Nov 27, 2018163 views

What is a good DAC to pair with massdrop THX AAA linear AMP

I am looking at buying the THX AAA linear AMP on massdrop. However I don't know what DAC I should get with it .I got a budget of 350$ same price as the amp
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Schiit multibit DACs are exceptionally good and very reasonably priced. I have one I use with my THX 789 and love the combination.
I'm a fan of balanced connections. I'd recommend the SU-8 and then use a few bucks from the savings to get some balanced connections (DAC to amp and then AMP to headphone)
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There's an electrical advantage to going balanced. See the link below. There's a good explanation in the conclusion (the product test results may be to your interest, too) https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/smsl-su-8-version-2-balanced-dac.5433/
It's actually much more important for interconnects to be balanced than headphone cables. Headphones don't have their own ground reference, they're inherently differential. Even more importantly, errors introduced at the input to the amplifier will be amplified, so it makes sense to minimize them prior to the amp.
I'm running it with a Topping D50 and a Modi 3 and both make the THX AAA amp sing in my opinion. I'm tempted to get a SMSL SU8 for its balanced output, especially since they cleaned up the issues with the Version 2 revision but as of right now, it's not a huge priority for me.
Personally, I went with the SMSL SU-8 (ESS) since it is balanced, has some filters, and a remote for $200. I should get it by Friday so I'll share my thoughts on it when I get it in. I also have the Grace Balanced SDAC (AKM) but won't get that one until May. Otherwise, I've been using my humble iFi nano BL (technically a "multi-bit" burr-brown) and THX portable amp/dac (dual AKM) and enjoy them all depending on the source and files being played that day. I really like the nano the best as it just sounds so natural and pairs well with the 789 (IMO).
jaydunndiddit
What is the difference between a normal and balanced dac . And thank you for sharing your thoughts.btw the portable THX dac/amp is by monolith right ? Actually I'm considering their new desktop dac/amp or the massdrop THX amp with a separate Dac
Azeendeen
A truly balanced DAC has separate DAC chips for each channel, and uses the chips stereo decoding to create polarity flipped signals that are used for noise canceling purposes. There are XLR to RCA adapters, I'm not sure how well those would play with a balanced amp, I have no experience there.
Agree on the topping D50. You want something super clean.
That depends. What headphones are you using? Do you use the balanced output of your amp?
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Believe me, I've seen Audio Science Review's coverage of Schiit stuff. I've also seen measurements of Schiit gear done by Atomicbob, Marv, Jude, and others. While I won't claim to know exactly what every measurement means, I know enough to get a general picture of what to look for. You're free to look them up and believe what you want to believe.
I actually would highly recommend someone take a listen to the iFi line. I've heard some of their iDACs and iDSDs and liked it; I just personally prefer the sound of Schiit DACs and think that they offer better performance for the dollar (and I do know people who think they sound like a** too). However, the Schiit house sound isn't for everyone; the Yggdrasil in particular leans very far towards being analytical (I actually don't like it that much). My favorite DAC is the Chord DAVE, but it's too expensive (and I'm not about to recommend someone buy something that has such dubious price/performance unless you know exactly what you're looking for)
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Topping D50