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Best USB DAC/Amps for around $200?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hey Guys,

First time here; I'm looking to upgrade my current audio setup to a set of full cans (looking at AKG 701/2, Senn 598, 600, 650, Grado 325is, Beyer 880/990, and any recommendations there would also be very much appreciated), and am considering getting a DAC/Amp to complement them. The primary use for this setup would be playing music off a macbook pro, in a dorm room, study area, etc (I understand the lack of noise isolation/noise bleed that open-backs have), so the DAC/amp doesn't have to be tiny, but it might be nice to have it be a bit small so its easier to carry around and isn't obtrusive. For the same reason, I'd prefer a single box as opposed to two, but I'd go with two if there was a significant quality improvement. 

Thanks for the help!

post #2 of 4

You should probably consider K601/272 in place of K701, HFI-2400 in place of HD6x0, and maybe AD900 or DT860 in place of DT880/990.  Then I don't know what to recommend for a portable amp/DAC at that price, lol.  The iBasso D2+ Boa, perhaps?

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the recommendations; Are you recommending lower-end HFs because of my budget for an amp, my original source, or another reason? IE, if I were to get the HFs I originally mentioned, would spending an extra $100 on the amp help?

post #4 of 4

I suggested them because you want a portable amp/DAC.  Some of those are better off used with a desktop amp, or those lower-end headphones will run circles around the "bigger" ones when they're underpowered.

Or if you go for a stationary amp/DAC like the Sparrow, that one should handle most of the headphones in your list.

I forgot to mention SRH940.  High-end, efficient enough to go ampless as well.  Its sound will be a bit closer to DT880, judging from people's impressions.

Edited by Mad Max - 7/29/11 at 11:20pm
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