Aug 20, 2018128 views

HD6XX desktop AMP/DAC at a decent price?

I recently bought the PC37X from massdrop for gaming- my first open back headphones and loved the difference compared to closed earphones. So I ordered some HD6XX for music. I now need an AMP/DAC, and to be honest as a complete NOOB it's a hard task sifting through previous information and defining a clear choice and having any understanding why it may be better than the other options out there. The Aune X1S is on massdrop at present as is a DarkVoice 336 tube amp, alternatively i have been looking at the JDS element or the schiit Magni 3 & Modi 2. The element is probably top end of my budget at $350, but probably more than i want to pay given the headphones are $199. So what do you recommend, and what offers the best bang for the buck?
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Chord Hugo M Scaler + Chord DAVE + Apex HiFi Audio Pinnacle

In all seriousness, The Element is a fine choice. Or the Darkvoice 336 (I prefer this sound personally) and a basic Modi 2.
Personal recommendation: the Aune X1s is still a fine unit, and while the 10th Anniversary Edition has a more powerful amp, the dac inside is just "okay" imo.
If you're looking for something in that same price though, you could also go for an OL DAC from JDS Labs and an O2 Amp from Massdrop. That's roughly 200 bucks and people have said the O2 pairs well with the 6XX.
Alternatively, the SMSL M6 is a fine option for an p/Dac, while the amp section isn't super powerful, line OR pre-outs for powered monitors and digital volume control with a remote is a definite plus. I've run the 6XX off the older M6 and it's still a fine experience.
Actually just tested them last night with the Aune X7s being fed from the M6, and... Well I didn't really like it. I preferred the 58X being fed from that chain. But yeah, you can't go wrong with the newest M6, the JDS Labs OL DAC + O2 Combo, the Aune X1s (though I think the dac could be better, it's a very subtle thing to my ears), or if you wanna ball out, go for the Schiit Jotunheim with the Balanced or Multibit Dac.
That or the NFB11, R2R11 are going to offer some good power and room to grow. That's my opinion anyways. Good luck tho meng!
I would go for the schiit magni/modi stack for a separate amp/dac or the aune x1s for an all in one.
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Youl’ll have to do your own the research about the benefit of multibit over delta sigma dacs. I think the main reason for going jotunheim is being able to use balanced. Otherwise you can opt for the cheaper single ended offerings from schiit or other manufacturers that also offer multibit dacs. Good luck with your search and enjoy the hobby in good health.
emilsal
Let's not ignore the downsides of multibit vs delta sigma as well. At the end of the day, it becomes subjective to most people. Objectively, delta sigma DACs measure the best, but this is probably the area where measurements matter the least in this hobby considering the widespread love for R2R DACs (count me out of that group though).