Wondering if this upgrade is worth it

Hi everyone! :grin:

I just upgraded my Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XX’s that I’ve had for a while, to the recently on sale Focal Elegia’s. The clarity and detail of them are freaking amazing and I’ve been loving them so far.

My question though is about my DAC/Amp that I’m using on my desktop setup.

I currently have the Micca OriGen G2 and it’s served my 6XX’s pretty well over the years making those headphones that much better. But for my new Elegia’s is it worth getting a new DAC/Amp to get more out of them, or should I just stick to what I have.

I have been looking at DAC/Amps in the $200 range like the iFi Nano iDSD Black Label, Topping DX3 Pro LDAC, and some cheaper ones like the iFi Zen DAC.

Is there anything in that price range that I missed and should consider to upgrade from what I already have, or is it not even worth upgrading?

Thanks in advance!

Oh also, something I forgot to add is I use Tidal HiFi, and MQA support would be a plus.

The Zen may change the sound you’re enjoying from the Elegia a bit too much. Maybe check out the EarMen Donald DAC (https://earmen-shop.com/products/donald-dac) for $99. I have not heard it but does full MQA support and is probably more neutral than the Zen. Pair it with any of the ~$100 amps out there (JDS Labs Atom, Monolith Liquid Spark, Schiit Magni 3+ or Magni Heresy) and you’re off and running for 2 bills.

Is it worth upgrading? If you go with a separates combo like this above you will likely notice a small improvement over the OriGen. The biggest advantage you’ll gain is more power. If you get other headphones in the future, you won’t have to worry about amp power.

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MQA support may currently be tough at the budget but there are some really good options if you don’t mind a separate dac and amp. The $130 smsl Sanskrit mkii and the topping e30 are two of the best dacs I have heard at that price. You could also look in to an atom or a liquid spark for the amp. If the Elegia is your primary concern I would probably go with the atom only because those two dacs have a smooth signature and with the headphones already being smooth a smooth amp like the liquid spark may be too much smoothness for some.
Edit: Forgot about the schiit stuff. I would just replace the atom with the heresy personally.

Yes. You need to upgrade your amp/dac lol. The Micca OriGen G2 is good but minimal. Like Wave said i would go with the Donald DAC. Mon who is pretty knowledgeable recommended it. for the Amp i’d go with the new Schiit Magni 3+

The Zen dac/amp is also MQA capable. but its single ended is not that good. you’d have to run the Elegia balanced. and its 4.4 balanced so youd need to buy a cable for that. i dont think their cheap. maybe 40$ or so.

Are you in Europe?

I didn’t say it in my original post but I do not mind if I have a separate DAC and separate Amp.

After reading all your posts I will at this point probably go with the Donald DAC and either the Heresy or Magni 3+.

I have two questions though.

What would be better with my setup out of those two Schitt Amps? (If there is even a difference other than color lol.)

And also something I like about the OriGen is that on the back I can connect my powered monitors through the device and it has a switch to switch back and forth from the speakers to the headphones. Would the Donald DAC and Schitt Amp be able to do that somehow?

No I live in the U.S. :us_outlying_islands:

I would not go with the Schiit Heresy ive heard some things about it that dont sound good.

The earman Donald dac is fantastic… definitely more neutral than the zen as @WaveTheory eluded to and I’d even say is exactly that, neutral… detail and clarity while remaining very listenable.

I’ve been using it with the liquid spark and elegia quite a bit lately and I think it’s a great pairing.

As for the schiit stuff I’ve owned the heresy and personally I’m with @Antpage2 in that unless you want a very detailed clinical kind of sound I wouldn’t go with the heresy… I haven’t heard the 3+ but it’s said to lean more to the warm and musical side of things.

You might wanna go with Don’s recommendation for the Liquid Spark for your amp. some dacs dont pair well with certain amps. he can confirm it pairs with the Liquid Spark. its from monoprice and is one of the good amps.

Have you tried the dac with mqa don?

Neither is “better”, they’re just going to sound a little different. I’ve not heard either directly (I do own an Atom and a Liquid Spark, though), but given my knowledge of amp topologies and how they typically sound my personal preference would be the 3+. The 3+ is a more ‘classic’ solid state design using transistors to amplify the signal. The Heresy uses op-amps. I have learned that my ears agree more with transistor based amps than op-amp based amps. But, that is just preference, there is not a wrong answer here.

Yes! All 4 of those $100 amps have pre-amp outputs. With headphones plugged in, they’re headphone amps. Pull the headphones out and they can serve as speaker volume controls.

Yeah and it works seemlessly :+1:… I’ve found the ifi stuff to be a little finicky at least in my setup with connectivity but the Donald has been flawless.

I’ve used it with the Asgard 3 and again it sounds great there as well… so I imagine it’ll jive with the 3+ or heresy as well.

Hey guys!

Firstly I want to thank you guys for all the suggestions, you guys are really helpful!

Also I ended up buying the Donald DAC and the Liquid Spark Amp from your suggestions!

Hyped to get them and try them out to get more out of my Elegia’s!

Thanks again guys! :grin:


Nice! I think you’ll really enjoy it and I look forward to your thoughts :beers:

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Sweet! Hope you enjoy and please do report back after a thorough listen.

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