Amp & DAC upgrade

I’m looking to upgrade from my current Mayflower ARC to something a bit different. I don’t need the mic in port since I use an XLR mic and I quite like the idea of a separate amp & dac if I want to experiment with different equipment etc.

I do have a few different lower end amp/dac combos currently other than the ARC, which are the SMSL AD18 and the iFi iDSD nano LE, although neither is able to run my t50s very well.

I’ve been looking at things around £300 but I really can’t decide what I like the look of. I have been looking around at things like the archel 2.5 and heresy and also things like the Schiit Asgard, SMSL sp200 and the a-100 bas-x but I’m really not sure what to go for?

The main headphones I use currently like I said above are the t50rps, but I also use my hd650s and do have monoprice retros and takstar pro 82s that I use from time to time.

If you like the iFi Burr-Brown sound? I got my iFi Micro iDSD for £250 used, it’s pretty awesome and will power most headphones :+1:

The Drop THX789 is now $300 a bargain at that price and would be a good fit for both the hp you have.

I have the a-100 and love it but I used it first and foremost as a desktop speaker amp. If headphones is your priority the 789 I think would be this the best bet.

Just wondering how much is an asgard 3 over there? Imo that would be a great match for the headphones you have

1 Like

I’ve actually not used my iFi for a lot since I got it, but I do really like the iFi build quality which has made me a bit of a fan.

The only issue I have with Drop is how long it actually takes to get here, I’ve got a few things from them in the past and it took so long I completely forgot about what I ordered. But I do really like the look of the 789, just my only issue is that I’d need to get a new DAC for it too I think, but I suppose I’d need to do the same for the Emotiva/sp200. I do tend to go between my speakers and headphones a lot which is why I was looking at the bas-x in the first place.

From the EU Schiit dealer they are £250 without the DAC addon, although they seem to be all out of stock from there. I could possibly order direct from the US though and go for the Asgard with the DAC, not sure exactly how much that’d cost me though with tax etc.

So, personally my pick would be the asgard imo, I think with the headphones you have it would be the best match. Another solid pick might be a lake people g103-s if you can find one

I’ll take more of a look into the Asgard, is it worth getting the DAC card for it? Or would it be better to go for a separate DAC? I’m swaying towards separate gear just since it means I could upgrade them indipendantly.

I’ve actually not heard of the Lake People, I can’t seem to find any reviews of it on Youtube, but I’ll take a look at that too.

I would go separate unless it’s a fair bit less to get it built in

Really great amps, a bit more on the pro side but very very solid things, they also make amps under the name niimbus and violectric

you are a walking thesaurus of info. a company no1 has heard of that makes great gear…and you know what other labels they have! i love it! :beers: :+1: :slightly_smiling_face:

Indeed he is a walking thesaurus! But lake people and violectric are relatively known brands/company.

That’s what I thought too, pretty well known and established for amps lol, perhaps something like Arcturus would be less known :face_with_monocle: (recently got their 316a model and it’s pretty sweet)

Is there any specific DACs that’d be good to take a look at? I’ve been looking into things like the enog and the smsl su 8, but I’m not really sure what’s best to look for in a dac. I have mainly looked at balanced DACs because some of the amps I was looking at are.

balanced amps require balanced headphones…which isn’t a problem when cables can be swapped, but when you have fixed cables, you are forced to use se.

The enog and su8 are solid, but Imo balanced at this price range will give little benifit and more cost, so do consider that. I think the enog 2 pro is great if you can run optical, or the su8 if you want a boatload of features for a good price. I also have really been liking the topping e30 which imo has great features and sound for the price, and that would be my personal pick

Take a look to Beresford it is on your Door.Beresford come from British house.
Maybe the Beresford Caiman can be satisfait you or the Capella as Headphoneamp.

Thanks for the suggestion, I really like the look of the e30, means that I’d be needing to order from Aliexpress but I’d still be saving quite a bit over the other two amps and I don’t really need the features other than maybe the XLR out if I went for a balanced amp but I can deal with that for just over half the price.

I think currently my top amp choices that I am looking at are the asgard 3 and the thx 789/888. I’d need to get the asgard/789 from the US, but I think I like their designs the most although they would be a bit more expensive.

Been thinking about it in terms of what headphones I might get next, but I’m not sure what works well on the amps I’m looking at? I’ve been looking at the t60s and k712s for a while now but I also like the look of the hifiman 4xx/sundara. Not sure whether or not this would change anyone’s suggestions but I thought I may as well mention it to learn a bit more as to what I should look at.

The THX options will certainly meet/exceed the power requirements of the headphones you’ve listed, but it sounds like the general consensus around here is that the Asgard 3 has plenty of power as well and is better at recreating space and natural sound.

Yep. I’ve had the A3 for 24 hours and used to have SP200. This is the first thing I noticed making the change.

1 Like

Ordered the Asgard 3 and an e30 tonight, hopefully they shouldn’t take too long to arrive, thanks everyone for the suggestions.