Dac/amp vs just amp

Do i need a dac along with amp or is a good amp enough? Will be using a mac and heard its dac is good but i have no idea. Also will be using some hard to drive headphones inlcuding argon mk3

You can get by with just an amp, but a dedicated DAC and Amp or DAC/Amp will generally take you farther performance wise. What’s your budget and what other headphones besides Argons?

I would suggest a DAC/amp. But think how far you want to go, if you want a single simple device a DAC/amp is the right choice.

Will buy Sundara and clears soon
Budget is 400 dollars

It kinda sounds like you have an amp already? If so, which one?

I strongly recommend both.

When I first dipped my toes into this hobby I had a Mac and bought an amp only - Schiit Magni. There was noticeable improvement in sound. Then a month or so later decided to get a DAC - Schiit Modi multibit. When I added that to the chain the difference in power and quality was drastically improved.

Moral of the story, in my experience, is that computer DAC’s suck, even Apple’s.

I don’t actually. Have some shortlisted like schiit jotunheim, 789 and for just amps and topping dx7 pro and monprice thx dac amp for dac/amp

I have a Jotunheim and love it. If you go that route, add a DAC module to it for an extra $100 or $200 depending on which DAC you choose.

Then you’ll be set for a long time and will be able to drive just about any set of headphones you want.

Roger that. Apologies if you’ve said elsewhere but are you US based? If not, where (roughly)?

Currently India but moving to USA next year and then when I plan to get indo high end audio

OK, are the dac/amp needed immediately or is this looking down the road to when you are in the US?

In US only

OK, IMO your best play is to go Schiit Modius (DAC) and Asgard 3 (amp). You could go Topping E30 for dac but I think in your case the few extra dollars for the Modius is wise. Here’s my reasoning: Asgard + Sundara is already a known good pairing and the Asgard scales up to higher quality headphones better than most (possibly all?) amps in its price range. You’ll get more out of your Clears with the Asgard than you will with anything else in your budget range. I suggest Modius as a DAC because (1) so far it’s the best <200USD DAC I’ve heard and (2) it has balanced outputs. That balanced part won’t help you with the Asgard but will be there when you want to upgrade amps down the road. Having that balanced output will open up more amp options in the next price tier up.

Happy hunting!


Power wise asgard 3 will be really good but is this combo better than dx7 pro or thx dac amp?

IMO, yes. I had a THX-based amp before the Asgard and even though the Asgard is cheaper it sounded better than the THX. And TBH, it didn’t sound just a little bit better. Asgard was a noticeably more competent all around performer. Topping amps have a very similar design to THX and in my listening experience and in talking to others I trust they sound closer to THX than Asgard. The THX/Topping designs will sound very clean and clear but will come with harsh, brittle treble, flat staging, and an overall sound characteristic that I don’t know how to describe other than ‘mechanical.’ The Asgard has a more natural sound with noticeably superior spatial re-creation (soundstage and imaging are much better).


Okk thanks will definitely keep that combo in my mind

If you are considering buying such headphones then I would recommend a Dac.
Otherwise it would be a waste and money thrown out.
If there are really problems to connect a Dac with Apple then I would look for Dacs where at least a driver is available and see what works.
That would be the right way rather than randomly listing devices that might really cause problems with the Apple.
And before you really do the clear you better start with the Sundura and the Dac and test it out if it really makes problems.
Then it won’t hurt your wallet too much.
You can buy the Clear when the Dac has proven itself.
And if the Dac causes problems there is the option to send it back and get the next one.

I think it would be important if the manufacturer provides a driver for Apple then everything should run normally.

Yeah i think i will get an amp/dac. What are your recommendations for 400-500 for these headphones?

Contrary to others here, I think you don’t really need a DAC if you have a constrained budget: https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/high-end-pc-audio,3733.html

Personally I can’t tell any difference in quality between my FiiO K5 Pro and a $10 portable music player. Obviously the FiiO is a cheaper unit, but that is why I linked the above article.

As long as a DAC from your onboard or whatever doesn’t have severe frequency roll off, distortion, noise, etc. the difference an external will make is realistically negligible. Buying a DAC for more connectivity or other functionality is why you may want an external DAC

See the Link

Topping recommand no driver need for the E30 is a good thing.
So i think is a good combo with the Asgard 3 or the Lake people G103 S.