Just got into the hobby

Hello mates,

just got into the hobby by buying some used hardware, LOXJIE P20 amp and a Cambridge Audio Dacmagic and a new akg 712 pro.

After lurking around for awhile, I kinda regret starting with the used dac even though it sounds great lol.

What do you guys have at the moment? What do you recommend as some sort of “upgrade path” for the users in Europe?

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What do you regret about the dac? What are you dissatisfied with?

Also what budget are you looking at for upgrading? You may want to consider a different headphone to upgrade first before really worrying about your dac. If anything if you really wanted to upgrade a component I think the amp may be worth upgrading first

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I regret the fact that it’s aged in terms of what it can do in general (no usb 2.0 or 3.0, DSD, MQA…), sound quality is overall decent.

Budget will be around £1000.

I love how the AKGs sound in general, I’m very keen on trying some Beyerdynamic and Sennheiser as well.

In terms of amps, I’m open to any ideas.

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That’s quite a budget for starting out and only for dacs and amps. What sound signature are you going for overall? I would really suggest spending more of your budget on different headphones more.

Here are some questions to ask yourself. Do you need usb 2.0 or higher (do you have tracks higher than 96khz)? Do you actually have dsd that you commonly listen to and also you can’t just convert it to pcm? Do you use tidal and need mqa?

I would really push for trying more headphones tbh

If you do feel like you want to upgrade your dac and amp more though you have plenty of options in that range

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It’s quite the budget, but once you get something really “fancy”, that drops the budget a lot lol.
At this very moment, I want to start with something plain and neutral, something that I can always get back to when thing goes wrong. Besides the neutral setup, I don’t know, for headphones, I’m more into calm stuff like jazz and blues, so, maybe, a warm signature is what I would like to try in the future.

I listen more to cd quality flac rips due to the usb 1.0 limitations. I don’t need, necessarily, all the new stuff, but I definitely would like to try tidal and qobuz lol.

What you would recommend that can use the balance outputs of the amp? I wanna try that as my dac got a balanced outputs as well and that’s something that I would like to try.

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Hmmm, well how much do you value mqa as that will limit your options for the dac?

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It is something that I would love to try, but no pressure, I can wait a couple years or so till I get there lol

It’s just that kind of thing, I’ve bought an old dac that sounds great just to try to be budget conscious and then I thought “hmm…maybe that was stupid of me lol”

I’m open to suggestions, literally.

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So if you wanted something that was balanced, has USB 3.0 (but no real difference from 2.0 for audio), and supported mqa, the ifi Zen dac fits the bill, but it does sound warmer which you aren’t really going for it seems.

The smsl su8 sounds up your alley imo, would be very nice with lots of features and a fairly neutral sound, but no mqa

If you wanted everything you say, the smsl m500 sounds for you lol if you can find one (seem to be out of stock on Amazon but you can probably find it elsewhere)

I would really just say stick with your dac thought, it’s very solid

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I think if he’s listening to predominantly Jazz and Blues, he’s probably going to want something on the “warmer” side. Plus he’s already listening to a hybrid tube amp.
Assuming you love the headphones, I agree with Mon I think I’d look at the amp first.

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Yeah the Cambridge dac is pretty respectable and I think it’s more then plenty for this setup already unless he really wants mqa

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Well, no pressure on time LOL, I’ll put both on my favorites list for the future and keep looking XD

Regarding amps, it blows my mind the options between new ones and used ones in general, what do you guys prefer, in general terms?

I was torn in between getting a used Lahmann Audio Rhinelander Headphone Amplifier or just a more basic one to start the hobby and again, went way too budget consciously lol.

I’m a cheap bastard in the heart lol.

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Well, would you be looking for something with balanced or without? And also warmer or something more neutral? With 1k Euros you can get lots of cool stuff lol.

Regarding new vs used, used can yield some excellent deals for sure, used is typically the way to go for value


A, I assume 1000 U.K. pounds budget is fairly large, I really don’t keep up with euro gear anymore, but I agree in that price range I’d go used, gives you options to cycle through a few options with minimal loss.

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Idk what’s happening but I heard a budget of 1k and got mildly excited

I’m just going to list things I like that are roughly that price bracket

In no particular order:
Soekris 1421/1541
Holo cyan (as a dac)
Rme adi2
Chord qutest

Things I haven’t personally heard but people tell me are pretty good:
Metrum amythest
The ares dac (not sure who makes it but its r2r)

Also mqa is the denuvo of audio, pls no

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Anyone mentioned the RME-ADI 2?


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What’s denuvo?

It’s a type of drm video games use, it doesn’t work, gets cracked within 24-36 hours and has a sever impact on performance.

I was using hyperbole but I’m just saying mqa is drm with very little benifits and a staggering number of drawbacks.

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Too many drawbacks lol, just get CD quality lossless and you have already surpassed the quality of mqa lol

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I have the AKG 712 pro and love them. I use a jds atom and el dac. They power them good but I love using an eq with it. To fine tune all the details that the 712 bring out

+1 for Zen dac. I just received mine, it’s crazy how good it is for the cost. I also agree with using what you got though and trying more headphones.