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Need help with going cheap on audio gear

Joined
Jan 1, 2020
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Mannheim, Germany
#1
My current situation:
Aune X1s -> SMSL SP200 -> DT1990

My goal:
Go cheaper on DAC+AMP, without losing audible sound quality on the DT1990.

Part 1/2: Go cheaper on dac.
Current dac: Aune X1s (250€)
Next planned dac: Hiresfi 5102 A (50€)
Reason for my choice:
My onboard audio dac isn't an option, because of EMI and all semi-modern dacs sound the same anyways.

Part 2/2: Go cheaper on amp.
Current amp: SMSL SP200 (300€)
Next planned amp: ??
Can I go cheaper on my amp, without losing audible sound quality?

Little Update: The Hiresfi 5102 A sounds horrible AF on all fronts.
Anyways Im going to keep an eye on eBay for a while now...
 
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M00ndancer

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#2

somebodyelse

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#4
If you can wait a bit the Topping L30 is due soon and likely to be available at amazon and audiophonics. Atom and Heresy seem unavailable in Europe for the moment, but otherwise would be the obvious choice.
 

Bob-23

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Berlin, Germany
#5
What's your opinion on Lake People G103-s for 200€ with 0,002% THD+N? SMSL SP200 measures better with 0,00014% THD+N, but does it audibly matter?
Hello, that difference is beyond audibility for most of us, except the 'giolden eared' ones, they should all sound the same - of course, if they'e done well. Lake people is renowned for good craftsmanship...
Have a good time in Mannheim!

Even cheaper would be the O2 (Objective 2), available in Germany ( I think the only'maker' in Europe, handsoldered; through-hole = easily repairable; he sells also good quality pcbs, and even whole kits for those who own a soldering iron). I like that amp very much, built it a few times, no noise, no distortion.
Here: http://www.headnhifi.com/
(I'd take the Desktop version; I prefer Gainsettings 1x/2,5x).
But inform yourself before you buy: http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/07/o2-design-process.html
https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-history/silicon-revolution/nwavguy-the-audio-genius-who-vanished
 
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KeithPhantom

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#6
Go cheap, but audibly transparent. That's what I did. I got an Asgard 3 with the AK4490 DAC for $300 and it has everything that is desirable for a transparent chain of sound (low THD+N, CCIF IMD, Crosstalk, output impedance and a lot of power).
 

Tks

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#7
I'm confused. Why would you need to change anything? You have two great devices..?
 

KeithPhantom

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#8
I'm confused. Why would you need to change anything? You have two great devices..?
It is possible that OP wants to raise some money or just doesn't see his gear as appropriate for the price. There are reasons people would want to downgrade.
 

Bob-23

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#9
.) I'd suggest refining what we mean by 'cheap': cheap in the short run, or cheap in the long run? Buying cheap without regarding durability and longevity of products often means you pay twice the price of a more expensive but more durable product, in the end of the day. 'Longevity' also implies repairability: is the product easily repairable or is it throw-away stuff, as so many of todays products. And 'cheap' in what regard and for whom? Cheap for the eastern-low-land-gorillas who get shot in search for the coltan used in smartphones, and child labourers getting brutally exploited in search for the mineral? Cheap for 'the environment' which is polluted by all that throw away rubbish, by their production and their waste? And so on. What we need is products which are durable and repairable, products which are produced under ecologically and socially 'fair conditions'. Today - after Snowden - we may add: products which protect our data. So, 'cheap' is becoming more complex... We can begin with using our products as long as possible, and not hunting for the newest fashionable phone (or 'portable Gestapo', as some people call them here), or the newest dac, which may measure somehow better, but which is beyond audibility, anyway. 'Repairing' should be a key word. (And those who own a soldering iron have a double advantage: They can easily repair a lot of stuff, from computer monitors to amplifiers to smoke detectors, and thus double their longevity, and they can, really, build cheap and durable and repairable audio equipment, equipment with chosen good quality components and with planned non-obsolescence - and, into the bargain, it's a lot of fun.)
 
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A800

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#10
He who buys twice buys more often.
 
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