Question Need help with DAC for Focal Shape 65 speakers


Active member
Oct 4, 2020
I got my hands on a pair of the nearfield Focal Shape 65s and I have been using them for the last week with my SB AE-9 soundcard through RCA unbalanced connection. I need to note here that I have installed Burson V6 vivid opamps to AE-9 as well.. The result is surprisingly really good I was expecting AE-9 to not be able to be a match for the speakers but it seems to be doing ok in all frequency range. It does not seem to affect the great imaging these are supposed to produce, clarity seems on a very good level , soundstage is beautiful, mids are really really great and even bass is extending really well despite them being only 40Hz.. At least for my taste.. Generally I'm very pleased with my purchase but as you can understand I want to bring as much as I can from them. The fact that they are active speakers helps with the amplification out of the equation for me so I'm really concentrating on the DAC.
Besides better sound, another reason for a dedicated amp is that since it's populating my RCA connection and I need analog input for my 5.1 system in my soundcard I'll be needing a dedicated DAC. Maybe it's just an excuse to buy one but it has become a PITA to make my 5.1 work and switch back and forth..Digital connection is troublesome..

So to the point.. I'm worrying that I might not choose the one with the right characteristics thus I'm asking your opinion here.. I don't want to lose my great imaging and soundstage from these nice nearfields I really love their sound signature. I just want to reach for more clear sound and get as much as I can from these as possible..

I've seen Topping DX7 Pro and D90 for starters and I've looked into Bifrost 2 as well (EU store has no availability date on it though) which more or less is the upper limit to my budget for a dedicated amp.. South of 1k more or less that is..
The former (DX7 Pro) has the advantage of a headphone amp as well for my DT1990Pros but this is not such a significant issue since AE-9 has a headphone amp I can use.

So do you think I should get a dedicated amp to begin with will it make a significant difference from my current setup (AE9 + Burson V6 vivids) through unbalanced or I should keep my money?

And if so which one do you think will do justice in these Focals w/o wasting a small fortune?

Thanks in advance for any input


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