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Need DAC & Headphone Amp Suggestions

post #1 of 6
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Hello everyone.

I'm going to need to purchase a DAC and Headphone amp. $1000 budget max to purchase both. I am for suggestions that cost more than this if the component is typically available used within my budget. I will be coming from a HT Omega Claro Halo.

Current equipment:
Sennheiser HD650
Virtue Audio Sensation M451 Tri-Path amp
Ascend Acustics Sierra-1s
Rythmik Audio servo subwoofer w/ 12” GR Research SW-12-04 driver and servo A300 300w rms amp.

All of my critical listening is lossless music played from my computer.

What I am looking for:

I'd prefer the DAC to have analog RCA, coaxial, optical and USB inputs, but I don't require all of the above. At minimum I need coaxial, with either optical or USB. (My first connection choice is coaxial, but many motherboard sound cards only have optical, and the USB is a just in case.)

I am open to solutions that are separate or integrated and tube or solid state.

Currently I'm favoring the Burson HA-160D.
Edited by Daetlus - 2/12/11 at 12:23am
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post #2 of 6
Considered driving HD650s from the Sensation?
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post #3 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by .Sup View Post
Considered driving HD650s from the Sensation?
The preamp out doesn't drive high impedance very well.
post #4 of 6
Try Audio-GD. My roommate has their FUN and it's awesome. I have an NFB-12 on the way and I am sure it's going to be excellent. With HD650s, you might benefit from the NFB-11 which actually has a more analytical and detailed DAC chip. It is more expensive than the 12, and it won't be available to ship before March, but that's because they extensively test them and burn them in for 100 hours after building them completely by hand.
post #5 of 6
I have E7/E9 combo and they are driving my Beyers DT 880s/600 ohm pretty well...and that's for 200$ Can't beat it at that price point
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post #6 of 6
I would definitely get a separate DAC and amp. If you ever want to lets say upgrade the amplification of your headphone rig, but are still satisfied with your DAC.. well you'll be forced to sell both and re-purchase both because you bought integrated.
Another thing is that, naturally, the quality of both the DAC and amp will have to be decreased in order to be able to put both in one box and still keep the price down.
An integrated setup makes sense for budget-minded consumers, but with $1000.. you could certainly do better.

In terms of amps, you should decide whether you want SS or tube. The two have totally different sound characteristics.

I would recommend the PS Audio GHCA for your amplifier. It regularly retails for around $900 or so, but its recently been discontinued so you can easily find it for $500 on clearance.
Here it is on Audiogon for $400: http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....----Headphone-
Here it is new for $500: http://www.musicdirect.com/product/74120

If you decide you want to go tube, your best option is the Woo Audio 6.

As for a DAC, I wouldn't spend anything above $400 unless your planning to go $1000+
Cambridge Audio DACMagic is often regarded as one of the best -$500 DAC's, though many people say the Musical Fidelity V-DAC is its equal (albeit with less input/output options)
    
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