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SirAfroPanda

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Hi all! I'm in the process of building my first audiophile setup and getting a bit confused/overwhelmed with all the information out there.

I have pretty much decided on buying the Sivga SV021's for my headphones. Now I am trying to find a DAC/amp setup to pair with it. I would like to get something with more power than I need so I can grow into it in the future.

I currently have some standard desktop speakers that connect using 3.5mm/RCA. Here lies my first question: would these benefit from going through the amp? I wanted them to go through it for the sole purpose of making it easier to switch sources with the push of a button, but it seems most entry-level DACs/amps don't offer easy source switching, but I did come across the Topping DX3 Pro+ that can do this.

However, for around the same price (might be slightly more due to shipping) I could get a Schiit Magni/Modi stack.

I've heard great things about both of these setups so I'm not sure which would be a better option. I like the feature set of the DX3 and like that it is a single unit but I would rather not compromise on audio quality or power output in favour of features.

Other options in a similar price range that I have been looking at are the iFi Zen DAC v2 and the FiiO K5 Pro, which both look promising as well. I am happy to stretch to the more expensive options I listed if they will give a better experience though.

Please let me know if you have any advice. I am also open to suggestions outside of what I listed here.

Thanks in advance!
 

_theLaughingman

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If you're looking to future proof your setup then the Topping Dx3 Pro+ is a no brainer and affordable compared to buying a stack. You could go down the route of purchasing an E50/L50 stack from Topping as well since those are fairly new as well. I would look at what features you want and need now and in future and make a decision based off that.
 
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SirAfroPanda

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If you're looking to future proof your setup then the Topping Dx3 Pro+ is a no brainer and affordable compared to buying a stack. You could go down the route of purchasing an E50/L50 stack from Topping as well since those are fairly new as well. I would look at what features you want and need now and in future and make a decision based off that.
Even if the stack is the same price (such as the Magni/Modi stack) do you think the DX3 Pro+ is better?

The E50/L50 stack is a bit more than I would like to spend at the moment. However, I have heard good things about the E30/L30 stack too, albeit at $100 more than the DX3 Pro+ and the Schiit stack. Not sure if there is an extra $100 worth of value there but I stand to be corrected.

For now I only really need a powerful headphone out that will carry me through into the future. The DX3 Pro+ has some nice features but I have heard the amp may not be enough to power larger cans, whereas the Schiit stack may have more amplification power from my understanding.
 

Dunring

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I've had a flurry of activity with amps and DAC's for my business, so I decided to match up what I had with my trusty Beyerdynamic MMX300 which are similar that they're also closed back and 32 ohms (but take a little more power). Here's how I found these combos to work with them:
SMSL SP200 and JDS Atom 4490 DAC: I have those playing now and it's really a great balance, transparent, good sound stage too. I'm probably going to keep this as my permanent setup.

Magni Heresy and Khadas Tone Board: Works together really well on brighter or V shaped headphones. The Khadas draws power from USB so you need a really quiet/clean USB port to plug it into. A big EMI filter (like the ones that come with a TV that are big enough to fit over a USB connector) will help a lot.

Soundblaster AE-7: I just sold one yesterday and had it for a week, I was really impressed by it, more power than a G6 and in direct mode I'd put it against many budget stacks out there. The control module is just an extension cord and it has a lot more power plugging directly in the back ports.

JDS Atom amp/stack, really good choice, but the Magni/Tone board was more "treble forgiving". The JDS stack is pure transparency and your headphone choice has quite a V shape to it.

The only issue with the SMSL SP200 and Khadas tone board was a hum at 90 percent volume in low or 65 percent volume in high gain when playing a 1 minute of silence .wave file or on pause during a song. It was gone with the JDS Atom DAC, and also it didn't happen when the Khadas was on the Magni Heresy. Even using XLR to RCA cables with the SP200/Khadas didn't fix the problem, neither did two USB powered hubs. It's just really picky I think because it's drawing power from USB...

I also really liked the Massdrop THX 789 One version, sounded better to me than this SMSL SP200 but less power and I need the XLR on it to test all the headphones coming in each week. on the THX 888 I've only gotten to use high gain mode twice, everything else is child's play to this in low gain.
 
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SirAfroPanda

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I've had a flurry of activity with amps and DAC's for my business, so I decided to match up what I had with my trusty Beyerdynamic MMX300 which are similar that they're also closed back and 32 ohms (but take a little more power). Here's how I found these combos to work with them:
SMSL SP200 and JDS Atom 4490 DAC: I have those playing now and it's really a great balance, transparent, good sound stage too. I'm probably going to keep this as my permanent setup.

Magni Heresy and Khadas Tone Board: Works together really well on brighter or V shaped headphones. The Khadas draws power from USB so you need a really quiet/clean USB port to plug it into. A big EMI filter (like the ones that come with a TV that are big enough to fit over a USB connector) will help a lot.

Soundblaster AE-7: I just sold one yesterday and had it for a week, I was really impressed by it, more power than a G6 and in direct mode I'd put it against many budget stacks out there. The control module is just an extension cord and it has a lot more power plugging directly in the back ports.

JDS Atom amp/stack, really good choice, but the Magni/Tone board was more "treble forgiving". The JDS stack is pure transparency and your headphone choice has quite a V shape to it.

The only issue with the SMSL SP200 and Khadas tone board was a hum at 90 percent volume in low or 65 percent volume in high gain when playing a 1 minute of silence .wave file or on pause during a song. It was gone with the JDS Atom DAC, and also it didn't happen when the Khadas was on the Magni Heresy. Even using XLR to RCA cables with the SP200/Khadas didn't fix the problem, neither did two USB powered hubs. It's just really picky I think because it's drawing power from USB...

I also really liked the Massdrop THX 789 One version, sounded better to me than this SMSL SP200 but less power and I need the XLR on it to test all the headphones coming in each week. on the THX 888 I've only gotten to use high gain mode twice, everything else is child's play to this in low gain.
Thank you for the comprehensive reply. Did you ever try the Magni with the Schiit Modi? Curious how it compares to the Khadas tone board.

I have seen the atom stack recommended but I'm a bit hesitant on it as it looks like a much cheaper build than the Schiit stack for the same price.
 

dsnyder0cnn

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I have both the Topping DX3 Pro+ and the E50 + L50 stack. For your application the DX3 Pro+ is better, principally because, unlike the DX3 Pro+ (and other Topping products), the E50 does not "remember" distinct volume settings for different outputs. This makes switching between headphones listening and active speakers a pain with the E50 + L50 while this works as expected with the DX3 Pro+.

There's very little (if any) audible difference in sound quality between the two. But, the E50 + L50 is definitely gorgeous. :-D

PSX_20220402_095812.jpeg
 

Doodski

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I have both the Topping DX3 Pro+ and the E50 + L50 stack. For your application the DX3 Pro+ is better, principally because, unlike the DX3 Pro+ (and other Topping products), the E50 does not "remember" distinct volume settings for different outputs. This makes switching between headphones listening and active speakers a pain with the E50 + L50 while this works as expected with the DX3 Pro+.

There's very little (if any) audible difference in sound quality between the two. But, the E50 + L50 is definitely gorgeous. :-D

View attachment 198798
The best pic that I've seen of the Topping orange display and red anodizing color bar none.
 

xaviescacs

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I have both the Topping DX3 Pro+ and the E50 + L50 stack. For your application the DX3 Pro+ is better, principally because, unlike the DX3 Pro+ (and other Topping products), the E50 does not "remember" distinct volume settings for different outputs. This makes switching between headphones listening and active speakers a pain with the E50 + L50 while this works as expected with the DX3 Pro+.

There's very little (if any) audible difference in sound quality between the two. But, the E50 + L50 is definitely gorgeous. :-D

View attachment 198798
I have a Sabaj and an SMSL, but this display is simply spectacular. It appears to be redeable from a mile away.
 

Doodski

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Thanks. :)

This is the most photogenic audio gear I've ever owned.
I have a snazzy new QD monitor with amazing color specs and your Topping model pic beams bright color like there's no tomorrow. It's very pleasing to the eye. Is that a cel tel pic or a dedicated camera used for the shot?
 

dsnyder0cnn

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I have a snazzy new QD monitor with amazing color specs and your Topping model pic beams bright color like there's no tomorrow. It's very pleasing to the eye. Is that a cel tel pic or a dedicated camera used for the shot?
This was from my (old) LG V35 smartphone with just a tad of color correction in Photoshop Express (white balance was a little off). Thanks again. :)
 

Doodski

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This was from my (old) LG V35 smartphone with just a tad of color correction in Photoshop Express (white balance was a little off). Thanks again. :)
It certainly shows off what a cel tel can be capable of when taking pics. I would have figured it for a handheld dedicated camera. I don't think I can get that pic quality from my old Canon PowerShot SX30 IS.
 

dsnyder0cnn

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It certainly shows off what a cel tel can be capable of when taking pics. I would have figured it for a handheld dedicated camera. I don't think I can get that pic quality from my old Canon PowerShot SX30 IS.
The cameras on modern smartphones can produce surprising results. Very sophisticated processing going on since there's only so much possible with a tiny lens and sensor. I've been itching to upgrade my DSLR, but with the transition to mirrorless, most of my Canon glass will be obsolete. That, and the audio side of my hobby keeps me too busy. LOL.
 

Doodski

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The cameras on modern smartphones can produce surprising results. Very sophisticated processing going on since there's only so much possible with a tiny lens and sensor. I've been itching to upgrade my DSLR, but with the transition to mirrorless, most of my Canon glass will be obsolete. That, and the audio side of my hobby keeps me too busy. LOL.
That's for sure. Some of the cel tel pics that peeps here at ASR post for us to see are realllly good. Macro, wide, portrait and outdoors stuff all look great. I don't know much about mirrorless or DSLR stuff. I never got the camera bug but I can see how one could. I was a late adopter of digital cameras and wasted money on digitizing 35mm pics. I am pretty busy with audio gear and PC stuff and don't need another hobby. When it comes to camera time I want automatic and snap pics in that order. I'm all about the convenience and ease of use stuff.
 
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