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Musical Fidelity M1 HFA/DAC, Burson HA-160D, Woo WA6/WA2 or Schiit Lyr/Bifrost?

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by senn-fi, May 16, 2012.
  1. Senn-Fi
    Hi guys/gals!  Long time lurker here coming out of the woodwork to get a few opinions.  I have been listening to headphones for a 10+ years, but recently have gotten the upgrade bug.  I had a pair of Sennheiser HD-590's for a long time and added a Firestone Fubar IV+ DAC/Amp about 3 years ago.  I also have a pair of Shure SE 210's, and have been pretty happy with those as well.  
    I have mostly listed to FLAC rips directly off of my computer in the past but have recently been listening to the Ipod in the bedroom in the evenings.
    Well, I decided that it was time for an upgrade in the bedroom and tried out several models at the local HiFi shop and walked out with a pair of HD800's and a Peachtree iDecco.  This sounds phenomenal with my Ipod streaming ALAC to the digital input on the iDecco and is a nice relatively attractive setup for the bedroom.  
    Well, needless to say, I am now no longer happy with my Fubar IV/590 combo and would like to upgrade that and have been trying to decide how to proceed.  I listened to the HD800's on the Musical Fidelity M1 HFA at the HiFi shop and thought that it sounded great, even better than the iDecco.  I was planning to get this for the computer room and probably add a pair of LCD-2's as well, but now am wondering about the Burson HA-160D and Schiit Lyr/Bifrost, or even a Woo WA-2/WA-6 with WDS-1 or any combination of the above.
    So, unfortunately, the Musical Fidelity M1 DAC/HFA is the only setup that I can buy locally and was wondering if anyone has compared it to any of the other combos. 
    Also, I cannot try the LCD-2's out but am pretty sure that I want to get these to complement the HD800's.
    I have also considered moving the iDecco into the office and upgrading my speakers in there to something that will take advantage of the iDecco's amp and putting the new setup in the bedroom and using a cambridge audio or pure ipod dock and/or a logitech Touch as a source.
    I have a pretty wide range of music that I like including classic rock, jazz, classical, metal, new acoustic, ambient, electronic, blue grass, and alternative/pop, etc.  Not too much opera or hip hop or modern country.
    Any other recommendations or thoughts would be appreciated. 
  2. ZARIM
    The Burson HA-160D is very capable DAC/AMPs and can easily drive high impedance headphones and also offers great sound quality. The Schiit are also good pair for desktop use and they are greatly appreciated here on forum( both are highy recommended).
  3. formula1
    Agree with Zarim. If you want a tight and fast bass response, the Burson is for you.
    I liked it how well matches my HD600's, and heard good things about the Audeze + burson combination.   
  4. Dubstep Girl
    WA2, works great with HD 800.
    if ur getting LCD-2 as well though, a WA6-SE would be a better choice.
  5. SeeHear
    I use a first generation M1 D2A through a WA2 with my HD650s.  In a word: "Lovely!"
    The best thing about the WA2 is I don't have to turn up the volume to hear the music.  With my old Creek, I had to turn it up uncomfortably loud to get the best sound out of the 650s.
    The current generation M1 D2A has the asynchronous USB implementation, something mine does not.  If you are going to use USB, be sure to get either a current gen vlink or the current production M1 D2A.
    Good luck,
  6. Senn-Fi
    Thanks guys.  I kind of feel that I can't go wrong with any of these setups, just need to pick one and go with it.
  7. dukeskd
    The Lyr is great, not a fan of Burson, both for company reasons and the design implications on the amp. I think the best choice would be wa6.
  8. Senn-Fi
    Which DAC would you recommend with the WA6?  The new Woo one looks nice on paper, but it does not seem that anyone has purchased/reviewed it yet that I can find.
  9. dukeskd

    The only DACs I can comment on are the Burson dac and the DacMini from CEntrance. CEntrance blows it out of the water in both sound quality and engineering, you could get a DacPort for about 300$ which is near to the performance of the DACmini but a lot cheaper.
  10. Senn-Fi
    I think I already had the Burson in last place as far as DACs go because it uses the same Burr Brown chip as my Firestone, which sounds pretty good but not nearly as good as the Sabre in the Peachtree.
  11. jackwess
    I guess you owned the 160D previously? 
    In which aspect the centrance compares to the 160D? 
  12. dukeskd
    Yes, I actually owned the 160DS and now I have the DacMini. Technically, I think the DacMini is superior in both the DAC and internal amps from both. However, there are significant sound signature differences, the DacMini is more analytical and widens the soundstage nicely, the Burson is amazing for Rock and electronica because it adds depth to the bass and a lot of PRaT.
  13. jackwess
    Oh, i see the Ds is the 160D lil brother. I've heard they share some minor differences on sound, (160D is more meaty?) i need to compare them side by side. 
  14. dukeskd
    I highly doubt there is any difference besides the price, since the 160D has the pre-amp, but the DAC and Amp are identical. But the 160D has two inputs, one for high and low impedence.
  15. twizzleraddict
    There is a difference according to the reviewers who've had both units (HA-160D and HA-160DS) to compare. The DS is not as fully rounded out (in the lower registers in terms of punch and higher registers in terms of detail retrieval) as the D is, possible due to the ALPS volume pot vs. the stepped one in the 160D.
    Otherwise, they both share similar characteristics.
    I'd love to compare vs. a DacMini to hear a different presentation.

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