Question Amp/DAC

Jdambrose

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Hi all,

Have a pair of Audiotechnica ATH m50xs that I have trouble getting loud enough on my computer. Used for R6 siege and listening to music lately. Was wondering if an AMP/DAC combo like the Fiio E10k would help?
 

Mandark

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it would, but there are better dac/amps than that for a little more. the super flexible Schiit Audio Fulla for 99 dollars is superb. I use it with my ATH M50Xs every day.

Total Flexibility For Your Desktop
Fulla 2 is a complete DAC/Amp in a single tiny case. Plug Fulla 2 into virtually any USB port, connect your headphones and/or powered monitors, and you’re set for great music. But that’s only the start.
  • Use it as an amp. Connect your phone (or any other analog source) to the convenient front jack.
  • Use it as a preamp. Connect to powered monitors or speaker amps using the variable outputs on the back.
  • Use it as a DAC. Connect to an external preamp or processor with the fixed 2V line outs on the back, or use the variable outputs for convenient volume control as well.
  • Use it with phones, tablets, or computers with low-powered USB ports. We’ve included a second USB port for power input. Plug in your phone charger (or any other 5V DC source with micro-USB output) and Fulla 2 tells your source it doesn’t need any power.
so, if you have powered speakers you connect them to the back on the preamp-output and you can plug headphones in front, sound comes to headphones, and if you disconnect the headphones, bam, audio to your powered speakers! it has you covered.
 

Jdambrose

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Thank you! When it comes to Schiit products I've also heard a lot about the magni/ modi combo. I know this is over double the price, but would it be miles better?
 
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Hi all,

Have a pair of Audiotechnica ATH m50xs that I have trouble getting loud enough on my computer. Used for R6 siege and listening to music lately. Was wondering if an AMP/DAC combo like the Fiio E10k would help?
From my trail and errors.

$75 FiiO E10K USB DAC
https://www.amazon.com/FiiO-E10K-Headphone-Amplifier-Black/dp/B00LP3AMC2/ref=as_at?creativeASIN=B00LP3AMC2&linkCode=w61&imprToken=mDUrRxadoWbGww5-RvZNvQ&slotNum=2&tag=best-usb-dac-under-100-20

Darker and flat sounding when compared to other units under $200 but still an upgrade over onboard. Should handle up to 80 ohms very well.

$99 AudioQuest DragonFly Black
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DP5JHHI/?tag=best-usb-dac-under-100-20

Very small and can be adapted to use on Phones, the output isn't as loud with headphones higher than 80ohm. Treble at high volume can be a little uneven but I only noticed that on certain tracks. Overall it sounds very clean with a decent amount of bass, the lack of volume control is kind of annoying.


$99 Schiit Audio Fulla 2
https://www.schiit.com/products/fulla-1

I use this on a Hifi HE-400 when I'm traveling, it's well worth the $$$ and gives you the quality you see in $200-$300 range for Cans less than 300 ohms. Not ultra portable like the Dragonfly series though.

$198 Schiit Audio Magni 3 + Modi 3
https://www.schiit.com/products/magni-1
https://www.schiit.com/products/modi-1

The slightly better output quality of the Fulla 2 but can easily drive a 300 ohm Can. Schiit products offer long warranties and the option to use the DAC/AMP or separate the DAC or AMP depending on what you want.

AudioQuest DragonFly also has Red and Cobalt products that are a step up in terms of quality and they increase to $199 and $299. These are more for people that want the ultra portability as they lack certain options like volume control and bypass.
 
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Jdambrose

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From my trail and errors.

$75 FiiO E10K USB DAC
https://www.amazon.com/FiiO-E10K-Headphone-Amplifier-Black/dp/B00LP3AMC2/ref=as_at?creativeASIN=B00LP3AMC2&linkCode=w61&imprToken=mDUrRxadoWbGww5-RvZNvQ&slotNum=2&tag=best-usb-dac-under-100-20

Darker and flat sounding when compared to other units under $200 but still an upgrade over onboard. Should handle up to 80 ohms very well.

$99 AudioQuest DragonFly Black
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DP5JHHI/?tag=best-usb-dac-under-100-20

Very small and can be adapted to use on Phones, the output isn't as loud with headphones higher than 80ohm. Treble at high volume can be a little uneven but I only noticed that on certain tracks. Overall it sounds very clean with a decent amount of bass, the lack of volume control is kind of annoying.


$99 Schiit Audio Fulla 2
https://www.schiit.com/products/fulla-1

I use this on a Hifi HE-400 when I'm traveling, it's well worth the $$$ and gives you the quality you see in $200-$300 range for Cans less than 300 ohms. Not ultra portable like the Dragonfly series though.

$198 Schiit Audio Magni 3 + Modi 3
https://www.schiit.com/products/magni-1
https://www.schiit.com/products/modi-1

The slightly better output quality of the Fulla 2 but can easily drive a 300 ohm Can. Schiit products offer long warranties and the option to use the DAC/AMP or separate the DAC or AMP depending on what you want.

AudioQuest DragonFly also has Red and Cobalt products that are a step up in terms of quality and they increase to $199 and $299. These are more for people that want the ultra portability as they lack certain options like volume control and bypass.
For the two Schiit options, I was wondering if it is common for headphones to go above 300 ohms. Moreover is that a useful functionality for most?
 

Mandark

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if you get separate DAC and amp, I would get the Modi Multibit DAC and the MAGNI amp, but that costs 350 total for new ones. I also have those at home, and they drive your 300 Ohm cans

get the Multibit DAC though, or don't bother just get the Fulla at that point. The Multibit DAC option is the same DAC used in their upscale Bifrost DAC and it's worth it. They Magni AMP can easily drive 300 ohms, as stated above. the better dac will give you much richer, deeper better sound

again, the Modi Multibit is the one to get if you can. it looks like this


TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION, IS IT WORTH IT? YES, it is worth every penny. for my home, I will be getting Schiit top of the line stuff to match with KEF speakers because I am a fanatic.
 
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if you get separate DAC and amp, I would get the Modi Multibit DAC and the MAGNI amp, but that costs 350 total for new ones. I also have those at home, and they drive your 300 Ohm cans

get the Multibit DAC though, or don't bother just get the Fulla at that point. The Multibit DAC option is the same DAC used in their upscale Bifrost DAC and it's worth it. They Magni AMP can easily drive 300 ohms, as stated above. the better dac will give you much richer, deeper better sound

again, the Modi Multibit is the one to get if you can. it looks like this


TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION, IS IT WORTH IT? YES, it is worth every penny. for my home, I will be getting Schiit top of the line stuff to match with KEF speakers because I am a fanatic.
I would agree Schiit is worth every penny, you get an excellent product and a company that will bend over backward to make you happy with it.

I have a Fulla 2 mostly for travel
I also have Modi 3/Magni 3 actually only $198 if you avoid 3rd party. Check the website.
I also have Vali 2- For that warm fuzzy sound.

You also save B-stock to look at where you can save even more.
https://www.schiit.com/b-stocks
 

Jdambrose

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I would agree Schiit is worth every penny, you get an excellent product and a company that will bend over backward to make you happy with it.

I have a Fulla 2 mostly for travel
I also have Modi 3/Magni 3 actually only $198 if you avoid 3rd party. Check the website.
I also have Vali 2- For that warm fuzzy sound.

You also save B-stock to look at where you can save even more.
https://www.schiit.com/b-stocks
Due to all three people recommending the modi 3/magni 3 combo, I think that is what I will go with, thanks! One last question is have you ever bought anything from their B-stock section?
 

anort3

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The Massdrop O2/SDAC is equal to a Schiit stack and cheaper.

https://drop.com/buy/massdrop-o2-sdac-dac-amp

Honestly though with an M50X I'd go cheap. Unless you plan on getting better headphones in the future and see this as a hobby. The M50X isn't resolving enough to benefit from something more than like an E10K and they're really easy to drive.

I'll be honest I'm not a fan of Schiit. They sponsor forums like Head-Fi and Superbestaudiofriends and any negative comments about their products are quickly moderated. That's not to say they might not sound great but in some actual objective measurements their $2400 flagship DAC the Yggdrasil measures worse than a random HP laptop.



An Aune X1S is another great choice at the ~$200 mark. Massdrop gets it just about every other month for $179. The XDuoo XD-05 is another solid choice.

https://drop.com/buy/xduoo-xd-05-dac-amp#overview
 
The Massdrop O2/SDAC is equal to a Schiit stack and cheaper.

https://drop.com/buy/massdrop-o2-sdac-dac-amp

Honestly though with an M50X I'd go cheap. Unless you plan on getting better headphones in the future and see this as a hobby. The M50X isn't resolving enough to benefit from something more than like an E10K and they're really easy to drive.

I'll be honest I'm not a fan of Schiit. They sponsor forums like Head-Fi and Superbestaudiofriends and any negative comments about their products are quickly moderated. That's not to say they might not sound great but in some actual objective measurements their $2400 flagship DAC the Yggdrasil measures worse than a random HP laptop.



An Aune X1S is another great choice at the ~$200 mark. Massdrop gets it just about every other month for $179. The XDuoo XD-05 is another solid choice.

https://drop.com/buy/xduoo-xd-05-dac-amp#overview
"They sponsor forums like Head-Fi and Superbestaudiofriends and any negative comments about their products are quickly moderated"
https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/schiit-audio-fulla-2.22160/

Depends on if the review is legit or just some troll going on a rant, it's not hard to find critical reviews and what mods do is by no means reflected on a company that donates money to keep a forum supported. Sorry, no Nazis at Schiit they don't get involved in what goes on across the forums. Head-Fi classifieds is one of those places you find lots of young audio snobs that end up dumping $10000 worth of gear when their wives give them the "Divorce or get rid of it option" ;)

As far as a M50X, you make it sound like a dollar store brand, that's not the case they are pretty good with the exception of a lower sound stage but yes anything even onboard audio should be able to drive the 38Ω load. A M50X should also match up well to about anything under $200 and most people using typical sources like Games, Netflix, Youtube, Mp3's will never really notice the difference.
 
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anort3

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As far as a M50X, you make it sound like a dollar store brand,
They're actually pretty terrible if you've ever heard anything that isn't. You sure aren't going to use them to compare DAC transparency. One of the least musical and worst listening enjoyment headphones I've ever heard. They'd be decent monitors though.

Drinking Dom Perignon with a paper cup, just ain't right :D
Heh the analogy I was thinking of was recommending a 2080Ti for playing solitaire at 800 x 600. 😆

The DAC is MAYBE a few percent of the overall sound. The amp is maybe double what the DAC is. Together the amp/DAC chain is maybe 5% of the sound. The other 95% is the headphone/speaker. That's where you spend money first. You also need a certain level of headphone before amp/DAC differences will even be noticeable. An M50X isn't there. Neither is my HD598 and it's a step up from the M50X.
 
They're actually pretty terrible if you've ever heard anything that isn't. You sure aren't going to use them to compare DAC transparency. One of the least musical and worst listening enjoyment headphones I've ever heard. They'd be decent monitors though.



Heh the analogy I was thinking of was recommending a 2080Ti for playing solitaire at 800 x 600. 😆

The DAC is MAYBE a few percent of the overall sound. The amp is maybe double what the DAC is. Together the amp/DAC chain is maybe 5% of the sound. The other 95% is the headphone/speaker. That's where you spend money first. You also need a certain level of headphone before amp/DAC differences will even be noticeable. An M50X isn't there. Neither is my HD598 and it's a step up from the M50X.
Not entirely true, knowing your headphones have a weakness to certain ranges and applying a DAC that naturally emphasizes those ranges makes a noticeable difference. Source has a big factor to play as well when comparing a $1000 headphone to a $150 set on a youtube video you don't notice all that much of a difference, it's when you increase the quality of the source do you pick up the difference int he headphones.
 
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Mandark

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they must have really bad hearing. The Schiit Magni and Modi Multibit rule in listening pleasure, and the M50Xs sound good enough to start out with. Not everyone can afford Audeze headphones at $2500 a pop

sound pleasure is on a person by person basis, different with everyone. just because I have a different opinion doesn't mean I am wrong, and the belittling loses them respect. just because YOU can't hear a difference doesn't mean you need to tell everyone else they can't. enough said.
 
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anort3

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Moderator
Not entirely true, knowing your headphones have a weakness to certain ranges and applying a DAC that naturally emphasizes those ranges makes a noticeable difference. Source has a big factor to play as well when comparing a $1000 headphone to a $150 set on a youtube video you don't notice all that much of a difference, it's when you increase the quality of the source do you pick up the difference int he headphones.
First once you reach a certain rather cheap level, a DAC is transparent. If any of you can tell competent DACs ( not amps ) apart in a truly blind test I want to borrow your ears.

I pay for Tidal's master service and have all 470+ of my CD's ripped to FLAC with Exact Audio Copy. That being said yes, there's a difference watching youtube videos with a higher end headphone. It's a night and day difference listening with my Focal Elear ( released at $1000 to great fanfare ) and my still very good ~$150 HD598s. Yes the more resolving Elear reveals more compression and more of any flaws but saying there's not much of a difference? I don't believe you ever tried it. ;)

I've probably averaged 3 hours a day over the last 15 years wearing headphones. Yes audio is subjective but there are some basic truths. One of them is spending 3 times what you paid for the headphones on an amp/DAC chain for a pair of M50X's is a waste of money. The M50X has bloated bass that bleeds into the mids and a rather narrow soundstage. The cheaper M40X is worlds better. So no, I'm certainly not telling you to spend more money. The M50X is basically Beats level of bad and just because you own something does not make it good.
 
sound pleasure is on a person by person basis, different with everyone.
Exactly :giggle:

And then you have the Budget guy or Audio Snob? Do you balance your $$ around the more simplistic uses or do you try to overcompensate for everything?
I've probably averaged 3 hours a day over the last 15 years wearing headphones.
I'm pretty sure you would call that training and because of that, you invested more into better hardware. The nuances you notice now you didn't pay attention to 15 years ago.

First once you reach a certain rather cheap level, a DAC is transparent. If any of you can tell competent ( not amps ) apart in a truly blind test I want to borrow your ears.
What level of $$$ is competent? $100,$200, $400, $1000?

The M50X is basically Beats level of bad and just because you own something does not make it good.
[/QUOTE]

Well, that is definitely your opinion, Personally, the only thing worst I have heard over Beats is some of those Sony units Wal Marts sells.

ATH-M50x vs Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

https://www.rtings.com/headphones/tools/compare/audio-technica-ath-m50x-vs-audio-technica-ath-m40x/295/296

ATH-M50x vs Sennheiser HD 598

https://www.rtings.com/headphones/tools/compare/audio-technica-ath-m50x-vs-sennheiser-hd-598/295/246?usage=5003&threshold=0.1

ATH-M50x vs Beats EP

https://www.rtings.com/headphones/tools/compare/audio-technica-ath-m50x-vs-beats-ep-on-ear/295/522?usage=5003&threshold=0.1

Each has strength and weaknesses.. some more than others. What people are happy with is subjective to them. You're happy with a $1000 pair of headphones listening to Pewdiepie well good for you, for the rest of us we have more conservative views on hardware and its content uses. :LOL:
 

anort3

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Using rtings to compare headphones is like using a bottleneck calculator website to build a computer. And truly if you have the M50X and like them then more power to you. BUT.... did you do a side by side listen test with other headphones in the price range and then conclude that the M50X was the best of the bunch or did you buy the M50X and conclude that it sounds good because lots of people have it and if everyone has one it has to be good? If the former then great. Glad you found what you were looking for. If the latter then you're basically that guy who recommends Sunbeam power supplies because "I have one and it works" despite there being a cheaper Seasonic you could have bought instead.

I'm certainly no snob. My wallet isn't that deep. And I bought the Elear used. My endgame amp will be a THX789 if I can ever catch the drop. And a Darkvoice at some point unless I can convince myself to shell out for a Woo Audio just to have some tubes to play with.
 

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