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Need Help with Amp Decision for LCD-3f before deployment

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by tmac7balla, Dec 19, 2014.
  1. tmac7balla
    Hey guys i'm in a slight delima. I currently have a pair of LCD-3f paired with the IDSD Micro. I love the sound of DSD tracks but the micro is a tad bit to harsh for my liking with non DSD files even when up sampling to DSD. I am looking for a good amp or amp/dac combo under $2000 to either pair with my micro or replace it since I currently do not have a permanent desktop rig.
    I am looking for the crystal clarity that you get from a great solid state with a hint of tonal richness that you get from tubes. The number one item on my list is the Unison Research SH. However I am deploying here in a few weeks and I will not be able to get the product by then. I am wanting something to either hold me over for the term of my deployment (non portable is fine) or something better then the Unison Research SH. Other products that I have been looking into are the Woo lineup and Burson audio. Are their any other ideas that you guys recommend I look into? Thank you in Advance.
  2. Barry S
    I like the Dangerous Music Source a lot for a single DAC/amp with the LCD-3/LCD-X. Not a big fan of either the Burson Conductor or the Woo WA7. You just missed the Grace m920 on Massdrop, another excellent choice in a small package.
  3. tmac7balla
    What did you not like about the Burson Conductor or the Woo WA7? The grace m920 looks pretty awesome. It would have been nice to get it at a discounted price. I will look a little more into it. Have you heard the Grace m920?
  4. Barry S

    I've heard the m920 and it sounds very good with the LCD-X. Both the WA7 and the Conductor sounded a somewhat grainy and the Conductor was a bit screechy in the upper mids with the LCD-X.
    I plan to take my mbp, Audirvana +, chord Hugo and LCD-Xs on my next deployment, so that is what I would recommend.
  6. tmac7balla
    Thank you for the feedback.
    I will try and see if there are are any places in NC with the m920 in stock so I can demo them.  I've read in other places as well of the conductor sounding a bit screechy. That is a no go for me. I'm looking for a little warmth to add to the mix. The LCD-X's sound amazing! Do you think it sounded grainy due to the impedance of the X's being so low? I did an audition with the WA7 and I was impressed but it was just a little to warm for me. 
    I've heard mostly good things about the Chord Hugo. Do you think it is worth the price?
    I've been really looking into the "Lambert Play it By Ear" headphone tube amplifier. I read Dubstep's girl review on it and it has definitely gotten my attention. If all goes well I will be able to demo that piece tommorrow 
  7. Barry S
    I think the Chord Hugo is a poor match for the LCD-X. The upper mids are overemphasized to the point of irritation and it's just plain unmusical. I'm not completely down on the Hugo, it sounds ok with Noble IEMs, but the I think the price is way out of line. My 2c, other head-fiers are happy with their Hugos.
  8. KmanChu
    The BMC PureDAC is probably the best DAC/amp I have ever heard. It's really more of a power-dac: the balanced headphone output is really a dac output stage that can drive headphones directly. There is no separate volume-pot/resistor followed by gain-stage. It happens all in one step. To my ears it is almost perfectly neutral but just a slight bit warm. It will do up to 384kPCM and DSD128 through the USB input. The only drawback is that it is a bit big for a desktop, but it's quite excellent.
    That said, I own the micro iDSD and it is pretty excellent (although resolution-wise it is not up to par with something like the BMC.) You might consider putting the micro iCAN behind it and using the iDSD as a dac only. The iCAN is a bit warmer, and I think the iDSD->iCAN combo sounds better than the iDSD straight from its own headphone output. The iCAN is plenty powerful for the LCD-3Fs. (I currently own all of the products listed above except for the BMC which I owned for about 4 months.)
    So are you using the micro iDSD with the bit-perfect filter setting? 
    tmac7balla likes this.
  9. tmac7balla
    Yea the price for it seems slightly high, but from what i've seen most are pretty happy with it.
    I wish I would've seen this earlier. My dealer has the BMC PureDac but I did not make the effort to listen to it :/
    Most of the audio I listen to I upscale to 2xDSD so i typically use the "Standard" filter as it makes the audio a bit smoother. I gave the Unison SH one more listen yesterday. I'm just going to wait and get it when I get back. When paired with using the DAC portion of the IDSD and the Unison amp the sound is so smooth and silky while still being amazingly clear. Its hard to explain but its more of a feeling and connection, I get with my music when listening to this set up that I can not get out of my head.
  10. Barry S
    I second the recommendation for the BMC PureDAC. It delivers a lot of detail and dynamics with a surprisingly large soundstage for a DAC/amp. It is on the large size, which is why I recommended the m920--which would be more manageable for your deployment.
    tmac7balla likes this.
  11. Borbarad
    What about the Meridian Prime with or without the optional PSU? Both, Audeze and Meridian, have them always in action at show floors.

    I think they are a near perfect match. I've the Meridian setup, but no Audeze yet... But tried this compo a few time and someday I will have an Audeze.

    tmac7balla likes this.
  12. tmac7balla
    The Merdian Prime looks fantastic. It could be an option but I don't know of anyone in NC area with it available to demo. What did you think of the Meridian?
    Ok guys I have the B.M.C as a home demo for a few days. As of now I am very impressed with the sound. I am listening to it via-LC3f -> Balanced Cable->  IFI Mecury USB cable-> MBPr-> Jriver 20 with all upsampling turned off. The sound is plenty powerful and the resolution is incredible. Plenty of soundstage. I have to say that this is an amazing product. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a clean powerful neutral sound with a sprinkle of warmth. Personally I do not see it for me as I would like it to be just a little warmer sounding with more "umph" on the bottom end.
  13. KmanChu
    The puredac is excellent but i ultimately went another direction for some of the reasons you mentioned. I felt it maybe had just a touch less iron fisted control than the best SS amps. It is so neutral and honest it is a bit disarming. I am a sucker for tubes so that is the reason i moved the puredac along. Bmc just released the UltraDAC which is a PureDAC on steroids with higher spec parts and a much bigger power supply. I would like to hear that just to hear the bmc approach built without the budget constraints of the puredac (which was deliberately built to a pricepoint.)
  14. tmac7balla
    What did you end up going with? Your located in Wilmington?? I stay in Holly Ridge which is only 45min away. Maybe we could meet up sometime before I leave so I can hear your set up?
  15. Vicca Tito
    Why not try NuPrime DAC-9 and HPA-9 combo.
    It rocks massively. It is OK with LCD2.2 series of cans. It will work even better with Fazor ones.

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