Schiit Valhalla vs Fiio E17 will improve Senn HD600 by how much?
May 10, 2012 at 5:20 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 29

joker97

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Hi just some background - started on hifis and determined Sonus Faber Cremona M setup is beyond reach in my lifetime so started on head-fi journey.
 
current equipment
- laptop FLAC source (home)
- MeElectronics A151 balanced armature earbuds
- Senn HD600 (did not burn in)
- Fiio E17 used as both DAC and AMP
 
Is the Fiio "strong enough" to drive my cans to its potential? At the moment I am astounded by the detail of the Senn + Fiio but finding it a bit too analytical
 
Will something like the Audio gd NFB-12 give an audiophile night and day difference in sound? In what way? (eg sound stage? etc?)
 
What about Schiit Valhalla?
 
May 11, 2012 at 2:15 AM Post #2 of 29

jono454

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Quote:
Hi just some background - started on hifis and determined Sonus Faber Cremona M setup is beyond reach in my lifetime so started on head-fi journey.
 
current equipment
- laptop FLAC source (home)
- Samsung galaxy S2 FLAC (portable)
- MeElectronics A151 earbuds
- Senn HD600 (did not burn in)
- Fiio E17 used as both DAC and AMP
 
Is the Fiio "strong enough" to drive my cans to its potential? At the moment I am astounded by the detail of the Senn + Fiio but finding it a bit too analytical
 
Will something like the Audio gd NFB-12 give an audiophile night and day difference in sound? In what way? (eg sound stage? etc?)
 
Thanks, sorry if i posted against the rules but I didn't know where to start asking ...
 
Schiit Valhalla is too expensive - but will something like that give night and day difference?

how about a used valhalla on the used for sale forum?
 
May 11, 2012 at 4:57 AM Post #3 of 29

AppleDappleman

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Quote:
Hi just some background - started on hifis and determined Sonus Faber Cremona M setup is beyond reach in my lifetime so started on head-fi journey.
 
current equipment
- laptop FLAC source (home)
- Samsung galaxy S2 FLAC (portable)
- MeElectronics A151 earbuds
- Senn HD600 (did not burn in)
- Fiio E17 used as both DAC and AMP
 
Is the Fiio "strong enough" to drive my cans to its potential? At the moment I am astounded by the detail of the Senn + Fiio but finding it a bit too analytical
 
Will something like the Audio gd NFB-12 give an audiophile night and day difference in sound? In what way? (eg sound stage? etc?)
 
Thanks, sorry if i posted against the rules but I didn't know where to start asking ...
 
Schiit Valhalla is too expensive - but will something like that give night and day difference?

Coming from E17 to the Lyr I prefer it much more. I didn't get a chance to A/B it as much as I want since I sold it real fast. Take my advice with a grain of salt since I've only owned two different amps. (Lyr and E17) 

I prefer the Lyr so far, I haven't got a chance to buy a used bifrost yet. I wish I can go into details like all the head-fiers here but I'm just a casual listener that wants fantastic sound. Hopefully around August when the new statement Dac comes out. If you ever get a chance to get a Lyr I highly recommend it. Especially if you get into tube rolling its exciting. Granted I have only 2 tubes. 

You might be able to find a lyr in the $350 range in the used section. At least thats how much I paid. Good Luck with your decision!
 
May 11, 2012 at 9:19 AM Post #5 of 29

joker97

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sorry didnt realise the schiit valhalla is around the 350 mark (saw a combo for 1300 oops) ...
 
and have now read that tubes are what's needed for 300Ohm and that the valhalla is perfect ...
 
my final question is - will my Fiio e17 be adequate as a DAC to match the set up?
 
my source is lossless from laptop ...
 
many thanks
 
(still wondering if this will give marked improvement at low volumes?)
 
May 11, 2012 at 9:37 AM Post #6 of 29

ProtegeManiac

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It's not so much that the HD600 is 'hard' to drive, per se, given that headphones come in wide range of impedance from 12ohm to 600ohm. It's more a matter of finding the amp for your headphones. Let's take a portable player or a smartphone for example - 300ohm can mean that its amp would be producing much, much, much less power than, say, at 56ohms, but the 300ohm Sennheiser is much, much more efficient than the 56ohm AKG. Which is why some amps that produce nearly 1watt at 32ohm, and have enough current, can drive both the AKG and the Sennheiser. Some tube amps though, like the Valhalla, produce their greatest power output at 300ohms. Whether you want tubes or not is not a problem, although generally, most tube amps can't handle lower impedances, and if you find one that does, it's probably a Hybrid tube-SS design, like the Little Dot MkI and Schiit Lyr, which I think is why most designers go with tubes when they design an amp that would be at their best with Sennheisers. That said, a lot of Solid State amplifiers are voiced using Sennheisers, so look into those too - like Corda or Ibasso.
 
I can't really advice you on tube vs SS, because great designs using either inevitably have less of the sound signature commonly associated with them. Tubes tend to wear out sooner than chips, but swapping out tubes with a tube clamp is easier than desoldering a chip, so don't think maintenance would be hard apart from, realistically, you wouldn't get enough practice since they don't wear out as often as you might think. Look up the threads on tube vs SS here, and really it's better to just choose based on the feedback about each individual amp.
 
What I will advise though is that you might want to get an amp instead of a DAC-Amp - that way you have expansion options, plus you already have the E17. If there's anything it might even lack, it's not in the digital section; a better amp not constricted by size and battery requirements would tend to have a better output stage. So use the E17 now with a pure amp, then get a DAC for it later, unless you already foresee the need for a one-box solution to save deskspace in the long run.
 
May 11, 2012 at 9:52 AM Post #7 of 29

joker97

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many thanks ...
 
will plugging e17 being DAC/amp to an amp be double amping and are there any consequences? 
 
will the valhalla tube improve sound at low volumes (i don't listen at anywhere near reference) ?
 
May 11, 2012 at 10:01 AM Post #8 of 29

Darkblade48

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Quote:
many thanks ...
 
will plugging e17 being DAC/amp to an amp be double amping and are there any consequences? 
 
will the valhalla tube improve sound at low volumes (i don't listen at anywhere near reference) ?


As long as you a line out for the E17, you will not be double amplifying. In general, double amplifying is to be avoided because you will just be amplifying the signal to noise ratio.
 
May 11, 2012 at 3:59 PM Post #9 of 29

joker97

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thsanks i asked because i couldnt see a line out on the e17 ... it seems there is a 10 dollar accessory dock that creates this line out jack ... so i need to spend on good interconnects now? (presumably 3.5mm -> RCA x2) which ones to get (of what quality)?
 
May 11, 2012 at 4:15 PM Post #10 of 29

joker97

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also other burning question ... my e17 is rated to 300Ohm ... surely i don't need a more expensive amp?
 
apologies for starting this thread and asking such a dumb question but i live in the middle of nowhere and all my gear is imported - there is no chance of auditioning :frowning2:
 
hence theories are all i can go by ... 
 
May 11, 2012 at 4:30 PM Post #11 of 29

Radioking59

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Quote:
also other burning question ... my e17 is rated to 300Ohm ... surely i don't need a more expensive amp?
 

I never used the E17, but I used the E10 for a few days before I got a Schitt Asgard. The E10 did not give me enough volume on some of my CDs that have been mastered at low levels.  You don't need a more expensive amp, but you won't be getting the most from your HD600s with the E17 I'm guessing.
 
Going from the E10 as an amp/DAC to the Asgard made a difference, but the biggest upgrade for me was going from the E10 as a DAC only to the Bifrost. You name it the Bifrost does it better.
 
May 11, 2012 at 6:09 PM Post #12 of 29

joker97

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mmm ... tough - looks like if i go the path of tubing i might as well spend a bit more on the lyr then get good interconnects then get a bifrost and that's about 4x the price of my cans ...
 
what about something solid state like audio gr nfb-12 which has built in DAC and costs half the price of the LYR and without any need for interconnects and another DAC ...
 
will i get better sound compared to fiio e17 and how would it compare to the valhalla
 
May 11, 2012 at 6:54 PM Post #13 of 29
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Hey Joseph
 
What's your budget mate?
 
BTW - invitation still open for you to pop down the road at any time and come listen to my set-up.  I have the NFB-12, and  a Little Dot MKIV (tubes).  Bring your HD600 down, or you can listen to mine.  if you do come down - bring your E17 - I'd love to hear it + you can listen to my iPod 4+ Arrow combo.
 
I'll stress again to you - there is no substitute for listening to gear before you buy - the opportunity is there if you want it.  Just pick a weekend.
 
For those wondering - Joseph lives about 2 hours away from me.
 
May 11, 2012 at 7:42 PM Post #14 of 29

StratocasterMan

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Quote:
thsanks i asked because i couldnt see a line out on the e17 ... it seems there is a 10 dollar accessory dock that creates this line out jack ... so i need to spend on good interconnects now? (presumably 3.5mm -> RCA x2) which ones to get (of what quality)?

 
You are correct. The FiiO L7 is the line out dock you need for the E17 if you want to use a different amp. If you use that, you won't be double amping. Using that, you can use the E17 as a DAC only and experiment with other amps.
 
May 11, 2012 at 8:34 PM Post #15 of 29

ProtegeManiac

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thsanks i asked because i couldnt see a line out on the e17 ... it seems there is a 10 dollar accessory dock that creates this line out jack ... so i need to spend on good interconnects now? (presumably 3.5mm -> RCA x2) which ones to get (of what quality)?

---

also other burning question ... my e17 is rated to 300Ohm ... surely i don't need a more expensive amp?


Yes there is an additional accessory as mentioned already, but just to give you a background on its necessity, it's because it was meant to dock (charge, send analog/receive digital signal, etc) onto the E9 amplifier, and therefore its linout conductors are built in that dock connector, and its 3.5mm meant to provide an input for portable players and output for headphones. As far as good interconnects are concerned, yes they're needed but if the amp you're buying comes with the right cables I say save the cash for now.

As for the E17 being rated up to 300ohm, well, there are a lot of people who've tried different amps rated at whatever their headphone's impedance is, and that isn't the only prerequisite. The Valhalla is of course much more specialized, but whether that is a strength or a weakness is dependent on the cans you intend to use it with, and in this case it's mostly a good match, but be aware that when it presents too much of a contrast to the E17 you might end up asking for amplification that gets you somewhere in the middle. Don't worry too much though, a lot have gone through that and it's the best way to get the feel for what sound each of us really likes.
 

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