• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Best Sounds for $400-$600 budget DAC/AMP

eXodus

Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Messages
19
Likes
1
Looking for recommendations on a $400-600 budget on a DAC/AMP combo or separate (but within the budget total). I'm running the HD6XX headphones, XLR.

Located in ON, Canada. I've been looking at the Monolith 788 for the past few months now and it has great reviews, and finally is back in stock or will be and at the $565 price range (it jumped to $752 for the past few months).

Is there a better suggestion or should I just pull the trigger.
 

Beershaun

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 3, 2019
Messages
1,460
Likes
1,451
Check out the dac index on this site and set the budget range and see what pops up
 

Racheski

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 20, 2020
Messages
1,116
Likes
1,682
Location
Chicago
Looking for recommendations on a $400-600 budget on a DAC/AMP combo or separate (but within the budget total). I'm running the HD6XX headphones, XLR.

Located in ON, Canada. I've been looking at the Monolith 788 for the past few months now and it has great reviews, and finally is back in stock or will be and at the $565 price range (it jumped to $752 for the past few months).

Is there a better suggestion or should I just pull the trigger.
Do you plan to use all of the features like Dirac, Analog In, & EQ?
 

maxxevv

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 12, 2018
Messages
1,843
Likes
1,930
Looking for recommendations on a $400-600 budget on a DAC/AMP combo or separate (but within the budget total). I'm running the HD6XX headphones, XLR.

Located in ON, Canada. I've been looking at the Monolith 788 for the past few months now and it has great reviews, and finally is back in stock or will be and at the $565 price range (it jumped to $752 for the past few months).

Is there a better suggestion or should I just pull the trigger.

DX7Pro. It basically has everything you are looking at and more.
 
OP
E

eXodus

Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Messages
19
Likes
1

Rusty Shackleford

Active Member
Joined
May 16, 2018
Messages
250
Likes
542
Looking for recommendations on a $400-600 budget on a DAC/AMP combo or separate (but within the budget total). I'm running the HD6XX headphones, XLR.

Located in ON, Canada. I've been looking at the Monolith 788 for the past few months now and it has great reviews, and finally is back in stock or will be and at the $565 price range (it jumped to $752 for the past few months).

Is there a better suggestion or should I just pull the trigger.

IMHO, I’d buy the 789 or 887 amp and a Modi 3 DAC. By keeping the amp and DAC separate, you can always try another DAC later if you decide you want/need something different.
 

maxxevv

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 12, 2018
Messages
1,843
Likes
1,930
DX7s is in budget, DX7Pro is not ($800+ CAD). Is it worth the difference to upgrade to Pro.



Yes Dirac and possibly EQ, they are not deal breakers tho.

You didn't say you were talking about Canadian currency in your budget.

But you can get the DX7Pro for close to CAN$700 whenever there is a sale. Nope, the DX7S is not nearly as refined as the 7Pro.
 
OP
E

eXodus

Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Messages
19
Likes
1
You didn't say you were talking about Canadian currency in your budget.

But you can get the DX7Pro for close to CAN$700 whenever there is a sale. Nope, the DX7S is not nearly as refined as the 7Pro.
Yeah I should have been more clear I guess.

So it's down to the DX7 Pro (breaking the budget) vs Monolith THX 78:

- DX7 Pro: $800 CAD
- Monolith THX 788: $565 CAD

I think starting with the 788 is probably the best bang for my budget, I can always upgrade later! This would be my first DAC/AMP too so THX you can't really go wrong from what I understand.
 

Racheski

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 20, 2020
Messages
1,116
Likes
1,682
Location
Chicago
Yeah I should have been more clear I guess.

So it's down to the DX7 Pro (breaking the budget) vs Monolith THX 78:

- DX7 Pro: $800 CAD
- Monolith THX 788: $565 CAD

I think starting with the 788 is probably the best bang for my budget, I can always upgrade later! This would be my first DAC/AMP too so THX you can't really go wrong from what I understand.
Be aware that
  • The THX does not have bluetooth, nor a remote.
  • The DX7 Pro has a relatively high output impedance for headphones. This will not be a problem for the HD6XX, but may affect the frequency response for lower impedance cans, like an Aeon.
 

Jimbob54

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
8,810
Likes
11,061
OP
E

eXodus

Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Messages
19
Likes
1
Be aware that
  • The THX does not have bluetooth, nor a remote. (Plus ordering in Canada from many retailers for some reason it does not come with the remote).
  • The DX7 Pro has a relatively high output impedance for headphones. This will not be a problem for the HD6XX, but may affect the frequency response for lower impedance cans, like an Aeon.

Good points, thank you. BT and a remote aren't an issue in my case right now. This is my first DAC/AMP and mid-range headphones (this is my entry into HiFi!).

Would the difference in output impedance be better sounding for the HX6XX? I'm debating if the extra $235+ is worth it for the DX7 Pro.

Topping DX3 Pro v2?
Thanks but no XLR supported.
 

daftcombo

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
3,581
Likes
3,806
Good points, thank you. BT and a remote aren't an issue in my case right now. This is my first DAC/AMP and mid-range headphones (this is my entry into HiFi!).

Would the difference in output impedance be better sounding for the HX6XX? I'm debating if the extra $235+ is worth it for the DX7 Pro.


Thanks but no XLR supported.

Ah yes, I didn't know there was a XLR version of the HD6xx.
DX7Pro then.

Edit: if canadian $ THX will be great.
 

Jimbob54

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
8,810
Likes
11,061
Good points, thank you. BT and a remote aren't an issue in my case right now. This is my first DAC/AMP and mid-range headphones (this is my entry into HiFi!).

Would the difference in output impedance be better sounding for the HX6XX? I'm debating if the extra $235+ is worth it for the DX7 Pro.


Thanks but no XLR supported.

The output impedance of the dx7pro isn't an issue for the 300 ohm 6xx. Personally I'd get the thx 789 plus a dac over the dx7 Pro regardless of price.
 

Racheski

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 20, 2020
Messages
1,116
Likes
1,682
Location
Chicago
The output impedance of the dx7pro isn't an issue for the 300 ohm 6xx. Personally I'd get the thx 789 plus a dac over the dx7 Pro regardless of price.
The problem with the 789 is that you have to buy used unless you want to wait until the end of October. None left on Amazon. Drop is starting to annoy me lately....
 

Jimbob54

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
8,810
Likes
11,061
The problem with the 789 is that you have to buy used unless you want to wait until the end of October. None left on Amazon. Drop is starting to annoy me lately....
Ah, didn't know they had sold out again. Assumed it was standard stock these days.
 

maxxevv

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 12, 2018
Messages
1,843
Likes
1,930
Be aware that
  • The THX does not have bluetooth, nor a remote.
  • The DX7 Pro has a relatively high output impedance for headphones. This will not be a problem for the HD6XX, but may affect the frequency response for lower impedance cans, like an Aeon.

The Aeon a planar magnetic headphone. As far as things go, the vast majority of planars are not affected by the output impedance of their plugged in sources. The Oppo's were the rare exceptions.
 

Racheski

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 20, 2020
Messages
1,116
Likes
1,682
Location
Chicago
The Aeon a planar magnetic headphone. As far as things go, the vast majority of planars are not affected by the output impedance of their plugged in sources. The Oppo's were the rare exceptions.
Using the Aeon 2 (impedance 13 ohms) with the Topping A50 (9.4 ohms bal) I had weak sub bass and distorted bass response. When I switched to the Atom, and then the A90, those issues went away. Of course this could all be in my head...
 
Top Bottom