Desktop DAC/AMP Combos for the Mad Dogs w/ Alpha Pads?
Aug 31, 2013 at 9:57 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

JD1993

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I've been using the FiiO E09K/E17 with my Mad Dogs w/ Alpha Pads and it sounds good, but I know that I can do better if I am willing to spend a bit more. For now, let's say my budget is $500 or less. What can you recommend for an amplifier and a DAC? Also, size is a bit of a constraint seeing as my desk isn't very big. I will upload pictures if anyone asks for it so you can see how much room I am working with.
 
Aug 31, 2013 at 4:05 PM Post #2 of 13

levinhatz

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Depends on what characteristics you're looking for, but if I was you I'd go for a Little Dot MKIII and maybe a Bifrost DAC. If you get both of them used, you're around $500. The Little Dot amps give you a lot of energy and punch, and I think you'll be surprised at how good your Mad Dogs can sound. Bifrost is simply the best DAC at that price range, IMHO.
 
I'm sure others will have different suggestions.
 
Sep 4, 2013 at 4:30 PM Post #5 of 13

JD1993

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I was originally looking at a Schiit stack when I had started my search, but their website flat out says that this cannot power orthodynamic headphones. For the Burson HA-160D, $800 is out of my price range :frowning2:.
 
Sep 4, 2013 at 10:28 PM Post #6 of 13

levinhatz

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Where on the Schiit website were you getting that impression? Here is a quote from the Asgard 2 info page on schiit.com: 
 
Additional Versatility: From IEMs to Orthos to Active Monitors
Asgard 2 offers two gain settings. The low-gain mode is perfect for high-sensitivity IEMs, while the high-gain mode is ideal for most other headphones, up to and including many orthodynamics. In addition, the preamp outputs can easily be connected to powered speakers, for a complete desktop system.

The mad dogs are not the most inefficient orthos out there either. I've heard them with Asgard 2, and although I'm not really a solid state fan I'd say that or the Burson (which is out of your range) is the way to go. Someone else might have a better idea though as personally most of my favorite amps are tube or tube hybrid.
 
Sep 4, 2013 at 10:44 PM Post #7 of 13

JD1993

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Oh! I'm sorry. I was thinking of the Valhalla! This was under the FAQ there:
 
Can Valhalla drive my orthodynamic headphones?
Being polite: not a chance. Although Valhalla can deliver large voltages into high-impedance headphones, it cannot supply the current needed for low-efficiency, low-impedance orthodynamic headphones. If you have Audeze or HiFiMan headphones, look at Lyr. LCD-2s, HE-400s, and HE-500s are also efficient enough to be used with Asgard, if you’d like an all-solid-state option
 
Sep 5, 2013 at 12:43 AM Post #9 of 13

eac3

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Am I seeing this right, the Asgard 2 and the Magni both have the same max output at 50 ohms (1.0 Watt). If that's the case, why wouldn't one just go for the Schiit stack that is cheaper..or perhaps just get the Magni Amp.
 
Sep 5, 2013 at 11:34 AM Post #10 of 13

levinhatz

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Because I've heard both and believe me, you want to go with the Asgard. Many people say that the Magni is great for the price, which I won't disagree with, but with the Asgard you're definitely getting more amp. It sounds better in about every way.
 
Sep 5, 2013 at 7:36 PM Post #12 of 13

levinhatz

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I would either go Magni/Modi or Asgard/Bifrost. Remember, your system is only as good as its weakest link, so if you cheap out on the DAC but splurge on the amp, you will be wasting some money on the amp. Personally I have heard the difference between the M/M and the Asgard/Bifrost and it's significant. Soundstage and detail are greatly improved.
 

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