Systems & Synergies


#1

i’m curious about dac-amp-headphone combinations that exhibit particularly good synergies.

i’ve enjoyed the adi-2 pro -> phonitor x -> utopia system, for instance… are there such synergies you’ve noticed that are distinctive?


#2

I’m a fan of the dual burr-browns in the idsd micro BL with the Cayin IHA-6. The amp is a bit bright, and the burr-browns have this smoothness that ensures the brightness of the amp never gets harsh or glaring. I tried it with an ESS DAC and didn’t like it much. But I think the AKM 4490s they have in their matching DAC would also be a good choice.


#3

MrSpeakers Alpha Prime straight out of Chord Mojo. That little DAC/amp just brings the Primes to life in a way that much bigger/more expensive/more powerful rigs don’t. Pure synergy.

Dunc


#4

Airist R-2R and Bottlehead Crack is particularly good with almost every headphone I have… looking forward to December so I can have my own Airist R-2R


#5

thank you - i haven’t heard any of these components yet, except the Mojo a year or two ago. it’s incredibly helpful for a neophyte (as i still consider myself to be) to be guided toward synergistic chains.


#6

@Torq did a review of the Airist R-2R, and I did an impression:


#7

To make this thread more interesting, and useful, it’d be great if in addition to noting the components in a system you’ve found to exhibit excellent synergy that you describe why or how you believe they’re a great pairing. Your own pictures of such setups are also highly encouraged!


#8

This is one of my favorite little setups, delivering solid technical performance and a lot of musical enjoyment at a price that not so log ago would have been hard to imagine:

The Modi 3 (full review here) provides a solid, detailed, and neutral source as a starting point, and is easy to integrate into any system - be it fed straight from a USB port or via a CD transport (etc.). The Vali 2 (full review coming shortly) delivers a detailed, but smooth and rich performance that helps tame the slight treble grain evident in the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD6XX while maintaining, and even highlighting, an excellent mid-range performance.

When I bought my first pair of HD650, back when they first launched, they alone cost more than this whole stack ($99 + $149 + $199 vs. $499).


#9

Here’s another fun little combination from the same general end of the spectrum … but a little bit cheaper still ($79 + $99 + $149 … just $327 here).

The high-degree of clarity, and slight treble sweetness, from the SDAC combined with the meatier presentation, increased low-end heft and greater body from the Liquid Spark, pair very nicely with the largely neutral (though maybe a little lean) HD58X - helping to bring up their bass to a more satisfying level and rounding off the very slight grain in their treble.


#10

I still want to get this combo…have you used it with the Massdrop HE4xx? Curious how the synergy with those would be.


#11

I have … but I haven’t gotten to taking any pictures of that setup yet.

It’s a nice combination there too, though I would probably either use the Modi 3 in place of the SDAC, or the Magni 3 in place of the Liquid Spark with the HE4xx, as they already play lower than the HD58X and don’t need the extra heft. And the Modi 3 also will help open up the mids a bit on the HE4xx.

Mostly a signature/preference call though … and hard to go wrong with any combination of those units.


#12

Thank you, I’m looking into options for friends and family that I’ve given 4xx to as gifts…lol especially budget options like the suggestions you mentioned.