Audirvana + Old Denon Amp + AKG K340 = trying to reach Nirvana!

Don’t know if this is the right Forum, but I am going to lay it down and sneak behind the sofa!.

I have a 12TB NAS system hooked up to a 2017 iMac with all my music on.
I have an old Denon AVC A1SE Home Cinema amp which is kicking it’s heels.
I have just acquired a mint pair of AKG K340 Headphones, which have electrets in and need some driving.
I am running Audirvana 3 on the iMac and am playing directly from Audirvana through the 3mm headphone connection out on the iMac connected to the amp via S/PDIF, which is in turn driving the AKG headphones.

I have been fiddling with the Audirvana settings trying to get the sound better in the AKGs and it is not bad.

But would a DAC such as a Dragonfly Red, connected to the iMac USB bring any enhancement to the sound, also enable more fiddling to get these cans working properly.

At the moment I feel the audio is being degraded without a DAC and where it is taken into the amp and into the AKGs I am missing a lot of extra quality in my files, some are 192KHz.

Before I end, I don’t want to buy a Headphone Amp, I have these older elements from previous, so I want to work with the Denon which was a £3K amp in it’s day and plenty powerful to drive the AKGs. I certainly feel the AKGs could sound amazing if I can get all the other elements working properly.

This is my 1st post, so be gentle, thanks in advance for any feedback anyone can give.

Quick update, if anyone is interested?

I am looking to add a TOPPING D10 DAC to the system. The system may not be to everyone’s taste, but I really would welcome some input. I have had Audirvana for approx a year now, I just want to get the best out of it.

When I test the AKGs on my main system which has an ONKYO NR5010 amp and play vinyl through them directly, the cans sound much fuller with more soundfield.

I think the AKGs could sound even better with my iMac A+ and Denon and a DAC to get the best out of software?

Any help would be great, I did post this on Steve Hoffman forum, but what a waste of time that was, surely the actual A+ software forum can help :wink:


I have a different Topping dac on my office pc and it works well. The D10 has really good features and I read somewhere it also has good measurements. If I would need a reasonably priced dac just to bridge the gap between mac/pc and analogue hifi I would most probably buy this one.

It should work better than the integrated headphone jack. Apart from that, properly designed/engineered dacs sound all quite good these days. Don’t expect huge differences as you would get with different headphones.

If you are in EU you should check and ask them what they suggest. I did this and am very happy with their suggestions I bougt some computer audio stuff there.

Best wishes

Hi Christian, thanks for the reply and advice on the Topping :wink:

Currently the AKG K340’s powered by the Denon sound really thin, if I take the audio from A+ via the 3.5mm headphone out from iMac to TosLink on the amp. I am having to use the Apple EQ with the bass whacked up in A+ to get these to sound anything like I want.

The Topping is around £65 but takes a couple of weeks to come from China? It is funny you mention Audiophonics, as I went onto their site a few days ago when they had the D10 for €85.

Perhaps I am using the wrong settings on the A+, I really don’t know.


I don’t know your headphones. You can try a VST plugin in Audirvana to boost the bass. There are some equalisation plugins that would work, there are even bespoke ones for specific headphones such as the Audeze. That is all I know about the plugins, my Grados don’t sound thin even without eq so I have no need for it.
The other settings in Audirvana such as upsampling or DSD conversion will not make the sound thin.

Thanks for the comments. I have just Googled VST and cannot find them, is this a company or a type of plug in?

I have found Sonarworks, they have a demo you can use online and using headphones, I selected the nearest demo of AKG K240s with the demo enabled, the sound certainly did improve.

But I am wondering why, if these AKGs I have are so ‘special’ on forums I read why are they so lifeless!

I purchased A+ to listen to my music files, many in 92Khz 24Bit. Previously I had a couple of tower speakers plugged in the back of the amp in my office, they sounded fine. But switching to the AKG headphones, I feel the A+ is really awful sounding.

I don’t think it is the AKGs as they sound better with my Onkyo and Vinyl.

Perhaps I have the settings all wrong in A+

Do you or anyone have some settings you can share of A+ running directly without a DAC. Obviously there is a DAC in the iMac which should benefit somewhat.

Thanks again


VST is the plugin standard, you have to find an eq plugin. As said before, I have no experience with the plugins.

comcernimg your other questions i do not know. i could be that your headphones have high impedance and the mac can’t drive them. if it is much more than 32 ohms, e. g. 600 ohms you need a dedicated headphone amplifier.

Hi, the AKGs are 400ohm impedance, but I am driving them with a 200W amp, I am just taking the A+ output from iMac 3.5mm to S/PDIF as explained.