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Help upgrading my sound system (DAC & Amp)


New Member
Apr 28, 2023
I am looking to upgrade my current audio setup after investing a bit into better headphones. It's good but I listen to music a lot so figure it's worth upgrading.

I have read a lot of reviews, but it's still pretty hard to make a decision because I find mixed reviews about all options. It's tricky to know which would sound best with music taste too. I don't really have an audio store nearby to demo, but I could purchase some equipment and return my least favourite. There's also a lot of terms like MQA, DSD, PCM which I don't know a lot about.

My current setup:
AMP: Schiit Asgard 3
DAC: ES9028 DAC chip module (internal to the Asgard 3)
Headphones: Sony MDR Z1R (primary headphone), DC Aeon 2 Noire, ATH-M50x.
Speakers: Bowers & Wilkins 606 S2 bookshelf. (I am also considering upgrading at some point. Maybe add a HTM6 S2 center speaker and some subs for movies, or switch to Kef LS50 Meta)

One thing I dislike about my current amp is I find it can have a noisy audio floor on high gain. Mostly only noticeable with my Sony MDR Z1R headphones.
The Asgard also doesn't have a balanced output. I am not sure how big of a deal that is, but it'd be nice to try balanced. Sony MDR Z1R comes with a 4.4mm balanced cable which would work on the Fiio R7 I think. I also don't mind buying a four pin XLR cable, though.

What I want to use it for:
. I listen to electronic music. Mostly drum and bass, dance/EDM, techno, bit of pop and rap. I think I would benefit from a slightly warmer sound because of this? I like very detailed bass, vocals and instruments.
Then again, maybe the sound system should be neutral/clean and the headphone/speaker should be flavoured? Great synergy with the Sony MDR Z1R would be nice.
I tend to use streaming services like Qobuz, Apple music and YouTube - never download music.
I would also like to use part of the system with speakers. Perhaps the dac and use the amp as a preamp?

Movies. Currently I sometimes listen to movies with my headphones because I don't have a speaker amp atm, but I'd like to use my speakers at some point - so may be worth considering how the dac/amp might sound with a good pair of speakers.

Some options and stacks I've been considering:
- Fiio R7
- Topping D90SE & A90D
- Schiit Jotunheim 2 & Schiit Bifrost 2

Given my headphone/speaker requirements, music taste and options - which options would be best and why? I would appreciate any feedback on these options if you own any :)
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