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Need hardware recommendations for a "perfectly" EQ'ed HD800

kyleTheDude

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Apr 26, 2022
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So, I just sold my Sennheiser HDV 820 DAC/Amp (please go easy on me) after I realized EQing my HD800 improved the sound more than any amp dac configuration did. With this recent discovery and some extra cash in my pocket, I wonder if it is a worthy pursuit for me to look for an amp/dac or amp + dac combo that is as "clean" and "clear" as possible (forgive me for my lack of knowledge on the terminology) without having to worry about other characteristics such as amp-headphone "pairing" and "warmth" since I'll just end up EQing to my tastes.

If this sounds like a logical pursuit to you guys, please give me some recommendations that fit these criteria on a budget of $250-500. Can be either an amp/dac or an amp + dac combo. Balanced output is a plus but not necessary (I understand it doesn't do much but I mainly just like the sturdy look of the connector compared the 1/4th inch).

What I have gathered the past couple days to be possible candidates are: MX3 Pro+, DX5, Topping d10b/s + some clean amp, Topping d10B + Massdrop THX 789 (I just really like how it looks and seems to still be high up in the performance charts). I know there's probably way more, but I haven't been active in the hobby for a couple years and I don't know what to look for in terms of measurements that are used on this site.

On the other hand, if my idea is actually stupid and not worthwhile, I guess I can just get the MX3 Pro+ and call it a day. Either way, please let me know!
 

jcarys

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On the low end of your price range I would recommend the Topping E30 and L30 - that's about $330. This is not balanced.

The step up for me (that I'm actually considering for my use) is still Topping - the E50 and L50, at about $450. Fully balanced and full MQA decode, if that matters to you. Honestly, I would say anything on your proposed list is going to work very well. You should check out the Master review list for Headphone amps and see if any of the reviews steer you to a particular model.
 
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kyleTheDude

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On the low end of your price range I would recommend the Topping E30 and L30 - that's about $330. This is not balanced.

The step up for me (that I'm actually considering for my use) is still Topping - the E50 and L50, at about $450. Fully balanced and full MQA decode, if that matters to you. Honestly, I would say anything on your proposed list is going to work very well. You should check out the Master review list for Headphone amps and see if any of the reviews steer you to a particular model.
Yeah I just saw the E/L50 and they're both chart toppers. Although I don't know how much weight the charts have when making a decision. They do seem priced well compared to similar performing amps and dacs.

By master review list do you mean the "review index"? Is there a faq or something that explains what the measurements translate to when listening?Thanks
 

jcarys

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Aug 24, 2020
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Yes, I mean the review index. I would say the 30s perform right on the edge of what is audible at home, and the 50s are definitely beyond it. If you don't pick up the meaning of each spec from the review (try the videos where they exist), then I would just look the terms up on the web. Armin's reviews are using standard industry specs.
 
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