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On a budget: is it better to look for combi dac/amp?

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by tooros, Mar 10, 2010.
  1. Tooros
    Hi All, I'm really hoping someone can untie me. [​IMG]

    After trawling the forums I've 'discovered' Alessandro's and, as I'm in the UK, I'm really grateful to you for saving me a bundle on Grado's. I've ordered myself some MS1i's and I stare out of the office window everyday waiting for the parcel to arrive.

    I'm not a true audiophile by any means but my little nano struggles with bulging 320 bit mp3's and I'm clued up enough to know that the jack on my laptop is awful.

    So the dilemma is whether to bite the bullet and look for a combi dac/amp to use with both or buy an amp/LOD now and live with lots of syncing on the iPod and then look for a companion DAC at a later date. As the DAC probably wouldn't need to leave my desktop ever, I quite like the idea of the smaller amp that the lack of a DAC could offer.

    I've been in touch with Gary regarding a pa2v2, ping'd an note to misterX, emailed Vivid technologies and contacted a couple of CMOY guys including neco soundlabs and now I'm stuck not knowing which way to go.

    Anyone got any ideas? Having just got the headphones I can't go crazy with the cash - I'm think 100UKP/150USD

    Is it possible or am I dreaming?

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.
  2. xnor

    Originally Posted by Tooros /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    [...] I'm clued up enough to know that the jack on my laptop is awful.

    Why, have you done something like RMAA measurements? [​IMG]
  3. ZarakiSan

    Originally Posted by xnor /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Why, have you done something like RMAA measurements? [​IMG]

    I dont need measurements to know my Macbook Pro 13"'s line out is bad. The hiss isn't just hearable (Okay, on UE-11's), it's hearable when soft music is playing too. I can also hear it when the lineout is 'turned off' by the system, a real lowering of noisefloor.

    In fact, I'm looking at USB- or optical DACs now.
  4. lordsegan
    I just got a Musiland 02 US. (~140 USD on ebay)

    It sounds "shockingly good" when my HD600s are plugged directly into it.

    I am not an expert on this stuff, but it sounds better than the output of my Xonar D2X into a LD MKIII tube amp, so it is certainly not "bad."

    Thus, depending on your taste it is certainly a strong contender.

    I would say it is so good that it is getting close to the area of "not much is better, just different." I am sure some people with golden ears would disagree.
  5. random person
    I vote for the Total Bithead: amp and dac combined, and a fantastic value to boot.
    I use mine with UE11Pros. Are there better/more expensive options? Probably/absolutely. Am I happy with the Total Bithead? Yesssss!
  6. Tooros

    Originally Posted by xnor /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Why, have you done something like RMAA measurements? [​IMG]

    Ha - No - Just that my phone sounds 3x clearer, cleaner and more defined through my (current) px100's than the &*^& dell! [​IMG]

    Still no response from a few people I've contacted - with the huge exception of Gary. I'm thinking that's the easiest route to go at them moment: buy a nice LOD and run with the pa2v2 until I feel the need to sort the lap-top out so it can be used as more than a storage/sync unit.

    I know the pa2v2 is, apparently, showing it's age a little now but I'm sure I'll be happy not having anything to compare it with and, going from jacked px100's to amped, line out, alessandros should keep me smiling for a while.
  7. Drag0n

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