Looking For My Sound Signature For Dac And Amp

The more i listen to music, i figured out what’s important to me in Sound in general Which is :

1 : Vocals - I like to hear vocals up close and personal, loud and clear, without being too fatiguing, for long listening sessions.
2: Imaging
3: Treble
4: Bass
5: Soundstage
6: Natural Sounding
7: Warm
8: Clean Sounding

This is a list of the most important to me, to the least important to me, but it doesn’t mean i don’t want them be good too. I just want to be really immersed and enjoy my music listening sessions.
I would also like to invest in a Linear Power Supply Unit to further the sound i am look for.
I am also using the Schiit Lyr3 as my main amp currently, i don’t know what is going to be the next upgrade for that Amp. I really like tube rolling, i love to experimenting on different tubes and sounds it produces. I also have the Schiit Bifrost, i also don’t know what to upgrade after that.

I am in about the same place, more or less. I would say you are working with pretty good stuff now. I also use the Bifrost 2 and I love it. I have been through AKM driven DACs and ESS driven DACS and though very very good in their SMSL implementations (M200 and SU-8, respectively) I prefer the R2R implementation that the Bifrost 2 offers. That said, there are Both AKM and Sabre driven DACs out there that blow the BF2 out of the water. But the cost jump will be considerable. The rabbit holes are numerous, and the money pit has no floor. So be prepared for that. It’s like horsepower, man - how fast do you want to go and what are you willing to spend to get there? LOL

I would urge you to read the content on this site. There is some great shit on here. It might provide some ideas. I have enjoyed the journey so far.

I just want a list of Dacs and Amps that will be an upgrade to what I currently have and the sound signature I am looking for

What headphones are you rocking? Most of what you want will have to be achieved starting there. Given your preference list, I think you should start with an OG Focal Clear or one of the 2021 editions of the Audeze LCD-X or LCD-XC. If you go with the XC in particular, I think also adding a Schiit Loki Mini - at minimum - is an absolute must. But all 3 of those headphones are a little more mid-forward than neutral, have great imaging, sparkly treble, and physical bass (with the proper EQ on the XC for that last bit).

TBH, for your preference list, it’s gonna be hard to beat Schiit for source gear. What kind of price range are you looking at here?

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I think I might go a bit big and have a $2,000 budget. I am using Fostex RP20, but I do have other headphones, but I am saving money for replacement cables, but I am planning to Dailey the Hifiman HE 560 Adorama, and the Hifiman XS

What Schiit products do recommend that will be considered as an upgrade from the Lyr3 and Bifrost?

You have gotten pretty close to the performance ceiling of their headamps, really, at least until they refresh the Mjolnir. If you like the Bifrost 2 sound, the Yggdrisil is a direct sonic upgrade, taking that signature and adding technical proficiency and refinement, but that’s north of $2K on its own for just a DAC. The tricky part of your goal here is that there is somewhat of a “DAC hole” (say that without laughing haha) in the $1K-2K range. The Soekris dac2541 is well-respected at $1500, but there isn’t much else in the range. You’re really looking at Bifrost 2, Denafrips Ares II, Soekris dac1421 in the $700-1000 range, then jumping up to Chord Qutest, Holo Spring 3, Yggy, etc. before you start to see much in the way of a sonic improvement. I strongly recommend you up the headphone game before you start plunking that kind of cash down for amp or DAC. The Bifrost 2 and Lyr 3 are a damn good combo. They’ll give you an honest assessment of headphones for awhile. That is of course just my .02.

Good luck! :beers:

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So should I increase my budget? If I do, what is the ideal setup for me, I kinda want to stick with a tube Amp, but I know the tube amps can get really expensive, really quick lol Also I want get something that is Vocal focus, with warm, clean, and natural sound, also amazing detail retrieval. Maybe punchy bass if possible lol Or maybe just go with what I am looking for, as far as sound goes.

I definitely gotta +1 what @WaveTheory said. You would see a bigger benefit, imho, by continuing your journey into more headphones. Spending a nice budget on new cans will get your more variety of signature then to keep trying different dac/amp combos. Vocal’s, punchy bass, detail…hell without listening and only reading and watching plenty of reviews I would think the Utopia would get you there. Unless you want a close back…especially if you want to go tubes then probably makes more sense to go dynamic but something with good impedance scaling too. Again, I’m stepping into unknown territory for myself so I’m careful to recommend too much there. ZMF even…

Any day of the week my money will go towards a new headphone to keep expanding my experience with sound sigs.

If you are hell bent on the dac/amp thing then of course that is your choice to do so.