Having trouble sifting through the Zero thread
Nov 24, 2008 at 4:35 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 9

Zadok

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Before someone spits a link of the search function in this post, I'd like it to be noted that sifting through an 800 page thread is difficult already even WITH the search function.

That being said...I'm interested in finding out the value of a DAC/Amp combo device's utility when compared to perhaps a higher grade, dedicated amp.

For example, if my budget were not to exceed $200 and I had the choice of buying the Zero or an LD Mk2 or MK3, which one would provide the most gains to my HD580's or SR80's?

I know that in the Zero thread, Both HD580's and the LD Mk2 were used in testing, but neither of those setups assumed only one component. The LD was tested with the Zero as a preamp and not comparatively against the zero as an amp.

Bottom line is: Will the spread out improvements to both source and amplification outweigh the greater, singular improvements to amplification alone?

I run HD580's and SR-80's on my X-fi card, and I listen to mostly dance music as my reference. I also listen to alot of classical and acoustic.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 4:42 AM Post #2 of 9

xxbaker

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The zero has a great DAC unit in it, the headphone amp isn't really that amazing. So the real question is this: Is the Zero's DAC a big enough jump over the DAC in your x-fi that it will trump the other amps' benefits?

If I were you I'd get the dedicated amp then run a line out to the amp from your x-fi.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 4:56 AM Post #3 of 9

Zadok

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From what I have gathered by perusing these boards is that the components that produce the most gains initially, in this order, are

1) Phones
2) Amp
3) Source
4) Cable
5) Dac

Either I am wrong in this assessment (Which is probably up to alot of debate from people who favor one or two of those components) or getting a dedicated amp actually is better because the gains from upgrading the DAC would be marginal.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 4:40 PM Post #4 of 9

XXII

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Well a dac IS a source. IMO the ordering should be

1)Phones
2) Source
3)Amp
4)Interconnects
5)Power Cables

But source could easily be in first place if you already have decent headphones.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 6:25 PM Post #5 of 9

Ben Diss

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Quote:

Originally Posted by XXII /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Well a dac IS a source. IMO the ordering should be

1)Phones
2) Source
3)Amp
4)Interconnects
5)Power Cables

But source could easily be in first place if you already have decent headphones.



I agree with this list. The source is very, very important. I would also define the source to include not just the hardware, but the content. No sense feeding an MP3 a nice DAC and then to a good amp. Start with FLAC and go from there.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 6:38 PM Post #6 of 9

Zadok

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Most of my classical music is stored as FLAC directly from CD's so I am set there.

The reason I placed AMPs ahead of sources was because amps seem to accomplish some "electrical magic" on the signal to create soundstage, boost bass, clarify mids, etc. Those types of returns are either not the purpose of a source or are harder to get.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 8:24 PM Post #8 of 9

Pricklely Peete

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IMO if your source is lousy nothing you do down the line from that will change that fact.

Source is KING. In my years as an avid SQ hound that simple fact is what I have found to be true over the decades regardless of front end, be it Turntable/phono pre stage, Cassette Deck, Reel to Reel, CDP, DVDP, DAC, ...well, you get the idea.

Peete.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 8:35 PM Post #9 of 9

ph0rk

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ben Diss /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I agree with this list. The source is very, very important. I would also define the source to include not just the hardware, but the content. No sense feeding an MP3 a nice DAC and then to a good amp. Start with FLAC and go from there.


If properly encoded, there is nothing wrong with mp3 or aac files.

That said: source first-ish if yours is horrid (or second if all you own are ibuds).
 

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