Headphone Amps / Dacs /Headphones

Roxy.music

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 9, 2019
296
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uk
I have a S.M.S.L M3 Headphone Dac ,i am interested in the
Schiit Modi 3 DAC would that be a step up from my S.M.S.L ?I know i would have to get a headphone amp to go with it i was thinking the
are they as good as what the reviews say?They certainly look well made.This is another guys videos i enjoy he has so much gear there.
 
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Roxy.music

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 9, 2019
296
32
uk
I thought someone would be interested in this subject.After watching a lot of videos on utube i have deiced to go with this although like all the reviewers say its all plastic,but they can,t believe that is sounds so amazing especially at the very low price.
The
JDS Atom i would have gone for the other one in his test but it is not available in the uk.I think the Atom is the best one though with all the good reviews.I have a Arcam ir dac hope fully that will go well with the Atom.:) I have AKG K550.:)What cans and dac s do you have?
 
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Silvestru Hosszu

macrumors regular
Oct 2, 2016
148
77
Europe
This is a long and complicated subject..
Any audiophile can attest it.
Its not only the cans, amp and dac but also the synergy between those parts.
Right now I use mainly two hps: AKG K812 PRO and SENNHEISER HD800S (I have more cans but these two I like most).
I use a Oppo DAC and DarkVoice Tube Amp.
 

Queen6

macrumors 604
Sorry no, as I frequently travel so I'm mostly about being portable, Digital Audio Players (DAP); Sony NW-ZX300, Fiio M11 Pro and possibly the new FiiO M15, not that the M11 isn't already overkill. Also have an EarStudio ES100 Mk 1, although ES100 Mk2 and the new FiiO BTR5 is now on the market for those looking for a quality BT dongle or V-small wired solution.

IEM's; Westone W40, AKG N40, Campfire Andromeda and just today DUNU DK 3001 Pro. I have a set of BOSE QC35 II for the flights, no others to speak of. I could be tempted by Sennheiser Momentum 3, but a little too bulky and truth be known only use is watching films on the flight.

Overall I far prefer dedicated players as apart from the improvement in SQ, there's no interruptions as the DAP only has one purpose for my needs. Fine with my own library, although M11 can stream and I recently picked a HiRes smart speaker as the collaboration of Huawei & Devialet simply intrigued. The Devialet involvement certainly doesn't disappoint. Huawei's Sound X is a tuned speaker, very lively and impressive for it's diminutive size. Play Massive Attack's Mezzanine on it and heads will turn...

Wireless earbuds Sennheiser Momentum TW & Sony WF-1000XM3 (with ANC).

Q-6
 

Roxy.music

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 9, 2019
296
32
uk
This is a long and complicated subject..
Any audiophile can attest it.
Its not only the cans, amp and dac but also the synergy between those parts.
Right now I use mainly two hps: AKG K812 PRO and SENNHEISER HD800S (I have more cans but these two I like most).
I use a Oppo DAC and DarkVoice Tube Amp.
Wow there exspencive AKG K812 £342.51 SENNHEISER HD800S £750 for pre owned on ebay thats a lot of money for cans i think i got mine on ebay for £75 boxed as new.I think after a certain price point there is less of a differance in the sound of Hifi and the like. I can,t see your amp on the uk Amazon site ,but they have this one on there US sure
DarkVoice 336SE Headphone Tube Amplifier $289.99 that seems a reasonable price for a amp.Then again i rarely use cans i prefer speakers. :) Heres a review of a older one never heard of it before.
Ir seems like a good one. :)
 
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Roxy.music

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 9, 2019
296
32
uk
I see that the Atom amp is sold on Amazon Uk but no reviews? plus it is £149.99 and yet, I got it direct from the same company for only £110 free postage.
 
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SandboxGeneral

Moderator emeritus
Sep 8, 2010
25,799
8,777
Detroit
I have several Schiit products and enjoy them well.

In one room I have a stack of Schiit.

Modi Multibit DAC
Loki tone control
Magni 3 amp

I usually pair the BLON B20 planar magnetic headphones with them when listening. Sometimes I'll use the Beyerdynamic DT880's or the Sennheiser HD650's.

In another room, and connected to my main computer, I have the Schiit Jotunheim with the Modi Multibit expansion card built-in.

I'm well pleased with the equipment I've chosen and they're price points as well.

Later this year I'm thinking about getting into tube amps to add a different feel to the music and see what happens. I'm looking at the Dark Voice as a front runner for me to start with.

I watch a lot of Zeos' reviews and I respect what he does and enjoy his opinions on products.
 
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Silvestru Hosszu

macrumors regular
Oct 2, 2016
148
77
Europe
I can warmly recommend Dark Voice as entry in the world of OTL Tube Amps.
It's cheap, good quality and can be a start also for tube rolling.
If you have any questions related to it just ask.
 

Queen6

macrumors 604
Queen6 how do you like the Fiio M11 Pro?
I`m still on the X7 Mk2, I like the SQ but software wise is slow and cumbersome.
Is a very good DAP, UI is fast and responsive, very quiet background as in black even with Campfire Andromeda which are very sensitive IEM's. Sound is very pure and clean THX lives up to it's name, Although Android doesn't have the Play store etc. so any third party aps need to be side loaded. FiiO does have a limited app store for the likes of Tidal etc. so not a huge issue,

I don't like the ports are on the bottom of the DAP, and FiiO recently announced the M15, however it's significantly more expensive.

Fair reviews

If not using with sensitive IEM's regular M11 might be worth a look at.

Q-6
 
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Silvestru Hosszu

macrumors regular
Oct 2, 2016
148
77
Europe
Thanks for the detailed answer.
Sadly I'm not into the IEM stuff because, no matter which one I tried, my ears start heating badly in no more than 30 minutes after I start to wear them.
I am really considering asking the audiologist to mold some inserts specifically to my ears.
Till than, I use 3 cans the DAP, Oppo PM-2 (excellent in quiet environment), Sony Z7 Mk2 - my favourite closed back cans and Sony wh1000 xm3 while on the go. All these cans are low impedance.
What I noticed is that Bluetooth on my x7 mk 2 is subpar to put it mildly.
Do you have any experience with wireless cans on the m11?

PS
Someone offered me a very good deal on a Astell & Kern AS700 but initial reviews are not very enthusiastic about it.
 

Queen6

macrumors 604
Thanks for the detailed answer.
Sadly I'm not into the IEM stuff because, no matter which one I tried, my ears start heating badly in no more than 30 minutes after I start to wear them.
I am really considering asking the audiologist to mold some inserts specifically to my ears.
Till than, I use 3 cans the DAP, Oppo PM-2 (excellent in quiet environment), Sony Z7 Mk2 - my favourite closed back cans and Sony wh1000 xm3 while on the go. All these cans are low impedance.
What I noticed is that Bluetooth on my x7 mk 2 is subpar to put it mildly.
Do you have any experience with wireless cans on the m11?

PS
Someone offered me a very good deal on a Astell & Kern AS700 but initial reviews are not very enthusiastic about it.
I've a set of Sony Sony WF-1000XM3 which pair beautifully with Sony's NW-ZX300, not so well with the M11 Pro, although I think that's a little intentional on Sony's behalf. It's not that they sound bad just better Sony to Sony, which makes sense, Sennheiser TWS earbuds sound good on the M11 Pro.

Only cans I have are BOSE QC35 II for the jet and now just films as the Sony WF-1000XM3 has pretty decent ANC. As BOSE has now borked the firmware on the QC35's, I'll likely switch to Sennheiser next time I'm in the market for over ear with ANC, as BOSE's attitude stinks. Also had a set of their Soundsport Free TWS earbuds fail for yet again another common reason. Too much brand arrogance methinks...

Looked at Astell & Kern, however think is vastly overpriced and has a specific sound signature. Not bad gear by any means, equally one is definitely paying a premium for the brand & design. FiiO I feel that your paying for what you get, although yet to see the M15, M11 Pro I feel is fair given the THX amps etc.

Might swap out my black M11 Pro for a stainless steel one and or have a good look at the new M15. On the go I prefer smaller DAP's such as the Sony NW-ZX300. Recently picked up an Acmee MF01, which has some limitations, however for the price sounds outstanding. As long as your ok with a slightly raw & warm sound signature, and for something that only cost $80 it can outperform some higher priced DAP's. I also kind of like it's just an old school player, no touch screen or album art to deal with just a focus on quality audio.


These guys are on the money as sounds great for the price and at times just one simply doesn't want to carry an expensive DAP about. The Acmee with the right cans or IEM's lights up, presenting an almost tube like smooth warm sound signature thx to the MUSES02. This DAP is fun and engaging with few frills and a couple of caveats - Currently Kobra and the Lotus - Black Velvet - is simply :cool: Punch the volume with Fleetwood Mac - The Chain, you be gone, lost in the music, Supertramp's Dreamer kills it, DJ Shadow's Mountain Will Fall, add in Dunu DK 3001 Pro IEM's and you'll be feeling the sub bass...

Ghost - "He is" a must listen, builds & builds 😎

Q-6
 
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Roxy.music

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 9, 2019
296
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uk
I am using my 2013 Arcam ir Dac with the Atom amp ,i don,t know how that would compare to SMLS SU-8
The Arcam ir dac was the tops in its day. I see that the Cambridge Dac Magic plus is still being sold new although it came at round the same time as the Arcam.
- - Post merged: - -

How would these compare to my Arcam ir to these Budget models?
Or even this one alltough it is only USB
It must be good as Z is keeping it. :)Everything Z says is good by me. :)
 
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Queen6

macrumors 604
It must be good as Z is keeping it. :)Everything Z says is good by me. :)
I tend to look across a variety of professional reviewers and audition personally when possible, as music and the associated hardware is so very subjective. Z is good, however he's not always on the money for my taste; FiiO M11 versus M11 Pro there's a discernible difference with sensitive IEM's. Stating otherwise is simply inaccurate, after all YouTuber's are what they are...

Q-6
 
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Roxy.music

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 9, 2019
296
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uk
I myself prefer to audition if possible, talk to someone who owns the stuff if I cannot try it personally.
Nowhere to audition, all the stuff is online :(I don,t know why a place like Richer Sounds don,t do stuff for computers. For those who don,t live in the UK you won't know the place they are the owners of Cambridge Audio and sell some good HIFI gear. Ir is a shame they don,t sell SMLS gear:(
 

Roxy.music

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 9, 2019
296
32
uk
Depending of your location there are certainly good brick and mortar store which do have this kind of stuff.
There is a very nice community here: https://www.head-fi.org
Knowledgeable people and helpful also.
Thanks for that :)I am using the Arcam IR DAC with the Adam amp I can,t see any of the Dac,s I have put on here are any better than my Arcam certainly not the cheaper ones.
It sounds good to me anyway, it goes well with the Atom Amp. :)
 
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Muttznuttz

macrumors member
May 21, 2014
63
23
London
Topping NX4 DSD DAC / AMP paired with DT770 Pro's (250 Ohm)
The Topping is being well received for the price point. It's my first DAC so before this I just had a Fiio Montblanc amplifier which didn't play nice with 250 Ohm cans. I mainly used it with Sennheiser HD25's back then.
 
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D.T.

macrumors G3
Sep 15, 2011
9,553
7,767
Vilano Beach, FL
Another Schiit owner (no, that never gets old ...)

Vali 2 hybrid tube with a Electro Harmonix 6922 / E88CC (Balanced), in a socket saver :D
Modi 3 DAC

Fed via USB on an '18 Mini, or analog (direct to amp) from Teac CD-P650, Sennheiser 6XX (open), Beyerdynamic Custom Studios (closed), and I really need to review the latter, short version: 80 Ohm DT770s + modular components + adjustable base ports + detachable cable.

On the desktop, I run a pair of near field R1280 power speakers, they get a touch of tube-a-fication :D
 
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Queen6

macrumors 604
Looking at the details of FiiO's new M15 DAP, might not be for me :( The impedance on the balanced outputs is 3Ω which is likely too high for a few of my IEM's. For those with less sensitive IEM's or regular headphones the M15 looks like a really good option. Single ended is still ok at 1.4Ω, equally when paying this much for a DAP I'd like to be able to utilise all the outputs.

I'll likely settle with my FiiO M11 Pro or if a can get the right deal I'll swap out my black M11 Pro for a M11 stainless steel one, which I prefer for no other reason than the aesthetics. M11 Pro's impedance is 1.1Ω single ended & 2.4Ω balanced.

Another DAP that interests YLM A2
Pricewise the A2 sits between the M11 Pro & M15

Q-6
 
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FreddyJ

macrumors newbie
Sep 12, 2019
19
5
Ireland
Have you guys heard of iFi audio? They do all manner of portable/desktop DAC/amps. This one has just come out - hip-dac - I'm still looking for a way to improve the sound from my iphone when travelling so thinking this could be the way to go. I can also hook it up to my MacBook when I'm work offsite etc.

It's starting to get some good reviews in, include one that compares it to a Topping that someone mentioned earlier (I think!)