Microstack vs. Corda Aria - which is better bang for the buck?
Feb 26, 2006 at 11:02 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

sionghchan

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Hi all,

Was just wondering which do you consider to be a better bang for the buck? The Headroom Microstack (no upgrade modules) or the Corda Aria?

EDIT: Well, initially, I bought the Corda Aria due to its superb value and how it is supposed to sound with the DT880. Today, I'm still amazed at its bang for the buck factor. Hence, my vote in that camp.

Cheers!
SH
 
Feb 26, 2006 at 11:32 PM Post #2 of 13

Teerawit

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sionghchan
The Headroom Microstack (no upgrade modules) or the Corda Aria?


Why wouldn't you consider the Micro Amp with the Desktop module? I mean, that makes it a better home amp, which the Aria is.
 
Feb 26, 2006 at 11:36 PM Post #3 of 13

PFKMan23

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Do you consider the Micro Amp an upgrade module, even though it's a no clost upgrade?
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 12:00 AM Post #4 of 13

vpivinylspinner

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I think it is going to be difficult to find a better value for the money than the Corda Aria. Amp and Dac in a very nice package. I guess it will depend if you want to use the Headroom for both portable and home use. I still don't know if that would be worth the extra $150 unless the Headroom is significantly better.
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 12:49 AM Post #5 of 13

Borat

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It's close. The Corda Aria would be an insane value if it were a standard DAC that accepted coax and optical instead of just USB. USB essentially limits usage with a computer/laptop, whereas you can use the Micro DAC with a computer/laptop, PCDP, CDP, and portable DVD players. Also being able to split up the amp and source can be useful.

I would say that if you already own a capable source, then the Corda Aria would be the "better bang for the buck" because it is a highly acclaimed home amp. But if you are starting from scratch and you need both a quality source and a good amp, then your money might be better spent on the Micro Stack.
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 1:05 AM Post #6 of 13

vo328

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Borat
It's close. The Corda Aria would be an insane value if it were a standard DAC that accepted coax and optical instead of just USB. USB essentially limits usage with a computer/laptop, whereas you can use the Micro DAC with a computer/laptop, PCDP, CDP, and portable DVD players. Also being able to split up the amp and source can be useful.


Exactly... the flexibility of the MicroDAC is something that must be taken into consideration. It's one of the reasons it is now at the top of my purchase list.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 1:15 AM Post #7 of 13

Teerawit

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Quote:

Originally Posted by vo328
Exactly... the flexibility of the MicroDAC is something that must be taken into consideration. It's one of the reasons it is now at the top of my purchase list.
smily_headphones1.gif



Agreed...that was one of my primary reasons for purchasing the Micro DAC
biggrin.gif
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 2:17 AM Post #8 of 13

sionghchan

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Teerawit
Why wouldn't you consider the Micro Amp with the Desktop module? I mean, that makes it a better home amp, which the Aria is.


Hmmm...good question. I didn't realise that the Desktop module was a free upgrade. However, I left out that option because it is infact considered a partial upgrade to the Desktop line which is another line in Headroom offerings. I thought it is more of a shoulder to shoulder fight if we were to consider strictly the Micro stack against the Aria.
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 3:29 AM Post #9 of 13

Teerawit

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sionghchan
I thought it is more of a shoulder to shoulder fight if we were to consider strictly the Micro stack against the Aria.


The thing is, the Micro Amp + Desktop Module IS a legitimate part of the Micro Stack and most people here seem to have the Desktop module anyway.
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 4:41 AM Post #10 of 13

warpdriver

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If you just want an amp, there is no doubt the Aria would be my choice, it's a solid unit.

But the whole appeal of the micro line is the amazingly good and versatile DAC, and the very sophisticated crossfeed.

I think the DAC is a bargain. The fact that it can take USB, coax, or optical inputs makes it so flexible. You can take any plain jane source with digital out (even a cheap portable DVD player), add the DAC, and voila, an audiophile quality source. There are really no concessions in the design except for the fact that it must run reasonably well on batteries. It uses a top grade DAC chip. I think you'd have to spend a lot more to beat the performance of the DAC. A guy who I know has a $2000 Quad DAC heard my Micro DAC, and said the Micro DAC was really impressive for the money.

As far as the Micro Amp, certainly there are better (commercial) amps, but the Micro is no slouch. I've heard the SR-71 which I consider to still be the best under $400 portable amp that I've heard, as well as the Gilmore lite, and the Micro held its own in many ways. I think the Crossfeed is the best implementation in terms of actually providing a true 3D imaging (my biggest beef with headphones in general) that almost makes me forget I am listening to headphones. Most people have even said that running it on batteries gives it even better sound as you are cleaning up the power source (something I haven't really experimented with)

I'm not going to vote because I haven't yet heard the Aria, but I will give it the benefit of the doubt and assume the amp portion actually sounds better than the Micro Amp with standard module, but even then I would notsay the Aria is a better value due to the strength of the feature set of the Microstack.

Lastly, the Microstack is portable. The fact you can have this calibre of source, and a top grade amp, and have it with you at all times, is a cause for celebration. The Aria can't do that. With a contributor discount, the entire stack is only $540, only $90 more than the Aria is selling for now.

I do think this is a weird poll, because the Micro Amp really comes into its own with the Desktop Module option, and most people seem to buy it that way.

So: to me. Microstack -> better DAC, more convincing crossfeed, DAC usable with other digital sources, portable ----> Better value
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 1:46 PM Post #11 of 13

sionghchan

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Hmm...Like I said, I really didn't realise that the Desktop module is a free upgrade. Now, you guys have got me intrigued. IF we had the microstack with the desktop module upgrade, will that change the vote result? Unfortunately, I can't edit the polls to make that change.

In anycase, just wondering.
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 2:06 PM Post #12 of 13

PsychoZX

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sionghchan
IF we had the microstack with the desktop module upgrade, will that change the vote result?


It would change my vote.
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 2:37 PM Post #13 of 13

Skylab

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I voted for the Aria, but freely admit I have not heard the Microstack. But given the sound quality and build quality of the Aria and considering it's price, I find it to be a real bargain.
 

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