While I agree this stack would be a lot to spend for only a k702, and also that starting from the bottom and moving up is worthwhile, I’d really disagree with the whole transparency thing, the numbers don’t mean jack in the end. Sure it looks good on paper, but it doesn’t mean it sounds good. Personally I find the topping l30 a pretty poor sounding amp in most regards (limited bass response, poor resolution, unimpressive dynamics, lackluster timbre, limited stage), but find the atom a lot more capable overall, even though they both measure quite well.
There are plenty of good 100 buck amps like a monolith liquid spark or a schiit magni 3+, or perhaps a geshelli archel2 gmr, you can get good stuff in that range, but there’s also noticeably better above (and alot of these 100 buck stacks sound more similar than different so it’s not like it’s that hard)
Almost any of the amps and dacs that many perceive as colored measure flat fr wise, so that would be uncolored? It also comes down to harmonics and distortion characteristics, but many amps fall well above the threshold for thd and sinad actually causing any issues. From my experience these measurements generally are independent of actual sound quality and performance
Ideally you want to pair the coloration of your stack to accommodate the coloration of the headphones in mind, as the end result is the goal. And coloration is simply not frequency response, it can involve all sorts of things like presentation, dynamics, spatial recreation, timbre, etc.
Yep, having some context and experience to compare against is valuable
Nope, but if you were expecting that, then you were extremely misguided lol. Also it’s very hard to put any number on the perceived changes anyways as it highly depends on the person
Sure, but I wouldn’t start at the bottom of the bottom if you don’t have to
I think if you wanted to start off and not spend so much off the bat, a lake people g103s and an allo revolution dac is a great choice imo, very solid and still a noticeable upgrade over what you have @Bigtel, then you could move up when you decide to take the next step for headphones. Would be a noticeable step up from the 200 buck stacks, but might leave a bit to be desired if you end up moving to something like a clear or t1.2, but you can upgrade then
I would agree, since you would essentially be guessing what your sonic preferences are really without knowing (by trying things in person), and also wouldn’t be planning for synergy needs of future upgrades or changes