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I joined this drop when it was active and have recently been thinking about going towards a balanced setup (especially with my Focal Elex in transit).
Does anyone have any recommendations for a Balanced DAC with XLR outputs that would feed into this?
Sure. RME ADI-2 DAC; You would also have a nice amp for regular headphones and iem's(outputs for both) and Parametric equalize to boot. The amp is 1.5 watts and .5 watts for iem's. I bought the the THX AAA amp too, but listen to the RME till the Massdrop one arrives in Oct. I use HE-400i's and HD-600.
I'm loving my R2R DAC from Audio-gd. I think for an amp this transparent, some really musical coloration is warranted. Unless you're doing some critical listening.
Which one do you have?
I've personally be heavily leaning towards getting the Schiit Jotunheim Multibit just as a way to explore the non-deltasigma world. The Schiit DAC above that with balanced out (Gungnir) prices out at almost 1,300 for the multibit version which is just more than I'm willing to invest at this point.
That being said, having not explored multibit or R2R myself, what is the difference you've noticed in listening?
As someone that has a Multibit DAC, do not bother. Schiit's Multibit DACs are, quite frankly, nonsense. They measure worse and cost more, and do not offer any audible benefits whatsoever. I am sure people will debate that point with me, but I have spent a rather disgusting amount of time researching these things and the scientific evidence, including experimental studies, rather strongly suggest that as a whole, DACs offering sonic benefits are nonsense in the vast majority of cases.
I got this a few weeks ago: http://www.audio-gd.com/R2R/R2R1/R2R1EN.htm
As I posted in (greater detail in) the thread on head-fi, Audio-gd's R2R DACs win on analog smoothness, not technicalities, but the R2R 1 brings enough details and dynamics to the mix if you've got the right downstream gear to take advantage (like the Elex or the THX AAA). I don't think audio objectivists will approve but those arguments have their limits in terms of what my ears want to hear, and what that viewpoint contributes to the conversation.
The Schiit Modi Multibit is the worst sounding DAC I've ever heard. No joke. I have CD players from the mid-1980s that sound better. I couldn't believe how utterly awful it was.
You probably got a defective one. Mine sounds fine, meaning it sounds the same as my phone and my DX7s. The measurements of the multibit DACs are hilariously bad though. The Yggdrasil could not manage to stay linear beyond 16 bits. Even the Topping D30 is better. It is quite something for a DAC costing over $2000 to get kicked in the bollocks by something a small fraction of the price.
By that logic, my Magni 3 and Vali 2 must've been defective also.
RME is quality stuff. I have't used the ADI-2 DAC, but I've used the ADI-2 Pro, and currently own a UCX and Babyface (original, not Pro version).
Edit: of course, the RME stuff I own isn't necessarily aimed at the hifi or "pleasure listening" consumer - since the RME stuff I own focuses on both input and output paths, there are no doubt other contenders that focus solely on the output path (DAC only versus A/D+D/A) - but the robust drivers that RME devices share coupled with the quality of build and components are universal signs of good bang for the buck.
get out of here with the topping dac.
we all get it. Everyone drops audioscience links like he was authority.
i get the impression someone is getting Amir to peddle Chinese made garbage.
The time of Chinese making low quality products is over. It's actually the US that now has over priced and subpar quality production.
In my research lab, all the highly priced American items fail consistently. We have spent tens of thousands fo dollars to repair equipment that fails...the only solution is a multi-thousand dollar service contract for each item. When chinese scientists come into the US to collaborate, they tell me of how the chinese governmemt stopped purchasing equipment from US companies due to poor quality control/ longevity, and China now makes the same equipment that is far more reliable for a fraction of the cost. Not only that - their equipment is more advanced in terms of accuracy and precision. US made products are famously known for failing...the evidence is in my own lab.
You should seriously reconsider your opinion while looking at the facts.