Hi, noobie here.
I've never had an external DAC before and I don't think I understand how effective they would be. I play music out of an iPod Nano and my laptop and I would assume at the very least that the Nano probably has a very poor DAC.
My question also comes up because I see a lot of people buying the e17 these days. So my question is, for $150, what would be the differences if I spent that money on a $150 amp vs a $150 amp + DAC, especially since I see that the amp in the e17 is apparently inferior to the Fiio E11 which is only about a $60 amp and I feel like $150 could get you a much much better amp.
I know the E17 comes with a lot of extra great features and I don't want to focus on that product, just wished to be more clear on how important a DAC is and how best to use your budget and maximize gain.
Here is the specs for my laptops audio from their site:
Built-in High Definition Sound System
S/PDIF Digital Output
I seem to hear that generally, laptop DACs are not very good.
My headphones are the v-moda m-80, HD598 and the Grado RS1, mostly headphones that will drive easily from any source. Amps I've had before were the E5 and E11 and I've ordered a Headstage Arrow 4G which boasts 30 - 80 hours of battery life, lots of great features, amazing form factor and supposedly much better sound. Haven't spent a penny on DACs before.
Fairly new to the hobby, appreciate the help.