Friday, July 18, 2014

Getting better sound. AudioEngine D3 DAC and AKG Q 701 headphones

I got some new audio gear: AudioEngine USB D3 DAC (Digital Analog Converter) and a pair of AKG Q 701 headphones. Both are highly, highly rated and offer premium sound. Depending on where you shop, is this  $400-$500 combo worth the upgrade? Hard to quantify but I am loving the soundstage and fidelity.

The AudioEngine DAC goes for $149-199 depending when it goes on sale. The Same applies to the AKG 701 at $199-$350.

I love this set-up except the AKG requires some power. The volume is very low and I'm going to have to invest into a different headphone DAC/Amplifier. Forget about using this on my iPhone or HTC ONE M8. There is simply no juice to run these headphones. I was debating about getting the AKG or Beyerdynamic dt880 600 ohm and I'm glad I got the AKGs.  There is no way to run the DT 880s un-amplified. The AKG 701 runs fine off my Macbook Pro in my quiet office using the AudioEngine DAC.

The AudioEngine D3 is very good for the price and size footprint. I've been using it for weeks and I don't think I can listen to music without a DAC of some sort. Unfortunately, I can't get the DAC to run off my HTC ONE M8. This picture you see below is a no-go. That is a shame.

On a similar subject, this reminds me about Apple's earlier announcement about MFI Lighting certification for audio. Since higher end headphones require amplification, I can see where a lightning cabled DAC/AMP would be a big seller. It is much better than scotch-taping/jury rigging an Fiio portable AMP with a bunch of wired adapters.

I seriously want to run a DAC and AMP combo with my mobile phones but I don't want to look like a dork with a bunch of dangling cables/adapters/attachments.

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