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Need Some Advice on Whether to Build This or Not

PostPosted: September 25th, 2019, 5:24 pm
by Thorhian
Hello AMB Forums!

I'm a complete newbie when it comes to higher end audio gear, and after some unhelpful replies on reddit I figured I'd ask you guys for some help. I'm currently thinking about getting a pair of AudioTechnica M50x's for my personal enjoyment and possibly to start messing with making some small pieces of electronic music later on. I know they can be driven with the standard DAC/Audio output of my desktop or even my phone, but I bet a DAC and headphone amp would be able to improve the audio quality of what I'm trying to listen to a good amount (but maybe I'm wrong with these headphones?). I do like doing DIY stuff, and I think I might be getting more soldering supplies soon so I looked around for a decent DIY DAC design and I found AMB. From what I've read here the Gamma 1.5 seems to be a really good DAC/amp, but what I'm wondering is if it is still good compared to other options I could buy in 2019 for around $100 or less? Some people were telling me to just buy a fiio DAC/amp, but nobody seems to have heard of AMB from what I could tell, plus I couldn't find much elsewhere about the y1.5. SMD soldering doesn't really scare me, I just need to practice a bit before starting the project (plus I might have a hot air station soon).

Is a dedicated DAC and headphone amp worth it for these headphones? If so, is the y1.5 suited for such headphones, or would that be total overkill or underkill? I'm sorry if I seem so green at this, but I don't know a ton about this "Hi-Fi/Audiophile" world. I would appreciate it a lot if anyone were willing and able to help me.

Re: Need Some Advice on Whether to Build This or Not

PostPosted: September 25th, 2019, 10:02 pm
by amb
I don't have personal experience with the AT M50x' so I can't comment on them, but if you're even slightly interested in DIY then by all means build the γ1.5 (or some other DIY project). The γ1.5 is a great little USB DAC/headphone amp. The reason why you don't read about it much elsewhere is because it's DIY and most people either aren't interested in building a DIY project, or just want to buy something ready to use (or both). But if you're inclined to build something, the experience you gain, and the pride/reward is huge.

Re: Need Some Advice on Whether to Build This or Not

PostPosted: September 25th, 2019, 10:33 pm
by Thorhian
amb wrote:I don't have personal experience with the AT M50x' so I can't comment on them, but if you're even slightly interested in DIY then by all means build the γ1.5 (or some other DIY project). The γ1.5 is a great little USB DAC/headphone amp. The reason why you don't read about it much elsewhere is because it's DIY and most people either aren't interested in building a DIY project, or just want to buy something ready to use (or both). But if you're inclined to build something, the experience you gain, and the pride/reward is huge.


Thank you AMB. I think I will do so after I get the headphones. In your personal opinion what DAC/headphone amp combo would you compare the y1.5 to?

Re: Need Some Advice on Whether to Build This or Not

PostPosted: September 25th, 2019, 10:45 pm
by amb
I am mostly a DIY guy so I can't claim to have tried many commercial DAC/amps for comparison purposes, but at least in the DIY field, the γ1.5 punches well above its size/weight class. I am not aware of any other DIY portable USB DAC/amp that supports the optimum asynchronous transfer mode, and USB audio class 2 operation up to 24b/192k.

Re: Need Some Advice on Whether to Build This or Not

PostPosted: September 25th, 2019, 10:53 pm
by Thorhian
Ah, I see. Thank you! Now I'll just need to start sourcing components when the time comes then. I'll try printing a case for it later too lol. Sometime soon listening to music through MPD will be even more enjoyable.

Re: Need Some Advice on Whether to Build This or Not

PostPosted: September 25th, 2019, 11:16 pm
by amb
Running Linux? γ1.5 works great without the need of any special software drivers. Linux supports it natively.

Re: Need Some Advice on Whether to Build This or Not

PostPosted: September 26th, 2019, 10:07 am
by Thorhian
Yeah, I use Linux. I prefer it over Windows any day really, especially because of how nice it is to write software on, along with how customizable everything (especially since I’m using Arch). Thanks for the heads up.