The All Purpose Advice Thread

Discussion in 'Advice Threads' started by purr1n, Sep 26, 2015.

  1. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    You're cool - you did beyond the normal amount of trouble-shooting. I'd suggest throwing a DMM on the cable and measuring R and C between positive channels, and between ground on each channel. You'll likely find some kind of funkiness. Easily fixable for anyone handy with a soldering iron and a new connector!
     
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  2. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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  3. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Hah, I suppose I could but I already got enough poo from family over the stuff I've had coming in. Still, the Meze 99 didn't display this with the Fulla 2 either not do the FIIO EX1s so honestly I might just get it repaired cuz I have neither the materials nor the skills just now— had to look stuff up to make sure I properly parsed what you said, @yotacowboy :))
     
  4. neo_the_one

    neo_the_one Rando

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    Metrum Adagio or Rokna Wavedream Standard Edition? Both are around 6k$.
     
  5. magicscreen

    magicscreen Rando

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    What headphone is the antithesis of the Sennheiser HD6XX?
    For a change. :)
    Maximum price $250.
     
  6. Tennstrong

    Tennstrong Rando

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    Alright finally time to get down to it... Needing amp/dac advice (first headphone amp purchase) after weeks of reading/watching reviews, your time & help is very much appreciated:

    Location: Canada // I will only purchase items that can be shipped to me via USPS or equivalent national post services in the case of international goods, no private carriers (my domestic mail service carriers are fantastic in my area, but I cannot receive a parcel from a private carrier without damage, there is also the issue of constant phone calls threatening to return mail while I self-clear to avoid their fees & I just don't want to deal with, or support that anymore)

    Headphones: Paradox T50RP (will be the most used), ATH-AD500X

    Personal comments: I'd like this to ideally be scalable (within reason) for future purchases, which are likely to include LCD2C (it's possible I don't purchase these, but I've read/watched so many reviews for LCD2s over the years and they seem really up my alley in presentation) & an IEM (undecided, likely budget). I also sort of enjoy hunting for interesting finds, so I wouldn't mind having some room for flexibility - mentioning this because of the mixed impressions of the Mangni 3+ at high gain (relatively also the Heresy at low gain).

    Budget:
    • Rough cap at $400USD, would love to get away with something cheaper but I'd prefer peace of mind over a 30-40$ cost saving. I can flex this up maybe 10% total after ship to around 440.
    DIY?
    • Sure - I'm comfortable soldering components down to around the size of a 1N4148W SMD diode, though my goal is more so to have quality at the forefront of my decision rather than a personal contribution

    Considerations on the table currently, starting with Amps (in order of interest, I am open to suggestions):

    Erish - Having spoken to Geno & Sherry, & reading @Vtory 's review using the Grado Hemps on the Erish, I would be comfortable soldering an adapter for TRS-> XLR given I can confirm wiring with someone. I've parted out the components / researched how to make a sleek adapter and the best solution I found (seemingly) would be purchasing the Neutrik XLR male & Neutrik TRS female jacks, soldering the connection, then screwing the two pieces together as they share the same threading in opposite genders. Free Canada ship.

    Topping a50 - seems to be a good amp & musical (to my understanding is the heady audio term for sounding better because of adjustments to the frequencies rather than aiming for a signal recreation), though I have concerns over the reported operating temperatures combined with a slightly dusty environment (similar to the 3+), and how some people have said it can cause issue over the session if ran too hot / too long (although it might be fixed after reading their updates, not sure). China shipping// free

    Asgard 2 (B-stock) or Asgard 3: 200 is sort of near the upper limit for the amp alone I believe, and after ship (to Canada schiit is brutal, it hits the ship cost cap at $75 for the unit alone, so on the other hand it would reduce the cost of shipping a magnius) it's really at or above my limit depending on dac to pair. That said, if it's going to pair more favorably with my current/future options, I can get with it. Asgard 2 b-stock at 140 is another possibility.

    Archel 2.5pro - I'm somewhat more comfortable with this over the Erish due primarily to the lack of reviews around the erish (sorry Vtory, stay with me), but positive reviews seem to be rather favorable for the Erish & it allows me to have the headroom of using balanced connections later on, which is a back-of-the-mind concern with the Archel2.5pro. Despite my obvious interest in the Erish I am very open to the 2.5pro as it would have free shipping, a slightly lower cost, and might not have the audible "risk factor" associated with diy'ing my own adapter.

    Magni 3+ / Heresy: Little reserved about going this route after reading the dedicated threads I could find, seems like either way I'm sacrificing something, but it seems to be strong regarding value and my current demands so I'll leave it here. Ship ends up around 45 for USPS on it alone, or around 60 including a modi. Honestly those rates are so fucking brutal I don't know if it can be a net positive. Heat output on the 3+ also concerns me a bit

    THX888, THX789 - no real comment here, I think they were like a "fake balanced" or something(?), not hugely appealing but reviews seem to keep them ranked highly. I could get the 888 at retail w/ free ship, though it would heavily limit dac budget

    Basx-a100 - Concerned it is a bit outdated or not the best option anymore, but it gives me more flexibility in hunting out my perfect desktop setup so it is appealing.

    Alright we've made it this far - onto DACs - no particular order:

    Modi 3
    - Small concern over SE output only, though for the price it seems to be rather competitive. ship hurts the value proposal since a small footprint modi/magni stack comes in around 255

    Enog2pro - Doesn't stack cleanly, but also free shipping + balanced. Could try to hold out for their next DAC release, but I would like to be reasonable about time and not wait for an indefinite time. Little bit pricey though

    Modius - Seems alright? Not really a whole lot that I can specifically tell from reviews that it does differently outside of the balanced design/output. Shipping kind of kills here as it's around the same as the asgard alone, or around 75 all together

    MiniDSP 2x4HD - Seems like a good option to get EQ + DAC for my headphones & desktop speakers, but they are not the primary consideration. From what I can tell though it's sort of inaudibly different to the modi 3? Scared to say stuff like that in audio but I'm sure I'll get my proper slaps on the wrist when they're due

    Topping d50/d50s - I haven't researched these enough, but seem rather full in functionality & well regarded

    Thanks for making it to the end! After finally typing all that, I think my current forerunners seem to be the Erish/Enog2pro combo [$380 shipped] compared to the topping a50/d50s [$420], or a50/d50 [$380] & Archel2.5pro/Enog2pro [$360]. Following that would be something like the modi/heresy [$255-260], asgard 2 + modius [$413], then asgard 3 + modius [475]. The topping combo might be a slight preference as far as looks/size go, though I do really enjoy the vibe of the geshelli. Your input, advice, and comments are hugely appreciated and I'd like to thank you in advance for any/all efforts.
     
  7. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    I'm not an expert but below is the link where Michael from Pi2AES has a say about I2S cable
    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...ade-balanced-dac-pre.5181/page-18#post-290895
     
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  8. monacelli

    monacelli Friend

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    It's tough to give advice to people who don't know yet what their preferences are. It's like having a friend ask you what they should order at a restaurant, and they've never eaten food before. Frequently when people ask for advice, they already know what they want to do, and are seeking confirmation/reinforcement. If that's the case with you, and you already have your heart set on something, just do that. It's fine. If that's not the case, and you're genuinely open to suggestions, here are some thoughts:
    • Don't overanalyze this decision, especially with budget DACs (they're more alike than different).
    • At the entry level, it's generally best to seek value (i.e., don't spend too much, $400 is overkill).
    • Don't chase balanced gear for the sake of having balanced gear, especially if your headphones aren't already terminated appropriately (budget single-ended gear is usually cheaper and just as good).
    • Don't fall for the trap of thinking sound quality is correlated with some easily digestible set of numbers or graphs; it's not. Things aren't that cut and dry. Trust yourself and use your ears to determine what is good and what is bad.
    • Your headphones (transducers) matter most, like x10 more than anything else (besides of course the music).
    If I were in your shoes, I would buy a Modi 3 and then whichever Magni tickled my fancy. Modi 3 measures excellently and is subjectively quite good. A rare product that makes both SBAF and ASR happy. For the amp, you really can't go wrong either way between Heresy/3+. Trusted ears around here feel that Heresy sounds best in high gain. You can read Marv's thoughts on 3+ vs. Heresy [in this thread]. Pick Heresy if you like the black and red, 3+ if you want silver. If you want to get fancy, a small company offers [this neat little mini-link] for tidying up the small Schiit stacks. Don't underestimate this stack just because it's the cheapest. None of the other stuff you listed is better, just different and more expensive (in my opinion). Best of luck and I hope you find a setup that brings you many hours of listening enjoyment.
     
  9. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    @Tennstrong I basically agreed with what monacelli said. As a rule of thumb, do not be too serious until you firmly believe headphones you own are stable keepers -- or more naively speaking until you hear enough number of high end offerings (otherwise it's difficult to know what you really want AND to what extent the current technology is capable of). SBAF members usually say: Don't go crazy unless you know about what exactly you do and would get.

    That said, let me list up a couple of more specific pieces of advice assuming you don't have too strange taste. All based on the hypothetical situation of "if I were you at this stage".

    1. Remove all Toppings or Audio GDs (you didn't mention the latter but just in case) from the shortlist any day. Reasons well documented elsewhere in this forum
    2. I'd stick to decent all-in-ones. Ifi zen dac (non-signature) could easily enter my shortlist. Cheap ($130 usd new likely free shipping to Canada), cute, and very decent performing. Gets along with a wide variety of headphones.
     
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  10. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    What about the HD6xx is likable to you, what about it is reprehensible?

    The Sennheiser 6-series kids are varying degrees of warm and natural timbre, microdynamically skilled, resolving of low information, intimate in staging, and honestly just rather passable in the bass department; the antithesis thereof would then have an unapologetically unnatural timbre, a cold and sterile voicing, and be unable to render microdynamics or low level information well, though they'll also have a massive headstage and excellent bass quality.

    Kidding.

    Your question was rather vague but I'm assuming you're seeking a change of pace can? The Massdrop x HiFiMAN HE-4xx is a great headphone for under USD200, and as a planar its presentation will be appreciably different from that of the Sennheisers. Warning though, even with basic mods and a warmer upstream I found them painfully sharp on some material and even on good days where I listened to more accommodating music they were fatiguing over longer listening sessions. Not sure if you're a fan of EQ (I kinda prefer not to apply) but that does rein the treble in.
     
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  11. lm4der

    lm4der A very good sport - Friend

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    Good call, @Lyander, I second the vote for the Drop HE-4xx. It's a great hp and a nice compliment to the hd650. It has some of the planar qualities of tighter more layered bass and snappy response.
     
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  12. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Uh oh. I swear I wasn't being mean— I somehow actually forgot it's called Drop now. Guess I haven't been checking it out nearly at all because there's not as much fun and interesting stuff nowadays.

    But yes the 4xx has surprisingly amazing microdynamics and, apart from being a too smoothly textured, the macrodetail is nothing to sneeze at. Bass is also significantly better than on the HD600 and HD650 (haven't tried the 6xx specifically).
     
  13. Tennstrong

    Tennstrong Rando

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    Thanks guys! That all makes a lot of sense given my position right now. My concerns with going for the magni 3+ / heresy are sort of a result of the comparisons that you linked there from Marv, & general community preferences towards the 3+ for headspace, though restraints around the high-gain setting. I read the headphonics review where the person couldn't tell the archel 2.5pro, atom, and heresy apart, though he also sort of preferred the 3+ if my memory serves me correct. Overall it sounds like the 3+ would be more my preference (I'm not huge on black/red), though the low gain/high gain difference is worrying.

    I've gotten close to ordering the 3+ a few times now, but I keep worrying it won't be able to adequately amplify the T50RP at low gain (and dumb as it sounds, Zeos's review where he basically rips the t20rp off his 3+ and dismisses it rather heavily after flipping to high gain).

    Am I reading too heavily into the supposed differences? Or is low gain more powerful than I'm assuming? I don't listen to tracks very loudly but I'm not sure how to measure that objectively - and on the other hand I'm a bit confused as to why you would want to run something on low gain vs high gain, I understand that there would be less total noise introduced but people seem to be supportive of running the most clean-ish power through the drivers to get a nice response (?) which leaves me a bit confused.

    Those interconnects look nice / a little more reassuring than the intropose ones due to that rubber sleeving, I'll look into that thanks!
     
  14. monacelli

    monacelli Friend

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    Sure thing! Yes, don't worry too much about the difference between low and high gain. The main reason the low gain setting exists is to reduce the noise floor for high-sensitivity iems, but don't let that fool you. It's still plenty powerful and will drive most full size cans to satisfying levels. Guys who have been around a long time sometimes feel that high gain sounds better subjectively. The most plausible explanation for this is that the high gain setting employs less feedback, and as a result sounds a bit more natural and relaxed. These differences are subtle. It's not night and day at all, and you may not notice them because you're just starting out. This is fine, just enjoy the music! Think about it this way, the low and high gain settings make the amplifier more versatile. They allow it to perform at its best with a huge array of headphones, ranging from sensitive iems to inefficient planars. For headphones, my advice is to start out on high gain. If you find that you don't have enough usable range on the volume pot, switch it into low gain instead. If you want to listen to iems, use low gain. It really isn't more complicated than that. Of course, feel free to play around and listen in whatever setting is tickling your fancy at the moment. There are no rules, and nobody's opinion about your system matters besides yours. You get to decide what sounds best to you.
     
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  15. SSL

    SSL Friend

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    @Tennstrong Less time reading reviews, more time with your own ears on gear. You're not going to get satisfactory answers if you do nothing but agonize over the impressions of others. In general it seems you are agonizing over inconsequential details like heat, lack of balanced outs, ability of DAC to make toast, etc. Paralysis by analysis.

    Just buy a Magni+Modi so you can start building your audio experience. You have to break a few eggs to make an omelette.
     
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  16. Climber

    Climber Rando

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    Just want to second this advice. When I first started, I had it in my head -- from either reading or misreading an HF thread, I assume -- that high gain was the best place to be because ... MORE.

    But I ended up stuck in the 7-9 o'clock range on the knob, doing all these frustrating micro-adjustments to get it where I needed it. Plus, on my first amp anyhow, I was getting channel imbalance -- that one channel was quieter than the other -- when turned that low. (Fairly common for even decent quality pots.)

    Liberating myself from that and accepting that low gain was not worse, and in fact was there for exactly my use case, was really helpful.
     
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  17. penguins

    penguins Friend

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    Feel dumb for asking about cables but:

    Need a cable for HE6se and want to try a new mfg this time - Looking at the Arete cable from Null Audio in Singapore or the Molecule cable from Double Helix Cable in Austin, TX. Also open to any other 24-22 AWG OCC copper cable thats 6'/1.8m long <$300, preferably <$200. Cable needs to show up within about 2 weeks.

    Null cable is 24AWG and about $200 shipped + unknown customs costs with desired options/length. DHC is $300 for 22AWG and is also cryo treated (no idea if that matters for headphone cables) with desired options/length. Anyone have any recent experience with either?
     
  18. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    I had a certain fondness toward my "Mad Dog 3.2" that I "ruined" by going up the "Alpha Dog" ladder with them. I was one of the un"fortunate" early adopters that always had a weird tuning issue from the factory. Dan was always very pleasant and courteous in all of our exchanges and I never thought poorly of the business at that time. I preferred the overall stock T50 weight distribution and overall size more than the Alpha's.

    I wanted to see what all the hype was behind LFF's stuff, so I finally had an opportunity to get a new T50 for him to modify in Paradox form. I think they are probably the only thing I could fairly compare against the Mad Dog.

    Be-it nostalgia or the price or dealing with the two different personalities - I think I would go the Mad Dog route if I were to do it again. Under $300 and closed back... I dunno what you would consider closed since the Mad Dog is semi-open. I would throw Night Hawk and maybe a couple other things that are Semi-open into the general discussion.

    $300 Mad Dog Pro in mint condition vs. $300 Paradox in mint condition - I'd need to audition them side-by-side.
     
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  19. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    @AppleheadMay and @EagleWings, was wondering if you could share more detailed impressions about the Luxman P-750u. Your posts are the only I could find on SBAF about it.
     
  20. EagleWings

    EagleWings Friend

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    Hey @zonto , I have not heard one. One of my friends who has heard it says it is very good, provided you could find one for less than $3000 and not worth the western market retail price of $5000. In terms of tonality, it leans slightly towards the warm, full-bodied side of things. And in terms of performance he says it is on par with $3000 ss amps. He is a tube amp aficionado, so he would never spend $3000 on an ss amp. I am not aware which setting and output he used, because I've heard that the amp can tend to sound a bit different depending on the settings and outputs.

    I believe @Zhanming057 has heard one.
     
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