DAC / AMP to listen to Tidal Master with headphones?

Good morning all,
This is my first question on the forum.
I am using my labtop to listen to TIDAL Master on my Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro 250 ohm headphones and am planning to buy a HIFIMAN ANANDA for Christmas.

To improve my listening, should I only consider DAC / AMP which are MQA? If so, could you give me some recommendations? (budget less than $ 500)

I saw the Schiit Modi / Magni, but not MQA?
Geshelli Labs DAC / Amp stacks, but not MQA?
Any suggestions under $ 500?

An earman donald dac or an ifi zen dac both do mqa on a budget. Pair them with any amp and you’re gtg.

Imo mqa will limit you’re options quite a bit but that said an asgard 3 and a donald dac is really nice for under $500.

Bluesound Node 2i, but the DAC part is not that great. I moved to Qobuz from Tidal when they went full MQA, so I can listen hires music with any DAC.

I had not heard about this Donald DAC… :smiley: It seems to measure really well:

Add a Topping L30 headphone amp to that and you have nice MQA capable combo. I went with Topping L30/E30 as I do not need/want MQA.

More importantly imo it sounds really good :+1:

Glad you’re liking topping stack :slightly_smiling_face:

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Budget move is one of the ifi DACS.

If you want to wait around for a sale, used or can stretch the budget, the Topping D90.

Your sweet spot might be the new SMSL SU9.

Got a few bucks off at the mo :+1:

And say add an iFi Zen Can and you’re sorted.

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@terasankka Sorry for my ignorance, but could you explain more to me? I do not understand the benefit?

I continued my research and found the SMSL M500. Does this choice seem very interesting to me? What do you think?

The combos that you offered me with the EARMAN Donald still leave me free budget. So I have a little space to get better …

You only need dac can drive 512 dsd buy the Software Audirvana and add the Settings from you dac and all are be fine.
You need not more.

So i have run it with the Singxer Sda 2 Dac.
The Dac is for sure out of your range i think the ify is enough for what you do.:wink:

Benefit of what? Happy to explain. Can you specify?

It is this assertion that I do not understand. (The advantage of Qobus over Tidal Master)

Short version is that tidal uses a partly lossy proprietary MQA-technilogy that need a MQA enabled hardware DAC to get the full benefit of the MQA.

Qobuz uses open standard lossless FLAC format that works with any DAC.

The long version is here:


Both sound good though and you are unlikely to hear a difference. I just dislike the proprietary nature of MQA and the fact that I need a special DAC to play that stream.

Any comments on the SMSL M500?

Yes, the M500 thinks it will go more in the clinical and analytical direction.
Not nice warm and full-bodied like an Akm or Cirrus Logic Chip which are among other things more musical.
It’s a matter of taste now whether or not Mqa can do that in the end I wouldn’t focus on it.
Firstly it is quite new and secondly it would be a nice to have in the selection.
It’s better to focus on Dsd to 512 then you are actually very well prepared and positioned.

The other side is what kind of headphones should the Dac drive?
If you take a planar headset it needs a lot of power, so it would be good to have something to drive it, otherwise it would be a waste.
How about the Topping E30 and Schiit Asgard 3 or a Lake People G103S?

My recommendation…I purchased mine over a year ago and even though i own “better” units i continue to use it regularly because it is so feature packed and sounds great with IEM’s. Good luck deciding

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Yes I plan to buy a HIFIMAN ANANDA before Christmas. But I read that these planars headphones were not very greedy, less greedy than my Beyer DT990 Pro. I do not know if that’s true…

I really want to make a purchase for a while, at least I hope not to think about upgrading quickly!
Regarding the “focus on Dsd to 512” aspect, I honestly admit that it is beyond my current understanding. I probably need to read a bit about this before making my choice, because right now that doesn’t mean anything to me!