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Amp for DCA Aeon Closed X

dalarev

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Mar 14, 2024
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Hi everybody, I'm hoping for recommendations/guidance on properly powering the DCA Aeon Closed X.

I currently use the headphone amp of the Scarlett 2i2 3rd gen because it's what I have. The volume level is not the issue, but audible distortion at high volumes is. This seems to be corroborated by Amir's measurements of the 2i2.

I just ordered the Drop SMSL HO150X, which is probably overkill, but I bought it because it has balanced inputs to match the Scarlett's balanced outputs. I own a pair of TRS to XLR cables which I can reuse.

I'm hoping for guidance on a better & cheaper solution. I went through all this trouble of finding a suitable amp because I wanted to use the Scarlett as a DAC. But I'm thinking it may make sense to simply get a DAC/headamp unit, which for $200 could be of a pretty good caliber.

I understand balanced inputs on an amp, although "highly recommended" per Focusrite's manual, are not a hard requirement. So perhaps one way to save money is to get a cheaper, good enough amp to handle the phones' 91 dB/mW sensitivity and 12.5 Ohms.

Some of my reading tells me that planar magnetic drivers need high current, so I am hoping for some recommendations/guidance on this front, too.

It would be great if this new unit also supported usage with a PS4 remote or the Nintendo Switch.

Appreciate any guidance or thoughts you may have on this. Thanks in advance!
 
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staticV3

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Hi @dalarev! Welcome to ASR.

It would be great if this new unit also supported usage with a PS4 remote or the Nintendo Switch.
PS4 remote as in the DualShock 4 controller?
Meaning something with an analog Line input to amplify the DualShock 4's headphone output?
 
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dalarev

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Hi @dalarev! Welcome to ASR.


PS4 remote as in the DualShock 4 controller?
Meaning something with an analog Line input to amplify the DualShock 4's headphone output?
That, or through console USB. The Schiit Fulla claims compatibility with these, presumably through USB.

I realize I specified remote in my OP. That is a mistake and not really a requirement.

Thanks for the post.
 
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dalarev

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After more research it seems like the safest choice is probably the Topping L30. Even this may be overkill, but it really seems like this would deliver across the board.

I suppose my question now is: is there an issue connecting the balanced outputs of the Scarlett to the imbalanced inputs of an amp?

Appreciate your thoughts.
 
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staticV3

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After more research it seems like the safest choice is probably the Topping L30. Even this may be overkill, but it really seems like this would deliver across the board.

I suppose my question now is: is there an issue connecting the balanced outputs of the Scarlett to the imbalanced inputs of an amp?

Appreciate your thoughts.
Depending on the design of the DAC, you may get 10-20dB worse THD+N by connecting the TRS Bal output to the L30's RCA in:
01_pre90_xlrin_xlrout_db.png 03_pre90_xlrin_xlrpin2out_pin3open_db.png
d10b_DB_bal_01.png d10b_DB_Thot_Rnc_01.png

These are some of the least expensive headphone Amps with balanced input:
 
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