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Yamaha RX-A780 hookup to Headphone DAC/AMP (1 Viewer)

Oldbimmercoupe

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Hi folks - first post so hopefully wont repeat an old thread here.
I am new to headphone DAC/AMP's but an audiophile for longer than you folks have been alive. Im technologically challenged and have always had a geek friend help with hookup. Got rid of all the separates and went back to a receiver - big mistake when I jacked in my Sennheiser cans - I didnt get the memo that the big AVR builders dont give a damn about headphone quality these days. So ... after a month of learning curve torture and a possible decision on either the Topping EX5 or Sabaj D5 or A20d (budget a factor), it is time to see if I can understand a simple(?) hookup. This will be in my rack so remote control on these is crucial (would love to use Yamaha AVR remote for volume control but not sure I understand how). I only listen via Apple Music app on my streaming device, the Apple TV 4K. I have read that I can simply connect the DAC/AMP into the Apple TV via Optical cable. Yes? Seems easier than the RCA hookup to the Yamaha.
Any advise welcome. Any experience with Topping or Sebaj or other BALANCED combo units in this price range very welcome.
Thank you so much,
Jim
 

JohnRice

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The AppleTV 4K doesn’t have an optical output. I think the Gen3 was the last one which did. Also, your DAC/headphone amp probably won’t be designed to work with a receiver. What’s your budget? Naim has a very high quality streamer/headphone amp. Also Cambridge has a much less expensive one, but still over $1K. Is that within your budget?
 

Oldbimmercoupe

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Many thanks for your response.
I must have the Gen 3 then - it has the optical out. Im told I can use the Zone 2 on my Yamaha, but is that even necessary if I am hooked up thru the Apple TV?
Very frustrating that I have to do any of this staring at a headphone jack on my receiver in the HT system - with a 5.1 going on (the receiver is a 7.1) - 2 amps doing nothing and Im trying to rig this workaround? Nuts. Seems like everyone has their "system" on their desktop these days. I already have a little Fiio K3 ($100) for my desktop speaker and computer needs - rarely use it and not with the headphones.
My budget is around $300-400.
Thanks again and if you think of anything let me know.
Jim
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Which Sennheiser headphones do you have?

I'm not really that big on using headphones, but do own some pretty good ones like the classic Sennheiser HD600 and more recent HifiMan Sundara (and some other cheaper, more mainstream ones). I didn't have a problem using my cheap, (~15-year-)old Yamaha AVR to drive them -- not the best, of course, but certainly serviceable -- but I suppose more recent AVRs may have gone downhill w/ their headphone outputs.

Not too many headphone fans here on HTF, but maybe @dpippel can help. You might also try headfi.org, if no one here can help enough.

In the $300-400 range, you can probably check out what Shiit Audio has to offer -- I've never actually tried one myself, but they seem quite popular w/ the head-fi community in this range.

OTOH, since you do already have the Fiio K3, unless your headphones are actually significantly higher end than the HD600, you might wanna consider trying the HifiMan Sundara (for that budget) w/ that K3 instead -- or maybe even your Yamaha AVR can drive the Sundara just fine too as the Sundara seems significantly less demanding on the headphone amp/output than the Sennheiser HD600 for instance.

_Man_
 
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ManW_TheUncool

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BTW, did you try your Yamaha AVR in whatever "pure direct" mode w/ all DSPs, etc disabled when using its headphone output?

IF not, that could be a/the problem. IIRC, most AVRs are just designed to output whatever processed audio folded back down to stereo to its headphone out -- of course, Apple Music's Atmos tracks, if/when played back this way, could also be problematic I guess.

_Man_
 

Oldbimmercoupe

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BTW, did you try your Yamaha AVR in whatever "pure direct" mode w/ all DSPs, etc disabled when using its headphone output?

IF not, that could be a/the problem. IIRC, most AVRs are just designed to output whatever processed audio folded back down to stereo to its headphone out -- of course, Apple Music's Atmos tracks, if/when played back this way, could also be problematic I guess.

_Man_
Pure Direct helped a great deal! Thank you!!! One button on the Yamaha remote and a nice bump overall. So if I can keep away from all the old geezer rock with it's marginal sound, Im golden.
BTW, my new cans are Sennheiser HD660S.
Thanks again for your help. Will check out the more headphone oriented forums.
Jim
 

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