Aug 4, 2018266 views

DAC/amp for HD6XX

What is the best DAC/amp option for driving Sennheiser HD6XX for $150? Could be separate or all in one. Yes, I know spending more money will yield a better result but this is my budget.
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xDuoo TA-01 with goldlion tube. Has built in dac.
I know it’s out of budget, but if it increases and don’t mind a little DIY soldering project, there is no question that the Bottlehead Crack with Speedball upgrade is one of the best amps out there for high impedance cans, specifically HD6XX family. There’s no DAC, but I use my iPhone directly into my Crack with HD58X (not the most ideal headphones to pair with it) and the sound is incredible.
Out of all the headphones I own, none work as well with the Schiit Loki 2 equalizer as the 6XX's. I know that isn't an amp or a dac, but I wanted to throw it out there. Once you land on your combo, I highly suggest adding the Loki 2 because it is a lot of fun.

Back on topic, I use 3 different combos: 02, Cavelli Hybrid, and my favorite is the Schiit Valhalla 2 + Modi. All power the 6XX's just fine.
topping a30/d30
I still love my old Ray Samuels predator dac/amp. Lots of tonality and warmth - they go for around $160 used. Otherwise an in line USB Dac will do the job but not as elegant and detailed sounding.
I'm going to diverge from the herd here as well as repeat some earlier advice and say, first that you should start with the amp (unless your source is terrible as stated earlier).

Where I will deviate from everybody else is to say if you can scrounge up an extra $49 and wait for MD to drop it again you should get the Darkvoice 336Se tube amp. I am literally listening to HD6XXs on one right now (granted I have rolled tubes) and it is really, really good.
As noted earlier, the HD6xxx benefits from amp headroom. You will figure that out after living with them for a while. The FiiO e10k is a good low budget starting point as it includes an amp and DAC with coax and analog line out for $75. This allows bypassing the onboard amp when you have more funds. For an amp, consider adding the Schiit Magni3 $99 later as it has more power than the O2. Keep the FiiO for the DAC or upgrade it later as you like. If you can swing $200 now, skip the E10k and consider the modi2/magni3 stack.

I’m pairing my 6xxx with the Massdrop CTH and Topping D10 (trying DSD). I gave my E10k to a family member. I’ll be upgrading the D10 last, either to a Schiit modi multibit or MD RDAC.

have fun!
3rd vote for Fulla 2.

For $50 more you could get the excellent iFi Nano BL which would also be a good option if you want to experiment with 24 bit /96KHz+ digital audio on the DAC side of things (DSD, MQA etc)
With your budget, I would just focus on a good amp and forego the DAC. Unless you have a very poor source, you won't notice much of a difference until you start spending a bit more.

With that said, I recommend the Fiio A5. It's very powerful and portable. Compared to the Fulla 2, it has almost 4x times the power at 300 ohms (150mW) and has more voltage output (14.96Vpp = 5.2Vrms). The Fulla will be maxed comparatively whereas the Fiio will have plenty of headroom and you won't have to worry about your music clipping.

If your budget was a bit more ($200), I'd recommend the iFi nano Black Label. It's also powerful enough to push the 6XX (output of 3.5V) and has a better DAC section and supports more filetypes and bitrates over the Fulla. It's also portable and battery-powered (about 10 hours) and has some other features built-in: a USB purifier (helps eliminate jitter) and iEMatch for sensitive IEMs that tend to hiss. It's also balanced with 3.5mm TRRS if one was inclined. The nano also works well in desktop mode since you can fully disable the battery and run it right off USB (reduces battery wear).

If you're on an absolute budget, the Fulla is good for its price. However, if you spend just a bit more, you'll get more on your investment with better quality sound.
jaydunndiddit
With your budget, I would just focus on a good amp and forego the DAC. Unless you have a very poor source, you won't notice much of a difference until you start spending a bit more.

Completely agreed. At this price point, just get an amp and just use it with the DAC in your computer or phone.
nod ,Fulla 2 is the best for HD58X ,HD6XX for the price
The Fulla 2 is one of the best options at that price point. http://www.schiit.com/products/fulla-2
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