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Sundara/XS Amp recommendation

TechEnthusiast

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Currently using a Fiio K3, not enough for those 2. It has serviced me well for the past few years with my old trusty Grado SR325 and Sivga Phoenix. I recently picked up the Hifiman Edition XS and then saw that the Sundara was discounted to 300 and could not resist.
I want plenty of headroom for those 2 Hifiman's and I am considering a combo as well as a stack. I would prefer the combo, to keep everything clean and simple on my desktop. I guess I could use my PC as a dac or my old soundblaster card connected to an amp to keep that clean look.
Considering:
Topping Dx pro+.....is it enough power?
Fiio K5... see above
The Monilith combo....Overkill? Pricey...not interested. utilizing balanced
Or- utilizing; on-board dacs/K3/Stack
Schiit Heresy
Liquid Spark
ATOM
789
That is my short list, but I am open to any suggestions.
 

Leiker535

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From the options listed, 789 balanced would be de safest bet for lots of headroom. if not, Schiit heresy or k5 pro if you don't live in the US (it also is more versatile, just don't expect much preamp/pure dac perfomance from it).

The Dx3 pro + would be ideal, but amirms measurements showed some funky behavior with very low impedance (like that of XS's) [ someone might correct me on that though]. For Sundara it would be fine.

EDIT: If you really want to go down the headroom rabbit hole, you could get the A30 pro + d10s balanced, both from Topping, and never bother with amplification again. On the cheap, you could get the L50 + D10S balanced; it has less power but it still a lot. From both these amps you would not need to change the cables to balanced (unlike the 789).
 
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OP
T

TechEnthusiast

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From the options listed, 789 balanced would be de safest bet for lots of headroom. if not, Schiit heresy or k5 pro if you don't live in the US (it also is more versatile, just don't expect much preamp/pure dac perfomance from it).

The Dx3 pro + would be ideal, but amirms measurements showed some funky behavior with very low impedance (like that of XS's) [ someone might correct me on that though]. For Sundara it would be fine.

EDIT: If you really want to go down the headroom rabbit hole, you could get the A30 pro + d10s balanced, both from Topping, and never bother with amplification again. On the cheap, you could get the L50 + D10S balanced; it has less power but it still a lot. From both these amps you would not need to change the cables to balanced (unlike the 789).
I have read that the measurements of Amrim were not accurate regarding the Dx3 pro+ performance on high impedence.
 
OP
T

TechEnthusiast

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Got the the Topping Dx3 Pro+ yesterday. All I can say is that it does perform well. As a matter of fact, at least in my testing, the Sundara requires more power than the Edition XS on this amp. From my testing they are 2-3 decibels different, where the Sundara is in need of that extra gain to match the XS.
What do you guys think? I really like what I am hearing on both headphones through this Dac/Amp, however, I am not knowledgeable or experienced enough with higher level equipment to determine what will get them to their full potential.

Is it only a marginal gain by spending hundreds or even thousands more?

With regards to these Headphones, it is hard to tell if it is worth the extra $200 for the XS once equalization is introduced. Regardless of EQ the XS is more open and airy and I have figured out a way to make them more comfortable with some creative bending of the metals of the XS. Still more testing needed though.
 
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Leiker535

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Got the the Topping Dx3 Pro+ yesterday. All I can say is that it does perform well. As a matter of fact, at least in my testing, the Sundara requires more power than the Edition XS on this amp. From my testing they are 2-3 decibels different, where the Sundara is in need of that extra gain to match the XS.
What do you guys think? I really like what I am hearing on both headphones through this Dac/Amp, however, I am not knowledgeable or experienced enough with higher level equipment to determine what will get them to their full potential.

Is it only a marginal gain by spending hundreds or even thousands more?

With regards to these Headphones, it is hard to tell if it is worth the extra $200 for the XS once equalization is introduced. Regardless of EQ the XS is more open and airy and I have figured out a way to make them more comfortable with some creative bending of the metals of the XS. Still more testing needed though.

If you like what you hear then you're fine, nothing will dramatically change with more amplification.

Only you can answer the second question, my advice is to keep both and use them for long periods of time and then swap, A/B tests will show you drastic differences but only time may show what you preffer in the end (if the sound isn't outright broken from the get-go). Also, be caferul with the Hifiman headband of the XS, as it can break.
 
OP
T

TechEnthusiast

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If you like what you hear then you're fine, nothing will dramatically change with more amplification.

Only you can answer the second question, my advice is to keep both and use them for long periods of time and then swap, A/B tests will show you drastic differences but only time may show what you preffer in the end (if the sound isn't outright broken from the get-go). Also, be caferul with the Hifiman headband of the XS, as it can break.
Oh.... you have you heard of that headband breaking. That would be a concern. I do prefer the suspension system that the Sundara use but I am not really wanting to reach for the Ananda, especially since I have read (not personally heard) that the XS is better in the low end slam and overall.
 

Leiker535

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Oh.... you have you heard of that headband breaking. That would be a concern. I do prefer the suspension system that the Sundara use but I am not really wanting to reach for the Ananda, especially since I have read (not personally heard) that the XS is better in the low end slam and overall.
It has greater extension on the lower end than the Ananda (flat to 20hz), but also a weird peak at 12khz that made it strange for me. All round, it is a great headphone yes. Having both it and t he 6XX, I only kept the latter because I liked it's unEQed tonality better (I listen to vinyl a lot) and, most importantly, because the new Hifiman headband gave me a hotspot after 30 min.

You can mod it, but it does require widening the plastic holes at the side, and the headband price might make it as expensive as the Ananda... I've seen people near me using a cloth cover over it, and they were pretty satisfied with the result, horrendous as it is:

Hef788cf78ad041828c313b1b8acaa1406.jpg
 
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