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Amp & DAC below $1,000

Joined
Sep 30, 2018
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#1
Hey all,

I have the HD598, HD6xx, HE400i, and the Stax L700. I currently use the audio-gd NFB28 amp & dac combo - thought I'd switch it for something better for the money.

I'm looking for balanced. Before you get the pitchforks, hear me out - I wired up my lower-volume headphones to balanced so that I don't have to fiddle with the volume when I switch between headphones - super convenient. Besides, balanced amps typically have multiple outputs (balanced and unbalanced), and being able to drive two pairs without a splitter is an added bonus. I'm also planning on getting a KGSSHV for the Stax, and that has balanced input only. So I have some valid reasons :)

According to the reviews here, the Topping DX7s looks like it measures incredibly well, and it fits the bill for what I want. I also looked at the RME ADI-2 Pro, but there's not much mention of the amp portion of it.

Any other equipment I should look at? I'm fine with buying a separate amp and dac.
 

andreasmaaan

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
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#2
Unless you’re planning on using the device to record music, there’s no reason to spend extra on an Adi-2 Pro given the Adi-2 DAC costs significantly less and has the same DAC/amp.

The ADI-2 DAC headphone amp is measured in Amir’s review and is extremely good.
 

maverickronin

Senior Member
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Jul 19, 2018
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#3
Getting ADI-2 Pro over the ADI-2 DAC for the balanced headamp probably won't be very convenient. Since it uses 2x TRS for its balanced output. you'll have to swap 3 plugs (and I think change some options in the menu) to switch from a single ended 'phone to a balanced one.

The ADI-2 DAC may work better for that same use case. Its two separate head outs keep separate volume and DSP settings. The low power IEM output is almost loud enough for my HD650 and would probably be fine with the 598. I think (I own the DAC version) you can do the same thing with the Pro, setting different volumes on each of it's 2 full power headouts but I haven't gone over the Pro's manual. If you're not going to use the Pro's recording interfaces that would make it a $900 premium for that one feature.
 
Joined
Sep 30, 2018
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#4
Yep, scratch the Pro - the DAC looks like the better version for me. How does the amp perform? My question right now would be, if I were to get a different combo - worse DAC but better amp - would I get an improvement (barring electrostats)?
 

maverickronin

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Jul 19, 2018
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#5
If you like clean solid state amps then it's excellent. I can't see needing another amp unless powering something epicly inefficient like an HE5/6 or you need something with an analog input.
 
Last edited:

ShiZo

Active Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2018
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#6
I love my rme adi 2 dac so much. I upgraded from a schiit jotunheim and never looked back.
 
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