Time to remodel! Need advice on Amps and DACs for headphones
Dec 5, 2014 at 3:38 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2

rage3324

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I have been in the market for a dac for a few weeks now and at the same I have been wondering about solid state sound. So here I am, staring at two tube amps and a cluttered desk. Not to mention I am starting to research turntables (yikes!). 
 
Full disclosure, the DACmini CX on mass drop is what has got me thinking but I can't justify the purchase only for the DAC unless I sold the MK III. Now, before I do that, I wanted to see if there was a better direction to go..
 
My current gear
 
Headphones
Grado SR325i 
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Premium (600 ohms)
AKG 7xx (Massdrop edition)
 
The Grado's get the most use and I expect the AKGs to get equal use. I only use the DT 770s if I need to prevent sound leakage and for watching movies and playing games late at night (in this scenario, they are hooked up to my home theater avr). 
 
Amps
Little Dot i+ w/ various tubes
Little Dot MK III w/ various tubes
 
I+ drives my grados and the MK III drives my DT 770s. Which would be best for driving the AKGs? I am assuming the I+
 
Source
Macbook Air
 
A few questions/concerns:
 
1. I am worried about having to switch the gain on the little dot i+ to support both the Grado's and AKGs. This would be a pain.
2. Is there any way to repurpose the little dots for a turntable + speakers setup that would make sense.
 
Requirement(s)
 
1. Accessible Variable output impedance control - Only a requirement if necessary for the setup
2. To simplify my setup to 1 solid state amp and 1 tube amp. 
 
Some forward thinking (additional notes)
 
The turntable will be located in a different room than my headphones so I can't share equipment. 
 
My budget
 
I have $500-$700 budget to remodel which does not include selling the MK III or I+. So what would you sell and/or buy? Or do I just purchase a budget dac like the Modi or ODAC and call it a day. Seriously, no suggestion/recommendation is crazy. 
 
Dec 5, 2014 at 5:02 PM Post #2 of 2

AuxNuke

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If you're looking for a new DAC and possibly Amp in that price range, I'll throw in a recommendation towards an Audio-GD NFB-10.33  http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1033/NFB10.33EN.htm
 
It runs $580 (before shipping) and includes a dual Wolfson WM8741 DAC and an excellent high output amp.  Best of all, its fully balanced for any future upgrades you may consider.  Most Audio-GD DAC's products that I've heard are mostly neutral with a hint of warm musical sound.  There are many impressions on the unit in the big NFB-10.xx thread here:  http://www.head-fi.org/t/519166/audio-gd-nfb-10/2625 
 
If you want to spend the extra $100, the NFB-28 is the same unit with the exception that the WM8741 DAC is swapped to the popular Sabre ESS9018 DAC which some people say has slightly more detail but more "clinical" sound.  http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB28/NFB28EN.htm
 
Either way, I've owned many DAC's and always felt that Audio-GD was at or near the top in every price range.  Hope this helps! 
 

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