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Looking for Desktop DAC/Amp

GneX

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#1
Okay I considering the following options at the moment:

- Fiio K3 (100€)
- Topping Mx3 (130€)
- Topping Dx3 Pro (220€ not aviable atm)
- Topping D10 + JDS Atom (250€ coz I can only get the Atom for 150-160€ here in Germany sadly)

How big is the difference between these options?
Preferably I wanna spend the least possible ofc.

Headphones for now are the HD58x Jubilee
 

M00ndancer

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#3
Okay I considering the following options at the moment:

- Fiio K3 (100€)
- Topping Mx3 (130€)
- Topping Dx3 Pro (220€ not aviable atm)
- Topping D10 + JDS Atom (250€ coz I can only get the Atom for 150-160€ here in Germany sadly)

How big is the difference between these options?
Preferably I wanna spend the least possible ofc.

Headphones for now are the HD58x Jubilee
One possible contender (just to muddy the water)
Swissonic HAD-1 (129€)

I was in a similar situation when I abandoned my old DDTS-30. What are you going to connect to your DAC as source?
Do you need USB? Optical in/out? RCA Pre-out or Line? Line in? Only headphone or speaker and headphone?
 

Veri

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#4
Okay I considering the following options at the moment:

- Fiio K3 (100€)
- Topping Mx3 (130€)
- Topping Dx3 Pro (220€ not aviable atm)
- Topping D10 + JDS Atom (250€ coz I can only get the Atom for 150-160€ here in Germany sadly)

How big is the difference between these options?
Preferably I wanna spend the least possible ofc.

Headphones for now are the HD58x Jubilee
For the 58x, the Fiio K3 is sufficient. For the sake of being future-proof, the Topping DX3 (220eur, pre-order) is interesting indeed since it has powerful low- and high-gain amplification, but you will need to decide if you can wait on it.
 

M00ndancer

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#6
Does anyone here have any experience with the Tempotec Serenade iDSD?
There are a few things I don't like with it, regardless of the sound quality, all based on personal preference
  • Needs the included stands to stay on your desk, no horizontal placement.
  • Less than stellar ergonomics with the buttons.
  • No optical in / coaxial in
  • Only coaxial spdif out
  • Useless USB type A port since you can't use it as a portable unit.
  • Power switch on the back

There is however one thing that I like. (had to dig for that)
  • Ability to change from headphone out to pre-out w/o having to remove the headphone.
 

daftcombo

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#7
Hi,

I would advise a Topping D10 + a JDS Lab Atom Amp. That's what I have.

You get a world class headphones amp and a great DAC with also optical & coaxial out, which can be useful in the future, for example if you wanna set music in another room with an optical cable.

The JDS Lab has also RCA out, so you could plug headphones & speakers simultaneously on your desk.

Finally, I bet the JDS Lab will be rock solid (though the plastic case looks a bit cheap). If your DAC breaks, it is the cheapest element of your chain so you can change it without too much regret.

My two cents.
 
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#8
I'd say DX3Pro (all-in-one box) or D10+Atom (DAC+Amp). With the latter setup, you get USB input and analog volume control.
The DX3Pro also has extra convenient functionality e.g. Bluetooth, remote controller, and other digital inputs.

My current setup is D10+O2 and am thinking about buying DX3Pro for Bluetooth and stuff. The fact that D10 is bus-powered also annoys me with bugs sometimes when connecting to my notebook.
 

GneX

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#9
Thanks for all the replies!

I think I'll go with the D10 + Atom or Fiio K3

Still thinking about how much money I really wanna spent as this will be my first dedicated DAC & AMP.
Also I'm not too sure If I could even hear the difference. I'm not sure how much of an audiophile I am but I do like music & good sound.
 

M00ndancer

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#10
How big is the difference between these options?
Preferably I wanna spend the least possible ofc.
It boils down to what you want. I would try decide what features I need first, since everything suggested here will work with the HD58x Jubilee. There are a lot bigger difference in sound signature getting another headphone than getting that dac/amp as long as you have amplification enough. In order of impact on sound signature: Headphone > amp > dac
 
Last edited:

Veri

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#11
It boils down to what you want. I would try decide what features I need first, since everything suggested here will work with the HD58x Jubilee. There are a lot bigger difference in sound signature getting another headphone than getting select that dac/amp as long as you have amplification enough. In order of impact on sound signature: Headphone > amp > dac
Even then I think amp 'difference' is overstated. many amps just kinda suck
 

M00ndancer

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#12
Even then I think amp 'difference' is overstated. many amps just kinda suck
Care to elaborate? Amps suck? You mean dedicated headphone amps? Many devices/computers/phones already have a good DAC but might need a little more oompf to sound good when paired with certain headphones.
 

Veri

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#13
Care to elaborate? Amps suck? You mean dedicated headphone amps? Many devices/computers/phones already have a good DAC but might need a little more oompf to sound good when paired with certain headphones.
A better amp will only contribute to better sound if your previous one was sh*tty. I don't think we can really discern between O2/Atom/THX etc. But when measured some headphone amps don't even get to 96dB SINAD, even less so for power amps. As you say though there IS the question of the power being sufficient, too.

I guess it's the same thing for DACs. As long as your DAC is not (intentionally) suffering from broken design it should sound the same as another proper DAC. Yet many DACs and amps are proven to be sh*tty by Amir. Look at the massdrop CTH for example, mains bleedage all over the signal.

What I'm trying to say is, headphones will change sound. Amps and DACs, in an ideal world, not so much. Ehh~~
 

M00ndancer

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#14
A better amp will only contribute to better sound if your previous one was sh*tty. I don't think we can really discern between O2/Atom/THX etc. But when measured some headphone amps don't even get to 96dB SINAD, even less so for power amps. As you say though there IS the question of the power being sufficient, too.
English not my native language :) Sufficient was the word I was looking for. On the other hand if we talk tube amps.... they might colour the sound, changing the sound you get in your headphone. Not going to judge anyone wanting a tube amp or a solid state because they like the sound. It's up to personal preference. Amir's work makes it easier to avoid the worst cases of DAC and AMP's
 

Veri

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#15
Personally I don't mind tube sound, I like adding some coloration via DSP when I feel like it. But, I absolute abhor the noise floor of tube amps. They all hum like crazy, I've yet to see a well measuring headphone tube amp in this regard. With a high enough impedance headphone like hd650 it is rather in the background, but with many headphones it is very bothersome.
 
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#16
Personally I don't mind tube sound, I like adding some coloration via DSP when I feel like it. But, I absolute abhor the noise floor of tube amps. They all hum like crazy, I've yet to see a well measuring headphone tube amp in this regard. With a high enough impedance headphone like hd650 it is rather in the background, but with many headphones it is very bothersome.
Bottlehead crack is silent.
 

Veri

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#17
Bottlehead crack is silent.
Used with what headphones? The HD650 aren't exactly a noise magnet. I've listened to several BH Crack kits including one I owned myself and it's the same as with other tubes really. Not necessarily problematic since it is meant to be used with high impedance headphones, but with even slightly sensitive headphones it's there in the background. Measuring it would reveal a ton of mains hum.

Maybe @amirm can measure a bottlehead some day. You would see it is NOT, 'silent'. Although like I said, depending on use it's not strictly a problem. I personally just really dislike hum in the signal.
 
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