Jul 26, 2018254 views

Best beginner Amp/Dac for HD6xx?

Hello Massdrop community,

I am very new to the audiophile scene and my knowledge of audio products is very limited, but in the past I had seen reviews on YouTube of the 6xx headphones and how great they where. So in the recent drop for them I decided to snag myself a pair.

So now my dilemma is what Amp/Dac do I get. I had been looking at just getting a Schiit Fulla 2 but I had seen in some reviews that they would not reccomend it for 300ohm headphones.

I do not want to spend to much money (mostly due to New Zealands insane import tax) but I also dont want my nice new headphones to be held back. So in essence I am looking for the cheapest amp and dac that will allow the 6xx's to perform to their full potential for a beginner to the "hobby".

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Add a comment...
Hi there, also from NZ. I think you only get pinged for import tax if your purchase is over $400 NZD. Had an o2 with my 6XX and it was fine, but trying out the CTH as it is supposed to be a great match. I would personally try to find a tube amp as it suits the 6XX better, and skip out on the DAC to start off with, and maybe upgrade or don't down the line.

Fulla 2 is a fine starting point. I have one and it works well with the HD6XX. If you don't have an amp currently, you will be impressed with it. I remain very impressed with the cost:performance ratio.

You could spend twice as much, or ten times as much (I have done both) and also be happy but poorer. Other good budget options would be the usual Modi/Magni, or the Massdrop CTH (there is a version with an SDAC built in that re-drops occasionally). I have the latter and it works well with the 6XX.

Does NZ have a specific threshold that triggers import duties?
Any thing $400NZD ($270USD) and over gets taxed, that includes the shipping cost.
That's a very low threshold. A basic Schiit stack (non-Uber Modi + Magni 3) just squeaks under that with shipping. Though you could probably use a reshipper and cut the shipping cost in half as the boxes are very small and light.
Apex HiFi Audio Teton + Totaldac d1-Twelve
I would look at the Massdrop options. The Liquid Carbon, Aune X7S, or O2 if budget is really tight. Whether or not you need a DAC depends on your source. The Liquid Carbon w/SDAC looks to be a bargain at $380 USD. Or you could go with the X7S and get a lower cost DAC like a Topping D10 or D30 and have a nice setup for $250-$300 USD. The X7S is great with the 6xx.
Thanks for the reply,

So the Liquid Carbon Amp/Dac would be powerful enough to drive the 6xx's? Because I can't seem to find anything about how much impedance it can handle.
It should handle the 6xx no problem. Especially in balanced mode. The Liquid Carbon has more power than my Aune X7S and it is awesome with the 6xx.

From the LC listing:
Maximum power: Balanced 2.8W RMS into 50 ohms, single-ended 0.7W RMS into 50 ohms
I started with a Fulla 2 and agree that I really didn't like the pairing with the HD6XX. I upgraded to the Magni 3 (now using the Fulla as a DAC only) and noticed a substantial boost in clarity and bass response. The Magni 3 puts about 11x as much power into 300ohms as the Fulla, so you might be able to get away with the Massdrop O2 (which sits somewhere in the middle) but I haven't tried personally.

Depending on your source, you can potentially get away with just an amp. If you're playing out of a desktop and have a half-decent DAC on your motherboard, and you're not having problems with interference, your most budget solution could be no DAC at all. If you have a shitty motherboard or a laptop, it's probably worth springing for a budget DAC and anything from Schiit or Massdrop is probably fine.
Add a comment...