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Amp/DAC Suggestion; 6 to choose from, one must reign supreme! $300 budget

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, I recently purchased the Shure SR840's, and I'm on the lookout for a dedicated headphone amp/DAC, and suffice it to say there's quite a few to choose from, but I've narrowed down my options to the following. I'm trying to keep the price under $300 including shipping and applicable taxes (I'm in Ontario, Canada), as well as being able to drive the Shure's admirably, and have a dedicated coaxial/optical input. I'm currently using a Macbook Pro, and the two USB ports are already occupied 90% of the time, whereas the mini optical-out jack is more available. Here's what I've been looking at; 

 

iBasso D10

Firestone Fubar IV

Maverick Audio D1

Audio-gd Sparrow (there seems to be 4 price points options on the website, $140, $160, $210 and $240? I'm not quite certain what the differences would be)

Audio-gd NFB-12 

nForce u-DAC-2

 

I'm personally leaning towards the Maverick D1 given the large number of inputs and it's sleek styling, but I don't want to sacrifice quality because of aesthetics. Any suggestions would be thoroughly appreciated, thank you! 

post #2 of 11

hard to beat ibasso's price, and i liked the d10 when i heard it. unfortunately i don't know much about the rest of those tho!

 

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

The iBasso seems to be highly-regarded around these parts, and based on name alone the D10 tempts me. I'll list out the prices I have for each amp shipped to Canada (taxes + duty still need to be applied), just in case the shipping for a particular item makes it a poorer choice than the others; 

 

 

iBasso D10-$267.00

Firestone Fubar IV-$281.97

Maverick Audio D1-$219.00

Audio-gd Sparrow (there seems to be 4 price points options on the website, $140, $160, $210 and $240? I'm not quite certain what the differences would be)

Audio-gd NFB-12-$237.00

nForce u-DAC-2-$129.00 (I believe this can be purchased locally)

 

Thanks for the suggestion novacav, anyone else have any thoughts??

post #4 of 11

the nfb 12 is imo better cause its desktop

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

The NFB-12 certainly looks intriguing, and it appears to be a great deal as it's listed as a 'Promo' price, but I'm also worried it would be too much of an amp/DAC for me! The thing looks like a beast, and I feel it might be overly-complicated for my simplistic needs. Although, if it offers an excellent value, I'm sure I could dedicate a bit of time learning the in's and out's!

post #6 of 11

I have the 840s and the uDAC-2.  The uDAC drives them without any problems.  The 840s appear to be easy to drive.  On my computer the uDAC offered only a slight improvement over the soundcard.  If I could do it again I may have considered heading to a local Long & McQuade and getting something like this instead... but I'm no expert.

 

http://www.long-mcquade.com/products/5454/Pro_Audio_Recording/Accessories/Presonus/HP4_-_4_Channel_Headphone_Amp.htm 

post #7 of 11

You should grab a Tiangyung Zero or used Sparrow B rather than that Presonus amp, I think.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by game_fanatic View Post

The NFB-12 certainly looks intriguing, and it appears to be a great deal as it's listed as a 'Promo' price, but I'm also worried it would be too much of an amp/DAC for me! The thing looks like a beast, and I feel it might be overly-complicated for my simplistic needs. Although, if it offers an excellent value, I'm sure I could dedicate a bit of time learning the in's and out's!


Not at all.  It is quite simple, actually.

The varying price points for the Sparrow have to do with components if you read.  The more expensive configurations use better components for better sound.


Edited by Mad Max - 3/28/11 at 7:17pm
post #8 of 11
Isnt the newest one Ibasso D12?
post #9 of 11

They still sell the D10, which is a little cheaper.

post #10 of 11
The Maverick D1 will be replaced by the D1+ and D2 very soon. Both will have better quality and features. No solid pricing info as of yet. Check my sig threads for more info.
post #11 of 11

$300 and under, I think its hard to go past iBasso. Really hard. Its amazing how many amps there are in the 300-400 dollar range, but under that you may be better served in the FS forum. I was very keen on many of Jason's budget products (uDac, uDac2, Icon) until complaints began to surface re quality control on some Nuforce budget gear. I really hope he has gotten on top of that, because almost all of those amps received glowing reviews, here and elsewhere, when they were released.

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