I need help deciding what Amp/dac to get.
Jul 15, 2023 at 7:15 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

Yamil

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 15, 2023
Posts
28
Likes
18
Location
San Diego
Hello, I need help deciding between the topping dx7 pro+, Fiio k9 pro, or the topping a90 discrete. I currently have the zen dac v2, but I recently got the Hifiman Arya and I want to maximize the soundstage, separation, imaging etc. I only care about the raw sound quality of the Amp/dac. I don't really care for any fancy feature, like Bluetooth or any crazy connection. it would only be plugged into my computer. The 3 options are just the most popular options I've seen within my budget (under 1k), I'll gladly take another recommendation. Thanks!

Note: I do know the topping a90d is only amp, but I would be using it with my Zen Dac v2 as my dac. I've just heard that amp is one of the best.
 
Jul 15, 2023 at 7:59 PM Post #2 of 12
Do provide us more info.

Like what you like and dont like with the Arya+zen dac pairing.
Any preferences to the colouration of your sound.
What you normally listen to.

Thank you.

Otherwise DX7 pro+ is the safest rec in that it provides a soft and comfortable sound with good dynamics but isnt that good at imaging.
 
Jul 15, 2023 at 8:31 PM Post #3 of 12
Do provide us more info.

Like what you like and dont like with the Arya+zen dac pairing.
Any preferences to the colouration of your sound.
What you normally listen to.

Thank you.

Otherwise DX7 pro+ is the safest rec in that it provides a soft and comfortable sound with good dynamics but isnt that good at imaging.
I originally started looking for a new dac/amp when I first got the Arya's. The sibilance was too much for me, but then I realized I just had to break them in, now for the most part I hear no sibilance. That was after I started looking into these dac/amps. I guess it's hard to say what I don't like, because I don't have anything to compare it to. The best feature is the bass boost, that has helped so many of my iems/headphones.

I'm sort of just looking something that compliments the Arya. In terms of preference, I'm still sort of looking what tones I prefer, which I know is not ideal when looking at dac/amps worth 500$+. I know now that my in headphones and iems I prefer a brighter tone, not a warmer or relaxed tone.

I mainly listen to anything that falls under the rock genre. Prog rock, art rock, prog metal, indie rock, etc. I also like jazz, R&B, soul, and classical, so whatever instruments are used in those genres, I love them.

Thank you for your help!
 
Jul 15, 2023 at 8:59 PM Post #4 of 12
hmmm if thats the case the Xduoo TA-22 would be my rec since if you like zen dac and improved stage of tubes and xduoo house sound is smiliar to ifi while having much better detail over the zen dac. Since you didnt say anything about zen dac being too warm and like the bass boost it seems that you prefer a warmer dac. Not to mention it adds body to the Rock/metal instruments. Depending on preference brass might be good/neutral on TA-22 since it has pretty textured treble which some might not like.
 
Jul 15, 2023 at 9:17 PM Post #6 of 12
I originally started looking for a new dac/amp when I first got the Arya's. The sibilance was too much for me, but then I realized I just had to break them in, now for the most part I hear no sibilance. That was after I started looking into these dac/amps. I guess it's hard to say what I don't like, because I don't have anything to compare it to. The best feature is the bass boost, that has helped so many of my iems/headphones.

I'm sort of just looking something that compliments the Arya. In terms of preference, I'm still sort of looking what tones I prefer, which I know is not ideal when looking at dac/amps worth 500$+. I know now that my in headphones and iems I prefer a brighter tone, not a warmer or relaxed tone.

I mainly listen to anything that falls under the rock genre. Prog rock, art rock, prog metal, indie rock, etc. I also like jazz, R&B, soul, and classical, so whatever instruments are used in those genres, I love them.

Thank you for your help!
You say you like brighter sound signatures, but also talk about issues with sibilance and say that the iFi's bass boost is often helpful... And iFi already has a fairly warm house sound.

Combined with your admission that you're still trying to figure out what you like best, my recommendation would be to try some different headphones (as they make the biggest difference in sound) rather than trying to fix the ones you've got with amp and DAC.
 
Jul 15, 2023 at 9:36 PM Post #7 of 12
I've got the Arya Stealth and many different stacks. The best sounding and most fun is the SMSL HO200 DO200 for soundstage, microdetails, and bass dynamics. Even the A90 Discrete I have isn't as much fun.
Could you
You say you like brighter sound signatures, but also talk about issues with sibilance and say that the iFi's bass boost is often helpful... And iFi already has a fairly warm house sound.

Combined with your admission that you're still trying to figure out what you like best, my recommendation would be to try some different headphones (as they make the biggest difference in sound) rather than trying to fix the ones you've got with amp and DAC.
Oh no, I absolute love the Arya's. The sibilance was only an issue for the few days, once I broke them a bit it mostly went away. I prefer a brighter sound signature because I feel that's where the resolution and clarity comes from (could be 100% wrong). The Arya is still the best headphone in my collection, and if anything I would like to look for the opposite sound signature in my iems because I'm satisfied with the Arya. What I'm looking for is an amp/dac that maximizes the Arya's strengths, not a fix to a small problem. When I mentioned the bass boost, that's because I like bass, but I still prefer a more resolving headphone than a bassy one.
 
Jul 15, 2023 at 11:16 PM Post #9 of 12
The DO200 filter and color combinations do have more of an effect to tweak the sound, but the HO200 soundstage is larger and drum hits sound distinctive and dynamic. The colors settings with a slow rolloff filter can take the edge off bright headphones, while a different one makes the soundstage more expansive and sounds a little more V shaped. In gaming or music, tiny details are just more pronounced and noticeable. I get to use new stuff constantly and tonight hooked up the SMSL SU-8s/SH-8s and it sounds great on the Arya Stealth with power to spare. The HO200/DO200 just has more energy to it though. I always turn the volume up louder than usual on that combo compared to any other. The SP400 isn't worth the extra money IMO though. I had that and high gain is not much more powerful, even with a 5 volt DAC on it. The HO200 is the sweet spot for SMSL amplifiers. I have two SP200's and they're fine amplifiers except for the noise floor, I wouldn't recommend 10 ohm IEM's with it and listening to piano solos where you notice the floor noise. Great value though these days.
 
Jul 22, 2023 at 10:56 PM Post #10 of 12
hmmm if thats the case the Xduoo TA-22 would be my rec since if you like zen dac and improved stage of tubes and xduoo house sound is smiliar to ifi while having much better detail over the zen dac. Since you didnt say anything about zen dac being too warm and like the bass boost it seems that you prefer a warmer dac. Not to mention it adds body to the Rock/metal instruments. Depending on preference brass might be good/neutral on TA-22 since it has pretty textured treble which some might not like.
Hello, I've come back to this post because I can't decide which dac/amp to get. There was also one thing I forgot to mention, which is that I would be using this dac/amp stack or all-in-one for all my headphones and iems. This an upgrade that I want to get my money's worth, and get it out of way. I really doubt I would another dac ever again, maybe amp? Would you still recommend the TA-22?

Another worry that appeared was that the a90d, supposedly one of the best amps for its price, was sterile... which made me wonder if I really want a sterile amp with great performance. At the end of the day, I think every amp/dac that was recommended would a huge leap from an all-in-one 200$ amp/dac, no?
 
Jul 23, 2023 at 12:44 AM Post #11 of 12
Hello, I need help deciding between the topping dx7 pro+, Fiio k9 pro, or the topping a90 discrete. I currently have the zen dac v2, but I recently got the Hifiman Arya and I want to maximize the soundstage, separation, imaging etc. I only care about the raw sound quality of the Amp/dac. I don't really care for any fancy feature, like Bluetooth or any crazy connection. it would only be plugged into my computer. The 3 options are just the most popular options I've seen within my budget (under 1k), I'll gladly take another recommendation. Thanks!

Note: I do know the topping a90d is only amp, but I would be using it with my Zen Dac v2 as my dac. I've just heard that amp is one of the best.
Maybe add Zen Can to finish the stack?
 
Jul 23, 2023 at 3:21 AM Post #12 of 12
Hello, I've come back to this post because I can't decide which dac/amp to get. There was also one thing I forgot to mention, which is that I would be using this dac/amp stack or all-in-one for all my headphones and iems. This an upgrade that I want to get my money's worth, and get it out of way. I really doubt I would another dac ever again, maybe amp? Would you still recommend the TA-22?

Another worry that appeared was that the a90d, supposedly one of the best amps for its price, was sterile... which made me wonder if I really want a sterile amp with great performance. At the end of the day, I think every amp/dac that was recommended would a huge leap from an all-in-one 200$ amp/dac, no?
Yes I would still rec the TA-22. To me the upgrade is well worth over sticking to the zen dac. But if you arent interested in a more detailed sound you can go the way genisis said and get the zen can and that would power just about everything you want.

I'm not the best person to ask about topping devices since imo even thier ToTL D/A90 still sounds soft and unable to do transients well. Personally i would you rather look at SMSL gear.
 
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Back
Top