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Entry Level DAC Amp Combo?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Just ordered my Denon 1001k's and have some cash sitting around and my next obvious buy would be source stuff. I am using the crummy sound card in my ThinkPad and think a DAC could do some good. Also I have a Cowon D2 which could see benefit of an amp. I want something basic that is maybe portable that is an amp and DAC in one unit that can funtion our of my D2 at least as an amp and out of my pc via USB because i lack a line out. I am looking for good quality at the minimal price. I am not terribly familiar with amps so its hard to put a price tag on this but keep it cheap. I am definitely capable of assembling my own amp in a kit or something if it can make it alot cheaper. As always, thanks and happy listening.
post #2 of 9
Zero
post #3 of 9
Does your thinkpad have either a optical or S/PDIF out? Because the zero only supports digital inputs (if im not mistaken).
post #4 of 9
My soundrigor portable DAC is for sale :P
post #5 of 9
Pico gets my vote. If your D1001's sound anything like the D2000's I demo'ed with the Pico, then the two will mate very well.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Corda 2 Move seems about right and Meier seems like a fun company considering Jans presence here and the cost is not bad, but building my own appeals to the geek in me. Only USB out on the ThinkPad. Great lappy but very business/ work oriented.
post #7 of 9
Zero is the best entry-level DAC/AMP combo so far.
You could hook up a PCM2704 based USB->SPDIF converter and they could be cheap.
post #8 of 9
I don't think any of those listed are entry level portable DAC/amps.

True entry level is more likely Headstage.com Lyrix (basic) with DAC $129 + S&H (have to email to order this version), or Vivid Technologies V1 vividaudiotech.com for $99 + S&H. The Lyrix is a nice amp, and I am currently burning in a Vivid Technologies amp for a review but I'm only 2 hours into a 300 hour burn-in.

Going to "upper entry level" is Headroom Total Bithead but it is $159 (I haven't tested that one) and the iBasso D2 Boa at about $175 shipped (which is audibly better than the Headstage's DAC but not better than the amp section alone). Then you also have the Leckerton (I haven't tested) and the Go-Vibe petite and magnum (somewhere in the $200 range).

The 2MOVE is better than most current portable DAC/Amps regardless of price (the Predator and Pico at $500 are on the same level), but at $255 it is also 2-2.5x more costly than "entry level" ones. You can go even higher with a Headroom Micro Portable for $598 with DAC, but it also includes an optical and coax input as well as USB.

Some reviews: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f105/m...ro-amp-306883/

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f46/re...-lyrix-265223/
post #9 of 9
yeah i'd recommend the zero except that having to get a usb->spdif converter would probably raise the price level out of what you're looking for.
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