Help me decide.. what should I buy first? - Overclock.net

Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 16 Old 01-20-2011, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
3.5ghz
 
Ckaz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: BRRR!!!
Posts: 799
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 54
I'm looking to get on with purchasing my bedside rig, and I'm wondering which component I should upgrade to first..
I currently have an E-MU 0404 DAC, Shure SRH 840 headphones, and a 16gb ipod.

I plan to buy a LittleDot MK IV SE tube amp, an iPod transport (Onkyo ND-S1 or something similar), a pair of HD 650's, and a bigger ipod.
I currently have around $450, but I don't come into large amounts of money very often so I need to make this purchase count.

I was at first thinking I would forsure go for the tube amplifier. It would make my headphones sound wonderful, I'm sure. This would allow me to scratch off needing a pair of HD 650's for a little while. However, it would leave me broke and needing to wait a longg time before I could buy anything else. Also, I can bypass the ipod's internal amp with an LOD, but I can't bypass the internal DAC unless I get a transport. I feel as though having the internal DAC would be bottlenecking the system.

So it crossed my mind that I could get the transport along with the new ipod. This way I can bypass all of the ipod`s internal components and use the 0404`s DAC and headphone amp. I would get the new amp next, but obviously not for quite some time considering how long it would take me to regain the funds. The problem with that is I've heard the Shure 840's don't respond that well to solid state amps. They are already quite easy to drive, so they don't exactly need the amplification. Add that to the fact that the 0404 is meant for studio use, I don't really feel as though it would be bringing the headphones to life like the tube amp could. I'm prepared to live with that for a little while until I get the tube amp, I'm just scared I won't hear a difference at all, and then end up feeling like I've wasted my money.

The iPod upgrade is necessary because I like being able to have my whole library available. Its a personal thing. And yes, I have no problem with buying these things used, if I can manage to find it (which I haven't been able to up until now).

Some advice would greatly appreciated!

Einstein's definition of insanity: "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"
Speakers: Fb2k FLAC > E-MU 0404 USB DAC > Cambridge Audio Azur 640A V2 Int. Amp > Monitor Audio Silver RX1


My Shure SRH 840 Review

Post pics/info about YOUR home studio
Ckaz is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 16 Old 01-21-2011, 03:19 AM
mmmkaay
 
TUDJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Manchester, UK
Posts: 6,665
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 452
When I had a similar desicision to make I bought HD600 then my MiniMAX and then my DAC. I used the HD600 with my soundcard until I bought the amp and then used that without a DAC for a few months, it was actually an enjoyable way of upgrading because at each stage of adding something new there was a noticable change in the sound which reassured the feeling of money well spent tongue.gif

I don't see a DAC in your "to buy list", what are you going to send the NDS1 signal to? Will you be using the 0404?

I'd recommend the same path I took, HD650 then the Little Dot and then finally the transport - I feel that's the best way to go because you are making the bigger changes to the sound earlier on.

TUDJ is offline  
post #3 of 16 Old 01-21-2011, 09:23 AM - Thread Starter
3.5ghz
 
Ckaz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: BRRR!!!
Posts: 799
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 54
Yea I use the 0404 as my computer DAC, and I plan to use it for my bedside rig too.

And yes that all sound good and well, but the problem is that it is going to be a bedside rig. So if I was to buy the 650's now, I would be running them out of an ipod for a considerable amount of time. From what I've heard, an iPod can barely drive the 650's, let alone do it well, no?

So do I get the tube amp now, and end up using the ipod's internal DAC for lack of a transport? Or do I get the transport and allow myself to use the 0404's DAC and headphone amp, but have what will likely be a subtle difference in sound for a number of months until I can afford the tube amp.

And btw, a new DAC isn't out of the question (CA DACmagic or MF V-DAC), but I've already got a pretty great one at hand, so it makes more sense to focus my efforts on the components that really need it. Its the same with 650's.. I plan to get them, but the 840's are already great so I'd like to see how much I can get out of those via a better system. After all, the 650's using an ipod aren't going to sound all that much better than the 840's using an ipod. Then when I upgrade to the 650's it will sound unbelievable because my rig will already be upgraded.

Einstein's definition of insanity: "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"
Speakers: Fb2k FLAC > E-MU 0404 USB DAC > Cambridge Audio Azur 640A V2 Int. Amp > Monitor Audio Silver RX1


My Shure SRH 840 Review

Post pics/info about YOUR home studio
Ckaz is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 16 Old 01-22-2011, 08:13 AM
mmmkaay
 
TUDJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Manchester, UK
Posts: 6,665
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 452
Taking the above into account then I would go amp, headphones and then transport

The iPod will be alright as a source, especially using the LOD.

TUDJ is offline  
post #5 of 16 Old 01-22-2011, 08:20 AM
4.0ghz
 
yellowtoblerone's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Home of the Canucks
Posts: 5,335
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 170
I disagree. But you're building two systems, it depends on which one you want to complete first.

Chimp Challenge Championship Team  Chimp Challenge Participant  1 Million+ Folding at Home points 

yellowtoblerone is offline  
post #6 of 16 Old 01-22-2011, 09:59 AM - Thread Starter
3.5ghz
 
Ckaz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: BRRR!!!
Posts: 799
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowtoblerone View Post
I disagree. But you're building two systems, it depends on which one you want to complete first.
Care to elaborate?

Einstein's definition of insanity: "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"
Speakers: Fb2k FLAC > E-MU 0404 USB DAC > Cambridge Audio Azur 640A V2 Int. Amp > Monitor Audio Silver RX1


My Shure SRH 840 Review

Post pics/info about YOUR home studio
Ckaz is offline  
post #7 of 16 Old 01-22-2011, 05:06 PM
4.0 GHz
 
slytown's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Davenport, IA
Posts: 2,115
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 109
If you really want the 650s, then have to get an amp. They will actually sound worse than lower impedence headphones straight out of a DAC at the right levels.

Yellow means that for the money, upgrading your desktop will more beneficial than having two rigs. I always sacrifice my portable for my home rig, which gets most of the attention.

When in doubt, upgrade whatever gets the most attention. If you are never home, invest in IEMs and a redwine MOD/iRiver. The E-Mu is a great DAC. Look into headphone amplifiers. At 44 ohms they can benefit from an amp, but not as much as the 650s, of course. You will just be listening at different levels than you would the 650s. A good $450 amp will put you, with your DAC, in a mid-range level of the market. Then you can start saving up for nicer headphones.
slytown is offline  
post #8 of 16 Old 01-22-2011, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
3.5ghz
 
Ckaz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: BRRR!!!
Posts: 799
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by slytown View Post
If you really want the 650s, then have to get an amp. They will actually sound worse than lower impedence headphones straight out of a DAC at the right levels.

Yellow means that for the money, upgrading your desktop will more beneficial than having two rigs. I always sacrifice my portable for my home rig, which gets most of the attention.

When in doubt, upgrade whatever gets the most attention. If you are never home, invest in IEMs and a redwine MOD/iRiver. The E-Mu is a great DAC. Look into headphone amplifiers. At 44 ohms they can benefit from an amp, but not as much as the 650s, of course. You will just be listening at different levels than you would the 650s. A good $450 amp will put you, with your DAC, in a mid-range level of the market. Then you can start saving up for nicer headphones.
Well I have decided and am sure that I am going to center my funds around a bedside rig that uses an ipod as a source. That much is forsure. My desktop rig is actually a speaker system, and as you can see in my sig I have completed that for the time being. I am enjoying it immensely, but I also happen to spend a good amount of time listening to my headphones before I go to bed, or when reading/studying, hence my decision to go ahead with this rig.

Now, I was initially going to go for the Little Dot MK IV SE as my tube amp. That was $290 plus $45 shipping, and I only have $450 or so to spend (I've amassed that mostly through a recent birthday and holidays). That would have pretty much dried me up, but I've changed my mind and decided to go with the MK IV, not the MK IV SE. Its $100 cheaper, and allows me the money to buy my bigger ipod used. I thought ok, problem solved.
Or..maybe not.

The main reason I have decided to go with an ipod for my bedside rig instead of my computer is because I like to have my whole library in my hands for the choosing. I'm not one to pop in a cd and listen to the whole thing. I'm constantly changing songs and genres. This is causing me to reconsider getting an ipod transport because it would sit on my night table and cause me significant inconvenience to change a song.

So, that pretty much takes out the transport as an option. But, I'm now left with the iPod's shoddy internal components that I won't be able to bypass. I would simply get a different portable media device, but I like the universal convenience of having an ipod. It plugs into my car, its small etc.

It crossed my mind to then just imod the thing. Well, that option presents its own host of problems.
First off, I don't want less than 160gb of storage. Well, they only iMod up to 5th gen ipods. That means I would have to settle for 120gb of storage. I'm starting to think that shouldn't be too much a problem because I can then get the 240gb hard drive upgrade. But it seems that they don't do that on its own? You need to get the 'Super imod package' which goes for around $1000.
Any clarification on this?

Thanks for the help guys, I really do appreciate it and +rep will be given.

Einstein's definition of insanity: "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"
Speakers: Fb2k FLAC > E-MU 0404 USB DAC > Cambridge Audio Azur 640A V2 Int. Amp > Monitor Audio Silver RX1


My Shure SRH 840 Review

Post pics/info about YOUR home studio
Ckaz is offline  
post #9 of 16 Old 01-22-2011, 07:55 PM
4.0 GHz
 
slytown's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Davenport, IA
Posts: 2,115
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ckaz;12104943 
Well I have decided and am sure that I am going to center my funds around a bedside rig that uses an ipod as a source. That much is forsure. My desktop rig is actually a speaker system, and as you can see in my sig I have completed that for the time being. I am enjoying it immensely, but I also happen to spend a good amount of time listening to my headphones before I go to bed, or when reading/studying, hence my decision to go ahead with this rig.

Now, I was initially going to go for the Little Dot MK IV SE as my tube amp. That was $290 plus $45 shipping, and I only have $450 or so to spend (I've amassed that mostly through a recent birthday and holidays). That would have pretty much dried me up, but I've changed my mind and decided to go with the MK IV, not the MK IV SE. Its $100 cheaper, and allows me the money to buy my bigger ipod used. I thought ok, problem solved.
Or..maybe not.

The main reason I have decided to go with an ipod for my bedside rig instead of my computer is because I like to have my whole library in my hands for the choosing. I'm not one to pop in a cd and listen to the whole thing. I'm constantly changing songs and genres. This is causing me to reconsider getting an ipod transport because it would sit on my night table and cause me significant inconvenience to change a song.

So, that pretty much takes out the transport as an option. But, I'm now left with the iPod's shoddy internal components that I won't be able to bypass. I would simply get a different portable media device, but I like the universal convenience of having an ipod. It plugs into my car, its small etc.

It crossed my mind to then just imod the thing. Well, that option presents its own host of problems.
First off, I don't want less than 160gb of storage. Well, they only iMod up to 5th gen ipods. That means I would have to settle for 120gb of storage. I'm starting to think that shouldn't be too much a problem because I can then get the 240gb hard drive upgrade. But it seems that they don't do that on its own? You need to get the 'Super imod package' which goes for around $1000.
Any clarification on this?

Thanks for the help guys, I really do appreciate it and +rep will be given.

You have to understand that crap in comes crap out. The most important factor in an audiophile set-up is the source. Spending $450 to improve sound out of an iPod is wasted money. Many portable amps alone go for over $200 but they are merely portable solutions to driving hi-ohm headphones. The Shure 840s may have similar impedence as Denons or Ultrasones, but impedence isn't the only factor in SQ. The 650s impedence doesn't make them better than the D-2000s, but the Shure 840s impedence doesn't make as good as the D-2000s either. The 650s have different sound signatures than the 840s or D-2000s as well, which warrant different amounts of amplication, amp-style, etc.

If you are set on using a portable source, they best investment would be in an iRiver, iMod, or Portable amp/dac. Also keep in mind your headphones don't benefit greatly from an amplifier, unlike the 650s. Best to invest in the DAC or source. The listening experience on a portable set-up doesn't come very close to mid-range desktop set-ups on the same cans.

However, if you keep using the EMU as a DAC, then yes, the Little Dot IV would be a good choice.
Ckaz likes this.
slytown is offline  
post #10 of 16 Old 01-23-2011, 12:42 AM - Thread Starter
3.5ghz
 
Ckaz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: BRRR!!!
Posts: 799
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by slytown;12106149 
You have to understand that crap in comes crap out. The most important factor in an audiophile set-up is the source. Spending $450 to improve sound out of an iPod is wasted money. Many portable amps alone go for over $200 but they are merely portable solutions to driving hi-ohm headphones. The Shure 840s may have similar impedence as Denons or Ultrasones, but impedence isn't the only factor in SQ. The 650s impedence doesn't make them better than the D-2000s, but the Shure 840s impedence doesn't make as good as the D-2000s either. The 650s have different sound signatures than the 840s or D-2000s as well, which warrant different amounts of amplication, amp-style, etc.

If you are set on using a portable source, they best investment would be in an iRiver, iMod, or Portable amp/dac. Also keep in mind your headphones don't benefit greatly from an amplifier, unlike the 650s. Best to invest in the DAC or source. The listening experience on a portable set-up doesn't come very close to mid-range desktop set-ups on the same cans.

However, if you keep using the EMU as a DAC, then yes, the Little Dot IV would be a good choice.

Oh forsure, I understand that about headphones. I was thinking I'd get the amp first, then the source, then the 650's. I understand crap in crap out, but I also understand that the ipod's amp is absolute crap where as its DAC isn't all that bad.
Anyways it seems logical to get the amp first because its going to be where I get the most noticeable improvement. After all, I'm fully decided on the amp where as I'm not on the source. This'll give me some more time to mull it over and possibly get some more money.

Thanks for the help and guidance! I think I've decided I'd like to get the amp first, and then wait and find out more about portable sources such as the imod and such.

Einstein's definition of insanity: "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"
Speakers: Fb2k FLAC > E-MU 0404 USB DAC > Cambridge Audio Azur 640A V2 Int. Amp > Monitor Audio Silver RX1


My Shure SRH 840 Review

Post pics/info about YOUR home studio
Ckaz is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off