Apr 29, 2017

DAC and Amp Recommendations?

Hello. I'm looking for a DAC and an amp to run a 2.1 system as well as a pair of headphones at my desk for everyday use. I needed to replace the old receiver that I'm currently using as an amp, and I figured it's about time I added a DAC to my setup as well. I currently have a pair of KEF Q100 bookshelf speakers, but I'm looking to eventually upgrade and add a subwoofer. I currently use ATH-M50x headphones, but again, I'll probably upgrade in the future.
I have a budget of around $500, but that's negotiable. I would like to use this equipment for quite a while so if it's a decision between saving a little bit of money now and having to upgrade later, or increasing my budget, I'll choose the latter. So do you guys have and good recommendations for an amp and a DAC for my needs? Thanks!

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If you don't have a catalog of 192kHz/24 bit computer audio I would go this route:
Gives you flexibility to add a sub (or two) and also a more powerful amp later down the road if you buy less efficient speakers. If you go much further down the headphone road I would recommend a dedicated headphone amp or DAC/amp. I have some emotiva gear that is over a decade old and still working like a champ.
I do not have any 192kHz/24bit computer audio currently. But I'm curious how much of a difference that makes, if there's a relatively cheap way to get that quality of music, and how that would change your recommendation.
since I've been there and got burned, my suggestion is to avoid Class D 2.0 and 2.1 DAC/SpeakerAmps - they are too weak and lack features. Just get regular receiver for 150-200 - it will have 5.1 decoder, decent headphone amp (not weak one), speaker calibration, USB drive playback, bluetooth, HDMI passthru, dedicated subwoofer output, matching good power supply, plethora of inputs including USB/optical/coaxial/analog, very good sound quality. As for brand - go with Yamaha, Sony or Denon.
In your opinion, what would be the next step up in quality from a regular receiver that's worth getting?
Well, they have different components and categories. They will have better equalizer in higher models which will equalize your subwoofer for example. You can easily go up in price with just Yamaha or Denon - sky is the limit.
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