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Does anyone know how this compares to the Bravo Ocean I bought here recently?
This has a DAC built in, the Bravo does not.
I was actually refering to the sound. I don't necessarily need a DAC since my PC has a sound card that can act as one. Would this be an improvement in the sound?
That depends on a LOT of factors.
The foremost factor is what sound card do you have?
Secondly the tube in this unit is not used to amplify sound. It's used in the DAC portion of the unit which imparts tube qualities to the sound. It's an odd piece really.
The amplifier in this is a solid state of good quality if a bit bright.
I'm using the ASUS onar Essence STX. With Sennheiser Momentums and a Philips Fidelio X1, and a higher end can later down the road. Looking at the HD 650s, or the Ultrasone Pro 900s after.
Yeah I'm pretty sure the DAC in the STX is excellent. The only thing you'd gain out of using this unit is the ability to modify your experience a bit by swapping tubes.
If I were you I'd look into a more "normal" tube amp. Something higher end than the Bravo Ocean. I'm sure the Ocean is a decent amp but there will definitely be a difference if/after you get the HD650's. If you want cheap, look at the Little Dot lineup or the Schiit units. The Bottlehead amps are superb and I wish I'd had the funds to purchase the Crack+Speedball amp that was up here a month or two ago.
I'm curious about the Fidelio X1's. Are you loving them? I've been weighing those against the Mad Dogs and leaning towards the latter because... orthodynamics are just so cool!