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Headphone amp with cross-feed and user configurable DSP(EQ)?

Trouble Maker

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Does such a beast exist? For reasonable prices? I know reasonable is subjective but I don't see why something like this should cost $1k when you can get a headphone amp with way more than enough power for a few hundred. But maybe I'm being naïve. More than ample power is good, but I don't have anything currently which needs oodles of power. I don't have balanced headphones or any plans for balanced headphones either.

I listen either through my phone or work PC, streaming (Spotify). So it feels like on multiple fronts I can't do either/both cross-feed or EQ with those solutions. From the little I understand about software based cross-feed it's not realistic to implement in conjunction with streaming. I can't/shouldn't install unnecessary software on my work PC too. So I think I want/need a hardware solution.

My main complaint with headphones has always been the 'in the head' feeling. But I don't feel that going to open backs is an option due to external noise bleed.

Am I going down the right path for next level of headphone experience with trying cross-feed and EQ?
To achieve this, am I going down the right/reasonable path to get a headphone amp with these capabilities?

Current setup if it matters
Schiit Vali (maybe/probably 2), Schiit modi (maybe/probably 2)
Audio Technica ATH-M50x, primary for music but usually only while working
I also have Bose QC25 and HiFiMan RE00 (I think this model), but mostly used for travel/work meetings

I'm completely open to suggestions, blowing up my setup and replacing everything... or not if there's another way.
 

maverickronin

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I have no clue why there are so few headphone amps with crossfeed either. Most of them tend to be pretty expensive for some reason too.

If you can swing it, and if it doesn't need to be portable, the RME ADI-2 DAC is the best. 5 levels of crossfeed, 5 band PEQ, tone controls, and dynamic loudness eq which can be calibrated.

SPL's headmps have crossfeed. I think the Phonitor One (d) is the only one cheaper than an ADI-2 DAC though.

One of the transportable-ish Cord DAC/amps has crossfeed to, though I don't remember which one off the top of my head.
 

Cahudson42

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Write Qudelix on their forum requesting crossfeed. Explain that adding Crossfeed to their existing PEQ, and they will totally own their $110 segment..:)

https://audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/qudelix-5k-bluetooth-dac-headphone-amp.17386/

https://www.qudelix.com/pages/forum

Meantime, as long as you have a decent streamer/ DAC, something like an LG V 20, and a follow on amp (Heresy, etc.) It seems you might be able to insert a Parts Express DSP-408 between them for both PEQ and crossfeed. Anyone done this?
https://www.parts-express.com/Dayto...gnal-Processor-for-Home-and-Car-Audio-230-500
 
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charleski

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Personally, I've never found crossfeed to work for me, though some swear by it.

If you want a cheap hardware solution, you can DIY one in a little case:
http://www.rock-grotto.co.uk/x-feed.htm

Alternatively, on the PC you can install EqualizerAPO and the Peace GUI, which offers systemwide crossfeed and EQ

If you're streaming from Qobuz and Tidal, you can use UAPP, which has a crossfeed setting, as well as EQ.
 
OP
T

Trouble Maker

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This is all desktop based, I don't feel a strong need/want for any kind of upgraded power/features when moving. I like to travel as light and fast as I reasonably can.

RME ADI-2 DAC is $1300? Yeah, I can do that... just not sure I want to, see the added value of those functions at that price. Maybe it's because I don't have experience with them yet and just think it might be the right direction. Feels expensive for an experiment. Also feels a little silly to hookup a pair of $150 headphones to a $1300 DAC/AMP. Even in hindsight my current stack seems too expensive/overkill. I have to put the PC output at 50% and amp on low gain to get any reasonable controllability in the volume and DAC was probably unnecessary.
 
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Trouble Maker

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maverickronin

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This is all desktop based, I don't feel a strong need/want for any kind of upgraded power/features when traveling. I like to travel as light and fast as I reasonably can.

RME ADI-2 DAC is $1300? Yeah, I can do that... just not sure I want to, see the added value of those functions at that price. Maybe it's because I don't have experience with them yet and just think it might be the right direction. Feels expensive for an experiment. Also feels a little silly to hookup a pair of $150 headphones to a $1300 DAC/AMP. Even in hindsight my current stack seems too expensive/overkill. I have to put the PC output at 50% and amp on low gain to get any reasonable controllability in the volume and DAC was probably unnecessary.

It keeps creeping up in price. I got mine when it was new and it was only $999 then. Considering that most of my headphones were purchased used, it's more expensive than everything I plug into them as well, but I couldn't live without it anymore.

It will definitely fix the problem of not having enough range on the volume pot though. ;)
 
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Trouble Maker

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Meantime, as long as you have a decent streamer/ DAC, something like an LG V 20, and a follow on amp (Heresy, etc.) It seems you might be able to insert a Parts Express DSP-408 between them for both PEQ and crossfeed. Anyone done this?
https://www.parts-express.com/Dayto...gnal-Processor-for-Home-and-Car-Audio-230-500

A miniDSP 2x4 would be enough and cheaper? Since I only need 2 channels, but not sure how much DSP horsepower one needs vs what these products have e.g. miniDSP 2x4 vs HD vs this Dayton Audio product.
https://www.minidsp.com/products/minidsp-in-a-box/minidsp-2x4

Or keep it on in the digital realm and then feed my current DAC & amp.
https://www.minidsp.com/products/minidsp-in-a-box/nanodigi-2x8-b
I like this idea better and it could be the cheapest path from here to there given I already have a dac and amp. Though seemingly the only small issue is currently I'm feeding my DAC by USB from the PC and this seems like only SPDFI or optical input. Also only SPDIF out and I think my DAC is USB only, I didn't get the SPDIF option. I would have to check, it's still buried in the basement after the move. Finally I don't love the idea of having 3 boxes sitting on my desk, but haven't decided if 3 small boxes stacked up is better than 1 big one à la the RME ADI-2

But yes, I'm also not sure how to implement cross-feed in a product that doesn't already have it. Feels like probably some heavy programing and knowledge of psychoacoustics of cross-feed would be needed... and I think I'd rather just get a product that has a good implementation already.
 
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maverickronin

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But yes, I'm also not sure how to implement crossfeed in a product that doesn't already have it.

I don't think you can. Crossfeed, at it's most basic, is frequency dependent crosstalk,which is higher at lower frequencies. (This is the opposite of the usual crosstalk in electronics which increases with frequency.)

The standard miniDSPs have a mixer function, but no option for it vary with frequency. The Dayton's manual isn't as thorough, but I didn't see that kind of option in there either.
 
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