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Looking for a suitable amp recommendation, and maybe a DAC?

Aerizon

New Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
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Hello everyone!

I've read a few of amir's reviews for DACs and amps but this will be the first time I'm participating in the forums.

So basically I've been hanging around the periphery of the whole audio hobby for a few years but never tried to delve too deep. I'm currently a college student still so money's always tight. My first foray into the audio world proper was when I picked up the AKG K553 Pro's when they were first released on massdrop. They were...uncomfortable to say the least. Anyway fast forward to today I have several headphones and IEMs but have decided to sell of all them, leaving me with just a HD6XX and a Moondrop Blessing 2 Dusk.

In terms of DAC/amps, I was using an ancient Schiit Modi and Vali (Gen 1) stack that I got for cheap used. However, recently I've had to get an Apple dongle for my new phone as it doesn't have a jack, and wow, its not even a competition. A USD9 dongle blows that old schiit stack out the water, especially with my IEM. HD6XX didn't have enough power but still sounded better somehow.

Anyway, I'm looking for opinions on what I should get in terms of amp that will suit both my 300ohm cans and 22ohm IEM. Usage will be for a desktop PC. I was considering using the Apple dongle as the DAC and hooking it up via RCA adaptor to something like a Heresy, but I am unsure if double amping is detrimental. I was also looking at the Tempotec Sonata HD Pro as a DAC into an amp, or using it straight up as the DAC/amp and call it a day. Or if I should consider a proper DAC/amp combo.

The most budget-friendly option would be simply use the Sonata HD Pro's as a DAC/amp combo, but I really liked having a volume knob to turn as well as the aesthetic of a rectangle box in front of my monitor.

I am aware that the Heresy, Atom, and L30 are common recommendations at my budget (around USD100 or less).

Apologies for my messy formatting.
 

a2copywriter

Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2021
Messages
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9
Hi, Aerizon! I've been where you are, and I commend you for not hanging on to tons of gear or collecting. You're smart.

My first recommendation would be to EQ your Senns. You'll find a huge difference by doing that. I'm using Sonarworks, but you can check around -- there are some great free EQ curves. (Note: If you choose to use free software, *never* google free+software. Instead, look for "open source.")

For DAC/amp, consider selling the old Schiit stack if you still have it. If it isn't being used, that can free you up for another piece of gear.

In terms of next steps, I don't have specific recommendations, but the Review Index would.

That said, the reviews of the Atom and L30 seem very promising.

Consider where you'll be listening to music, too. If you use IEMs on the go, the dongle will probably work very well -- and you can focus on a desktop DAC/amp. If you're trying to use the Senns for a portable setup, then consider a portable amp/dac. Maybe a used Topping NX4?

Whatever gear you get, I'd strongly recommend getting it used -- let someone else pay for depreciation.

ASR's forums include a "For Sale" section. eBay is another source. And Audiogon occasionally has good deals. (For instance, there's a Topping A30 + D30 with other gear for $150.)

Hope you find what you're looking for, and once you do -- hang on to it for a while and listen to lots of music! :)
 

Firefly00

Active Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
Messages
136
Likes
91
Location
New Zealand
Hello everyone!

I've read a few of amir's reviews for DACs and amps but this will be the first time I'm participating in the forums.

So basically I've been hanging around the periphery of the whole audio hobby for a few years but never tried to delve too deep. I'm currently a college student still so money's always tight. My first foray into the audio world proper was when I picked up the AKG K553 Pro's when they were first released on massdrop. They were...uncomfortable to say the least. Anyway fast forward to today I have several headphones and IEMs but have decided to sell of all them, leaving me with just a HD6XX and a Moondrop Blessing 2 Dusk.

In terms of DAC/amps, I was using an ancient Schiit Modi and Vali (Gen 1) stack that I got for cheap used. However, recently I've had to get an Apple dongle for my new phone as it doesn't have a jack, and wow, its not even a competition. A USD9 dongle blows that old schiit stack out the water, especially with my IEM. HD6XX didn't have enough power but still sounded better somehow.

Anyway, I'm looking for opinions on what I should get in terms of amp that will suit both my 300ohm cans and 22ohm IEM. Usage will be for a desktop PC. I was considering using the Apple dongle as the DAC and hooking it up via RCA adaptor to something like a Heresy, but I am unsure if double amping is detrimental. I was also looking at the Tempotec Sonata HD Pro as a DAC into an amp, or using it straight up as the DAC/amp and call it a day. Or if I should consider a proper DAC/amp combo.

The most budget-friendly option would be simply use the Sonata HD Pro's as a DAC/amp combo, but I really liked having a volume knob to turn as well as the aesthetic of a rectangle box in front of my monitor.

I am aware that the Heresy, Atom, and L30 are common recommendations at my budget (around USD100 or less).

Apologies for my messy formatting.
It’s a shame Schiit recently stopped selling the Iemagni, it was basically a better Heresy. Possibly they should’ve called it the Magni 4 and it would’ve gotten the attention it deserved. As a fellow broke college student, I run my iPad’s 3.5mm headphone jack directly into the RCAs on my Iemagni.

You won’t have issues with any of those desktop amps, just pick the most aesthetic one with good customer service. JDS labs and schiit are known for that.
If the Tempotec dongle is enough, then just use that though. Won’t cost much to upgrade later if you really need more power.
 
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