Benchmark DAC1 or DAC2
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Try HeadRoom. Here's the link that you might find useful Micro Line. I am running a slightly different set-up on one of their earlier amps, and I can run everything by battery for portable use, with the Sony CD Walkman D-NE920 [has optical toslink output].
I would also recommend going with the Senn. 650's rather than the 600's. Contact me if you need any advise, I've been trying different cables and batteries....working with this system for about 9 months, so I can give you some tips!
I have a PC only system now with a Benchmark DAC1 and the headphone amp inside is very nice. Not as nice as my Melos SHA-1 headphone amp which is smoother, but I had to do some serious A/B to decide if the Melos was worth keeping (it was.) I'm using a pair of Sennheiser 650s and they are amazing.
However...I would wait for the new Benchmark DAC1 w/ USB(coming out next week, I think) You probably know this but if you use a non USB dac you'll need a proper sound card.
Another (cheaper) way to go would be to buy a cheaper USB dac like a Scott Nixon tube dac (on audiogon now for $275) and then a seperate headphone amp like a Grado RA1 (on audiogon now for 250 used) - I've never heard any of this stuff, though
Aside from those mentioned, two that I have should do the trick -
Meier Audio Corda Opera - Headphone Amp, DAC, and Preamp @ USD 1,000: and,
PS Audio GCHA Headphone Amp & DAC @ USD 995.
Sorry . . . just saw that you wanted to keep the cost USD 1K including headphones. That said, just saw a GCHA go here on the 'Gon for about USD 700. If you could find a similar catch, you'll be in business. If you can't and are willing to stretch, either of these would likely serve you well for a long long time.
PS - Just curious, does the 325is in your moniker refer to your ride??
Thanks guys for all the suggestions. I havent looked into DACs previous to this, i didnt know so many can double as headphone amps. I think I opened up a can of worms for myself though. I have been thinking about modding my Denon 2900 or buying a new player. Would the Denon be a decent transport if i decided to get a DAC-1 or another DAC? Or would it be more cost effective to mod my player or try somthing new? Any input on this would be appreciated.
You must be a fellow Bimmer owner. My Bimmer is a 1988 325is, mostly stock but with a few suspension mods. I've always loved the e30 body style, mine has the "ugly" bumpers which is kind of a bummer. But on the other hand it drives great from the inside. :) Shes got 223,000 on the odometer, second motor but still has the original limited slip diff. and transmission. Do you own one?
I dont completley understand what your recommending with your last post, could you please clarify?
Maybe my ealier post is confusing. Now that i know that a good deal of DACs have a headphone output i could then use said DAC in a double duty way, at home for reference listening as well as at work. I would then have to bring the DAC to work when i felt like it. The Denon will be staying in my 2 channel setup. The reason i was asking about DACs and hp amps was to use my PC at work as the source since i have a good amount of tunes on the hard drive. Maybe this helps. Thanks
This thread got my noggin spinning and I after some research and experimenting, I'm at this moment hearinq very accurate sound reproduction via my iMac, $40 iMic, CIAudio VHP 1 headphone amp($350), and Grado SR 60 headphones ($70). My wife's better ears affirmed my findings.
What really blows me away is this $40 iMic which I have been using very succesfully for digitizing my LPs and cassettes is proving to be an extraordinary USB DAC bargain. Does anyone know what kind of DAC chip this little thing uses? Or perhaps my wife and I are deaf. A salesman at a reputable hi-fi store told me that anyone who couldn't hear the difference between tubes and ss has to be deaf.
No, never owned a Bimmer, however, my Dad owned the same exact year and model. He loved it and, like you, got several 100K miles out of it (all on the first motor) before handing it over to one of my brothers. Classic style, great performance, and built like a tank - your a lucky guy.
Back to DAC / transport question . . . yes, the Denon 2900 would do just fine. Given your desire to take in back and forth to work, the Benchmark DAC1 would be a good choice and quite portable at the same time. If you can stretch the budget or find one used, the Grace M902, as suggested above, would be another great choice.
As far as cans [ headphones for you newbies ... :) ] go, any one of the Senn 5XX series or the AKG 601 would be a great start. If your budget permits, the Senns HD650 or AKG 701 would take you right up to the very top tier of open air phones.
Happy hunting and please update us on whichever way you go.