Starter dac/amp

Hey guys, I’m looking to get into the audio world, generally have been a gamer but trying to expand but I don’t know where to start. Since I do a lot of gaming I was looking at the syba sonic (for a cheap starting point), gsx 1000, or the mayflower arc. But after watching a lot of Z’s videos I don’t know what some good options would be for me. My current set up is the sennheiser hd 598’s with a modmic, I know they’re very easy to drive but will be looking for other options to add in the future. I don’t know if I should go for one of the options listed above, a separate dac/amp, or a dac/amp combo to start with. I’m willing to spend a maximum of $250-$300 in total for now and was hoping you guys could help me out with some suggestions.

a popular start stack is the Schiit Magni 3 amp with their Modi 3 DAC. or you could consider the new Asgard 3 which is a combo DAC/amp. just remember to add the DAC as it’s modular. :wink:

Another popular combo is the topping d10 and a jds atom or monolith liquid spark. Both great amps. Schiit stacks are nice as well

Check out the Topping DX3 Pro. Can drive the Argons. Clean sound. Has a remote and blue tooth. Can’t say enough good things about it.

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The ifi Nano BL is portable with a line out and a balanced 3.5mm headphone socket too and drives Phantom planars just fine :+1:

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Schiit Asgard with the 4490 module.


Thanks for the response. Do you think the atom + d10 is better than the atom + ol dac?

I’ll take a look, thanks

I think so yes. I also think it’s a better value

Okay I’ll take a look. Also it’s better to go for a separate dac/amp than a combo like the Mayflower arc, the ifi mentioned above, or something similar?

Sorry another question for you, if I went separate dac amp what are your thoughts on the khadas tone board?

If you go for separates you can upgrade them independently.

I have not heard the tone board, but there tends to be a lot of people who like it

indeed, the Khadas Tone Board is EXTREMELY popular.

I’ve owned the Tone board, Topping D50s, Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 and Topping DX3 Pro and I thought the DX3 Pro was noticeably better than the other three (as much as it hurt me to admit, since I spent $350 on the Pre Box).

I understand the wisdom of getting separate components, but by the time you need to upgrade, I’m sure you’ll get a decent amount back for the DX3 and I doubt you’d have to upgrade any time soon.

Check out this review: Topping DX3 Pro

Don’t mean to push this so hard. I just feel strongly that 6 months ago when I was in your shoes, I had found this first. Would have saved me a lot of money and headache.

Good luck with your search!

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Dac quality wise or headphone amp and dac quality wise?

For me it was both. I just sold the Atom because I’ve been so pleased with how the DX3 Pro powers my Argons. I just bought a pair of Thieaudio Phantoms, and the detail just seems to pop on the DX3 as opposed to my Pre Box.

The DX3 Pro was supposed to be my secondary setup in the living room. It’s been such a good little all-in-one performer for me, that I’m toying with the idea of selling the Pre-Box and my Emotiva Basx and buying a second DX3 Pro. Actually, If I could turn it around quickly I would. I’m just lazy. :slight_smile:

My only concern with the dx3 pro was the lower amount of power that I noticed with more power hungry headphones compared to the atom or liquid spark which would come out to a similar price with an appropriately priced dac, but it was pretty clean for an all in one setup. I just like separate components better for more upgrade and flexibility potential, but that’s just me

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You definitely make good points. I would have been pretty set on getting separate units for upgrading as well as wanting the Atom for pure power - until I heard the DX3. Definitely didn’t expect it to sound as good as it does (DAC) and it drove my Argons really well, which from what I understand is up there as far as power-hungry cans. I think he can’t go wrong with either the DX3 Pro or a combo of the D10 with Atom or Liquid Spark. Great choices out there for sure.

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Thanks for all your help and thought you put into it. I’ll take a look at all of these and weigh my options :+1: