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David123
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Joined: Feb 17 2007 - 8:11am
DAC and Headphone amp

This could be located in either headphones or digital sources. I am currently running a Cambridge Audio 640 Azure v.2 CDP through a McIntosh MA 6900 integrated amp driving Monitor Audio SR6 speakers. I recently purchased a pair of AKG 701 headphones which are currently undergoing break in.

The MA 6900 provides a skimpy 1/8

struts
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Re: DAC and Headphone amp

David,

That is the problem these days, too many great choices! The Grace and the Benchmark are by all accounts very close (I have never auditioned the latter but own the former) in terms of absolute resolution and musicality. I am not aware of any DAC costing less than these units that seriously outperforms them. Add to that the fact that both are essentially professional units and built like tanks and they seem like pretty good value too.

I have many friends who own Benchmarks (none who live close by unfortunately) but I notice that they tend to mostly be Sennheiser users. The HD600 and HD650 have a fuller tonal balance that seems to mate well with the Benchmark whereas the leanness of the AKG 701 doesn't seem to offer quite the same synergy. I have both headphones and like them both through the Grace, which I pick depends on my mood.

Both these units are a significant step up from the Musical Fidelity, of course whether you think the difference is worth the money is between you and your pocket book. As you know, both the Benchmark and the Grace can also double as preamps which further broadens their appeal.

I have been a happy Grace owner for well over a year now. I have heard better, but only through very expensive balanced headphone amps being driven by very expensive digital front-ends. Having everything packaged in one smart little box seems positively minimalist by comparison. I can't imagine anyone not being happy with the Grace, but then I have no doubt Benchmark owners would say the same. Also, you may like to check out the various reviews and comparisons of the Benchmark and the Grace by JM, JA and WP in the archives section.

Hope this helps simplify things a little at least!

David123
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Re: DAC and Headphone amp

Thanks Struts,

I'm pleased you are happy with the Grace DAC. It and the Benchmark have such versatility that they are very attractive. I am also interested in the ongoing discussion of the Transporter. While my personal music collection is fairly large, I would like to make the plunge into great sounding streaming music.....from an infinite library.

Elk
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Joined: Dec 26 2006 - 6:32am
Re: DAC and Headphone amp

I also have and am pleased with the Grace.

I personally find the Benchmark to have a little bit of a "grey" sound, the slightest bit of hash perhaps.

Also consider Lavry Engineering's DA10, another excellent affordable pro unit.

ncdrawl
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Joined: Oct 18 2008 - 9:18am
Re: DAC and Headphone amp


Quote:
David,

That is the problem these days, too many great choices! The Grace and the Benchmark are by all accounts very close (I have never auditioned the latter but own the former) in terms of absolute resolution and musicality. I am not aware of any DAC costing less than these units that seriously outperforms them. Add to that the fact that both are essentially professional units and built like tanks and they seem like pretty good value too.

I have many friends who own Benchmarks (none who live close by unfortunately) but I notice that they tend to mostly be Sennheiser users. The HD600 and HD650 have a fuller tonal balance that seems to mate well with the Benchmark whereas the leanness of the AKG 701 doesn't seem to offer quite the same synergy. I have both headphones and like them both through the Grace, which I pick depends on my mood.

Both these units are a significant step up from the Musical Fidelity, of course whether you think the difference is worth the money is between you and your pocket book. As you know, both the Benchmark and the Grace can also double as preamps which further broadens their appeal.

I have been a happy Grace owner for well over a year now. I have heard better, but only through very expensive balanced headphone amps being driven by very expensive digital front-ends. Having everything packaged in one smart little box seems positively minimalist by comparison. I can't imagine anyone not being happy with the Grace, but then I have no doubt Benchmark owners would say the same. Also, you may like to check out the various reviews and comparisons of the Benchmark and the Grace by JM, JA and WP in the archives section.

Hope this helps simplify things a little at least!

I reccomend trying Mytek. The grace/benchmark products are awful in comparison... to these ears anyway. I use them with AKG 701s and Senn 650s (and etymotic er4)

www.mytekdigital.com

edit.. in spite of superior sound(to me), the Mytek costs a bit less.

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