Amp/Dac guidance

Hello Hifi Guides,
I have been reading through this forum for some time now and I finally realized I have a problem and need your experienced input. :slight_smile:

I purchased some headphones along the way as well as some basic DAC/AMP and now I am considering where to put my money next.
I own following

Headphones: AT M50X(dont use anymore), Sony WH-1000XM2, AKG K361, Koss KPh30i, Sennheiser HD 599, Hifiman Sundara, Beyerdynamic T5p and latest addition is Klipsh HP3

IEMs: Tin T2, Blon Bl03, GuideRay GR-i 68, Sony N3AP
AMP/DAC: my current main combo is Klipsh headphone amp(due to the looks and avaialbility but I like the sound) and my wife has Fiio K3 which was mine combo untill I got Klipsh.

I am planing few additions this year and probably couple more in following years as follows:
This year: audioquest Nighthawk and maybe Fostex T60rp-mostly due to kind of unique look and sound from what I read.
Following years considerations in priority order: ZMF Eikon, Focal Clear, Dan Clark Aeon 2 closed, Sennheiser HD 660s, probably some higher end planar like LCD-X or Arya. Would such path make any sense?

My priority now is to get some amps/dac to my main set up and also something for portable. I am currently considering following paths:

  1. RNHP(Amp)->SONCOZ LA-QXD1 DAC->Shiit Asgard 3 & Heresy for wife-> Denafrips Ares 2->maybe some tube amp
    or
  2. RNHP(Amp)->SONCOZ LA-QXD1 DAC->TOPPING A90-> Denafrips Ares 2->maybe some tube amp

(Note: will probably move Klipsh amp to my wife :))

I am considering balanced DAC so I can plug two amps from one source. Option two is alternative as I live in Slovakia and Shiit is hard to get here and I might be ordering it from US eventualy.

For portable I consider Fiio BTR5 or Xduoo XD-05 Plus. I want something that can push also my headphones not only IEMs and I am not sure about moving to balanced cables yet.

My use of gear is 50% music 30% youtube/podcasts and 20% gaming.

For music I listen to almost everything but manly trance, deephouse, folk rock and some pop.

As for sound preferences I am still totoal noob in this and I am trying to develop any sense or taste. I obviously like bass but I also really like how Sundara sounds which is not that punchy.

As for a budget for AMP/DAC I am considering somthing around 1K euro for first three steps(Amp, dac amp). Can move a bit higher and I would like to make a bit future proof.

Sorry for a long post and big THANK YOU for any comments.

Welcome!!

I have gone thru several evolutions with 20+ amps, 20+ headphones and 6+ dacs…over the past few years.

Only your ears will be able to choose the sound you eventually like…

IMO, getting an amp that will handle both high and low impedance headphones is important. Unless like many of us, have more than one amp, some for high and some for low impedance.

There are many good choices here.

After all this buying, selling, testing I mainly use a Schiit Bifrost 2, Schiit Lyr 3, Schiit Jotenheim, Schiit Magni 3, Hagemans TUBA (EL84 tube amp), and Bottlehead Crack and Mainline. I also have a dozen DIY amps, all SS that I use from time to time.

The RHNP is highly regarded. I have never used one so I am at a loss but many will give you their opinions on it.

Welcome to the site and all the best in your audio journey!

Alex

So what I might suggest for what cans you have on the way, the ares ii with an amp like the monolith liquid platinum. That would be a solid setup that as long as run balanced, would pair well with what you have coming imo. I don’t think a tube amp would compliment your setup outside of working well with the eikons, but personally I like the eikons on solid state as well so for now I would stick with one amp and one dac

For the portable, the xd05 plus is quite solid, and would be able to drive your cans just fine (although the clear might get weird on there)

Thanks for the inputs guys, much appreciated.

@ M0N so you would suggest skipping RNHP and Asgard and other DAC and recomed go strait for the Ares 2 and liqud platinum combo?

Any alternatives for liquid platinum? It is somewhat hard to get in europe but if this is the best combo I would find a way.

One more thing, you suggest run it as balanced but not all my headphones can be run balanced so any SS alternative?

Thanks.

So I do like the rnhp, but I think with the larger planars and the eikon that you would be missing out on some impact, it would still sound great, but it wouldn’t be as heavy hitter as the plat in that regard.

So every headphone you have planned can run balanced, and the sundara, t5p, and hp3 can run balanced. The other headphones cannot, but that being said for that tier of headphone, the liquid platinum single ended out would be fine, you just don’t want to use the single ended out with a higher tier headphone

There are alternatives, are there any used violectric or lake people you could get ahold of, or perhaps is there a Gilmore lite mk2 over there? Those are pretty nice and also single ended too. If you found something like a v200 or higher for violectric that would be my preference over the liquid platinum imo

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So Lake People and Violectric are from Germany so I should be able to grab one however violectric is about 1k eur for v200. Will check about the Gilmore availability.

you would still stick with Ares 2 as a dac of choice, right?

Will consider maybe grabbing even more expensive amp like v200 and use Klipsch as Dac till I will be able to move for Ares 2. Will that work together?

Thanks M0N!

Indeed, it is really solid and also should be something you can get ahold of fairly easily I think.

Check used market as well to see if you can find a deal for the v200

Yes, that would work just fine imo

Just checked that they ship for free worldwide so that would put me in the rage 650 EUR with taxes and customs.

Will search for used violectric. anything from lake people or you would rather stay with violectric?
just to give it and order:

  1. Violectric HPA V280
  2. Violectric HPA V200
    3.Gilmore lite mk2
  3. Liquid Platinum

Does that make sense? Will see what makes best price to performance choice.
Thanks.

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So I would stay violectric because of the but more enjoyable signature imo. I think the Gilmore at that price doesn’t make sense. So I think if you can get a v280 that would be the best, and the v200 would be my 2nd pick

M0N one more thing. With 280 would you still go primarly balanced or se should work well enogh?

So on the 280 the balanced does sound better, but that being said it still performs very well. With stuff like the clear arya eikon etc you would want to go balanced but I mean the single ended out is still really good

M0N i become curious :slight_smile:
Is there a midtier amp other than those you already recomended at around 5-7 hundred I could take a look at or you would skip this step?

The second thought, what would be the next step for me in the future from v280? Assuming headphones will stay the same.

Same probably applies about dacs.
I am sort of decided to go with v280 and ares ii, just waiting for the money and reading through this forum on vacation pushed my curiosity.

So I feel like now what I would be doing if you wanted another alternative would be checking used sites to just see what current deals are out there, as 5-700 would get you some good stuff used

If you really liked the v280 but wanted more, you could go to the niimbus us4+ and for a dac you could step up the denafrips line or go to perhaps like a berkeley alpha dac series 2 (not reference 2). If you wanted a change of pace there are many other options lol

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I will try to take a look at it but it is a bit harder with used things in Europe especially when you don’t know what you are looking for. But I will get there no need to rush.

I was looking at the nimbus today as I went through lake people production lines. Looks dope even to noob like me. Will get one when I get sense I am on the level I can appreciate such tier.

Right now I am just thinking of maybe trying more things to see if I can hear differences and define what I like and want. But great to have some kind of path vision for the future.

Thnak you

If your bored, look around for headphone amps that seem interesting to you in the 1k price range new, and then look on like hifishark.com and see what they go for used, if you find one that’s interesting and attainable at a better price used, I might be able to tell you about it if I’ve heard it lol. It’s just harder for me to give more recommendations without knowing what is available to you