I did manage to sell my first audio item last week, the ifi iUSB, a usb power supply that goes between the computer's usb output and the Dac's usb input. I now use the cheaper and apparently better Schiit Wyrd version (which seems to have lower power noise and also reclocks the usb signal). One of the weird/bizarre -- note the name of the Schiit devise -- aspect of current computer audio is that things like usb power supplies seem to matter to sound, which for digital audio is, well, weird. As far as I can tell, this relates to the fact that audio format/transfer standards are not implemented in Windows (or even OSX, not sure about this...) and audio devices are instead using hacks to get the audio signal transferred on other data standards, which gives risk to noise and timing issues. Again, you'd think that simple reclocking/data buffering in the Dac would take care of this perfectly. But for most current dacs this appears not to be the case. Next year may/should be different. Some of it also seems to relate to just bad implementations of computer usb power supplies, which then mess up the performance of the usb powered receiver chips, and this power usb hubs with better power supplies address this issue. Again, this should just be implemented in the Dac and probably will be in the future.
So my first sale of something the didn't work out in it's first implementation.
I've put the Schiit Mjolnir amp up for sale, but I have no takers yet. I've been marking it down, currently $150 off list price, should sell by the time I get to $250 off list price, if not before.
Which then should give me some space to buy more. There are three obvious expansion paths:
1) Get a full fledged first tier DAC. As usual, Schiit has been running a very well designed rumor based marketing campaign for its upcoming 'statement' dac. See for instance, the whole Head-Fi thread here that ranks current dacs, which basically comes down to most current dacs being &^$%.
One issue here is how much a dac matters. My experience is limited. It does depend on the quality of the amp and headphones/speakers, but I can believe that it matters for the headphones I have now and speakers I may have in the future. So far, the only direct dac comparison I did was with the HD650 (so my less resolving headphones) on the coax output out of the Oppo BDP-103, once using the Oppo Dac and once using the Schiit Gungnir, and from there to the Mjolnir and the HD650. There def. was a difference, with the Gungnir 'sweater' and less screechy. Or maybe it was the Oppo dac vs the Nuforce HDP dac, using the Nuforce HPD amp in both case. It was back in the Spring.
So I'll probably give the new Schiit Yggy dac a shot when it comes out next year. It does appear to be, if the marketing rumor mongering is correct, a good sounding R2R implementation, using cost saving approaches to make it affordable (i.e. the current cheapest R2R implemenations that are not do-it-yourself are around $9K..diy version are much less though, but are probably not the place to start doing diy audio...so yes, I might want to look into starting some diy audio too).
2) Get some other headphones, to compare to the LCD-X, and to potentially then sell off the LCD-X. The LCD-X, while impressive in some ways, does strike me as non-ideal: somewhat fatiguing to listen to and more muchy that it ought to be (purrin, from the head-if link above, calls them a 'goofified version of the HD800'). The HD800 are the obvious headphones to try. The Rag amp I now have does pair with the HD800, unlike the Mjolnir amp, which supposedly is too strident/bright for the HD800 while being also insufficiently resolving to get the most out of the HD800. The HD800 is pretty much the most highly regarded mainstream headphone out there, so I do want to try it out. Besides that I might want to run the LCD-X against the He-6. The Abyss, also a planar headphone like the LCD-X and He-6 and supposedly the best planor headphone out there, is out of my price range, as are the Stax headphones (which require other types of amps in any case).
3) Get speakers! The Rag amp can serve as a decent (i.e. high quality, but not super high quality -- no monoblock speaker amps here..) but not high powered speaker amp. Which gets you into the high quality bookcase speaker range (not that you actually can put these in bookcases, speaker stands seem the way to go). They should (just) fit in the office and could come out when the rest of the family is away in the summer. The obvious candidates are the KEF LS50 and the Ascend Sierra-2. Basically the same price and same power needs. No subwoofer for the first round of getting speakers.
I may run into space constraints in the office, finding it hard to back the speakers off from the wall enough. I will need to change were I sit on the desk, from the left hand side to the middle of the desk.
I'll probably try out speakers next. There are 30 day trials. Supposedly you can negotiate $200 off the KEF LS50s. Maybe I should look into used speakes, but the savings of $200 or so may not be worth the effort/hassle/adverse selection worries. Having option of a 30 day return you get with new speakers may be worth it.
I'm not considering powered monitors, mostly because I want to use the Rag amplifier. Or I could try out powered monitors at the same time, not using the Rag amp for them. Here the Adam A7X is the obvious monitor to look at. Again, the same price range, even though they have built in amps. I also see there are Adam A8Xs, which I not noticed before, more power and they could be used in larger rooms.
So I'm thinking about speakers. Which is partly driven by annoyance with the LCD-X.
Update #1: there's also the turntable and phone amp option, but that gets you into space issue in the office, and storage space issues for records. So it is more of a 'toy'. Not that all this isn't already in that category.