Looking for DAC recommendation for K702 / Sugden Headmaster
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fross

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Hi all,
 
I've recently upgraded my headphones - my old setup was a pair of Sennheiser HD580s and a Total Bithead amp, had them for about 11 and 7 years respectively!  I purchased some AKG K702s and am happy with them, though I'm finding the bass isn't as responsive, and the Bithead is having trouble driving them - it sits at close to 80% volume most of the time!
 
I'm looking at a new amp and DAC to supplement the K702s.  I have the opportunity to pick up a Sugden Headmaster at a good price, but I'd also need to supplement that with a DAC.  I'm after any recommendations on what to use with the K702s, especially if anyone has run them with the Headmaster before.  I'd also appreciate any views on other amps that would pair well with the K702s, for the price of the Headmaster and DAC I'm in the realm of a new Headroom Desktop anyway, not sure how the two compare...
 
I did have a V-DAC as part of a hifi setup a year or so ago, but wasn't overly enamoured with it.  Aside from that, I just need something else that takes USB.  Thanks in advance for your help!
 
 
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RudeAmbassador

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nuforce is all i need but u cant hook up the toslink and coaxial simultanesouly, but it sounds excellent
 
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fross

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Hi, thanks for the reply.  I presume you mean the Icon u-DAC, not the DAC-9 as that's about £1000!?  I've not seen NuForce ones before so investigating their product range :)
 
 
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frenchbat

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Hi Fross,
 
I'm currently using a Justaudio AHA-120 combined with a HRT Streamer 2+ with my K702 and I'm quite satisfied with the results.
 
In any case a Class-A amp seems to be a good choice with these headphones given how hungry they can be. With my amp set for a 2X (6dB) gain, I usually seat around 50% on the pot. My quieter records can need a bit more but I don't think it goes much further than 70%.
 
Hope you find your happy place.
 
 
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fross

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Thanks for the recommendations guys, wasn't familiar with them so I've looked them up.  My favourite so far is the Icon uDAC-2, seems to have good quality reviews, a higher bitrate across USB (24/96) and isn't "wasting" money on an amp circuit I won't use :)  Happy to hear more opinions though, cheers!
 
 
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frenchbat

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Don't want to steer the pot, but you may want to have a look at this before pulling the trigger on the uDac-2 :

 
Quote:
Thanks for the recommendations guys, wasn't familiar with them so I've looked them up.  My favourite so far is the Icon uDAC-2, seems to have good quality reviews, a higher bitrate across USB (24/96) and isn't "wasting" money on an amp circuit I won't use :)  Happy to hear more opinions though, cheers!
 


 
 
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fross

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Hey frenchbat, this is exactly the sort of information I am looking for, so thank you for pointing it out!
 
Worst case scenario I have to try these things myself and see which one I like best...
 
 
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frenchbat

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No problem, the good thing about this review is that it points out what you want to know before making a decision. The low price brings trade-offs and you just need to know what they are, so you can decide if you're ok with it.
 
If your budget allows it, you may want to look at the Streamer 2 (not the 2+ model I was referring to). It's a bit more expensive than the uDAC-2, but you avoid the pot problem altogether. You can also look at the Centrance line, they may have a good DAC-Amp combo in your price range.
 
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alexsj

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The HRT music streamer II is a very capable and inexpensive dac (|$150).  I've used the nuforce udac and didn't care for it (even before I read the nwguy review) and got rid of it.  I run it to an audioengine N-22 amp which has a pretty decent headphone amp and the sound quality is excellent.
 
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If you're using Mac, go for the Apogee duet.
 
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