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Kann vs Desktop Amp

  1. joefig44
    I have a pair of Noble Kaiser Encores, and will soon have Audeze LCD-X for home use.

    My main playback device is my iPhone X with local ALAC files, but I am running out of space.

    So, unless I convert my ALAC files to MP3 320kbps I'm going to need to use a separate DAP.
    I've been looking at the A&K Kann (or any other such high-end DAP). My thinking is that such a device would provide me with the portable space for the music, while also being a DAC for my CIEMs and an amp+DAC with enough high-end to get the MOST from my new LCD-X.
    That way I wouldn't have to buy two separate devices (one DAP/DAC + a desktop amp for the LCD-X)

    Is this logical thinking? Or, would I better off with a desktop amp for the LCD-X over such a DAP device?

    Blended in to this decision, is also if I do not use a DAP and instead a DAC and separate desktop amp at home, I would as I mentioned above convert my ALAC files to MP3s - would this be more severe step back whereas I would be far better off with the DAP where I could have the lossless files but then be driving the LCD-X from the DAP rather than a desktop amp?
  2. FastAndClean
    most from your LCD X no, it will power them just fine, you will NOT notice the difference between ALAC to 320kb mp3
  3. joefig44
    That's what I thought about maximizing the LCD-X - I think a desktop amp is likley best - only thing is I like to listen in different locations in my house (upstairs/downstairs, etc.) so a desktop amp wouldn't allow for that easily.

    As for ALAC vs 320kb, if you're sure I won't hear a difference even on the LCDX with a desktop amp, then I think I'll switch my stored iPhone library over to mp3 and get a ton more songs in there.
    Would you also say that I wouldn't notice the difference with Spotify either from the locally stored MP3s?
  4. FastAndClean
    for the spotify part i am not sure, i dont stream music, if you move a lot the Kann is a good solution, it is a very powerfull DAP
  5. joefig44
    But, for the LCD-X, not nearly as good as something like an Arcam RHead or the like?

    Really just trying to choose - I just A/B'd a bunch of tunes from my iPhone to my Noble Kaiser Encore CIEMs between my ALAC stored file version and Spotify versions of the same - and while I needed to boost the volume slightly for the Spotify versions, they were almost unrecognizable as far as the change. Maybe the ALAC version had a almost imperceptibly crisper bass.
    I also noticed when playing the ALAC versions they almost all day a line hiss at the same volume, which the Spotify versions did not. Again, al of this from the same device (iPhone X) straight via Apple's lightning adapter to my CIEMs. Thoughts?
  6. FastAndClean
    RHead is noting special, you will probably not gonna get improvements compared to Kann, again i have no idea how the spotify works but on blind tests sound engineers cant detect difference between 320 mp3 and lossless file so no worries
  7. joefig44
    Would you recommend anything that would have the power of a desktop amp but would still be portable enough that if I wanted to strap it to my iPhone X it wouldn't be cumbersome to travel with and of course has a battery?

    I was looking at the ALO MK3-b, but not sure if that's the best match for the LCD-X and/or would supersede something like the Arcam RHead?
  8. kukkurovaca
    For current production, if you want something that approaches desktop amp power output but that you could plausibly stack with an iPhone, I think the best candidates would be Plussound Cloud Nine, or wait for the upcoming iFi xCAN and see what it's specs are. iFi Micro Black Label has tons of power, but it's quite large.

    But you shouldn't need that kind of power level for the LCD-X. A decent DAP will probably serve you fine, although there are lots of neat amps out there and far be it from me to discourage you picking one up : )
  9. joefig44
    Ok, so what would you recommend as the best 3 desktop DACs/amps (stationary) to match with the LCD-X? Budget being about $800 total. I'm really looking to just get the most out of my LCD-X.

    I've decided against the DAP. I think I'm just going to convert all my ALAC music to MP3 and continue using my iPhone X as my main player, and just continue to use my iPhone X straight to my CIEMs. So figure might as well get the best music nirvana experience out of my LCD-X with a desktop amp.
  10. earChasm
    Or... :L3000:
    You could buy a second hand AK300/320 and see (hear) how things go. If you need more power you could snatch the matching amp. Re-sell value of Astell & Kern players are good so... Here in the Netherlands you can buy both for around 1k €. In fact, someone is selling that combo right now on marktplaats.nl.

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