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Okay folks, I need some help here. I am NOT an audiophile. My best headphones I've ever owned are the Apple ones that come with my iPhone. Needless to say I'm a tech-freak and I saw this drop mentioned on a tech site I frequent so I hopped on it.
Introduction out of the way, I have been doing a little reading and it has come to my attention that I may need a DAC/AMP for these. Let me give you the run down on how they will mostly be used; PC gaming (currently through an iMac so please keep in mind for cable connection purposes... gaming PC incoming but my build is not finished), mobile listening (iPhone), and just good old music listening through my computer (again, an iMac).
Do I really need a DAC/AMP, and if so is there one that would fit all my needs above? If there isn't, I prefer it to work with my iMac for gaming/music over my iPhone. Is there a single unit that will do both or is it best to pick up two different units?
A few options would be preferable. I would like to keep the price sub $200 if possible.
Your local non-audiophile
if you can't really be bothered with sound quality, i'm sure the headphone will work just fine with your PC/Phone.
if you don't mind spending a little money to get better SQ, you can probably take a look at Fulla Schiit, which retails for 79 bucks.
if you don't mind spending the 200 bucks, you can probably get the Schiit Magni/Modi stack for even better SQ.
you can probably get a bit more if you go for second hand, or b-grade goods.
I can definitely vouch for the Schiit stack (Magni/Modi) setup because it is literally plug and play (you can visit the website for more details but I believe you only need to hook it up for it work with your iMac), but if you're looking for something that can work on both your iMac and iPhone maybe take a look at the FiiO E18 Kunlun? I don't personally own any Apple devices so I don't know for sure if it'll work, but I use one as a portable DAC/AMP and it works great on my laptop as well as on my Android device. It's not quite as good as the Schiit stack but it's leaps and bounds better than just hooking my headphones directly to my devices.
To be fair tho, like mentioned above you don't really need a DAC/AMP...tho you may get better appreciation of the headphones with at least an amp. The advantages of just an amp unit is that it'll work with all devices because you just route it inline between your device's headphone out and your headphones. FiiO makes a decent set of portable headphone amps, the Objective2 can also be used but they're a bit larger, and you have a plethora of desktop amps from companies like Schiit, SMSL, Audioengine, etc.
If you NEED portability I guess an AQ dragonfly/Schiit fulla would basically be the only thing to fit the bill - it is portable and is relatively competent when used in a desktop setting. I'd never advise a dragonfly over the Chord Mojo but that's far over your desired budget ($600~ as Chord is an England based company). If portability isn't a big deal then get a schiit stack.
You do need an amp, unless you want these to sound super average. The HD650s scale to infinity.
I do not need portabilitY if it sacrifices to much. These will be used 90% at my computer. Other 10% on iPhone.
A classic recommendation would be the Schiit Modi 2/Magni 2 stack. $99 per unit, a separate DAC and amp made in America. The O2/ODAC combo (JDS labs) is a little bit above $250 but also works. Something like the SMSL Sanskrit and FiiO K5 also fits your budget.
As others have already said, the Schiit stack is the classic reccomendation for a cheap DAC/Amp setup. You could get the Magni 2 or Magni 2 Uber for $99 or $149, and skip the DAC if you already have a good soundcard, or add the Modi 2, Modi 2 Uber for connectivity, or Modi Multibit if you want multibit.
You want an iDSD or a Chord Mojo the iDSD will come on deal again soon if its still not 350 at Adorama the iDSD is bang for the buck functionality god. The Chord Mojo can be had for as little as 400 but you will have to be creative on this deal there is not enough to go around so sorry I cant out the source and anyone else who figures it out SHUT YOUR MOUF. The iDSD should be plenty as iFi is the god amp right now even if you get a Chord Mojo which sounds better you should still get an iFi iCan SE. There is nothing that approaches the soundquality of these devices anywhere near their price range. THEY ARE THE ULTIMATE BANG FOR THE BUCK GODS OF THE AUDIOPHILE WORLD AT THIS TIME. YOU COULD RESEARCH FOR 6 MONTHS AND YOU WILL ONLY COME TO THIS CONCLUSION. Hopefully this sinks in as its very hard to get anything into a noobs mind or impress upon them that you have given them THE GOD ANSWER.
Not sure you read my question at all. Appreciate your time though. Answer does me no good though.
I gave you the best possible answer but obviously you are too clueless to see that infact your responses is hilariously clueless. Do not underestimate DealResearchGod.
I am in the same boat as you right now so this thread is full of good information (minus iCeOL8TRAmnesia's comment of course, not sure if he is trolling)
Personally after reading this and so many other articles I'm thinking about the Schitt combo. Thing is, I dont know how good the sound card on my motherboard REALLY is so I dont know if i need a DAC. I've never had a problem yet, but then again my best headphones currently are the HD518's which dont have the imedience the 6XX's have, and theyre running through the Blue Yeti Microphone. $200 is the most I would like to spend as well, as I dont really care for swapable tubes and the like, I just want to make sure the amp can drive 300 ohms (which was actually not that easy to find, probably because I didnt know where to look)
Honestly your onboard audio probably could push 300 ohms it's just a matter of how well. The hd 6xx's are very scalable and will benefit greatly from a dedicated dac/amp. Overall sound signinature will just improves. If you have the money and are willing to spend it you might as well to get the most out of your headphones!