
Also, do you agree with my idea that an HD 600 would be a good "neutral/accurate/flat" headset, and an audiophile-grade set like the T1 would be a good "versatile" and general listening headset?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel /img/forum/go_quote.gif
 
If you get an external DAC/amp with an S/PDIF (optical or coaxial) input,
You can sell off the STX and just use a lower costing Xonar DG/DGX ($25-$35) sound card, or even a Sound Blaster Z (OEM).

 
You mean get the Xonar DG for its optical port right? Rather than for its sound processing, I'm guessing. If that's the only reason, my motherboard already has an optical S/PDIF port built-in. Just to confirm, the optical port will allow the external DAC to produce a sort of "surround" sound for the headphones, ideal for atmospheric gaming, yes? Otherwise, I can get by with USB?
 
Yeah, I'll take that Amazon listing with an enormous grain of salt. Can't tell if I'd get a damaged unit, or an abused one that won't sound good, or start to die in a matter of months or something.
 
May 2, 2015 at 1:36 AM Post #4 of 7

PurpleAngel

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I definitely take your word for it on that DAC/amp's quality because of your reputation here, but I kind of like Schiit's stuff. They're the only manufacturer I really put any effort into reading up on because of their laid-back, forward attitude on their products, and they seem to have a great reputation, too. Do you think the Audio-GD NFB-15.32 for only ~$300 will be better than a Valhalla 2 and Bifrost stack? Or superior specifically for the HD 600 and the T1?
 
Also, do you agree with my idea that an HD 600 would be a good "neutral/accurate/flat" headset, and an audiophile-grade set like the T1 would be a good "versatile" and general listening headset?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel /img/forum/go_quote.gif
 
If you get an external DAC/amp with an S/PDIF (optical or coaxial) input,
You can sell off the STX and just use a lower costing Xonar DG/DGX ($25-$35) sound card, or even a Sound Blaster Z (OEM).

 
You mean get the Xonar DG for its optical port right? Rather than for its sound processing, I'm guessing. If that's the only reason, my motherboard already has an optical S/PDIF port built-in. Just to confirm, the optical port will allow the external DAC to produce a sort of "surround" sound for the headphones, ideal for atmospheric gaming, yes? Otherwise, I can get by with USB?
 
Yeah, I'll take that Amazon listing with an enormous grain of salt. Can't tell if I'd get a damaged unit, or an abused one that won't sound good, or start to die in a matter of months or something.

 
I think the NFB-15 would compare well with the Modi/Magni, have no idea if the NFB-15 would compare at all to the Bifrost/Valhalla (guess the Bifrost/Valhalla would be better).
I have no idea on the HD600 in comparison to the T1
 
Get the Xonar DG/DGX if you had need for Dolby Headphone surround sound, but if your really just more into the music, then connecting the external DAC/amp directly to the motherboard digital ports should be fine.
Most sound cards can send processed headphone surround sound thru their S/PDIF (optical & coaxial) ports.
USB ports are fine for music and easier to connect to a computer.
Some people are fine with gaming while using the USB for audio.
 
May 2, 2015 at 1:48 AM Post #5 of 7

Royal Amethyst

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Sounds like the Realtek ALC892 chipset in my motherboard can send surround sound too, but the optical ports themselves are limited to 2.0 unless the source itself is Dolby AC3 or DTS surround. At least when I went searching for info on it from people doing the same thing with the Realtek ALC892 and their amps.
 
Well, I often see the Xonar DG for under $20 with a rebate anyway. The DGX is even $25 right now after rebate. So it's not a huge concern if I need to add that in later. I could also use the analog S/PDIF on my Essence STX, but like you said, it would make more sense to sell it and put that money toward the amp and dac.
 
May 2, 2015 at 3:54 AM Post #6 of 7

Royal Amethyst

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So about m y new HD 600s. I bought them from Adorama.com (a licensed Sennheiser reseller), which were $224 after a mail-in rebate. If I have to cut the UPC from the box, will Sennheiser still honor its 2-year warranty?
 
May 2, 2015 at 6:40 AM Post #7 of 7

PurpleAngel

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  So about m y new HD 600s. I bought them from Adorama.com (a licensed Sennheiser reseller), which were $224 after a mail-in rebate. If I have to cut the UPC from the box, will Sennheiser still honor its 2-year warranty?

 
The UPC on the box is separate from the warranty, for warranty all you really need is the sales receipt
 
Sennheiser has product registration, you might fill that out.
https://service.sennheiserusa.com/register_product
 

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