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Best bang for buck system for driving HD650s

AnalogDE

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#1
Looking for recommendations for driving HD650s, looking for best performance-to-price ratio

Two options:
1) DAC-Amp combo system
2) Separate DAC / AMP

Assume total budget < $500.

Thanks!
 
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#3
Looking for recommendations for driving HD650s, looking for best performance-to-price ratio

Two options:
1) DAC-Amp combo system
2) Separate DAC / AMP

Assume total budget < $500.

Thanks!
So many great options with that open of a budget.

—->D10/D30/D50S and Atom <—-
Micro iDSD Black
DX7s (tier 2, but still a strong DAC with a good amp section built in and balanced outputs)
DX3 Pro
Better—> SabajD5 as mentioned above, better for the price than DX7s

If you want a budget upgrade path-
SU-8 version 2 and Atom (you can go balanced later or accommodate monitors)

Stretch your budget $50 and you can-
SU-8 version 2 and THX 789 (the budget-end-game-hero)

I’m sure I’m overlooking another configuration
 

AnalogDE

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#6
Should I switch out my HD650's singled ended cable for a balanced cable? If so, which one should I pick up?
 

Patrick1958

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#7
Should I switch out my HD650's singled ended cable for a balanced cable? If so, which one should I pick up?
Switching over to an balanced cable will give you more power over the balanced output. Unfortunately those cables don't come cheap. I found the best quality price ratio with a englisch company i found on ebay few years ago. If i remember correctly payed around 110 € for a balanced 3 meter long cable for the Sennheiser HD series. If you are in the UK or europe search for customcans on ebay.
 

AnalogDE

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#8
Switching over to an balanced cable will give you more power over the balanced output. Unfortunately those cables don't come cheap. I found the best quality price ratio with a englisch company i found on ebay few years ago. If i remember correctly payed around 110 € for a balanced 3 meter long cable for the Sennheiser HD series. If you are in the UK or europe search for customcans on ebay.
Yikes. I'm in the US. I see some cheap looking cabled on amazon for like $30-50 USD.
 

AnalogDE

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#9
Switching over to an balanced cable will give you more power over the balanced output. Unfortunately those cables don't come cheap. I found the best quality price ratio with a englisch company i found on ebay few years ago. If i remember correctly payed around 110 € for a balanced 3 meter long cable for the Sennheiser HD series. If you are in the UK or europe search for customcans on ebay.
Found it: https://www.ebay.com/itm/ULC-balanc...hash=item1ef9a07783:m:mLthn6ku8jwb8wCj4FsopiQ

Is that the one you got?
 

Julf

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#11
Switching over to an balanced cable will give you more power over the balanced output
Yes. 3 dB. Maybe better to just turn up the volume by 3 dB, that would be slightly cheaper. :)
 

Julf

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#13
And what if the SE output just DOES NOT have enough output and the device also has a Balanced output ?
How often does that happen? How important are those last 3 dB (a barely perceivable difference in volume)?
 

Patrick1958

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#15
How often does that happen? How important are those last 3 dB (a barely perceivable difference in volume)?
It's not about how important those last 3db are, it's about how much power a SE versus a Balanced output can deliver.
As an example read the measurements of the Gustard A20H, the difference between SE and Balanced is much more than 3db. On SE connected with Senn HD650 there just isn't enough power output to drive the headphone in low gain. In high gain the device has to operate at its limits on SE.
On the balanced headphone output there is a copious amount of power available and the device can operate in low gain.
The Gustard A20H is no exception.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...nd-measurements-of-gustard-a20h-dac-amp.5657/
The advantage of working in low gain are described by Amir in an article on this site.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...s/study-headphone-amp-gains-low-or-high.5495/
 

AnalogDE

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#16
Let's make this more interesting... Let's change the budget down to < $250 ... what do you recommend for this price point?
 

Julf

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#19
It's not about how important those last 3db are, it's about how much power a SE versus a Balanced output can deliver.
I do stand corrected. it is actually 6 dB. Still - why not get device capable of sufficient output voltage in the first place?
 

Patrick1958

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#20
I do stand corrected. it is actually 6 dB. Still - why not get device capable of sufficient output voltage in the first place?
And this is where this site comes into play. The numbers for output voltage on the A20H are misrepresented in the specification as shown in Amir's testing. I had this device almost a year prior to Amir's testing.
Important lesson i learned on this site : don't trust manufacturer specifications blindly :oops:
Does this imply i had to sell the A20H and go on a search for a DAC/AMP with remote control (important for me) that does have better SE output voltage. My wallet tells me buying a balanced cable is the better and easier option. :)
 

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