AMP/DAC Question

Currently have the Zen DAC. I was thinking about stacking it with the Schiit Asgard since I like the slight bass boost the Zen provides. Would stacking with the Asgard improve the sound quality at all? Or would it just increase the power/volume.

By bass boost do you mean the X-bass function?

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yeah the x-bass

Yes. The Asgard (assuming you mean Gen 3) is a far more technically capable amp than the Zen’s built in amp. I used Zen + Asgard 3 for awhile. The bass boost through their on headphones like Elegia or DT880 600 was so much fun!

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Does the x-bass boost work if OP uses ZEN DAC as a DAC? I think it’s hardware EQ in the analogue section

Yes. There is a switch on the back. I forget how they’re labeled but one is a line out that is a fixed output from just dac. The other is preout which passes the EQ when active.

So will I be connecting the Agard to the Zen with input or output?

This is what I did when using the Zen Dac into an A3 when I had it.

Use Zen Dac as Dac only without passing EQ:
Set the switch on the back of the Zen Dac to Fixed and then the RCA analogue out from the Zen Dac to the analog in on the A3. Then control volume via the A3.

Using with EQ:
If you want to use the EQ functions AKA True Bass, then you set the switch on the back of the Zen Dac to Variable instead, still using RCA analogue out from the Zen Dac to the analog in on the A3.
You will have to adjust the volume knob on the Zen Dac (I think I just set it to full or 90%) and sort of forget it, and then use the volume control on A3. You may have to play with the volume setting on the Zen Dac a bit to get it where you like and have the best control using the A3.

Be mindful, that if you do decide to use the headphone outs on the Zen Dac, to turn the volume down on the Zen Dac first then adjust to comfortable - or you may blow your ears out and or potentially damage some sensitive headphones.

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I am thinking about tubes, I don’t have any desktop gear, and I am torn on the right way to do tubes. I was looking at a tube pre-amp that was only $50, but then I need a separate DAC and Amp. Is there a simpler, less expensive solution that I am not seeing, or is this just the inflection point on the gear?