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qu11355
168
Aug 15, 2017
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I still don't get what to look for in amps and dacs in terms specs, what makes a amp or a dac better than another. I understand some amp will have more power, so it can drive harder to drive headphones, is that the only difference? I'm talking about solid state vs solid state and tubes vs tubes amps. what are the key specs to look out for when buying dacs and amps?
Aug 15, 2017
Jaggi
734
Aug 15, 2017
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I think that once you get much above $100 for a solid state amp (more when tubes start to be involved) a lot of the extra money you're spending doesn't tend to show up in common specs. More expensive amps may offer higher power output, lower noise floor, distortion etc. but I don't think those simple stats are the primary factor in what's driving the market for 'higher end' amps.
Honestly $100 amps can already be very good, and chasing after subtle improvements beyond what can be achieved with simple designs and cheap integrated components starts to incur exponentially increased costs pretty quickly.
Personally I joined the drop because I think it's a chance to get a unique and thoughtfully designed boutique amp without the huge price premium that typically commands. I'm sure compromises have been made to hit the $250 price point, but hopefully those have been intelligently selected compromises, which I suspect is more than you can say about a lot of amps out there.
Aug 15, 2017
naderpug
33
Aug 16, 2017
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The production quality of the item, and the unique character in the sonics produced really differentiates the high end from the low-to-middle type items. Its subjective (determined by you and only you), and is not entirely determined just by price. However, most find general agreement through broad consensus when something really special is presented. There's been many examples of that over time for not much money - relatively. Tubes are notoriously more fickle and require care in production and usage so tend to be inherently more expensive, and solid state (transistor) types of items are all about control and consistency but can be produced more by machines - great examples still very expensive though. Special is special.
Of course, compatibility with other items in the sound chain, such as your speakers and headphones, and how well it can handle long term usage goes a long way to making you feel it has not only improved the sound quality but is of value because you love using it. That is kinda what its all about. DAC's are difficult because they are primarily digital items dependent on software/firmware/chipsets - so expect to change them out often until some standardization occurs - if ever. But amplifiers, man when a really really good amplifier arrives, rarely does it ever go out of fashion. Don't get me started on preamps :)

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Aug 16, 2017
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