So I’ve been selling off some of my gear that’s underused to MAYBE fund the purchase of a new DAC. Right now I have a G111 being fed by a Zen. If I’m going R2R, and I think I’m going to, I don’t feel like waiting for Soekris to come out with the new entry level DAC, and I really want something that can put out at least 3.3V so regardless of how good it is, unless its balanced or a SE that can do that (is that possible or realistic?) I’ve sort of ended up at the Ares II, and from how people describe it it sounds like it’s perfect for me. This being said, my headphones of use are DT 880 600 Ohms, and the Grado Hemps. And for those of you who haven’t seen me gush on the Hemps, don’t get me started, cause I’ll gush. They’re just the tits and the way they just make your music sound better and somehow more real is exactly what I want from a headphone. So for me to add another can, I’d need it to be noticeably better- haven’t heard them but we’re talking Auteurs or Clear MGs. The problem there is, $1000 CAD for something right now is feasible, but $2K? Not really, and even then, if they’re a lot better at doing what the hemps do, i.e. just making you bop your head to music- any music, not even stuff you usually listen to, or some combo of that and making even poorly recorded music sound good with amazing imaging, I’m really at peace with my headphones right now.
So, either I live with my Zen, which I love, for potentially years to come, just so the DAC isn’t the most expensive component in my chain, or just say fuck it and go for the Ares. Delta DACs around the $3-400 price point interest me, but given I like using my Zen as a pre, utilizing Bass Boost and the volume knob, the sound quality improvement, if even noticeable to me, on those DACs would need to be pretty significant and I’ve just got a hunch they won’t be. At least with R2R it’s a different tech so the placebo of that may make me at least pretend there’s a difference. I don’t know- guide me.