Setup Budgeting

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by dncnexus, May 12, 2020.

  1. dncnexus

    dncnexus Almost "Made"

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    First I want to apologize if this is already a thread, I couldn't find one but if it is out there, please feel free to let me know and I will delete this or a mod can delete. I just wanted to start a discussion on how people budget their setups, what their upgrade paths are usually are for their chains, and how they decide to maintain their setups.

    To demonstrate what I mean, if someone had $2000 dollars, how would you personally allocate your budget to the different components of your system. Would it be $1000 for the headphones and $500 for amp and $500 for DAC? Would you do $1500 on your headphones and do a $500 DAC/AMP combo? Let's say you have a setup of about equal components, would you try and update your audio chain before the headphones or the headphones first.

    I will start off by saying I don't have the craziest setup, but I personally view the upgrade path as headphone <- amp <- dac. I think allocation of funds is a bit convoluted depending on the price range you are in, but on average I like to recommend spending about 50 to 75 percent of your initial budget on headphones, and spend the 15 to 30 percent on an amp, and the last remaining bit on the DAC. I think this is a good setup due to the fact I believe headphones make the biggest difference in ones experience, and this can create a better system as a whole, followed by amps, then dacs.

    When upgrading your current system, I also try and follow the philosophy of upgrading headphones first and upgrading the amp and dac depending on if the upgraded headphones creates a lack in the system.

    I would love to hear about others and what they think on this topic, I am pretty new to the realm of audio equipment, and would love to learn more about how others upgrade, maintain, and budget their systems! Thanks everybody and hope to be apart of some good discussion!
     
  2. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    There is a thread as I remember starting one when SBAF was going. Let me find it because I think it's very useful
     
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  3. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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  4. dncnexus

    dncnexus Almost "Made"

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  5. Abhishek Chowdhary

    Abhishek Chowdhary Friend

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    Whatever be the budget, in your headfi journey, you'll end up buying HD650 4 times, HD800/HD600 2 times each, fool around modern planars while retaining one of HD***, get an estat exp at least once.
    After all of that, you'll be left with a 650 and a tube amp
    DACs will keep circulating.
     
  6. dncnexus

    dncnexus Almost "Made"

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    Well good thing i already have a tube amp and a pair of 6XXs! I don't plan on selling my 6XX ever, so I hopefully wont have to rebuy
     
  7. will_f

    will_f Leave of absence from SBAF - having fun in RL

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    i’m a real fan of a 6XX and a tube amp. This is one of those combinations where spending much more on the amp than the headphone actually makes sense.
     
  8. dncnexus

    dncnexus Almost "Made"

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    Yea that's def something i have heard before. I just bought the Auteur and my next upgrades were gonna be my amps, one SS and one Tube. If you have any recommendations I would love to hear them, I know this is not a advice thread, but still would love to hear what others think. I currently am running a DAC X6 and a DV 336SE.

    For SS I was thinking of upgrading like this:
    - Asgard 3 with Bifrost 2
    OR
    - Mjolnir with Gungnir Multibit

    Not sure if there would be significant upgrades to doing the Mjolnir with Gungnir Multibit over the Asgard 3 with Bifrost, I wanted to test them out but not sure where to do that were I am. Although I do use tubes for most of my listening, there are times I wanna have a SS either when not wanting to try and turn on tubes or with headphones in the future that don't play well with tubes.

    For Tubes I was thinking of upgrading to:
    - Bottlehead Crack w/ Speedball
    OR
    - Feliks Elise
    OR
    - Woo Audio WA6

    Anyways thanks for any insight you might have, I might just go the Asgard 3 w/ Bifrost 2 and if I still feel a need to upgrade go from there, but as I am upgrade my headphones I feel my audio chain is def lacking compared to what it should be.
     
  9. Thujone

    Thujone Friend

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    I'm currently using Gungnir Multibit -> Jotunheim/Valhalla 2. I have used Mjolnir 2 and Bottlehead Crack quite extensively (with HD580 among others).

    Valhalla 2 is far and away the best sounding amp out of those four for the HDXXX. The detail/plankton extraction is superb, which simultaneously adds more space to the sound. Bottlehead Crack I found to be too intimate (for an already intimate sounding headphone).

    Similar story with the Jotunheim and Mjolnir, honestly. Jot just had the space that I wanted and doesn't sacrifice on detail. It ended up being a better fit for my HDXXX headphones as well as my planars.

    As always, YMMV.
     
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  10. will_f

    will_f Leave of absence from SBAF - having fun in RL

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    Re DACs: IMHO there isn’t much daylight in performance between the Gungnir and the Bifrost2. The Bifrost 2 is a little warmer sounding, but for me my money is better spent on some other part of the chain than spending more for the Gungnir.

    Re amps: I’ve never heard the Auteur and I don’t know much about it, but I believe it is a highish impedance dynamic so it will sound good with a quality tube amp. While I am partial to the WA6 (I think my SE version outperforms my Lyr3 with dynamics) your best source for amp recommendations is probably the ZMF thread. Re SS amps: the A3 is about as good as it gets in it’s price range so it’s a no brainer if you want a quality SS amp for not a lot of money. I am of the opinion that unless you are seeking the final word in resolution and detail, you don’t need to spend a fortune on SS.
     
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