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Trying to decide -- Brooklyn or separate DAC/headphone amp


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Relative newbie here, trying to decide between the following configs to use with HD800s cans and a Roon endpoint...

 

a) Brooklyn DAC using onboard headphone amp, or

b) TBD DAC with something like the Burson Soloist

 

Assuming I pick a DAC that makes option b the same $$$ as option a, is there a significant benefit to seperating out the two workloads? Would a dedicate Burson amp provide better sound over the Brooklyn internal amp?

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Relative newbie here, trying to decide between the following configs to use with HD800s cans and a Roon endpoint...

 

a) Brooklyn DAC using onboard headphone amp, or

b) TBD DAC with something like the Burson Soloist

 

Assuming I pick a DAC that makes option b the same $$$ as option a, is there a significant benefit to seperating out the two workloads? Would a dedicate Burson amp provide better sound over the Brooklyn internal amp?

 

One argument can be that DACs will continue to change every so many months or years and become obsolete rather quickly, but a good amp will always be a good amp. However, an all-in-one can get you the most for your money at the moment.

 

Check out the Ayre Codex. It is the best deal for a high performing all-in-one that I have come across. In my setup it replaced the more expensive Ayre QB-9DSD dac + an $1800 tube-hybrid amp. The Codex uses the same stage to drive either the dac output or the headphones. In the end the Codex was a remarkable dac that sounded significantly better through the tube amp than the Qb-9. What I did not expect is that I would prefer the headphones (Audeze LCD-3F) directly through the Codex than through the tube amp. I just recently sold that amp because I saw no reason to keep it.

 

I took the Codex to head-fi meet where there was quite a bit of exotica. I borrowed an HD800 to tryout with the Codex and it was just an obscenely good combination. I am now looking to pick up an HD800 to complement my Audezes. If you audition a Codex, makes sure it is using the balanced output mode.

Roon ->UltraRendu + CI Audio 7v LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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Check out the Ayre Codex. It is the best deal for a high performing all-in-one that I have come across.

Codex is stand alone DAC or DAC+amp? It looks interesting.

DAC - Mytek Brooklyn, Intona High Speed Isolator.Int.Amp - ATC SIA2 150,SP - ATC SCM19, Sub - Paradigm SW2200

Source - Audio PC, Core i7 4785T 2.2Ghz, 8G PPA RAM, Samsung 850pro , WD Black HDD, JCAT USB card, PPA BLACK SATA Cable, HDPLEX H5 gen2 case, LPSu - Uptone JS-2 for DAC and USB Card - TeraDak ATX350W for PC, OS wins2012R2, Audio Optimizer, Fidelizer Pro, ASIO JPLAY, Foobar2000+Ramdisk, Hq player, SP cable - JPS superconductor2, Analog interconnect - Harmornic Tech Magic link III, USB cable - JCAT twin cable, Power cable - JPS kaptivator for Uptone JS-2 forDAC and USB card, Wireworld electra7 for PC, Wireworld electra7 silver for Amp, Magnet 2000 power line stabilzer and conditioner for DAC,PC

12932837_1700967073514123_7525078827891555851_n.jpg

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I would go separates. Kelly is right that DAC's are ever changing. Plus you may decide one day to go with a different style amp such as balanced, tubes, hybrid.

Furutech GTX-D, GTX Wall Plate,106-D Cover > NCF Clearline >J River 27 > Curious Cable Evolved USB > Chord Hugo TT 2 > Empyrean Copper PCUHD Cable > Meze Empyrean > my ears > audiophile brain

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Codex is stand alone DAC or DAC+amp? It looks interesting.

 

Codex is a DAC/Pre I believe. It's had great reviews from what I've read, but two things put me off:

 

- No USB HID controls such as volume. That said neither does the Brooklyn. I find it weird that some manufacturers don't support this extremely useful feature when the chips support it.

 

- When you use both balanced and unbalanced outputs simultaneously the balanced one becomes unbalanced.

 

Of course neither of these things may matter to your particular setup...

Mac Mini > RME ADI-2 DAC > Hypex Ncore monoblocks > ATC SCM-11 speakers & C1 subwoofer

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Codex is a DAC/Pre I believe. It's had great reviews from what I've read, but two things put me off:

 

- No USB HID controls such as volume. That said neither does the Brooklyn. I find it weird that some manufacturers don't support this extremely useful feature when the chips support it.

 

- When you use both balanced and unbalanced outputs simultaneously the balanced one becomes unbalanced.

 

Of course neither of these things may matter to your particular setup...

 

Thanks. What about its sound? Did you compare to Brooklyn? I never heard of them both. ^^

DAC - Mytek Brooklyn, Intona High Speed Isolator.Int.Amp - ATC SIA2 150,SP - ATC SCM19, Sub - Paradigm SW2200

Source - Audio PC, Core i7 4785T 2.2Ghz, 8G PPA RAM, Samsung 850pro , WD Black HDD, JCAT USB card, PPA BLACK SATA Cable, HDPLEX H5 gen2 case, LPSu - Uptone JS-2 for DAC and USB Card - TeraDak ATX350W for PC, OS wins2012R2, Audio Optimizer, Fidelizer Pro, ASIO JPLAY, Foobar2000+Ramdisk, Hq player, SP cable - JPS superconductor2, Analog interconnect - Harmornic Tech Magic link III, USB cable - JCAT twin cable, Power cable - JPS kaptivator for Uptone JS-2 forDAC and USB card, Wireworld electra7 for PC, Wireworld electra7 silver for Amp, Magnet 2000 power line stabilzer and conditioner for DAC,PC

12932837_1700967073514123_7525078827891555851_n.jpg

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Thanks. What about its sound? Did you compare to Brooklyn? I never heard of them both. ^^

 

Sorry I haven't heard either DAC... they were just two DACs that I have been looking into a lot. Both get good reviews, the Mytek has a lot more functionality.

Mac Mini > RME ADI-2 DAC > Hypex Ncore monoblocks > ATC SCM-11 speakers & C1 subwoofer

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Relative newbie here, trying to decide between the following configs to use with HD800s cans and a Roon endpoint...

 

a) Brooklyn DAC using onboard headphone amp, or

b) TBD DAC with something like the Burson Soloist

 

Assuming I pick a DAC that makes option b the same $$$ as option a, is there a significant benefit to seperating out the two workloads? Would a dedicate Burson amp provide better sound over the Brooklyn internal amp?

 

The only way to answer your question is to listen to these products yourself. What sounds good to you, may not to me. Audio products at a specific price point are not generic. If I gave you 10 different headphone amps from 10 different manufacturers, all 10 would sound different. Maybe start off by looking at brands you like for other products. For example, someone else mentioned Ayre. I happen to like Ayre products overall, so that would be a good place for me to start. Keep in mind, though, that some people don't like Ayre. That's why no one can make the decision for you.

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The only way to answer your question is to listen to these products yourself. What sounds good to you, may not to me. Audio products at a specific price point are not generic. If I gave you 10 different headphone amps from 10 different manufacturers, all 10 would sound different. Maybe start off by looking at brands you like for other products. For example, someone else mentioned Ayre. I happen to like Ayre products overall, so that would be a good place for me to start. Keep in mind, though, that some people don't like Ayre. That's why no one can make the decision for you.

 

I don't have a chance to listen much because where i live, there's no hi-end audio shop.

Finally i have to audition them before buying. but now i'm just narrowing down before i fly to Bangkok to hear them.

 

Actually i like NAD M51 tone. so a new DAC should sound the way like that. (Natural sound, musical and fluid flow).

Arye is a potential one but both of them are not DSD capable. (Arye is only 64 not 128 or 256)

 

DAC with NAD tone but better SQ in a big step. I think that is what i want in brief.

DAC - Mytek Brooklyn, Intona High Speed Isolator.Int.Amp - ATC SIA2 150,SP - ATC SCM19, Sub - Paradigm SW2200

Source - Audio PC, Core i7 4785T 2.2Ghz, 8G PPA RAM, Samsung 850pro , WD Black HDD, JCAT USB card, PPA BLACK SATA Cable, HDPLEX H5 gen2 case, LPSu - Uptone JS-2 for DAC and USB Card - TeraDak ATX350W for PC, OS wins2012R2, Audio Optimizer, Fidelizer Pro, ASIO JPLAY, Foobar2000+Ramdisk, Hq player, SP cable - JPS superconductor2, Analog interconnect - Harmornic Tech Magic link III, USB cable - JCAT twin cable, Power cable - JPS kaptivator for Uptone JS-2 forDAC and USB card, Wireworld electra7 for PC, Wireworld electra7 silver for Amp, Magnet 2000 power line stabilzer and conditioner for DAC,PC

12932837_1700967073514123_7525078827891555851_n.jpg

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Codex is stand alone DAC or DAC+amp? It looks interesting.

 

The Codex is a DAC/Amp but it is not a "DAC+amp"

 

It can run in these three modes

 

DAC only - with fixed output mode through the XLR or RCAs

DAC with Volume control - it uses a digital volume control to change the levels of the XLR and RCAs on the back

DAC/headphone mode - uses the front headphone outputs to drive headphones directly. Note that the outputs on the back will continue to be driven also and they are not muted when headphones are plugged in. I use the rear XLR outputs to drive some desktop monitor speakers and so I introduced a simple analog volume control so I could basically mute the speakers when using the headphones.

 

The thing about the Codex (and what allows it to be so small) is the same exact output stage drives the XLRs and the headphones. So there really is not a separate headphones stage, its just an alternate use of the output stage that is already there. The outputs are effectively coupled. That is why they suggest for best performance, if using headphones you should have the outputs on the back disconnected. In practice I find no perceptible difference through the headphones if the rears are connected to another device or not. Notice how the output levels are spec'd together:

 

Output Level

Headphone or Preamp Mode : 7.0 volts balanced, 3.5 volts single-ended

DAC Mode : 4.0 volts balanced, 2.0 volts single-ended

 

 

So essentially, it is a dac with digital volume control that has an output stage powerful enough to drive headphones directly.

Roon ->UltraRendu + CI Audio 7v LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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Codex is a DAC/Pre I believe. It's had great reviews from what I've read, but two things put me off:

 

- When you use both balanced and unbalanced outputs simultaneously the balanced one becomes unbalanced.

 

 

I don't think this is true. The Codex explicitly tells you when it is running in Balanced mode with the little light on the front. When I plug RCAs in the back it still keeps the balanced LED on. I could have RCAs plugged in and going to another amp and still listen in full balanced mode on my headphones. Single ended (or Shared) mode is only automatically entered when you plug in a 1/4" headphone into the bottom port on the front or a single 3.5 headphone. If you plug in two 3.5 headphones plugs it makes you pick between balanced and shared mode (for driving two separate sets of headphones or a single balanced headphone with pono-style connectors.) When it enters this shared mode then the levels are cut as you would expect. So the functional idiosyncrasy is really only with the headphone outputs. If using purely the RCAs and XLRs on the back they each function in the expected manner, even when used simultaneously.

 

It is really quite strange, the only benefit to having this functional configuration that I can see is the ability to drive two sets of headphones simultaneously and independently. So to do it they had to hijack the balanced configuration and switch to parallel single ended to make the same output devices drive two sets of headphones instead of one. I don't really see this as being a huge benefit and likely never will use it this way, especially since there is only a single volume control. But it seems for the single ended RCA output on the back they just pull from one leg of the balanced signal.

Roon ->UltraRendu + CI Audio 7v LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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I don't think this is true. The Codex explicitly tells you when it is running in So the functional idiosyncrasy is really only with the headphone outputs. If using purely the RCAs and XLRs on the back they each function in the expected manner, even when used simultaneously.

 

I don't own a Codex, but was basing it on a response by Ayre themselves to that question here:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/750809/ayre-acoustics-codex-dac-headphone-amp/90#post_12210709

Mac Mini > RME ADI-2 DAC > Hypex Ncore monoblocks > ATC SCM-11 speakers & C1 subwoofer

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