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Headphone AMP/DAC Combo

Discussion in 'Sound City' started by RSR, 12 Oct 2016.

  1. RSR

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 17 Aug 2006

    Posts: 8,913

    I've been looking over a numerous reviews over the past month in order to buy a amp/DAC combo as I am going to be picking up a pair of HD650 or HD700 at the end of the month and as well to replace the on-board sound from my PC.

    I've been looking at the following:

    Arcam ir-DAC II
    Audioengine D1
    Objective 2 amp/dac combo

    At the moment, the Arcam seem to be my preferred choice at the moment but it doesn't come with a volume adjustment dial and it uses the 3.5 headphone jack but it does come with the DSS Sabre DAC

    Does any one have any experience with these or have any other recommendations to look into?

    Thanks. :)
     
    Last edited: 12 Oct 2016
  2. Ryanr1987

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 5 Apr 2014

    Posts: 2,171

    Location: Pompey

    The Sennheiser headphones, more so the 650/HD600/HD800 are very DAC dependant and will sound like crap if the DAC isn't up to par. What is your budget? A Modi2 and Vali2 would be awesome for the 650. Vali2 is on par with the more expensive Lyr2 and an effortless and resolving sound and will drive the Sennheisers really well.

    Do yourself a favour and skip the HD700 it's mid to treble transition is shocking and the overall tone is just off with spikes and dips in weird paces. The 650 is much more natural, smoother treble and much more musical and fun to listen to.
     
  3. rids57

    Soldato

    Joined: 25 Jul 2012

    Posts: 6,253

    Location: Ankh Morpork

    another vote for Modi & Vali, they are a fantastic DAC & amp pairing for the money.
     
  4. RSR

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 17 Aug 2006

    Posts: 8,913

    Thank you for the detailed reply that's really helpful. I don't really have a budget in mind to be honest but at the same time, I wouldn't spend more then twice the headphones value on amp/dacs. So I'd say 500/600 would be the roof for this.

    I'd love the Oppo HD1 but fear it's it's not worth it for these headphones.

    I have also been reading a lot of people suggest the same thing with the headphones well preferring the 650's over the 700's due to the brightness of them (700)

    Edit:

    So it seems the following seems to be well paired with the HD650, so ill do a bit more research on these but I think its a done deal.

    Schiit Vali 2
    Schiit MODI MULTIBIT
     
    Last edited: 13 Oct 2016
  5. rids57

    Soldato

    Joined: 25 Jul 2012

    Posts: 6,253

    Location: Ankh Morpork

    One thing about the HD650s, they scale like no other headphone. What I mean by this is that the better the equipment you use them with, the better they will sound and they can go all the way up to summit-fi - no other headphone does this anywhere near as well.
     
  6. Ryanr1987

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 5 Apr 2014

    Posts: 2,171

    Location: Pompey

    Even at that budget you won't get a better Amp than the Vali2 unless you went with the Valhalla2 which has better special presentation and sightly better resolution although they are pretty close but the Vali2 has a better tone and a more natural sound. Might wanna look into the Bifrost for a fuller sounding DAC but the Modi2 is great value.
     
  7. neil_g

    Capodecina

    Joined: 9 Dec 2007

    Posts: 10,371

    Location: Hants

    smsl sd-793ii

    Pretty sure the Z review said it ran 650 perfectly well.

    Edit: doesn't mention the 650 but has other "hard to drive" headphones tested - https://youtu.be/N-47_1TU9HY
     
    Last edited: 13 Oct 2016
  8. RSR

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 17 Aug 2006

    Posts: 8,913

    Thanks guys, I think I’ll start off with the above two and see how I get on and then the beauty of separates is I can upgrade over time.

    From what I have been reading the Modi Multibit comes very close to the Bifrost as it now runs the same mulitpoint DAC rather than the single point on the Modi2 and Modi2 Uber. However, thats only from what I have been reading id like to demo them ideally first but most of the reviews do speak very highly of them.

    I also like the fact I can use the pre-amp output to connect it to my external amp when not using the headphone as that was another feature I was looking for.

    Ill post some pictures once its all arrived. :D

    Thanks once again.
     
  9. TALON1973

    Mobster

    Joined: 28 Jul 2004

    Posts: 4,966

    Location: llanelli , south wales

    I've not tried it . But give the chord mojo a look. Personally I've got a graham slee srg11 headphone amp with an arcam irdac 1 . I've got the hd700 and it's not as bad as some people make out. On day 4 of owning hd650 , so breaking them in.
     
  10. rids57

    Soldato

    Joined: 25 Jul 2012

    Posts: 6,253

    Location: Ankh Morpork

    It's these two treble spikes that cause problems for a lot of people...

    [​IMG]
     
  11. rids57

    Soldato

    Joined: 25 Jul 2012

    Posts: 6,253

    Location: Ankh Morpork

    As for the Modi Multibit and Vali 2 pairing, it's what I would be looking at if I didn't already have a Modi, Magni 2 and Vali setup.
     
  12. TALON1973

    Mobster

    Joined: 28 Jul 2004

    Posts: 4,966

    Location: llanelli , south wales

    The treble can kick in once and again , but overall the hd700 is fine for my ears . Must say tho , enjoying breaking in my hd650 . Although still cant shake the slight vibration yet on them . Will give it a week and take them to my local audio-t to have some advice . they will help me even tho I didn't buy it from them . regular customer :D
     
  13. rids57

    Soldato

    Joined: 25 Jul 2012

    Posts: 6,253

    Location: Ankh Morpork

    Sounds like a loose driver, I don't get any vibration from mine at all.
     
  14. gurusan

    Capodecina

    Joined: 2 Sep 2006

    Posts: 13,483

    Location: Portland, OR

    I have a FiiO Olympus 2 and am very pleased by the quality, surprised such good sound comes from something so inexpensive...drives my HD580s very well.
     
  15. PapaLazaru

    Capodecina

    Joined: 23 Dec 2009

    Posts: 17,978

    Location: RG8

    Yeah, it should not be vibrating at all.
     
  16. Rroff

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 13 Oct 2006

    Posts: 78,336

    I've experience of several pairs of HD600 though not heard any 650s from new as mine were hand me downs but never had any kind of vibration, etc.
     
  17. james.miller

    Capodecina

    Joined: 17 Aug 2003

    Posts: 19,532

    Location: Woburn Sand Dunes

    They are broke, send them back for replacements.
     
  18. Things change I've changed

    Capodecina

    Joined: 27 Jul 2005

    Posts: 12,648

    Location: The Orion Spur

    I've been researching various AMP/DAC combos for nearly a year now and it's been very hard to pull the trigger on one, very hard, I want an 'all in one' that also has RCA out so I can use the DAC with a stereo amp, at the moment I've narrowed it down to the Project Head Box DS but outside of a few reviews online there really doesn't seem to be much feedback about it.
     
  19. rids57

    Soldato

    Joined: 25 Jul 2012

    Posts: 6,253

    Location: Ankh Morpork

    Personally, if I was looking for an all in one I'd have a very long look at the Schiit Jotunheim with DAC module, which I think comes in at £385.
    Not only does it provide superb sound quality but it also gives you the option of balanced output, both to headphones and amp / active speakers.



    It also has pre-out RCA connectors which mean the volume control also controls the output to the external amp.
    So you could set a maximum level on your amp and then use the Jotunheim's volume pot to control the volume you hear.
     
    Last edited: 15 Oct 2016
  20. Things change I've changed

    Capodecina

    Joined: 27 Jul 2005

    Posts: 12,648

    Location: The Orion Spur

    I really like the look of that but I'm finding it hard come near £385, are you including the price of the dac module and delivery?