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DAC/AMP for Headphones and Yamaha A-S301

Apfelsch0rle

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Hello! I'm looking for a DAC/AMP to connect both my (soon arriving) Beyerdynamic Amiron and my Yamaha A-S301 to.

At the moment I have both devices connected to my PC via aux, one at the front and the other at the rear, relying on my onboard audio (B450 I AORUS PRO / ALC 1220, which has a built in headphone amp afaik). Using the headphone jack on the Yamaha is very annoying as I have to get up from my pc and also adjust the volume every time (I kinda swap a lot and the headphone jack on the Yamaha is way quieter), so I would like to avoid that if possible.

While I never had issues with driving my current DT990 Pros and with their subjective sound quality, I would like get an upgrade for the Amiron, as that seems “right”, so to speak. Since I have very little knowledge about audio equippment: Is connecting both the Yamaha and the Amiron to a DAC/AMP combo even feasable? What would you recommend? Price range up to 150€. No portability required. The PC will be the only sound source for both the Yamaha and the headphones. Any recommendations much appreciated :)
 

Joe Smith

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I'm not following why you would think to connect a headphone amp to your A-S301. Are you looking for a combo DAC+amp that you can keep near your PC or laptop? Plenty of options for that, all in ones and also paired/stacked units. I use USB out to a Schiit Modi/Magni stack (also use a JDS labs DAC occasionally) and then I can either run that to headphones, or connect the DAC to a RCA set that runs to my main preamp/amp for the room. I had a switcher inthat chain, but it was adding a little noise, so I now just keep it plugged one way or the other.

Or you could get a DAC only and connect that via USB or optical to your computer, then output from the DAC to the AUX input on your Yamaha.

The Beyer's are only 250 ohm so they should not be too hard to drive...
 
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Apfelsch0rle

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I'm not following why you would think to connect a headphone amp to your A-S301
I was just thinking about an all in one device which I can use to get a better audio signal from the DAC to the Yamaha and the headphones, while at the same time having an amp for the headphones included. Like connecting a Topping DX1 to my PC via USB and then connecting both the Yamaha and the my headphones to it - or does that not work the way I think it does?

Or you could get a DAC only and connect that via USB or optical to your computer, then output from the DAC to the AUX input on your Yamaha. The Beyer's are only 250 ohm so they should not be too hard to drive...
If there are no issues with driving 250 ohms then this would certainly be an option aswell.
 

staticV3

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I was just thinking about an all in one device which I can use to get a better audio signal from the DAC to the Yamaha and the headphones, while at the same time having an amp for the headphones included.
That would work and the DX1 is the best option for that below 150€.
Just keep in mind that the DX1's volume knob only controls the headphone output volume. The Line out on the back is always full volume, so you'd have to use the volume control built into your Yamaha.
 
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Apfelsch0rle

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Just keep in mind that the DX1's volume knob only controls the headphone output volume. The Line out on the back is always full volume, so you'd have to use the volume control built into your Yamaha.
Much appreciated, that shouldn't be an issue for me.
When I have both the Yamaha and my headphones connected to the DX1 do they both get their signal, or would plugging in the headphones disable the signal for the yamaha?
 

staticV3

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When I have both the Yamaha and my headphones connected to the DX1 do they both get their signal, or would plugging in the headphones disable the signal for the yamaha?
Reading the comments in this thread, it seems like both headphone out and Line out are active permanently.
 

rarewolf

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That would work and the DX1 is the best option for that below 150€.
Just keep in mind that the DX1's volume knob only controls the headphone output volume. The Line out on the back is always full volume, so you'd have to use the volume control built into your Yamaha.

I imagine the DX1 can get some volume from the 250ohm Beyers, but do you really believe 50mW will drive them optimally?
 

staticV3

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I imagine the DX1 can get some volume from the 250ohm Beyers, but do you really believe 50mW will drive them optimally?
50mW will drive the Amiron Home to an ear-shattering 119dB SPL Peak.
 

rarewolf

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50mW will drive the Amiron Home to an ear-shattering 119dB SPL Peak.

So… you’re claiming that the volume’s response to power is the same as the technicalities (detail, accuracy, stage) response to power?
 

staticV3

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So… you’re claiming that the volume’s response to power is the same as the technicalities (detail, accuracy, stage) response to power?
I'm claiming that having more headroom will not improve audio quality, just the potential for audio quantity.
If you have a 50mW Amp and a 1000mW Amp and you set both to 40mW, then the resulting sound will be identical.
 
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Apfelsch0rle

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Did a quick test today with the DX1 and the 990Pro. While not straight up painful at full volume, it's pretty uncomfortably loud. So the DX1 has no issue with driving the 990Pro, which from my understanding are slightly on the lower side sensitivity wise already.

EDIT: This was with low gain, on high it is actually impossible wear the 990s for me anywhere close to max volume.
 
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Apfelsch0rle

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I'm claiming that having more headroom will not improve audio quality, just the potential for audio quantity.
Could you by chance explain why this is the case, or recommend anything to read up on this topic? Fairly new to hifi, but the claim that more power/more reserves (like beeing able to set your volume control to 60% while listening, instead of 90%) provides better/clearer sound quality seems to come up in quite a lot of discussions about AMPs and audio in general?
 

staticV3

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Could you by chance explain why this is the case, or recommend anything to read up on this topic? Fairly new to hifi, but the claim that more power/more reserves (like beeing able to set your volume control to 60% while listening, instead of 90%) provides better/clearer sound quality seems to come up in quite a lot of discussions about AMPs and audio in general?
I don't have any literature about this phemomenon in particular that i could send you.
My theory is that when people upgrade their Amp and compare its sound to the old one, then they'll inadvertently push their system a bit more with the new Amp, to "see what this bad boy can do".
Well, louder will always sound more exciting and more dynamic due to among other things equal loudness contours, and in the end, those people mistake the improved sound that higher volume brings with improved sound from higher headroom.
All of this in addition to the usual confirmation bias and expectation bias.

In my experience, all differences vanish once properly level-matched with a multimeter or something.
 
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