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Amp/DAC for Adam A7X + Adam T10s + HD6XX

SaladDressing

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Hello good people,

My Adam A7X and T10s sub will arrive soon. I am still in need of a better audio interface so I came here for advice. Basically I need a DAC to connect to my PC and a Headphone amp to feed my HD6XX and ideally also connect to the A7X at the same time. In terms of budget I really would like to stay in the 400-500€ or cheaper price range for the combo.
So I had a look through the performance index, but there is just so much to choose from. I first though maybe I'll got with drop thx 789 + topping e30? I could feed the balanced xlr to the A7Xs and use the normal TRS output for my headphones? Or do you guys have some better combos for the price?

Thanks in advance!
 

AnalogSteph

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Do you have USB Type C available on your computer? I might look at the Audient iD14 MkII then, which has both balanced line outputs if high dynamic range (you may need some TRS to XLR cables, as par for the course) and a fairly powerful headphone amplifier. Headphone output level when used on a Type A jack is a bit more modest though, if still about normal soundcard level. (Type C: ~4.7 Vrms into 300 ohms, Type A: ~1.8 Vrms.)

You could also use e.g. a JDS Labs Atom or an Objektive2 (from Head'n'Hifi) to "supercharge" an otherwise lacklustre headphone output like the one on a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, or just one with highish output impedance (Tascam US-2x2HR, Steinberg UR22C). Even a lowly UMC202HD would benefit.

You say you still need a better audio interface, so what do you have now?
 
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SaladDressing

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Do you have USB Type C available on your computer? I might look at the Audient iD14 MkII then, which has both balanced line outputs if high dynamic range (you may need some TRS to XLR cables, as par for the course) and a fairly powerful headphone amplifier. Headphone output level when used on a Type A jack is a bit more modest though, if still about normal soundcard level. (Type C: ~4.7 Vrms into 300 ohms, Type A: ~1.8 Vrms.)

You could also use e.g. a JDS Labs Atom or an Objektive2 (from Head'n'Hifi) to "supercharge" an otherwise lacklustre headphone output like the one on a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, or just one with highish output impedance (Tascam US-2x2HR, Steinberg UR22C). Even a lowly UMC202HD would benefit.

You say you still need a better audio interface, so what do you have now?
I sadly don't have a type c output. I have one on my case but my motherboard doens't support it. But why is type so important? I have plenty usb 3.1 type a plugs. Isn't speed the deciding factor not format? I have an optical out though.
Right now I only have the interface integrated in my motherboard. It's the realtek ALC1220. It's pretty new and has some fairly decent audio. It can actually drive my HD6XX fairly loud but not in the best way.
I'll look through the options you mentioned. What do you think of the thx 789 + topping e30 combo? Or maybe the cheaper Topping E30 +L30 combo?
 
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SaladDressing

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okay nevermind, have decided on the topping e30 + l30 or dx7 pro. Still debating between the two.
 

3125b

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You need balanced preamp outputs. Toppings cheapest option there would be the EX5.
The iD4 MKII is a really good option at a much lower price. Type-C has a higher current capability. Although USB 3.1 should do just the same.
 
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SaladDressing

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You need balanced preamp outputs. Toppings cheapest option there would be the EX5.
The iD4 MKII is a really good option at a much lower price. Type-C has a higher current capability. Although USB 3.1 should do just the same.
Why do I need balanced though? If I get noise I'll just get a behringer hd400.
 

AnalogSteph

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You have plenty enough of a budget to not require any such bodgery. The HD400 makes tons of sense when used with a 40€ class internal soundcard or good onboard audio (where the audio interface to beat is the Behringer UMC202HD), but when you can just buy an iD4 MkII or 3rd gen 2i2 outright it's simply not worth it. My setup with a HD400 (connecting a trusty Xonar D1 to K+H O110s) is 99% perfect but I can still hear a quiet click in the speakers every time my fridge turns on or off.

Running an audio interface headphone output into a dedicated headphone amp via a 3.5 mm to RCA cable is about as bodgy as I'd want to get here. It doesn't have to be the fanciest headphone amp either, a HD6xx isn't particularly demanding and most people get along fine with 2 Vrms outputs. [1] I would have added the L30 to the list but unlike the two I mentioned this seems to be a bit harder to get here in Europe... it's gone from Amazon but Audiophics still has them in stock.

[1] So the iD4 output "barefoot" may well still be adequate even on USB-A. Not sure whether anyone has tried powered Type-C hubs with the new Audients yet either.
 
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SaladDressing

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You have plenty enough of a budget to not require any such bodgery. The HD400 makes tons of sense when used with a 40€ class internal soundcard or good onboard audio (where the audio interface to beat is the Behringer UMC202HD), but when you can just buy an iD4 MkII or 3rd gen 2i2 outright it's simply not worth it. My setup with a HD400 (connecting a trusty Xonar D1 to K+H O110s) is 99% perfect but I can still hear a quiet click in the speakers every time my fridge turns on or off.

Running an audio interface headphone output into a dedicated headphone amp via a 3.5 mm to RCA cable is about as bodgy as I'd want to get here. It doesn't have to be the fanciest headphone amp either, a HD6xx isn't particularly demanding and most people get along fine with 2 Vrms outputs. [1] I would have added the L30 to the list but unlike the two I mentioned this seems to be a bit harder to get here in Europe... it's gone from Amazon but Audiophics still has them in stock.

[1] So the iD4 output "barefoot" may well still be adequate even on USB-A. Not sure whether anyone has tried powered Type-C hubs with the new Audients yet either.
So you too would suggest to go balanced? I am still sceptical about the audient though. I guess it's just because I am very inexperienced with audio interfaces. But am I not paying for a lot of things I don't need? Like instrument and mic input.
Also HA isn't that important to me. I use speakers when I can. I use the HD6XX mainly when it gets late. I love them but I just like speakers more. So I'd just be happy with a decent HP output, and I guess the Audient delivers that.

I also looked at the Topping EX5 and it seems like a good amp/dac. Still would like to wait with that one though after all that L30 stuff happening and John Yang constantly shutting down people that critisize their products (and some ASR people playing the white knight for him).
 
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