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Yuikura

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Hey everyone,

 

Im new here and also new to the idea of getting an Audiophile Hi-Fi Setup and Id need some of your help to answer me some things i really didnt found online (some of them at least)

 

The thing is that Id still listen to music over my pc (Tidal as an Audio Source for example) and would like to know if it even would work properly with the "Setup" idea i have in mind.

My budget is not the greatest and my Idea of an Setup would be like this:

 

DAC - FX Audio DAC-X6

AMP - Onkyo A-9010

Headphones (I cant really use Speakers in my Flat) - Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro 

 

I dont know that much yet, and Id like to ask you this setup would work and If its any worth?

Maybe you guys have some additional tips for me? :)

 

Thanks a lot!

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5 minutes ago, Yuikura said:

Hey everyone,

 

Im new here and also new to the idea of getting an Audiophile Hi-Fi Setup and Id need some of your help to answer me some things i really didnt found online (some of them at least)

 

The thing is that Id still listen to music over my pc (Tidal as an Audio Source for example) and would like to know if it even would work properly with the "Setup" idea i have in mind.

My budget is not the greatest and my Idea of an Setup would be like this:

 

DAC - FX Audio DAC-X6

AMP - Onkyo A-9010

Headphones (I cant really use Speakers in my Flat) - Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro 

 

I dont know that much yet, and Id like to ask you this setup would work and If its any worth?

Maybe you guys have some additional tips for me? :)

 

Thanks a lot!

You’re off to a great start. The fact that you’re asking is a great sign. 

 

Whst software are do you use for an operating system and playback app?


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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9 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

You’re off to a great start. The fact that you’re asking is a great sign. 

 

Whst software are do you use for an operating system and playback app?

Thanks for your answer!

My OS is Windows 10

And Playback App would be the Tidal/Spotify (for the occasion that Tidal dosent have the song).

Im wide open for recommendations.

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1 hour ago, Yuikura said:

Thanks for your answer!

My OS is Windows 10

And Playback App would be the Tidal/Spotify (for the occasion that Tidal dosent have the song).

Im wide open for recommendations.

Ok, I’m guessing you’re using the USB input of your DAC then outputting via RCA to the Onkyo and your headphones are connected to the Onkyo?

 

In the Tidal app have you selected your DAC or are you outputting to a general / default audio device?

 

Let’s ask our resident headphone expert @austinpop for some recommendations on your system. It seems rather “different” the way your hardware is configured if I’ve guessed right. There may be some different and simpler options. 

 

 


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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I would consider the Massdrop HD6xx for a consensus 'reference' sound (tonality, timbre, etc) in the less than $1k HP space...

 


Hey MQA, if it is not all $voodoo$, show us the math!

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Also, I see that Onkyo unit has a Wolfson dac - I have a soft spot for the Wolfson sound.  Verify that those CS chips in you Dac/hp amp combo unit actually sounds better than the HP out of your Onkyo.  YMMV...

 


Hey MQA, if it is not all $voodoo$, show us the math!

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The only thing you may want to consider buying up front is a good audio grade USB cable.  You'll use it later even if you swap out gear in your signal chain.

 

You may also want to try some other streaming services to see how they compare to Tidal.  Trials are usually free for 30 days.  Invest in a few hi-res album downloads while you are at it of your favorite material.  Study and learn how they sound on your gear as it's currently setup.  Listen for how streaming and local playback vary. 

 

Each change you make from this point forward should always make that material sound better than it does now.  You need to know where you are now if you expect to wind up where you want to be.

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10 minutes ago, BrokeLinuxPhile said:

The only thing you may want to consider buying up front is a good audio grade USB cable.  You'll use it later even if you swap out gear in your signal chain.

 

 

To the OP:  an "audio grade" USB cable is just a standard, in spec, no more than $20 cable (for example, Belkin makes good "audio grade" USB cables, not that there is such a thing as an "audio grade" USB cable in the first place).  In the beginning, when it comes to accessories/cables, it's best to stick with standard stuff.  If you want to play with boxes of rocks later fine, but stick with the basics - speakers/HP, amps, DACs at first...


Hey MQA, if it is not all $voodoo$, show us the math!

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Trust me, not a cable guy.  $20 usb cables are very hit or miss on connector quality, and use low grade conductors that aren't durable in my experience.  Belkin isn't bulletproof, and I've had some of their connectors fail prematurely on me.  Fine for a printer that never moves, but that's all I'd ever use them for.  I'd like high quality connectors if i'm going to be experimenting a lot and removing the cable a lot.

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Thanks to everyone for your input so far!

 

Its nice to see that the community is really into their stuff :)

 

Maybe I have phrased my initial post a bit weird and caused some confusion.

I dont already own a setup but rather need some advice how I should start and what to really buy. (At the moment I'm using an Steinberg UR22 Audio Interface with Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro Headphones)

The "Setup" I provided with the DAC, Onyko an DT990Pro was just what I had in mind to buy. The question on my side would be: Is this setup any good? What else would you recommend on an "budget". Most quality for minimal money :)

 

Maybe I should specify what I exactly want to accomplish a bit more:

Id like to have this setup hooked up on my pc, which im using for most of my stuff (Im not that big of a vinyl/cd guy, maybe because its so costly I've never really considered it). Using Tidal/Spotify as an Audio Source (Tidal for the losless audio quality). 

So Computer -> via USB to DAC (since I saw some amps dont have one and you need to convert the signal? So this part would only be for converting the signal from digital to analog I guess?) -> AMP -> Headphones (I cant use speakers in my flat but I do have some KRK Rokit 8 around for future use :) )

Would a Setup work properly in this situation and what else would you recommend/ or give me some more tips?

 

Thanks so much and I hope I didnt wasted your interest so far!

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Those Rokit 8's are great monitors.  I've had a pair of V1's since 2005 and love them. 

 

Your current setup sounds very much like how I started out.  If it were me, I'd continue to use the Steinberg for now, it's a decent audio interface with good specs.  I'm still using a M-audio audiophile 192 PCI card in one of my squeezelite nodes and it works great.

 

If you are set on Tidal for lossless, you won't get full benefits of tidal Hi-res though, you would need a DAC capable of decoding MQA.  Try Qobuz for free for 30 days, with Qobuz you don't need MQA capable hardware to get full Hi-res capability.  Your Steinberg is 24/192 and can handle even their highest resolutions with ease.  Without buying new hardware.  You can get portable MQA DACS for below $200 if you stay Tidal.  Ifi makes good stuff in that price range.

 

I'd hold off on buying any amp, you don't need it.  Steinberg has a head amp built in already.  My KRK's are internally biamped with plenty of power, unless yours are different you don't need an amp at all, you already have clean power ready to go.

 

Long story short...If you stay with Tidal, i'd get a MQA DAC.  If you try Qobuz and like it, you may not need new hardware right now.

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9 hours ago, Yuikura said:

I dont already own a setup but rather need some advice how I should start and what to really buy. (At the moment I'm using an Steinberg UR22 Audio Interface with Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro Headphones)

The "Setup" I provided with the DAC, Onyko an DT990Pro was just what I had in mind to buy. The question on my side would be: Is this setup any good? What else would you recommend on an "budget". Most quality for minimal money :)

 

One bit of (hopefully useful) feedback: I used to own a pair of DT990s (600 ohm version) and they were insufferably bright.  If bright is your jam, go for it.  In the BD realm, I now own a pair of DT1990s and they're just the best BD cans I've ever heard.

 

Separate DAC and headphone amp is always preferable to integrated solutions until you move to more high end (i.e., expensive) devices.  Examples?

 

Schiit Modi multibit (US$249) the extra $150 for the multibit is worth it!

Schiit Magni (US$99)

 

There are lots of other examples of solid performers in this price class.  Look around.

 

Finally, I think it's best to optimize your system for best performance with CD quality audio (44kHz, 16 bits) before you get into Tidal, MQA, or even uncompressed hi-rez like Qobuz or HDTracks.

 

 

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1 hour ago, austinpop said:

 

What's your total budget, roughly?

 

I recommend picking your headphones first, then build around that. Transducers (headphones or speakers) make the biggest impact on a system's sound quality. So pick those first, based on your budget and preferences. There are tons of great headphones out there.

 

If your intent is to listen to headphones, I don't recommend getting an integrated amp like the Onkyo. Get a headphone amp or DAC/amp. Again, lots of options, depending on budget.

 

A couple of sites/brands to browse: Massdrop has a lot of great headphone gear at attractive prices. And then there's Schiit Audio, who make some excellent affordable DACs anf headphone amps.

 

Budget wise im at around 700$ at the moment, dont know if thats enough :)

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3 hours ago, BrokeLinuxPhile said:

....If you are set on Tidal for lossless, you won't get full benefits of tidal Hi-res though, you would need a DAC capable of decoding MQA....Long story short...If you stay with Tidal, i'd get a MQA DAC.  If you try Qobuz and like it, you may not need new hardware right now....

 

On MQA:

 

1)  MQA is not hi res  - quite the opposite, it's a lossy and proprietary "super" MP3

2)  Because of MQA's eccentric digital filtering scheme, if you want the "full benefits" of Hi Res (rather from Tidal, Qobuz, or your own downloads) you will need a DAC that does not have MQA, or if it does, it is fully defeatable in such a way that it is end user verifiable that the DAC is not applying MQA's filtering scheme to standard PCM.

 

Since MQA is a dead end proprietary encoding, all around it's best to avoid it.


Hey MQA, if it is not all $voodoo$, show us the math!

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2 hours ago, Samuel T Cogley said:

Schiit Modi multibit (US$249) the extra $150 for the multibit is worth it!

Schiit Magni (US$99)

 

 

1 hour ago, BrokeLinuxPhile said:

Go Schiit Jotunheim with multibit upgrade, $599 shipped.  You will not be disappointed.  Has plenty of power to drive your existing cans no problem.  Also has balanced outputs that will work well with your Rokit 8's.  And if you get balanced headphones later on you are all set.

 

I second these two Schiit recommendations - they are just solid products to get into Hi Fi with.  If the Jot can be had with a multibit option, get that (even if it's a bit more money).  Alternatively, you can go a DAC/amp combo from iFi, perhaps a Black Label Nano (for less $) or a Black Label IDSD (for more $).  I regularly use the standard iDAD Micro and have for long time, even though other (some much more expensive) DAC/amps have moved in and out of my system.  I also use a Nano when I travel.  If you go with iFi as opposed to Schiit (who do not support MQA), make sure you flash the firmware with the correct non-MQA version so that the MQA filtering scheme does not adulterate the sound:

 

 


Hey MQA, if it is not all $voodoo$, show us the math!

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33 minutes ago, crenca said:

 

On MQA:

 

1)  MQA is not hi res  - quite the opposite, it's a lossy and proprietary "super" MP3

2)  Because of MQA's eccentric digital filtering scheme, if you want the "full benefits" of Hi Res (rather from Tidal, Qobuz, or your own downloads) you will need a DAC that does not have MQA, or if it does, it is fully defeatable in such a way that it is end user verifiable that the DAC is not applying MQA's filtering scheme to standard PCM.

 

Since MQA is a dead end proprietary encoding, all around it's best to avoid it.

 

 

I ran away from it recently myself once Qobuz became available in US.  I tried an iFi nano iDSD BL,but wound up sending it back, just to see what MQA was all about.  Some like, some don't.  Wasn't for me, heard no real benefits and was paying extra for things I didn't need. 

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Starting with headphones is a good move, entry cost is cheaper and you can afford a few pair for compare and contrast listening to tracks. @BrokeLinuxPhile makes a good suggestion with the Jotunhem, same USB chip as Eitr + multibit should equal enjoyable listening even with 16 bit recordings. Add a pair of Grado SR80e headphones at $99, then head to a CANJAM event

to listen before you buy anything greater than $100 in cost for headphones.


Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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Thanks again for all of your answers. 

I think it would make much sense to go with an decent headphone Amp that maybe has some symmetrical outputs so I can hook up my KRKs. 

The Jotunheim looks really good, problem is, that it's neatmrly unbuyable in Europe. 

You guys have some alternatives? 

 

I thought about the dt990 because I had quite good expiriences with byerdynamics. 

Since you mentioned Maxx drop (thats Sennheiser correct?) and others, WA hat would you think is the biggest bang for my buck? :)

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User experiences with headphones vary wildly from person to person so it is always best to try before you buy.  If you can't demo the headphones you are interested in, another option is to browse the classified section of head-fi, get a sense of the fair market used value of the cans you are considering then buy used on head-fi.  If it turns out you don't like them, you can usually resell them on head-fi for almost the same price.  Buying new is nice if you know you like the can, but if you are at all unsure, used is a great option if you are on a budget.

 

If you like Beyerdynamic, I really enjoyed by T1's and, to a lesser degree, my T-90's when I had them.  I definitely prefer the Meze 99 Classics to the T-90's though.  The Meze 99's are terrific cans and I always recommend them when people ask.  Then add an inexpensive DAC/amp with you leftover budget (Schiit is a good option as noted by others).  Don't get overly concerned about the DAC or the amp at this point.  

 

 


Home: UltraRendu (Roon) + Uptone LPS-1.2 | Berkeley Alpha USB | Schiit Yggdrasil Analog 2 | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 | Blue Circle Audio BC202 | Revel Ultima Gem speakers | 2 x Revel Performa3 B112 subwoofers (Sablon Reserva usb+ethernet+power cords/MG Audio Planus 3 cables/GIK Acoustic room treatments/Stillpoints/Blue Circle Conditioners). Headphones: Cavalli Liquid Carbon > HD800/Meze 99 

 

Desktop at Work: Uptone Iso Regen + LPS-1 > Schiit Eitr > Schiit Bifrost Multibit | Luminous Audio Axiom II pre | Job 225 amp | Gallo Strada 2 | Elac S10 sub

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7 hours ago, Yuikura said:

Thanks again for all of your answers. 

I think it would make much sense to go with an decent headphone Amp that maybe has some symmetrical outputs so I can hook up my KRKs. 

The Jotunheim looks really good, problem is, that it's neatmrly unbuyable in Europe. 

You guys have some alternatives? 

 

I thought about the dt990 because I had quite good expiriences with byerdynamics. 

Since you mentioned Maxx drop (thats Sennheiser correct?) and others, WA hat would you think is the biggest bang for my buck? :)

 

A consensus "good sounding" DAC/HP amp combo unit with balanced (symmetrical) out < $700?  I can't think of anything besides Schiit - anyone else?

 

Yes, the HD6XX is Sennheiser's HD650 clone for massdrop.  In the less than $700 space (and really, at any price) each HP has a mix of pros and cons.  However, in my opinion the HD6XX is a good HP because it is widely acknowledged to have very good (for a HP) tonal balance (only the sub 80 hz is light), distortion (excellent distortion profile, only in the sub 100hz range does does it even become "average"), and timbre (it's widely recognized as having one of the most "pure" midranges of any HP at any price).  In other words, it does more right than wrong and is considered a "reference".   Heck, most folks who are really into HP's and own the most expensive setups very often keep a pair of HD600/650's around.  They are however high impedance HP's (so you can't use them out of a weak phone/DAP very well), they have a mid bass hump (somewhere around 120), and they are open back.

 

I use to also recommend the Oppo PM-3's, but they don't fit very well (they are almost "on ear" as opposed to "around ear") and are out of production - you might look around for a used pair however.

 

All that said, if you are really into Electronica or otherwise demand top notch sub bass performance, then something like a Audioquest NightHawk might work, even though the tonal balance above the bass is not very good.  Even with quality EQ the NightHawk in the midrange is just "off".  These pros/cons with HP's is part of the deal, and so only by experience can you find what works best for you in the end.  Still, the Sennheiser's are a good place to start.


Hey MQA, if it is not all $voodoo$, show us the math!

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