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I need some DAC/AMP advice.
Joined this drop early, and these will be my first cans that need amplification with a DAC and/or an AMP.
Now looking for an AMP or a DAC or a combo for the HD6xx with good synergy, on a budget of around $100 if this creature even exists.
Portable is welcome.
My phone is OnePlus 5 and my PC motherboard is Asus ROG Z270E (it says the chipset's name is SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220A with Dual Headphone Amplifiers, 120 dB SNR stereo output, 32-Bit/192kHz playback)
I also own SH HD 595, ATH AD700, Sony MDR V600 and Shure SE215 in ears, but I don't think they will gain anything from an AMP, maybe from a DAC yes.
Thanks for helping!!
I'm newbie at audio "probably not to picky" and also jumped on the Sennheiser HD 6xx bandwagon. I have owned a pair of HD 598 earlier and really enjoyed them with no AMP. Mostly going to listen to spotify, watch movies and play games on my laptop, xbox one and phone which is a huawei P10. Is it a waste of money for me to use the HD 6xx without an AMP? Wouldn't mind buying an AMP if it would make my listening experience a lot better.
@linusfI'm pretty certain we will need an amp as they are 300 ohm. Your hd598 is very similar to my 595 and they are 32 ohm. The 300 ohms will need more power to move them.
They will sound decent out of your motherboard, because they're quite forgiving on the source. But to take full advantage of them you'll need an amp. Under $100, the Schiit Fulla would have good synergy but it's far from optimal. At $200 you'll have the option between a Schiit Modi+Magni or ODAC+O2, most people can't tell the difference between the two but I like the ODAC+O2 more. A couple of days ago I would've recommended the Aune T1se which had a drop of $200 on Massdrop over all other options.
What, if any desirable discernible, is there between the old Shciit Fulla, and the Fulla 2? Which would you recommend?
I'll give u one honest advice, if u want to run them out of ur rog motherboard then u may not listen to a 650 because u'll actually fail to understand a headphone having more than 61k requests on massdrop and the reason for so. For running this headphone, lot of people even recommend an iPhone which they consider adequate enough for that purpose . Hd 650 with the dark voice is an absolute treat.
I haven't listened to a Fulla, but from what I know the 2nd gen is supposed to add more features. I believe Schiit have said at one stage, that there shouldn't be any sonic differences between the two.
I can get my hands on an Aune T1se for $219 including international shipping. Can you say once in how long the tube needs to be replaced? How, if you can describe, do these options differ in sound?
tube amps like my dark voice can run 600ohm beyers efficiently so it'll run everything else fine. As for the hd 600/650's, tube amps are known to pair exceptionally well with the Sennheisers, u can check zeus reviews to confirm the same
tube replacement can be a bit of a hassle and as i'm new to my amp so i cant really comment on their longevity as of now. The mk iii's are really good for the current listed price and to me they measure nearly the same to the dark voice in terms of fidelity but just being more neutral. The Aune's are not bad at all for the price u just mentioned.
I don't think they need to be replaced at all, in the T1 they are used as buffers and don't even get that warm to touch. Even in real tube amps they don't need to be replaced that often. At home, I've got a WA6SE (http://www.wooaudio.com/products/wa6se.html), I've had it for about 3 years and only needed to replace 1 tube.
The T1 with stock tube, compared to Modi+Magni and ODAC+O2 - the mids are more forward, airy and the treble is a lot smoother. The dynamics are better than the Modi+Magni and much better than the ODAC+O2. Overall it's a warm and immersive. With the stock tube there is some bloat in the mid-bass, but even then it's still much better than the other two.
From what I was told by someone who has a Schiit Yggdrasil (their $2k flagship DAC), the DAC part of the Aune T1 sounds just as good. Which is pretty impressive given the T1 is less than 10% of the price.
Great relief for me as well if the tubes are really going to last for 3 yrs
the beauty of the HD650s (and by extension the HD6xx) is their versatility of use, since they can be powered by your computer's onboard audio, all the way up to $5000 headphone amps.
out the gate I would look at some of the small Fiio portable DAC/amps if you are on a tight budget, as it will give enough power to push the cans closer to their true potential.
That should hold you over until a reasonably priced balanced headphone amp shows up on Massdrop. I personally grabbed the Cavelli CTH, as it's a reasonably priced entry to balanced tube amps.
I use the portable xduoo x5 dac/amp through spdif and it absolutely wonderful. Good clean sound with gain and bass switches. It gets really loud with out any distorion or noise. I can't recommend it enough.
O2/ODAC is a great combo with my HD650s
If you really need my advice, return the hd6xx and quit this hobby for the best.
The recent xDuoo TA-10 drop looks quite decent. AK4490 dac chip and the tube output 2W @ 32ohm can drive 300ohm 6XX to decent sound level. It has another amp only model of TA-20 uses 2 tubes with full balance input capability that's if you changed the wire to XLR already.
i personally use the schiit stack with these, and the fiio e17 for at work
Schiit Fulla 2
Not the fulla 1, get the Fulla 2. Fulla 2 has more power.
Probably the sanest advice anyone will give about the hobby....too late for most of us though.
I use the JDS Labs Element. Powerful, and stylish all in one. And free engraving.
I have used a pair of HD650s, and a phone or PC just doesn't get them loud enough. I'd wait for the O2+ODAC to become available again, or just get the O2. The DAC in your PC is more than good enough.
That's the truth. 2 years I only had a pair of m50xs and now I own more than 16 pairs and a record player, vanatoo speakers, two DAPS, 2 portable amps and a nice dac/amp. My wallet hates me more than steam sales.
I'd say you wouldn't need anything more than a Shiit Fulla 2. It's really good, especially for the price. It's what I'm gonna run my 6xx's on.
I previously joined the drop for O2 amp and I bought the desktop version. O2 has amazed me. I tried my AKG Q701, Audio Technica R70x, Audio Technica W1000X and Sony Z7 with O2. O2 is able to let them shine. I also tried to feed O2 with signals from Onkyo DP-X1, Chord Mojo and Fostex HP-A8. O2 can reflect the quality difference from the sources. So yeah, I believe you can enhance your listening experience by adding an amp and O2 can be a high value to cost ratio option.
The best synergy for the HD6XX is easily the Bifrost Multibit by Schiit and the Bottlehead Crack and Speedball. Be sure to tuberoll the Bottlehead .
Schiit Audio is what I'm running with. I'm partnering my 20+ year old Beyerdynamic DT770PRO cans with this drop and I'm confident in keeping my MAGNI 2 & MODI 2.
The ifi idsd black label would be great and it had a really good Dac as well. I jumped in on these need something lighter than my lcd-x. I use the idsd with my lcdx and my jh audio roxanne the dac is pretty good.
Your brain must be overloading by now... I feel for you!
the fiio e10k is very popular for about $75. they have a portable e17k model if you want to use it on the go for about $100. i had the e10k with fidelio x1 headphones. i couldnt notice a difference. i sold both. kind of a waste of money.
that being said i thought i would give the hd6xx a shot. my m50x headphones are great, i put a mod mic on them and they are better then any gaming headset i have ever heard. i also have used sony mdrv6 headphones which i thought were great, just wish they had a removable/changeable cable. i was really close to modding them.
i have a z270 formula, i think yours is the same. our boards will auto detect high impedance headphones and adjust accordingly. i am going to test that out first before buying a $100 - $200 device for a placebo effect. i guess im just not an audiophile. let me know what you end up getting and how it goes!
Monoprice Desktop Amplifier (it's a DAC and amp) is the best match for the HD6XX under $100.
I would suggest looking into some monoprice amps, topping amps, or some cheaper fiio amps. They all make some really good affordable amps for headphones. I have a desktop monoprice amp I got on sale and it works great with my hd600s and all my other high end headphone. Monoprice often has sales too so I'd check them every now and then to see if there's any amps on sale that you are interested in. Topping makes awesome looking and sounding portable amps that I love. They're built well too so they should be very durable. Fiio also makes some great portable amps as well that sound good for the price. For topping amps and fiio amps, I would suggest checking eBay if you can find them cheaper on there. In my opinion, I think this is a good place to start. I like monoprice best I think because they have great reviews and good customer service so I've heard. Good luck!
True! And I bet this guy won't listen!
first thing we need to know if op needs DSD playback, if so Schiit is out from get go.
Creative soundblasterx G5
I am a glad owner of HD650 and I use them with valhalla from shiit http://www.schiit.com/products/valhalla-2 , I believe it is common opinion shiit valhalla is the best choice for HD 650 from price/quality viewpoint. The better option for this price could be hand-made AMP. As DAC I use bivrost from shiit also.
One more advice!
In my opinion (and many other users in variety adiophile forums) it is really worth to replace original cable from HD650 for a better one. One option is to go for a handmade cable based on Furutech jack (google it). Someone on your city should be glad to make handmade cable with furuteh jack for a total of ~80$ (ask on some adiophile forum who can make it - it is really worth to get one).
The difference is not subtle it's huge. I strongly recommend to replace for a better cable.
wow.. this exploded. I'm at work guys so I'll read this carefully at home.
Thank you all for your help and time
incredible value along with great portability, surely get one anytime soon but the darkvoice and the aune x7's are hard to beat at the $200 price point, these are currently on my desktop table
To be perfectly honest I've got HD650's and the difference is night and day once you go balanced! Still use them daily as they are so comfortable!
Bang for your buck there is fewer competition then Little Dot... Still have the MK VIII SE, and paired with his Dac 1 using optical it was very very close in terms of quality before I stepped up to HeadAmp GS-X MkII paired with Wyred4Sound Dac 2 DSD. There are a ton of options! Balanced is the way to go, now with my HD800's pondering some Focal Utopia's...
Balanced is no better than single ended unless you're willing to go fully balanced. It will cost thousands and I don't think it's what the OP is after.
Oh shit. I hope those Utopias are actually worth it
Couldn't agree more that fully balanced or not at all. But if you are going to measure how much a headset could possibly achieve it helps to know more options. Most of the posts have been shiit or budget as you could assume given that he hoped on a massdrop to save and is looking to connect direct to PC. To the OP best of luck and enjoy!
I recommend a Fiio K5 Amp. It is meant as a dock but by itself it's one of the best amps I've ever used. As far as Dac, see if the SDAC is still up on massdrop becau in paper it's better than the ODAC at $80.
The only amp I can say without a doubt is better is the Bottlehead crack with the speedball upgrade and tung sol tubes, but that's $500 in parts and the k5 is $110 and isn't far behind. Very powerful amp.
Try the Schiit Fulla, from Schiit Audio. http://www.schiit.com/products/fulla It's currently on "Close-Out" from Schiit, for $59.00. If you want to step up to something a bit better, then try the Schiit Stack, consisting of the Schiit MAGNI-2 Amp, along with the Schiit MODI-2 DAC. I personally use the Schiit Stack, along with the Introprose Modular Connector, which ties the Schiit Stack together, without the need for messy cables. https://schiit.eu.com/introprose-rigid-cross-connector-for-schiit-magni-modi I am Very Happy Indeed, with this set-up. I have used it, with high impedance cans, such as my Koss PRO/4AA Studio Headphones. I have also used it, with low impedance cans, such as my Sennheiser HD 598 Cs. The Schiit MAGNI-2 amp has a gain switch on the back, which is especially for use with high impedance cans. With the gain switch in the "Off" position, it works equally well with lower impedance cans. Best of all, ALL Schiit products are PROUDLY MADE IN THE USA!!
Correct, the balanced connector is there only for convenience.
But you don't really need balanced for the HD6XX, there won't be any benefits. Just get a good quality SE amp (like the CTH), it will be better than balanced at the same price point.
Alternatively, at the drop price of $300, it will be better than anything else at this price point: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-x-alex-cavalli-liquid-carbon-x-amp
i have brothers in arms super audio cd image. i was able to play it on foobar with a plugin. but usually i will be listening to mp3, flac or apple music.
@Jackula @Nick123456 @zhouharvey
I read all the comments and followed up on all the links. I'm now more confused than when I started =)
I will probably not upgrade, so what I buy now will be it. These are the finalists:
The Aune T1se I saw on Amazon from Earth Wind & Sound for $169 but it comes with a 110v power adapter (for anyone interested in USA https://www.amazon.com/gp/aag/main/ref=olp_merch_name_1?ie=UTF8&asin=B01ALDJSPS&isAmazonFulfilled=0&seller=A39FYOOLAVWOQ7). I will need a 220v adapter. I contacted the maker and he agreed to send it for $245.
For about the same price I can buy the Modi2+Magni2 and ship it for $245.
At +$20 more the OBJECTIVE2+ODAC COMBO REVB with some cosmetic wear I can buy and shit for $265
The Darkvoice is $200 now, but I will need a separate DAC. I can pair with Grace SDAV for another $80 this is all before shipping which will probably be $15 each for a total of $310.
Maybe it's worth getting just the Darkvoice and see if my MB onboard does a good job?
The Modi2+Vali2 I can buy and ship for $320.
Then there is the Massdrop CTH+SDAC for $320+$15s&h at a total of $335.
So... having not heard any of these options I have, I really don't know what I should go for, and if the price jumps from option to option are worth it. which is my best option?
It's funny that the equipment to drive the headphones end up costing more than the headphones themselves, but that's life.
Imo depending on your budget, the xDuoo TA-10 is good option but if you have more cash to spare, Schiit Jotunheim also excellent choice... Both use AK4490 dac chip which I prefer over Sabre
If you stick to the HD6xx, then, buy the carbon x and buy a schiit Modi 2. Don't thank me, but also don't look back if you finally went for other combinations.
I recommend the schiit stack and the darkvoice for the hd 6xx because they are known to pair exceptionally well, check soulsick's Darkvoice review on headfi where he mentions the hd 600/650 to pair very nicely with these. Darkvoice beats the Vali 2 and the magni 2 in terms of overall fidelity, but the vahalla 2 is better in terms of neutrality although it has a tube but u cant roll tubes on that without destroying the warranty. With some specific tubes u can achieve a neutral sound sig with the DV. Its entirety ur decision whether u need the solid state 's accurate sound or the warm tubey sonic experience. I chose the DV because i really prefer the tubey warm nature which can actually change the sound of the headphones by swapping tubes.
As for the O2/ODAC combo, the magni2/modi2 is better than it as it has slightly more power. A lot of people are looking onto the carbon x which i havent personally tried so cant say anything about that.
Out of all the amps you've listed, DarkVoice is the only amp that won't have headroom issues. If you can, get the Liquid Carbon drop, but I know it's a bit pricey for you.
DAC wise, Modi and ODAC are very similar sonically, holistically I'd say they are the same. O2 vs Modi on the other hand, I find the O2 better quality than the Modi, but the Modi does more power. Between the two, I'd take ODAC+O2 every time. SDAC is based on the ODAC, it's much the same. But, the Aune T1se is far superior to both, even with the stock tube. Yes I have listened to all 3 extensively and the T1 is so much better. The DAC section of the T1 rivals the Schiit Yggdrasil!
On the topic that surrounding gear costing more than your headphones. It really does become like that, for every audiophile I know. I'm running $300 headphones, with a $2k DAC and a $2k amp. I also have a set of $3k bookshelf speakers, with a $5k DAC and $4k amp. When you think about it, your DAC and amp are meant to outlast your output device, because tastes change.
If it was me I'd either get a DarkVoice and then an external DAC, or the Aunt T1se to get the HD6XX 90% there, and then buy the DarkVoice if I really need to. Not sure if your motherboard DAC will really cut it.
DarkVoice is just an amp too.
Everyone can have their own opinions on DAC and amp, so my suggestions are just my own. When I listened to a Modi and Magni, I was comparing to an ODAC and O2, tried every combination, Modi > O2, ODAC > Magni etc and ended up picking the ODAC and then bought the O2 later on. That said, I think the two aren't very different in the grand scheme of things.
I've never listened to the Cavalli stuff, and the only people on earth who listened to the CTHare the people who built it and the reviewers at InnerFidelity. What I do know is the Liquid Carbon is the better amp. CTHhas a more neutral sound to it while LC is warmer. The warm sound of the LC would be a better match for the dark and neutral sound of the HD6XX. But you would want to use the balanced output on the LC.
It's a shame they sell the T1 as an integrated unit, the amp section is nothing special. Aune probably know this so they force you to buy both the DAC and amp as one.
If I was to rank based on my personal opinion:
DAC wise: Modi <= ODAC < T1
Amp wise: Magni <= O2 <= T1 < CTH < LC
I found this video really helpful. I ended up going with an O2 from Mayflower and am super happy with it. It basically can handle anything I throw at it, including a Beyerdynamic DT 880 600 ohm headphone. Really nice for classical music without breaking the bank.
Well, not really. Schiit themselves have said they won't sound any different, the only difference between each generation are the features and more power. Also people who have both can't hear any audible differences either - provided the headphone is getting sufficient power.
Power wise, the Magni 3 will be better than the Aune T1, and will lead to better transients. Sound wise the T1 will have a warmer presentation and will be a better match in character. From my experience, the best pairing with a HD6XX is always a warm sounding amp, which really adds a layer of euphonic complexity to the dark sounding HD6XX.
Thanks for the comment! I bought one of these and cannot wait to try it out on my pair!
I suggested Modi 2 because it's an immediate shipment, better build although same level in sound quality, and has 2 year warranty. SDAC looks like a very minimalistic design that is ugly done. Only stupid people like me will pick the SDAC over the Modi 2.
I received the T1. I'm very satisfied with it. So far been listening to it with my HD595. I feel a pleasing improvement over directly from the laptop, phone and desktop. Is there a burn in period for the tube?
Waiting for the 6xx now.
Thanks to all of you for the help. great community here.
Glad you like them :) In a tube amp, tubes usually need some burn in to sound their best, but the T1 doesn't heat the tubes the way a tube amp does. Tubes in the T1 stays relatively cool and I don't think there's much difference whether you burn-in or not, I think at most, a couple of hours should be enough.