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Author Topic: relatively affordable headphone amp/ADC?  (Read 8786 times)

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Offline acidjack

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Re: relatively affordable headphone amp/ADC?
« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2011, 03:29:41 PM »
I would much prefer to use the USBpre2 as both a DAC/Headamp if I could get away with it... I wonder what other headphones might not have the hiss problems with it....
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Offline ethan

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Re: relatively affordable headphone amp/ADC?
« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2011, 04:05:58 PM »
Thanks for this thread. I was just thinking about how I can properly monitor from my laptop. The iBasso's look interesting to me.


Would love to pick up that D12 Anaconda just about everyting one would need.

Anyone know what's the advantage of Dual DAC chips ?

So you plug these in to the USB and it presents itself as a sound card to the computer?
« Last Edit: November 02, 2011, 04:44:53 PM by ethan »
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Offline page

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Re: relatively affordable headphone amp/ADC?
« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2011, 12:23:14 AM »
So you plug these in to the USB and it presents itself as a sound card to the computer?

yeah, basically. I like using the optical out so I don't have to fiddle with selecting a soundcard or stuff like that, but the premises is basically the same.

I would much prefer to use the USBpre2 as both a DAC/Headamp if I could get away with it... I wonder what other headphones might not have the hiss problems with it....

That was totally my aim, but I couldn't stand the hiss so I always used an outboard amp until I got my LCD-2s. A general gist on keeping low-impedance but low-sensitivity is looking for orthodynamics instead of straight dynamic coil headphones. Audeze, HifiMan, and maybe one other make nice ortho cans, it's really a niche product anymore. Otherwise most low impedance cans are also fairly sensitive, and SD says the usbpre2 doesn't play as well with high impedance cans. While orthos are not a guarantee, it's a good indication that they will need lots of current and thats part of the problem with the usbpre2; it has an over abundance of current. Also, look for an impedance over 40ohm and under 100, thats the other thing. Anything under 32ohm and I suspect you start to get the hiss. This is all ballpark stuff, nothing hard and fast.

Having an outboard amp wouldn't be bad, I'll admit, I'm still tempted by the schiit asgard.

headphone.com has response graphs** that you can get a guage of how bright/dark something will sound as long as you can rationalize the graph they have for your own headphones.

** IME, they are approximate. More of a guideline but they can still be informative.
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Offline kindms

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Re: relatively affordable headphone amp/ADC?
« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2011, 09:43:16 AM »
page, do you (or anyone else) have any recs in around the price range of the FUBAR ($350) that are better?

I run MacBook Pro>Toslink>headphone amp.  Externally power via AC adapter.

I'd like something that works that I can "grow" with and ideally has a small footprint; that said, I don't know that I should move to the Grace 902 considering I'm using ATH-M50s as my headphones  :) 

A buddy also told me that there are guys on head.fi that are sort of like our many fine custom manufacturers here and can actually make one of these things for you.  Anyone have any experience with that?

I own the audio-gd FUN and love it!. I have had it for a year or 2 now. I use it daily. I have the older unit which was limited to 16/48 on the USB. The new version does 24/96 on the USB. Has toslink and coax in as well. DAC out, Pre-Amp out etc. 2 gain types as well. I use mine as just a DAC. No remote. You can mix and match chips etc that they offer on the site.

I had no problems dealing with them in China and the unit was delivered quickly.

Looks like a nice product, but that website inspires zero confidence.  Is there anything comparable that's US-made?  Other than the Grace 902/903, which is looking increasingly attractive...?

Personally I wouldn't hesitate to do business with them again. I have considered picking up a new FUN and the replacement USB chip for my current unit.

The website is fugly but they responded to emails quickly. although the English was a little rough. I took a chance after reading threads at headfi there was very little if any negative feedback about them so took the chance. But I def. understand the hesitation.
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Offline hi and lo

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Re: relatively affordable headphone amp/ADC?
« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2011, 11:53:53 AM »
I actually get more use from my usbpre2 as an audio interface/dac/headamp then I do in the field as a recording preamp/adc. It's the best DAC I had at my disposal (versus the onboard laptop, the zero 192, an ibasso D10, and even better than the Grace 901), and it's not a slouch. I'm not sure it would trump the DAC section of a newer 902 or 903 which have upgraded DAC stages compared to the original 901, but you already own a usbpre2 so the cost is vastly different compared to a 902/903...  ;)


Hmm... Everything I've heard from users of the USBPre2 is that the DAC/Headphone Amp leave a lot to be desired and I am shocked to hear you say that it is better than an m901 which is pretty much legendary. There are people that still prefer the 901 over the 902 (and presumably the 903).

ymmv... I love my 902, but otherwise my opinions are merely based on anecdote.

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Re: relatively affordable headphone amp/ADC?
« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2011, 02:50:53 PM »
I actually get more use from my usbpre2 as an audio interface/dac/headamp then I do in the field as a recording preamp/adc. It's the best DAC I had at my disposal (versus the onboard laptop, the zero 192, an ibasso D10, and even better than the Grace 901), and it's not a slouch. I'm not sure it would trump the DAC section of a newer 902 or 903 which have upgraded DAC stages compared to the original 901, but you already own a usbpre2 so the cost is vastly different compared to a 902/903...  ;)


Hmm... Everything I've heard from users of the USBPre2 is that the DAC/Headphone Amp leave a lot to be desired and I am shocked to hear you say that it is better than an m901 which is pretty much legendary. There are people that still prefer the 901 over the 902 (and presumably the 903).

ymmv... I love my 902, but otherwise my opinions are merely based on anecdote.

the DAC portion only. The usbpre2's headamp stage has issues in most circumstances.

The headamp stage of the entire 900 series is legendary, I agree (and I miss mine and want another), but the DAC portion in the 901 was meh when I compared the two. Conversely, the DAC chipset in the 901 was almost 10 years old compared to the usbpre2's so I'm not sure it was entirely a fair fight. Grace changed stuff with later revisions but I havn't heard the new models.

There are undoubtably better DACs then the usbpre2, but I don't think it's a slouch, especially if you're on a budget and own one already.
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Offline ethan

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Re: relatively affordable headphone amp/ADC?
« Reply #21 on: November 03, 2011, 03:37:59 PM »


headphone.com has response graphs**

I can't find these graphs on the site. Where are they?
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Offline hi and lo

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Re: relatively affordable headphone amp/ADC?
« Reply #22 on: November 03, 2011, 05:46:09 PM »
I actually get more use from my usbpre2 as an audio interface/dac/headamp then I do in the field as a recording preamp/adc. It's the best DAC I had at my disposal (versus the onboard laptop, the zero 192, an ibasso D10, and even better than the Grace 901), and it's not a slouch. I'm not sure it would trump the DAC section of a newer 902 or 903 which have upgraded DAC stages compared to the original 901, but you already own a usbpre2 so the cost is vastly different compared to a 902/903...  ;)


Hmm... Everything I've heard from users of the USBPre2 is that the DAC/Headphone Amp leave a lot to be desired and I am shocked to hear you say that it is better than an m901 which is pretty much legendary. There are people that still prefer the 901 over the 902 (and presumably the 903).

ymmv... I love my 902, but otherwise my opinions are merely based on anecdote.

the DAC portion only. The usbpre2's headamp stage has issues in most circumstances.

The headamp stage of the entire 900 series is legendary, I agree (and I miss mine and want another), but the DAC portion in the 901 was meh when I compared the two. Conversely, the DAC chipset in the 901 was almost 10 years old compared to the usbpre2's so I'm not sure it was entirely a fair fight. Grace changed stuff with later revisions but I havn't heard the new models.

There are undoubtably better DACs then the usbpre2, but I don't think it's a slouch, especially if you're on a budget and own one already.

Got it! Thanks for the clarification. :)

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Re: relatively affordable headphone amp/ADC?
« Reply #23 on: November 03, 2011, 06:01:33 PM »
I think I'm going to pull the trigger on the Ibasso D12
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Re: relatively affordable headphone amp/ADC?
« Reply #24 on: November 03, 2011, 06:10:48 PM »
I think I'm going to pull the trigger on the Ibasso D12

nice selection, I finally looked and they are billing it as the successor to the D10 (which I really liked when I had one).

Got it! Thanks for the clarification. :)

ideally, I'd love a lavry da11 > grace 902, but I don't have the cash allocated for that. make do with what you have I guess.
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Offline tim in jersey

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Re: relatively affordable headphone amp/ADC?
« Reply #25 on: November 06, 2011, 01:52:50 AM »
page, do you (or anyone else) have any recs in around the price range of the FUBAR ($350) that are better?

I run MacBook Pro>Toslink>headphone amp.  Externally power via AC adapter.

I'd like something that works that I can "grow" with and ideally has a small footprint; that said, I don't know that I should move to the Grace 902 considering I'm using ATH-M50s as my headphones  :) 

A buddy also told me that there are guys on head.fi that are sort of like our many fine custom manufacturers here and can actually make one of these things for you.  Anyone have any experience with that?

I just picked this up less than a week ago. Haven't put it through it's paces completely but seems pretty nice to my ears so far.

If you are willing to cover shipping/ins. both ways, I'd be willing to loan it to you so you can demo it yourself.

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Re: relatively affordable headphone amp/ADC?
« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2011, 12:50:14 PM »
I think I'm going to pull the trigger on the Ibasso D12

w00t...arrives today :)
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Re: relatively affordable headphone amp/ADC?
« Reply #27 on: November 09, 2011, 11:59:49 AM »
I think I'm going to pull the trigger on the Ibasso D12

w00t...arrives today :)

Played with it yesterday. Works great. I did find it interesting that I still prefer the D50 Headphone pre more than D50 opti > Ibasso D12 but the D12 absolutely kills the head phone out on my HP dv5 laptop. Which is the main reason I got it.

I read about the D12 and opamp rolling but had no idea they sent you 3 addition opamps with it  :o

Can't wait to try them all. They also sent extra case screws, high quality opti/usb cables, an toslink to mini adapter and additional analog headphone/aux connectors in case one breaks....very impressed.

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Re: relatively affordable headphone amp/ADC?
« Reply #28 on: November 21, 2011, 01:22:52 PM »


Another use in the field I came up with is to monitor my stage mics when doing a matrix.

I can take the RCA out of my V2 into the D12 to hear what my stage mics sound like pre-mix.

-e
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Offline acidjack

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Re: relatively affordable headphone amp/ADC?
« Reply #29 on: November 28, 2011, 03:27:15 PM »
I think I may give the iBasso a go as well... seems like less hassle than doing USBPre2 + schiit Asgard esp since I do actually use the USBPre2 as a pre a fair amount.   Unless the Schitt sounds THAT much better than the iBasso...

The FUBAR IV I have is almost completely shot.... tons of static every time I turn the knob.  Pathetic workmanship.  Too bad as it actually sounded good until this problem occurred.
Mics: Schoeps MK4V, MK41V, MK5, MK22> CMC6, KCY 250/5, KC5, NBob; MBHO MBP603/KA200N, AT 3031, DPA 4061 w/ d:vice, Naiant X-X, AT 853c, shotgun, Nak300
Pres/Power: Aerco MP2, tinybox v2  [KCY], CA-UBB
Decks: Sound Devices MixPre 6, Zoom F8, M10, D50

My recordings on nyctaper.com: http://www.nyctaper.com/?tag=acidjack | LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/acidjack | twitter: http://www.twitter.com/acidjacknyc | Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/acidjacknyc

 

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