Help me choose reference electronics for headphones, 2k EUR budget

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by SebastianAltena, Oct 11, 2018.

?

Which one?

Poll closed Thursday at 12:53 PM.
  1. OPPO HA-1

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. The Lake People reference stack

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. ADI-2

    1 vote(s)
    100.0%
  4. Other

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. SebastianAltena

    SebastianAltena
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    I have Denon DA300, Focal Elear, Audeze LCD-X, and Sennheiser HD800 connected to home made amp (because Denon can't drive HD800).
    I do a bit of mastering on the side so system needs to be accurate, without any coloration.
    I don't need USB, I use coax, but toslink input would be nice for connecting my game consoles without toslink to coax converter.
    My current choices are:
    Used OPPO HA-1 for 1100 USD (1400 EUR with import tax)
    The Lake People HPA RS 08 and DAC RS 06 for 1500 EUR
     
  2. gibbsy

    gibbsy
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    I tried and tried to get an Oppo HA-1 to complement my Oppo PM1s to no avail. So I gave up in the end and contemplated the Simaudio Moon 230had, or Naim DAC V-1. Reading various write up and reviews and not really being a fan of Naim's sound signature it was the Moon that probably would have got the nod.
    230HAD Dedicated Headphone Amplifier and DAC | MOON - Simaudio
    DAC-V1

    However, I didn't really need a DAC as the inbuilt one on my Marantz SACD player is really rather good and obviously has that Marantz signature that I really like. In the end I went for a Lehmann Linear pure headphone amp and I must say I'm very pleased indeed with it even though it's been just over a week. If you don't or wish to introduce a stand alone DAC for your connections then give the Lehmann a good look. If wanting a one box solution then the Linear D may suit with it's toslink connection and ESS Sabre K2M DAC. The Lehmann doesn't colour in any way. It has three gain settings and will easily drive the Senns, infact Sennheiser has used the Linear amp to display the 800s at various shows.
    Headphone Amplifiers < Lehmannaudio
     
  3. Steven

    Steven
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    I have not heard it, but you should research the RME ADI DAC line because you mention mastering needs. Presentation is a matter of taste but all online reviews agree the range measures very accurately with low noise
     
  4. SebastianAltena

    SebastianAltena
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    You can find used OPPO HA1 in Japan for 1000-1300 USD, they even show up on Ebay from time to time.
    I agree with you on Naim, I don't like their "warmer" sound. Electronics should not change the sound in any way, in my opinion. And Naim uses oled screens that burn in and look like crap after 6 months.
    Also I'm not sure if I want to go with stereo amp, I would prefer mono mono, or balanced solution, even the Benchmark audio has admitted that balanced does make a difference. I have demoed Benchmark hgc dac2, connected to very expensive (5k eur) balanced head amp that I can't remember the name of, a few years back, and the difference was noticeable, and it wasn't in the details or anything like that, the difference was mostly in imaging, it wasn't a massive difference compared to benchmark's internal amp, but it was the last few precent.

    RME ADI DAC looks beautiful, especially compared The Lake People reference stack (which is really fugly by the way) but I'm not the one to make fashion statements with my audio gear, and again lack of the balanced output for something that will probably be my end game solution concerns me.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  5. SebastianAltena

    SebastianAltena
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    Oh I almost forgot; Thank you gibbsy & Steven for your suggestions, I really appreciate it.
     
  6. Steven

    Steven
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    The ADI-2 Pro version allows balanced by utilising the dual headphones out. It is not as convenient as the mini 4 pin XLR of course. Then again do not buy an amp just for balanced out as sound comes first. A mediocre amp with balanced out is still going to be mediocre

    If you are serious about spending 2k then I would book a trip to a headphone store. If there is not one nearby then try... I guess Germany? There are headphone shows but beware show conditions not being ideal for demoing... but I believe the season is now over until 2019 (RMAF in the USA just finished)
     
  7. SebastianAltena

    SebastianAltena
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    Wow ADI-2 Pro is impressive indeed, and connectors don't bother me at all, I make my own cables anyway. Do you know from were I can buy it in EU? And also I can't find what kind of display does it have, I have bad experiences with oled screens on my lab equipment, all of them have burned in, they are still readable but they don't look good.
     
  8. SebastianAltena

    SebastianAltena
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    I have found all of my answers regarding ADI-2 Pro; It has IPS LCD color display, I have also found were I can buy it from, and the price is about the same as the Lake People reference stack (only a few eur difference)
    And I have found review that directly compares ADI-2 Pro to the Lake People reference stack RME ADI-2 Pro Review - Headfonics.com
    In summary:
    the Lake People reference stack is slightly more transparent and it's headphone amp is more powerful
    ADI-2 Pro has a lot more advanced features; according to the review it actually has more than 114 of them and they are all super cute and really adorable, but I digress, only two that I find interesting are Crossfeed and Parametric Equalizer.
    Overall I'm leaning more towards the Lake People reference stack, ADI-2 Pro is geared more towards professionals and recording, I master things for my friends, it's more of a hobby than anything else and everything is already recorded, also I don't think that I would mess with eq much, when I want reference sound I use reference headphones (Audeze LCD-X).
    But that doesn't mean that I'm not considering buying ADI-2 Pro, in fact, like I said I'm very much impressed with It and I have added it to a poll.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
  9. SebastianAltena

    SebastianAltena
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    I have done a bit more research (by research I mean googleing) and I have made a list of pros and cons for each solution:
    OPPO HA-1
    GOOD
    -The best value for money, can be had for 1000 + import tax
    -Analog inputs! Thank you very much.
    MEDIOCRE
    -Possibly unreliable USB port
    BAD
    -aaaahh.....aa......hhhhmmmm.... It's big... and... it's heavy.

    The Lake People reference stack

    GOOD
    -Possibly the best headphone amp of the bunch (unconfirmed)
    MEDIOCRE
    -Requires RCA switch for analog input
    BAD
    -Very easy and convenient way to change gain, on the back of the unit... With dip switches... The [email protected]#k?

    ADI-2

    GOOD
    -Possibly the best DAC of the bunch
    -It's small and pretty
    -A lot of functions, including: virtual 3D for headphones, EQ, and a lot more of DSP awesomeness
    MEDIOCRE
    -It has external power brick
    BAD
    -Possibly the worst headphone amp of the bunch
    -It has a breakout dongle for some IO including coax! A dongle... Breakout dongles are and always will be stupid... That's a fact.

    I would appreciate if someone has more recommendation or suggestions.
     

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