The General Advice/Questions Thread

If you use an external DAC, connected via either the Lightning port, or wirelessly via Bluetooth, the iPhone’s DAC is never involved. The raw, digital (or in the case of Bluetooth, a differently encoded, but still purely digital) data is sent to the DAC, and the DAC does all the work to convert that back to an analog signal.

DACs output analog signals (Digital to Analog Converter), so they don’t output a digital signal in the first place, and you don’t have a DAC feeding a DAC as it makes no sense to do so.


Thank you Torq, but I am still confused. You said that a dac outputs an analog signal, so doesn’t that mean that the digital information stored on the iPhone has passed through the iPhones’s dac to become analog information? If so couldn’t that information be less than complete or authentic?

If you’re using a DAC that is separate from the iPhone, then the iPhone’s internal DAC is NOT used at all. The iPhone just passes the original digital data to the separate/external DAC in question.

On any iPhone since the iPhone 7, the internal DAC is only used for the speakers/ear-piece built into the phone.

You can’t feed analog data to a DAC, so the situation you’re describing cannot occur.

Torq, Thank you I think I understand now.

I believe your question has been asked and answered. It’s a reasonable question. There is no risk of the degradation of the digital data as it proceeds from its storage origin until it reaches the DAC and is converted to analog form.

Separate but related, you might find audio upsampling and the Chord Hugo M-Scaler interesting.

Thank you bpcarb, that is interesting.

1 Like

Hello all, I was directed here as I wait for access to the Purchase Advice section.

I currently have an AK120m2 paired with J. Harvey Audio Angie CIEM that I’ve used for travel. However, at home I wanted to investigate going to a more traditional headphone so I can listen to music at my desk using the AK120m2 as my DAC/AMP.

Currently there is a DC Aeon 2 Closed for sale on this site. I know it is marketed as a portable headset and I think the folding mechanism is pretty cool. However, some full size headsets don’t breath well from smaller powered devices and wanted to ask the community for their input on the DC Aeon 2. I have seen a video where the reviewer said it did pair well with the Dragonfly Red so I have hopes that it can pair with a USB / Battery powered device well, but I would like some feedback.

Also comparison would the Focal Radiance or perhaps ZMF Eikon be a better fit? They aren’t as portable, but still suitable for me. Thoughts on moving up to the Stellia or Verite, worth moving up?

Music I listen too is mostly acoustic female tracks some male. While you may think this means I prefer a tube sound my main rig is Naim Unity 2 with Nola Contender Speakers. They matched really well and provide a full soundstage with good dynamics. For me, I enjoy the emotions of music, not its technical reproduction. Like my wine, I don’t necessarily know what is good, but I know what I like. Fun, warm, easy to listen too over long working sessions at my desk. Now, my wife is a different story. This system also had to please her which was a much more difficult task. For her, the difference between the Red Dawn and the Blue Heaven were so drastic and immediate that in just a few seconds she knew we had to have the Red Dawn. The store owner looked at me and said “She has a much better ear than you or me.”

Luckily, my ear is not that great and I don’t need perfection. I do find the sound of the traditional ANC travel headset a bit lacking. I prefer passive isolation to active noise cancellation and ANC hollows out the music to me.

Thank you for your thoughts!


If one is looking for good amps, this recent video by ABYSS may help your treasure hunt. There are options for the different wallets out there as well.

Needless to say that this list is biased to their products and it’s a somewhat short list. But that doesn’t mean they’re not fit for other applications (cans).

Cheers. :beers:

@Roger-Houston , were you unable to create a new thread or to post to an existing thread? If you had created a new thread, the mods would have closed it immediately and moved your post to either this one, or the General Purchase Advice thread or perhaps to the Aeon 2 thread because they’re trying to limit the number of very specific threads. That was a long-winded way of saying you posted at the right place.

If you look at that Aeon 2 thread I linked to, there are a lot of informative posts about how current-hungry the Aeon 2 is (see here for an example), so driving it from a DAP probably isn’t very practical.

It wasn’t clear if you want a portable or home solution, or both. If you’re looking at portable DAC/amps to pair with your DAP, you’d need to check the amp specs to see if they provide enough current. The new ifi Diablo looks interesting, but I don’t see anything about current in the specs. Maybe @SebastienChiu can advise on the Diablo or other ifi amps that might work.

1 Like

@PaisleyUnderground - Thank you. What I’m looking for is a headphone to replace my IEM using my DAP. The reason I went with an AK in the first place was not to have say my phone be the source and have to tether it to a separate AMP.

My question is what headphones can I look at to use with my DAP. At home I use it as a DAC/AMP as I can hook it to my computer. So I’m looking for what headphones are less current hungry as you put it that can work in a mobile application if not the Aeon 2s?

Thank you,

Thanks @PaisleyUnderground!

Funnily enough, I have the Aeon 2 Closed right now and would be happy to answer any questions regards to how it pairs with iFi products. I was quite shocked when I got it because it’s the most power hungry

For my listening volume (which is admittedly on the louder side), I use the pairing of our Micro iDSD Signature on Turbo with with the knob twisted anywhere from 60 to 75%. The Diablo has about 25% more power than the Micro iDSD specifically for power hungry headphones like the Flow 2.

I don’t have it in house yet (should sometime soon) to give you an accurate impression of the difference, but they will both suffice. That said, the Diablo is an entirely new platform with a different sound! I do love the Micro iDSD Sig pairing as well!


@Roger-Houston , I read a couple of reviews of the AK120m2 and they said that it was under-powered for power hungry headphones, so I think that rules out the ZMFs that you mentioned. Something that’s easier to drive, like a Focal Clear, Radiance or Stellia may be better for you. For instance, I can easily listen to my iPod Touch using my Stellia, but it struggles with my ZMF Aeolus and Verite, and I have to have it on full volume just to hear the music.

@PaisleyUnderground - Thank you. Yes, I’ve been using them with IEM’s and I expected it wasn’t very powerful. I was pretty sure I wanted to go with Closed back for travel - whenever we can travel again - but I mostly wanted to use it at my desk. I thought I could combine use cases.

As such, I have recently purchased the GoldPlanar GL2000 with Dethonray Honey for use at my desk. I know my AK won’t drive them and together they are about what I might have paid for a Focal Radiance which might have worked as well. The GL2000 looks to be punching well above it’s pricepoint and I am partial to Class A sound vs the linear THX. It’s funny, I see the Focal Radiance open box on sale now. I really wish I could listen to everything, but shopping audio from home is a crap shoot.

1 Like

I have a question about which way around to insert the pins of a 2-pin cable into a 64 Audio IEM (the Nio in my case, if that makes a difference).

I want to try out some new Hart cables, but I wasn’t sure which way around the pins should go. Hart told me which pin is positive on the cable, so now I just need to know which hole on the IEM is positive. Does anyone know an easy way to figure this out?

Edit: I added a picture to hopefully make it easier to answer the question.

If you look at the attached photo, where I have the left and right channel IEMs flat side down, with the holes facing me, can someone please tell me which way around the pins should go? For example, is it - + on both IEMs? Or is the right channel the opposite of the left (e.g. left is - + and right is + -)?

1 Like

In my experience if a device doesn’t supply its own power (like a speaker driver) the + and - are interchangeable and only determine the phase. As long as both ears have the same phase it will sound fine. You will know if they are out of phase - it will sound wonky. If so, switch one ear to get them back in phase.

I don’t know anything about these specific iem’s so I can’t say if there is any possibility of damage but I’ve never seen it in passive devices.

Edit: Also, these things tend to be consistent so the hole at the top of each iem is probably the same (either + on both or - on both).

1 Like

Thanks, that helped a lot.

Before posting, I had tried various combinations and it seemed to sound best with either + on top for both or - for both. But that didn’t seem logical to me because the cable connectors have a flat side and a grooved side, and the best sound came from having the flat side facing me on one channel and the grooved side facing me on the other channel. I kept switching it back so that they were both flat or both grooved facing me, and I got more and more frustrated.

Anyway, much appreciated.

1 Like

I have a technical question.
When i listen to black sabbath sweet leaf (remastered 2014) at 3:01 there is a drum part.

When using my hd560s i feel like everything is over everything, i can’t quite hear when a sound stop and when another starts. This part feels distorted so to speak.

When i listen with my HE4XX i hear every hit on the drum as separated compared to the 560s but the punch of the drum sounds all the same, not the sound but the intensity of the punch feel the same.

When i listen with my Elegia i hear everything separated but i hear each notes fading away in a sea of subsequent notes.(i dont know if you guys gets what im saying… it sound really precise as if i get the full picture of all the sounds even tho they sound closer to me) the 4xx was more one hit start and then stops when the next one happens.

i also feel the intensity of everything like its punchier the range of intensity is differents from the 4xx as i can tell how fast and how hard the drummer hits. It is the first time i feel like my elegia sound better than my 560s and my 4xx usually its 560 > 4xx > elegia not the other way around…

Anyway i wanna know if you guys could maybe explain me where i hear speed , instrument separation and clarity in what i just explained as i realize my comprehension is still not on point.

PS I AM RUNNING everything from my topping Mx3 as a dac to my thx 789 single ended output in this specific case.

Well, technically, Black Sabbath might be classic rock.


Hi Everyone, I’d love to collect some opinions on this:

I want to run out of my DAC to two different single ended devices and there is only one SE output. I want to have my Asgard 2 on my desk so I am not running my tube amp 100% of the time. I am about to get a BF2 with only one SE output. The balanced out will be used to the sub woofer.

Do you think I am better off using the splitters or Y cables like Audioquests? OR, should I just use the passive pre-outs on the Asgard 2 into the second amp sort of daisy chained?

I have used the Asgard 2 before as a sort of pre-amp/volume control for my subwoofer, but is it logical to think that it is going through more circuitry than a simple splitter and thus less desirable?

I may end up just trying both. But I want the cleanest signal possible into the tube amp.

Thank you for any advice!

1 Like

This has come up a few times, and I don’t think anyone reached a conclusion regarding whether a switch was audibly distinguishable from a Y-splitter cable or Audioquest adapters. I like the ease of use of my switch because I can switch between amps by turning a knob, others prefer the splitter. Pick your poison.

I can’t speak to daisy chaining the Asgard 2.