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Aslan's picture
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Audioengine D1 newbie question
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I rather fancy buying the Audioengine D1. I like the way it is usb powered, small, looks good and is pretty affordable. It seems ideal for my needs and will satisfy my itch to buy a new gadget. Not many reviews around on it but from what I have read it seems pretty good.

 

How much money should I budget for headphones to go with the D1? Would something around the GBP100 to GBP150 mark be suitable or would I need to spend a bit more to get the most out of the D1? I don't really want to spend a fortune on headphones. Any models you can recommend? I mainly listen to pop rock and opera.

 

Any advice would be much appreciated.

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RE: Audioengine D1 newbie question

Hi Aslan, I don't think there is anything wrong with the balance that you are suggesting, even if it was headphones costing lower than £50 I might hesitate but I don't think that it's a terrible thing to do. I have had 3 DAC / headphone amps now (with a 4th on the way - Audinst HUD MX1) and I really love what these machines do to headphone's sound!

I saw a guy reviewing the Audioengine D1 on Head-fi.org and he absolutely loved it. I very nearly went for this myself as a unit to use at work but decided on the Audinst in the end becasue it's a bit more versatile and a bit cheaper. I made a list of the interesting DAC / headphone amps lately if you are interested: Click HERE

What headphones are you considering btw?

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RE: Audioengine D1 newbie question

Thanks Quadpatch. I am thinking of the AKG K450. Will they be suitable? I travel a lot in my job and think they might be a good buy as they are foldable.

 

Anonymous
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RE: Audioengine D1 newbie question

Hi. When I read your taste of 'pop, rock and opera' AKG popped into my mind as a great all rounder, but I have not heard the ones you referred to.

 

I think £100 to £150 is a great budget and diminishing returns seriously set in above that. In any case I can only think of a very few made to be portable headphones over that, the B&W P5 and Bose QC15. Both are avilable to try at Apple stores along with just as good headphones for less.

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RE: Audioengine D1 newbie question

Aslan wrote:

Thanks Quadpatch. I am thinking of the AKG K450. Will they be suitable? I travel a lot in my job and think they might be a good buy as they are foldable.

It's funny I was thinking of these when I mentioned the £50 mark. They were originally £150 and WHF said they would have given them 5 stars at that price, as it was they had already dropped to £100 when they did review them and they are now down to £50 at a few places. I just checked and Superfi have them in stock at that price at the moment. I have not heard them myself but I have heard a lot of good things about them, it seems for £50 you can't go too far wrong. 

If you want to splash out more I can highly recommend the VModa M-80 but that's another £100 more and I can't say quite how much better they are. Although there are some great headphones out there for not too much cash there are also a lot of rubbish if you are not too careful.

Are you still going for the Audioengine D1 DAC? If you haven't decided yet I have updated my DAC list - HERE. Of special interest to you (because of your budget) is the new Arcam rPAC which is the same price as the Audioengine. It also runs off USB power, adds asyncronous USB transfer, is a bit smaller, has a cooler badge :).

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RE: Audioengine D1 newbie question

Thanks for your suggestions. I think I will go with the AKG headphones, I don't think I can do much better for the money and it will be helpful to have something foldable.

 

The Arcam looks very interesting. I have a slight preference for the audioengine though because I prefer a volume knob as opposed to buttons. Also, I might later add a pair of the Audioengine speakers to go with it for use in my 2nd room.

 

I will need to check the prices in Hong Kong. I might end up buying the Arcam because I think Audioengine will be rediculously expensive out here.

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RE: Audioengine D1 newbie question

I know what you mean about the volume knob, I prefer them too but if my experience with the Fiio E7 is anything to go by then you get less interference with buttons. Synergy aside, if you did want to get Audioengine speakers later they would still work with the Arcam as it also has RCA connectors. 

What country are you in btw? Am curious what you mean by the Audioengine being expensive where you are.

Anonymous
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RE: Audioengine D1 newbie question

I have the nuforce uDac-2, which is very similar to the D1.  The D1 looks slightly better specified.  The volume knob is very nice to have.   I have mine attached to NHT MOO's.

-N-

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RE: Audioengine D1 newbie question

I am living in Hong Kong at the moment. Hifi out here is generally more expensive than England. Mainstream brands such as Cambridge, Marantz and Denon are reasonably priced. But anything like Audiolab, Naim and Neat are 20% more expensive than the U.K. It is tax free in Hong Kong and there are no import duties, it is absurd hifi should cost more in Hong Kong than England.

 

I just found out that the Audioengine DAC1 is not available in Hong Kong anyway. It is available mail order from an online retailer in the U.K. though so that might be my best option. I don't have to pay VAT so that pretty much covers the cost of postage.

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RE: Audioengine D1 newbie question

What about a DAC / head amp that comes from China though? Surely they are cheaper. I think these makes are from over there:

● IBasso ('D7' looks awesome and fits what you want I think, has asynchronous USB too)

● Yulong ('U100' is supposed to be pretty amazing, small version of my DAC) 

● Matrix ('Cube' is a bit more than the D1 but much better specified, has the DAC from my Yulong D100)

I just got the Audinst HUD MX-1 delivered today and so far I'm love it. This would also fit what you are looking for I think. It's from Korea I think but only sold through eBay anyway so should be fine to get shipped to HK. Only cost me £112 so is a fair bit cheaper than the Audioengine. Works off USB power (or socket powered - for more demanding headphones). Also like the D1 it has RCA out for powered speakers or amp connection. It has a SPDIF too but it's an output here rather than the D1's input (so can be used as a USB - SPDIF converter, odd but cool).

Any of that stuff sound interesting or do you still have your heart set on the Audioengine D1? I'm not trying to talk you out of it, just give you options, the D1 looks cool.


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RE: Audioengine D1 newbie question

Thanks for your suggestions Quad, I will go ahead and mail order the Audioengine from the UK. The Arcam you suggested isn't available out here anyway.

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