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KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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Help for a newbie to headphones. After some research I decided to get these headphones to listen to music when I'm editing photos on my desktop PC. I have no amp or DAC, so looking at options to hook into my computer. I do have optical out on my motherboard (Asus Z170-A) and I understand I can hook up some DACs via USB? Is there a preferred method?
I know if I ask for recommendations I'll probably get as many options as I get responses. I don't want to spend a ton, already spent almost $215 for the headphones so my budget right now is max $200. Are there drops worth looking at? Should I just get something from Amazon?
Thanks all. Mike
Jan 23, 2018
dwang040
205
Jan 23, 2018
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I've asked the same question regarding a good dac and amp for the headphone. And I can tell you that the products that were recommended the most was the schiit stack. Aka, schiit magni 3 (which is an amp @$100) and the schiit modi 2 (which is a DAC @100). So in the end, you're probably paying around $210 for shipping but for the price, people seem to really recommend it. To buy it, you'll want to go to their website and buy it there. They don't sell with any 3rd party sellers. I also do not thing they come with cables but i'm not too sure about that.
Jan 23, 2018
dnalekaw
203
Jan 23, 2018
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Go get the o2
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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The OBJECTIVE2+ODAC REV B is $280 so that seems to be getting a bit outside my budget but I'll consider it.
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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Cool, I'll go read up on that combo. I heard a few others mention the Schitt Stack.
Jan 23, 2018
Zilfallion
126
Jan 23, 2018
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Well, first off, you DO have an Amp and a DAC in your motherboard. The problem is the quality on these is usually pretty poor since they're side-features of the product. If you're trying to save money, look into an Amp, it's doubtful the motherboard will be able to amplify the signal well enough for something like a 300 ohm HD 6XX. Amp is your prime concern, DAC is secondary and you'll really only need it if you hear distortion or a static-like hiss in your music. For decent powerful budget Amps, stuff like the O2(Objective 2) Amp here on Massdrop and other manufacturers, or the Schiit Magni 3 are both decent options. You can also get a DAC/Amp like a FiiO E10k, Fulla Schiit 2[Fulla 2 by Schiit], or DAC X6. The DAC/Amps I listed will be less powerful than the O2 or Magni 3, but could save you a little if your motherboard has a noisy-line out[The DAC X6 actually has a nice bit of power, but isn't as great for lower ohm headphones due to it's high output impedance].
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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Thanks, and yes of course I have amp/dac in the mobo but I went into this purchase thinking I would upgrade not just my headphones (currently using Bose QC20) but also the DAC/amp. Didn't see the sense in plugging good headphones into a turd sandwich :)
I had some decent audio gear in my home theater with Emotiva gear mostly. I like the sound but now that I have young twins the days of listening to that at the volumes I enjoy are over. Thus the search for a decent audio setup based on good headphones.
I'll check out a few of your recommendations, thank you.
Jan 23, 2018
Tatonis
25
Jan 23, 2018
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I am waiting for my set and I will buy a new amp at the same times. I was new in the audio world, but I read and saw videos online. I was wanting to enter the headphone for cheap. So I purchased my first headphones who was the Fostex T20RP MK3. At the same I purchased the dac/amp combo Micca Origen+. The headphones are really hard to drive because of their low sensitivity and not their 50ohms. But, volume was still fine. It's get more loud than I need. What I learn is that they are not driven at their best. To conclude, what you should know is that gain=volume and more power= better to move the drivers. Also, a dac is the way to convert digital music( binaries 1 and 0) to analog( electricity to airwaves that you can ear ). The the Dac just send a low electricity signal so, you need an amp to amplify the signal to drive your headphones/speakers. So, with all that said, a better dac gets you a more accurate signal and a different sound, and a better amp can gets you more power to drive, better power delivery, different gain stage and a different sound tuning. So, for the 6XX, a cheap dac/amp combo or your motherbord may get your headphone loud enough, but for the best results, go with something stronger. For your price point, maybe the Fostex HP-A4, Aune X1S dac/amp, the Schiit audio magni/modi etc. For something stronger, maybe the Schiit Jotunheim amp or dac/amp(100$ more) or the Aune X7S amp. Remember that they are 300ohms! So it takes a lot more power to move the drivers than a 32ohms to go at same volume, (but, it's better, because it moves the drivers faster so tighter bass etc.) For this headphone, a balanced cable will be even better. Usually with a 4pins XLR plug termination or 2.5mm trrs or even the new Sony pentagon 4.4mm connector ( depend on your amp) This will get you more power than the 3.5mm/1/4inch connection also called : single ended or unbalanced. The Aune X7S and the Schiit Jotunheim have the balanced and single ended connections. Finally, if you want some fun with them, a tube amp will be. It adds more soundstage etc. The Darkvoice may be a good choice.
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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Question. Inputs: Modi 2 only has USB, Modi 2 Uber has USB, optical, and coax.
Is there any difference in running USB vs optical from the computer to the DAC?
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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Thanks. The Jotunheim is double the stack and more than I want to spend. I don't think tubes are a good idea as they get hot and I have two small toddlers that will sooner or later touch them.
Jan 23, 2018
Zilfallion
126
Jan 23, 2018
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Yeah, I'm currently eying up a Magni 3 I'll order closer to the time my 6XX arrive personally[It's a lot of power if I want to run some difficult headphones in the future]. Been doing a lot of research over the past couple months, finally committed to buying something so I'd maybe hopefully stop wasting so much time looking at expensive headphone equipment. I currently plan to go Motherboard->Magni 3->HD 6XX. If I end up needing a DAC, I'm probably going to either go with a JDS Labs OL DAC or a Massdrop x Grace Design SDAC if they drop one again soon. If they drop one soon though, the SDAC+O2 DAC/Amp unit was for a really good price last time and has a good amount of power. If they don't drop one soon, look at other stuff, no sense having the headphones sitting around for 3 months hoping a drop happens.
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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I'm leaning towards the Magni 3 / Modi 2 Schiit stack combo. Reading reviews now, most are good. Like you, I can get into the rabbit hole quite easily and it took long enough to pick the headphones.
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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Also, it looks like I need an 1/8 -> 1/4 adapter to plug the headphones into the Magi. Better order that or just be pissed when I see the gear sitting there with no way to plug in :)
Jan 23, 2018
dwang040
205
Jan 23, 2018
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I don't believe there is a difference in terms of sound. I do believe the main benefits is that if you have a noisy usb (as in digital noise bleeding into your headphones) optical will be a better option as it's isolated so you don't have to deal with digital noise. I do believe there are other benefits to the uber. It can act as a pre amp if you wish to connect a pair of speakers to them and it is powered through a wall outlet for those times you do use the optical. Again, it will mainly be useful if you have bad usb ports as the modi uber is powered by usb when you use the usb input. I have read posts saying that the material used in the uber is "nicer" than the non uber. But again, whether you're going to use speakers, have a bad usb port, or care about the finish, is up to you.
Jan 23, 2018
dwang040
205
Jan 23, 2018
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Doesn't the 6xx come with an adapter? I do believe it was mentioned in the description that it does. If you wanted to buy cables, I'd recommend getting rca cables if you plan on getting a stack (schiit stack, o2 stack, etc) because again, I'm fairly certain those do not come with cables.
Jan 23, 2018
Zilfallion
126
Jan 23, 2018
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Right, so the reason I'm looking at the SDAC and OL DAC over the Modi 2 is for two reasons. 1: I've got a really weird Black and Silver/White[+RGBs set to Purple] peripheral scheme going on. [[Sadly the 6XX is really dark blue and not quite black]] The OL DAC and SDAC are black. Aesthetics, what can you do? 2: I'm kind of looking at the OL DAC because JDS Labs seems to have more B-Stock sales and I can get Optical Input for cheaper that way than a Modi 2 Uber. I have some old consoles I still like to play occasionally.
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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They might, I see that the end is 1/8. I'll verify, but thanks for the heads up.
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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How do you connect a pair of speakers. Looking at the uber I see the RCA outs which go to the Magni 3 RCA input right? The other connectors (coax, optical, usb) are input sources.
Jan 23, 2018
dwang040
205
Jan 23, 2018
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The OL DAC is definitely cheaper than the modi 2 uber. The B-Stock is only cheaper than a new one by $7. The ol dac does seem very nice and might be the better deal. I highly doubt that you can tell a noticeable difference between the ol dac and the modi 2 uber. However, I have heard some people say that the magni does have more power than the o2 amp. I can't confirm that. But one thing I never liked about the o2 amp was that all the ports are in the front. Meaning I have to have wires for power and what not all routed somewhere towards the rear. You can change the port locations, but I do believe that costs more.
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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I understand Aesthetics, not an issue for me as my office is now a gong show. No time to keep it tidy, twins are all consuming.
Jan 23, 2018
dwang040
205
Jan 23, 2018
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Ahh, i'm sorry. I should have been more clear. Some speakers (powered and active speakers) have built in amplifiers. So you would connect those straight to the dac. If you had passive speakers, you would need an amp powerful enough to power those speakers as they don't have amps built in.
Jan 23, 2018
Zilfallion
126
Jan 23, 2018
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Yeah, I'm planning on grabbing a Magni 3, from everything I've seen, it's about the best Solid State in it's price range in terms of power output. If I end up needing a DAC, I plan to stack the black SDAC or OL DAC[Leaning towards the OL DAC honestly for Input options] ontop of the Magni 3. Since my desk is black and wood. That way I have black desk surface, silver Magni, black DAC. We'll see how clean my motherboard audio truly is first though before I drop another 80-130 dollars though.
Jan 23, 2018
dwang040
205
Jan 23, 2018
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Oh yeah, for sure. No need to spend much on a dac if you're motherboard provides clean audio. I was very unlucky personally. For some reason, my motherboard would have terrible whining sound (coil whine? poor isolation?) from the speaker/ headphone outputs. So that's why I ended up getting a uDac 3 so I could use the usb ports for cleaner audio. Though, I definitely like having a volume knob vs hitting my volume up key. I don't know why but I like it more xd
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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Ok, I think I figured out how to hook up speakers and the amp to the dac. You need to split the RCA output on the Modi DAC. At least that is what this video shows (at 4:28): https://youtu.be/JxzbgpweP3M?t=4m28s
That makes sense to me as you can't connect speakers AND amp (Magni) to the same RCA outputs of the DAC (Modi).
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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Doesn't the Modi Uber have three inputs vs two for the OL?
Jan 23, 2018
dwang040
205
Jan 23, 2018
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Yeah. I think this would work too. Tbh, I really like this connector since it's a rigid piece of pcb. https://introprose.myshopify.com/products/rigid-y-cross-connect-v3-for-schiit-stack
Yes, but in all honesty, if the OL has the inputs you already need, why pay more for a 3rd input that you don't need? In the end, usb is good enough, and if it isn't, optical is good too. Do you really need coaxial for connecting a dac to a pc? Again, usb and optical are already available.
Jan 23, 2018
Zilfallion
126
Jan 23, 2018
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From what I've tested with my IEMs, the rear output on my GA-AB350-3 Motherboard is pretty clean. The front panel connect has a little hiss to it, but front panel almost always has that. No idea how good my mediocre IEMs are though. If I plan to use my 6XX with my Laptop though I definitely need a DAC, that headphone jack has some serious interference.
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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That looks cool but I think I'll run my stack side by side. More a Schiit smear than a stack.
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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I'll probably go with the regular Modi as USB should be good enough, like you say. I don't need the extra inputs and I don't see needing any other sources. Saves me a few bucks.
Jan 23, 2018
dwang040
205
Jan 23, 2018
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Yup. And if you do have messy usb ports (hopefully not like my laptop and cheap motherboard), I do believe stuff like the schitt wyrd or the eitr should help fix those issues. However, I still need to do more research into those two.
update: It's the wyrd that's supposed to be for messy usb ports. The eitr I believe is for something completely different.
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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Hmm, interesting. It's cheaper to buy a Modi Uber with Optical than a Wyrd. And that is one less component to worry about . Now I'm leaning towards the Uber for Optical and a bit of future proofing if I change things up later.
Jan 23, 2018
Tatonis
25
Jan 23, 2018
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In fact, optical is better. Because it's just a red led that pulse, it can't be affected by electromagnetic interference like wifi... and no Drivers! A usb solution need driver most of the time and can introduce noise( audio static ) like unfortunately my computer was doing. You can still buy usb purifier like the one of Audioquest or IFI. But cheaper to go optical ( also called toslink or spdif ).
Jan 23, 2018
dwang040
205
Jan 23, 2018
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Again, it's completely up to you. I don't know what your motherboard is, but from my experience, it's mainly very low budget ones. I have a gigabyte b250m ds3h (one of the cheapest b250 boards at the time) and I know I have bad usb ports. I'm waiting for my Gigabyte z270x board to come back from it's rma, but as they say, "we have dac-up usb ports with low noise and what not" so hopefully, it will be good. I would suggest digging around a bit before making a call on which one. But I would definitely use your motherboard's dac first before thinking about stuff like the ol dac/ modi 2/ modi 2 uber.
Jan 23, 2018
Zilfallion
126
Jan 23, 2018
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Oh geeze, I just noticed you can get them to laser engrave images on the OL DAC for free when you order off their site. Yep, if I need a DAC, splurging for that. I'm a sucker for stuff like that. [[Next headphone I'm thinking about is a V-Moda M100]] .... I should stop and get out now while I can...
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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Ya, it makes sense to me as well. I might as well get the Uber as I won't have any regrets later.
Jan 23, 2018
dwang040
205
Jan 23, 2018
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haha. I just found out. The OL Dac is $140 for the optical input. The $99 model only includes usb input.
Jan 23, 2018
Zilfallion
126
Jan 23, 2018
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You still save 10 dollars over a Modi 2 Uber[20 if you get a B-stock]. I think they're fairly comparable. The laser engraving has determined it for me though if I end up needing a DAC.
Jan 23, 2018
Tatonis
25
Jan 23, 2018
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The modi is a dac. So here it goes Computer, usb or optical cable, dac (modi 2) , modi 2 rca to magni 3 rca in. Next, you have 2 choices: magni 3 rca out to another amp, and speaker. Or magni 3 rca out to POWERED speakers ( built in amp ) like the Kanto YU series or audioengine A series
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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Ok, Modi 2 Uber and Magni 3 ordered. Thanks for the assistance everyone.
Jan 23, 2018
Zilfallion
126
Jan 23, 2018
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You're ordering a bit early for a headphone that won't be there for another 2 and a half months or so, but I wish you clear and pleasant sound from your setup. May the Norse Gods liven your music.
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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You are right but in the meantime I will hook up the stack to my speakers to make sure it's all working well. Don't think these will be much cheaper in the next month or so.
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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<edited>
Looks like the Magni 3 has pre outs which means that the volume controls the output, which is not good. Then I have volume control on my powered speakers and my amp.
I think I'll have to split the signal after the Modi DAC.
Jan 23, 2018
Tatonis
25
Jan 23, 2018
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Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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Jan 23, 2018
Tatonis
25
Jan 23, 2018
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Yeah,but still need the other cables and hook it up like this
search
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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For sure I do need the cables but not quite like that as my speaker inputs are different.
Jan 23, 2018
dwang040
205
Jan 23, 2018
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Umm, I just double checked, you can hook up the rca cables to the magni 3 output. So pc to modi 2, modi 2 to magni 3, magni 3 to headphones through 3.5 jack and speakers through the rca jacks.
If your speakers are connected through wires, then you might need a different amp for that.
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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search
Jan 23, 2018
dwang040
205
Jan 23, 2018
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Again, you can connect your speaker to the magni's rca out ports. There's no need for a splitter on the dac.
search
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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Yes, I realize that i can hook up my speakers that way but as I alluded to above I don't want two competing volume controls. My speakers have a volume adjustment, so if I wire as per my diagram I'll get the clean unamplified signal from the DAC to the speakers, which will have their volume control. I'll also have the signal going to the amp for my headphones with their own volume control. If the amp outputs were line out instead of pre out, it wouldn't be an issue.
Jan 23, 2018
dwang040
205
Jan 23, 2018
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Then in that case, your setup is correct.
Jan 23, 2018
techwiz
232
Jan 23, 2018
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Couldn't you set the speaker volume to a level that is comparable and just use the amp's volume knob to control both headphones and speakers? Say, set your speaker volume to 50% and then control both headphones and speakers using amp volume. Unless of course, you're trying to play audio through both speakers and headphones at the same time.
This is how I had my speakers set up with my computer which had Window's volume and speaker volume. I just set the speakers to some level and never touched the volume again, exclusively controlled via PC volume knob on my keyboard. Take a little while to set up, but you only have to fiddle with it once.
Jan 23, 2018
dnalekaw
203
Jan 23, 2018
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Consider the SMSL Sanskrit 6.
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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Actually, that wiring has the added benefit of being able to control which audio output I want without unplugging anything. If I wire from amp to speakers, the only way to play them is to unplug the headphones.
With the DAC to speaker wiring, I can just leave the amp turned off and play audio via the speakers. If I want headphones, I turn off the speakers and turn on the amp.
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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I could but then I have to unplug the headphones to listen to the speakers. Also, my wife will almost surely mess with the volumes so it will keep getting messed up.
The DAC to speaker wiring has the benefit that nothing needs to be unplugged, both speakers and headphone have separate power and volume. I can listen to one or the other other (presumably both but that doesn't make much sense).
Jan 23, 2018
dwang040
205
Jan 23, 2018
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Yeah, setup is up to you. I personally just prefer unplugging a single headphone jack to get the speakers to play music, and if I don't want music, just system mute. In the end, I personally prefer just plugging in headphones/ iems or unplugging it vs having all the extra wires and using the speaker volume knobs. I prefer controlling all the volume with my udac 3 but again, setup is up to you.
Jan 23, 2018
Zilfallion
126
Jan 23, 2018
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Hmm, decent inputs, decent specs. Not a huge fan of power button cycling through inputs. I'll keep it in mind. Thanks.
Jan 23, 2018
shans
41
Jan 23, 2018
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Hey, I've owned both the magni 3 and O2 at one time and another (using them on my hd6xx) and you should really get the magni 3..
Its a lot better, the magni 3 uses a new architecture that allows for a lot of power in a small and cheap box, which these headphones love
Jan 23, 2018
KazInVan
8
Jan 23, 2018
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Already on order :)
Jan 23, 2018
theplaidmoose
45
Jan 24, 2018
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I have a magni 2 uber and modi 2 if anyone wants to purchase them, I have since upgraded to other amp/dacs and dont use them anymore... :)
Jan 24, 2018
Havik65
0
Jan 24, 2018
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I'd love too!
Jan 24, 2018
theplaidmoose
45
Jan 24, 2018
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Shoot me an email at theplaidmoose@gmail.com and we can work something out!
Jan 24, 2018
Tatonis
25
Jan 24, 2018
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much better like that! lol I did mine on my cellphone!
Jan 24, 2018
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