Amp and dac upgrade recommendations?

Budget $400. Headphones dt 1990 pro 250 ohm. Current setup liquid spark and topping d10. Personally feel liquid spark compliments the headphone well. Looking for the next upgrade to buy in the near future. Game to music 60/40

So continuing or conversation, I think the asgard 3 with an e30 would be really solid here for what you are after. I think to get a substantial bump in performance, you would be spending around 500 usd per component, which I don’t think your headphones command imo

Edit: also what does the [PA] mean lol

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I figured it would be a little more fruitful to just create the post to get a better view point from others. I already wrote your recommendation down. I looked up the asgard 3 people sell it from time to time for like $150 which isnt bad honestly. lol dude really? PA is purchase advice CO is comparisons haha. anyway yeah I am definitely considering it. I found an old box of stuff I can sell for quite a high price so it hit me… hell I could upgrade my audio equipment to be more ideal if there is one… $500 per unit definitely isn’t ideal $400 is the max id be willing to go on these units. and yes that does mean I would be willing to go like $130 for the e30 and $270 or whatever on the amp too


Yes, a very fair price for a great amp. I think also another good amp is the jds el amp ii, pretty dang sweet and might be able to be found used for a good price

Never used nor seen those before lol, my bad

Yeah, so imo there is a performance void that hits from 200 ish to 500 ish for good amps from my experience, and actually a void from like 200 ish to 600-700 ish for substantial upgrades in dacs as well imo.

I think with that budget, you could perhaps look for a used gilmore lite mk2 in the 300 range or find a rupert neve rnhp in the 300 range if you can, and keep the e30, I think that would be the most you could get for your money imo that would work well with your current and potentially future headphones

The question is how well will they compliment the dt 1990 yea? all this equipment sounds different. If I am going to go after a amp on the higher price bracket I want it to be the best bang for the buck in that regard especially for sound… quite a few amps I have heard actually can make a headphone sound dark or just bad. Going to message the guys who sold me the D10 see if they would be willing to exchange it for the e30 since they sell both of them.

I think the rnhp complements the 1990 very well, exerts great control over them. I think it reduces the forwardness a bit but keeps everything else intact, it improves timbre and naturalness, and really helps with spatial recreation too, generally an all round upgrade imo. The presentation of detail while maintaining naturalness is pretty damn great too, really nice for this price category

The gilmore lite mk2 is actually a bit brighter sounding amp, but that being said, I like what it does with the treble which sweetens it up and does make sure it doesn’t get harsher, this would be a tad more analytical pick, it does sound a bit cleaner. The lite mk2 would also have more impact than the rnhp and would maintain a bit more aggression than the rnhp. Again I think this is an overall upgrade to the 1990

The lite mk2 would preform a bit better with planar from my experience imo that the rnhp if you wanted to go that way in the future, but if you went for more kinda easy to drive dynamics the rnhp would suit those a bit better. For the 1990 I do lean towards the rnhp moreso than the lite but I think the lite mk2 is more likely to be found in your budget used and would do the 1990 justice as well imo

oof… more analytical which is already what its good at or more well rounding.

Analytical in a good and enjoyable way mind you, not a bad thing in this case imo (the 1990 can get rough on some amps). Both amps are great but different lol

I will look into them would defintely depend on price point… the liquid spark seems to make the highs roll off it lowered the treble and smoothed it out while making the mids more forward. It does right by the headphones. Just not sure which one to choose of those two in this case. analytical vs all rounder

I think if you wanted something a bit more neutral and less rolled off than the spark but wanted to keep it’s great tonality, but with more detail but not harsh and naturally impressive, and more impressive spatial recreation, the rnhp is for you imo. My concern is just that it’s going to be out of your budget here even used

If it is $300 it’s barily out of my budget which I can alter accordingly. However, This really boils down to just how much better the rnhp is compared to the asgard 3 and the other one you mentioned jds el amp ii. if it isnt significant enough to warrant its price tag I would prefer the cheaper alternative but if it is significant I would be more inclined to go that route

I personally think it would be a significant upgrade, otherwise I wouldn’t have mentioned it imo. But looking right now there aren’t any used listings whatsoever, and none really on sale, they hold their value really well, which is the issue. Same for the Gilmore lite mk2 but those can typically be found cheaper than the rnhp, but still not super common to find.

I think if these aren’t a possibility (they most likely are not from looking around) imo the Asgard 3 would be my amp pick in the 200 range for a significant upgrade that would match well with the 1990

site screwed up here. this was supposed to say I will look into it

In this case I think that you might end up spending too much on the amp here imo is my concern. I think you would get a nice quality bump because of it, but you might be spending more than you should for this tier or setup

Also I found this listing for an upgraded mk2 which is solid

Well, in your opinion how much do you think I should be spending on this. You said the Rupert NEVE Designs Rnhp is worth the purchase and even said itd be better than the gilmore. The issue is both are $300+ easy. Meanwhile the other option was the asgard and whatever that other was you mentioned which are cheaper. I would prefer to have the best for my setup

I think it’s my preference over the Gilmore, but the Gilmore is very solid and would still be an upgrade

Then what I would do is stick with your current dac amp setup for now, and then when you have enough later on, spend it on something like the rnhp and a nice dac imo. The Asgard 3 would be an upgrade, but the rnhp or gilmore would be even more so. What you have now is a solid setup, and I think you might be better off sitting with that for a few months, and then grabbing the higher tier amp and dac later on when it makes more sense financially or if you find a good deal imo. Your current budget is just in an uncomfortable spot, where it’s right in the middle of that performance void for electronics imo, where it would be worthwhile to wait and get into the higher tier stuff above the void

Already switching out the DAC, sent the email for the exchange. As for the amp, you mention the void but it sounds like your saying the rnhp and gilmore would essentially be like at the very end of upgrades in my case as I don’t really particularly plan on upgrades past that price margin. In this particular price case it would definitely make more sense to wait for a sale on those amps or someone to post another classified. Think I will keep my eye peeled out for like a $150 asgard 3 though… I can always sell that later on and it’s an upgrade. You mentioned that JDS el amp II. Is that better than the asgard 3 in this case? also what about massdrop amps and dacs? They typically have better for lower price right?

I did some digging, as I plan to return the current beyer dt 1990 they aren’t officially mine. As of this damned virus all the prices hiked up big time to nobodies surprise. The 1990s were able to be bought around $300 yet are now pricing at $600 meanwhile the Rupert Neve Designs RNHP shows last year during december the prices went as low as $274 with the average being $350… Definitely going to wait on this then I will pick these up at a later point in time. I can’t post a head-fi classified ad yet as my account is not old enough. All I can do at this point is plan ahead to what I need to pick up. Will upgrade the dac as its a flat rate regardless on that right now, which is fine. Liquid spark however I think I may refund so that I may put those funds towards the upgrade.

Usually stands for “Public Address” or “Public Audio”, depending on who you ask :thinking:



For the headphones you currently have that’s as far as I would recommend you go for amps imo

It’s an alternative to the Asgard 3, also very good. It’s more neutral than the a3, but it also does something with the treble to sweeten it up that’s fairy pleasing too, solid amp. I think the a3 pairs with the 1990 a tad better, and the other headphones I assume you will try will benefit from the a3 more in that range

I would really suggest ignoring them if you are referring to like the thx stuff lol. And the cavalli amps are ok, but I would recommend you stick with the a3 if you were going that route

Not sure about that one, I rarely see them come up used, and if then it was a crazy good deal to find one under 400 from what I have seen

You can do that, I would just make sure you don’t go too long without an amp, as it will be beneficial to have an amp with all the headphones you have coming in