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New headphone stack: Topping or Gustard?

devopsprodude

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if your HPs are balanced, the a50s is a powerhouse. if your HPs are unbalanced, @JohnYang1997 has said that he designed the L30 for clean power to unbalanced (and the a50s for clean balanced power). what you could do is get a d50s and an a30pro. iirc the a30pro leads the 50mv leaderboards, does it not?

another option, if you're only driving IEMs, is the sonata HD pro and saying pshaw to the pressure to buy TOTL. My ER4s sound GREAT through the sonatas on my PC, and for 50$ it's impossible to go wrong. the cs4313 is an incredibly little chip.
Yeah, the A30 Pro is at or near the top of the leaderboards in the categories that Amir tracks. Plus it delivers gobs of power to single ended or balanced headphones.
 
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RHO

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if your HPs are balanced, the a50s is a powerhouse. if your HPs are unbalanced, @JohnYang1997 has said that he designed the L30 for clean power to unbalanced (and the a50s for clean balanced power). what you could do is get a d50s and an a30pro. iirc the a30pro leads the 50mv leaderboards, does it not?

another option, if you're only driving IEMs, is the sonata HD pro and saying pshaw to the pressure to buy TOTL. My ER4s sound GREAT through the sonatas on my PC, and for 50$ it's impossible to go wrong. the cs4313 is an incredibly little chip.
Into a 33ohm load the DX3pro delivers 570mW while the A50s can only push out 465mW into the same load (2V input).
DX3pro_vs_A50s_balanced.PNG

Or am I reading this wrong? Is this the SE output into 33Ohm @2V input for the A50s?

I can run my headphones SE or balanced (I DIY my own cables). Only the K371 does not allow a balanced connection.
Yeah, I was already looking into the D50s + A30pro combo. But if the A50s puts out more than 465mW balanced with 2V input, I think it will be plenty. According the spec sheet it should put out 1950mW into 32Ohm with 2V input. ...That would be more than enough.
I now realize I misinterpreted the specs and measurements for the A50s up until now.
 

Dougey_Jones

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SMSL SU-9 / SH-9 Stack

/biased
 

mkawa

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Into a 33ohm load the DX3pro delivers 570mW while the A50s can only push out 465mW into the same load (2V input).
View attachment 129046
Or am I reading this wrong? Is this the SE output into 33Ohm @2V input for the A50s?

I can run my headphones SE or balanced (I DIY my own cables). Only the K371 does not allow a balanced connection.
Yeah, I was already looking into the D50s + A30pro combo. But if the A50s puts out more than 465mW balanced with 2V input, I think it will be plenty. According the spec sheet it should put out 1950mW into 32Ohm with 2V input. ...That would be more than enough.
I now realize I misinterpreted the specs and measurements for the A50s up until now.
yah that's the unbalanced output. the a30pro is great, but you do pay quite a bit for that power. much like the sp400 i probably don't need most of, are you really going to use that power?
 
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RHO

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SMSL SU-9 / SH-9 Stack
/biased
Yes, nice stack. Very tempting, but I think the dual displays will distract me too much. The stack will be in my home office directly in front of me.
yah that's the unbalanced output. the a30pro is great, but you do pay quite a bit for that power. much like the sp400 i probably don't need most of, are you really going to use that power?
With my current headphones I will not need the power from the A30pro. That's clear to me.

I think I will go for the A50s and use my DX3pro as a DAC until it will move to the other set.
It's a small investment and if I don't like it, it's easy to sell. If I do like it, I can look for a nice DAC to go with it (obviously the D50s is a good candidate).
 
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I just learned about the upcoming FiiO K9 pro. Looks like everything I want in 1 nicely designed box. But will it be good? (AKM or Sabre DAC?)
 

mkawa

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limited to 1000 units as akm and then changing dac chip
 
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limited to 1000 units as akm and then changing dac chip
They are designing a version with ESS DAC chips, right? Will that objectively be much worse than the AKM? (higher noise floor?)
Mass production with AKM chip will be for next year as far as I understood.
 

aandres_gm

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I just learned about the upcoming FiiO K9 pro. Looks like everything I want in 1 nicely designed box. But will it be good? (AKM or Sabre DAC?)
That FiiO looks good. They make solid and reliable products (I'm still using my X3II DAP I bought almost 6 years ago). I'm not so sure about the pricing, though. The other issue is of course availability.

I ended up going with a Topping A30Pro/D30Pro stack. Decided against having a real preamp functionality, which at the moment isn't a huge priority, but kept the two inputs on the Amp, which were needed for the DAC and Turntable. Price-wise, I couldn't find any alternatives with the dual inputs, so I just pulled the trigger.

Hopefully I'll get the gear by next week.
 
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That FiiO looks good. They make solid and reliable products (I'm still using my X3II DAP I bought almost 6 years ago). I'm not so sure about the pricing, though. The other issue is of course availability.

I ended up going with a Topping A30Pro/D30Pro stack. Decided against having a real preamp functionality, which at the moment isn't a huge priority, but kept the two inputs on the Amp, which were needed for the DAC and Turntable. Price-wise, I couldn't find any alternatives with the dual inputs, so I just pulled the trigger.

Hopefully I'll get the gear by next week.
Availability will be the main issue with the K9 pro with AKM DAC. Maybe best to wait until it's widely available and Amir has done some measurements on it.
 

mkawa

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fiio has released some poorly performing dacs with AKM chips. the fiio q5 was based on the 4497eq and measured poorly. (the THX amp module not being very good didn't help, but yah)
 

mrbungle

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Looks like you really want a Dx7 Pro with lower output impedance (don’t think it‘s such a huge deal everybody makes it, but not an IEM person, my Shure 215 sound similarly crappy on the RME to me). I’m not aware of anything like that right now, but given the popularity, I assume it’s just a matter of time. Maybe just wait or get something cheap/used until you are more excited?
 
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fiio has released some poorly performing dacs with AKM chips. the fiio q5 was based on the 4497eq and measured poorly. (the THX amp module not being very good didn't help, but yah)
That's why I will wait until ASR or someone else has done some decent measurements on the thing, before considering buying it.
Looks like you really want a Dx7 Pro with lower output impedance (don’t think it‘s such a huge deal everybody makes it, but not an IEM person, my Shure 215 sound similarly crappy on the RME to me). I’m not aware of anything like that right now, but given the popularity, I assume it’s just a matter of time. Maybe just wait or get something cheap/used until you are more excited?
Yeah, I would like to see a rather low output impedance for use with IEMs. Not that it bothers me too much that my DX3pro is a V2 with higher output impedance, but when buying something new it would be nice if it is an upgrade in some way. :)
Output impedance on the A50s is below 1Ohm.
 
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I went for it and ordered a Topping A50s.
If I like it, I'll get the D50s too.
Not sure if I get the P50. Maybe a good adapter will do just fine.
@amirm tested the D50s using only the USB connection as I understood from his review. So I don't actually know if a separate powersupply would help or would just add an extra cable.
 
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Reading about all the s/pdif - Toslink issues with the D50s (and other DACs) I'm quite relieved that I have my DX3pro.
I think the plan changes again and I'll keep the DX3pro as a DAC in this set and use the A50s as my amp.
The other set will get a good usb dongle (don't really need other inputs there) until the issues at AKM are solved or other manufacturers get their jitter issues solved and we can get good connections over coax/optical again. Then I'll start looking for a new DAC again. and can the DX3pro move to the other set.
 

3kweave

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From an objective standpoint can you get better performance for less money? It certainly seems that way. There are a number of Dac/amp combos that are audibly transparent and deliver more power for less money (USD). The RME provides a few things that I can't get with other dac/amps stacks. It is only one box so creates less clutter on my desk. I like having ability to tweak the sound on the fly. I also like that I can hook it up to my tv and use headphones with my preferred EQ. I think it looks cool. I like the screen and remote. I feel like it provides ample power to the vast majority of headphones. If I run into a situation where I need more power for a thirsty headphone I can always buy an a30 or thx 789 or even l30 and run it at 4v through rca. However, if you are going to use it exclusively at your desk and things like the eq, remote, form factor aren't an issue then you should certainly consider an a30pro/d30pro or something like that because it is an objectively better value.
 
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Just got the A50s in.
Hooked it up to the DX3pro (pre-amp mode with volume @0dB). HD6XX in the 6.35mm SE output, low gain. Damn, this thing is loud! Plenty of power for these cans.
I'm waiting for parts to arrive so I can build some 4.4mm pentocon cables for my headphones.
And also waiting for the DCA Aeon RT that I ordered last week. :)
 

Mansinthe86

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I'm thinking about topping A90 or Gustard H16.
But I would use them with the Cambridge CXN V2 (balanced)
 
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I don't think you would hear any difference between them. So it will depend on features, aesthetics, dimensions, budget, peace of mind ...
Objectively the A90 is better. So if you really worry about getting every last detail out of the signal tha should be the way to go.
The H16 is good enough to be viewed as completely transparant.
 

Mansinthe86

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I don't think you would hear any difference between them. So it will depend on features, aesthetics, dimensions, budget, peace of mind ...
Objectively the A90 is better. So if you really worry about getting every last detail out of the signal tha should be the way to go.
The H16 is good enough to be viewed as completely transparant.


Might be getting the singxer SA 1. Looks good as well
 
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