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DAC headphone amp for high end headphones & lossless music

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wolfie01902's picture
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Joined: 29 Jun 2007
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I now spend the bulk of my time listening to my music sitting at my iMac

I use B & W MM1’s as the speakers but I do like to listen to my headphones, which are Grado GS1000’s

So I’m intending to purchase a DAC headphone amp to use with these excellent cans.

 

But it seems quite a bewildering market, the ones I’ve read some reviews and considering are:

Meridian Explorer

HRT microStreamer

Arcam rPAC

And the Graham Slee Bitzie USB DAC/USB Headphone Amp

 

Anyone tried any of these with good quality headphones?

Can someone come up with an answer?

 

Kind regards

 

Jeremy

 

 

Overdose's picture
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RE: DAC headphone amp for high end headphones & lossless music

I'd take a look at THIS.

I'd be surprised if the other items you mentioned bettered it, or were as good.

 

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jacking's picture
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RE: DAC headphone amp for high end headphones & lossless music

I'm using the Meridian Explorer with a pair of PSB M4U2 cans and the sound is astonishingly good. Front end is a Mac Mini (with Audivana installed) connected to a pair of Audioengine 5+ via the Explorer. This is a very recent departure from my normal Yamaha YSP 4100 soundbar system which just cant do good stereo. It's funny how you can get carried away with 5.1 sound and completly forget about h-fi. I don't use this as a desk based system, but have it alongside the Yamaha, so can still use the Mac Mini from HDMI into the TV. Will be experimenting with the sub (from the 5.1 system) soon, although the Audioengines are very good in this area.

andrew_cawood's picture
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RE: DAC headphone amp for high end headphones & lossless music

Could you up your budget to £400? If so the Audiolab Q-Dac should be available any day now....reportedly as good as the M-dac without the frills. 

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Pete68's picture
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RE: DAC headphone amp for high end headphones & lossless music

NJC Audio do a good headphone amp/DAC here, although I would be more inclined to go with a better headphone amp like the Fidelity Audio HPA-100 at £350 and a cheaper Fiio Dac. I have the HPA-200 SE and the Fidelity Audio's are proper little gems. A powerfull, clean sound but they need ages to burn in before you get the best out of them.

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Jason36's picture
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RE: DAC headphone amp for high end headphones & lossless music

I would also say that the Epiphany EPH02D is an excellent sounding solution....I could also highly recommend the Schiit Modi / Magni combination. Although the latter is a two box solution it is extremely good. the DAC will work up to 24/96kHz files via USB and the headphone amp has bags of power to drive even the hardest to drive headphones.

The two box solution would also provide more flexibility with regards to upgrades in the future.

Schiit do now have a UK distributor (can't remember who)....I ordered mind directly from Schiit in the US for $99 each + postage and import duty.

 

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mitch65's picture
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RE: DAC headphone amp for high end headphones & lossless music

Hi Jason

I was having a bit of a laugh with myself about the company name but when looking at the UK importers website it just got funnier

"This exciting new company already brings lots of history designing high end components. That knowledge and professionalism is brought to us in SCHIIT, (pronounced Shee-tah, proud German name in fact)." Shock

Laughing aside, I think 200 quid for a two box headphone amp and dac in this day and age in excellent value but judging by the importers prices it may be better to buy direct.

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DavieCee's picture
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RE: DAC headphone amp for high end headphones & lossless music

How about this:-

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Beresford-Caiman-DAC-/251289378490?pt=UK_Sound...

 

Not mine by the way, but what I use. The USB connection is a marked step up from the digital out from my Macbook Pro and as far as I know, Beresford no longer do a USB version.