Dac Pairings for Asgard 3 (Sub $300)

For awhile I had a Modi 3 and JDS Atom for my desktop. With all this extra free time recently I decided to see if upgrading my amp could actually make a difference. I ended up trying out a Heresy, Magni 3+, SP200, THX 789, and Asgard 3. Out of all them I found that the A3 offered the most clarity with out being fatiguing. Actually I was pleasantly surprised on how good the A3 sounded, feels almost under appreciated by all the hype the new THX implementations.

This raised my curiosity about DACs and I purchased an E-30. Music sweetened up nicely and I realized the Modi has almost an edgy sound to it. Although the E-30 could feel soft at times.Then the Modius came out and I decided to see I could find difference between 4493 implementations. The profile was almost the same but the Modius seemed snappier with a little more energy. At first I found it more enjoyable but at times the attack is right on the edge of tolerance. It’s very engaging sound that I imagine most people would be into. Now I’m getting to a place where I wonder if there is anything in the middle. I know a majority of people will tell me this is all placebo and it could be, but I’m not really interested in discussing that here.

I found the El Dac II but at $300 for SE it seems overpriced IMO. I’ve also seen the Enog2 Pro but my understand is that it has no USB implementation. Is there something else that might be worth exploring?

I’ll also mention my headphones are the 6XX, AKG 712, 4XX


So right off the bat I’ll mention I haven’t heard the e30 or the modius.

I think the internal multibit in the a3 is excellent and my personal go to for most listening sessions. It adds to 3D presentation of the a3 imo but may be too ‘soft’ for your tastes but still may be worthwhile checking out.

I have been using the earman Donald dac recently and I’m really impressed with it. With the a3 it’s very detailed and clean but never comes across harsh or anything. It’s like a neutral sound but still sweet. Could be just what you’re looking for.

no you are not entirely wrong with your statement.
And can also understand that you are looking for what lasts longer.
Was similar to me.
Nothing against the cheap Dac and amps they are really great for the money no question.
I had the impression that you heard your fill relatively quickly, until you find it boring and then you buy the next cheap one.
It was like this for me for almost 2 years.
I think you are looking for something that lasts longer and that you want to be happy with. So far you are already.
I do not want to say now buy a Rme Adi 2 you will like it and everything is fine.
You have heard different Dacs and have now found your preferences, whether it is an Akm or Ess chip.
I also see potential in the headphones, you have no bad.
But I would like to mention that there is still room for improvement.
Hifiman Sundura, Denon D7200, Emu teak, possibly even a focal.
The A3 would have the power to drive them all.

The E30 is good. i’d stick with that. what i would go for next is a upgrade to your headphones. those headphones are terrible, jk. Have you heard the Helios? its a great new headphone. U shaped with exciting presentation. Theres also the Sundara. The Emu’s. the Beyer Tygr. and many really great headphones out there. especially now

How do you tell someone that their headphones that they probably enjoy are terrible?

You tell them that when the headphones they have are terrible

No, you dont, because thats your opinion, one that he most likely disagrees with. Especially when hes asking for DAC pairing.


Generally when it comes to DACs at that price point, you should be focusing on what features you want rather than sound. Even if you can hear the difference between them all, it’s much more worth while to focus on getting better cans first before getting a third DAC. If you’re just really into DACs, then I would try saving up for a major upgrade which will start around $700.

But if you want bluetooth, the D50s is another good option.

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For the record, I own all three. The 6XX and 4XX are two of my favorites cans and I still regularly use both of them. The K712 is OK but responds well to EQ and is good for gaming.


Yeah me too. ugh.

I actually wouldn’t recommend this as I found it really sharpened the higher frequencies

4xx and 6xx get the nod from me as well… great headphones :+1: (I haven’t heard the 712)

Really? Was it the original or D50s? I’ve heard some say the sound was improved.

Oh yeah sorry I read it as d50s lol I was speaking to the d50s… it wasn’t harsh or bad but I don’t think it’s what op is looking for… it’s on the analytical side of things and not the smoothest imo

It was actually supposed to say D50s, since the D50 doesn’t have bluetooth. I’ve seen a couple reviewers also said it was analytical so yeah, it may not work for that.

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I really like the look and sound of the enog and you get single ended and ballanced out which is great for amp upgrades. Geshelli are apparently making a new enog too. For usb I have a jds ol dac which sits nicely on my enog, but the negative with this setup is a lot of amps only have one input. Also i really like the akg712 and it takes pretty good on tube amps like the darkvoice. Out of my Asgard, atom, and Dark voice, the darkvoice is what I use for the 712, and the 6xx is good on tube amps as well. If you like these headphones you could upgrade the 4xx to a sundara. They work great with the Asgard. 712, 6xx, and sundaras/4xx are all great headphones! (Looking at you @Antpage2 ) These are just from my experience :slight_smile: and I’m pretty satisfied, but excited to move up.

I’ve previously ran a Topping e30 and Geshelli Labs Enog2 with the Asgard 3. Both sounded very good. I’m currently running a Bifrost 2 with the Asgard 3 and it is a huge step up from the other 2.

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I think DAC wise you got it figured out. I’m just here to say I’m a fan of all 3 headphones the 6xx less so unless tubed. The personally would be my pick at this moment cause it may play a nice in between between the flavors you have tried

Last year on Black Friday, I bought a OG B-Stock El Dac for about $130. Cosmetically, it looks perfect. If you can hold out until this year’s Black Friday, you might get a hell of a deal on a B-Stock El Dac II.

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I’m looking for a dac below 300$ for my thx789 and future a3. I would like to have the balanced out for the thx789 and optical in for ps4. The 3 contenders are:

  • Modius (200$)
  • smsl m200 (280~$)
  • smsl m300 (250~$)
    I have read how the modius and a3 are a good match. They making a good spatial recreation, imagine and soundstage.
    The smsl are more freature packed with Bluetooth, remote controller, display, volumen knob (smsl m200).

According to at least one person in the forums, the 400$-ish Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC is an exception that will add soundstage to your stuff – compared to the 1000$-ish Topping DACs which will just get you a “flat” and “clinical” sound.