Looking to upgrade my Fiio ek10 and was looking at either the Element 2 or Fiio k5 pro. Pretty new to the audiophile world, are there any better amp dacs around the 400< price range?
gonna depend on where you are in the world ,and for what use (balanced or SE) as well as what headphones and or speaker setup The more info you can provide the better and of course Welcome to HFG!!
edit: nevermind I see DT1990
If you’re US based, I would recommend Schiit. You can go Asgard 3 with multibit dac module for 400. I think you would be better off with just an Asgard 3 amp though and pair it with a Topping E30 dac. If you’re not US based, things get trickier, but we’ll figure it out.
Yep US based, does the Asgard 3 provide a bass boost? I noticed how some amp dacs don’t have a little knob like the ek10 and i’m a bit concerned about that. I love the extra kick the ek10 has
Balanced pads all the way i love the sound and bass they provide
Ah. No the A3 nor the E30 have bass boost. You want an iFi Zen DAC for that. The Zen is a bit warmer smoother than its similarly priced competition, has a sneaky - but not deal breaking - treble intensity, and only has USB input. However, if you’re OK with all that, Zen DAC + Asgard 3 is a pretty stunning combo. Zen gives the bass boost, A3 has the power to make it sing. Enjoy.
Thank you so much! really thinking that may be the stack i’m looking for. will dacs with the iFi and A3 provide even more of a bass boost compared to just an amp such as the Magnius with the iFi?
The A3 will have a slightly warmer sound than the Magnius. I don’t recommend the Magnius for you because it was really designed to power balanced headphones. The 1990 is not balanced unless you’re willing to do heavy modification. The Asgard is a much better single ended amp, and a better sounding amp overall, IMO.
Thank you, appreciate the replies. I think i’ve narrowed my picks down to Asgard 3 + Modius and the Asgard 3 + ZenDac. From my understanding the Schiit stack would be more accurate sounding but the Zen + A3 would give a bass boost.
Just buy them all
Your assessment is accurate. The Modius will be a bit more accurate. The Zen is a bit colored. The 1990 are detail monsters. The Zen may pull them back just a touch which may or may not be a good thing. OTOH if you go Modius and need more bass, Schiit sells the Loki EQ box for $150.
You think the Loki with the Schiit stack would provide more of a kick than the Zen Dac?
The Loki will probably give a couple more dB boost in the bass, yes. I haven’t heard it though so this is not a full blown endorsement.
Monkey wrench: are you settled on DT1990? You sound like a basshead (welcome to the club!). Similar in price to the 1990 is the Emu Teak. That will give you more bass from the headphone itself. You also have the option of a future Lawton mod, which if done right can give you stupifyingly good bass - quantity and quality. Alternatively, Focal Elegia are still floating around for 1990-ish money, maybe less. I know from experience Zen + Asgard + Elegia is also thunderous. If you’re not locked into the 1990, I’d give those serious consideration. In general, find the headphones that get you as close to your desired sound as possible on their own. Then get an electronics sound to bring that sound out even more.
Food for thought. Every option discussed here seems like it will be pretty awesome and I’m excited for you.
After the past few nights asking around, you’ve been a HUGE help, thank you! My first ever “real” pair of headphones were the 990 and I fell in love with them instantly, the detail in them blew me away. I looked around before purchasing the 1990 but I love that beyer sound from the 990 so much I didn’t want to stray away. The 1990 definitely have more of a punch than the 990 so i’m just trying to bring that out even more. I think i’m set on them…for now lol. i’m bound to get a new pair and i’m definitely going to keep your recommendations in mind. Also one more quick question, will I need a separate cable to connect the Zen and A3? Coming from the Ek10 I know very little about stacks.
You’re welcome! Happy to help.
You’ll just need a stereo rca cable. When you get the Zen you’ll see a switch on the back. Set it “variable” so you get the bass boost to output through its rear panel rca out. Enjoy!
Edit: wrong nomenclature. Fixed it!