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Headphone Amp/DAC under $100?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I am getting a pair of Fischer Audio FA-011s and I am wondering if it's worth upgrading from my Fiio E5. Should I get an amp for it, or a DAC?(It doesn't matter if it's portable.) My computer's sound card is pretty powerful, but I want something to improve the sound quality, too. Under $100 please.

Thanks! atsmile.gif

post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 

I've been looking on eBay and I found this Fanmusic amp

http://cgi.ebay.com/Headphone-Amp-New-Portable-Amplifier-Field-Ready-/120742468761?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c1ccfdc99

Should I get that? From the looks, it has all I think I need. (A 3.5mm in and a 3.5mm out)

post #3 of 8

do a quick search

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/462258/fanmusic-mkii-mk2-portable-headphone-amp-how-good-is-it

 

Let me just get it over with since someone is going to say it and suggest the e7. Amp/DAC combo although its amping can use a little improvement(the DAC is good). However if your soundcard is good enough a DAC might not really be necessary for your budget (so maybe just get a e9 amp although its around 120$).

 

Or you could also use the e7 as a DAC and the e5 for an amp.

 

You can look into some little dots but you may have to stretch your budget a little if you want the better ones. Also headroom amps start at 99 dollars

http://www.headphone.com/headphone-amps/headroom-total-airhead.php

 

I do suggest upgrading from the e5's


Edited by saintyoo - 6/27/11 at 3:17pm
post #4 of 8

If you're just looking for an amp and you're on a budget I'd recco the Fiio e11 - that way you'll have a powerful enough amp for a large variety of phones when and if needed.  If you want a DAC (which I recco) and can save up then I'd look for something like a  Audio-gd sparrow or whatever you can afford.  Fiio an Audio-gd both have great price/peformance ratio's but once you start spending more money the AGD stuff gets really good.

post #5 of 8

Try to get some used NI audio Kontrol 1, or the Audio 2. Here is some info: http://www.native-instruments.com/#/en/products/dj/traktor-audio-2/?content=1426

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by saintyoo View Post

Let me just get it over with since someone is going to say it and suggest the e7. Amp/DAC combo although its amping can use a little improvement(the DAC is good). However if your soundcard is good enough a DAC might not really be necessary for your budget (so maybe just get a e9 amp although its around 120$).

 

Or you could also use the e7 as a DAC and the e5 for an amp.

 

E7's internal amp section is a little bit superior to the E5.  Actually, they use the same chip for the power output, but the E5's pre-amp is worse.  Furthermore, you can't get a line out from the E7 without the dock, so you wouldn't want to be running it through the E7's amp out to the E5 anyway.  If you use a E7, you would not want to use the E5.  Both the E7 and E5 can put about 20 mW into 160 ohms.  Nominally that's about 111 dB max volume for the FA-011 before clipping.  That's a decent volume and maybe close to where some headphones distort a lot on their own, so believe it or not, they may be driven acceptably by what you already own, depending on how loud you listen.

 

However, your computer sound card's DAC might suck.  It's hard to say.

 

I would hold off buying anything until you get the FA-011.  Then see if the volume is loud enough with the E5.  (WARNING: the E5 will clip if given an input signal that is too large.  If your sound card puts out voltages that high, it may degrade the sound quality.)  If the E5 is loud enough, and if you suspect the sound card's DAC and output chain is troublesome, then I'd get the E7 so you can bypass that.

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by saintyoo View Post

Or you could also use the e7 as a DAC and the e5 for an amp.
Sorry, but that suggestion seems pretty much pointless to me.
post #8 of 8

 

The FIIO E10 seems like the best one, it has COAX out so you can connect it to a better DAC later on.

 

 

 

 

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