General purchase advice: Ask your questions/for advice here!

Thanks, everyone, for the replies.

pennstac
Perhaps a bit upright, but then, so is the music.

Hmm, I don’t know. Opera was representing sex long before Elvis started gyrating his hips, e.g. Monteverdi’s Poppea. Maybe a listening bed instead then?

PaisleyUnderground
you do have the option of not buying anything else… I have to tell you how much fun it has been to sit back and relax, listening to music instead of trying to hear miniscule differences between pieces of equipment.

It’s true, I do find closely listening for differences tedious and it may make sense to buy nothing at all. Being a novice, and being so delighted with the SR1a’s, however, I’m curious to figure out just how much better they can get.

monochromios
Sincerely reading the list of your equipment I see no reasons for an upgrade and I believe that every upgrade you will do will bring minor differences that require an intense attention to be appreciated.

That is my fear. It’s not worth the effort and money if it is just a minor tweak that I can only hear with rapt attention. But being a novice, I can’t really know how “minor” they will be until I try it…

Torq
It realizes its best value (or the closest thing approximating that in a $4,500 box), when used not just with the SR1a but also with other, conventional, headphones as well.

That’s largely why I didn’t buy it: I didn’t need its multi-functionality. I have a pair of Clears lying around, for instance, but I can’t see why I’d want to put them on again, certainly not at the same listening station as the SR1a’s. I also thought about using the HSA-1b’s ability to drive speakers, but thanks in part to your explanation in another thread of how amps/speakers work, I thought I’d hold off on a speaker amp until the day I can actually routinely play speakers, and thus upgrade my current ones and pick an ideal amp for them.

Do you think, @Torq and others, that an upgrade in DAC while staying with the JotR would pay significant dividends? Or do you share @PaisleyUnderground’s hesitancy? I know that Torq has written that differences in DAC level off, and that a Bifrost 2 is maybe a 95 to a Dave + M-Scaler’s 100. I know the ideal thing is to test and see for oneself, but some of these, esp the Holo May but also perhaps the Dave, it is hard to find dealers willing to lend it out for a while without a hefty restocking fee should one return.

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It really depends on your ears and how well they pick up these differences. Not a great answer I know but I think its a big reason why there is such disparity about whether there are differences in things like DACs.

I know my ears are much “better” now after listening to “audiophile” level gear and music than they were a couple of years ago in that I can much more easily pick out differences. Does that apply to you? Dont know. BF2 is a good DAC - will something like an Yggy or May be better, yeah almost certainly. How much of that difference you hear, who knows, and that doesnt even start to address personal audio preferences. Everyone has theories as to where money should go in an audio chain as well. If you are settled on your can and amp then the DAC is the obvious next choice re upgrade or change, assuming you even wish to do so at all.

This is the best non answer answer I have given in a while.

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DACs are really the element of an audio chain, excepting cables and other “tweaks”, that have the smallest deltas between competent units. Jotunheim R and the SR1a are more than revealing enough to reflect any upstream changes.

To get a readily identifiable change (which is not necessarily going to be an “improvement” for all listeners) you’d be looking at switching either a different DAC technology (e.g. D/S, discrete R2R etc.) and unique implementation (e.g. compensated ladder vs. PDA w/ massive oversampling etc.).

I would say the next worthwhile DAC to consider, which is also a complete change in approach, would be the Matrix X-SABRE Pro (with or without MQA depending on your preferences there), which is three time the price of the Bifrost 2. I can’t say it is necessarily “better” (except if you’re only looking at measurements), but it is different.

If you wanted “more of the same” as your Bifrost 2, then an Yggdrasil A2 w/ Unison would be the way to go. And my next recommendations after that are 8-10 times the price of the Bifrost 2.

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I’m curious what’s out there for a streaming device that uses Tidal and has an ios app to control the device. Roon is not necessary and I’ll probably never go that route. Really don’t want an all in one, streamer/dac/amp, just a dedicated streaming device that gives a excellent audio source to a dac, the Matrix X-Sabre pro mqa to be specific. Really don’t want to build a raspberry, prefer plug and prey, then be done with it. USB is okay but prefer whatever is the “best” connection to give you the most quality audio. Right now, using 2018 ipad pro, I have a mac airbook but not impressed with Tidal or Qobuz with the airbook, so I’m moving back to the ipad with a usbe signal re-generator (maybe snake oil, who knows). The ipad is convenient but would like to in the upcoming future, cut the cord. I don’t burn cd’s or purchase music any more, hence roon makes no sense. This is one of those tweaks that is not necessary but I really like to simplify things if possible.

I’m more impressed with the Matrix X-Sabre every day I own it btw. (and I think only the mqa version is available now, I thought the previous version had the no mqa option?)

Blue sound Node 2, Cambridge cxn, (or there are some boutique brands that make a pi streamer for you). Bryston’s streamer is a pi in a nice case with an app.

Lots of streamers will have dacs built in, just make sure you can get a digital out, (in general it is preferable to use coax over toslink )

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The new iFi Zen Stream at $399 is one option, though I’ve not tried it myself (won’t until it’s “Roon Ready”). Wired and WiFi network connection. USB and Optical output.

Project Stream Box S2 Ultra is another at $849, but USB-only out for your purposes. It’s essentially a Raspberry Pi internally, with a dedicated digital output section.

The Bryston BDP-Pi is a third, at $1,295, which also basically a Raspberry Pi with a HiFiBerry digital output board, in a fancy case with a display. USB, HDMI and S/PDIF COAX/Optical outputs. Wired-only network connection.

Pi2Design will be released something called “Mercury”, which is another Pi + digital output Hat as a ready-to-go streamer with all of the interesting outputs at some point soon-isn. Don’t know pricing. But combining their Pi2AES with an RPi4 yields excellent results)

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Also consider the Audiolab 6000N and Arcam ST60.

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I need a dac that does aptx, and also has input for s/pdif, hopefully usb also. I was looking into getting the ifi nano ione but no one has them for sale anymore. I’m looking for that same type of dac that’s availible to purchase. I’ll be using it strictly at home, so I don’t need anything powered. I’m looking to spend no more than $300. Thanks in advance.

It does look like iFi is doing some model changeovers. I own the xDSD, and was unaware it had been discontinued, and remaining units, even pre-owed are going for a premium on the secondary markets. That was a DAC/AMP, and if you can snag one used somewhere, without the upcharge, it would fill the bill for you. The optical input works fine, never tried the 3.5mm for coaxial personally.

I see an Arcam rblink that may fill the bill for you on Audiogon. They’re asking 350 but seem open to offers.

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Solid State Amp with serious slam factor?

Bryston BHA-1
When you want Oomph, it gives it.

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Heard good things.

2W @ 32 ohm isn’t huge. It run the hard to drive planars ok?

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Hehehe, it’s a lot more powerful than the specs indicate. In fact, anywhere I looked the specs listed were vastly different and questionable. I had to finally contact the N. American sales rep to get some accurate specs.
I run them on an LCD-2 PreFazor with impedance of 70 ohms, and sensitivity ~91-93 dB/mW.

I barely get past 9 on the volume, also it is half the power when using the SE headphone output as it engages half only one of the dual mono amps. Using any of the two balanced headphone outputs engages the dual mono amps.

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So true especially from the Bal outputs.

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I feel sorry for the SE output, sucker never gets used on mine. I give it a chance every so often to give it some love :grin:

Thanks. I’ll definitely keep that as an option. Have you heard the Topping d50s? That one has some nice specs.

I have not personally heard any of the Toppings. They are a pretty mainstream brand.

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Well thanks for the direction. I need all the help I can get🤣

Same here, SE sets idle alot. :grinning:

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I have a sizable credit/gift card to amazon. I have decided that some/all of it will go toward some new piece of audio gear(s). But what?

So, for fun, I want suggestions based on the following rules.

  1. I am not saying the exact amount. Be creative, consider all options.

  2. any suggested items likely need to be prime for the full credit to apply.

I am currently shopping for all types of gear from dap, to stack to headphones.

I have the qudelix 5k, dunu zen and lsa hp-2 ultra as my only permanent gear currently. So lots of things I could do to improve my stuff.

What do you think I should buy?