Considering an upgrade

Hey everyone,

I’ve been considering an upgrade in equipment for about a month now. I was recently gifted the HiFiMan Sundara and it got me itchin’ to upgrade my amp or DAC.

My current setup is - Sound Blaster Z > Schiit Magni v1. My source is usually Google Play Music or Tidal. I own a pair of DT 770 250 ohm and HD 558’s. I’m keeping my eye out for a pair of HD6XX to replace the HD 558.

I was wondering what I’d benefit more from? A new DAC or a new amp, or both? I’ve been looking at the SMSL m100 and the Topping D10/D30.

I’m in Canada so purchasing from JDS Labs or Geshelli Labs would incur duties, exchange and taxes. I’d like to buy from Amazon Canada, if possible.

I’d say my total budget is $250, but I’m happy to spend more time saving to get something worthwhile. I’m also not opposed to purchasing second hand equipment.

Can you get a fiio k5 pro? That would be a pretty nice upgrade

Actually, yes I can. There’s a local brick and mortar store that carries it. It’s actually where my wife bought the Sundara from. I may just have to take them with me me to demo the K5 Pro.

I do have a E07K that I use on my Pixel 3 to drive my Sundara and that thing sounds fantastic. Thank you for the suggestion.

The k5 pro has plenty of power and sounds great. Don’t let the price mislead you, its a really nice unit for the price. I think you would have to step up to the 400-500 range to get a significant upgrade over the k5 pro for most headphones

I’ll definitely give it a shot. I know it’s on Amazon for the same price as well - $229 CAD.
Now, if I were to hold off and save up some more, what would you suggest for the $400-$600 range?

Well, the thx 789 and thx 887 are in that range that are more then most people would realistically need and you would also want a dac like a smsl su-8 v2 or other balanced dac, or also the monolith thx 788 desktop which is an all in one with great features. The rupert neve rnhp also sits around that price range, but again you would also need a dac. You might be able to find a used questyle cma400i in that range as well. An insane portable/desktop amp is the iFi iDSD micro black label that is a beast for portable, or something like the iFi xDSD for more compact usage. Or the Chord Mojo or Fiio q5s with a thx module are more portable options

There’s more options, but personally I would just suggest getting something like the fiio k5 pro and getting more headphones, as that would yield a bigger upgrade in quality.

That’s great info, thank you for all the input. I think I like the idea of the K5 Pro and more headphones.

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Monoprice / cavalli liquid spark is on Amazon, so is the magni 3. The spark I think sounds slightly more musical… it’s the amp I’m using with a modi 3 DAC, until I get the 789 or 788 then it will go into my bedroom.

We have a Magni 3 and it sounds good too. I notice the kick drums hit a little harder compared to the spark. Like the drummer is kicking 9 out of 10 on the magni and 7.5- 8 out of 10 with the spark. The reverb/ resolution sounds like it has more levels on the spark. So it’s a worthy trade off for me.

For your $250 budget you could get the Modi 3, magni 3 schiit stack or a modi 3 and spark and have enough to get the topping stand

I think the spark is the better amp then the magni imo, so getting a liquid spark or a monolith liquid spark and a smsl m100 or topping d10 would be a great setup, but I do think that the k5 pro is the better value

a Liquid Spark or Monolith Liquid Spark? is there another LS line out there?

It’s the same thing, just making sure people find it if they search

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I’m loving the liquid spark when paired with my Grado, and even the T2 PRO. The lively mids of the grado and spark together along with the slightly rolled of treble of the spark. Is a winning combo. Fantastic with acoustic and vocals.

I was looking into the Liquid Spark as well. It’s $183 CAD on Amazon Canada. I can pick up an SMSL M100 for $90 CAD at the moment. It puts me over my current budget by $50, but that’s not a big deal. The magni/modi 3 would be a big jump, due to duties.

Also I’m dumb I meant to put jds labs atom instead of one of the liquid sparks, now your comment makes more sense lol

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I thought about that stack as well. Liquid Spark to M100 or D10. The M100 is currently $90 from Amazon Canada. I suppose another option is to buy the M100, keep the Magni v1 and then buy a liquid spark in the future, or a different amp altogether.

EDIT: I just missed out on buying a K5 Pro review unit. It was sold so quickly, as it was priced at $150. :frowning:

japaul…buy it directly from Mooprice. $109 plus shipping is still lower after exchange and customs than buying direct from Amazon.

Marzipan, I just took a look and shipping is another $20 USD, so it works out to $173 CAD. That’s before duties and taxes. Sure is hard buying things in Canada at times.

I’m hoping I can post this link here.

I haven’t been able to find much info about this DAC/amp. Is this a good combo?