DAC for the Audioengine A5s (Heavy Metal Related)
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burningv

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Currently my setup is pretty basic; just a pair of A5s connected to an echo Indigo DJ PCMCIA card. So far I've listened to some very excellent music on these babies. The problem is when I play more harsh (dirty 80s thrash and some heavily distorted black metal) and bass driven music the treble tends to sound muddy, which probably happens for two reasons: I don't have speaker stands (I'm using a very thick Webster's dictionary for one speaker and a bunch phone books for the other, but I'm having someone make custom granite stands for me) and the A5s haven't been properly broken in yet (I've only played about 12 hours of music on them so far). Now assuming that the sound doesn't improve after these adjustments what would be the DAC to buy in the $200-250 range? Preferably one with a headphone amp, but it's not necessary. I'll probably buy a DAC anyway if it can significantly improve the treble and reveal some of the hidden intricacies that I can only hear on my Westone 3s. Thanks in advance!
 
 
 
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burningv

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Hmmm, it seems that I should save up some money and a buy a FUN DAC/headphone amp/preamp. It makes sense since I have a Stanton T.92 turntable. Might as well sell off the TCC TC-760 preamp for some extra dough. What do you guys think? Should I go for the FUN?  
 
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Lenni

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It’s not guaranteed that a DAC will do what you require. The A5’s are fine desktop speakers, fun to listen to... but hardly revealing. Certainly getting them in a good position and having a good source will improve SQ to some extent that perhaps makes them more enjoyable to listen to - but I doubt you will reach the same level of treble you hear from the Westone’s no matter what component you plug the A5’s into (I could be wrong).  
 
Personally I’m not a big fan of these all-in-one boxes, but haven’t listened to one so I’m being biased. A standalone DAC I’d try is the HRT Music Streamer.
 
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burningv

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Ok maybe I was unrealistic about wanting a DAC to replicate the accuracy of my Westone 3s, but I definitely would like to purchase one which would make the boomy bass of the A5s more controlled and tighter as well as making the treble have more presence. Would the HRT Music Streamer II + be a good purchase for these purposes? 
 
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Remonster

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I realize this suggestion is way out of left field but I have (and love) the Audioengine A5s and use them every day. They benefit a little from a good quality DAC (since they're made for use with MP3s and other less-than-ideal sources, they aren't overly revealing so they sound ok even plugged straight into my iMac which has a notoriously bad onboard DAC) but the best thing you can do for their bass is get a subwoofer and cross it over around 80-90Hz. 
 
I paired my A5s with a Polk PSW505 I happened to have (got it for $200 now that they're discontinued, I think there are still some available new in their boxes at this price which is 1/3 what they went for new apparently) my A5s are still running full range, I don't have a crossover for them, but since the sub handles the low end you don't notice that the A5s struggle a bit in that area and once you get them volume matched the results are incredible for a $500 speaker system.
 
So I guess what I'm saying is consider getting a sub even though it will do nothing for the treble and is a bit of a band-aid solution to the bass.
 
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burningv

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Treble is more of a concern to me than bass. Unfortunately, I cannot get a subwoofer because I live in an apartment and all that rumbling on the floor would aggravate my neighbour who lives one floor below me. If anyone here has the above mentioned DAC paired with the A5s could you tell me what your impressions are on them? Thanks.
 
 
 
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