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Advice: Audiolab M-DAC + Grado S325is

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FrHa's picture
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Joined: 7 Jun 2011
Posts: 6

Hey everyone, so to start off I'm not particulary knowledgeable about this stuff so please bear with me Smile

I was reading Julys What HiFi? issue and saw the Audiolab M-DACs five star review. On the system matches in the magazine it said the Grado S325is are ideal for this DAC. Here's my question then:

> To get the best sound from my iMac do I just need the M-DAC and Grados, or do I need some headphone amp and fancy cable as well?

I'm currently using Bose QC15s plugged right into my iMac, so this would be a big step up! Smile

I mainly listen to pop/dance music.

Thanks if you can help! Smile

andrew_cawood's picture
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Joined: 13 Nov 2011
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RE: Advice: Audiolab M-DAC + Grado S325is

Hi Frha, no headphone amp required the M-DAC has an excellent built in amp. You do need either a USB A to B cable or an optical cable with mini toslink or standard optical cable with mini toslink adapter (these plug straight into the Macs headphone out but use a digital signal). I've used both with mine and, to me, differences are minimal. Whether the cable should be fancy or not is a debate you'll find on many other pages of this forum, but my advice is to spend what you're happy with. I tend to buy bottom of the range hifi cables (£10-£20) for no other reason that I can't bring myself to spend £2 on a cable to connect to a £600 piece of kit. 

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prk1's picture
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Joined: 3 Jun 2013
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RE: Advice: Audiolab M-DAC + Grado S325is

FrHa,

I have been using the mdac with a pair if grado ps500 for over a year now and the combination is sublime. Some retailers offer package deals for the mdac with headphones including s325is. As to usb cables I am firmly you need a good one. I use a furutech gt2; I have recently seen good reviews for the chord silver plus.

The best thing is to do a search for dealers selling the mdac and go listen through different headphones. Hope this helps.

FrHa's picture
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Joined: 7 Jun 2011
Posts: 6
RE: Advice: Audiolab M-DAC + Grado S325is

andrew_cawood wrote:

Hi Frha, no headphone amp required the M-DAC has an excellent built in amp. You do need either a USB A to B cable or an optical cable with mini toslink or standard optical cable with mini toslink adapter (these plug straight into the Macs headphone out but use a digital signal). I've used both with mine and, to me, differences are minimal. Whether the cable should be fancy or not is a debate you'll find on many other pages of this forum, but my advice is to spend what you're happy with. I tend to buy bottom of the range hifi cables (£10-£20) for no other reason that I can't bring myself to spend £2 on a cable to connect to a £600 piece of kit. 

 

thanks! Smile Incredibly helpful! Smile

FrHa's picture
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Joined: 7 Jun 2011
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RE: Advice: Audiolab M-DAC + Grado S325is

prk1 wrote:

FrHa,

I have been using the mdac with a pair if grado ps500 for over a year now and the combination is sublime. Some retailers offer package deals for the mdac with headphones including s325is. As to usb cables I am firmly you need a good one. I use a furutech gt2; I have recently seen good reviews for the chord silver plus.

The best thing is to do a search for dealers selling the mdac and go listen through different headphones. Hope this helps.

Thanks! Smile

So you're just using the M-DAC, PS500s, USB cable and nothing else (e.g, amp)? If so that sounds like a great simple setup for me! Smile

How does it sound on pop/bass/electronic music?

Thanks Smile

andyrap's picture
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Joined: 12 Jul 2013
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RE: Advice: Audiolab M-DAC + Grado S325is

FrHa wrote:

Thanks! Smile

So you're just using the M-DAC, PS500s, USB cable and nothing else (e.g, amp)? If so that sounds like a great simple setup for me! Smile

How does it sound on pop/bass/electronic music?

Thanks Smile

I listen to a lot of electronica through my M-DAC / USB / Grado 325is combo and it is a superb combination. The Grados are bright as you may know, but incredibly detailed and never harsh. With anything from ambient through to techno, progressive trance, house, drum & bass I really enjoy listening to them. Acid lines especially from genres like psy sound incredible with a real anaolgue grit to them. With other genres including more vocals or acoustic instruments again the detail is incredible. Female vocals especially are beautifully rich. Great fun to listen to.