Aug 11, 2016

dac amp combo

i just bought sennheiser hd 598 special edition....... please suggest me the best dac-amp combo under 75$
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chat9
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Anything under $75 will be the same or crappier than the DAC/amp on the average smartphone. People overstate the 100Hz impedance spike on these. They're not hard to drive. Save the money towards more headphones if you want to get the most sound impact for your dollars.
598's are 50-ohm cans. While they can be driven directly by a phone, tablet or laptop they will definitely benefit being paired with an amp/dac. This is the case even if you're streaming or playing modest bit rate sources. I've owned/used a number of products. For USB output The AQ Dragonfly is a solid buy. You'll hear improved dynamics, more solid bass and better resolution across the entire range.
Tray421
You're absolutely right. The impedance graph here really shows it all.

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SennheiserHD598.pdf

Notice the massive spike right in the middle of the bass frequency. Low power sources don't have enough oomph to power the bass and low midrange frequencies to their full potential like a pen external amp can, which is one of the reasons an amp can change the sound so much for the better.

EDIT: That said, I use my cell phone and iPad to play music with my headphones most of the time, and have stil been able to have a great experience. In reality, the reason I am looking for an amp is for my computer to replace its slightly sub-par onboard audio. For my speakers, it works great, but headphones leave something to be desired.
Most DAC/AMP combos at that price range will tend to be a little anemic in the power department, so if you plan on getting some heavier headphones these may or may not be able to power them.

The SMSL M3 that was already mentioned is pretty good with a lot of options. Another good one is the FiiO E10K if you don't mind missing out on things like the line-out, etc. If you're looking for something smaller and more dedicated as a computer attached DAC/amp setup, the Schiit Fulla is also really great (tho some have issues with the volume knob being a tad hard to use).

Personally I would try to save up a bit because once you hit ~$100, more and better options start to become available. Again as already mentioned the Micca Origen+ is amazing. Lately I've been using the FiiO E18 for on the go and it's decently powerful, and could hook up to my phone as either a DAC/AMP combo or simply a power bank. If you have a good source, or don't mind staging your purchase, you could simply get a good amp now and then later purchase a good DAC, such as the Schiit stack with their Magni and Modi. Any Objective2 headphone amp will be great (but personally buying the separate amp and DAC stack looks a little off for me, but getting the combined unit is pretty pricy).

The Sennheiser HD 598 sound really good on their own, but with a bit of amping I found they just sound that much better. They don't really need that much more power to get there tho so you could definitely benefit from any lower powered headphone amp. That being said some of the lower powered amps may not be able to drive better headphones as well. For example my FiiO E18 can power my Fostex T50RP MKIII, but they sound much better on the more powerful Schiit Magni 2 Uber.

Hopes this helps and good luck
Vizard424
thanks
What source are you using? When I owned the 598s, I couldn't tell the difference between onboard out of a macbook pro and a fiio q1 dac/amp. If your source is sub par, you have to decide if you want to use the amp out and about (in which case you will need a battery powered unit most likely if you want to use it with your phone). I would suggest against the O2 ODAC unless you are planning on getting better cans down the road, it is serious overkill for the 598s (imo).

If you want something cheap/simple out of your laptop, take a look at the dragonfly https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DP5JHHI?psc=1&smid=AKR88PAWTQVN2. You can find them used for less too to keep it within budget.

edit: Actually now that I think about it, I also owned a magni 2/modi 2 at the time and I didn't really notice benefit with that either vs onboard.
jjnist
thanks
At the current price it is on Massdrop right now, I would absolutely recommend the SMSL M3. I'm right on the edge of buying it, but I think I'm going to save up for the Micca Origen + ($110), or possibly the O2 ODAC combo ($250-300).

Here is a link to the drop page. https://www.massdrop.com/buy/smsl-m3-dac-amp

I recommend you look around the Internet for some reviews. This list might be interesting as well.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Zeos/comments/4kyg38/guide_dacs_headphone_amplifiers/

Hope this helps!!

Edit: By the way, I've got the HD598SE as well. What do you think of the cables and the comfort so far?
Cookster997
thanks
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